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GETTING YOUR (WRITING) HOUSE IN ORDER by ALISON STUART

This week we have author Alison Stuart with a writing craft post of 'Getting Your Writing House In Order'.

ABOUT ALISON STUART
Award winning Australian author, Alison Stuart learned her passion from history from her father. She has been writing stories since her teenage years but it was not until 2007 that her first full
length novel was published. Alison has now published 6 full length historical romances and a collection of her short stories.  Her disposition for writing about soldier heroes may come from her varied career as a lawyer in the military and fire services. These days when she is not writing she is travelling and routinely drags her long suffering husband around battlefields and castles.
Connect with Alison at her websiteFacebookTwitter and Goodreads.


GETTING YOUR (WRITING) HOUSE IN ORDER


I am by nature a fairly tidy person – a place for everything and everything in its place, as my mother would say. That and an education in Feng Shui ensured that in order for the good ‘qi’ to flow I needed some method to the madness of writing books.

Anyone who follows me will know I am by nature an organic writer (or pantser).  My books tend to evolve by a method of trial and error rather than good management but the more books I write the more I needed some sort of system to manage my research, my drafts, character information etc.

I by and large solved this problem when I discovered Scrivener. I am a devotee of SCRIVENER. The important thing to remember about Scrivener is that it is a project management system. Within the project I can file not only my manuscript but research – direct links to websites, photograph, text documents can all be neatly filed and stored. Details about characters can also be systematically filed in the one place. Problem solved…

For transporting my Work in Progress between computers, I use DROPBOX.

Image management. Now and then I come across an image that exemplifies my work in progress. For each book I create a Pinterest Board (The Pinterest Board for THE KING’S MAN is HERE) . This serves the double purpose of preserving the image for me but also provides a Pinterest Board to share with readers – all of the book pages on my website have the widget referring them to the Pinterest site. Visit my Pinterest Boards by clicking HERE

Then there is the ‘business’ of being writer. For every blog post you write, you have to provide the same details about your book – blurb, cover, buy links, your links etc. I started off with a Word
document file but as my back list grew the document became unmanageable. It was driving me crazy until I discovered Microsoft ONE NOTE (downloadable for free what’s more!).  Every book has its own Notebook and within that Notebook there are separate pages for Cover and Blurb/ Links/ Excerpts/ Promo etc. (whatever you like). There is also a page for me with my bios (short/long/humourous etc) and links, along with the embed code or URL for every widget or author page I have scattered across the web.

Finally blogs and reviews. I write a lot of blogs for 3rd parties and I also like to keep a track of reviews for books as they go up on 3rd party websites. So for this I use EVERNOTE.  Which is similar to One Note and in point of fact I could probably just use the one piece of software but I think they both offer different usability that suits the purpose to which I have put them.


The beauty of both Evernote and One Note is the ability to clip directly from the website.  For example a recent review of THE KING’S MAN appeared on RBH. With the web page open, all I need to do is clip the Evernote elephant on the tool bar of my web browser and I can save it as a full page, a bookmark or (my preference) a simplified article directly to the relevant file in Evernote.  And best of all, they are Cloud based so it doesn’t matter where I am or what computer I am using I have instant access to my work.

We are all different (my husband for example, will not go near ‘the Cloud’). These are the tools I have found to help me keep my writing house in order. What do you use?

Alison’s latest release THE KING’S MAN

The second in a tantalising trilogy from award-winning author Alison Stuart, about warriors, the wounds they carry, and the women that help them heal.

London 1654: Kit Lovell is one of the King’s men, a disillusioned Royalist who passes his time cheating at cards, living off his wealthy and attractive mistress, and plotting the death of Oliver Cromwell.

Penniless and friendless, Thamsine Granville has lost everything.  Terrified, in pain, and alone, she hurls a piece of brick at the coach of Oliver Cromwell, and earns herself an immediate death sentence. Only the quick thinking of a stranger saves her.

Far from the bored, benevolent rescuer that he seems, Kit plunges Thamsine into his world of espionage and betrayal – a world that has no room for falling in love.

Torn between Thamsine and loyalty to his master and King, Kit’s carefully constructed web of lies begins to unravel. He must make one last desperate gamble – the cost of which might be his life.

BUY THE KING’S MANAMAZON, iBooks, and where all good Ebooks are sold (see Escape Publishing for the full list)





TO CELEBRATE THE LAUNCH OF THE KING’S MAN, ALISON IS GIVING AWAY A KINDLE EREADER TO A LUCKY READER. CLICK HERE TO ENTER THE RAFFLECOPTER CONTEST.



38 comments:

  1. I'm a big Scrivener fan too! I haven't used Evernote or One Note yet ... one of these days! Thanks for the tips :)

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    1. I am a Scrivener evangelist, Jemi. I love it and it is fabulous for storing everything I need for one project in one place but I do find I need a wider organisation tool or tools.

