I got a writing problem, looking for a writing solution

I started working on, for lack of a better word, a new book a couple of months ago. It’s a work of fiction set in a small southern city that is experiencing growing pains while trying to maintain the old class order of the south. So far there is envy, pride, greed, lust, racism, dirty business dealings, maybe the mafia and oh yea…..murder. Just another boring day in the old south.

Here is my problem, as I work through the story each night lying in bed waiting for the Sandman to visit me the narrative changes. And with each change, each addition or subtraction I have to scroll through 27 pages and 17,420 words to find the sentence, the character or the plot that needs to be rewritten. One important bit of information, I am using Microsoft Word (Windows).

I write when I have time, or better yet, when I have the creative motivation to write. But with each addition of a page full of words my frustration grows in crafting the story that I want to tell. Rather than being a labor of love, I scroll through the 27 pages and simply see labor. I am a very organized person, a “place for everything and everything in its place” kind of guy and right now, with this book, I don’t feel very organized and that my friends makes a very organized person feel anxious and frustrated. Anxious and frustrated, at least for me, isn’t a good writing space or vibe.

I know that there is software out there specific for book writing. A simple Google search uncovers a multitude of options, but I need help in narrowing those choices. If there is a writing software out there that is targeted towards old men that aren’t tech savvy, who have ADD, can’t spell, have horrible grammar and punctuation, a limited vocabulary and a tight budget let me know.

I can knock out 500 words or so in a flash. Heck I do it, once, twice sometimes three times a day on this blog. But for whatever reason, staring at that word count on the bottom left corner makes my mind wonder where all those words are and are they in the right place. I need a way to break those words down into smaller bites, set them on different shelves, so I can visit each and give them the attention they need. If you got any ideas or suggestions I look forward to getting them.

Thanks!

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About ends and beginnings blog

I am a frustrated writer and poet waiting to be discovered. A stand-up philosopher performing on a street corner near you. A Christian with questions but I don’t want to hear your answers. A Buddhist with a bumper sticker on my truck to prove it. A collector of quotes. A grower of lettuce. The Patron Saint of earthworms who name their children after me. A cyclist whose big ass strains the seams of his Lycra bibs. I am American by birth, Southern by the grace of God. My goal in life is to leave an imprint on the lives of the people I love not a footprint on the earth. I am a son, a husband, a father composed of 65%-Oxygen, 18%-Carbon, 10%-Hydrogen, 3%-Nitrogen, 3%-Diet Coke and 1%-Oreo.
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40 Responses to I got a writing problem, looking for a writing solution

  1. ericstrong51 says:

    I don’t have any ideas, but I read Stephen Kings book on writing. Sometimes he hand writes entire books. No software for that technique..except on the rewrite. So..maybe just write and convince yourself you’ll fix things on the rewrite or second or third rewrite? Maybe that way you won’t interrupt the creative juices?

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Two suggestions.
    First – outline the entire story, then draft from start to finish. As changes come to you, jot them down in a separate notebook, then go back to writing the story you originally outlined.

    Second – Scrivener software is the bomb-diggity and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. It’s fairly intuitive to learn and has done wonders in helping me keep things organized despite the fact that I’m a pantser – I write what comes to mind and have the barest of outlines in mind when I first envision a story. There are a ton of features in the package that I have yet to learn how to use yet it’s still my go-to writing software.

    Check out Cassidy Frazee at Wide Awake but Dreaming (https://wideawakebutdreaming.wordpress.com/) here on WordPress. She works wonders with Scrivener and can give you loads of information on how it works.

    Hope this helps. Keep us posted on your progress, ‘kay? 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I don’t have any recommendations in terms of software because I use Microsoft word as well, but I do second the idea of outlining! You can outline very specifically so that when you get an idea to change you plug it into the outline instead of having to reread all your pages. Basically each chapter would have its separate outline for you to work with. It’s also a great organizational tool. On top of that sometimes I just make separate documents to chunk my work if it’s getting really long and unmanageable. I suppose it’s not the ideal solution because in the end I have to copy and paste it into one document…but it’s a cheap solution that works for me!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Nan says:

    Am I understanding you right? Before falling asleep, you think of a particular word/sentence/section that you want to change … but the next day you’re unable to find it without scrolling through all the (27) finished pages?

