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Author Topic: What writing programs do you find useful?  (Read 9314 times)
JJ Holden
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« Reply #15 on: November 19, 2011, 04:14:05 PM »

I use Word.  I use a large sketchpad and colored pens when I'm editing chapters, checking for plot holes and dropped characters and whatnot. Notebooks, listpads, and I read aloud sometimes, too.

Wow, this writing business is more strenuous than I thought.  Shocked
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Ed
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« Reply #16 on: November 20, 2011, 05:47:25 AM »

I just use Word and I wait until the house is empty and I read my stories aloud and that usually helps me fine tune rhyhms and highlights repeated words and phrase. The dog gives me funny looks, though.
.....


sorry to disappoint and to sound stuffy--- reading aloud tells you if the text makes basic sense, or not. that's about all it does.  --- it will not tell you iff the text  is well written ..... why?? :-  we dont write the way we speak. our speech patterns are lazy as can be, and choka-bloc full of lacsidaisycalities.   [even when writing dialogue, one has to be aware of this]......


read this out-aloud: jonny said to me that the bucket  is just about half empty and even i couldnt know that without looking for myself....

did that sound okay?? - of course it does . how many mistakes do you hear??- none ........--- is it well written??? -- no, it is not  ....

I disagree. I think sometimes your voice gets lost in-amongst all the writing and you can sometimes word things in a way that would leave you tongue tied. These parts, when a reader stumbles over them, cause a small break in the fictive dream while they re-read or have to engage their conscious mind to decipher the text. Reading aloud, I think, is the best way to find these bits. You can also better hear the rhythm you've created, whether it's good or bad, whereas you can't always see them on the page.  But of course, like anything writing related, it's down to the individual writer to work out what best works for them.

What technique do you use to fine tune your writing, Dan? I'm always on the lookout for anything better than what I already do.
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LashSlash
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« Reply #17 on: November 20, 2011, 06:49:05 AM »

here are 3 practical suggestions for fine-tuning, simple advice -- easy to implement --- and worth their weight in gold!
:

1 -- do a ctrlF and search for the following words: that; even; just [there are some others but start of with these 3. every tme you find a match for one of those words, delete it and see if the text still makes sense ---- 99% of the times this will be the case. if you are left with one of these words after all t5his, see if you can write the sentence in another way without one of those words. [look out for any remaianing 'thats' ---  it may6 be thay should be written as:'this'......these words are pleonisms [we use them the whole time in our speech and reading aloud will not identify them]. bikoman-geoff was the one that turned me on to being aware of pleonism and tautology in my writing......

eg:- He was getting too old for this sort of thing; he would never have injured himself on a short slide like that even just a few years ago [from an entry story to the doom comp]

i suggest: He was getting too old for this sort of thing; he would never have injured himself on  SO short A slide a few years ago



2 - put the text aside for a coupla days ---- do this more than once. [for me a story is never finished until its published]



3 -- get someone like delf in your corner afro smiley      my strong points are: designing a story and vocabulary and fluency and working knowledge of a number of languages ---- my weak points are:spelling and grammer and tenses. find someone you can trust to help you with your weak points and point out where you have gone wrong.



thats all you gonna get out of me for the moment. [at one stage i was posting my DankaWanka Rules of Thumb for Writing Poetry & Prose ..... someone very cruely called me Danka WankER ..... so i gave up on that......sheesh, the nerve of them!]


as said, simple advice -- easy to implement --- and worth their weight in gold!
« Last Edit: November 20, 2011, 06:51:24 AM by LashSlash » Logged
Ed
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« Reply #18 on: November 20, 2011, 07:28:53 AM »

I've stopped using the words 'that, just and even', and have the opposite problem, I think. My writing seems a bit too stripped back to me, sometimes, when I compare it with the writing in professionally published books, which seems warmer somehow for all the pluperfect and pleonasms. There's a balance to strike with everything, isn't there. afro
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Planning is an unnatural process - it is much more fun to do something.  The nicest thing about not planning is that failure comes as a complete surprise, rather than being preceded by a period of worry and depression. [Sir John Harvey-Jones]
LashSlash
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« Reply #19 on: November 20, 2011, 08:46:36 AM »

