A Virtual Binder


Paper, paper, everywhere!

Early on into this project my ever burgeoning pile of paper filled me with trepidation. Admist those scribblings, there on a scrap of paper on the floor might rest a gem of an idea, a gem that could so easily be accidentally discarded.

Soon I started to type up these ideas as well as the first draft writings onto a pages document, which as the word count increased became harder to navigate. (A quick note for non-apple users: pages is a word-processing programme similar to word.) Quickly I realised the limitations of pages. I ended up with either one long document or I separated the scenes/chapters into different documents. I was now faced with the cumbersome task of opening each document on its own  in its own window. Not ideal.

Furthermore, at no stage could I view the entire document in its entirety without creating yet another document and having to copy and paste from all my other documents. It was time to say thanks and bye to pages for this project. Having served me so well on short stories and normal documents it was just not up to the task.  Surely there must be another option?

To the rescue came Scrivener. A programme created  by a writer, Keith Blount, as he was increasingly frustrated with the limitations of available word-processing programmes for writers.

After watching the ten minute tutorial I felt confident enough to give it a go and have now started using the programme on a 30-day free trial.

My experience so far has been very positive and I’m sure I have only scratched the surface to all of Scrivener’s capabilities.

I started by opening a new project and giving it a name.  On the top left there is a binder and within this all the documents, research papers, etc are kept. By opening a document in draft I was free to add some new writing. The document has full word-processing capabilities such as fonts, colours, set up and the all important word count. I opened a new document for each scene/chapter I had written and then rearranged them in an order that suited me.

As I had written some documents already I transferred these over, although Scrivener for some reason would not accept the pages documents so I had to save them as word first. With each individual document added, I now sorted their order.

One great feature is the possibility  to view all the various documents as one large document with the mere click of a button, giving me the opportunity to read the whole draft seamlessly. Perfect.

Another huge selling point for Scrivener is the cork board. The writer  writes on ‘index cards’ a synopsis of each scene/chapter and when the cork board icon is pressed, they become visible as if posted on a cork board and they too can be arranged to order.

I immediately created another folder, which I labelled  ‘Ideas’, in my binder and after picking up the bits of papers with ideas from my desk and floor, I opened the index carda and on a separate one wrote a synopsis of a scene/chapter. These I then rearranged.

Currently I have ten scenes/chapters fully written and over 25 ideas synopsis others on the cork board, clearly visible and a permanent reminder to me of the way to go.

Furthermore on each document to the bottom right is a document notes section which  I have found useful to add new ideas/changes/additions for the future when rewriting without necessitating a major rewrite yet.

It is possible to split the screen and for instance after taking a snapshot of a document, the writer can have that document visible whilst rewriting it on a new version of the same document.  The split screen is also beneficial as it is possible to view a piece of research whilst writing the document.

This leads me onto the research folder. In here I have placed documents and photos etc which I might need for my writing.

As I have said, I’m finding Scrivener a great help and in a while I’ll let you know if I sign up and pay the $45 fee. At the moment, I feel it is well worth the price.

Once the manuscript is ready for compilation, Scrivener enables the user to compile the book in various formats such as rich text, microsoft word documents, web pages, ebooks or kindle ebook. When I get there, I’ll let you know how easy or difficult it is to use.

The only disadvantage I can see is Scrivener’s inability to link with other devices, such as iPad, through iCloud. This is down to the programme’s multi-layered facility. However it is possible to sync the cork board index cards; although this looked rather time-consuming and not worth the effort. For now, I do not see this as a huge drawback as any documents I write whilst away from the iMac on my iPad can be written on iCloud document and then easily transferred when back at the computer.

So, from paper clutter and pages mania to the calm binder magic of Scrivener.

However, my trusty notebook is never far from my side.


It has to start feeling strongly as if it’s happening and I am not pushing it.

Then I write and rewrite.

Alice Munuro


Word count of first draft on 16th January 2015: 7,970


Rising Above

Why does no one ever mention the difficulties of setting up a blog?

Everyone makes it seem so easy; one click and hey presto, you’re set to type.

Is there a national conspiracy of silence?

Has everyone signed the Official Secret’s Act, regarding the problems encountered?

Not I. Here is the truth – finally. Creating a blog is tough. Real tough. Hair-pulling out tough. Scrub the bath to within an inch of its life tough. Time to nick your child’s Tangfangtastics tough. Then chew like mad as you click, click, click away.

After a few (read many) fraught hours this novice blogger admitted defeat and meekly approached my teenage son and asked for help. After all the homework had been completed of course. And after lunch. A hungry teenager is no help to anyone.

Following swift fee negotiations with the new ‘IT Consultant’ I happily handed over responsibilities. I scribbled down my requirements, my general feeling on theme and colour scheme and skedaddled away from my son and the computer. From all computers, tablets, phones and got down to some nitty-gritty manual labour in the garden. Not for long I hasten to add as the sun had lulled me into a false sense of security and for a crazy minute I forgot it was winter. Brrr…

Here it is: The new modern design with the all important working ‘comment’ widget (what a great word). Please feel free to comment away. I look forward to hearing from you. Now back to sanity and writing.

Just in case you thought my son got away too easily; don’t worry. I did ensure a years IT help was included in the deal. I’ll be sure to keep him busy as I make good use of his expertise in the future!

You are never given a wish

without also being given the

power to make it true.

You may have to work for it, however.

From ‘Illusions. The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah’ by Richard Bach

Current First Draft Word Count:  5,150  on 12th Janaury 2015

Week One of My Novel Writing Journey


Hi Everyone

Welcome to my Blog and I hope you enjoy reading about the birth of my first novel as I start it on its way. As a mother of a thirteen year old son I am under no illusions – this will be far the hardest task yet!

After a year of writing seriously I completed the fiction part of the course with Writers Bureau last Autumn. I cannot fault the great tutor I had there, Esther Newton, nor the course itself. During the year I had one major success and won First Prize in the Writing Magazine Short Story. This win was a real boost to my self-confidence as a writer – no longer were my family, friends and tutor my only champions. Since then I have written many more short stories.  Whilst I have enjoyed writing these and sending them off to competitions and magazines with various success, I felt it was time to take the leap of faith and try for a novel.

To my project. A new year. A new start. I stood under the shower and thought. As all my best ideas emerge whilst submerged I have at times considered standing under a waterfall in the tropics whilst dictating into a waterproof microphone. Alas reality beckons so back to my five minutes of inspiration a day followed by a a few hours perspiration writing a day.

Come, join me. Once or twice a week I hope to update you all on how this trek is going. I am under no illusions –  it will be a slog. Your support and encouragement will help propel me forwards in my commitment. Whilst I learn along the way, crossing numerous obstacles,  I hope to help other prospective writers out there. I don’t want to disappoint.  Enjoy and look forward to hearing from you.

Word count of first draft:  3,720 on 8th January 2015

“I have arrived I am home In the here In the now I am solid I am free in the Ultimate I dwell”

by Thich Nhat Hanh