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Fun, sexy reads

Fun, sexy reads

Looking for fast-paced, sexy romantic suspense with military heroes? Blind Fury (#1) is a hot friends-to-lovers story in D.C. Blind Ambition (#2) is a sexy, second-chance romance on the run in the Caribbean.

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Scrivener Training for Everyone

Scrivener Training for Everyone

Need help with Scrivener? I provide Scrivener training to individuals and groups all over the world through online courses, in-person workshops, and private training sessions.

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Resources for Writers and Scrivener Users

Resources for Writers and Scrivener Users

A great reference for new and experienced Scrivener users, a guide to software and apps that help with productivity, and essays on every facet of writing from the Writer Unboxed contributors.

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Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman poster with 5 versions of WW

courtesy of DC Entertainment

When I was a kid, Wonder Woman was my favorite superhero (still is). I wasn’t a comic book reader, but I adored the live-action show with Lynda Carter, and my old vinyl record that had a couple of audio episodes.

I marveled at how well she could run in that asinine costume, which by today’s standards would be downright staid. But even more, I loved that she was stronger than the men, highly intelligent, and feminine.

Costume aside, what girl wouldn’t want bullet-deflecting bracelets, a magic tiara/boomerang, a lasso that forces anyone in its snare to tell the truth, earrings that let you breathe in outer space, and an invisible jet? Add incredible beauty, superhuman strength and speed, telepathy, and the ability to speak any language, and, hey, where do I sign up?

And now Wonder Woman—and every girl/woman she inspired—gets her own feature film starring Gal Gadot as Diana.

Anyone else counting down the days to June 2nd?

Scrivener project setup best practices, and SIWC

One of the Scrivener questions I get asked frequently is, “What’s the correct way to set up my project?” Check out my answer over at Writer Unboxed.

By the way, if you’ve missed any of my old Scrivener posts—or just want to go through the archives—they’re all available on my website under the Scrivener Help tab. Or you can click here.

Anyone going to the Surrey International Writers Conference in British Columbia, Canada in October? I’ll be there! I’m excited. Not only have I heard good things about SIWC, but it’ll be my first international speaking engagement.

Happy May Day!

(Dis)connected

© Thorsten | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Do you ever wish you could disconnect from the Internet? We are plugged in via social media, on-demand television, virtual helpers like Google Home and Amazon’s Echo (Alexa), smart thermostats, email, our cars, online banking, and more. We don’t even realize how dependent we are until the connection goes down or we lose power.

Smart computer systems, using access to immense amounts of data, can use our browsing history to recommend new products, guess that we’re pregnant before our own family members, and predict the fastest route from our home to the beach at 5pm tomorrow.

How did I live without all this technology in the first half of my life?

And yet, I sometimes miss that disconnected life. I sometimes envy those who have managed to let it all pass them by, even as they become disassociated from mainstream society. Last year, I found myself almost jealous of the characters in the dystopian novel Station Eleven because they had no obligations to a small glass and metal rectangular object through which an astonishing amount of my life plays out.

I’m not a Luddite by any means. I love technology. I love having two-click access to almost any information, and the ability to turn on my lights with a voice command or “visit” my far-flung family members via FaceTime.

But sometimes, I need to disconnect. I need to go into my backyard, walk the dog, take a hike, or go to the beach, and live screen free for a while. Not just screen free, but instant-access free.

The problem with on-demand everything is that the minute we think a question, we can run off and answer it. But maybe it would be better to merely ponder it for a while. Enjoy the quiet act of thinking without distraction. To stew in our thoughts without always feeding our eyeballs with information.

I’m reading a book (on my iPad, of course) called The Inevitable by Kevin Kelly. It talks about the types of innovations we can expect to see in the future, and how we’re only going to be more integrated. There are a lot of exciting things coming.

But I’m still going to need a break from it all.

Even now, I feel better when I take some time out of my day to unplug. This is one of the reasons why I run. And do yoga. Or brainstorm with—gasp!—paper and pen.

I don’t want to ditch my devices and move off grid, but I am trying to purposely schedule sanity breaks into my day. I imagine they’ll be even more important as we march inevitably forward into the connected abyss.

What are your thoughts on our expanding connectedness?

Facing the blank canvas

blank piece of paper on a table with pens and coffee mug

© creativecommonsstockphotos | Dreamstime Stock Photos

The ability to write anything is scary.

I liken it to being given a blank canvas and told to “Paint something.” It’s paralyzing. But if the same person gave you the canvas and said, “Paint a tree,” you’d probably think for a minute about what a tree looks like to you, and then dive in.

In that way, parameters can actually free up your creativity rather than stifling it.

Once I know how my story starts, then I know which path I’m on. I might take some unexpected detours along the way, but I’m not switching mountains halfway through. (Unless, maybe, killer plot twist?)

