[36] Writing tools

It has been a few days since the last post. I am concentrating my efforts on completing and editing the book. I have also been away on a writing break, it didn’t initially start with much writing, as the family joined me. I was pleased with this, apart from my son’s insistence he wanted to go home, that was on the way to the cottage.  Additionally, he is nearly sixteen and not six. The cottage is very rural, several miles from civilisation but it is such as great place.  I was looking forward to it from the point the owner sent through a dossier of things about the cottage. It was thirty pages long, it had detailed instructions, step by step guide to reach my home for the next three nights. It looked to be deep across the moors. The instructions had dry day walks and wet day walks. The nearest pub is an hour and a half away on foot. It is everything you would expect for a rural cottage in the lakes. A massive open fire, a basket of chopped logs, coal, brilliant sunrises and sunsets over big hill and silence. I sit here writing this with just the sound of a ticking clock. The place doesn’t even have a television, the Wifi is slow. I love it.

The blog post is called writing tools, and there is a reason to this. I have purchased the full subscription to Grammarly. I have mentioned this device before, but I decided as it aids editing it would be worth the investment in the premium version. This came about as I thought as it was an online based tool, I would try and edit my Word document online, through Office365. I, however, came across an issue, it doesn’t work with Office online, however, it had a Word plugin. I heartily recommend it.  It was showing things missed that Word’s grammar checker wasn’t picking up. It also suggested quite a few premium items it had noticed. The number of them, shall we say I will keep to myself.  There were additional discounts that could be found as well.

I have just completed a section of my book, I needed some practical guidance with. Let me explain, it involved ( This might be a minor spoiler for unfriended, but doesn’t give too much away) the board game Scrabble.  A certain scenario occurs that requires the use of Scrabble as a means of communication. The cottage had a scrabble board.  I have spent the last hour recreating this scene and spelling out numbers with letters, SEVEN, FOUR etc.  I then thought I would see how it read and came across this website which allows you to paste text in and it can be read out by several different voices.  You can tailor the speed, change the auditor, probably my favourite is the one I think sounds like Graeme Garden from the Goodies. He’s done lots of things but will never lose that tag.  It’s still mechanical in part, but it also gives me another tool in the toolbelt.

I have just listened to this blog through it and will make changes, I did smile when Graeme said Office three hundred and sixty-five.

[35] Writing and getting excited

I’ve been taking a break from the blog, to concentrate on editing my novel. I decided I need some explicit rules around grammar. I was confused by the placement of quotes and full stops and next sentences. Word, as in Microsoft word didn’t help. I managed to get into some situations no matter what I did around quotes it always had the red squiggle. Also another thing, it was insistent, telling me that the word unfortunately, placed in the middle of a sentence should have an uppercase U. I started to search for some books on the subject. That’s when I came across a wonderful resource Grammar for Fiction Writers (Busy Writer’s Guides Book 5) by Chris Saylor & Marcy Kennedy. This is one of a series of guides. The guides are well constructed and really useful. Since I started reading them, I have made many edits to the book. Gone are words such as actually, very, a bit, replaced with better constructed descriptive sentences.

It was surprising when searching through the book, just how many occurrences of certain words that I use.

I have learned a lot just from this short book, the biggest takeaway, how quotes start on a new line if someone new is speaking. This might not be news for many people, but it made so much sense and increased legibility. It’s been enjoyable editing the book. I like writing don’t get me wrong. My daughter read a section that I was editing, she was highly complementary and asked “how do you come up with the ideas? Stating she would never be able to.”
I think everyone has a story to tell, I do think I can at times be creative. I’m starting to feel the book is coming along, satisfyingly. I’m excited. I have other books that I’m at various stages, which I now know I can improve. There are still edits and sections to be written.

I also need to work on the logistics, the synopsis is in one the blog posts for anyone interested. A quick overview is, the main character needs to lose his Facebook friends in 30 days. It’s more in-depth than that, there are twists and turns. He starts with over 5000, so tracking these specifics will take some time. I nearly wrote ‘a bit’ then but stopped myself. I need a timeline, with key points to make sure it flows and it’s correct.

