Charlie Stross Explains Why I Can’t Always Follow His Stories

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Charlie Stross writes today about an organizing/writing tool called Scrivener that he now uses instead of a word processor. Here’s a tiny excerpt:

I’ve used it before on several novels, notably ones where the plot got so gnarly and tangled up that I badly needed a tool for refactoring plot strands….My suspicion is that if this sort of tool spreads, the long-term result may be better structured novels with fewer dangling plot threads and internal inconsistencies.

Wait a second. The author of the novel, the guy who’s spent months immersed in the world he’s created, is sometimes unable to follow his own plot without the help of a monster piece of project coordination software? Seriously? So how are the rest of us, who merely have a long stream of words to cajole us along, supposed to follow it?

But I suppose I should be grateful regardless. I’m reading Anna Karenina right now, and either my edition was put together by an ADHD nine-year-old or else Leo Tolstoy badly needed a Cyrillic version of Scrivener. Either way, I’m rapidly coming to the conclusion that I just don’t care much for Tolstoy and I might as well admit it. War and Peace didn’t especially keep me riveted to my seat either. But at least the Kindle editions are free.

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You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

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