Edison and Me: How NOT to Do Something Difficult

I have the information for the first module of How To Write A Series more or less finished.  The story is done and beautifully edited. NOT by me. I’m fighting myself over the damn cover art.

So far so good.

And today I spent six hours trying to figure out how to bring all of this information—and there is a lot of it, including some new techniques I came up with to make this whole Writing A Series Without Having It Fall Apart On You Three Books Down The Line process simpler… When I hit the weird and wacky wall of SOFTWARE. Of All things.

Started with Inspiration. Nope, that’s not gonna work. It’s missing presentation options I need.

Moved to ConceptDraw Mindmap. SO not going to work. It’s missing MOST of the options I need to get this done.

I spent that six hours learning two detailed course creation processes that won’t work for this course.

Edison spent a lot longer than that on the lightbulb, and a lot more tries, but unlike Edison, I’ve built courses before, and I thought going in that I knew exactly how to present this.

Now I’m looking at Keynote, and considering slides and downloads.

Or going my Ugly Workshop route with hand-drawn diagrams on quad paper.

Or… something else.

My objectives are to be concise and fast, to make sure I cover the material thoroughly but that I don’t overwhelm anyone with details, to make sure I make this as easy as possible for the writer to use, and to create a fun, entertaining, interesting course that allows writers to achieve success on their first use of the course, as well as with subsequent uses.

So. I’m struggling. I’m going spend a few hours this evening getting the rest of my background material and notes together.

And I’m promising myself one more time that this will NOT end up being as big a course as How To Think Sideways. Or even How To Revise Your Novel.


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7 responses to “Edison and Me: How NOT to Do Something Difficult”

  1. Texanne Avatar

    True geeks would have a different answer, but the fact is that there is nothing more versatile or customizable than pencil and quad paper.

    White boards throw glare at the camera, as do blackboards. The software? You didn’t mention Curio or Scapple, both of which I have used. Curio has lots of abilities (specially for building collages) and Scapple is quick to learn.

    I won’t feel cheated if you scan your quad paper or your little books-a-million spiral notebook or a fancy-schmancy Moleskine and voice over them. It’s all about the same thing: transferring information from your mind to ours.

    Not all of us are geeks. All of us are writers. We totally dig paper and pens.

    1. Holly Avatar

      Just bought Scapple a few minutes ago, checking out Curio now.

      I built some STRANGE new tools for the HTWAS Expansion, and I want to make sure I can transfer the concept for using them clearly.


  2. Amy Fahrer Avatar

    I’m really looking forward to the updated How to Write a Series. I don’t know if it would be what you’re looking for, but have you tried Scapple? It’s by Literature and Latte, who make Scrivener. It’s mind-mapping software, but much more user friendly than others I’ve tried. There’s a free trial, and the full version is only $14.99. Just a thought. I hope you find something that works well for you!

    1. Holly Avatar

      Thank you, thank you, thank you! You are my freakin’ hero. Got it, bought it, and you’ll be seeing it in class.

      1. Amy Fahrer Avatar

        Glad I could help! 😀 Can’t wait to see all the goodies you have in store for us!

        1. Holly Avatar

          Reader-teaser starters are live now:


          I’m working on the rest. 😀

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