Building A Series Wiki

When a series you are writing gets to ten books, you start to run into the limits of the human brain. You forget details of plots, names of minor characters, crucial details of their appearance, the names of some of the places. Actually, you hit those limits long before that, but human laziness tends to […]

Track What You Write with Writeometer

What gets measured gets done is a truism in management consultancy. I find it to be the case for writing as well. Quantifying when and where as well as how much I have written is something I’ve tried to do ever since I read Rachel Aaron’s 2K to 10K. I datamine this information to see when and where I am most productive and if there is anything I can do to make myself more so. Writeometer is an app for Android phones that I’ve found useful for this. It keeps track of how many words you write per day.

Dragon For Mac 6 Review

I have tried every incarnation of Mac speech to text software, starting with iListen before it was acquired by Nuance and working my way through DragonDictate and the renamed Dragon Professional Individual for Mac. Every version has ultimately disappointed. When Nuance took over the basic speech recognition engine became the same superb one as used on Dragon Naturally Speaking for Windows. Unfortunately, the interface built around it was usually terrible— ugly, buggy and extremely prone to crashing.

Scapple for Plotting

I am currently working on a murder mystery. I started with an interesting central character (a wizard detective),a setting that excites me (a magical steampunk version of nineteenth century Russia) and a strong idea (our hero has to investigate the murder of a rival he hated, one suspect being the woman he once loved). I […]

When You Need to Block Out the Internet Just Focus

Over the past few years I’ve used a program called Freedom to cut myself off from the internet when I’ve needed to be more productive. It works well but it’s a bit brute force– it blocks all access to the net. Recently the makers of Freedom have started moving towards a subscription model. This leads […]

More Useful Software

DragonDictate 4 As someone pointed out in a review elsewhere finally does what it’s supposed to do is not exactly a great slogan but, in the case of DragonDictate 4, it is an apt one. This is the first version of DragonDictate which I have not had a problem with, and believe me, I have […]


Over the past few weeks I’ve been doing a lot of writing in simplified plain text word processors using Markdown. I was surprised and rather pleased to discover my favourite of these was not one of the many excellent Mac programs such as Byword or iaWriter but WriteMonkey which is available solely for Windows. WriteMonkey […]

Invisible Software

For the past couple of weeks I have been living in a strange alternative universe where proprietary formatting for applications never happened. I have been storing my to do list on my phone and editing it in my word-processor on both Windows and OSX. My phone happens to run Android but I could just as […]

White Screen of Death

My apologies to those of you who glanced at the blog yesterday and found only a blank white screen. You were encountering a fairly well known WordPress flaw colloquially known as the White Screen of Death. I was looking at it myself  in a lot more panicked way since my entire website seemed to have […]

Procrastination Cascades

If you’re anything like me you can always find an excuse not to sit down and write. And even when you start, you can probably find ways of stopping yourself. This has become particularly evident to me over the past few days.  I normally use a program called Freedom 2 to cut myself off from the […]

Workflow 2013

I’m currently working on The Fall of Macharius and, since I am right in the middle of a new novel, now seems like a good time to talk about the tools I use and my workflow. It’s on my mind and a nice easy subject to write a blog post about and, hey, I’m all about […]

Strategy Games Sale at Good Old Games

Good Old Games is having a sale of strategy games over this weekend. All of the Age of Wonders games and several of the Heroes of Might and Magic games along with many good city management games and King of Dragon Pass are available at 50% off. None of them cost more than a few […]

Evernote Clearly

As long-term readers of this blog will know I use Evernote a lot. It is my go-to program for storing ideas and web clippings. I also keep travel documents such as e-tickets in it and maps of places I am visiting and all sorts of other stuff. It has many advantages – it is cloud-based […]

Notational Velocity

Notational Velocity is a very simple-looking but surprisingly sophisticated little program for the Mac. It is intended to allow you to make and track notes very, very quickly. You just open it and start typing, rather like you would type in the search box in Google or Spotlight in OSX. What you type will bring […]

Folding Text

Recently I paid £28 on the Apple app store for a copy of Mellel 3, a word processor I don’t intend to use. This is more than just an example of my relentless addiction to acquiring software (honest!). I recently came across a cache of files from way back in 2006  when I used to […]