Where and How I Write (and Where I Have Written)

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Yesterday was a pretty good day for progress with my writing. In fact this whole week has been fairly productive. I completed  revisions on book four of The Wolfcat Chronicles and sent it to my publisher. Also I began revisions on another book in the same series. Yesterday I received a better desk chair from an unlikely source, my ex-wife. And it came on her birthday! Yeah, well, it makes some sense but only in my ass-backward universe.

My ex heard about a place that was updating its office furniture so they were throwing away stuff like office chairs, The once she snagged for me has padding which makes it much better than that I was using. And it is not too worn out.

You might thing it is an odd arrangement between my ex and me, but we have always been on speaking terms, even when all we did was argue. We drifted apart over the last ten years we were married and it got to a point that we didn’t get along well enough to still be married.

Over the twenty five years we were married I became more and more engrossed in writing and she became more involved with her friends. He stayed together mostly for our three  children who were all in their teens at the time. They knew what was going on. If nothing else our kids were always smart.

Besides having issues with how much I worked outside of the house – upwards of 70 hours a week – my ex was jealous, accusing me of cheating on her, which is something I had neither the time nor the inclination to do. However, in a way I suppose I was doing just that, except I was taking what free time I had creating a universe and populating it with people I could at least marginally understand.

The main reason or our problem were financial. We had it all and lost it all. In some ways I’m glad things worked out as they did. I think the kids grew up with a much more realistic perspective and I seriously doubt I’d be published had I maintained wealth. You see, it’s easy to think of writing as a hobby and extremely easy to accept rejection and not pursue ever publishing anything. It happens all the time.

Some of my at home situation while married comes through in my writing. For example, the main character, Brent, in Fried Windows has a life that closely parallels mine, when the kids were younger, anyway. There are many differences too, but that’s what makes it fiction, right?

Over the years I have written in many different places. Usually I had a desk, but not always. In high school and college I always had a small writing desk in my room, apartment or wherever I was living. I continued to write after college and while serving in the Air Force, though I really wasn’t working on fiction at that time.

When I was preparing to exit military service I picked up on writing stories again, spending an hour or two each day after I came home from work. That grew into a routine and the hours devoted to it expanded as well. When I began writing One Over X my son was an infant and I used the kitchen table and a Brother electric typewriter. Although that is not where all of those stories began it is when I began assembling everything with some structure and started calling it From the Inside. As I have said several times before in this blog, portions of both One Over X and The Wolfcat Chronicles can be traced back to high school and college, especially my first attempted manuscript titled Tarot. But everything began coming together on Saturday afternoon in San Angelo, Texas while I was babysitting for my son and my wife was shopping at the mall that was within walking distance of where we lived.

In case it is of any interest, here is a list of the towns and cities where I’ve lived while writing (by state):

Ohio: South Charleston (home) and Springfield (apartment)

Indiana: West Lafayette (dorm, fraternity and apartment)

Texas: Mission (home), Austin (apartment), San Angelo (dorm and apartment)

California: Monterrey (dorm)

Republic of Korea (dorm, apartment)

Florida: Palm Harbor (home), Dunedin (apartment) Melbourne (home), Satellite Beach (home), Kissimmee (apartment), Orlando (room)

Connecticut: Meriden (home), Wallingford (home, apartment)

Most recently I have been renting a room. Throughout the summer I used an end table as a desk. Also, over the past three years I have used a dining table a few times and even a lapboard sitting on a stack of boxes. I’ve used laptops, desktop computers and even an iPad with a bluetooth keyboard to write, edit and revise. A time or two while traveling I editing on a plane and in an airport between connections using that configuration. The point is that I have and continue to write anywhere I may be. Having said that, I prefer writing at a desk or at least something like that environment. At the moment I have that again.

In my present arrangement I have been using a laptop with a non-functioning screen. It is connected to an external monitor. That computer has a battery that doesn’t work anymore, so pretty much it is a desktop computer as configured. It is much faster than my previous laptop, which also has a battery that no longer holds a charge. I still use that laptop to research stuff as that is about all it’s good for anymore. It is painfully slow at times for editing, so I have removed MS Word from it altogether. Both computers use Mac OS. Although I have used Windows and Linux int he past I prefer Mac OS.

As many issues as i have with MS word, especially its auto-correction, grammar and spelling checkers, I still use it for composing and editing. You need to understand the program’s purpose: business communication. It has improved greatly over the years as a word processor that can be adapted for longer projects, but it still suffers from the legacy of trying to do everything imaginable. It is mediocre for writing novels, in my estimation. It is a cumbersome process to use for revision unless you set up your book as separate chapters or even separate scenes and leave it that way until you finally assemble it into a book format. Since my writing often uses multiple storylines and follows several characters it is difficult to organize everything in any other way using MS Word. It is cumbersome and time consuming putting everything together as a book and making adjustments Fried Windows took most of a day just to turn it into a manuscript for submission

I am in the process of learning Scrivener, which is an effective writing program but it is especially well-suited for editing and revising. It imports MS Word documents (and other word processor formats) and allows them to be broken into chapters and scenes and rearranged easily before being compiled into a manuscript document or a finished product ready for eBook or print publication. And it is cheaper than MS Word!

The downside of the program is that all of its advanced features take some time to learn. Once acquired it is one of the simplest programs out there to use for editing, though. I foresee using it extensively during the publishing process for The Wolfcat Chronicles. Since my editor also uses the program we should be able to email the files directly in the program’s  format. That will same some time.

#writing #editing #revising #TheWolfcatChronicles #OneOverX #FriedWindows

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About ElgonWilliamsAuthor

Professional author and publicist with Pandamoon Publishing. Author of Fried Windows. The Wolfcat Chronicles, Becoming Thuperman, The Attributes and One Over X. Currently live in Orlando, 3 adult children, divorced.
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