Can we talk about tools? In my other life, I write software, and I use a lot of tools. I write technical books (under a different name,) which is almost as complex as writing software.

I’ve used Omni Outliner and TextEdit. Plus, of course, programming editors galore.

Recently, I switched to Scrivener. I like it: it’s like using a software-oriented integrated development environment to create a story. Lots of information in lots of handy places. Character sketches, Places, Notes, Research, all kinds of useful stuff. A sophisticated outline with scene synopses.

But, of course, I also have to learn to use it properly.

For example, this:


Moving the water

Has me baffled. What did I mean by that?

This is one of those anecdotes that serves to explain why outlining is hard. Write enough detail in the outline and I’m writing the story. Omitting details creates a mystery for my first reader (my future self) to solve.

I spent a long time guessing about this. I think it’s an out-of-date note about the magic system. In the current draft, the mage hasn’t mastered water, only fire and earth. I’m guessing that’s what I might have meant. It’s a four book series: water and air come later.