Two friends who don’t play well together

This evening I’m sitting here pondering how sometimes life recapitulates high school. Back then, I was a committed nerd (my kids would say I haven’t changed much) and my friends were nerds. I also ran cross country, so I hung out with some jocks. But of course, my jock friends would never consider socializing with my geek friends. So I had to jump through all sorts of hoops to spend time with both.

I’ve become enamored with Scrivener as my writing platform of choice and with Grammarly as a tool to sharpen my use of language. I do not always agree with Grammarly’s suggestions, but when she and I differ, I make myself defend my choice of words. Unfortunately, Scrivener and Grammarly do not work together without entering cut-and-paste hell. One may well laugh and tell me this is a first world problem, and it surely is, but I can’t help but think it should be easy to fix. So many of the world’s problems cannot be ameliorated by the appropriate application of computer code. Scrivener/Grammarly should not be an issue.

Legend tells of authors who outline their entire novel before they write. If these brave men and women exist in real life, I bow to them. I started my book The Chokecherry Tree with an idea for a character I liked, and a few scenes. Scrivener is great for writers like me who need a place to put scenes as I think of them that can eventually be rearranged into chapters, to keep and add to character back stories and to house research materials that may or may not be used. My initial story arc ended at a point about a third of the way through the novel; when I got there, I realized the story wasn’t over yet. The characters themselves directed the flow of the story. For probably six months I had no idea what the title would be, but once I figured it out it was evident. At one point I learned a character’s last name by listening to another character yell at him using his full name. I was excited to see how the novel would end, how all the plot twists would resolve without resorting to some silly deus ex machina for closure. I cannot imagine trying to do all this with a regular word processor. Scrivener made this process much less painful than it would have otherwise been.

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