Worth checking in on my progress, I think, as I continue to simultaneously pound away on a couple of writing projects AND build a piece of software to assist with that effort.
Key to these efforts is that I’ve been writing a story. Not quite a novel. A story with some weight and length, but more of something I’d like to turn into a serialized collection of short novella-like stories.
Open up a word processor and start typing, you say.
Well, sure. That’s great. But the book is a kind of quasi-scientific bordering on magical realism effort (though ultimately the magic is just really kooky physics-ish stuff) and that kind of writing requires a particularly amped up energy in the realm of world building. One needs not just flesh out some characters and give them interesting things to to and talk about, but one also needs to flesh out a world where rules exist that are set apart from rules in the real world.
Additionally, I’ve created an entire fictional city in which these events occur, so there is a need to pitter-patter around the vibe of the place and how it all feels, acts, and interacts with the characters working through this whole plot.
Did I mention that I also have a great big plot? I’ve been trying to make lots of notes about how that’s working.
Going back to your helpful suggestion of a word processor then? Yeah, it’s not a terrible idea, but what if I not only had a word processor, but a word processor that chunked out everything into chapters so that I could focus on each chapter individually. Oh, and I’d want to add some metadata to each of those chapters, stuff that didn’t actually appear in the copy of the story, stuff like a summary of the plot, maybe a categorization for how it fits into the story arc, outline info and various notes about stuff I want to accomplish or have otherwise been thinking about while writing each chapter.
It would be cool if I could also squirrel away some notes about the characters, too. Maybe a similar sort of tool to keep track of locations or other set pieces in the story. If only there was a kind of digital index card system with prompts in the corner that all got shuffled into useful notes for when I was feeling a little blocked with the words flowing onto the pages and…
So that’s what I’ve built so far.
Toss in a word counter and a versioning system for the auto-saves-my-work-every-10-seconds web-based word processor and you start to see the utility of this little thing.
I’ve been writing code and simultaneously fleshing out this little world while writing chapters and plot outlines and putting skins on these crazy characters all while feeling quite productive.
That’s progress, right?