Friday, October 31, 2008

Savvy Context: The Crowd Weighs in on Computers

Bonus post between weeks!
(See, I told you I'd make it up to you!)

Last time I talked to proponents of writing on paper. Here's what the other side had to say:
I tend to use the computer mostly in the editing/refining stage. For me there's also a distinction to be made here between creative writing and academic writing….I like using the computer for academic writing because it allows me to start with an outline and then flesh things out little by little. —Kandi H.

When I wrote everything on paper first, I was always carrying a notebook around with me, often a large one. Now I…don't worry about always being prepared to write the next part of the story. Also, you don't really have to worry about losing the page that you just wrote your most brilliant scene ever on. And there's always spell check and the backspace key. I got really tired of not being able to easily change large sections on paper. –Aimee L.

I love the feeling of my laptop's keys beneath my fingers. It propels me to type something--anything--with no aim or purpose (most of the time). I start typing, and I watch as something unfolds: a long overdue email to an old friend, a quick online message to a new friend, or the beginning to what I hope will be the story that changes the world.—Lynz M.

If I'm writing on a computer, sometimes I like to start in the middle. I can write papers or stories in chunks and then rearrange, add and subtract as necessary….Computers help me write because they make it so fast and easy to generate, alter, check grammar and spelling, etc. But they also make it easy to agonize over one sentence, rewriting and deleting, until you drive yourself crazy.—Tanya P.
So which side are you on?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Teh Internetz: NaNoWriMo

This year, for the first time, I will be doing NaNoWriMo. For the uninitiated, that stands for National Novel Writing Month. This year will be its 10th anniversary.

The point of NaNoWriMo is to create an online support system that challenges participants to write a 50,000 word novel in the 30 days of November. It's a grueling task that only a small percentage of participants complete, but apparently it's supposed to give you the same feeling of accomplishment as running a marathon. know...with words instead of actual steps.

Though I've never tried doing NaNoWriMo before, here are some tips that I've been told might help when attempting to write a novel in a month. They might end up being good general writing mantras.

    1. Do not edit or censor as you type. Just barf those words onto the word processor.

    2. Make a calendar with specific word count goals for each day.

    3. Create an outline to work from so you stay focused.

    4. Procrastinate by checking British National Treasure Stephen Fry's Twitter feed every few seconds.

    5. Use to meet up with other NaNos in your area to bitch, mainline coffee, and participate in write-ins.

The point of writing a novel in 30 days isn't to write anything GREAT, it's just to write freely with the support of a community of writers. Good luck to any fellow NaNos out there; let's look forward to December.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

blogwatch: Alinea at Home

Any faithful blog reader must surely by now have encountered the cook-through-the-book type of blog. The general idea is that some enterprising non-professional cook, dissatisfied or bored with the rigors of corporate life, decides that cooking her way through Mastering the Art of French Cooking, say, is a far finer thing to do. In Carol Blymire's case it was The French Laundry cookbook. Was, because after the better part of two years, Blymire finished every recipe in the French Laundry cookbook, complete with photo documentation, fancy dinners at The French Laundry and Keller's Per Se, and a wide internet fan base.

It's not too late to be won over by Blymire's humor over successes and epic failures both. You see, she's decided to do it all over again using the new cookbook from Alinea, Grant Achatz's Chicago restaurant. Alinea, while winning numerous honors including Gourmet magazine's nod as Best Restaurant in America, is primarily known for the adventurous detail involved in every plate. Think foams, agar and other hydrocolloids, aromas, airs and other aspects of molecular gastronomy most of us experience, if at all, secondhand. A blog post, with visuals sums up the intriguing experience.

How can you cook such cuisine at home? Lord knows, I would probably break down in tears. For those interested in following along, Achatz and co. worked with Ten Speed Press to make shockingly affordable $30 cookbook, and Blymire's Alina at Home blog is set to commence any day.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Right There by Melissa Mann

The short lines and repeated sentence structures of Melissa Mann's Right There give the poem the frantic feel of an insomniac mind; it reads like the 4 AM poem that the note preceding it identifies it as being. Characteristic of sleepless thought, too, is the way the poem builds from minor kitchen accidents to relationships to social inequality then draws them all together again. At first the conclusions drawn from what is focused upon seem exaggerated, the products of a mind that sleep because it is overwrought:

You see this burn on my arm?

