Tag Archives: Scrivener

Thoughts from the Treadmill: Turn the Page

My latest romance novel, Driven to Matrimony, will be released worldwide on January 15. Stay tuned for updated buy links.

Photo by Leslie Sloan, Ignite The Light Photography

Photo by Leslie Sloan, Ignite The Light Photography

Happy New Year! While I’ve been confined indoors over the holidays due to very brutal winter weather outside, I’ve had time to think about the year ahead and what I want to accomplish. It is definitely going to be a year of changes. My husband will retire later this month. Our current home is on the market, and as soon as it sells, we will be moving into our new home, which is smaller and more compact with state-of-the-art built-in technology. There’s a new grandchild on the way. And Driven to Matrimony will be released worldwide on January 15.

Those changes on the horizon I already know about. It’s also time to “turn the page” on my writing career and move on to new aspirations. In essence, these are my 2014 goals or resolutions; I don’t know the difference.

Underlying everything else I do as a writer this year is my determination to be more productive, not necessarily spending more time on the laptop, but using my time more effectively to complete projects faster. I also want to be smarter about the way I complete them. I consider my writing style a hybrid of both plotting and creating by the seat of my pants. Typically, I lay out the basic points in a story (set-up, inciting incident, first turning point, second turning point, black moment, resolution and wrap-up) and then go from there. Once I finish the first draft, I put what I’ve got so far into a table by chapter broken down by scene to analyze what I’ve got. I also try to use Deb Dixon’s Goal, Motivation and Conflict approach to laying out the story framework. This requires discipline – to make it as specific as possible from the start as well as continue to review and revise it as the story evolves.

Those steps constitute a great start, but it’s time to add a few more steps which, if tackled as I go, will save a lot of time later. The first additional step is to do a better job documenting the story facts: names and descriptions of all the characters, time line, dates, and any other pertinent information that may seem easy to remember now but will completely allude my memory bank in a year. To get started, I’m going to build a table for each current writing project.

Last year, as you may recall from prior posts, I took an online course on Scrivener taught by Gwen Hernandez. It’s time to start employing what I learned, but I think that will work best with a brand new project, and currently I’m revising a third draft of one project and am three-fourths finished with a first draft. So a brand new project is at least another month off.

I also need to do a better job organizing and filing promo documents. I just spent the better part of the day tracking down my most recent bio, excerpts from my new book, Driven to Matrimony, blurbs, contact info and buy links. They’re all over the place instead of in one easy-to-locate spot.  That tracking down time could have been better spent writing. So an hour invested putting this all together today, will hopefully save several hours in a few weeks or months trying to remember where to find something.

I’m sure there many more time-saving techniques are out there just waiting for me to find them. But for now, the above initiatives are more than enough to master.


Driven to Matrimony                 http://amzn.to/1aowiJ2

The Sleepover Clause               Amazon ebook, Amazon POD

Barnes and Noble




And He Cooks Too                The Wild Rose Press, TWRP POD

Amazon Kindle, Amazon POD

Barnes and Noble Nook


iBookstore POD


Thoughts from the Treadmill: Manual

treadmillOn the treadmill this week, I’m wondering “where has the time gone?” It’s almost the middle of March. February seems to have just flown by. But when I think back on everything that happened last month, I realize my mind has been focused on several avenues of new learning I’ve taken on to augment my writing. It all came at about the same time, and to take advantage of such rich opportunities to broaden my world, I had to take the plunge and absorb them all at the same time.

So I’m using the treadmill control of “Manual” this week to capsulize my thoughts, because that’s what I’ve been seeking, a manual for each of these new additions to my writing tools.

About two weeks ago, I received my new laptop. Hadn’t planned to get one for a few months, but along came this one-day sale and now I have a new HP laptop. Unfortunately, they do not come with much of an operator’s manual. It’s supposed to be “intuitive learning,” i.e., so easy to use, the user can readily pick up the new features. Maybe so, but it’s the finding of the old features that’s been the challenge. Didn’t have much choice about the operating system; it came loaded with Windows 8. So I’ve joined the “swipe age” even though I continue to use my wireless mouse.manual

Where Windows 8 lacks a manual and information for the user, however, my two online courses, which I’m taking concurrently (not recommended unless, like these, you just can’t pass up either), are full of helpful instructions, illustrations, examples and personal input. I’m taking a course on Scrivener from a chaptermate in the Kiss of Death mystery/romantic suspense chapter, Gwen Hernandez. Gwen  recently released Scrivener for Dummies, so she’s quite the expert on this topic. This software includes many helpful features and tools for writers. Our daily lessons contain just enough informational nuggets to whet my appetite for more the next day.

The second online course is “Creating a Book Launch Plan,” taught by Kelli Finger and Amy Atwell of Author E.M.S. Unfortunately, I got behind almost from the start, because I was finishing revisions to a manuscript. That project took precedence. But I’m set to catch up in the next few days, so that I can approach the official launch of my second book, And He Cooks Too, on March 22 somewhat better informed about how to get the word out. Student comments have also been filled with useful information as well.

To further complicate matters, I took two three-session courses through Stetson University’s Lifelong Learning Center. The first, on Photoshop, was taught by former Celebration High School art teacher, Dolores Russo. Though not the best advertisement of how much I learned, the picture above was prepared using Photoshop Elements 11. The second course, “Dialogue Your Blogging,” taught by Cindi Lynch of Stetson, inspired me to move ahead with my plans to add a blog to my website.

The last month has been a challenge, but I feel so much richer to have been exposed to this diverse information. Don’t plan to do this again for awhile, but every so often, you have to challenge yourself to go beyond the usual bounds.

Photo by Leslie Sloan

Photo by Leslie Sloan

9781440556463 The Sleepover ClauseAndHeCooksToo_7346_750