Introducing Courier Prime

It’s Courier, just better. Designed for modern high resolution screens and it’s free. Download here.

Introducing Courier Prime | A ton of useful information about screenwriting from screenwriter John August.


Character Names That Should be Banned Forever

So you’re writing a vampire novel filled with interesting, dynamic characters. You’ve worked out the plot, and come up with an unexpected yet satisfying conclusion. Now you just have to give names to the characters that have been living in your head and you think you’ll call this one . . . Lucy. No! Bad! There are some names that you simply can’t give your characters, and here’s why.

Authors are often as sentimental and defensive about their character names as parents are about their children’s names. They choose a certain name because the tone, rhythm, and history it has embodies, they hope, the personality they will create. As such, they’ll cling to names, especially ones of special pedigree – and especially in genre fiction. It’s not a major problem when they link their work directly to earlier stories. If your vampire hunter, for example, is Van Helsing’s great-great grandchild, it’s not a problem to keep the name. Same with the later generations of Frankensteins or Harkers. A direct link might not always be desirable to readers, but it’s not a distracting flourish. It’s when you drop coincidental names into the book that things get bad, especially in what are meant to be suspenseful stories. Which brings us to the first group of no-no names.

Read more at These Character Names Should be Banned Forever.

How to Engage Your Reader—by Matthew Turner

There was – apparently – a time when a writer merely wrote, sat back, and let the good times roll. That time is no more, at least not for 99% of us.

These days writers are marketers, publishers, formatters, designers, and most importantly… engagers. To stand out from the crowd you need to communicate with your readers, make them swoon, and have them become your biggest endorsers.

This is no easy task, and it needs genuine love and affection, but any writer is capable of it.Engage Your Reader

Here are just a few benefits engaging with your reader can have:

  1. New Friends
  2. Endorsers
  3. Feedback
  4. Social Sharing
  5. Sales
  6. Ideas
  7. Beta Readers
  8. Critique Partners
  9. New Events, Organisations, People, etc
  10. Learn New Stuff

All of these have benefited my world. They include people I didn’t know prior to creating my Blog. I’ve met them recently, but they’re a very important part of my life.

Read more on How to Engage Your Reader — A Guest Post by Matthew Turner.

Making Onenote And Word Partners In Writing

Word isn’t scrivener and never will be. One important function it’s missing is the ability to tag, label and comprehensively annotate individual elements of a manuscript in fine detail. As we’ve discussed before you can make margin comments – and for some projects they will be good enough. But what if you need more?

Then you have to turn to the companion app in Office for Windows, OneNote. This is often ignored because people simply don’t understand what it’s for. It’s a notebook app basically, a place for storing photos, pdfs, note, reminders… pretty much anything you like. Preferably in the cloud on Microsoft’s free Skydrive service where they will be synced to all you PCs, tablets and even phones.

OneNote has a special mode for working alongside the other Office apps. You click this little icon — the sidebar one, fourth along — at the top of the window.

Then the page you’re working on turns into a sidebar at the edge of the screen like this — Word on the left, the OneNote bar on the right.

I find this really useful for making more substantial notes on a document as I work on it, not just brief comments.


Read more at Making OneNote and Word partners in writing | David Hewson.

What is Scapple?

Literature and Latte • View topic - Scapple Beta - New Users Please Read

Scapple is the software equivalent of how I work out my rough ideas on paper. (If I didn’t hate the word “brainstorming” so much, I’d probably call it brainstorming software.) When I’m in the early stages of any project, whether that’s a writing project or a software project, I tend to throw a bunch of ideas down on a big piece of paper, spacing out as-yet unrelated ideas, clustering related notes, and drawing connections between them, trying to work out how everything fits together. Here’s an example of how my messy thoughts translate to paper at that stage:

Find out more at Literature and Latte • View topic – Scapple Beta – New Users Please Read.

Does Scrivener for Windows cut it?

The real question when comparing Mac and Windows version isn’t ‘are they feature-compatible?’ It’s ‘does the version I want to use have all the features I need?’

Read the comparison at Does Scrivener for Windows cut it? « David Hewson•com.

25 Gifts For Writers

For those family members having trouble finding you an appropriate gift.

25 Gifts For Writers « terribleminds: chuck wendig.

Scrivener: An Introduction to Novel Writing

It’s no secret around here that I’m a huge fan of Scrivener, the #1 tool for writing. I’ve used it for two novels, six nonfiction books, and even for quickly formatting copied text to generate personal-use PDFs.

Still, I get questions all the time about what it really does that Word or Pages can’t handle.

There’s no easy answer.

However, I wanted to write a post that would provide the “pre-user” a good starting point for comparing Scrivener to their current writing tool of choice, to help people decide if it in fact would benefit their workflow.

Read more at Scrivener: An Introduction to Novel Writing.


Artha is a handy thesaurus that focuses on high usability, without trading off simplicity and ease of use. It has the following distinct features that increases its usability:

  • WordNet – Artha harnesses the extensive & in-depth database provided by WordNet. Unlike other dictionaries which goes on-line for every single lookup, Artha works completely off-line; thanks to WordNet for its excellent and cognitive database.
  • Hot key Lookup – When you press a pre-set hot key, after selecting some text on any window, Artha pops up with the selection’s definitions looked-up.
  • Regular Expressions Search – When a word is vaguely known I.e. the user is unclear of its spelling or when it’s start/end alone is known or when the number of characters is known; one can speed up/narrow the search using regular expression to locate the particular word they have in mind.
  • Notifications – Artha can show passive notifications (balloon tips) instead of the application’s window popping up, so that you can continue what you were doing, uninterrupted. (like reading, writing, etc.)
  • Suggestions – When a misspelled word is queried for, Artha gives you its near-match suggestions.
  • Relative to Sense Mapping – Relative words like synonyms, antonyms, etc. that are displayed are many. You might not know to which sense/definition of a word does a relative map to. In Artha, when you select a relative, its corresponding definition is scrolled to and highlighted for easy comprehension.

For a given word, the possible relatives shown by Artha includes SynonymsAntonymsDerivativesPertainyms (Related Noun/Verb), AttributesSimilar TermsDomain TermsEntails (what verb entails doing), Causes (what a verb causes to), Hypernyms (is a kind of), Hyponyms (kinds),Holonyms (is a part of) and Meronyms (parts). To know more about each category of relatives, click on it for an explanation and example. Once launched, Artha sits on the system tray and looks for the pre-set hot key combination press. You can select some text on any window, and call Artha by pressing the key combo. Depending upon the option set, Artha with either pop-up with the word looked-up or will show a passive notification of the most important definition of the searched term, from the system tray.

Down load for Windows and Linux at Home – Artha.

Mild Ambient Noise Can Spur Creativity and Keep You Motivated

A new study explains why so many of us find it easier to work and learn when sitting with our laptops in coffee shops or other bustling places, and the answer is simple: modest ambient noise (around 70 decibels) triggers the part of our brains responsible for abstract and creative thinking.

Read more at Mild Ambient Noise Can Spur Creativity and Keep You Motivated.