Right there

Is why you should never


Slowly, they come to make more sense. Avoiding a dent in the wall (and presumably a minor injury on the part of whoever hit into it) is probably worth restraining one's urge to tell one's partner

To open

The sodding

Tin of beans


Even the flattened characters who appear near the end fit into the insomniac mindset: the "hedge fund manager", the "single mum" become like the shadows outside the insomniac's window, incompletely known yet able to fuel the speaker's racing thoughts.

Nonetheless, the lines about

that disabled woman

On the tube

Having to ask someone

To give up their seat

are problematic because people with disabilities often suffer from people seeing them only as disabled. Here the speaker not only echoes this unfortunate tendency but goes on to use the woman to prove her a point that frankly has nothing to do with the woman but is, rather, an appropriation of her identity and situation. (Besides, the fact that not all disabilities are visible or make someone need a seat on the subway seems entirely overlooked.) Similarly, the "single mum in Rotherham" is nothing more than a geographical location and a single mother whose home has been repossessed. Why is she a single mother? Why is she in such a desperate position?

The answers don't seem to matter for this poem; they show the limits of the speaker. "It's all right there"— even the reasons why the speaker cannot go beyond fantasies of dropping out of society and being loved to work to improve "the steaming pile of shit" and to fix her relationship.

Less redeemable is the verse about the heart wrapped in muslin. The confusion of cause and effect (one should hide one's heart away so as to avoid hiding one's heart away), while reflective of insomniac thought, slows the poem's pace. More importantly, specifying that the material hiding and protecting the heart is muslin does little to relieve the cliché.

Savvy Context: The Crowd Weighs in on Paper

First, I apologize for a belated post! I promise I'll make it up to you!

Instead of writing this post from inside my own little bubble, I asked some friends what they thought of writing on paper.

I find that it's much more satisfying for me to put the ink on the page myself rather than relying on a computer. I think that writing on paper makes the writing more personal. —Kandi H.

I hand wrote on paper for many years. I still do sometimes. There's something about it that's easier, like a connection from my hand to the pencil. I was also very against using pen….[Writing on paper] really just help[s] me get my ideas out. Staring at a blank sheet of paper just makes me want to write something in a way that a computer screen won't.–Aimee L.

I always begin writing on paper; my initial draft is always written the same way I would talk to someone. Once the ideas are laid out on paper, then I can circle, draw, scale, move, exchange the phrases and words into a more comprehensible idea rather than just blurbs on paper. I usually re-write at least 3-4 times; it's also helpful to track my changes and watch the birth of a masterpiece throughout the entirety of its evolution.-- Jenny A.

[The lone male voice in the room simply pronounces its preference] I always write on paper.—Stan S.

Next time, the computer people will have their say. Until then, where do you stand and why?

You, The Living (dir. Roy Andersson)

"Be pleased then, you, the living, in your delightfully warmed bed, before Lethe's ice-cold wave will lick your escaping foot."

And so begins what superior critic Anton Bitel enticingly describes as ‘a litany of human disconnection, misery, frustration and despair’- but the kind that sees humour in the apparent futility of our day to day mishaps and misunderstandings that bind us together in our collective angst.

Conventional narrative is replaced with a series of living tableaux; our hapless characters shuffle around ineffectually – forlorn and resigned - some in silent anguish, others more vocal in their pain. It could make for decidedly grim viewing if not for the rather jaunty music provided by members of a marching band, and for the distance created between ourselves and the characters which enables us to see humour in their absurdity. And yet, somehow, there remains the tiniest glimmer of humanity within it all.

Andersson is gifted with a distinctive visual style: everything is in long shot, the static camera moving only once or twice throughout. Every scene is composed like a painting, the heavy ashen make-up and muted palette serving to enhance this aesthetic. The director explains: ‘I want light that has not much shadow because I want light where people can’t hide in – light without mercy.’ The pared down result is beautifully stark; the lack of distraction allows us to savour the texture of the utilitarian architecture and weather worn streets in all their gritty glory.

The film may well be a master class in mise en scene, but there is a philosophical core lurking not far beneath the surface: think understated rather than startlingly profound. Either way, this collection of deliciously droll vignettes is something you have to see for yourself.

