Writing Resources

October has become “Nano Prep” month for me for many years.  I’ve been participating since I graduated from high school (which is longer then I remember, surprising myself each time I actually do figure out how long its been).  So I’ve decided to make a post for some of the places I get help in my writing endeavours for anyone participating in Nano.

I’m including various websites and tools, some of which I use frequently, and some of which I have used in the past and no longer do for one reason or another (in the case of one, I forgot my password).

NanoWrimo.Org

We should always start with the Nano page.  The Original NanoWrimo occurs every November, and its goal is 50k in a month.  NanoWrimo.org also offers helpful links, a forum, as well as offline events as well such as write-ins and community meet-ups.  It also does a yearly fundraiser for Libraries in areas that are too poor to fund one.

(there are also some great coupons if you win for writing services and programs).

Writing Sites:

750words.com

This website gives you online space to help keep up sprints, and daily writing.  The goal is to write 750 words daily.  The longer you go, the more points you get.  You get target rewards each time you meet the criteria.  It also gives stats on word usage and tone which can be useful.

4thewords.com

This is another example of a writing habit creator.  In this particular one, its a subscription service, but only four dollars for what accounts for a month.  You can pay by month, or pay ahead if you want to.  However, it is very fun and so far worth it in my opinon.  However, it doesn’t work for everyone, so the month trial should give you some time to find out.

The basics of it is that you are playing a game.  To fight the monsters that come across your path, you write.  Each monster has a word count goal and a time limit.  You can choose which monster you want to fight.  When you complete the battle successfully you get rewards which go towards accomplishing the Quest goals.  Then you can move on to another part of the valley where there are new monsters to fight against.  It also does periodic special runs of events (particularly during Nano events).

Hemingway Editor

THis is a online editing software (although it does have a desktop app) that allows you to check your grammar and writing as you write, helping you improve as you go along.  I like to sometimes copy/paste my writing into it to see what it says and strengthen the weak spots, but you can just get typing in there.  It has some basic formatting features as well, and a readability monitor to tell you if you are writing for the right age level.  (this is especially important if you are writing for kids. ).

Writer

This is for those who don’t need anything to distract them.  All they need is a plan screen.  If you need the least amount of distractions and just want to write, this may be good for you.

CharaHub

This website is designed to help you with your character building, keeping an online character report for you instead of half a dozen tabs or folders on your computer.  I haven’t used this, but I have been told its quite helpful.  (If you have used this, let me know what you think.)  Its been sitting in my “Writing – Tools” bookmark folder for awhile now.

Word Counter

DOn’t have a word counter built into your word processor?  This site is helpful in that it allows you to check your word count.  Also pretty good for challenges where you have a word goal and/or limit.

I have a whole folder for writing resources, but not all of them are useful as broad tools, and I limited mine to what appeared to at least give a free preview of the service.  I have a selection of generators that are sometimes fun to play around with when you have writers block, and there are millions out there that can partition to your chosen topic/genre.  Also, don’t be afraid to use the same resources you may have used in school to write those papers.  Some of them can be quite helpful when writing fiction (and really helpful if you are writing non-fiction).

If you have any websites/tools you would like to suggest, feel free to mention them in the comments.  I’m always open to finding new things.

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Movie Review: Beauty and the Beast (2017)

Title: Beauty and the Beast
Release Date: 2017
Director:Bill Condon
Genre:  Disney; Live-Action Animation remake; Musical
Method of Watching:  Stream (Netflix)

Today I finally sat down and watched Beauty and the Beast.  I expected to enjoy it and was not disappointed.  However, It actually was better than I expected.  Beauty and the Beast’s original Disney film came out in 1991 when I was 5 years old.  So basically at the time I was obsessed with Disney films like ever other toddler in existence.  So there is a lot of sentimentality to get through when watching a remake.  I expected to enjoy it because of other reviews I read, but also expected to be disappointed in ways because it would no doubt not match the animated version. Continue reading

TV Review: The Six Wives of Henry XIII (4 of 4)

Title: The Six Wives of Henry XIII (Via Amazon Prime)
Episode: Katherine Howard and Catherine Parr (4 of 4)
Released: 2001

So we reach the end with the last two of Henry’s wives, both named Katherine.  Although I have to wonder how he felt that half his wives had the same first name for all intents and purposes.  The first Katherine is a bit weird, really.  At least her story.  She’s `is 16-17 when she marries Henry, whose 50+.  It’s hard to tell if the story is attempting to be sympatric or not, but it comes across as Starkey (who I assume directs the content of the piece) didn’t think highly of her.   She seems like she was just a typical teenager, perhaps too willing to fall in love and not quite understanding the consequences of her actions.  I also want to find out more about her, because there has to be more to the Queen then her at least emotional affairs.

