By Natalie Bright

Re-typing 15,000 words for Book #2 of a middle grade adventure series set in the Wild West into Scrivener this week. At present, I write everything in Microsoft Word, including this blog post. It’s going to be a huge learning curve to retrain my brain.


Scrivener is a powerful content-generation tool for writers that allows you to concentrate on composing and structuring long and difficult documents. While it gives you complete control of the formatting, its focus is on helping you get to the end of that awkward first draft.” http://www.literatureandlatte.com/scrivener.php

I heard about Scrivener when I discovered a great podcast for indie authors: thecreativepenn.com Thriller author, Joanna Penn and several of her guests, claim to have greatly increased productivity by using this writing software.

Here’s what I really like about Scrivener:

The price! Only $40.

The ability to see my entire novel in a notecard format on the corkboard view. Each notecard can be labeled by chapter or scene, with notations for that scene or plot point. Attached to that notecard can be images, links for research, and the scene or chapter manuscript itself. Since I’m adding a mystery element to the WIP book, it helps me plan where I need to take the story.

I also like the project outline view which shows chapter and word count.


Image Credit: Tinted index cards on the corkboard view from http://www.simplyscrivener.com

Editing Your Story made Easy

Scenes rarely come in sequential order. My writing brain has never worked that way. If you’re like me, elements of your current work in progress can hit you at the worst possible times. My brain is a swirl of images as the story plays out in my head. It’s usually coming faster than I can stop whatever I’m doing to jot a note. I’ve scribbled notes on lunch napkins, bank deposit slips, and grocery check-out receipts. Everything else in my life is structured and planned, but I’ve never been able to write a book from point A to point B to point C and so on.

With Scrivener, it’s really easy to find the place where that additional imagery or dialogue needs to be added. I can gather up all of my notes, and using the corkboard view, I can find right where the edits will fit. No more scrolling through a 60 page Word doc or sifting through stacks of printed pages trying to find a particular scene.

I’ll keep you posted on how this goes and what I’m learning.

Is anybody out there using Scrivener? Please share your thoughts, tips, likes, or dislikes.

Writing onward…








By Natalie Bright


Writing Exercise #1.

Develop a new twist on the characterization of an iconic character.

On a cold, foggy Saturday this past weekend, my husband popped in True Grit (TG#2) starring Jeff Bridges. Later that afternoon John Wayne’s True Grit, from 1969, (TG#1) happened to be on television. Over dinner we talked about the differences between the two movies.

My husband made a good point in that Bridges played a meaner, darker version of a crusty, old Marshall, which is why he likes TG#2 better. Directed by the Coen brothers and released in 2010, I agree that TG#2 is more realistic to the old west. It never made sense to me that the Marshall would have walked that far in TG#1. In TG#2 they rode Little Blacky to death first and then Mattie was carried by the Marshall on foot to save her life.

On Sunday afternoon, we introduced my son’s girlfriend to The Cowboys (1972) with John Wayne. If you don’t own the blue-ray version of this movie, you must find it. Filmed on locations in Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico the scenery stands out as a character on its own. TV reruns don’t do these ranches and sweeping landscapes justice. Roscoe Lee Browne is my favorite character as the chuck wagon cookie, and I’ve had a crush on A. Martinez as Cimarron from the moment he defiantly proclaims, “I’m a mistake of nature.” This movie is so good. Tommy Lee Jones is reportedly writing a new screenplay for The Cowboys. I’m happy/sad about that news.

To sum up our weekend, my 18yo likes TG#1 and TG#2 equally as well. His girlfriend loved The Cowboys. Our 14yo tells me he’s not really into John Wayne, but he really likes that new Netflix show Lonesome Dove (What? I thought he only watched Walking Dead). I’m so glad new generations are discovering these “new” western type shows! When’s the last time you watched a good ole’ family western?

Writing Exercise #2.

Using one of your own characters, rework the description into something more… more dark, more funny, more brave. Dig deep into their personality and motives, and see what you can find hiding there.

Thanks for following WordsmithSix!


