10-17-2017 Rewriting

Many of my novels are written using two or more timelines that eventually converge at some point. Keeping these two timelines synchronized can be a pain in the neck especially if you're a seat of the pants writer like me. That's one reason I bought Aeon Timeline. Unfortunately, I didn't start a timeline when I started work on Collision Course and now I'm paying for that oversight.

About a week and a half ago I discovered that my parallel timelines were way out of sync and I needed to go back and do some serious rewriting. This time, I created a timeline in Aeon Timeline. I'm having to move entire chapters, insert new ones, and cut and paste huge blocks of text to get things to line up. Doing this in Microsoft Word would be a chore especially because I also need to constantly refer to my notes. Scrivener keeps my notes in a window at the bottom of my screen and allows me to simply drag chapters around, move blocks to a holding area, and do all the editing I need.

Additional writing in my novel will not happen until I get the timeline fixed. I'm not sure how long this is going to take especially since my time to write is limited these days.

Also, I'd like to remind anyone who reads this to check out my website and take a look at the Tools page where I've put a bunch of calculations I've found useful when writing science fiction. If you find an error or you would like to see any other calculators added, please let me know.



My science fiction calculation web page is live! This has been a goal of mine for many years and today it's become a reality. When I started writing science fiction, one of the things I prided myself in was trying to keep the science as real as possible. To do this, I built an Excel spreadsheet with all sorts of useful numbers and calculations. I've always wanted to put these calculations and numbers on a website but the old host of my site did not allow me to use JavaScript.

Some time ago, I embarked on a program to learn HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. When I had a workable website up and running on my local PC, I opened an account with a different host and moved my site to them. About two weeks ago, I learned enough about JavaScript to feel confident in building my long awaited calculator page. It went live today.

You can view the site at: dougfarren.com. Feedback is always welcome.

The entire site has been hand-coded and has been purposefully built to be clean and easy to use. The code is responsive allowing it to display properly on anything from a cell phone to a high-end computer system. I have also used code that should be understandable by almost any browser.




Today was a no writing day. Even though I'm on vacation, I went into work to run the Monthly Performance Report. This report must be completed within the first week of every month. I do the work management portion. It used to take my predecessor three long days to generate the data. I have a computer program that spits out the needed numbers in less than five minutes. The numbers must be transferred to our reporting system and I'm the person designated to enter them. I also attended a short training session I'd signed up for before going on vacation.

As soon as I got home, I began working outside getting the yard ready for winter. Seemed strange though since it was almost 80 degrees outside. But I was on vacation and the work needed to be done.

I did just recently finish reading Creating a Website: The Missing Manual. I highly recommend it. One of the last chapters was on JavaScript. Based on the examples given, I felt confident enough to begin building a web page I've been wanting to build for years--my science fiction calculator. Yesterday, I built the first of the pages and after a few trials and errors managed to get it working. My goal is to have this series of pages ready to be rolled out by the time I'm done with my vacation. That will be a cause for celebration because I've been wanting to put the spreadsheet I've used for many used into the public domain for a long long time.



The fun thing about being a SOP (Seat Of your Pants) writer is the times when the story takes off on a different track than I anticipated. This usually happens when my characters are engaged in a conversation. While writing one such conversation this morning in Collision Course, the characters made some comments that have added a new layer of interest to the story. I was simply writing down what the characters would naturally say and the result is a new twist to the story. I love it!

If you ever want to learn a difficult subject and you learn best by reading a book, you've got to check out the Missing Manual series. I am nearing the end of Creating a Website the Missing Manual. I've learned plenty from this well-written book. It is now filled with little stickies poking out from the edges of the pages so I can find the good stuff inside when I need it. Even though the chapter on JavaScript is tiny compared to the monster Missing Manual I have on the entire language, I believe I've learned enough to begin to design my science fiction calculator on my website. I can't wait to see how it turns out.

I am on vacation as of today and I will have every morning for the next week to write and work more on my website. There are days when I wish I had a jack built into the back of my skull so I could just upload the knowledge I crave. Often, I need to keep myself from reading too fast because I know that doing so will not help me learn. Until our technology gives us the ability to upload information directly into our brains, I will just have to remind myself that learning takes time.



Just a quick update: I've been reading up on website development and wanted to set up a forum on my new author website. Before trying that, I think I'll figure out how to link this blog with the site and also include all the little tips and tricks I've learned over the years about self-publishing. The website is still in its infancy but more things will be added as time permits so keep checking back.

Some time ago, I switched from doing weekly posts to less than weekly. That will most likely change as I've decided to try to blog more and to blog about what's been going on in my writing and working life. Linking this to my website should also help make the site a place to visit more often.

Finally, the long-term goal of the new website is to build my science-fiction calculator into the site. That's going to take some time but please have a little patience as I do have a full-time job and a book to write.