Thursday, October 13, 2011

Technology - Making It Easy?

I picked up a trial version of a program called "Scrivener" the other day. It's a writer's tool that was designed for the Mac, and I've heard terrific things about it; the ease it brings to writing and organizing writing projects. Mac users have had access to it for about 5 years now, but this is the first time it's been available for Windows. I snagged a beta version of it and I've been playing with it a little bit to see what it can do. It was designed for working on long pieces, novels and the like, and I usually work in shorter stories, but with NaNoWriMo coming up I decided to check it out.
I usually write in the morning before I go to work, so this morning I threw the current story I'm working on in there to see what I could do with it. The story is short, only about 3,600 words, or 12 pages. Still, I could do a few things with Scrivener. I broke it into three distinct scenes, could use their "Find" tool to help me keep things consistent when I made changes, and I basically played around with it this morning. I used Scrivener to make a few alterations and additions I had planned for the story, and then I was just going to print it out.
When I revise and edit I like to have a hard copy and a couple of highlighters. I planned to give it another read through, highlighters in hand, today at lunch. Right now in fact.
I went through the print set up for Scrivener and let the printer have it. The little 'thinking' swirly went round and round, and then the printer burped to life. On one side it sucked up clean white paper, and on the other it spit out paper covered with words. Small words. I squinted at the sheet as it dropped from the printer to the catch-tray.
Tiny printing.
Look, I know I'm getting older, and I do need glasses for driving. And watching movies. And reading anything too far away, like a schoolroom chalkboard. And keeping an eye on Handsome as he plays at the park. And - wait, that's not the point! I was right up close to the paper and the words were still tiny! And according to the printer the page count was 9, not 12! The print was so small and close together I could never make notes between the lines of text the way I always do when I edit! What the @&*#??
I checked the clock. I had a half an hour before I even had to start getting ready for work. I had time to figure this out. No worries, right? I mean, it's writer's software, and user-friendly software at that! I sat back down and tried to re-format it to print the way I wanted it and tried again.
And again.
...and again.
...and, you guessed it, again.
...stop me if you've heard this one.

Eventually I bailed on trying to have Scrivener print it the way I like it, and pulled the work out of the program. I pasted the new version of the story into my word processor and did it the old-fashioned way. I looked at the clock again. Once again, it was not time to get ready for work; it was a half hour past that and time for me to be walking out the door!
I held the printed manuscript in my hand and looked down at myself. Shirtless and still wearing the sweatpants I'd slept in. I looked back at the clock.

"Thank you, Scrivener! Thank you very much!"

 Talk to you later!

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