I think. My writing seems a bit too stripped back to me, sometimes, when I compare it with the writing in professionally published books, which seems warmer somehow for all the pluperfect and pleonasms. There's a balance to strike with everything, isn't there ..... of course there has to be a balance --- maimonides calls it 'the golden path'............. but,but,but, you have to ask yourself: who am i writing for? you feel your writing is 'a bit too stripped back '. are yoy writing for yourself /your own intertainment, or are you writing to entertain the reader?

my genre is 'back-yard literiture'. by definition literiture is something that a reader can return too  more than once and discover something new on each visit  this is demanding on me and my writing, and i am very strict with myself..... and maybe with oithers as well ......... so maybe that 'wankER' comment was not all that out of place huh huh


« Last Edit: November 20, 2011, 08:47:23 AM by LashSlash » Logged
akaShoe
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« Reply #20 on: November 20, 2011, 03:06:52 PM »

*quietly delurks*

Wow. I had no idea about "that," "just," and "even." I sure hope you folks don't mind that I've stuck around post-contest... I'm learning a great deal from all y'all.

ctrl-alt-lurk
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delboy
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« Reply #21 on: November 20, 2011, 03:24:32 PM »

I use all three words - especially 'that'; although a swift look at a Booker prize winning excerpt reveals I don't use it as much as some  Wink

That (!) said, I shall be bearing this advice in mind in future.

Derek
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"If you want to write, write it. That's the first rule. And send it in, and send it in to someone who can publish it or get it published. Don't send it to me. Don't show it to your spouse, or your significant other, or your parents, or somebody. They're not going to publish it."
 
Robert B. Parker
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« Reply #22 on: November 20, 2011, 05:40:06 PM »

Like everything else having to do with writing, there are exceptions to the "rule." What LashSlash says is a good starting point, but I think it's useful to look at the context before omitting a word.

My own guidelines for whether to keep or delete the word "just," for example, start with drawing a distinction between narrative and dialogue. Since many people use "just" in their speech, I don't automatically refrain from using it in dialogue. Technically, the sentence I just don't know what to do has equivalent meaning to I don't know what to do. But coming from a bewildered character at the end of her rope, using the word "just" intensifies the statement.

Then there are the cases where just is used as an adjective: He is a just man. That sentence is clearly NOT equivalent either to the sentence in which just is an adverb: He is just a man OR to the sentence without it: He is a man. I would further argue that He is just a man is NOT equivalent to He is a man, but in that example, the word "only" would be more acceptable to many editors: He is only a man.

Regarding "that," I believe LashSlash objects to its use as a conjunction: He's the guy that I was telling you about. You probably don't need to avoid its use as a pronoun: That is the guy I was telling you about or as a relative pronoun: I did not have sexual relations with that woman... or as an adjective: At that moment, I knew he was lying... or as an adverb: It's not that long until Christmas.

And don't even get me started on "even." 
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Ed
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« Reply #23 on: November 20, 2011, 07:03:37 PM »

*quietly delurks*

Wow. I had no idea about "that," "just," and "even." I sure hope you folks don't mind that I've stuck around post-contest... I'm learning a great deal from all y'all.

ctrl-alt-lurk

There's a prog out there somewhere that scans any story you put into it for pleonasms. Can't remember what it's called, but the first couple of times you use it it's quite an eye-opener.

Another good search to do is for 'it was' and 'there was'. More often than not, if you reword to exclude these you will improve the sentence and make it more active.
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Planning is an unnatural process - it is much more fun to do something.  The nicest thing about not planning is that failure comes as a complete surprise, rather than being preceded by a period of worry and depression. [Sir John Harvey-Jones]
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