That unexpected happening…

IMG_0140Something unexpected happened yesterday, and I’m kind of hoping that the same thing will do so again today. Of course, then it wouldn’t be unexpected. But enough of splitting hairs.

I have been struggling—for longer than I care to even think about—with the novel, Birchwood’s Secret, which I began years ago. It is to be my third book published, and a continuation of the lives of the two main characters, Rick and Karen Brenson, who performed so bravely in Black Wolf Lodge. That one came out in 2010, after many starts and stops along the way.

This current adventure in which Rick and Karen find themselves involved was actually begun long before Black Wolf Lodge. For whatever reasons, I simply wasn’t enthused about working on Birchwood’s Secret and pretty much abandoned it altogether. The rough outlines and ideas remained tucked away in the depths of a manilla folder, in the depths of purgatory in my writing file box. It was then that I plunged into writing Black Wolf, a couple of short stories, “Hobo Willie” and “Pinewood Farm,” and a very fun book titled The Good Luck Highway.

What was I going to work on next? About that time, November rolled around and NaNoWriMo reared its beckoning head and drew me in. And then it hit me that I had a wonderful opportunity to finally do something with all of the notes, scribblings, outlines, etc., still serving out their sentence in the confines of that manilla folder. Thus, the beginnings of my current work in progress began to come together.

At the end of the month, I had accumulated well over the 50,000 word target, but the work itself was scattered, unorganized, and full of problems too numerous to even mention here. Suffice it to say, I was once again ready to re-commit this whole thing to the darkness of the writing file box and some out-of-the-way abyss in a Scrivener Projects folder on my Mac.

But that didn’t happen. I actually went back to the beginning of the novel and began to rework it and attempt to develop it toward some kind of logical and satisfying conclusion. As before, though, that process didn’t go as I’d liked, and the frustration and inability to write much of anything grew and grew.

From the very beginning, I’ve always known what the main premise of the story is all about and who the main characters and the roles they’ll play are. It took me a very long time, however, to know how the thing would end. And that’s when yesterday’s “unexpected happening” happened!

Yesterday, as I try to do on most mornings, I sat down at my Mac and opened my Birchwood’s Secret Scrivener project and re-read what I’d written just a few days before. And for whatever reason, I suddenly knew that a couple of characters needed changed as to their roles in the story, and that another major character (main villain) would have to be worked in.

English: A stereotypical caricature of a villa...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Realizing this, it became clear in my mind how I could finally build things to the conclusion and outcome that has been eluding me for a long, long time. And I was able to crank out well over two-and-a-half hours worth of writing, the words seeming to flow as they hadn’t in such an extended stretch of time. And, to be honest, it was a wonderful feeling!

Now, as I wrap up this post, I will pour another cup of hot coffee, jump back to dear, old Birchwood’s Secret, and hope that yesterday’s magic shows itself once more.

Time flies when you’re using Scrivener…

Scrivener (software)
Scrivener (software) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The month of April has all but disappeared, and I thought it had only just begun. Where has the time gone? It really hasn’t been because I have been spending an inordinate amount of time keeping up to date with my blog posting. On the contrary, I have probably spent way too much time reading all of the useful information about the many ways to use Scrivener, posted on Everything Scrivener, by a vast array of writers and other contributors.

And having taken Gwen Hernandez’s Scrivener for Mac online class in February thru March, I was hooked, and I have grown as a writer thanks to all of that.  Without a doubt, during this period, I have been having massive amounts of fun, while at the same time learning new things about Scrivener and the process of formatting stories and books every day!

Though I feel that I’ve pretty much neglected my regular and consistent posting during this time, and that I should, perhaps, be doing more actual writing instead of reading about writing, what I’ve gleaned from the articles and other tutorials found on YouTube have proven quite worthwhile. What I have enjoyed this past month in reading through the very helpful articles posted at Everything Scrivener, is that one tip seems to lead to another that is equally as informative and useful.

During this time, perhaps the most beneficial tutorial I found was a wonderful video posted by writer Julie Kenner titled How to format .mobi and ePub in Scrivener. After I watched this several times, I actually applied her step-by-step, clear-cut instructions to a couple of my short stories (“Hobo Willie” & “Pinewood Farm”) and compiled them perfectly to publish as Kindle Edition books. That was the first step toward actually realizing that I could do this after all!

Of course, after I’d successfully compiled my stories into the correct .mobi format required by Amazon, I needed to know how to get them into the Amazon store. As it turned out, that was one of the easiest steps—thanks to having done all of the formatting in Scrivener—and the very helpful YouTube tutorial Publishing your eBook on Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) Platform from Paul Salvette of BB eBooks.

As with the Julie Kenner tutorial, I watched Mr. Salvette’s presentation a few times and proceeded to go through the steps to upload “Hobo Willie” and “Pinewood Farm.” In less than an hour’s time, I had two short stories on Amazon! And in checking not so very long ago, I’ve actually sold a few and had a nice review for each.

So what’s next as I work up this learning curve? I’m putting the finishing touches on my novel titled The Bet, and I

Scrivener 2.0
Scrivener 2.0 (Photo credit: mortsan)

cannot wait to compile it into a format for Smashwords and/or CreateSpace as well as eBooks. There’s still a way to go, however, but at least I now have a grasp on how it’s done. And regardless of the format, it still all comes down to having a story that is well written, full of characters who have something to share, and a problem or two that needs to be resolved satisfactorily….CortlandWriter