Month: October 2013

What Would Jesus Do? The Happily Ever Afterlife Negative Comment

Most of the time I am genuinely a nice guy. I like to help people, do things for good causes, and give back when I can. I’m not rich, but I have enough. I also can give my writing and my talents. Some people think I am too hard on organized religion and churches, and I admit I do have a bias and a certain measure of bitterness. I messed up too. Yes, I’ve been the church teacher. I’ve been the leader, and I’ve even lived in hypocrisy. For those years I am truly sorry to those I hurt without knowing better. But I matured and I learned, and I now I give back, but not in the confines of a “church” or as a “Christian.” I’ve come to question the very foundations “the church” is based on, and found them lacking. Giving Back. That being said, I’ve spent the last four years where my only “day job” was for a non-profit. Recently I started a charity drive around one of my stories in an anthology as I’m sure many of you know. Proceeds go to Boston Children’s Hospital, and even if you don’t want to buy the book, you can give directly to the cause here. You can even buy t-shirts the publisher helped design here. There are a variety of ways to give, but even if you...

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The Write Software: WriteWay

If you have followed this series at all you know that I have my software favorites, and I’m not shy about saying so. Also you know that I try to evaluate these programs fairly, based on how affordable they are, how easy they are to learn, and how well they work. In most cases, I highly recommend you download demos when possible, and try the programs for yourself. These creative writing programs do not replace your word processor. They are merely tools to enhance your ability to create. None of them write your book for you, and editing and formatting are best done in programs set up for that purpose. There are some better suited to writers and the way their brains work than others. WriteWay is one of those, although as you will see it is more suited to outliners than those of you who are “pantsters.” Affordability: WriteWay Pro runs about $35-$40 although the reason for the timing of these posts is NaNo is right around the corner, and if you follow their posts and join the event on their website, you will often get discount offers on this and other programs (although you should have already been prepping for Nano. See this post from Kristen Lamb for more on preparing). This falls right in line with other software, including the one I use the most, Scrivener....

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The Write Software: Comments and Track Changes

Over the past number of posts, I’ve stressed the importance of Track Changes and Comments as desirable features in your word processor. It is one of the main reasons I like Microsoft Word, especially for editing. Sometimes authors and business professionals look at me and ask: What are Comments and Track Changes and how do I use them? So what follows is a brief explanation and instruction manual. Once you know these things are available it is hard not to use them. Comments: Comments are a way to pass notes back and forth, like sticky notes posted to certain sections or even words in a manuscript. So open your copy of word, and click on the review tab. You will see this: You’ll notice in the screenshot above that I left myself a comment. I amused myself, and wanted to let myself know. (No comments from you, I know I’m schizophrenic but so am I) The comment box shows who made the comment, and when. This is a part of the document’s Meta Data. Also take note that Track Changes is highlighted showing that it is active, and that the drop down box next to it says “All Markup”, the one below it says “Show Markup”. The one below that one that says “Reviewing Pane” we will look at later. Under those menus, you have options. For Markup you...

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To MFA or Not to MFA: What a Silly Question

If this is such a silly question, why do I keep asking it of myself? I know the answer. I don’t like it, but I know it. Ready? I work as an author, editor, researcher, technical writer, and teacher. In that role I tackle complex subjects, including geology, hydrology, natural resources conservation, history, English language uses, literature, and more. I don’t have the ‘paper’ degree to go with any of those things. So when I opened my Poets and Writer’s Magazine and saw that it was the MFA issue, my heart sank. Like Titanic, without all the romance or the iceberg. Most of the time I don’t give a hoot about degrees or letters, but people keep asking me where I did my graduate work. When I tell them I didn’t do any, and in fact I also didn’t finish my undergraduate degree, jaws drop. There is no BA, BS, or any other letters after my name. Just plain Troy Lambert, he of many previous professions, currently self-employed and a proclaimed autodidact and polymath. Those are two of my favorite intellectual words, recently brought to the front of my mind by a friend. What do they mean, and why do they qualify me to do anything at all? A polymath: a person whose expertise spans a significant number of different subject areas; such a person is known to draw...

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The Write Software: Character Writer

Character Writer is currently in its 3.1 version, and while it will also help you organize your writing, it has some other very impressive features. It was my first foray in to the Writer Organization/Character Creation software. Affordability: This software runs $69.99 normally, but you can often find it on sale and it is often offered at a discount during NaNoWriMo, at writers’ conferences, etc. You can download a trial version here with no time limit on its use, however some portions of the program are disabled, such as saving and printing. This does give you opportunity to see if this is something you might use. Sound a bit pricey? Read on. Learnability: The opening screen looks like this: The User Interface is fairly intuitive. This software is primarily designed to help you flesh out your characters. How does it do that? It uses a method called Enneagram which is used by psychiatrists and psychologists to define the details of people’s character. Enneagram divides people’s personalities into nine distinctive categories with two subcategories in each. This allows you to explore the psychology of your character by adding disorders and distinctive traits. The program then helps you by providing editable details about that person and how they would react to everyday situations.  It also assists you in predicting how they would interact with other characters in similar circumstances. Plot ideas?...

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