In this episode, we tell you how you can smell like your favorite dead author, cover the many ways hackers will try to kill you. We also take a look at using Hiveword to organize your novel and give you some tips on the mechanics of self-editing your work.
Works in Progress
[00:00:45] Mike finished 1400 words for The Breed and submitted it to the Orbit Writing Workshop just under the deadline. We talked about the Online Fantasy Writing Workshop in Episode 14. Mike got feedback from John and Eric to help him improve the story and clean it up.
[00:01:44] Eric tried to get out of telling the rest of us his Works in Progress. We called shenanigans on that.
I’ve done NOTHING.
That’s two weeks in a row, Eric! He’s really stuck on the rewrite Don’t Wake Up, and with guests in town it made it difficult to get anything written. He doesn’t like how the rewrite is coming out, and that’s where the struggle is happening. He likes to see things condensed down into the the simplest form and it can’t physically happen with this work. The timeline for Don’t Wake Up spans quite a few months even up to years. The voice, pace and characters are all things he’s fighting with. Eric is worried about breaking the story.
[00:03:50] Working on “Dispossessed”. John used Dan Well’s order of writing the three act structure and came up with the resolution, then the hook, and then creating the plot hooks and pinches for the story. He’s happy with how that’s turned out and is now plugging away at getting the words written.
What’s happening online
Dead Writers’ Purfume
[00:04:29] An Etsy seller created the “Dead Writer’s Perfume”, evoking the scents of “black tea, vetiver, clove, musk, vanilla, heliotrope, and tobacco.” The website Book Riot riffed on that in a blog post about the unique scents to include in Dead Writer’s Perfume for specific authors.
For example, Ernest Hemingway’s cologne would combine salt water, rum, coconut and lime, cigar smoke, and Spanish wine. Edgar Allen Poe’s might smell like poppies, absinthe, sandalwood, and mold.
Point of View: The Balcony, The Stage, or the Script
[00:05:24] Tom Farr (@tomfarr) posted an article on Medium called The Balcony, The Stage or the Script An Introduction to Narrative Point-of-View uses the theater as an analogy for point of view in the written word. The analogy works very well to clarify point of view for authors.
All the Ways Hackers Will Try to Kill You
[00:06:20] All the ways hackers will try to kill you in the future covers a number of ways hackers can use existing systems to try and kill you. This article has a great list of plot devices speculative fiction and near-future science fiction writers could use in their stories. It’s like everything in Live Free or Die Hard
Editing with Scotch Tape
[00:07:02] In the tech section of the Wall Street Journal, there’s an article about Author Erik Larson’s Favorite Gadgets (Erik Larson is the author of Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania and The Devil in the White City). An interesting tidbit in the article is how he uses Scotch Tape in his editing process:
After I finish writing a chapter, I’ll print it out, cut it up into paragraphs and cut away any transition sentences. Then I shuffle all the paragraphs and lay them out as they come. As I arrange and hold them next to each other, very quickly a natural structure for the chapter presents itself. Then I tape the paragraphs together with Scotch Matte Finish Magic Tape—not shiny Scotch tape; that doesn’t work, I’ve gotta have the invisible—and rewrite the chapter on the computer. That’s what goes into the first draft.
Now Eric doesn’t feel so bad for using multi-colored pens during editing.
The Poisonwood Bible
[00:08:29] Eric is still reading The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver.
The Girl from Krakow
[00:08:40] Mike is still reading The Girl from Krakow by Alex Rosenberg. Mike can’t pass up the World War II espionage novels. He’s only a few chapters in and he’s really liking it.
[00:09:33] John read Wool by Hugh Howey. Mike mentioned Wool a while back, and John kept it in mind for something to read sometime. But Hugh Howey and Wool kept coming up in different books, blog posts and podcast episodes, so John read it to see what the fuss was about. It’s worth the hype.
Mike felt there was some superfluous description of a door, and Eric wondered if it violated Chekhov’s Gun:
Remove everything that has no relevance to the story. If you say in the first chapter that there is a rifle hanging on the wall, in the second or third chapter it absolutely must go off. If it’s not going to be fired, it shouldn’t be hanging there.
Tech Focus: Hive Word
[HiveWord] is a website for creating your story bible.
Something like this is important especially when writing a series of novels because as an author you need to keep track of all the details for consistency. HiveWord lets you keep track of prompts, scenes, characters, places and chapters.
This would be great for someone who is new to writing and wants to do NaNoWriMo.
This is something you would create and fill out in September and October in order to focus on writing in November.
When you use Scrivener, you can only run it on the machine on which its installed. This is web-based, so you can use it wherever you are and there is no investment in a piece of software.
For pantsers, HiveWord would work well retroactively to keep all of the character attributes straight.
There is an export for all the items in your HiveWord, but Mike would love to see an API to access the data. Mike has to have an API for everything.
HiveWord also integrates with Knockout Novel that is a separate tool. Knockout Novel is a writing prompt process that integrates but is separate from HiveWord. Knockout Novel is a paid product.
Many authors like to print out their manuscript for a first-pass edit. Based on a post in the writing subreddit, here some advice on “best practices” for printing out manuscripts for self-editing.
Some advice for simply printing it out:
Print it out with a low DPI to save ink. Printing in “draft” mode will save you some ink, especially considering you’re going to scribble all over the
Double space. By double spacing your manuscript, you give yourself room for line-by-line edits.
Print out single sided. This gives you room to make notes on the back of each page or on the back of the previous page (if you’re binding it).
Leave larger-than-usual margins to write notes there too.
Print your document in a different color and font. This helps reduce content blindness when you miss things because you are very familiar with the content and your eyes glaze over mistakes.
Number the pages. It is very easy to lose pages, even in a bound document. Being able to get things back in order quickly is important.
Bind your manuscript. One of the simplest methods is to use a 3-ring binder. Eric likes using brass fasteners and duct tape that takes the abuse of having the manuscript thrown into a book bag. John likes to use the Circa system by Levenger and the ARC system by Staples. He likes the rings in these systems because the manuscript lays flat and can even be folded back on itself when space is at a premium.
Some other tips:
Similar to the advice of Erik Larson, randomize chapters. When you’re editing you will see things in a different way when the order is scrambled.
Read from the bottom up. When doing line edits, reading line-by-line from the bottom to the top, or even word-by-word from right to left will also help you catch things you don’t see because of content blindness.
Use colored pens. Using black ink or pencils will make it harder to see the edits you’ve made and you may miss them when rewriting on the computer.
Write neatly. When you make notes in your document, you should take the time to write neatly so you can read them later.
Give your manuscript a nice cover. You deserve it.
See also: Editing your Book? Print it Out!
Writing that pays
[00:28:11] History Lists is always looking for writers to create short articles for their website. They are looking for 5-20 items per list with a total number of words for each item between 70 and 200 words. Pay is anywhere from $10 to $20. Details here.
[00:30:40] We got a new review on iTunes from DCSubie:
Varied topics and even when I don’t know what they are talking about, they are fun to listen to. Kind of like the Klick and Klack brothers but in regards to writing rather than cars!