When I was in Madrid 3 years ago, I ate at Botin’s, the restaurant that Hem sends Lady Brett Ashley and Jake Barnes to. This restaurant is right down the street from Botin’s, and I had to laugh at the sign. I guess Hemingway’s books don’t translate well since the sign is clearly for an English-speaking audience. 🙂

Still, it’s brilliant, really. If you can’t lay claim to having a great American writer get drunk in your restaurant, you can at least proclaim he never was there, right?

Maybe I should make a sign for my office that says “Hemingway never wrote here.” Hmm, wonder if that will inspire me much?

Nope, probably not. I admire some of the old boy’s work, that’s for sure, but I’d have probably hated to be in his circle of friends. If writers are neurotic, and we know we are, can you imagine Hem ringing you up to discuss the rotten state of his current WIP?

::shudder::

Anyway, not being a good old lush of a writer who sloshes around cafes and hunches over a creaky manual typewriter, I decided to check out this Scrivener thing that’s been mentioned. (Jean mentioned it in comments, and I saw posts about it on one of my loops recently. And if anything can help me be more organized, and even get more accomplished, then yeehaw and where do I sign up?)

OMG.

I downloaded it immediately. Scrivener (and I’d love to link to it, but that’s something I’ve yet to figure out with Mac — control c and control v don’t cut it anymore) is this cool writer’s program that features word processing, outlining (not that I do), a corkboard for research, and then you can export your draft to more popular software, like Word, for final editing and printing (if you want). It is SO cool. There was a program being sold somewhere that was far more expensive, and far less cool, that I tried on my Toshiba a couple of years ago.

Scrivener is $34.99. You get to try it for 30 days free. I haven’t bought it yet, though I probably will. First, I wanted to see how long it would take me to learn some of the features, like the outlining. Will I really use it? OTOH, I love the look of the manuscript in the Scrivener edit mode. You can scroll through it seamlessly, and in the statistics portion of the program, Scrivener will actually tell you how many BOOK pages your manuscript would be in comparison to how many mss pages it is. You can change the parameters, too. The default is 350 words to a printed page, but you could make it anything you want.

Want to know if you’re on target for Desire? Count how many words are on a Desire page and plug it in. (You’d have to be really anal retentive, but still. You could do it if you wanted, and that’s cool.)

So far, so darn cool. Now, the goal is to actually write the book, not play around with toys and computers. Would Hemingway have gotten anything done if he’d had the Internet to goof around with? I don’t know. He managed to drink like a fish, party like it was 1999, and gamble away his living money (in the early days) while still writing for a newspaper and hammering out ground-breaking fiction.

I think I have no excuse. Any cool writing toys (computer or otherwise) you’ve discovered?