Monday, October 27, 2008

News from the Center of American Poetry

I receive in the mail a cream-colored envelope from the Academy of American Poets in New York, New York. In the lower left-hand corner, this quote from Walt Whitman: “To have great poets, there must be great audiences…”

The bundle of paper inside is about what you expect: sophisticated panhandling.

First, a letter from the Chairman. “Dear Friend,” it reads. What follows is a petition for my Membership in an organization founded well over seventy years ago by Marie Bullock, who was “outraged” by the fact that poets were not given time off from their jobs to give readings—jobs such as “soda-fountain jerk” or “salesman in a clothing store.” A rather confident letter.

As a member, among other perks, you get copies of books awarded by the Academy, “a valued edition to your personal library.” Join at a higher level (“which will bring you closer to the center of the American poetry world”) and you get a DVD. About poets.

By now I am dismayed.

But look, a letter from Donald Hall, author of the great Anti-Institutional essay "Poetry and Ambition" (1983), telling me poetry “requires institutions to give it a presence in the public world.”

Here is a brochure on all the Programs the Academy sponsors: awards, book clubs, websites, events, and prizes, prizes, prizes. I feel ill.

Finally, the bottom line: check a box next to a dollar amount. American Poetry accepts Visa, MasterCard, and American Express. This donation puts your name on Annual Reports. The return envelope has paid postage—though a first-class stamp will “help keep costs down.”

Whitman’s dream. But how did Whitman get my name and address?

Copyeditor Needed

Fringe is looking for a few good people who have a dorkily intense love of the English language as expressed through grammar.

We're in need of:
  • a chief copyeditor to coordinate collection, correction and return of lit work to editors, and to be an extra set of eyes on all copy.
  • 3 to 4 copyeditors to read specific genres, including poetry, and to make sure our issues are grammatical and make sense.
It's a great way to get involved with Fringe, learn the inner workings of a lit mag and be a part of the literary community.

Want to join the team? Email and let us know which position you're interested in.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Have you ever wished you could shed your exterior and hop inside someone else’s skin, to literally walk in their shoes, even just for day? By altering every aspect of your physical being, morphing ones self into another race or gender you would be allowed a secret passage into the world from their eyes. Now I’m not speaking about an upgrade to your fantasy look, a supermodel body, fix your nose, younger looking skin. No, I’m talking about taking on the exterior of someone from a complete alternate walk of life to oneself. To experience how the world responds, if only your physical being was transformed, the different limitations, the expectations, the remunerations a person from another sector of society encounters.

When I purchase a train ticket here in Cape Town, the conductor will always issue me a first class pass, (which is more expensive and allows you to travel in a separate more quiet metro-plus carriage), even though I have not requested one.

One day the woman beside me on the train looked over at my ticket, and questioned as to why I was paying for first class and riding on third class. I always travel third-class, and being a naive foreigner, previous to this incident I had not realised they had been over charging me. I was not happy. “Why?”, I exclaimed. The woman, went on to explain that they would look at me (being a small, white, blonde haired female), and assume I would want first class, “the white South African girls would never travel third class, if on the train at all” she explained, matter-of-factly. I’m sure I could here the ‘duh’ resounding in the tone of her voice.

In this moment I was struck more-so than ever before, by the emphasis placed on our physical appearance, the very things we have no control over. And it got me thinking, if only I could experience another side, a world with a different response, to hop inside a different skin.

Power and Pole Dancing in Malaysia

I lost my footing on the treadmill when I found the Asian Pole Summit ad in the Expat KL Magazine, which targets expats in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, a Muslim country in Southeast Asia. My first thoughts as an American feminist were that the summit represents an unusual tolerance for female sexual expression, or maybe it’s not so different in this culture from belly dancing. Egyptian women once danced me under the table at a women-only party, but then I consider our proximity to the "lady sex" industry in Bangkok where erotic dance is more empowering to pimps than the dancers. Then I noticed the ad's Simone de Beauvoir quote, “one is not born a woman, one becomes one.”

The appropriation of this second wave feminist cornerstone made me ask “What is a woman--in Malaysia?" Beauvoir’s idea that “women” are a social construct threatens to crumble the Islamic gender norms, which circumscribe dress (even though the hijab is optional here), rights, and behavior. I let local women answer for themselves whether and how they feel might feel oppressed, but in any case the Asian Pole Summit’s audience lives in a society whose majority subscribes to strict gender norms and where men can take a two-hour flight and get all the pole dancing they want. In such a context, to tell women that they can empower themselves via a weekend of “killer workouts” and “exotic titillation” reduces the options for women to the virgin-whore dichotomy while doing nothing to challenge the patriarchal social structure wherein most married women have banking options that rival pre-1950s America.

