Monday, October 29, 2012

NaNoWriMo Prep and Fun with Scrivener

Since breaking 50K words a few nights ago I haven't made incredible progress on my writing itself.  I'm sitting at 50,763 on this Revision and I'm OK with that.

I spent the last day and a half grabbing and learning Scrivener (I grabbed the demo), which I think I'm in love with.  I work in a field that deals with media content and metadata management every day, it's kinda my thing professionally speaking. Scrivener, besides its really awesome formatting gizmos, and organizational whiz-bangs, has a completely amazing metadata system.

So while I've only pushed another ~700 or so words into the draft itself, I've probably entered about 3-4K words worth of metadata into this thing.  To top it all, I've already learned how to use that metadata in Scrivener to bounce around and assist with keeping consistency.

I'm not saying my draft is going to be perfect, there's still going to be a LOT of revision after finishing this writing pass.  But all this metadata and tool set is certainly going to make it better than it would be without.

I'll be taking Wednesday off of writing (officially, it's Hallowe'en, I'll still probably write).  You see, NaNoWriMo is 2 days away.  Starting Thursday and on through the entire month of November I have to write ~1,667 words a day to meet a quota that will put me at 50,000 words written in the month.  That's the goal of NaNo, I won it last year, I intend to do so again this year.

I generally write every day, even if it's just for half an hour.  In November, thanks to NaNo, everyone around me that knows me well enough is pretty good about giving me my peace and quiet in the evening so I can write. 50K words is definitely achievable this year, especially since my outline is more mature and ready to rock.

I do have one caveat about NaNo, the quality of my writing does suffer.  Last year I wrote 50K words in 29 days and it felt awesome.  It was on the same book that I'm working on now and from that 50K of prose a grand total of ~5,000 words have survived to this draft.  That's 10% folks.  Considerably less than I would have written if I hadn't done NaNo and had just continued at my normal pace of ~8-9K a week.

Now, having said that, NaNo also gave me my first real win as an aspiring writer. It helped convince me I could actually do this. Last year's NaNo was the first time I had ever "written a book" from "Chapter 1" to "The End".  Granted, the words "Chapter 1" and "The End" haven't even survived into this draft, and the "book" had almost nothing worth salvaging for this revision, but that's OK. It was the kick in the pants and the wind in my sails that I needed to move forward with this.

I'm a firm believer that in order to become a better writer I need to do two things consistently:

  1. Write, every day, consistently and well.  NaNo helped me do the first 2.
  2. Read, with a critical eye, and not just within my genre comfort zones.
Since I love to do both I should keep improving, and even if NaNo doesn't produce gold for me, it does make me better at the craft just by making me do more of it.

I'm looking forward to it.  If you're participating and want to buddy me my profile is right here.

- Grimm

P.S. And now for something completely different.  Jean M. Malone on Twitter pointed me in the direction of the Scrivener demo (Thank you!) and separately asked for the recipe to my Homemade Protein Bars.  I'm putting that in after a page break.

Here you go Jean:

Homemade Peanut-butter and Honey Chocolate Chip Protein Bars

4 tbsp 100% Natural Peanut Butter (warm it in the microwave 30sec if it's been refrigerated)
3 scoop Protein Powder (I use Promisil Chocolate Flavour)
1/4 cup Egg White
3 tbsp Raw Honey
1 cup 100% Whole Grain Oats
1/2 tsp Magic Baking Powder
1/4 cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips


  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Combine Egg Whites, Raw Honey, and 100% Natural Peanut Butter in a mixing bowl.
  3. Stir wet ingredients until smooth.
  4. Mix dry ingredients in a bowl (minus Chocolate Chips)
  5. Fold dry ingredients into wet ingredients (this will get sticky and messy and possibly difficult)
  6. Form the mixture into a square on a piece of parchment paper.
  7. Lift the mixture into the baking pan.
  8. Bake for 15 minutes.
  9. Let stand for 5-10 minutes, cut into 4 bars
As you can see from the nutrition facts (courtesy of where I also store the recipe) there's a good bit of protein per bar, but they're not exactly low fat or low carb.  I use these for a meal replacement when going to the gym.

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