A month or so ago, after being harassed by umpteen notifications, I updated the operating system on my computer. The only vaguely positive thing about the new system that I have found is that I now have the option of Dark Mode. I tried it for a while, but it was too much like living in self imposed Miss Havisham gloom, so I returned to normal mode. I rather liked some of the features of Dark Mode, but a liquorice coloured screen wasn’t one of them, regardless of the fact that all the reviews I read insisted it was ‘elegant.’ Why is a black screen more elegant than a white one? How, in fact, can a computer screen be elegant, it’s just a flat, backlit tool?
Two less positive consequences of updating are: a) the app that made my keyboard sound like an old typewriter no longer works, and, b) Scrivener, which I use every day to write, went all weird.
Without the typewriter sound I no longer have that Hemingway at a campaign desk, beside a huge canvas tent, on the savannah feeling. And I really rather miss it. I know it doesn’t affect my writing, I’ve written more in the last month that I did in the preceding six, but it definitely detracts from the atmosphere somehow.
The loss of Scrivener, on the other hand, would definitely affect my writing, adversely. It struggled on for NaNoWriMo, with certain quirks like underlining, in red, words that were spelt correctly, and refusing to let me do anything about it. But a message popped up yesterday telling me it would soon no longer work at all, and I’d have to buy the new version. That’s $45.00 I wouldn’t have had to spend had I not updated my OS. As I only have about four hundred quid to last me till next March that’s quite a large chunk of my budget. But the thought of trying to organise my book in an ordinary word processor like Pages or Word fills me with dread. I have done it in the past, and it’s a faff.
With Scrivener I can have everything relating to my novel in one project file. That’s all my research, including images, sound files, and video; the outline; index cards (containing such things as names and brief bios of characters); comments, as well as the book itself broken up into chapters, scenes, parts – whatever, all of which can be rearranged by merely dragging and dropping them in the list on the left. And, I can work on two scenes/chapters at a time by splitting the screen, which is incredibly useful when editing.
Luckily one of the prizes for winning NaNoWrimo is fifty percent off Scrivener 3 (I had 2.8), I’m just waiting for the winners’ code to come through. As a temporary fix, yesterday in something of a panic, I downloaded the trial version. Thus I’ve spent most of today swapping all my files from the old to the new, and reinstalling all my preferences. I sincerely hope I haven’t missed anything, but I probably won’t find out until I get to work editing the book.
I’m now waiting for the arrival of ink cartridges I ordered early last week, so I can print the book out in order to read it and see where it needs to be fleshed out. Meanwhile I know I have a ton of research to do.
Header image: A solution to my ‘current reading’ problem: I’ve been struggling with books piled up all around me for months. I’d get irritated and shelve them all, but certain ones I hadn’t quite finished with would come out again, one by one till they cluttered the place up once more. I hate clutter, it makes me feel anxious, but I am hideously disorganised so it’s a feature of my life. The trolley had been filled with scraps waiting to be included in a collage, bits of old string, random magazines, empty yogurt cartons that may come in handy… It was, in fact, an icon of chaos; so in a fit of pique last week I emptied it, found spaces in various cupboards for its contents, and repurposed it as a side table. It makes me very happy.