I’m trying to work on the next book in my Men of Steele series, and this is where I remember how messed up my process is. No matter which method I use, I end up starting the story about 50 different ways before I figure out how to get into it.

I do have a few constraints to help me out. I know I’m writing romantic suspense, and that it takes place within the world of my Men of Steele series. And I know who the hero is.

But if a character can be stubborn, Kurt Steele is the worst. I’m not one of those writers who believes my characters have control, but once they form in my mind, that’s pretty much what I’m stuck with. (See Scott Kramer of Blindsided, who came to me as a Marine scout sniper, even though I’d been researching and writing Air Force PJ heroes.)

I’ve tried to write Kurt’s book several times now, and he doesn’t cooperate. At all. This time, I’m determined to write him a happily ever after, but I may turn gray doing it.

Wish me luck!

If you’re a writer, have you ever struggled with a particular character’s story? Got any suggestions?

Working with projects in Scrivener for iOS (w/videos)

Here’s a little primer (complete with videos) I created to get you started with Scrivener for iOS. If you’re looking for a full class on the app, use this link for a sweet deal on Steve Shipley’s Udemy course.

Creating a New Project

Scrivener for iOS can be used as a standalone program without the Mac or Windows version. As such, you can create a new project within the iOS app. This also means that if you’re on the road and want to start something new, there’s no need to set it up on your computer first. In a minute, I’ll tell you how to move the project to Dropbox, if desired. Here’s how to get started.

  1. Tap the + Create Project button on the right side of the screen. Alternatively, you can tap the “Tap to create a project” button under On My iPad at the left. create a new project
  2. In the New Project dialog box that appears, tap in the text box and type the name of your project. enter the project name
  3. Click Create.
  4. Choose whether to save the project on your iPad or Dropbox. If you’re not working with the Mac or Windows version and don’t need to sync with Dropbox, choose “On my iPad.” If you’ve already set up Dropbox for syncing, and would like this project to be available on your other devices, select Dropbox. NOTE: Remember, you can always move an iPad project to Dropbox later. I discuss this in the next section. choose where to save it The project is created using Scrivener’s basic Blank template, and the project is opened. new project

Video review – 50 secs

Closing a Project

When you’re ready to close a project, simply tap the left arrow button in the upper left corner until you reach the Projects screen.

Back to projects button

Sometimes, if you’re in a document in a folder in a project, you may have to tap it several times to back up through the layers.

back from document button

NOTE: If you tap your iPad’s home button to exit Scrivener, the project doesn’t close. If you plan to work on that project on another computer/device, be sure to return to the Projects screen and sync before exiting.

Moving a Project

On the main Projects screen, projects are organized in two ways. Under the Projects column on the left, they are grouped by location and sorted alphabetically. The project tiles on the right side of the Projects screen display the projects by “last viewed” date/time.

You cannot adjust the order of display in either list, but you can move them between your iPad and Dropbox to change their location. Here’s how.

  1. In the Projects column, tap Edit.
    edit buttonThe Projects column enters Edit mode.edit mode
  2. Press and hold the three lines icon to the right of the project you’d like to move until the project box turns gray.
  3. Drag the project to the desired location. moving a projectThe project is now shown in its new location. NOTE: If you moved a project from your iPad to Dropbox, a blue triangle appears to alert you that the project has not been synced to Dropbox.
  4. Tap Done to exit Edit mode.

Duplicating a Project

To duplicate a project (same as File—>Save As on the Mac or Windows version), do the following.

  1. In the Projects column, tap Edit.
  2. Tap the circle to the left of the project to duplicate. selecting a project to duplicate
  3. Tap the Duplicate button (squares with + inside) at the bottom of the Projects screen. Scrivener creates a complete copy of the project in the same location as the selected project and adds a number to the end of the new project’s name. duplicate project
  4. Tap Done to exit Edit mode.

Deleting a Project

Here’s how to delete a project.

  1. In the Projects column, tap Edit.
  2. Tap the circle to the left of the project to delete.
  3. Tap Delete at the bottom of the screen. When the confirmation message appears, tap Delete. The project is removed from your list. NOTE: If the project is stored in Dropbox, it won’t disappear from Dropbox until you sync Scrivener, even though the file no longer appears in your list.
  4. Tap Done to exit Edit mode.

Renaming a Project

To rename a project, do the following.

  1. Press and hold the project name (in either list) until the Project Title dialog box appears. renaming a project
  2. Type the new name and tap OK.

Video review – 3:39 mins

Need more help? Sign up for an online class, check out Scrivener For Dummies, read more Scrivener articles, or schedule a private training session.

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tea mug and chocolate barIt takes a lot of mint green tea and dark chocolate to fuel these posts.

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