Writing Resources.

Continuing this month’s theme of writing, Today’s post is a simple list of links relating to writing.  There are hundreds of different writing resources out there available for those who want to look, but here are a few that either I or one of my writing friends have tried and liked.  Feel free to comment with your own suggestions.

National Novel Writing Month

It seems that NANO definately should not be left out of any list of writing resources.  National Novel Writing Month (NanoWriMo or Nano for short) is a yearly event where writers gather together for a month and try to write 50,000 words or a small novella.  Usually at the end are some good coupons and discounts for those who achieve the goal.  It also has forums, pep talks, and other resources to keep you going.

In April and June, Nano holds ‘Camp Nano‘, where writers gather together to write their own made-up goals (I recently edited mine down to 20,000 due to various reasons).  The goals can be less than 50k (like mine) or more (one of my cabinmates is doing 100,000.).  It’s up to the writer.   Like Nano in November, Camp Nano has forums and other resources for writers.

All is free, although they do have an online store to support costs and a charity they run each year.

4TheWords

4Thewords is a writing game.  It helps motivate you to write more.  You fight various monsters by completing word count goals.  I’m actually writing this post on their website.  MOstly because I need to fight a monster and ran out of creative parts of the story I was writing.  I’m fighting a monster right now that asks for 150 words in 11 minutes, which isn’t too hard.  But the monsters vary in amount of time and word count goals, and the developers are constantly trying out new things to add to the game.  There are also forums and areas for people to read other’s works.  Its really fun, but its not for everyone.   This has a free trial and then a monthly fee of around $4 which is paid by buying in-game currency so you can pre-pay for months in advance, or buy a larger package of currently (crystals) for in-game items and subscription.  its up to you.

Hemingway Editor

The Hemingway Editor is a browser based editing software that allows you to write in your browser window and receive statistics on your writing.  It helps alot with repetitiveness or over use of adverbs.  It can also give you a readability statistics.  This is useful for writing all sorts of types – non-fiction and fiction alike.  Its also Free.

Polygon Map Maker

Ok, this isn’t really a writing resource so to speak.  Someone created a way of generating polygons that look like islands and put it up on a website for those of us who feel its fun to create your own world to make our own island shapes to work off of.  Its fun, and it can be used to help you create a map for your fantasy story, a game, or just to waste some time.

750 Words:

750words has a basic goal: To get you to write 750 words per day.  There are badges to be won for the various goals you reach.  They include writing streaks, time of day, amount of words written, and many others.  It also gives you various statistics on your writing. It also saves what you wrote for the day so if you need to look back, you can.  New members to the website are charged $5 in a subscription fee to help cover the costs of upkeep.

Writer: The Internet Typewriter

For those who like the sound of typewriters,  and or are easily distracted by various things when using the computer, Writer might be a good app for you.  It’s free to register and it has a completely back screen to help keep you focused on what you are doing.  It does have a premium account, but I’ve never tried it.

CharaHub

Charahub is an online database for you to use to create and maintain information about your characters.  This is good for artists too. It helps streamline your information to one place.  Especially useful if you have many characters that you might want to bring back and don’t want to forget what you said about them.

The Periodic Table of Storytelling

Really this is just an infographic that helps you remember the elements of writing.  Its useful for remembering, but also learning.

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Bookit Review: Brown-Eyed Girl

Title: Brown Eyed-Girl
Bookit #6
Author: Lisa Kleypas
Release Date:  2015
Medium: Large Print Hardback

My grade: B

I found this book on a stroll through Ollies, a discount surplus store with a huge book section. I thought the summary on the back looked interesting and got it.  My first reaction was surprise at just how huge the large print was.  It seemed bigger than the usual large format I’ve seen in the past, but its been awhile so I could have been wrong.  I found it actually takes a bit to get used to the different size when you aren’t used to it.

This book apparently is the fourth book in a series about the Travis family.  I wasn’t aware of that before I read it, so that might have affected how I read the book.  There seemed to be bits that seemed rather shallow and under developed and that might just have been because the assumption was you’ve read the previous three books.   The book overall was not bad.  The story focuses on Avery, a fashion designer turned event planner who focuses on Weddings.  She is a bit guarded due to a really bad break-up and the memory of her father’s tendency to never stay committed.  Joe Travis wants to change her mind on relationships, but he can only do so much.  With Joe and Sophie (her sister)’s help she ends up finding more confidence in herself and allowing herself to open up and trust others.  It does have its clichéd moments, but then what romance novel doesn’t?

I think I may try to read the earlier books and see if it changes my mind on the book.   Till then its a good light read.

Movie Review: Ladies in Lavender

Title:  Ladies in Lavender
Rating: PG-13
Genre:  Drama/Romance
Director: Charles Dance
Cast:  Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, and Daniel Bruhl

This film was based on a short story written by William J. Locke that caught the eye of Charles Dance, who directed the film.  At the start of the film two sisters walking on the beach near their home find a half-drowned polish boy and take him in to care for him.  There is a bit of an issue at first when they determine he is Polish as he doesn’t speak English – however he does speak German and Janet (Maggie Smith) does as well, though poorly.

Andrea (Daniel Bruhl) slowly recovers, learning English from the sisters.  Ursula (Judi Dench) falls in love with him, finding herself jealous of the friendship he develops with a visiting woman named Olga Daniloff (Natascha McElhone from Designated Survivor).