Actually, while looking stuff up about this mini-series I found out that it is based on the book by Starkey, so I can confidently say that the tone of this miniseries is set by him, both as narrator and as the basis of the show itself.   His views on the Queen are apparent, although there are a few times where its close.

Catherine Parr seemed to be very well liked by Starkey, and his portrayal of her tended not to show any flaws she might have other than being overly zealous in her education (which isn’t really a flaw in any case).  She is published, so it might be interesting to read what she wrote.

The final episode gets an B, (so overall B-).  The epilogue sentence confuses me and I don’t understand it in context of the show, or history in general.  How is Elizabeth the greatest rumor?  Design wise I’m still bothered by the fonts used in the credit sequences, finding them not all easy to read.  But in general the mini-series was enjoyable, and worth the time even though it does require more looking into things if you really want to know the Queens.  However, as an overview, it’s not too bad.

TV Review: The Six Wives of Henry XIII (3 of 4)

Title: The Six Wives of Henry XIII  (Via Amazon Prime)
Episode: Jane Seymour and Anne of Cleves
Released:  2001

So the mini-series is only four episodes long, with the last four wives having the pair up for their episodes.  I’m kind of disappointed, but I can understand why they might want to use less time.  After all, with the exception of Jane Seymour, the last wives of Henry had less of an impact on Henry, England and history in general.  Still, part of me wishes they could have spent the same amount of time on these women.

I have to admit though, that the section on Jane Seymour was perhaps the most I’ve seen on her.  Most documentaries on the Tudors seem to pass her by as simply Edward’s mother.  This goes a little more in-depth.  I still think more could have been said.  Especially during her time as Catherine of Aragon’s lady-in-waiting and her relationship with Mary.

Anne of Cleves story just made me feel sorry for her.  Again, not much is usually said about Anne other than the fact that she and Harry annulled their marriage quickly out of displeasure with each other.  This documentary segment makes me wonder about it.  She’s another one of the Queens I wish I knew more of, and may add to my list of people to research and read about.

THis episode gets an B, as I feel it doesn’t really do justice to these two women, but it does a better job then the last at making you want to know more about them.

TV Review: The Six Wives of Henry XIII (2 of 4)

Title: The Six Wives of Henry XIII (Via Amazon Prime)
Episode Title:  Anne Boleyn (2 of 4)
Release date 2001

This episode was rather odd for me, because it was not very sympathetic towards Anne, and describes her as pretty much someone who manipulated Henry to get power.   Given how the first episode seemed sympathetic towards Catherine I was surprised, expected this to be the same for the second Queen, who, from all accounts I know of, was falsely accused because of her inability to give Henry a son.

I also wonder that they had no mention that one of Anne’s miscarriages was around the same time Henry had an accident.  Perhaps that was not a widely accepted connection.  I also feel that this episode didn’t really go much into Anne but those around her being mad that she was Queen, or being happy for the same reason.  Perhaps it is because Anne is often the most known of the Queens in pop culture due to her death, and the fact that she was Queen Elizabeth’s mother.

This episode gets a C, as it felt rather unbalanced in its reporting of Anne, but the overall series still gets an A.

TV Review: The Six Wives of Henry XIII (1 of 4)

Title: The Six Wives of Henry XIII (Via Amazon Prime)
Episode Title: Catherine of Aragon.
Release Date: 2001

This mini-series was a misdirection on my part, as I thought I was watching a program my friend had recommended to be, but it was the wrong one with the same title.   However, I decided to continue my plans of watching it and reviewing the various episodes (there are four) that I watched.

The premise of the series is a focus on the wives of King Henry XIII.  The first episode deals with the wife he had first and longest, Catherine of Aragon. He was married to her from 1509-1533 (24 years).  She died in 1536. Continue reading

Women of History: Emmeline Pankhurst

Today’s Woman of history topic is one that was requested, and I actually was not aware of till it was mentioned.  I found out quite a bit from my minor looking into her life. Emmeline Pankhurst was an early 19th century political activist in Great Britain. In particular she is known for her strong militant ways of promoting her cause and for helping bring along the vote for women in the UK as well as improve various other social problems she discovered through out her life.

Emmeline was born Emmeline Goulden on July 15, 1858 (according to her birth certificate, she always claimed the 14th) in a Manchester suburb. She was born into a family familiar with political activism for several generations. Her parents were active in their community and passed that down to their children. This included their interest in woman’s suffrage.

Her education was not as involved as her brothers, as at the time it was felt it was better she learn to be an attractive prospect as a wife rather than be educated on the scale of her brothers. However, she was an avid reader, and her time at Ecole Nomale de Neuilly helped her expand her influences and knowledge base. Continue reading