Well, it’s been quiet lately around here. Getting on with the gardening, though I’m in danger of overdoing things. Yesterday, I spent a couple of hours battling the hugely overgrown honeysuckle in the front garden. I started with the naive belief that I would merely have to find a couple or three main stems, cut them off at ground level, then lift out the rest. Naturally, it wasn’t like that at all.
The bush, as I said was vastly overgrown. Being a climber, it had curled tenaciously around everything in the vicinity, including a big cotoneaster, a sycamore sapling and a couple of other shrubs. It had wound so tightly around the sycamore trunk that the stems were actually embedded in the bark. There were hundreds of stems and shoots everywhere, all amongst the shrubbery; getting them out became a matter of slashing randomly at bundles of stems with the secateurs, then heaving mightily and dragging them out by the handful.
At the end of it, I was left aching pretty much all over, barely able to walk. My knees were about the only part of me not aching. Until this morning, when the situation was reversed. My damm knees were throbbing. So it’s mostly been a day of staying off my feet and necking paracetamol like smarties.
Still, it gave me time to think. For instance, about just how wise I was to begin this vegetable-gardening project in the first place. Not too wise, given my state of health; however, I’ve started it, so I’ll have a good go at finishing it. Once I get the plot cleared, it won’t be so bad.
And I was thinking some more about writing my life story. It’s high time I got it done. There’s bits of it all over the place, in my notebooks, my diary, my various blogs, forum and elist posts. I really should start collecting and collating them. I’ve been looking at various writing programs. I already use Jot Notes for all sorts of notes, thoughts. writings and my diaries; I originally started using it as a beta tester way back in 2000 or so and have consequently been getting free upgrades ever since. It’s an excellent little note-keeping program with only a few drawbacks, chiefly the inability to open two notefiles at once – that makes copying and checking between files difficult. So it’s not that suitable for what I need for this particular project.
Programs I’ve been looking at are (all Windows/PC programs):
Page Four. This is pretty much identical to Jot Notes, with just a couple of extra bells and whistles; like Jot, it doesn’t have the ability to open more than one file at a time. There’s a free version which is limited to three projects, and the full version is pretty cheap. However, Jot is even cheaper.
YWriter4 This calls itself “novel writing software” and that’s pretty much what it’s for. Admittedly, I haven’t spent too much time trying it out, but all the features overwhelmed me – it was just too damm complex. And I simply don’t need most of the features – character notes, location lists, plot outlines and the like. However, it you’re into serious fiction writing, this is probably just right for you. And it’s FREE! I repeat: FREE. For that alone, it deserves supporting.
Connected Text is actually a type of offline wiki, running on your own computer. Just like an online wiki, you can add hyperlinks, images etc, write your own stylesheet if you don’t like the default skin, hyperlink within the document and so on; it exports to RTF and HTML. It’s really more suitable for a research project or dissertation; once you’ve finished your project, you can upload it straight to a website. Quite interesting, not too expensive, and something I could possibly use sometime. But not at the moment.
Liquid Story Binder looks more promising. Like YWriter, it has loads of features, but they don’t seem to be aimed exclusively at fiction-writers; there’s lots of stuff to help in planning and outlining, plus there’s the ability to embed images and recordings. Unlike the other programs, I didn’t uninstall it straight way; two days later, I’m still playing with it. It’s a paid-for program, but the free trial version has all the features and is not limited at all. You only have to keep using it – it locks after thirty days without any use.