We had a great meeting yesterday, with contributions from everyone who attended. People are getting things done in the writing sphere. Maybe not quite as much as they’d like to, but making progress all the same. Kudos to them all … Continue reading
Welcome back! Here’s the second list of events and suggestions this month. And check out the Writers’ Calendar for more.
On February 12, from 7-9pm and just in time for Valentine’s Day, Tracy Strauss, author of the new book I Just Haven’t Met You Yet, and Gina Barreca, Hartford Courant columnist and UCONN Distinguished Professor of English, will discuss Writing About Love: How to Find It, How to Lose It, and Whether You Want to Bother With It At All. Tickets: $20. Copies of Tracy Strauss’ book, will be available for purchase and signing.
Norwalk Public Library is offering a free eight-week writing workshop with Kim Kovach beginning Monday, March 23 from 10:30-12pm. New and experienced writers are welcome to explore writing Flash Fiction (1,000 words) and Micro Fiction (300 words). Weekly homework assignments encourage participants to dive into writing. Registration required.
Another program in the WestportWRITES series is Pain as Metaphor: Writing on Disability and Illness. The workshop with Sonya Huber takes place on Sunday, March 22 from 2-4pm and will delve into the generative and restorative power of metaphor, as used in her book, Pain Woman Takes Your Keys and Other Essays from a Nervous System, to portray and explore the experience of chronic pain in a healing way.
Join Danbury book designer, artist and poet, Shelley Lowell, and Greenwich TV researcher and genealogy teacher, Janeen Bjork at the Danbury Library on March 28, from 10:30-2pm for a presentation on how to write a history of your family. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Connecticut Center for the Book is now accepting submissions for the 2020 Connecticut Book Awards. These awards recognize the best books by authors and illustrators from Connecticut or books about Connecticut. Categories include: Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, and Books for Young Readers broken into three subcategories: Picture Books, Fiction, and Nonfiction. The final deadline for all categories is April 17 and entry fees start at $40.00. Click here for submission guidelines.
In conjunction with the 2020 Connecticut Literary Festival, which is to take place on October 10, 2020, the Central Connecticut State English Department is planning to publish a literary anthology of Connecticut writers. They’re looking for previously unpublished work in the categories of fiction, creative non-fiction, (2,500 words max) and/or up to two poems. For details and how to submit, click here. Submissions deadline: March 31.
Those looking for critique groups or partners might be interested in a new website called critique match. CritiqueMatch is an online platform that connects writers, published authors, and beta readers to exchange feedback and gain skills. While the service is in beta (trial) mode the service is free and might be worth trying.
The 50 best online critique groups include ones that critique query letters, ones for people who only have 10 minutes a day to write and critiques of your first 13 lines, to make sure you’ve hooked the reader.
And here’s another on how one author did her own marketing in order to get onto the USA Today bestseller list.
Seduced Again. How Scrivener Stole My Heart and Left My Novel in the Lurch –
How could I resist reading this? I happen to love Scrivener, even though I don’t know how to use the extra fancy stuff in it, but Linda Howard Urbach, author of the best-seller Madame Bovary’s Daughter, has been looking for the ideal writing partner, and most of the candidates don’t seem to have been marriage material. Here’s the beginning of her article on Huffpost. There’s a link to the rest of it below.
It made sense that I would turn to software in my time of need. I was going through a very rocky time with my novel. I had fallen out of love with it. (I even hated the chapter titles.) I was lonely, desperate and needy.
I was not a complete ingénue when it came to software. I used Final Draft years ago on a couple of screenplays. But the relationship was confined to a lot of heavy tabbing that a screenplay format requires. (One tab for character, two for action, etc.)
I needed a more meaningful, fulfilling connection. Who or what could I get to help me with my novel?
I went on Writerstore.com. (What’s a nice writer like me doing on a website like this? Shouldn’t I be able to write on my own like Jane Austen did?)
Like Match.com I found all sorts of interesting possibilities… Read on here
Tools For Writers
We live in a wonderful world with full of ones and zeroes buzzing around the old internet. Are you taking full advantage of the tools available to you?
You might think: This sounds boring and dreary. I’m an artist, not an egghead! This kind of stuff isn’t for me!
Not for you? Read about the day that LimebirdKate lost her work in progress to see why this is for you.