The Western Genre & Why I Write

The Western Genre & Why I Write

By Natalie Bright

Defined by Wikipedia as: a genre of various arts, such as film, television, radio, fiction and art. Westerns are devoted to telling stories set primarily in the latter half of the 19th century in the American Old West, hence the name. Many feature cowboys, bandits, lawmen, soldiers and American Indians, as well as spectacular mountain scenery

Today’s western genre is not the stereotypical shoot ‘em up adventures from the past that you may think of. You can also find modern stories set in big cities, rural towns, or endless plains; not just mountain ranges.

You’ll discover mystery, romance and adventure. You’ll discover essay collections that celebrate the land and open spaces (“West of 98: Living and Writing the New West”). Books by authors who spend years researching historical events. Creative nonfiction articles and memoirs by people who have lived on the range, rode the bucking bulls, or ridden the mountain trails. Cookbooks and plays and songs…

The 650 member strong Western Writers of America includes screenwriters, song writers, historians, performers, poets, novelists, freelance writers, editors, agents—all types of professionals committed to crafting real stories set in the West.

My Inspiration

Being a part of groups like WWA and Women Writing the West are what inspires me to write. Their stories inspire me. I want to help you understand what it means to be a part of this vast land, how a Texas sky can take your breath away, or imagine what it’s like to stare upon an unblocked view that extends further than you can walk in a day.

“Western literature is of the spirit, our spirit, the spirit of America.” WWA

To discover books and speakers relating to the west, go to: www.westernwriters.org


Sometimes you can’t ignore the stories of your heart.

What inspires you to write?


Monday Musings: For the Love of PIG!

Monday Musings: For the Love of PIG!

By Natalie Bright

My middle grade novel is set in 1887 Texas and I’ve been researching provisions of the time period. My main character needed something that could be carried in a saddle bag for several days or even weeks. I hesitated to use pork. It wasn’t that long ago my 4th grader was told by a concerned classmate that he wasn’t going to Heaven because he ate bacon for breakfast.

It’s a PC World

The more I researched, the more I realized my main character would have in all probability had a slab of pork on hand. In this PC world, why has the traditional Southern diet become so offensive? Or as one blogger noted, “you spout religion while stuffing pork down your gullet“.

Understanding the culture in the South and our longstanding reliance on this animal may shed some light on this controversial meat.

From Where Pig Came

It was the Spanish explorers who introduced hogs to Florida in the early 1500’s. As colonists spread west, domestic and feral hogs soon became a staple of southern cooking. Various cuts of meat could be salt-cured and smoked, lard was saved in jars, cracklings used to flavor Johnnycakes, and the leftover meat was ground and mixed with spices to make sausage. Nothing was wasted, and it preserved well in the root cellars or smokehouses all across  frontier America.

Feeding Pioneer Families

Steeped in a rich tradition that all blessings for the table are gifts from God, pioneer mothers prepared huge country breakfasts of fresh eggs, milk, bisquits and hearty slabs of fried ham to fill empty bellies after early morning chores and to sustain everyone during a day of hard labor until sundown. My grandfather recalled he got tired of sliced onion in a biscuit for his school lunch, until the family slaughtered in late fall. My husband remembers two fatted pigs fed his family of five for the entire winter. The children’s classic Little House on the Prairie devotes an entire chapter to the hog and how they utilized every part of him.

The fear created around pork may be rooted in a parasitic disease called trichinosis, caused by eating raw or undercooked pork or wild game. We understand now that pork must be cooked to at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit. U.S. pig farms are ultra clean and heavily regulated.

Symbol of Luck

The Pig symbolizes good luck in many cultures around the world. People in Cuba, Spain, Portugal, Hungary and Austria eat pork on New Year’s, based on the animal’s habit of rooting and pushing forward, making progress with every step. In Italy, the rich fatty content signifies wealth and prosperity, and tasty German sausage is legendary.

Life in the South

If you live in the South, the reality is that majority of us eat pork. Our love affair over a hickory smoked pork rib is not based on anything evil or satanic.  The family barbeque is a long held tradition from when we were little kids. Grease dripping down our chins and faces smeared with sauce is never considered rude.

For the love of pig; it’s a southern thing, ya’ll.

Natalie Bright