Friday, August 24, 2012

Paper vs. Computer, which is better?

Sorry for my also prolonged absent, I went on vacation and forgot some things. Anyways, this post was originally posted on Birds of a Writer.

Anyways, so today instead of rambling about books I will ramble about paper vs computers? Which is better? Or is there even a "better"?

Computers- Pros

  • Better organization. 
  • Its easier to store your files in multiple places. You can store them on your computer itself or on the internet. 
  • Easier to erase and add things. 
  • Easier way to share your story with multiple people. 
  • You can type up your project on different kinds of document writers besides Microsoft Office, like Scrivener, Wordpad, LibreOffice, and others. 
  • If you're a fast typist, you don't have to worry about messy hand writing and some people are faster typist then they are at handwriting. Its easy to change fonts too. 
  • You can store all your research and stuff into files for quick easy access. 
  • Your work can be password protected. 
  • If you want to put a document onto paper, then you have to print it off. And overtime, it'll cost lots of money. 
  • It might be easier to catch a virus, accidently delete something, or corrupt your project. 
  • If you change word processors (like when my Microsoft office stopped working and I had to convert all my files so they would work on different programs) you'll have to convert files. 
  • You can forget passwords or have something hacked.
  • If you share something online, there's always a chance it could be stolen. 
  • It can be easy to make a ton of files and loose stuff. 
  • Your computer can die and if you don't have backups, you'll loose your projects.
Paper- Pros
  • Like using different word processors, you can use different kinds of paper. 
  • You can use journals, notebooks, sketchbooks, or any other form of blank books to write in. You can even choose between lines and unlined (you can do choose this too on some word processors).
  • Different colored ink in pens, crayons, colored pencils, markers, etc. 
  • Pen vs pencil. 
  • You can write or draw in the margins. 
  • There's that wonderful feel of paper. 
  • Might be more convenient. 
Paper- Cons
  • Its easier to loose and destroy in some cases. 
  • No password protection. In most cases, anyone can find it and read it. 
  • You might have messy handwriting or get cramps easily. 
  • Its harder to share with multiple people. 
  • You might have a harder time keeping notes, research, and your project organized. 
  • It takes more space to store paper. 
  • It takes lots of time to write something and then transfer it to your computer.
  • Kills trees. 
Combined Pros.
  • Both can have different fonts, shapes, colors, and sizes. 
  • Both can be lined or no lines (in some cases).
  • With somethings on the computer, you can draw or write in the margins like on paper. 
  • You can organize your stuff into files. 
Combined Cons
  • Cramps either way. 
  • You can destroy stuff either way.
  • Distractions either way. 

So well, there it is. A list of the pros and cons of writing on either paper or computer. Which do you prefer? Do you have anything to add to these lists?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Quotes For Writers

Sorry about my prolonged absence!  I've been gone on and off so many times this summer that I lost track of when I was supposed to post.  So, here it goes! 

The post title says it all. Here are some of my favorite quotes on writing:

“If writers wrote as carelessly as some people talk, then adhasdh asdglaseuyt[bn[ pasdlgkhasdfasdf.”
― Lemony Snicket

“So what? All writers are lunatics!”
― Cornelia Funke

“If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.”
― Toni Morrison

“Fiction is the truth inside the lie.”
― Stephen King

“Someone needs to tell those tales...There's magic in that. It's in the listener, and for each and every ear it will be different, and it will affect them in ways they can never predict. From the mundane to the profound. You may tell a tale that takes up residence in someone's soul, becomes their blood and self and purpose. That tale will move them and drive them and who knows what they might do because of it, because of your words.”
― Erin Morgenstern

“The trouble with quotes on the internet is that it’s difficult to discern whether or not they are genuine.”
― Abraham Lincoln

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?”
― J.K. Rowling

“Don't loaf and invite inspiration; light out after it with a club.”
― Jack London

“Some people have a way with words, and other people...oh, uh, not have way.”
― Steve Martin

“we write every day, we fight every day, we think and scheme and dream a little dream every day. manuscripts pile up in the kitchen sink, run-on sentences dangle around our necks. we plant purple prose in our gardens and snip the adverbs only to thread them in our hair. we write with no guarantees, no certainties, no promises of what might come and we do it anyway. this is who we are.”
― Tahereh Mafi (No caps because that's how Tahereh Mafi blogs. And yet her blog is still awesome, because she neglects capitalization with style.)

