Jul 19, 2017 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Whitesmoke Grammar Checker

I found a special from PC-World on the grammar checker by WhiteSmoke. It was $69 premium lifetime subscription. A good deal, no?

The only snag I’ve hit is that the deal was for a single computer, if I rush I can get a second computer license for the same price. $140 for lifetime access on two computers is a good price, and thus far I’ve found nothing wrong in the program except for the nag about an “informal question” and its determination to replace “is” with “be.” I’m just miffed at myself because I was so busy getting the “deal” that I forgot to read the EULA. (Does anybody read those? They invariably leave me with a legalese headache.)

At any rate, I can get a Grammarly premium account for about $7 a month, paid yearly, but then it goes to $139 a year, in contrast to the $138 lifetime rate for two machines on WhiteSmoke. So I’m going to give it a chance, maybe it will knock my socks off, but I doubt it.

In the meantime, I’ll continue using the free Grammarly on another site; it won’t correct the premium errors it finds, but it will notify me of their existence.

That will allow me to make a general comparison, and help me decide whether or not to buy another license from WhiteSmoke.

For what it’s worth, WhiteSmoke looks like a competent program and will probably serve my purpose as well as any other software out there. Nothing I write is intended to be a review, nor is this becoming a review site. I’m just another amateur trying to find his way around the world of writing and commenting on things I run across along the way.

I found a new glitch with WhiteSmoke. I don’t know if it matters that I’m using WordPress, but when I changed to size of the edit screen, it eliminated a bunch of spaces between words. –It did it a second time, I guess I need to check on that.

Jul 15, 2017 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Scrivener and Organizing Your Story

I started using Scrivener ($40) to organize my stories. It comes with a character template and a location template as part of the basic install.

Then I hunted around until I found some free templates online that I thought I would try. Unfortunately, the templates that ended with “srivtemplate” instead of “scriv” were in an older Scrivener format and I couldn’t import them to save my life.

The thing that surprised me the most about using character sketches is that creating backgrounds, personalities, habits, and physical descriptions forced me to think harder about their actions and thought processes. In other words, it makes them people, not pieces on a chess board.

This is weird, I tell stories, I don’t create organized, reasoning beings. I do, but not consciously, and certainly not in any organized manner.

However, I find the biggest help is the location template. With it, I can make a more efficient mental map, so I don’t have them do a “Dantana” and turn right at the top of Fremont Street, winding up instantly facing the opposite direction in front of the D.I.

Someone in one of the forums suggested using an actual map of a city or countryside, then tweak it to fit so I took the map of Skyrim (game) as a base for a sword and sorcery short story. The story sucked, but at least everybody showed up when and where I wanted them to.

A final note:
After reading and rereading the advice I found on the net, I’ve set myself the task of writing a knight in shining armor, pure of heart, with no bad habits. This is going to be a serious challenge, because my characters may not be evil, but they’re not exactly angels either. I mean, let’s face it, goody-two-shoes types are boring, or didn’t anyone else notice that Snidely Whiplash always had a lot more fun than Dudley Do-Right.

Jul 14, 2017 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Grammarly – Free Version Works for Me

The free version of Grammarly has become my go-to grammar checker, even if I do have to fight with it from time to time.

The paid version has more features, but I don’t write enough to justify a monthly fee of $12. Maybe I can catch a sale, but I probably won’t bother until I up my output.

At any rate, Grammarly catches those double blanks, “it’s vs “its, “their vs they’re,” and it suggests different verb tenses. Although it sometimes forces me to put things in quotes to get it to stop trying to use a word or verb I don’t want it to use.

I’ve come across some checkers that used only British English, dozens that made you type or cut and paste on their website, the WordPress plugin “after the deadline” by Automattic is no longer supported, and Ginger costs about the same as Grammarly. So, while I’m told there are better grammar/spelling checkers out there, I haven’t found any that are as useful for the type of writing I do, so I’ll stick with what I’m comfortable with.

I just came across this promo that gives 25% off Grammarly, but it only runs for the next couple of days, and I believe it’s only for the first year. –Not as much as I’d like, but it still saves you money.

In spite of having a grammar checker, this happens. “If your blogger or writing some content online or offline then this tool is for you.” It wouldn’t be bad if it wasn’t from Grammarly Discount on Facebook. 😉

Jul 8, 2017 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Remember Those That Can, Do; Those That can’t, Teach

We all remember the old saw, “Those that can, do; Those who can’t, teach.”

In reading every bit of advice about writing I can find that most of those people telling me what to do are rehashing the same old advice that everyone else is posting.

All of these people claim the title of “author” but I can never seem to find anything they’ve published. Except for their website and the advice they want to sell you.

For instance, there is an author who writes how-to books for aspiring authors, but her entire collection of published books in any other genre consists of a single, 27-page, Kindle only book containing two short stories. Yet, that makes her a legitimately published author.

There are other authors that haven’t accomplished even that much, who want not only to tell me what to do, they want to review my work; for a price.

The whole bloody mess reminds me of those “money for nothing” schemes, where you rework some PLR (private label rights) ebooks, publish them under your own name and sell them on your website.

Having said all that, I have learned a lot, but when you start seeing the same advice on every site and some of them don’t bother rephrasing it, it’s time to begin haunting the forums until I’m comfortable enough to ask for advice.

Jul 8, 2017 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Defenestration – Our Word of the Day

Defenestration, who the hell ever heard of it?

This is from the Wikipedia:
Defenestration is the act of throwing someone or something out of a window.[1] The term was coined around the time of an incident in Prague Castle in the year 1618, which became the spark that started the Thirty Years’ War. This was done in “good Bohemian style” and referred to the defenestration which had occurred in Prague’s City Hall almost 200 years earlier (July 1419), which also at that occasion led to war, the Hussite war.[2] The word comes from the New Latin [3] de- (out of or away from) and fenestra (window or opening).[4] Likewise, it can also refer to the condition of being thrown out of a window, as in “The Defenestration of Ermintrude Inch”.[5]

While the act of defenestration connotes the forcible or peremptory removal of an adversary, and the term is sometimes used in just that sense,[6] it also suggests breaking the windows in the process (de- also means removal). Although defenestrations can be fatal depending on the height of the window through which a person is thrown or throws oneself or due to lacerations from broken glass, the act of defenestration need not carry the intent of, or result in, death.

From the Merriam-Webster dictionary:

  • a throwing of a person or thing out of a window assassination by defenestration
  • a usually swift dismissal or expulsion (as from a political party or office) the defenestration of political leaders
  • the mass defenestration of middle management — Jane Bryant Quinn

defenestrate dē-ˈfe-nə-ˌstrāt\ transitive verb

Let’s see you use that in a sentence without sounding like a word snob.