As it turns out, this two week break (which is far from over) has offered me the opportunity to write. And, it’s allowed me the opportunity to use a piece of software I haven’t used in quite some time. That software tool is called ywriter, and was creat by Simon Haynes (author of Hal Spacejock series). It’s helpful and handy and organizes things a little better for plotting and writing. It allows me to set up which characters are main, and which characters are minor. Though, it would be handy if it allowed for placement of extremely minor characters as well, thus giving three tiers to work with. For example, in Rocket Fox, Captain Rita Mallard is a minor character. Though she does appear quite often in the story and is set up as instructor and mentor to Left-tenant Senia Felix, she is not the main focus of the story. But she gets the same flag in ywriter as Corporal Sparks (also known as Sparky) who happens to be a House Ocelot cadet and friend of our three main characters, Senia, Hardy and Clarfax. Sparky shows up twice in the story, both times in extremely minor roles that if taken away in second or third draft edits wouldn’t make much difference.
Even Jada Hawkspur, who has more involvement than Captain Mallard, gets flagged as a minor character.
Aside from that, the tool also allows for locations to be named so you can have a quick reference. Such as there should be no mistaking the name the Wooden Wheelhouse Eatery from the Royal Foxburrow Tea House when you set up a scene where the characters are having a meal. There’s a quick description for each place when you enter it into the database. Thus, you can always be sure that you are going to get it right.
Now, while it is a writing tool, it’s not a glorified version of Word or OpenOffice with lots of different colourful text options available. Yes, you can bold and italicize things, but the main point of the tool is to organize and write.
Something else really cool about this little tool is that you can set up chapters based on each scene. Are the trio of pilots going to be at the House Ocelot common room, or are they going to be at the Tea House? Each chapter has a list of scenes and the writer can edit those with ease without having to scroll through a wall of text to find out where the mistake was.
You can also add in items, if there is a particular item that characters must hold onto at some point. The tool will also let you know how many scenes a character has been in, and will also allow you to determine which character the view point is from. And it reports back all of that data right to the user (writer).
This has also given me the chance to add a couple of scenes to previously written material. For example, I needed to set up an antagonist earlier for Senia. One who foils her hopes of (SPOILER) becoming a fighter pilot. That antagonist happens to be a colonel met in the introductory chapter for Senia.
In a nutshell, this tool has really helped out a great deal, and I just had to mention it.
Back to writing.