Month: September 2013

The Write Software: Which Office is Write for You?

So you’ve taken the plunge, and decided that Office is right for you. At least for some things. We’ll get to specific writing software later. Perhaps you already have Office 2010, or even the earlier version from 2003. You unbox your new computer, or open your new laptop, and decide to visit Microsoft Office’s new website, and find this on the products page: Office 365? Office 2013? What’s wrong with my old Office 2010? What do I do now? It depends on what you need and what you want.   Affordability: Office 365: How many machines do you plan to use Office on? Office 365 (Microsoft page here) can be loaded on up to 5 machines. This suite of Office (what I am using right now in a trial version) is an attempt by Microsoft to push Cloud computing: the idea being that then portable devices will not require as much memory, and you can work on even smaller devices, including your mobile phone. You do not have to put documents in the Cloud (your sky drive) but you can. This enables you to access them on any device that has Skydrive installed. (This is the Microsoft cloud storage. You can use Dropbox or Google Drive also.) The primary con of Office 365 is this: currently it is compatible only with machines running Windows or Mac O/S. You cannot...

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A Peek at my TBR List: Lessons Learned

I’m sitting here, typing with a rather sore hand, and so last night I decided that today might be a good time to catch up on video edits (that I can do with one hand) and on my To Be Read list. In the middle of the night, while waiting for more ibuprofen to kick in, I mentally wnet through the list and discovered something amazing. I have to preface this by saying I am not a genius. Recently I’ve been reading Rise of the Machines by Kristen Lamb. It outlines what kind of marketing works for books, and why traditional methods don’t work. Why am I reading Kristen’s book, and not one of the dozens of others out there on the subject? Because I “know” Kristen from her Facebook page and her blog, which attracted my attention with its very practical and practicable writing and marketing tips. Hmm. let’s look at the rest of the list, and see what we can learn from it. Every writer with priority on my TBR list is a friend on Facebook or Away from Keyboard. (We used to say In Real Life, but social media IS real life any more). Okay, not everyone. I am reading The Art of Happiness by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and I don’t “know” him, although I have seen his image on meme’s several times. Here’s...

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The Write Software: OpenOffice vs. Microsoft Office

This may seem an unfair comparison, with Office a well-developed Microsoft backed software, and OpenOffice an open source free download. However, because of cost many authors are tempted to take this route. It comes down to the same questions we promised to explore in Part 1, and the issues we explored in Part 2 Mac vs. PC which you can view here. No matter what platform you chose after part 2, or that you currently use, either software is available for PC or Mac. Affordability. This is an easy win for the open source platform. OpenOffice is free, and can be installed on as many machines as you wish. Microsoft Office on the other hand, is not. Suites range from monthly subscription fees (with the relatively new Office 365 at $9.99 per month or $99.00 a year) to 139.99 for Office Home and Student all the way up to 399.99 for Office Professional. (See the Office buy page here) We’ll tackle which office suite you actually need later on, but suffice it to say that vs. the zero cost for OpenOfffice (downloadable here) the affordability choice is clear. The OpenOffice suite contains Writer for document creation, Calc for spreadsheets, Impress to create presentations, Draw to produce diagrams and illustrations, Base for database creation and manipulation, and Math to perform mathematical equations and advanced functions. There is no e-mail client,...

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Show Me a Story

We all love storytellers. My grandfather was one, and a good one. How do you tell a good story from a bad one? One thing makes the difference for me, and I bet it is for you too. My 11 year old is a story teller too, but he has yet to perfect the craft. He tends to—well, ramble. He includes details that the listener doesn’t need to know, and frankly isn’t interested in. In the process he tends to leave things out that the listener might find relevant and need to know so the story makes sense. We want to picture the story we are being told in our heads, whether it is told in a book or in person. We want to know what the person the story is about experienced. It’s the old author adage of “show, don’t tell.” Truthfully the truth lies closer to “show and tell” the old elementary school day that everyone looked forward to. Get to the point. Today, I brought this pencil to my own show and tell. It may look ordinary, but it’s not. Whenever I write something down with it, whatever I write comes true, no matter how mundane or how fantastic. I wrote the words I love you with it, and handed them to my wife twenty years ago, and it’s still true today. Avoid long flowery descriptions....

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The Write Software: Mac vs. PC

This post is not to add fuel to the big overall debate of Mac vs. PC. It’s to explore it in only one area, that of writing. Also, it will not be conclusive. Why? There’s no “write” answer. There is a right answer for you, but your choice may not be the same as someone else’s. We’re going to evaluate the first step in the process of choosing the write software by looking at the primary machine options. Affordability: Mac’s are more expensive than PC’s when it comes to initial investment. However, as far as long term viability is concerned, Mac’s tend to last longer. They are upgradeable, but so are PC’s. Another debate for another post: Mobile vs. Desktop determines which machine will work best for you. What else you want to do with your machine, and what kind of writing do you do? Do you need video capability? Graphics? Programming? What markets do you write for? Also which platform is best depends on what kind of software you want to run: Pages or Microsoft Word, Scrivener or other “writer specific” software, all of which we will look at over time. The bottom line on affordability is this: if you already own a PC, switching to Mac will be costly. Die hard Mac fans will tell you that once you make the switch, you won’t go back to...

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