    If this is what you’re saying, you do know there’s a “find” feature in MW Word, don’t you?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. manqindi says:

    You have my envy – I have a degree in English and have written a few boring autobiographies, but am now stuck with writer’s block. I think I’m just lazy and certainly not goal directed… maybe I am ADD too? Discipline and application will do it – I will stiffen my spine and chain myself to the machine….. nah, who am I kidding? Keep on rolling, buddy.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. William Tell says:

    I see you’ve already got some practical suggestions.
    First, definitely, learn the Find/Replace feature in Word and use it to locate the key words in your passages. If you use the Headings feature, e.g. for chapter titles, you can also navigate directly from one heading (start of a chapter) to another.
    Second, you’re a member of my generation, and for us learning to edit on-screen is a hard, hard thing. You might do well to print out hard copies of each chapter and edit on those. You can go back and put the changes into Word later, anytime.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. William Tell says:

    P.S.: If you go the hard copy route, you can reprint indivdual pages of the MS and replace defunct ones as needed.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I second the Scrivner suggestion. I haven’t used it yet but I’ve heard really good things. And that’s what I plan to download and use once I’m ready to finally start my book.
    There’s also ‘Google docs’ which I’ve heard is really good for accessing anywhere on any device. So that if you get struck by an idea you can pull it up and start working from your phone or tablet, instead of waiting and hoping you remember when your re at your min computer. But that’s all I know about it really.
    I also second the comment someone made about how commendable it is that you’ve even started writing a book. That’s truly something to be a proud of and a club I’m hoping to join real soon. Good luck! And I look forward to reading it. (And then posting a review on my blog!!) 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I took a revision course once with Holly Lisle (unfortunately, I don’t think it’s offered any longer) and she gave the following tip for new ideas that would require going back when drafting. When a new idea comes up, don’t go back and change things yet. Just make a note of it and move forward as if you had written it that way. Then, instead of spinning wheels by continuously going back, you can keep moving forward and fix the beginning in revision. Then, when you’re ready for revision, read through everything without changing anything, just making notes of ideas, errors, weak points. Then, organize all the ideas and notes into a new outline of where you want to go with it. At that point, if new ideas come in, ask yourself if they really would make THIS manuscript better, or if they could go into a new project.

    All in all, write down any new ideas and keep trekking ahead without looking back. Trust your editing abilities to work in the new ideas in revisions.

    (Also, I’ve heard lots of praise for Scrivener!)

    Best,
    Brandi

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Microsoft Word is the best out there for writing, other softwares are just the same as it.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I tend to drive through to he end and then fix basic narrative changes in the second draft.

    I also find that forcing myself not to think about the stories when I’m not in front of the document helps. If I obsessed over it at all times I’d soon get tangled up in plot arcs.

    It’s also useful to have some notes that outline the drive and intentions of different characters so that they don’t behave out of character.

    Hope some of this helps!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. ruhenhoque says:

    Hi
    I can understand your frustration.
    The best writing software is Scrivener as others have mentioned, with it you can organise your files as you see fit.
    All the best.
    Ru

    Liked by 1 person

  13. mrsgldnegg says:

    I use Scrivener because I can organize my books by chapter and scenes within chapters. There is a great notecard feature that might assist you with your searching problem. I’ve also been able to change the name of a character by using find and replace within the entire document.
    It’s also a good way to store paragraphs or chapters you pull out but may decide to use later.
    There are also the usual spellcheck and other features you seem to be looking for.
    Happy Writing!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I think every writer, me included, kind of has to find their own way no matter what software they use. Some are organized plotters with an outline and ABCs to follow. Others write off the cuff in a flurry, with more hours ahead editing and adding in the back end than was spent creating the base of the story. Others just plug along slowly cranking out a detailed story over a long time. I am in the middle, sometimes more organized than others but in the end I always spend more time adding and editing than creating the first draft. I have spent money on a few software systems, but I spent to much time trying to figure out the detailed uses instead of writing. So, I returned to Word. While it is simple, it also requires thinking about what you are putting down while forcing the writer to line by line edit. Get a small focus group of friends to read your story, help you edit and give you pointers. Give them one or two chapters at a time, and when they return those, give them the next. I did this with my first book and it made it so much better!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. trevorwestin says:

    I think a lot of us have this problem sometimes. To make this short and sweet, because I know you may have gotten the answer you were looking for, I want to throw my vote in for Scrivener.
    There can be a little bit of a learning curve but it will definitely help in he way of keeping things organized, and in smaller blocks. You can break things down into blocks, blocks into chapters, chapters into scenes, etc.
    I love the program and highly recommend it.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Scrivener sounds good but maybe a little preplanning is also in order. If you are a visual person doing the planning using a Mindmap is good too. http://www.thinkbuzan.com gives you a week’s full trial then reverts to a free basic edition which is just as effective. You can plot out characters, settings, plot points, etc and add images that remind you visually. You can do an overall one and separate chapter ones. It can speed up your writing and you can see plot holes before you start. Easily changed if you decide a better direction comes along. It’s like Cliff Notes for your book or post

    Liked by 1 person

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