The blog of the highly opinionated Sgt. Octopus

Archive for October, 2012


I’ve always had an interest in the ways technology has effected writing. I used to write purely by pen and paper. Still do sometimes. However as I got older and started getting well acquainted with this thing called the “Internet”, I soon began to move towards technological means of writing.

I never was happy with it.

Word docs cluttered my hard drive and I could never find anything I was looking for. I’m sure I’ve lost several stories to the abyss. These days have been different. After winning my first NaNoWriMo I used my winners discount to buy Scrivener. And I’ve never gone back.

Scrivener has saved me many a headache when it comes to keeping writing organized. It probably is the main reason why I won that year, as I had been using the trial to keep things organized. But enough with all that, the thing I enjoy doing is reading about how people use Scrivener. It’s really fascinating to me. And so I thought I’d share it with you.

A Writers Notebook Sidebar

I basically use scrivener in two main ways: 1. as a content organizer / writers notebook and 2. as a way to keep all the bits and pieces of a single novel in one place.

The first bit is probably something most writers are familiar with in some form or another. The picture to the right is how I specifically organize it. Basically I keep all my writing bits under the first four; prompts & experiments, reviews and blogs speak for itself. But the notebook is where I keep papers from class, specifically creative writing and any short stories I come up with.

If you notice the elements and resources are pretty similar, but they serve two totally different purposes. Mainly elements is filled with my own ideas and the things I want to explore and expand. Early bits of novels can be found here, this is where they are stored until they’ve grown enough to warrant their own file.

Resources, on the other hand, is where articles I find on the internet go. Things that I found useful on the creation of characters and settings and everything else story related. Also I should mention that this idea was not something I came up with on my own, I repurposed it for myself from several of my fellow writers.

The second purpose of scrivener is a bit harder for me to explain, if only because it’s different for every novel. But generally they’re kept in two big folders, the manuscript folder which just holds the novel however it needs to be written and the Story Bible folder. Which is essentially the Elements folder minus the “Story Idea’s part”.

And that’s really it. I hope you found this useful in some way and you can feel free to add questions about this whole thing in the comments. Perhaps I’ll write another post about Scrivener if there is a need.


Liverpool Street by Neil Gaiman

I found this story on Neil Gaiman‘s blog. It simply captivated me.

Neil Gaiman is one of those authors who I greatly admire because of what I’ve seen on their Tumblr or twitter (and possibly a YouTube video or two) but beyond a novel or two, haven’t actually dived into their work. Honestly, I am ashamed of myself for this because when I listen to or read his stories I am always mesmerized. If only I could have a drop of the talent this guy possesses.

This story you can listen to in its full glory above, but for those who can’t watch the video at the moment here’s a little summary: it’s the story of a young Neil Gaiman as he waits to get picked up by his parents at Liverpool station.

I am always amazed at how people can create creative nonfiction and how they can tell stories about that happened thirty odd years ago with such minuscule and gorgeous detail, when I could barely do that about something that happened today. My creative writing teacher loves this kind of work however, I think it’s mostly because it’s easy to teach to those who are just taking it as a fun elective and she’s in the process of publishing her own novel in the same genre.

Nevertheless, this story is one that I really enjoyed. It was told beautifully. It starts off rather simply with a point that I think becomes rather important as the story progresses, he was only sixteen years old when this happened. He related to his audience very well throughout this, and I think that’s where it connected with me. My parents were the type to be late as well, I’ve even had instances similar to this. Not that my parents have ever gone on impromptu trips to Austria… but you get the point.

And I really need to pick up one of his books…

Door County.

I had enough.

I was tired of this psuedo-love. Where we were spoiled beyond our means but never taught the fundamentals of life. We lived in a fantasy world, built by the delusions of an old man.

He was never here. Working day in and day out. Hour after hour. Coming home past bedtime and leaving before dawn. Occasionally he would be home for dinner, but it was only moments before he retreated into his room. It never made sense, the long hours never seemed to help the poverty we were in.

Everyday he drove to the richest parts of the city, it was always within our grasp but never ours to hold.

She deserved better, it was too late for me. As we turned through the winding streets of the forest preserve, I let the monster unleash. Briefly remembering another time my dad was behind the wheel during a fight.

I almost stopped. Except I couldn’t, this needed to be said. I needed to tell him every horrible feeling I felt. I let go.

We were never the same again.

This piece was edited from a prompt I received in creative writing, I hope you enjoyed it.


It is not a common known fact about me anymore that I am a writer. This used to be my identifier, if you will. I was the girl in the back of the class who didn’t give a damn what the teacher was saying because I had my own notebook and my own thoughts to get down on paper… unless it was a lit class, then I usually listened.

Nonetheless, now I’m in college. Been here for almost 2.5 years, and I’m udderly bored of this whole thing. I’ve started to neglect the things that made me happiest in favor of the things that are supposed to create my future. I’m sick of living in the future. I want to live in the now. And with that comes writing.

So here comes NaNoWriMo once again, time to put on the old writers cap and snuggle up with my laptop for a month thinking of worlds that I could never truly visit. And this is where I’m going to document my experiences, along with my various other writing ventures.

I just have to figure out what the heck I’m going to write about…