Writing Update: Ocularum & the Freewrite

So, it has been a really long time since my last real post. I’m still writing the first draft of Ocularum. I have had some personal issues to deal with in the last eight months that put me off track, but I am approximately 50% through the first draft and currently screaming along. When I started this series, I only envisioned four primary Artifacts, but I have had some amazing ideas during the last year, so I am incredibly excited to share some new Artifacts and inventions as well as new characters with everyone. If you missed it, I posted an excerpt of Chapter 2 on my primary website, so check it out! It introduces Aja, a character only referenced in passing in Compendium, who is just back from a ranging expedition.

For anyone who has read previous blog entries, you are aware of my love for Scrivener. Well, I still love Scrivener, but they have been INSANELY slow in getting their mobile solution together, so I have recently been converted by Coe Booth, FDU professor, YA writer extraordinaire, and Ulysses evangelist. She suggested Ulysses during our residency in England in January, but I didn’t give it a real shot until just this past month. I miss the formatting options of Scrivener, but you can’t beat the mobile nature of Ulysses. Ulysses is limited to mac and iOS, but that hasn’t stopped me from using both my ASUS Chromebook and my Freewrite (pictured above) to write and then import into Ulysses. On the Chromebook, I write in Calmly Writer, a really nice Chrome OS app. I just write each scene in a new file and save it in the markdown file format on my Google Drive. Then, when I got back to my mac, Ulysses recognizes it as a Ulysses file, and I drop it into the proper chapter folder. The best part is that you can type Markdown code right into Calmly Writer and it will apply the appropriate formatting.

For those wondering what that crazy word processor looking gadget is in the image to this page, it’s a Freewrite. It is essentially a mechanical word processor attached to an e-ink display for convenience/review purposes that connects to the cloud to deposit words. I’ve written about 5,000 words in a new project I’m starting, and I love the keyboard. It is the perfect first draft machine. The Freewrite has had mixed reviews from writers and hipsters alike, but I actually really love it. Although the battery is not (in my opinion) as robust as the marketing would lead you to believe (serious writers write in more than half hour blocks once a day), it is a fantastic tool for battling your inner editor.

You type on this wonderfully clacky keyboard and words display on the e-ink display, and if you want to change them, you have to backspace. So, if that typo is more than five words in, just let it go and fix it later. I’m normally a proponent of fixing every typo when you notice it, because, frankly, they are insidious and often I won’t notice them the next time, but in this case, if you’re having doubts about your words, it’s a great method of getting past that and just letting the words flow. I wouldn’t consider it a general multi-purpose writing utensil. I really think that it’s exactly what its name implies… a single function tool that lets you free write. Just like with Calmly Writer, I type into my Freewrite using the tags associated with Markdown, and then when I open the RTF files on my Google Drive, I can paste the Markdown code right into a new sheet in Ulysses. Viola!

As for my other current project, it’s a contemporary literary suspense (still working on whether it will actually be suspenseful or not) novel about a lawyer ending up in a bad situation. I will leave it at that for now, since it’s still evolving. It could end up with some magical elements a la Haruki Murakami, or it could just be straight contemporary fiction. We will see!

So, there you have an update on both the status of my projects and my writing process. Ocularum: 51,273 words. Way South, Way Quick: 4,600 words. Also, while I’m at it, I will mention the Android app Writeometer, which I love to use for word count tracking. It’s like having NaNoWriMo tracking in your pocket all the time. See the screen shot below for a current snapshot of the projects I just mentioned.


It tracks your total word count, gives you a graph to see the total number go up, nags you to write each day, tells you how many words you need to write to finish by your goal date, and it looks good doing it. So, there you have it. That’s all for now!


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