Showing, Not Telling in Africa

Africa writing research

Burchell Zebra via Lee Ouzman’s Library

Word Geek Monday is Lead Astray

Well, it was bound to happen. This word geek found the World’s Greatest Site for Unusual and Interesting Words: Jacana.

But all writers should use this for research as it’s not just the word geeks that are being helped out.

Is your character working with an antagonist in a lab? Need to know what to call the “whatchamacallits”? Jacana has it. And if you aren’t sure what your antagonist is working on in his lab, this is a great spot for brain storming. Much better than Google as the possibilities are offered up to you on a virtual silver tray.

Flesh Out That Outline

Through osmosis, you can outline your next five scenes if not more by skimming for information close to you research inquiries. The setup of this site is what makes it so thought provoking.

Watch Your Characters Act Out the Scenes

We all know Google is the best, but you need to know what you are looking for to search for it. Jacana has subjects from Technology with sub-categories, Leatherman is listed with a wide array of self-defense tools for your hero. Safari sites and maps are all included in addition to pictures, GPS coordinates, and Safari clothing; just when you need to find the right word for what your characters are wearing as they start on a great adventure. Certainly you must include the specific Rogue hats they need to keep the sun out of their face and add that certain swagger and character trait to reveal a mood or emotion to your readers. Hats are great for “showing, not telling”. Certainly, that wasn’t just my secret, right?

Binoculars, knives, torches; all named and pictured for your imagination. I suggest that you start with the main page and dig deeper as you choose which way to go since this will bring you to your most fruitful sites for your novel. Who is the interesting pilot that your MC hires to charter them to their first scene in their adventure? The outline isn’t there, of course, but the ideas are if you look for them.

And, of course, there is a site for Unusual and Interesting Words. I won’t geek out on this post, but I linked to it for fellow word nerds (sobriquet used in the best possible light).

One of your characters specializes in zoology, I am certain. If so, she will need these words in her vocabulary: Zoological Glossary. She would pull up BioOne when she got back to base, of course.

Need translation tools, synonyms; Reverso is the new cool tool to use.

As for those that are interested in the self-publishing posts, I have enough information and book references, editors, formatting tools, etc. that this series will run long. Great book marketing tools coming up. And speaking of, I would follow what Jeff Goins is doing with his new book, The In-Between as news of it has been bubbling to the surface in all areas of the Inter-Webs. He has his tribe in full gear. Are you gathering your tribe?

I appreciate all of the shares. Please share with this link:http://bit.ly/1c4glfz

As always, please leave comments below and let me know what you are working on and any help you might need. This site is all about writers helping writers. I am here to help you.

As I’ve said since 2010: Stay Strong and Write On

Is One Writing Software Able to Truly Go from Draft to Published?

writing software

writing softwareIf you are like me, you have tested every available tool for the various stages of your novel creation; outlining with mindmaps or Excel, using yWriter5 for outlining and then Word for writing the draft, the list goes on and on.Thanks to our friends across the pond we have an all in one software package. But is it really able to help writers compile their manuscripts into the formats they need?

 

I tested out Scrivener and compared it to all of the other writing software available on the market. Finally, this skeptic was convinced that for my hard earned money, this was the software I wanted on my laptop to hold my drafts and refashion them at each pass.  Do you see my writers tip to the right of this post? It is no longer necessary, as of last year, for me to open a different program as this software allows me to mark up my document and refer to the notes later.

 

The compiling functions and breadth of formats are amazing. Each person that I have read, reviewed a video for, or talked to uses Scrivener in a unique way. That shows you how powerful this tool is for writers. Some writers use mindmaps to outline and then import them into Scrivener. Mindmaps have been a large component of my writing life since they first appeared. But Scrivener does one better in providing you a live document for an outline within the program itself.

 

See the video from writer Karen Price to understand more how one writer uses the software and just how powerful this program is.

 

Scrivener is available now for Mac or Windows. I was able to get it with a $10 discount and use it for a month prior to paying to make sure I was satisfied with it. Literature and Latte is the website and people behind the development of this program. There is a very active forum for anyone who needs help with a specific question, and the tutorial you get is both extremely helpful and prompts you to start writing once you see the ability of the tool before you. In fact, I  started outlining writing one of my books before I was done with the tutorial; I just could not wait. Now that is a writer’s block solution.In addition, there are thorough videos for both Mac and Windows on the Literature and Latte page. Scrivener has templates for essays, novels and screenwriting. You can also download templates for all types of projects from the press page.

 

binder and research

Scrivener puts everything you need for structuring, writing and editing long documents at your fingertips. On the left of the window, the “binder” allows you to navigate between the different parts of your manuscript, your notes, and research materials, with ease. Break your text into pieces as small or large as you want—so you can forget wrestling with one long document. Restructuring your draft is as simple as drag and drop. Select a single document to edit a section of your manuscript in isolation, or use “Scrivenings” mode to work on multiple sections as though they were one: Scrivener makes it easy to switch between focussing on the details and stepping back to get a wider view of your composition.

With access to a powerful underlying text engine, you can add tables, bullet points, images and mark up your text with comments and footnotes. Format as you go using the format bar at the top of the page, or use any font you want for the writing and let Scrivener reformat your manuscript after you’re done—allowing you to concentrate on the words rather than their presentation.

 

 

Note; You can find the Kindle preview tool. You can find that for free here .

 

Julie Kenner has a many terrific videos on her YouTube channel. This one on Scrivener which is one of the best out there as it is to the point and shows how Scrivener can be more powerful than Word when working with your live draft. I highly recommend subscribing to her YouTube page.

 

My favorite area of Scrivener is the corkboard. This is where the  magic and power of the software is keenly felt and seen.

 

powerful writing tool

The cork notice-board is one of the writer’s most familiar organisational tools. Before Scrivener, though, the index cards were not connected to anything; any alterations made to the sequence of cards on the corkboard would have to be replicated manually in the draft. In Scrivener, every document is attached to a virtual index card onto which you can jot a synopsis; moving the cards on Scrivener’s corkboard rearranges their associated text in your draft. Mark common themes or content using labels, or stack cards, grouping related documents together. Scrivener’s corkboard gives you the flexibility of a real notice-board while automatically reflecting any changes you make in your manuscript.

 

(I also suppose that since I started writing using 3×5 cards, this is the virtual equivalent…but certainly not as powerful!)

 

The Outliner Tool as well is more right brain to my way of thinking:

writing tools

 

So why the funny name? Well, this goes to the key of what the software is about.

Scrivener’s innovative “Scrivenings” mode allows you to move smoothly between editing your document one piece at a time or together as a whole. It’s up to you how small—or large—you want to make the individual sections of your manuscript: novelists can write each scene in a separate document or whole chapters as one; scriptwriters can work scene-by-scene or act-by-act; academics can break down their ideas into individual arguments. However finely you break up your work, Scrivenings mode allows you to collect the constituent components into a single editor, so that you can edit them as though they were all part of one document: in Scrivener, you’re only ever a click away from seeing the forest or the trees.

 

Hope you try it if it’s not on your computer already. It beats the quill. 😉