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012316 Notes     Development on Work-In-Progress (WIP) prelims goes well. I have yet to finish HTTS Lesson 8 homework, but I have been making steady and satisfying progress toward that end. In the meantime, I have discovered how to use the iPhone/Mac app “Notes” to my advantage.
     A quick bit of background first. I have ever been a PC man both with upright and laptop. A couple of years ago, I bought my wife an iPad. She was pleased but even more so after the family upgraded to smart iPhones and she discovered how the two devices could work in synch. When her PC crapped out, she purchased herself an iMac. Being a published and award-winning musician and singer-song writer, she was over the moon with the creative possibilities all three devices working in concert gave her. I watched from the sidelines with secret envy but couldn’t in good conscience let my perfectly fine PC laptop go; indeed, after the death of my last upright PC, it had been my stalwart companion for nearly ten years. Well, just as it began to show signs of age—it was having trouble communicating with our server and house wifi, and it had began to refuse to shut down even when so ordered—Santa-wife purchased me a MacBook Pro. Now it’s my turn to be over the moon as I explore the connection possibilities between it and my iPhone. BTW, while I still use my laptop from time to time, I see a day fast approaching when old-faithful must be completely retired.
     While working on WIP preliminaries, I am strongly focused on clarifying the five elements of The Sentence: a Protagonist-with-a-need, an Antogonist-with-a-need; Setting, Conflict, and Twist, and developing light, but no less critical, aspects of each element. As I am doing this, however, my muse/subconscious/right-brain has been hard at work fielding my left-brain with random, and some not-so-random, ideas and story details. Not wanting to lose any of these important, though less than clear or plot-synched, offerings, but neither wanting to interrupt my writing flow, I found it wonderfully convenient to whip-out the iPhone, open Notes, push the dictation-button (microphone icon) and record away. Once the idea is recorded, either verbally or text-wise, I find I can return to the writing at hand unworried about forgetting an interesting idea or losing a scrap of hurried scribble. Sweet!
     Further, as the app must pause in its recording to process dictation, it is training me to keep my thoughts brief and to the point, a skill I need to hone. And because the MacBook and iPhone are synched, my Notes are immediately available on my computer and ready for me to save, copy and paste, or edit as needed.
     Not only has this been supremely helpful for catching random ideas while I’m actively working on my HTTS homework but also in situations when my laptop is unavailable, such as in the midst of teaching, a faculty meeting, or a game—though I use only the briefest of manual text-entries at those times.
     The Notes are also an interesting record of organic story/idea evolution. I consider myself very lucky to have been blessed with both the abilities of an Outliner and a Pantster. As a result of 35 years experience as a Game Master (GM) and 26 as a teacher, I have no problems either developing detailed story outlines prior to writing or exploring the unexpected mid-story promptings of my right-brain. My first notes only vaguely relate to the latest as the plot changes and evolves. Complications appear or disappear, characters grow or diminish, conflicts escalate or dissipate, POVs re-orient direction and focus with each new right-brain note. I find the record fascinating and strangely reassuring, for I am led to believe that nothing is wasted and even the most seemingly unrelated idea can contribute to the whole in an unexpected and delightful way.
     Presently I’ve recorded 66 notes and, with each dictation, a bit more literary focus is achieved. I can feel their weight offering me a firmer footing from which to eventually start composing the WIP directly.