September 1, 2012

In Celebration of September

It's just one flip of the calendar page from August 31st to September 1st, but for me this shift in months is second in importance only to December 31st morphing into January 1st.

So, in honor of this month, all together now:

September means, of course, that summer will soon be at an end.  Only a few more days remain to don those white slacks or even slip your feet into those white sandals.  It means apple cider, which I love (I picked up my first half gallon of the season yesterday!).  It means a new season of TV shows will soon be airing.  It means cooler temperatures are around the corner.  It means back to school for the kids (although in many parts of the country this has already occurred).  It means I blew it yet again when it comes to summerizing my snowblower, which I will probably have to have serviced to make it operational for the winter.  It means my family's reunion is drawing closer and I'd better start making arrangements, since my husband and I are hosting. Yes, I can practically feel the chill in the air.

I'm also on an efficiency/organizational/clean kick, which I get every spring and every fall.  I'm writing this after a vigorous scrubbing of my oven with baking soda and vinegar.

That desire for efficiency stretches out to my writing.  The 5th of September will mark six months since the release of my last original eBook, Isn't She Lovely? back in March.  (Accidentally Yours, ePubbed a few weeks ago, is actually a slightly revised reprint of a previous book published under a different title.)  Since Something Real is still in the edit process (more on that in an upcoming blog), it means I missed my preferred six-month deadline to publish a new product within six months. But you know what?  That's okay.  I'm not gonna shoot myself over that.  It might not even be out by October 5th (although I do expect it to be out by the end of October).  The fact is, pre-edits are hard...Every few pages I have to ask myself things like, Wasn't the heroine wearing a dress earlier in the scene? Why is she kicking off her jeans?  (The answer:  Because I made a consistency error.)  This gets exhausting after a while.  But these pre-edits (before I submit the manuscript to the editor) would be a lot harder if I was a sloppy writer.

You see, I've caught the habit.  The writing habit, that is.  Editing is a slow and tedious process, but writing is getting easier and easier.  A few months ago I committed to writing 1000 words a day, and for the most part I've kept up with that, usually by dictating into my handheld and then hooking it up to my laptop and letting the Dragon software transcribe my words.  I've also stayed on target with reading over the text and, if necessary, checking what I actually said if it didn't transcribe correctly (that is something that also happens less and less and Dragon has become more familiar with my speech patterns).  The result is that my future projects have a healthy amount of text.

I'm also having a lot of fun learning the ins and outs of the Scrivener writing software while I wait for my copy of Scrivener for Dummies to arrive so I can make sure I'm getting the maximum use of this amazing software.  In the interim, I've learned that I can essentially storyboard (plot out a book) using this software, even though if a plotline is giving me trouble I still prefer to use an actual board with different colored Post-It notes to determine which thread of the story each action belongs to (I usually divide these between General, Hero, Heroine, Antagonist, and Romance threads).

Using a different color for each thread, I can view my color-coded plotline chapter-by-chapter (or the entire book) in either list form:

 or index card form (similar to Post-It notes):

and check the balance of the story (am I too heavy on this thread or that thread while neglecting others?).

Lovin' September!  (humming the bars to the Earth, Wind, and Fire song).  What do you like about this month?


Phyllis Bourne said...

Hi Bettye,

Good post!

I highly recommend Gwen Hernandez's Scrivener class. It really helped Scrivener 'click' for me. Here's the link:

bettye griffin said...

Thanks Phyllis...she (Gwen Hernandez) is actually the author of the Dummies book I ordered and am waiting to be delivered! Do great minds think alike, or what???

Katrina Spencer said...


Thanks so much for this post! I have seriously been considering buying Scrivener before I began to outline my next book, and this post pretty much sealed the deal for me.

I also like to organize in the fall, this fall it's the garage, pantry and closet. Can you believe how excited I am about my future trip to The Container Store?

bettye griffin said...

Katrina, it'll be the best $40 you ever invested in your writing career. I love this program and all it can do. I'm learning from Gwen Hernandez's Dummies book that the Mac version is ahead of the Windows version, but the features currently available in Mac will eventually get to Windows.

I, too, want to tackle my garage this season, or at least the other half of it. It'll be nice to be able to park both cars in the garage this winter! And I understand your excitement...just don't spend too much at the Container Store!