Journal

Show and Tell: My favourite pens run out too fast

Scene list
Rearranging Scenes

Are you actually trying to read my chicken scratch? Hah! Well if you are, it probably won’t be too spoilerish. Half of what I’ve written are questions, but there’s a novel in there somewhere!

I like to organize spatially so having things spread out like this helps me to understand the story in one glance. The computer screen isn’t quite big enough. With the previous novel I did this for the rewrite rather than the first draft. I guess I’ll see how it works out. I’m still refining/changing how I work.

Each piece of paper is a scene in the novel. Some are more fleshed out than others, with bits of dialogue, and others are little more than a sentence. I spent the weekend rearranging these pieces of paper and grouping them into chapter clumps. This helped me figure out where the holes are in the plot, and I think I have the entire thing plotted as of now. I expect the plan will change as I start to write, but this outline should help me get off to a running start.

Another change I’ve made was to switch to a standing laptop station. My backside’s been aching from sitting too much, and I spend all day sitting at work so I needed to do something different. I don’t think my setup’s completely ergonomic though. I took a breakfast tray table and set it on top of my desk for extra height. The height’s perfect for my arms, but staring down at the laptop screen isn’t so comfortable. Maybe I’m just not used to this yet.

And yes, I finished another pen as I plotted. I think I need to try a fine tip next time.

How did your writing week go?

18 Comments

  1. I hear about a lot of people using that scene card method. It actually just frustrated me more when I tried using cards to plot, lol, though there is something nice about being able to see your entire story laid out in front of you like that. I’m glad you’re getting use out of it!

    Still chuggin’ away on my edits, heh, but you know this.

    1. T. S. Bazelli Author

      Yeah you gotta use what works for you! I’m a bit surprised it does work for me. I think it’s just because my mind can’t keep everything straight on its own LOL

      Ahh edits, how much longer do you think it will take you to get through this draft?

  2. You need one of those wall-sized computer screens where you can move things around by touch, like in Minority Report.

    I’ve just decided that I need to suspend the mystery stores (for now) and put some work into my WIP novel, which has been lying fallow for about four years. I think it’s time for a complete rewrite, especially since I had a revelation yesterday about what was wrong with the first draft. As I said at the end of last night’s (rather long) blog post: “In my first draft, I think I concentrated too much on tying up loose ends from the other novels, explaining things, giving backstory. I think a better approach is to Tell a Good Story. To hell with explanations, unless they make that story better. ”

    Glad to see I’m not the only pen user left, BTW.

    1. T. S. Bazelli Author

      Oh yes a wall sized computer would be nice! Good luck with the rewrite, as well. It’s a pet peeve of mine when I read a sequel has too much explanation of what happened in the previous novel. I think a lot of what happened before can be inferred just from the action. Most of it we don’t really have to know.

      And yes, there’s something about using a pen that allows a different mode of thinking than typing on a keyboard, I believe. Also, it’s nice not to be staring at the screen all the time.

      1. I was just writing about this on my blog. I have a character named Vicki. She has superhuman strength. This is never explained in my second novel, and nobody who has read that novel has ever complained that it wasn’t explained. So why do I need to explain it now? Just because I happen to know the answer? Reporters have a name for that: dumping your notebook.

  3. “The height’s perfect for my arms, but staring down at the laptop screen isn’t so comfortable. Maybe I’m just not used to this yet.”

    No no no! Not your imagination! Laptops are NOT ergonomic at all, precisely because (as you’ve noticed) putting them at a good angle for your arms strains your neck, but putting it at a good angle for your neck strains your wrists.

    You’re going to need either a second monitor or a second keyboard to make your workstation healthy (whether standing or sitting). I’ve also heard that cushioned shoes and/or a stress mat is really helpful for standing workstations.

    I’ve found that when I force myself to sit properly in my chair (feet on the floor, knees at a right degree angle, back slightly reclined) and I use a separate keyboard, I experience virtually no pain whatsoever. Of course, I don’t always manage to force myself to do that… but having a separate keyboard has made a world of difference!

    1. T. S. Bazelli Author

      My work setup’s great at the office, with a separate, large monitor, keyboard, and a great ergonomic chair, so it’s not a problem. I will have to adjust at home though. mmm I think I’ll try wearing shoes next time! Also, I can’t mount a second monitor on the wall right now, so that’s tricky. I may need a pile of boxes or books LOL. I’ll see what I can do, and let you know how it goes!

    2. I use a second keyboard all the time (it’s on my lap at the moment). One is the desire to have the laptop screen at the correct height without having to strain my arms to reach the keyboard. The other is that I really prefer a full-sized keyboard, with all of the keys in their proper places. Laptop keyboards just annoy me if I’m going to be doing a lot of typing.

      (One disadvantage of writing with a pen is that somebody has to type all of those scenes into the computer later on, and I think you can guess who that is. 🙂 )

  4. hmmm… standing laptop. interesting and one I’ve never heard before but makes a lot of sense.

    PS – I really like the color/ink of that pen. It looks like it writes so smoothly!

    1. T. S. Bazelli Author

      It does! I love ‘Uniball” pens. I used to sell stationary, so I’d spend all day trying out the different pens LOL. They have great flow (also fade resistant), but that also means the med-tip runs out way too fast.

  5. See, my mind would boggle doing it that way. I mean, I can understand what it’s doing, but I wouldn’t be able to see the bigger picture that way at all…

    Good thing there’s as many ways to do this as there are writers.

  6. I use a separate ergonomic keyboard and an adjustable screen cooling thing with my laptop. Makes it all adjustable. Love the bottom right corner of the picture. The words that jump out at me – “worship that to them squeamish scrutinized”.

  7. Regarding the standing laptop, I find it’s amazing what can cause ergonomic problems (of course with writing, I can easily get lost and literally have hours escape while I’m contorted over the computer). I dictate my writing and have gone through a number of issues with microphones because I find the headsets can tweak the edges of my ears, or the weight if off-centered can tweak my neck/spine. This led to me using a standing mic instead of a headset, however, that still can cause problems if I am not centering myself, but leaning into the mic.

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