This country is confused about women. Mini skirts and hijabs rival each other for majority so it feels to me that the only public woman seems to be a sexualized one, and therefore any choice a woman makes about her presentation is a response to the country’s secular-religious struggle. I wonder if female empowerment through the art of pole dancing is possible in a patriarchal society; as Andi Zeisler asks regarding do-me feminism, “If the standards and stereotypes by which girls and women are judged haven't changed, could it really be called empowerment at all?”
No doubt the Asian Pole Summit deserves kudos for its woman-centered approach and the apparent business savvy of its female leaders. The issue isn’t to pole dance or not to pole dance, but it’s a question of power and meaning. I'm not convinced that empowerment from sexy fitness will translate outside the studio's doors where a solitary woman, irregardless of race or class, is a target for robbery or abuse even in broad daylight (don’t be mislead by KL’s low statistics). Maybe the dance's power doesn't have to translate to be effective for an individual woman, but I think she might be best served learning a dance move that includes a few karate chops when she’s seduced a would-be attacker to his knees.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The material and the dream can join

Writers tend to be very particular about the hows and wheres of their writing sessions. Entire books have been devoted to the subject, featuring 50-year-old desks, walls covered with post-it notes, and over-stuffed bookshelves.

Nowhere in one of these books will you find a tan-colored cubicle.

My preferred workspace consists of a table at Panera in Watertown, Mass. On this table are two things: (1) my MacBook and (2) a refillable cup of Mountain Dew. To my mind, I do my best writing here, with the Dew and the sunlight and the white noise of quick lunchtime conversation.

Alas, I spend 40 hours a week in the aforementioned cubicle. Inspiring it is not. But I have found ways to push through the pain of my spirit-killing, I mean, less-than-ideal, confines:
  • Procrastinate. Most writers, when sitting down to write, find ways to procrastinate. When you have a day job, however, you can use your own writing as a means of procrastination. In this way, writing almost becomes fun. Almost.
  • Decorate. Tack quotations and poems to your cube walls. Some may view this as pretentious and/or weird. Just tell them that, without these things, your muse might abandon you altogether. They’ll think this is totally normal.
  • Exploit. Write about your co-workers.
  • Blog. Blogging may not do what the Dew can do, but it’ll get the creative juices flowing. See here and here and here.
  • Research. Put all that non-work-related Web-surfing to good use and research magazines and journals, or places to submit your work. See “Procrastinate.”
  • Compete. If you’re at a loss for writing material, find a writing contest that dictates your subject.
  • Believe. Believe that if you persevere, one day you’ll be able to return to your rightful spot at Panera.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

White Suit in the White City

Best-selling author and journalist Tom Wolfe made an appearance Thursday as “The Right Stuff” was selected for The Chicago Public Library’s One Book, One Chicago program this fall.

I must admit, I feel somewhat perverse writing a blog about him after he said tersely in an interview with journalist Carol Marin, “Blogs fascinate me…they’re a new world for people who will believe anything.” Believe me when I say meeting Tom Wolfe was truly an unforgettable experience.

After much discussion, Marin finally got to the question everyone’s been dying to know, “What’s with the white suit?” Anybody who knows anything about Wolfe knows he’s famous for wearing a white suit and fedora during any appearance.

Wolfe said the white suit is “the man from Mars” approach. He said he never blended in with the crowd and wearing the white suit provides a barrier between himself and his subjects, as he has reported a variety of subjects from NASCAR drivers, to Black Panthers, to Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters, to the first men to launch into outer space – just to name a few. He described it as “The man who doesn’t know anything and is eager to know.”

His opinion of modern authors who have “the right stuff” are Carl Hiaasen (Strip Tease) and Richard Price (The Wanderers). You better believe I rearranged my book list. Any advice from the pioneer of the New Journalism movement is worthy advice by me.

The turnout of One Book, One Chicago was an expected 700. Audience members were given a numbered ticket, and mine was 249. The adoring crowd waiting nearly an hour as numbers one through 50 paid their dues while eager-to-please Wolfe allowed photos and small talk as he signed book after book.