And if saving your hard-earned words from being eaten by the void isn’t enough for you, maybe a few free tools for planning and organizing your work will get you interested.
If you take only one thing away from this article, make it this: DOWNLOAD AND USE DROPBOX TO BACK UP YOUR WORK.
Dropbox runs in that “Cloud” you might have heard about lately. Install it on your desktop and write a few great pages. Then head to the coffee shop and pick up where you left off on your laptop without batting an eye. Forgot your laptop? Guess what: use your smartphone.
There’s a web interface too, so you don’t have to install any programs if you don’t want to. This also means that anything you save to your Dropbox is available on any computer with an internet connection. Download your opus to your great aunt’s PC and get to work while the rest of your family sleeps.
Dropbox syncs your files between all your computers in addition to the Dropbox servers. So, if Dropbox disappeared tomorrow, all your files would still be stored on all your local machines.
Dropbox has a “Public” folder which can generate URLs for each file inside it for easy sharing with, well, the public.
Non-Public folders can be shared with other Dropbox users on a per-user basis. So if you want to share your “Family Vacation Pics” folder with just your mom and sister you can. Or you can share your “Rough Drafts” folder with all the friends you meet on Limebird for easy peer feedback.
Dropbox also keeps a history of versions as you change the files in it. So if, in a fit of trusting, you share your folder with an unsavory character who Replace-Alls “the” with “boobsLOL”, you can restore your files pretty easily. This may or may not have happened to me or someone I know.
As far as security goes:
There’s always a risk when storing your files online. But, as we’ve seen, there’s a risk to storing your files only locally as well.
Dropbox isn’t a no-name start-up company run by amateurs with the threat of going out of business overnight. It’s a fairly large and respected site. I think you can trust it as much as you would any other site on the internet.
It’s available for Windows, Mac, Linux, iPhone, Android, plus a browser-based interface. There’s no excuse not to be using this.
It’s free for 2 Gigabytes of storage, which is more than enough for any text files you want to store. Pictures and videos will eat up your space a lot faster. You can get more space by referring friends to Dropbox or you can just pay for it. You almost certainly won’t have to worry about that, though. Personally, I’ve been Dropboxing pretty liberally for over a year now and I’m using a little under 6% of my available space.
Go grab a Simplenote account here. Think “Dropbox Light”. It stores and syncs text files only. Simple text only, so no italics or bold allowed, sorry. But no frills means no distractions. Plain white space; you just fill it up with words.
I write just about everything in Simplenote to start with, including the rough drafts for NaNoWriMo, This year and last year.
Simplenote allows you to tag each note with multiple categories for easy organization. Make a tag for “Future Story Ideas” and never again forget a moment of inspiration. Tag your chapters with names to see a snapshot of your story by characters.
Simplenote.com is available anywhere you have an internet connection and a modern browser.
For fancy off-line solutions, you can download a number of front ends.
There’s something for whatever operating system you’re working on.
I can personally vouch for the official Simplenote iOS app and the Windows-only Resoph Notes.
The web app is free and most of the front ends are as well. The official iOS app and Resoph Notes are free for sure.
Where Simplenote’s beauty is in its simplicity, yWriter and Scrivener take the opposite approach: they do it all. Both programs allow you to organize your stories into chapters and scenes. Then reorder them easily. Then take notes, create an outline, get daily word counts and set goals. Tons of great features. Remember to save your working files in your Dropbox account so you can access them from anywhere.
yWriter is available for Windows and Scrivener works on Mac and Windows although the Mac version is more robustly developed at the moment. yWriter is free although you can register your copy if you like the program.
Scrivener: free…for 30 days. Then $40 US.
Check it out here. WriteOrDie’s tagline claims that it’s “Putting the ‘Prod’ in Productivity”. Write as fast as you can. Pause for too long and your existing words are slowly deleted. While I can’t vouch for the quality of the work it will produce, it will help you achieve your daily word count. This is another web app, available wherever your internet is. There are downloadable versions for Windows, Mac and Linux, plus apps for iOS.
The online version is free, so why would you pay for the desktop versions or the iOS app? Both are about 10 bucks US, though, if you’re interested.
How about you? Any helpful tools or tips that you’d like to share with us? Leave ’em in the comments!