Featured quote

“Writing itself is one of the great, free human activities.  There is scope for individuality, and elation, and discovery.  In writing, for the person who follows with trust and forgiveness what occurs to him, the world remains always ready and deep, an inexhaustible environment, with the combined vividness of an actuality and flexibility of a dream.  Working back and forth between experience and thought, writers have more than space and time can offer.  They have the whole unexplored realm of human vision.”
– William Stafford,
Writing the Australian Crawl

A heartfelt thank-you

At this point, dear reader, I really have to say thank you. Thank you to everyone who purchased a copy of Hilda – Dragon Master. I am not a Stephen King, or a Dan Brown of Da Vinci Code fame, but the number of books that you, dear readers, have bought since it came out on January 5th has impressed me.

So, because of that:

Indie Promotion

Dear reader,

And again we arrived on Monday. May I present to you – today’s Indie Promotion:

Sadie’s Song


by Linda Hall

Ebook Short Description: This book opens with the disappearance of nine-year-old Ally Buckley, a circumstance which bears too much resemblance to another recent and chilling event. Fear spreads throughout the New England fishing village of Coffins Reach and the local church that Sadie and her family attend. When Sadie discovers a drawing done by Ally among her abusive husband’s possessions, she suspects danger may be closer to home than she’d ever known possible.

Sadie’s Song is part of the Coast of Maine series.

Where to find.
You can find this e-book on Amazon.com.

Book review – The Map of Time

Title: The Map of Time
Author: Felix. J. Parma
Genre: Steampunk fantasy
Rating

The Map of Time is a very special book. At first it pulled me in, as the story was very intriguing. Then I wondered why the story went on and on about a person. I was not sure in what way this contributed to the book – until part two started. An entirely new thread in the book, it seemed – except it wasn’t. And the same thing happened for part three of the book as well, during which it became clearer and clearer how all the parts were interconnected.

I find it difficult to say more about the book unless I give things away, which I would hate to do. Let me hence state that I enjoyed the company of the cousins Charles and Andrew, felt pleasure in the events around Tom and Claire, and time travel will never be the same again.

Eschew Surplusage

A few of Mark Twain’s rules for writing:

  1. A tale shall accomplish something and arrive somewhere.
  2. The episodes of a tale shall be necessary parts of the tale, and shall help develop it.
  3. The personages in a tale shall be alive, except in the case of corpses, and that always the reader shall be able to tell the corpses from the others.
  4. The personages in a tale, both dead and alive, shall exhibit a sufficient excuse for being there.
  5. When the personages of a tale deal in conversation, the talk shall sound like human talk, and be talk such as human beings would be likely to talk in the given circumstances, and have a discoverable meaning, also a discoverable purpose, and a show of relevancy, and remain in the neighborhood of the subject in hand, and be interesting to the reader, and help out the tale, and stop when the people cannot think of anything more to say.
  6. When the author describes the character of a personage in his tale, the conduct and conversation of that personage shall justify said description.
  7. When a personage talks like an illustrated, gilt-edged, tree-calf, hand-tooled, seven-dollar Friendship’s Offering in the beginning of a paragraph, he shall not talk like a Negro minstrel at the end of it.
  8. Crass stupidities shall not be played upon the reader by either the author or the people in the tale.
  9. The personages of a tale shall confine themselves to possibilities and let miracles alone; or, if they venture a miracle, the author must so plausibly set it forth as to make it look possible and reasonable.
  10. The author shall make the reader feel a deep interest in the personages of his tale and their fate; and that he shall make the reader love the good people in the tale and hate the bad ones.
  11. The characters in tale be so clearly defined that the reader can tell beforehand what each will do in a given emergency.
  12. The author should:
    Say what he is proposing to say, not merely come near it.
    Use the right word, not its second cousin.
    Eschew surplusage.
    Not omit necessary details.
    Avoid slovenliness of form.
    Use good grammar.
    Employ a simple, straightforward style.

 

10 writing rules to break

Dear reader,

IO9, a wonderful site (in my humble opinion) on all things scifi and fantasy, has unleashed a list of 10 rules they would like writers of science fiction and fantasy to break more often.