Tired and grouchy, I waited it out, determined to meet the author who takes up a good portion of my bookshelf. I went to the restroom to contemplate whether to stay or leave, when the angels above must have heard my silent pleas. A ticket with the number “49” was laying on the tiled restroom floor. No more than a minute passed and I was back out in the corridor waiting in line for my book to be signed.

My copy of The Right Stuff was bought years ago from a used bookstore. The cover page was hanging on its last thread and when I finally handed my shabby copy to him—yellow weathered pages and all—he said, “Wow, this is one loved book. Authors like to see this.” As he closed it, the cover fell off in his hands. Needless to say, though sad and broken, I will never rid of my beloved copy of The Right Stuff.

*Sidenote : I found myself in line with The Huffington Post's Greg Boose. Read his piece on whether Wolfe thinks McCain or Obama has "the right stuff". You'll find me at the bottom of the posted pictures!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

What about today?

When I checked my email this morning I received the most annoying forward from my aunt. It was entitled “Black and White” and detailed all the nostalgic wonders of the 1950s. It was filled with ridiculous photos and some equally ridiculous statements like, “My mom used to cut chicken, chop eggs and spread mayo on the same cutting board with the same knife and no bleach, but we didn't seem to get food poisoning” or “we all said prayers and sang the national anthem, and staying in detention after school caught all sorts of negative attention.” There were also, bizarrely, four references to spanking children.

Nostalgia bothers me as a rule. Not only is it unwarranted and silly because we can never go back to that time, it discredits how far our society has come in the past 60 years. Even though we are in the midst of a huge financial crisis, today’s news is a perfect example of why we should be celebrating the future not the past. Colin Powell took the bold and unexpected step of endorsing Barack Obama for president. We’ve been waiting for years for Powell to break publicly from the Bush-era mistakes, and today he did so with force. His comments were inspiring and thoughtful; his reasoning regarding the campaigns of Obama and McCain was totally on point. But most of all he gave me hope that there will be change, that everyone’s belief in Obama is not hollow or too idealistic.

This exciting news coupled with the announcement of Obama’s huge fundraising gains makes me happy to be living in 2008. Over 3 million people have contributed their hard-earned money to the man who could be the first black president of the United States. We do not need nostalgia in such exciting times. The forward ends by encouraging the recipient to “pass this to someone and remember that life's most simple pleasures are very often the best.” I agree; life’s most simple(and modern) pleasures—equality, positive social advances, and a hope in our collective future—are the very best!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Poetry in the Age of the Fellowship

Of the poets I know in Portland, Oregon, one is an adjunct at a local community college, another is an HR temp, and another was recently laid-off from an editing position. As for myself, I am a marginally-employed substitute teacher and hand-to-mouth freelance writer. Obviously, the economy is faltering for young writers.

Who doesn't lament the loss of programs like the Works Progress Administration? Howard Zinn, in his People’s History of the United States, says this short-lived project of massively funding artists in the Depression was never to be repeated. NEA aside, of course he is right.

Consider a less-widely known branch of the WPA: the Federal Writers’ Project. It was essential for hardscrabble wordsmiths. Poets employed by the program included Claude McKay, Kenneth Patchen, and Kenneth Rexroth. Writers like Saul Bellow, Studs Terkel, and Ralph Ellison contend that the WPA deeply influenced their later work.

But today it is with little surprise that I read a press release from Portland’s Regional Arts and Culture Council, announcing that poet and writer Kim Stafford had won the organization’s $20,000 fellowship, which he will use to take time away from his career at Lewis & Clark College to work on a project.

I find these “awards” troubling. How can I not notice that those who win grants, more likely than not, are artists already published, comfortably employed, and financially secure? The apparent purpose of “grants” and “fellowships” seems not to be in support of artists and writers with demonstrated financial need—those very creative-class types who tend to be young, trying to get their foot in the door of the writing community.

I am not begrudging Stafford, or any of the other writers who have won this award. I myself won a grant from RACC last year to attend a workshop with Marvin Bell, which paid for not only the $1103 tuition, but the experience and poems I gleaned.

Yet the granting of grants seems to closely resemble the structure of the rest of the economy: resources are allocated to those who already have resources. The rest of us are left to fend for ourselves not only artistically but fundamentally and economically. If the rich get richer, the poor take temp jobs, come home exhausted, and write poems about it.

