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Showing posts from March, 2020

Best Gadget Ever? Well, Maybe.

All month we've shared our favorite hacks and gadgets, and I admit I've watched closely to see if any grabbed my particular interest. I've tried a few gadgets and apps in the past few years, but none have held my attention for very long. As the days of March passed, I realized that next to my laptop, the one gadget I use most is my Kindle Fire. Of course, I use it for the obvious reason - to buy ebooks! My most recent acquisition was this book by Becky Clark. It's an engaging and helpful read, and I'll probably review it here soon. Eight Weeks to a Complete Novel I don't just read ebooks from Amazon though. I soon discovered the Overdrive collection at my library, so now do most of my reading and research by checking out e-Library books. I love their format, and the fact that I can read online or download to the Kindle. And I can make recommendations for the library to add new books, including the latest from my blog team. Recently the library added Ann

Best Hack: Get Inside Yourself, Go Deep

What writing hacks motivate this writer to write? (In their March posts, Pat Smith explains what a writing hack is , and Ann Parker offers us links to find them .) These days, I’m not sure what it would take to get me to finish my work in progress, and I don’t know exactly why. Two things that make a novel readable, according to me, are, simply put, the plot (duh!) and the characters. I wrote about characters in a post in 2018 . We all know, or so we’ve been told, there are only seven plots. In fact, I wrote about that, too, in a previous post. What can I tell you that’s different to what I’ve already written? Yes, we can take one of those generic plots and twist it any way we want. We can put the story on Mars, in the desert, or in New Orleans. We can make the setting a character by giving the place its color and vibrancy so that when we finish reading, we want to go to Paris or Rome or Charleston. But what makes me want to write is the character. My genre is suspense/thriller. Wha

Best Ever Hacks for Writing — Then and Now

Writing hacks have been around for millennia, but I never thought of them as such. Then a sentence from Pat Smith's recent article solidified the approach to this month's theme that had been turning cartwheels through my mind for several days. (If you missed her post, you'll find it's well worth going back for the read.) She said: "This problem began when a caveman chiseled the first petroglyph onto a rock and has persisted right up to modern times." Unarguably, the chore of creating those first written records has evolved into such ease of writing that it's almost mind boggling. How did it happen? Let's take a journey through the best writing hacks ever . That rock the caveman used to write on might well have been the wall of his home; and no matter what form of a chisel was at his disposal, it would have been nothing short of a labor-intensive job. We think we have it tough when when we settle down with our electronic devices to write a

Best Writing Hacks

It has never been easier to learn about writing from home in your spare time while wearing your pajamas. Thanks to the wonders of the internet, there are college courses, Master Classes, and Great Courses. Some are free, others are low cost (extremely low compared to a college course) or free. You can learn from well-versed instructors and famous professional writers. Online Writing Courses  are provided by many universities from beginning to advanced classes. Great Courses has excellent writing classes you can order on DVD (with print books) and/or access them online. They add classes frequently from Building Great Sentences to How to Publish Your Book from Jane Friedman. Writing Master Classes are taught by famous writers such as: Neil Gaiman, R L Stine, Judy Blume, James Patterson, and Margaret Atwood to name a few. They add classes frequently. You can purchase the classes individually or subscribe for a year ($180 as of 03/20202) and watch as many as you like. Y

A Writing Tip for Anyone with Unfinished Projects

For the year 2020, I picked FINISH! as my guiding word. With multiple novel and short story manuscripts abandoned before revisions and editing, I had developed the habit of not finishing one thing before I jumped on the next idea and took off running. As a pantser, perhaps the revision stage seemed too hard. Or maybe I was too afraid that new idea would get away. In spite of my past bad habits, I resolved to change. On January 21st, I wrote about my intentions to FINISH! Here at the Blood-Red Pencil in my post called How I'm Planning for My Best Writing Year Ever . Once I decided that 2020 had to be the year I cleaned up the backlog before starting something new, I had a new quandary. Where should I start? And that was closely followed by: What if I get discouraged? As often happens in this life full of coincidence and serendipity, suggestions and possible solutions popped into my email and showed up on social media. I picked a trusted source of advice and education, Colleen M

#FridayReads The Black Pill by LJ Sellers

The Black Pill L.J. Sellers File Size: 890 KB Print Length: 262 pages Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited Publisher: Spellbinder Press (February 11, 2020) Sold by: Services LLC Language: English ASIN: B0842YWM9W BOOK BLURB -  Agent Dallas goes undercover to bring down a pack of online sexual predators, but the secrets she uncovers are more horrific than anyone imagined. A body wrapped in plastic turns up in the middle of the road—with no ID and no viable explanation. The pressure builds when Detective Jackson must also locate a missing woman that few people seem to know. Fearing for the kidnapped woman’s life, Jackson follows her ex-boyfriend, but the effort backfires in a deadly way. Across the country, FBI Agent Jamie Dallas takes on a dangerous undercover assignment—tracking a sexual predator who brags about his assaults in a perverse dark-web forum. Dallas travels to Jackson’s hometown and discovers that her target’s crimes are just the opening salvo. Ye

Best Ever Hacks For Writing When You Don't Really Feel Like Writing

If a writer who looked like this was living in my house, all the writing hacks in the world couldn't save me. There's something I inherently dislike about the word "hack". Perhaps it's because I'm a journalist and it's used pejoratively (and often unfairly) against reporters whose work people don't embrace. Maybe it's because I love horses and in the past, hack horses were frequently beaten and abused beasts of burden forced to draw heavy wagons. Whether it's someone trying to break into your computer, make you angry, or chop you to pieces, the word "hack" has few good meanings. However, in modern parlance hack has come to mean "a quicker and easier way of doing things." While I still have my nose up in the air a bit over this (I'm a perfectionist who doesn't mind doing things the un-hacked way...) I know this new sense of the word is here to stay. That said, I want to share some creative hacks for writers

Lists of Best(?) Writing Hacks: By the numbers

When I pondered what to write about for this month's theme of "Best writing hacks ever," it occurred to me that better minds than mine have probably made lists and offered suggestions on the topic. I decided to do a little search and see what I could find. As you might imagine, I found plenty! Without further ado, here is a random compendium of offerings from the vast world of the internet, in ever-ascending numbers of suggestions per list... From Learn How to Write a Novel: 3 Hacks to Write a Rough Draft , by Michelle Griep From Freewrite: 6 Neuroscience Hacks to Beat Writer's Block (This one includes additional links to articles in Psychology Today , The Guardian , etc., about writing and writer's block.) From Positive Writer: 6 Weird but Awesome Hacks for a Happy Writing Life , by Shanan Haislip From Lifehack: 8 Great Writing Hacks Every Creative Writer and Blogger Should Know , by Ivan Dimitrijevic From The Writing Cooperative: 12 Writing Hacks Yo