Alright, I admit it, I haven’t been writing much in the last … let me check … three weeks! (Longer than I thought!) And no, I haven’t come anywhere near to writing 2,000 words a day. Yes I did that for a month last summer, but not since I started this blog.
What I have been doing is working on software (specifically a web tool) to help structure and focus the story- and character-creating process. It isn’t quite ready for public exposure yet, especially since I haven’t done anything about user accounts so everyone accessing it has access to everything, but it is looking pretty sharp (if I do say so myself!) Maybe around April Fools Day?
My software was inspired by Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake Method. The method in a nutshell is to build your story up from a one-line summary, through a one-paragraph description, up to a four-page outline and a list of scenes. As you go you also start fleshing out your characters and their story lines, and weaving them through the main story line so as to develop a rich, multifaceted whole.
The tool doesn’t write your book (although it should do a pretty good job of writing your book proposal!) but after going through it you should have a pretty easy job of writing your first draft.
(Another way to look at it: The tool guides you through making the big decisions about the plot and fleshing out the characters, so that when you sit down to write you can focus on the little decisions of what to have the characters say and do and how to put that into words.)
My goal with the tool is to use it to really get a head start on NaNoWriMo next autumn. I figure I can start developing a story on October 1 with the tool and be ready so that come November 1 I’ll have everything ready to just sit down and write!
One last little feature of writing this software: Although I started writing software before there was an Internet, and was creating websites back when the only graphical web browser was Mosaic 0.9, It’s been a few years since I’ve done anything remotely sophisticated on the web. This project has been an effort to clear out some of the cobwebs and bring my skill set more up to date. Maybe I can parley that into a better-paying job. Maybe.
So what do you think about a writing tool like this? Do you think you might find it useful?