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  2. I am always intrigued (and awed) at the work which is required to bring a book to fruition. Thank you for another look at this (to me) very alien and impressive world.

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    1. Thanks EC... although looked at logically it really is just about Project Management and having the right tools. Some people are still really comfortable using index cards and folders. We are all different!

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  3. I like Scrivener too. It's great for keeping all the story details together. I love the term "organic writer" to pantser!

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    1. I hate the term 'pantser' (with a passion) because it implies you really are just making it up as you go along, whereas I prefer to think of a story as evolving organically.

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  4. Kelly, thanks so much for the intro to Alison! I appreciate her insight. Will have to check out Scrivener. I've heard about it but never looked into it. Have a great week! :)

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    1. Oh do check it out, but don't be overwhelmed by it. That's the great thing about it... you can use as little or as much as you feel comfortable with... and you can't break it. I heartily recommend doing a basic course from someone like Gwen Hernandez

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  5. Great tips! I've used several of these services but have yet to make Scrivener work for me. Some day I know I'll look back and wonder how I worked without it, but so far it gets in my way more than it helps :)

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    1. As I just said above, it is easy to be overwhelmed by Scriv so just start small and have a think about doing one of Gwen's courses. If you are a member of RWAus I am thinking about offering a basic OWL next year but haven't quite got my head around how best to structure it.

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  6. Hi Alison, I have Scrivener on my laptop but when I open it I don't know what to do about it. I find it easier to open a word document. Someday when I have time I may read up on it and use. And I have Evernote and Onenote...which I haven't tried as well. Maybe someday...

    Congratulations on the release of The King's Man!

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    1. Hi Nas. Have a look on Youtube - there are quite a few 'How To' videos but I do recommend Gwen' courses.

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  7. Of all of those, I do use Pinterest. I've a visual person and it was both fun and helpful to find photos that fit my current project.

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    1. Oh me too... I could spend my whole day on Pinterest just pinning costume photos. It revolutionised my approach to my books.

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  8. There are issues with using Scrivener and Dropbox together. Scrivener will corrupt files when paired with Dropbox. I lost half a book that way, so I stopped using the two together. Separate, they are great though.

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    1. Hi Kelly... I've never had a problem with Scrivener and Dropbox. The only issue I have had was trying to move a Scrivener file from the Mac to the PC. I decided then and there that I only created files on one or the other which means I can only use my Mac Notebook for writing which is slightly annoying but the Mac version of Scriv is so much better.

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  9. One note definitely sounds like something I could use!

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    1. Hi Bish... I can't believe I've only just discovered it (and it is downloadable FREE!). I finally feel organised!

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  10. One note definitely sounds like something I could use!

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  11. Some wonderful advice here thank you Alison, I am going to check out Scrivener immediately. Thanks also to Kelly.

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    1. Hi Barbara. Don't be daunted by Scrivener. It is really worth spending a little time playing with it and just start using it on a really basic level. I learn something new everytime I use it!

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  12. I hear nothing but good things about Scrivener. I still haven't taken the learning curve plunge. One day!

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    1. It just gets better and better! So hop in there...but it is worth spending some time on the learning curve.

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  13. I still haven't tried Scrivener, but I can see how it would work well in organizing everything. That's a neat idea to use OneNote to store book information (descriptions, links, etc.). I have used OneNote on occasion. :)

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    1. Have to confess I was fiddling around with One Note at work in a moment of boredom when it hit me. Total convert! Knowing my luck Microsoft will discontinue it!

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  14. I'm in awe of anyone who is both competent and comfortable using so many of the organizational tech tools that are available for writers nowadays. I truly admire that level of efficiency. I, on the other hand, still keep my stuff organized in folders. Not computer-folders. Actual folders. :)

    However, I'd be thrilled to visit those battlefields and castles with you...

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    1. Nothing wrong with folders. Whatever works for you! I still like pieces of paper and actual notebooks. My biggest enemy is space to store them all!

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  15. I've tried Scrivener, but it was too stiff for me. Truthfully, I'm more organic too. I research mostly as I write, and I'm still young enough my brain retains most of the details about characters, setting, etc without need of reminders. I know that won't always be the case, but it is for now, so I'll count myself blessed.

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    1. Sorry to hear that, Crystal. The great thing about Scriv is it adapts to however you want to use it. You can set up your own templates, folders... whatever works for you and I have to say as an organic writer it suits me to a tee. I just start a new document for each new scene until I have something book shaped and then I can move them around, stick them into chapters... and then start writing the book! Although I admit I do the final edit in Word.

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  16. Thanks for this great post. Congratulations on the new release, sounds awesome story!

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  17. I'd like to try One Note and Evernote. These are great ways to stay organized, which is a must.

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    1. We can only try different things, Medeia!

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  18. Hello, Alison! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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  19. I love organization too. It was great to learn about how Alison organizes her writing life and the different programs/sites that make her writing life easier. I know of some of them- but many are new. Lots to look into. Best of luck to Alison!
    ~Jess

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