Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year!

May 2012 bring all of you the best in books, publishing, writing and reading.

I'm a 'list' person, but if I make vague resolution lists I'll end up jinxing my goals. It's like saying you're going to start a diet. It never lasts. I make 'To Do' lists throughout the year...both for writing and household/family activities...but they're very specific, concrete things that need to be accomplished. Each task is a step towards fulfilling a larger goal...kind of like word counts.

One of the smaller steps I take towards becoming a better writer (and eventually a published one ;) is to read craft books. I know not everyone likes to read craft books, but I'm a huge fan. I agree that simply reading a craft book doesn't make a person a great writer, but I do think that the information eventually embeds itself deep enough in one's mind that the benefits and changes will come through in their writing. It's a solid step towards a larger goal.

My favorite craft books are listed in the left margin, and I believe I once pointed out how much I loved James Scott Bell's Plot and Structure. Well, the first craft book I'll be reading in 2012 is his latest called Elements of Fiction Writing - Conflict and Suspense. I want lots of great conflict in 2012, but only in stories LOL!

I've also heard tons of good things about Scrivener (for PC in my case). I'm as much of a note card girl as I am a list girl. Sticky notes count too, but I can't live (or write effectively) without my 4X6 lined note cards. I use them for everything, including one for each beat on Blake Snyder's 'Beat Sheet' from Save the Cat. I don't know how I ever wrote without you, Blake. Back on track....check out the link for Scrivener. The pictures are amazing and it looks like any note card/OCD girl's dream to organizing, plotting, and revising a manuscript. I'm not a natural at computer programs, but I do love efficiency. I'm dying to dabble with this and see if I can use it for my next manuscript.

So have any of you used Scrivener? Are there any new craft books you're planning to read in 2012? What concrete steps are you taking towards larger goals (writing or otherwise)?


  1. I use 3x5 note cards - in different colors. I played with Scrivener for a bit, but it wasn't for me. I know other writers who swear by it.

    I'm a huge list maker, too. They keep me sane.

    All the best to you in 2012!

  2. I use lists in my real life all the time. But in writing, I have my desk lined with scraps of paper. No coherent form, no organization. I have folders too, but I only use them to put all the scrap paper in at the end. I live in utter chaos.

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  4. Sorry. Too many typos before...

    Hi there, Rula! Happy New Year to you, too! I really need to read "Save the Cat"--I've heard so many good things about it. I don't have any new craft books in mind, but I do plan to re-read ones I already have that I haven't read in a while, like "Writing a Romance Novel for Dummies" and "Writing the Breakout Novel". And once I find out what my next project will be, I *really* need to get cracking. I plan to take part in the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood's Winter Writing Festival, which is starting soon. Very best wishes to you this year!!

  5. Carol - Lists keep me sane too...and they dramatically reduce my stress levels bc I don't have to keep in all jumbled in my head.

    Anne - You know, although I use note cards for my 'organized' thinking/plotting (when writing), I have my chaotic pile of scrap paper, receipts, used envelopes and whatnot that I've jotted ideas/dialogue on too ;). I think writing and creativity naturally comes with a little chaos ;).

    Kathy - Hey! I'm queen of typos, lol. Good luck with the Winter Writing Festival! I tend to re-read craft books, or parts of them. I go through them with a highlighter or red pen, just like I did with my highschool and college textbooks. There must be a perpetual student lurking in me ;).

  6. Happy New Year, Rula. Here's wishing you the best of everything for 2012. I looked at Scrivener during NaNo, but tried not to get carried away with it, because I tend to explore writing software and then never use them. Craft books are always good!

  7. Hey J.L.! I know what you mean. I've never used a writing software, and I was afraid to even try any mid-manuscript. Since I'm about to start a new book, I thought I'd check it out. I honestly have no clue whether it'll feel right, or if I'll be sticking with my non-tech ways ;). We'll see!

  8. I love craft books, too. For 2012, I'm slowly making my way through the workshops from the 2011 RWA conference. Very fun to listen to in the car!

    Great blog, Rula!

  9. Thanks, Cathryn! And congrats again on the release of Something to Prove. I can't imagine how incredible it must feel to have your first Superromance out there!

    Those RWA workshops are awesome. That's a great way to spend car time :)