The movie in general is not bad.  I wouldn’t say it was a movie that I would insist on watching, but if it happened to come on, I’d probably stop to watch it.  I found that while I found the one-sided romance between Ursula and Andrea a bit odd, it did not get to the point where you feel uncomfortable about it.

My grade is going to be a strong B.  The story was interesting, the cast was a good collection of actors, but the music was not quite balanced with the film itself.

Other notable cast members include Miriam Margolyes(Harry Potter), Clive Russell(Game of Thrones), and Toby Jones (Captain America: The First Avenger).

Movie Review: Ghost Ship 2002

Note:  Novemeber, due to being NANO, is going to have more reviews and the like and less research intensive essays. December will have us back to normal business with a variety of posts returning.

Title: Ghost Ship
Release Date: October 25, 2002
Genre:  Horror/Thriller
Rating:R
Director: Steve Beck

Continue reading

Movie Review: Wonder Woman

Film: Wonder Woman  (PG-13)
Director:  Patty Jenkins
Release Date:  June 2 2017/September 1 2017
Grade: A

I really enjoyed this movie.  I will admit that one of the reasons I wanted to see it is because I like Chris Pine, but honestly he was only one element of a good film.  The background of the Amazonians was well-developed, and Robin Wright did an amazing job as the general.  I wish we had seen more of her in the film then we did.

The secondary characters were great as well, and they didn’t ignore the idea of PTSD from the war.  They also didn’t make the superhero always right. I’m also glad they made it be WWI, and not WWII.  While the Germans are still the guys following the bad guy, It gets tiring after a while to see it always be the Nazi’s (although if there is a Nazi, they should be fought).  This movie didn’t shy away from the fact that at the time there was many disadvantages to not being white and male without making it seem like a lecture.  It didn’t glorify war, but it wasn’t heavy-handed with the opposite.  It had an even tone through out.  There were plenty of female characters that had names and lines none of them were seen in awkward near nudity scenes. Diana’s uniform is reveling, but functional rather than just something that makes her look ‘sexy’ which has long been a comic book flaw.  I was surprised that they reversed the trend of seeing women in surprise nudity to seeing the guy in surprise nudity.  Although he was taking a bath, so it is a little more understanding then say what happened in Star Trek where Carol Marcus just starts changing in front of the man who is technically her boss.

I also give them credit for an amazing plot twist at the end which didn’t stick to all the conventions either.

It was a good origin film, connecting well into the general DC universe.  I have to admit that out of the DC films I have seen, this has been the only one I have enjoyed.  I can only hope that DC  takes note from this and the movies will improve in quality of writing.

Besides Chris Pine, Gal Gadot, and Robin Wright, it has a lot of familiar faces.  Danny Houston plays the German General, who perhaps is not unlike his edition of Stryker from the X-men movies. David Thewlis, known for his portrayal of Remus Lupin in the Harry Potter films plays Sir Patrick, one of the leaders of Great Britain attempting to make an armistice with the German forces.

Translated Works: A Question

I am currently reading a novel called PS From Paris by Marc Levy.  Mr. Levy is a French Author, so my edition is an English Translation (and also from Kindle First, so not quite out yet to the non-prime purchasers). It’s the sequel to another novel which was made into the movie “Just like Heaven” starring Reese Witherspoon and Mark Ruffalo. It made me curious.  This is only the third time I knowingly read a book that was translated (I’m sure there were a few in English class I never considered being translated during High School).

My question to you:  Are you more likely, less likely or neutral to read a book that says its been Translated from its native language?  And if you do read translated books, have you ever attempted to read the original language?  Or found it lacking a little due to the translation losing some of the intent?

The last book I read that was translated before this one ended up being a unlikable one, but apparently one that was very popular.  It was called the Glassmaker, and I can’t recall if I posted my review here or on Bubblews (now gone).  This book however is something I am enjoying so far.  It made me wonder if perhaps I limit myself by not searching out books that are translated from other countries.  There are so many stories out there that I may be missing because I don’t come across them.

 

Bookit Review: The Truth About Leo

Title: The Truth about Leo
Author: Katie MacAlister
Publication Date:  August 2014 (Kindle Edition)
Grade: C

There are times I come across books and I feel like either the Author was told they needed to write the book, or they rushed it.  This is one of those times.  The main characters seem interesting, but we learn hardly anything about them.  The minor characters for the most part are characters from the other books, which is nice.  I found it readable, but perhaps not one I would feel like I missed out on something by not reading it.

The main characters of this novel, the fourth in the Noble series, are Leo Mortimer and Dagmar Sophie.  She’s an impoverished princess whose cousin is the Prince regent of Denmark.  Prince Frederick (actual person in history) is tired of taking care of his cousin (and Dagmar is, from the accounts of her mother, a thorn in Frederick’s side) and tells her to find her way to family, or she will be sent to a French Convent. Instead she marries a wounded soldier, Leo Mortimer, and gets transportation to England where she plans to go into business as a shop owner.

Most of the book deals with the two in almost a honeymoon like phase.  They get over their respective issues with what happened rather quickly.  Some of the books conversations are a little hard to follow because there are so many people in them, and some are even multiple conversations occurring at the same.

It does have its moments, though.  MacAlister has a knack for funny dialogue and banter.  I just find this novel to not be one of her best.

Also the B plot mystery about Dalton’s nephew is missing quite a few pieces.  I feel like there is two stories, trying to fit into one book and failing to do so.