Tag Archives: story

Practical tip no.2: Software for Writers

In the olden days, I used to handwrite into an A4 – exercise book from school. I eventually bought an Olympus typewriter – very analogue but at the time the only mechanical device I could afford (computers were still fairly expensive in 1995! Difficult to imagine today).

This didn’t hinder my writing. There is in fact a great advantage to be had from handwriting into notebooks: they can be taken anywhere and serve as an ad-hoc surface for noting down thoughts.

Writing on a computer has never had the same appeal to either of the above methods. Word processing software connotes 9-5 office work, and was seemingly invented to draft dull pieces of efficient communication meant to  generate specific responses.  Opening Word, it places me by default into this context.

Hence, I’ve been looking for writing software. I remembered that a few years ago, my friend Maciej pointed me towards Writer’s Cafe, a

powerful but simple to use story development tool that dramatically accelerates the creation and structuring of your novel or screenplay.

I searched for it again and downloaded it a few days ago.  I’ll use it (for the first time) next week when I’ll be on annual leave for a week. I want to write (= start and complete) this first, new story, about my former downstairs neighbour and her partner, the wife beater.

Source material for my first story

For my first story, which I will start over the next few days, I will use the relationship of the woman that used to live downstairs as source material. These are the pieces of her life, while she was living below me:

  • He shouted at her a fair bit. He beat her up occasionally, to the point where it got pretty bad and she fled the house (moving out within a few hours one day, without telling him where she went, so as to escape. She even left the cat when it didn’t come immediately when she called it – left it straying outside, asking the neighbours to look after it).
  • I found out later that he was back in her life, and her new flat – she had let him back in.
  • Her 12-year-old daughter still wets the bed.

I think I can use the above material (hopefully) without offending anyone, since the woman moved away over a year ago and the above events are in the past. I wouldn’t want to write about events of the week-end, or the time a couple of months ago when a neighbour across wielded a knife while drunk and was taken to the police station, to spend a night in jail.

I’ll need to think about the tone of voice, and how to narrate – from whose point of view. It could be either from my POV as observer, or the daughter’s point of view (who wets the bed), or, maybe, from the abuser’s POV. The latter might be the most interesting, even though I know the least about it. That might be a good challenge however, and a useful means to create in fiction I know nothing about.

The Suicide that Never Was

For the last 7 months, I thought that someone I knew (on the periphery of ‘knowing’) up here in Edinburgh had killed himself. I even blogged about it here.

Only I found out today that it’s not actually true! It was someone’s sister, who was already disabled (with MS), that had died of natural causes.

How that got turned into a ‘dramatic’ story (guy kills himself over custody of his child) I do not know.

Though by knowing the people involved in creating/passing on this ‘story’, I have a fair idea how it happened.