I’ve just started using Writer Pro for the very first time. I’ve been using various bits of writing software over the years, namely Scrivener, but Writer Pro offers something more useful: minimalism, the ability to focus on one sentence at a time by fading the rest away, and highlighting the frequency of adjectives, adverbs and so on. There are few features to speak about – it deliberately prevents you from being able to play with the font size, formatting and whatnot, which is actually pretty cool. It means you just write, and make sure the sentence you’re writing is as good as can be. First impressions are – yeah, a few glitches aside, this could be the most useful thing I’ve discovered in a long time. It’s not one for complex planning tabs, and having lots of notes around your work, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have those open on other bits of kit in the background. I like it a lot so far.
There are less than a handful of good secondhand bookshops in Nottingham. But there was one – Geoff Blore’s Bookshop – that I used to frequent every couple of months. If you got there on a Saturday, you’d probably end up being served by a man who gave you plenty of discount for no apparent reason. Being a bibliophile, you’d then immediately head off to pile on more books. I think his name was John, and he greeted you with a “Hello, Friend” no matter who you were.
Geoff Blore’s was, I think, co-owned by another secondhand bookshop, further into the city centre, but this one was far superior. It had a much better range of books, and it was much more neatly organised than the other. In fact, it was one of the best secondhand bookshops I’ve been in (and that includes a trip to Hay-on-Wye), beaten only by Scarthin Books because that place serves cake and has a cat.
Anyway, Geoff Blore’s has now closed, and when I arrived today I was greeted by that depressing sign. I wasn’t really going anywhere with this; I understand market forces, signs of the times and whatnot. I merely wanted to vent my annoyance.
So I’ve gone back to physical notebooks. There’s something to be said about bunging emails back and forth as notes, or thumbing something into your iPhone as record, or even moving things about on Scrivener, but actually, to physically write down ideas in a notebook is something I haven’t done for a while. It’s a step back to how I used to do things. We’ll see how that goes. Anyway, it’s a lovely notebook.
While everyone else is laughing & drinking
a surreptitious claw,
towards the table napkins
of the negligent…
an unattractive habit
you misguidedly think funny.
I assure you
it is at once squalid & unattractive.
Ask Pollionus, your brother
a boy crackling with wit
who would give a substantial sum
to disembarrass himself of your talents.
Expect, Asinius, a bombardo
of 300 hendecasyllables, or
return my napkin –
of small value itself,
but a memory of friends,
Veranius & Fabullus,
who sent this set of fine table linen
a present cherished by Catullus
at his own Veraniolus –
as Fabullus mine – must always be.
There was a big round-up of SF and Fantasy titles this weekend in the Independent on Sunday, and Drakenfeld was among them:
Drakenfeld is a flawed yet appealing hero and Newton has wrought a fast-paced fantasy thriller which should appeal to readers of C J Sansom.
Which is cover-quote gold if you ask me. Read the rest of the genre review section.
Over at Fantasy Faction. We talk about editing, books and general genre stuff:
Yes, in part the post had been to point out that we weren’t getting much in the way of submissions from women, in any category of genre, although SF and horror were the worst, and to say ‘hi, we’re here, we’re women and we’re looking for good SF’. It was supposed to act as a shout out for any female writers who may have thought that publishing was a patriarchal establishment, to disabuse them of the notion that they wouldn’t be taken seriously and to let them know that the majority of SFF editors are women, actively looking for female writers. I got a lot of replies from women saying that they’d submit and over the next few weeks we did see an increase in direct submissions from women – so for that alone I’m glad for that post.
To create this set-up, though, I had to completely change how I approached a novel. Not only was I using a different narrative voice, but the whole process was entirely new – it had to be. And it was really, really difficult – by far the most difficult thing I’ve done in prose. However, I learned plenty of things from this process and from my research into locked-room mysteries, particularly from writers such as John Dickson Carr, the master of the genre.
So I’ve handily transformed my learning into an Internet-friendly list.
If you’re interested in writing, or reading crime fiction in general, you can read that list here.