Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Online Writing Tools


I wrote my first novel-length work long-hand in a spiral bound notebook. I was thirteen, I think. I wrote my first “real” novel when I was fifteen on an old manual Royal typewriter (the kind with a cloth ribbon) and I think I was sixteen when my parents finally indulged and bought me an electric typewriter. I thought I’d died and gone to writer heaven!
Computers have made a writer’s life so much easier, if a little more complicated. I’ve tried out a lot of writer-tools. I’m a gadget whore, I admit, from kitchen gadgets to writing gadgets – I love gadgets! But alas, aside from my computer, my phone and my tablet, there aren’t a lot of “tools” for writers – unless you count all those nifty online things. I’ve tried a lot of those too, and there are a few I’ve found really invaluable in my process.
Every writer needs a good thesaurus and a good dictionary. These are standard – but incredibly useful. I know Stephen King says, “If you have to look it up in the thesaurus, it’s the wrong word…” and while I generally agree with his rules for writing, this one doesn’t work for me. Sometimes I know the word… but I get brain freeze. It’s right on the tip of my tongue (or the tip of my brain?) but it just.won’t.quite… ugh. So I need a thesaurus once in a while!
And for the erotic writer, this resource is incredibly helpful: erotic thesaurus. Because sometimes writing about inserting Tab A into Slot B can get repetitive!
And if I’m writing some “younger” characters, I often check out the Online Slang Dictionary for some cool, hip, happening phrases. (Those are already outdated aren’t they?)
For grammar rules (I can never remember lie or lay… or affect/effect… every writer has their grammar nemesis!) I check out BartlebyStrunk and White, my old standby, is available there for free! (although I do own print copies… but online makes it so easy!)
If a character’s name doesn’t come to me (they usually tell me their names!) I check out this site, that lists popular baby names by year. Just look up the year your character was born, and you have a list of names!
Surnames, too, can be generated. I like this Last Name Generator because it allows you to put in the first name and see/hear what they sound like together.
For collaborating, Google Docs is the way to go. You can both write and edit at the same time and talk to each other in the sidebar. It’s really cool!
The Internet rocks for research, of course, but what a tempting distraction it is! Once click, and I can lose an hour checking email, Facebook or Twitter. So if I really want to write without distractions, or I’ve got a little writer’s block, I check in at Write or Die. Dr. Wicked kicks my butt back into shape and forces me to write!
For brainstorming and outlining, I’ve recently discovered Free Mind. I am in love with this! I always had a problem outlining. I tried the standard outlining, I tried notecards, oh my goodness, I tried everything, but for some reason, my brain wouldn’t wrap itself around the concept. But Free Mind is so organic and, well, freeing! Try it, I think you’ll get hooked! It’s easy to use, but I looked up a few YouTube videos on the basics to get started. (There’s another invaluable site! You can find out how to do ANYTHING on YouTube!)
When I’m working on my iPad or iPhone (I usually keep notes on my iPhone notepad, if I’m out and get a story idea or need to write down a plot point while I’m at the dentist!) I use Dropbox to sync everything. I can access whatever I’ve written on my iPad or iPhone with Dropbox right from my PC. Awesome!
Another program I have started using is Dragon Naturally Speaking. I actually knew about this program years ago, because my father was severely dyslexic and used it on his computer. It recognized his voice and would type emails for him, allow him to interact on forums, etc. I never thought I’d use it myself, but another writer mentioned using (and loving!) it so I gave it a try. Wow, is it amazing! The more you use it, the more accurate it becomes. I thought I wouldn’t be able to transition to “writing” in that way – that somehow writing was attached to “typing” with my brain. But then I remembered—I wrote my first novel long-hand! Why couldn’t I dictate a novel? Besides, it’s great practice in case I lose the ability to type for some reason, which has always been, strangely, my worst nightmare.
So there you have it – some of the online tools I use when I write that I’ve found invaluable. What are your favorites?

Selena Kitt
Erotic Fiction You Won’t Forget
LATEST RELEASE: Girls Only: Pool Party

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Blizzard of a Chance & Mia

The best part of a blizzard is it is a great excuse to do whatever you want in the cozy nest of your home without anyone really bothering you.

I can stay in my cashmere pjs all day and cuddle with my cat.

There's on-line shopping and internet porn.

Arranging and rearranging furniture in a small space, exercise, laundry and all the other everyday bullshit that I do on a Saturday.

Finally, when there is absolutely nothing else to do, I will jot down ideas for future writing projects.

I'm not a procrastinator like some of my writing colleagues.  I'm a part time writer.  Probably more of a hobbyist, I guess, if you want to track my sales.  I only write when there is nothing else standing in the way of my focus.  Sometimes that window of opportunity is huge hence the six novels I have on the market.

I still need to figure out ways that don't require a $ investment to promote those books before I embark on more writing.  This is one - blogging here.  Forget Facebook - I interact with the crowd I met on Monsterburg Manor instead of using it as a place to befriend other writers.  And my own blog gives me a sad face.  I offered a chance to anyone who commented on my blog post a free PDF of A Ghost's Chance, my romantic paranormal erotica set on St. Valentine's Day, but have had no takers at all even after spending an hour or so listing it on the Yahoo groups.  Whah-wan!


It's also available as part of a bundle prize if you go to Excessica Publishing's like page on Facebook - you'll need to post the comment "I love love."

Snow seems so pretty when it falls like this.  There is a snow storm in A Ghost's Chance, which is set in Watertown, NY.  There's a ghost too. I don't believe in ghosts to be honest but I do like the idea of someone being there to help, like a guardian angel.  Being Orthodox, I always have my home blessed and there's holy water in the cupboard for religious emergencies or whatnot.  Powerful shit that is, says the woman who has also written a novel about a whore fucking Jesus...