Another Great Tool for Writers

We’ve all used Google maps to get from point A to point B, but have you ever considered using it as a writing research tool?

Neither had I,  until reading the guest post on Writer Unboxed by Camille Di Maio.  

Remembering details is not my strong point. My brain seems to have more holes in it than a sieve, and my memory is worse than a gnat’s life span.

I didn’t inherit the sense of direction gene, either. I’d get lost in my driveway. So, as you can imagine, having access to the right tools can make all the difference. It’s the same when writing.

Whether the location and setting of your novel are imaginary or based on a familiar place, details do matter.

Think about the things you can do with Google Maps – Visualize streets, intersections, terrain, transit routes, lakes, and rivers and you can see all of it via satellite, live, or in 3-D. Now, we’re talking!

Let your imagination run wild; happy researching and be sure to check out Camille’s post, Google Maps the Writing Tool that No One Knows About

 

 

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Join the conversation. Talk to me or tell me your story. I’m all ears.

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Write Who You Know

Welcome to the Cow Pasture Guest Contributor, Wendy Unsworth –  Wendy Unsworth, Books & more

Image source  Pixabay

Image source Pixabay

The accepted advice to writers is very often, write what you know and when I first heard it I thought it made a lot of sense. It still does make sense, sort of…
Bookshelves are peppered with court-room dramas penned by ex-lawyers, police procedural by cops and war stories by ex-military personnel. I can see how that works. Budding writers with this kind of background have a flying start, they know things that us ordinary mortals don’t know. They can write a very convincing and authoritative line on criminal profiling or surface-to-air missiles.

But what about the rest of us? I, for example, have been lucky to travel a lot and live in very different parts of the world. I’ve had a few different jobs, raised a family. But I haven’t been into outer space and I’ve never professionally (or otherwise – I hasten to add) dissected a human being. So does that preclude me from Sci-Fi and stories that require an insider’s description of a mortuary?

img_1906No, it doesn’t, but it does mean that if I want to write a credible story about a geeky young scientist who seems like a total fruitcake but whose genius is going to save the world from a mega-quake, I’m going to have a harder job than if I had just retired from on a dazzling career in seismology. I would need to do my research extremely thoroughly. No problem. Writers do that all the time. Writers create worlds and whether it is a contemporary concrete jungle or a kingdom, so far away that nobody has heard of it (yet), ravaged by marauding dragons, they have to get it right.

So, if knowing your fictional world, with its landscape and its skill-set is not necessarily a pre-requisite but, we accept, can also be achieved by careful research and understanding, is there anything else that a writer must vitally know?
The answer for me is yes. I need to know my characters, inside out, upside down, backward and forwards. I need to know what they would do if…

With time and perseverance, I can gather the knowledge I need to create the landscape of my story. I can read other books, I can google it, I can watch YouTube and I can ask people in the know. But if I really want my story to come alive I must get to know the characters who walk there, as only I can. These are my people, I don’t want to introduce them to the world if they are still strangers to me. And knowing them, I need to be true to them every time, no matter how much their refusal to go down into the deep, dark cellar while the wind howls and the lightning flashes, messes with the plot. I need to be absolutely sure that their actions and reactions are theirs and not mine and I need to respect that.
Know who you write. This is my mantra. When an author truly knows his or her characters they leap out of the page and stalk the reader right through to The End. They are memorable. They make us, the reader, think, question, admire, loathe.

And that’s what all writers want. (readers too!)

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If you enjoyed Wendy’s  post, let her know, at wendyunsworth.com, and as always, I’d love to hear from you. Talk to me. Tell me your story and look for me on Facebook at SheilaMGood,  PinterestBloglovinTwitter@sheilamgood, Contently, and Instagram. You can follow my reviews on Amazon and Goodreads.

Writer’s Block – Fact or Myth?

I realize the existence of writer’s block is controversial. Writers who’ve never experienced the phenomenon believe it’s as much a myth as the Loch ness monster or Bigfoot. Well, I’m here to tell you, it’s real – at least for this old Southern gal.

Thank God, Rachel Harclerode agrees and in her guest post at Live, Write, Thrive, offers us, 9 Ways to Overcome Writer’s Block.

I’ve tried a few of her suggestions, but I think numbers 3, 5, 6, and 9 speak to me. To find out more, hop on over to C.S. Lakin’s  Live, Write, Thrive  and check out all nine of Rachel’s suggestions.

photo bucket

photo bucket

Am I alone or do you suffer the occasional brain fart of writer’s block? What suggestions do you have? Share them, please.

I’d love to hear your comments. Talk to me. Tell me your story and look for me on Facebook at SheilaMGood,  PinterestBloglovinTwitter@sheilamgood, Contently, and Instagram. You can follow my reviews on Amazon and Goodreads.

 

 

How to Use Your Kindle Device for Easy Editing

Editing is a daunting and necessary task for writers. Often I find myself reading and re-reading a piece until the words blur. I let the story rest, read it aloud, and run it through editing programs, but after so many times, it’s easy to become immune to errors that may be glaring to our readers.  I have, however, discovered a trick that helps me avoid overlooking mistakes – I send the piece to Kindle.

As I listen to the mechanical voice read my work, I’m amazed at the things I missed or new aspects I notice. It might be grammar errors, the way a sentence flows, or even story continuity; yet, this simple technique provides me with a different perspective. Highlighting the things I want to change with notes and comments, I can then return to my manuscript and make the necessary corrections.

How to Send to Kindle:

The these easiest way to do this is to use the Send to Kindle App.

Sign up or sign in to your Amazon Account. sendto-Kindleapp-compressor

1. Add you Kindle device to your account if you haven’t already.

2. Your device will automatically associate with a Kindle email: @kindle.com. You can find this email by going to the Manage my content and Devices and click on your device. Remember, you will need to use the email account associated with your Amazon account.

3. Download the Send to Kindle App. I keep my app on the dock for easy access.

4. Take your WORD, PDF, or Mobi file and drop it onto the app. Minutes later, the document will appear on your Kindle.

5. Use Notes and Comments to highlight issues. Press and hold the word, text, or an image to create notes or comments for use in editing.

There you have it, an easy way to edit via your Kindle. Have you found a method to make editing easier? Share with us.

I’d love to hear your comments. Talk to me. Tell me your story and look for me on Facebook at SheilaMGood,  PinterestBloglovinTwitter@sheilamgood, Contently, and Instagram. You can follow my reviews on Amazon and Goodreads.