  1. No third-person omniscient
  2. No prologues
  3. Avoid infodumps
  4. Fantasy novels have to be series instead of standalones
  5. No portal fantasy (= gateways between worlds)
  6. No FTL (=Faster Than Light, for travelling)
  7. Women can’t write “hard” science fiction.
  8. Magic has to be just a minor part of a fantasy world
  9. No present tense
  10. No “unsympathetic” characters

I feel like I have managed to break many of these rules, so far. Rules, as usual, are made to be broken. Otherwise they are no fun. If you feel like going into the full article, please follow this link to IO9.

E-reader lookup

Dear reader,

Do you know how it feels when you have to crawl all over the internet to find information on one specific topic that can be presented in multiple ways? Well, this happened to the creator of ereaderlookup.com. This person became, as he put it, frustrated that there is no website that has all the ereaders in one place, to make comparing and selecting one easier.

The website is basically an ereader database and comparison engine. Its sole purpose is to allow people to quickly find and compare ereaders according to one’s needs. There is a fairly user friendly filter form on the home page that allows to play with various ereader parameters, and as you adjust it the list of ereaders that match is being updated below on-the-fly. You can then select the readers you like and compare them side-by-side.

The site is the result of countless hours researching various devices and collecting information. Currently there are 125 devices in the database, but that number continues to grow. So, if you are looking for a good collection of information on ereaders, do not hesitate, but go directly to ereaderlookup.com.

Punctuation

Oh yes, I may already hear you think “what is this?”, dear reader. But not to worry, I shall try to keep this as entertaining as possible.

In how many ways can punctuation be abused? Many and more, I am convinced. The over-use or total lack of periods and commas is something I don’t really appreciate. And I assume that you don’t either.

Commas are perhaps the worst enemy, although one can never be sure. After all, the difference between Let’s eat, Grandma and  Let’s eat Grandma might be all too obvious, but in a story about an ancient cannibal tribe in dark Africa this may make a significant difference. Especially when further in the story you suddenly realise that Grandma wasn’t eaten after all. Or how about this little gem: He was deaf and blind in one eye. Blind in one eye, I understand that. But deaf in that eye as well? He was deaf, and blind in one eye does make things a bit clearer.

Now I admit that this example is a bit over-obvious, dear reader. But from a book I once read, this example should be entertaining: A panda eats, shoots, and leaves. Here we have an overabundance of commas. Pandas usually do not shoot after eating, to leave after those activities. Of course, the sentence should read A panda eats shoots, and leaves.

But now look at this: The man looked over to the side and swimming in the pool he saw an ambulance. Where is the man? And where is the ambulance?

The man looked over to the side, and swimming in the pool he saw an ambulance.
The man looked over to the side and, swimming in the pool, he saw an ambulance.

Behold the power of punctuation. And proper sentences.

Writer’s Café – The Floating Card Editor

Dear reader, fellow-user of Writer’s Café or person who is looking for good software for writers,

Today I want to give you a look at a nice feature of Writer’s Café called the Floating Card Editor. It is, in short, known as the FCE in Writer’s Café.

The Floating Card Editor is a separate window which shows only the basics for the part you are writing. Use F8 (Windows, Linux), or Storylines → Floating Card Editor from the menu to show the window. Use one of the same methods to make the window disappear again. You can of course also click the ‘close’ button on the right-hand top.

Floating Card Editor

(Feel free to click the above picture for a more mature version.)

When you bring up the window, the content of your story will disappear from the content pane in Writer’s Café, and show up in the separate window of the FCE. Using the ‘View’ menu of the FCE, you can customise its appearance to your preference.

You can show or omit the summary-text, you can remove the properties-pane, and resize the window-parts to how you like them best. A nice feature is that Writer’s Café will remember your settings, so next time you open the FCE, your preferences are restored, and you are good to go.

Another nice thing about the FCE is that you can remove all excess information and maximise the window to use the entire screen. This is especially convenient for people who want their desktop or screen free of distractions, with only their writing project to focus on.

This mode of working is also very good when you use Writer’s Café on a device with limited screen-space. This would be for instance with use on a netbook or a tablet. Opening the FCE full-screen with only the story content will still give you ample overview of your story.

Remember: you can get a free trial version of Writer’s Café at the Writer’s Café website. Writer’s Café runs on Microsoft Windows, just about any flavour of Linux, and on Mac computers.