What is the purpose of a grant? Is it to award accomplishment or to encourage new voices? With capitalism so firmly entrenched in literature, how are new writers to put out books (especially in a culture dominated by reading fees for first-book contests)?

Yeats said a poet should never get to comfortable. With this in mind, should young writers simply alienate ourselves entirely from the Arts Administrators? That is, is the best poetry to come from lack while lackluster poetry comes from "the best"?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Teh Internetz: Password Protection

A few weeks ago, I nerd-laughed (which is a sort of phlegmy, halting snicker) at Sarah Palin for having her Yahoo account hacked as well as Bill O'Reilly for having his web site hacked.

Stupid, un-web savvy n00bs, I chortled. God, who uses yahoo e-mail anymore anyway?

Then, a few days later, I got totally hax0red.

A personal blog I had kept since I was 15, chronicling my every teenage honey-nut angst-morsel and drama-ridden spinach-puff, was hacked and wiped clean of all information. Sure, it wasn't as horrifying as, say, compromising government business or releasing personal contact information of hundreds of paid subscribers, but it still sucked big time. Luckily, I had a content backup system and I was able to contain the damage, but that is no excuse. I should have had a better password protection system in place.

As writers, you will hopefully be keeping digital archives of your work along with important e-mails from your (god willing) agent and/or publisher. Consider this a friendly reminder to stop using "password" as your password.

Lifehacker has a great article here about how to keep your password safe.

Bottom line:

    1. Don't answer your security questions in a clear-cut fashion; obscure the answers.

    2. Choose passwords that are complex.

    3. Use a password manager to keep track of them.

So go ahead. Change that password you've been using for 10 years. It might be annoying, but it'll make you safer in the long run.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Why my life is like Goodfellas


Did you ever see the movie Goodfellas? Remember the scene when Henry Hill had to make the sauce, pick up his brother from rehab and get a cocaine deal ready? Remember how hectic and insane that day was?

Well, my life as a single mom who works is kinda of like that everyday, (except of course the dealing and doing drugs part).

It involves getting a 6 and 5 year old up, fed and ready for school and usually finishing a deadline for a side client, while going to my real job at a marketing firm, dealing with a staff of Tibetean nannies, housekeepers and other random people I must pay.

There is always a drama with either my ex-husband, a client, the police (someone recently tried to break into my house) or my kids. Some days my youngest decides randomly that she is "not welcome at school" (her words, not mine.)

Or I have been asked to write some "out of the box' thinking for a large packaged goods client, that is of course really code for give me something safe my specific demographic of 24-92 moms would like.

Through it all I have taken the approach, that my life is like a game show or Survivor. If I guess all the clues correctly, or outsmart the competition, I will win a calm orderly life, in which I will be able to garden, cook dinner for my kids and read all of those books that pile up and actually volunteer for school and other things.

But until then...

StoryMill: Making Writing Fun (Again)

I've been working on a long project for some time, and now that revisions are in order I decided to try out Mariner Software's StoryMill program I'd first heard mentioned in the end pages of a David Levithan novel. StoryMill, which is only for macs, comes with a free 30-uses demo although it's also quite affordably priced.

What makes StoryMill so helpful is that it provides a variety of ways to organize yourself while writing. If you're anything like me, you've usually got notes scratched on a notebook, three ideas rattling around your brain, a couple of links cut-and-pasted somewhere to help write the description of the main character's hometown, and some minor characters whose motivation you need to explore. With StoryMill, you can create character profiles, assign yourself research tasks, input any useful information from YouTube clips to website snippets. When you sit down to write, you can make sure you're surrounded with every tool you need to focus on the writing.

StoryMill also allows you to keep track of your productivity via a ProgressMeter that you can set to a specified word count goal or project goal. Thematically, you can organize your progress through a Scenes tab, or create a timeline of events. StoryMill allows annotation, tagging, and a full screen view to prevent any distractions on-screen.

I'm having such a wonderful time with StoryMill because it allows me to put all my relevant information in one place, and organize it in as many or as few ways as I feel it needs. That, in turn, makes me want to write, which is fantastic. I haven't played around with all of the functions, most notably the timeline, which received a rather negative review here. If anyone else has worked with StoryMill or a similar application, I'd love to hear about their experience.