“Some writers enjoy writing, I am told. Not me. I enjoy having written.”
― George R.R. Martin

I want to blow this up really big and put it on my ceiling,
above my bed.
“It's like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end… because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing… this shadow. Even darkness must pass.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien

“You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.”
― Madeleine L'Engle

“The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.”
― Mark Twain

“You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write.”
― Saul Bellow

“No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.”
― Robert Frost

“The road to hell is paved with adverbs.”
― Stephen King

"A writer writes not because they like to write, but because writing is something that is ingrained in every fiber of their being."
― Me (from this blog post)

“Read, read, read. Read everything -- trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You'll absorb it.
Then write. If it's good, you'll find out. If it's not, throw it out of the window.”
― William Faulkner

“If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn't brood. I'd type a little faster.”
― Isaac Asimov

“Always be a poet, even in prose.”
― Charles Baudelaire

“Write the kind of story you would like to read. People will give you all sorts of advice about writing, but if you are not writing something you like, no one else will like it either.”
― Meg Cabot

“Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen.”
― John Steinbeck

“If you do not breathe through writing, if you do not cry out in writing, or sing in writing, then don't write, because our culture has no use for it.”
― Ana├»s Nin

“Cut out all these exclamation points. An exclamation point is like laughing at your own joke.”
― F. Scott Fitzgerald

“I want to gather up all the ink cartridges in the universe, because somewhere, mixed in with all that ink, is the next great American novel. And I’d love nothing more than to drink it.”
― Jarod Kintz

"One does not simply write a novel. It is folly."
Creative Writing Cat

“I have hated words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right.”
― Markus Zusak

“A writer is a person for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.”
― Thomas Mann

And my all-time favorite:
“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.”
― Stephen King

You can learn quite a bit from quotes. There are many, many more out there, if you just search "quotes on writing". And no, I'm not an advertiser for Stephen King. I've never read a book by him. I just think he has good quotes on writing.

And yes, I had to throw in the Lincoln one.

What are your favorite quotes on writing?

This post was originally published at The Epic, the Awesome, and the Random.

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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

How to Ruin your Novel

I'll say this first, all stories written are just previous stories with the writer's own twists. Everything's been done before, but that doesn't mean you can't use one or a few of those ideas. Just add your own touch to them. Of course, unless you're writing a crackfic to post for whatever reason on the Internet, don't shove everything your pretty little brain can think of into your novel. It has to make sense, or at least seem like it makes sense.  

Your readers aren't idiots. They don't need you to write paragraphs after paragraphs explaining every little thing. Some things are better left shrouded in mystery, piquing the reader's interest, others are better off explained in a few short sentences. Once you explain something, you don't need to repeat it every chapter. Stay on track. Don't start recapping the events like you're some commentator. It gets annoying.

No Emotion
If there are no emotions in a novel, it makes the novel feel like a manual or a textbook. Boring. If you want your readers to laugh and cry along with your characters, describe their emotions. Put yourself in your characters shoes. Even if you haven't experienced what they're going through, think about how they would be feeling.
Here's a body language cheat sheet to help you: [link]

No Conflict
There's absolutely no conflict in your story. People read stories to live another life through the characters. If they can't relate to them, they won't experience their life. The characters need to want something and that something needs to be worthwhile. There needs to be setbacks, things that prevent the character from getting what he or she wants. Make the reader want to stay and root for the characters.

The readers don't have to love your character, but they have to care about what happens to them. If they don't care about the character, they don't care about the book.
Antagonists don't have to be pure evil, the same way protagonists don't have to always be good. The antagonist may have the right goal in mind, but they're going about it the wrong way. The protagonist might resort to underhanded tactics to get what he or she wants. That's okay.

It might be a little hard to tell when you should begin your story. Just write enough to make your readers care about what happens to the character and make them continue reading. If you jump right into the action, say your character about to be killed by a monster, why should the reader care about their death? They don't really know much about him or her. Back up a little and try to express that character's motivation. You don't necessarily have to tell the reader what the character wants, but they should know that the character wants it.

Lazy writing is bad writing. Laziness isn't just limited to letting the draft sit there unedited for weeks, months, even years. It includes relying on cliches and telling instead of showing what the character is feeling, thinking and doing. Don't keep your readers away and give them a detached summary of what's going on in your head, show them.

Giving Up
Writing a novel is a lot of work. Sometimes, you just sit there for hours, staring at a blank page, waiting for words to come to you. At other times, you might be staring at a draft wondering how you're supposed to improve it. If you don't write your novel, then who will? It's certainly not going to write itselfYou have to write it. It's your story, isn't it?  

I hope this helps and have fun writing!