Work in Progress: My Historical Mystery about Jefferson in Paris in 1786
I have been doing research and writing an historical mystery about Jefferson in Paris in 1786 for the last almost three years. I am about half way through revising my completed first draft and the working title is The Ambassador. I have previously written four mysteries in various times and settings, including San Diego, California and Cherbourg, France. None have been published but they have been excellent learning experiences. I expect to have my revisions completed by the beginning of 2010. I was motivated to set up this website as a place to exhibit some of the information I have been using for my novel and later on to make a connection with agents and publishers.
During my writing years I have tried out a number of software programs aimed at helping writers. Two of them I think are worth mentioning to anyone with similar ambitions: 1. WriteItNow at http://www.ravensheadservices.com/?Version=4.0.1p This is a program with a number of tools that I have always wished for. On one screen I can tab at any moment to refresh myself on my characters' qualities, events in the book, chapters, ideas, notes and references. What most appealed to me is that as I write in the large open and clean writing field, I can easily click to data that I have stored in WriteItNow including biographies, photographs (links), timelines, descriptions and a lot of other things. Especially for someone like myself who is writing a book with a lot of place and historical information, this all-in-one-place set-up is an enormous time-saver. There a prompts to get the writer going on story and character, word count, storyboard, readability estimates and a host of other really neat aids. What I like about this software, having used others is its stability, its clean presentation but especially the facility to have my notes quick to hand. The WriteItNow export menu is complete. You can export as html, as RTF, PDF and text and export right into Microsoft Word. I highly recommend this relatively inexpensive and useful tool.
2. My second recommendation for writers is a very comprehensive, slick and professional database calle Treepad created by a company named Freebyte. The url is: http://www.treepad.com/. I have used this database, including several update versions, for several years. It is a comprehensive workhorse for collecting my ideas, illustrations and data for my writing and my personal life. I should say, too, that any time I have encountered problems (the latest being an apparent incompatiblity with my new Vista 64 byte OS) the TreePad people have responded within a day to my email and without fail remedied the problem. It is truly impressive to find such total support along with such a perfect application (it may not be perfect, but I am perfectly satsified and I have found no imperfections, yet). I'm sure everyone has his or her own favorite database and there are a lot of them out there. But in my experience I have not found anything to match TreePad. There are a number of levels and complexities of the TreePad database to choose from including those appropriate to a lonely writer and others appropriate for a good-sized business and costs vary appropriately.