Two things on my mind today.

The first is a reader review (and thank you for the review) that called “A Larger Universe” a “novella.” Just for the record, Wikipedia defines a novella (according to the SFWA) as between 17,500 and 40,000 words. “A Larger Universe” is 123,000 words (and 245 pages when printed.) Actually, I take the comment as something of a compliment – it must have seemed like a quick read, which means the prose flowed smoothly. Science Fiction novels used to be about that length. Now they are often much longer. Word processors are much less effort than typewriters.

Which brings me to the second thing: I recently discovered a tool called Scrivener that was expressly created for writers. I learned to type in high school, but I was never comfortable with the typed page. I typed slowly and with a lot of mental effort as I tried to not make any mistakes. The process became more important than creativity. My first real word processing program was liberating. Mistakes didn’t matter because they could be easily corrected. Scrivener is another multiplier. To make an analogy, I learned computer programming when the process was mostly “start at the beginning and proceed to the end.” Yes, there were subroutines, but they were written with the main program. Then I discovered object-oriented programming in which the program is a collection of interacting objects. Each object, which can be very small, but is self-contained, is written separately and then assembled with all the others into the complete program. Making changes and moving “stuff” around is relatively easy compared to the old way I did things. Scrivener is like that. Each scene stands on its own and can be modified and moved as required with a drag-and-drop. At any time, Scrivener can “compile” part of or the entire novel (short story, screen play, school paper, scientific article, whatever) to Word© (other outputs also available) to see how it reads at that moment. It has a lot of other features and is wonderfully cheap. It was originally written for the Mac, but I use it on a PC. If you’re trying to write, take a look.

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