Confession time: during the last week, the phrase depend for my novel has barely budged. In truth, it’s gone down barely.

That was partly as a result of the transportable keyboard I purchased for my vacation was a little bit of a catastrophe. It wasn’t talked about within the opinions on Amazon, however as soon as it is unfolded there isn’t any option to lock it flat, and the hinge has an unlucky tendency to bend backwards.

Consequently you’ll be able to solely use it when leaning in opposition to one thing flat and strong like a flooring, a hardback e book or an precise laptop computer, which does quite defeat the purpose.

So small, so mild, so… bent

That wasn’t the one drawback, although – my productiveness additionally suffered as a result of my varied plot threads had been getting so tangled I couldn’t stick with it with out unknotting them first.

Straightening them out was enormously satisfying, however it concerned chopping out some dialogue and a complete scene I used to be notably keen on. Trying on the story as a complete and the characters concerned, these elements simply didn’t sit proper.

Because the previous saying goes, typically you need to kill your darlings (or reduce and paste them right into a purgatory known as ‘darlings.txt’ and pine for them).

A tangled net

Enjoyable because it was, I don’t need to repeat that course of any time quickly, so as soon as once more I’ve turned to tech. Particularly, LibreOffice Calc – the best free different to Microsoft Excel. In spite of everything, who doesn’t love a pleasant, juicy spreadsheet? Anybody? Hi there?

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There are a lot of extra fascinating methods to plot a novel. I may have used “full writing studio” Scrivener, or caught photos of my characters on a corkboard linked by items of coloured string like a TV detective (or Spider-Man, as depicted above). Nevertheless, that will require time and wall area that I simply don’t have. Calc it was.

Not solely did this train assist me map out the important thing occasions in every chapter, the areas, the characters and the battle, it additionally made me discover simply how a lot tea my essential character was consuming – like some sort of caffeinated James Bond.

It was at risk of rivalling the variety of sandwiches consumed by Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander all through The Lady with the Dragon Tattoo.

Approximate tea consumption for chapter one

Now it’s completed, I’m prepared to leap again into FocusWriter with renewed enthusiasm. I do know I preserve banging on about it, however it actually is a superb little program for inventive writing.

It’s no use in any respect for enhancing (for that, you want a full-fat phrase processor like LibreOffice Author), however while you need to let your think about free it truly is good. There’s nothing between the clean web page and the bizarre little tea-stained world you’ve constructed inside your head. Go the biscuits.

  • Cat Ellis has turned to expertise to assist write her first novel. Comply with her progress in her Sculpt Fiction column.