I found a section of the book that I’d missed out. A minor character that I realised I hadn’t finished, possibly as I didn’t at the time know how this would happen. I do now. Again I am excited to write. I want to make this my thing, writing. Oh don’t get me wrong it’s not always easy, as I am not the most gifted when it comes to the English language, it takes effort but boy it is going to be worth it.

[25] A New Dawn

A momentous day, I have managed to blog for 25 days in a row.  So to recap

Writing blog – 25 days

Meditate – 25 days

Brain Training – 7 Days ( I don’t recall missing one but it is saying I have done only 7 in a row)

The writing, editing of the book hasn’t been as consistent as I would like. A better approach is needed, with all the others items they are specific, the writing and corrections aren’t. I started with an hour a day and realised we tend to live busy lives, but that’s just an excuse.  I wrote in the morning on the train, I wrote at lunchtime but it certainly wasn’t a habit, it tailed off.  That, I need to redress. I am sitting here thinking the best approach. Writing for an hour, an exact hour is difficult. I get on the train, I might have been listening to a podcast or audiobook while walking. I might have started browsing the internet, looking at Twitter or my emails and then start writing. The journey is around forty-five minutes how much of this do I write for?  Even the days I write at lunch, I walk to the Library and back and write in between. The idea hits me while I type this, something I tell my daughter to use and I ignore myself, time boxing. The Pomodoro technique, small chunks of time where I do nothing but write. I can make this into a habit. I will endeavour to write in 15-minute segments.

(Words 250)

I wanted to continue. I had to cut so many words to fit it all into 250. I am excited about tomorrow. To throw away the shackles of oppression with limited words. To be able to compete with myself,  to see how many fifteen minute segments I can accomplish.

(Words 300) 🙂

[8] Somone’s Dad wrote a porno

You might have noticed yesterdays numbers were not in the correct order, there was after writing several tweaks where story parts didn’t work and I wanted certain characters to arrive in the story sooner. I am in the process of reading and correcting on a chapter by chapter basis.  This is leading to rewrites of bits and adding story hooks into things will occur later. I don’t know if ‘story hooks’ is actually a thing, but it works for me. I have been keeping to the daily tasks, meditation, brain training, writing and the 250 words like I don’t have enough with already. I am adding another one to the mix. Reading, I won’t set any specific goals other than reading daily, and I’ll include audio books. I have a subscription to Audible and a back catalog of books to read/listen too.  I also recently got into a few podcasts, one in particular which I should really give a mention, ‘My Dad Wrote a Porno’.  This is exactly what it says on the tin, someone dad writes a porno and his son and friends critique it while reading it chapter by chapter. It is hilarious and has caused several proper laugh out loud moments on the train.  I’m now wondering it #Porn is allowed on WordPress umm.  I would recommend it, it also made me question several bits in my book, not that there is any porn, I hasten to add. You tend to find everything you do influence your writing.

[7]Weird Word Counts

I mentioned my approach to writing yesterday. I am finding that exactly 250 words can be challenging.  I start writing on an app (writer) on my phone and email it myself.  The app had a word count function. Then I complete it in Microsoft Word, which also has a word count function as does the WordPress site. What I am noticing, however, they are giving different word counts, which has made editing quite interesting, I suspect the 250 count of previous days might not all be correct. I also use a Chrome extension called Grammarly which is an online grammar checker.  The intention of 250 is there so I will not worry too much about it.  With the book, I have had the odd occasion where a piece I have written had not saved, which was quite annoying as it was trying to save to one-drive without a connection while commuting on the train to work, so each time I write I incremented the version numbers Brewsters 5000 V56 and save locally. I also maintain a word count at the end of the book, the date and the number of words written.  Additionally, I have added the word count for each chapter, so I know the small/large chapters, where I need to add more content,  split chapters up.  Each chapter is given a relevant title and as it’s a header I have a map of the story. I haven’t decided if these chapters titles will make it to the final version of the book.

(Words 250)