No, not me, though I feel like a tool for leaving my notebook on a southbound CalTrain Friday night. Happily, I got a call Monday morning from CalTrain’s Lost and Found telling me that the notebook had been turned in. The cash was missing, of course, but all the credit cards were there (useless now I’ve canceled them and ordered new ones) as well as my new driver’s license (yes!) and, of course, all my precious scribblings (whew). So all’s well that ends well, I guess, even if there were a few tense moments when the clerk at the Lost and Found at the San Jose station looked at me with puzzlement and said, “Did they call you?” I thought, wouldn’t that be perfect, to get me to drive all the way down to the station only to have the Lost and Found have lost my notebook again. But no, it turned out it was in a locked cabinet somewhere, and she found it and handed it over to me. And because the station is right next to the Poor House Bistro, I treated myself to a Cajun lunch (half a baked ham po’boy and a cup of gumbo) in semi-celebration. After all, if I were writing this as a story, that’s how I’d end it: with a lesson learned (symbolized by the cash lost) and a delicious Cajun meal.
So, the tool. I’ve been thinking for a couple years that it’d be nice to have all my references for a world together in one document without it being a huge Word doc I’d have to scroll through to find anything. Enter WikidPad, which is exactly what it sounds like: a Wiki for your local machine. It’s exactly what I needed for my novel. I can have listings of the cities on the planet, the people in the story, even the outlines of what happens in each part. All of them have their own page and are interlinked and indexed for easy access. It’s easy to edit, easy to cut and paste into, and the only real problem with it is that it’s so easy to use that you could happily spend hours just building out all the details of your world and never manage to write the actual story.
There are a number of local Wiki tools for Windows or Mac. This is the one I heard of first. I’ve installed and used it and it works great. If you search Google for “local wiki” and either “Windows” or “OSX,” you’ll find many alternatives, I’m sure.
Oh, and lastly, I promise, pictures of the book signing are up on my Flickr account. Enjoy!