A few people have asked me for more details on my writing process so I figured the easiest thing is to document it here. This about the literal process of how I put together my projects.Continue reading “Writing Like a Geek”
- Filter get in the way of prose and distance the reader from the action. They make it easy for the writer to tell the reader what’s going on instead of showing them. “The dog seemed agitated waiting for her owner,” instead of “The dog paced in front of the bay windows waiting for her owner.” “The pretty girl looked uninterested in the guy asking for her number,” instead of “The pretty girl ignored the guy asking for her number.”
- Weasel words leave text feeling ambiguous. “He might be the hero’s brother.” “The body may have been stolen.” “The dog could have eaten the roast.” These sentences don’t help tell the story because the weasel words (in bold) render the text meaningless. “He might be unrelated to the hero.” “The body may be right where we left it.” “The dog could have ignored the roast and slept.”
Removing these cleans up the prose and makes it more interesting. A post on Scribophile suggested writing a macro in Word to detect these words and flag them but, since I don’t use Word, that doesn’t help me. Instead I implemented the same functionality in sh.Continue reading “Filter and Weasel Words”
[Note: Anna said it was fine to mention her and her work in this post]
I read a work a few days ago on Scribophile (“In Her Dreams” by Anna White) and one thing that struck me was the use of “fuck.” I’m not opposed to swearing, in fact I could probably make a sailor blush, but I do think swearing should be used in moderation.Continue reading “Normalization”
Let’s talk about one of my absolute favorite shows: BoJack Horseman. If you haven’t watched it pull it up on Netflix and watch it. All of it. Seriously, this post is going to be filled with spoilers. I’ll wait.
I bring up BoJack Horseman because it’s one of the shining examples when it comes to diversity. Now that you’ve watched all thirty-six episodes, you’re aware that the show has a diverse cast of characters. Some of the main characters are animals (Todd and Diane being the only main characters who aren’t animals) but we also have gay characters (Karen and Tanisha’s wedding in season 3), Vietnamese (Diane), black (Corduroy), and even an asexual (Todd).Continue reading “Doing Diversity Right”
Keeping track of old versions of your work is one of those things you don’t appreciate until you have it. Most people keep old versions with a mishmash of file names (novel.doc, novel-backup.doc, novel-backup2.doc, novel-backup-september-2015.doc, …) or using a service like Google Drive or Dropbox. These solutions work but to say they’re lacking is an understatement. Enter git.Continue reading “Version Control for Fun and Profit”
Section 11.12 of the The Chicago Manual of Style’s sixteenth edition recommends including a list of special characters at the end of any manuscript (a special character generally being anything not found on a standard keyboard). Because I’m lazy I want something to do the work for me so I don’t have to track what characters I’m using through revisions. Let’s make LaTeX track the special characters we use.Continue reading “Special Characters”
I’m awful with names. Actually that undersells how bad I am. I’m the kind of person who likes things to be precise and correct from the beginning (engineering hat) so I don’t even like having placeholders and calling my characters Bob, Janet, and Tony. I’ve tried, really, but I keep fidgeting and will spend hours trying to come up with the perfect name. Plus even if I somehow move on find/replace can only do so much. If I screw up and talk about how Bbo and Tony are trying to one-up each other to take Janet on a date we all know what’s going to happen.
The solution: placeholders. Yeah, even though I hate them they’re still the best option. Let’s look at a practical example.Continue reading “Naming Characters (and Places, Groups, Gods…)”