Congratulations America on Joining the Gay Marriage Club

320px-Gay_flag.svgThe Supreme Court of the United States of America has voted 5-4 in favour of making gay marriage legal in all fifty states. States cannot ban gay marriage now.  As a Canadian, I’d like to say to the US, welcome to the club.

I’m not gay (I have a wife and a daughter), but I fully support the right of same-sex couples to marry.  And now they can in the US. That’s some of the best news to come from the US in quite some time.

You know, my marriage would’ve been looked down on several decades ago. I’m in an interracial marriage and my daughter is biracial. Interracial couples also had a struggle in the past, but is quite accepted now. I’m happy to see that same-sex marriage is completely legal in the United States now. Congratulations!

Of course, this is going to piss a lot of people off. A lot of conservative and strongly religious people will be very upset. They view it as a threat to traditional marriage. I don’t understand how it is a threat. Their ability to marry in exactly the same way as before is not affected. Their marriages are not affected in any way whatsoever. So why the fuss? Please inform me why this could be so bad.

Again, congratulations United States!

Authors Answer 34 – Writing Software

Authors have to write, and how they write is usually on a computer these days.  Gone are the days of writing entire books with pen and paper or with typewriter (though some people still do these). There’s a lot of software out there for writing.

320px-Modern-ftn-pen-cursiveQuestion 34: What software do you recommend for writing books?

S. R. Carrillo

I don’t really use anything other than good old Microsoft Word and Adobe. All that fancy stuff – Calibre, Scrivener, (Scrivebre?) – just throws me off. The simpler the program, the more streamlined my thoughts can be when I’m trying to get everything down onto the page.

Tracey Lynn Tobin

There are so many options out there that, really, you just have to try a bunch of things out and see what works for you. One that I used to use was a free program called yWriter, and it worked for me for a time, but it didn’t have a whole lot of options for someone trying to turn a bunch of words into a manuscript. What I eventually ended up sticking with was Scrivener, when they finally released their Windows version. I have a definite love-hate relationship with it, but it’s more love than hate. The trick is that it can do so many things that you have to really sit down and play with it and figure out exactly what you want it to do. If you can manage that you can wind up with a beautifully organized workstation for your novel, set up exactly how you like it. And when everything is said and done, Scrivener has all the available options to turn your book into whatever kind of file you want. Using this software I was able to create both a print version and e-book version of “Nowhere to Hide” with only a minimal amount of bashing my head off the keyboard. 🙂

Paul B. Spence

A good word processing program like Microsoft Word? I use Excel for spreadsheets and databases of character and setting information. I use Adobe Illustrator for personal star maps. What more do you need?

Linda G. Hill

Up until last year I wrote on whatever I could get my hands on. I actually started NaNoWriMo in 2006 and my computer crapped out on me – I ended up writing all but the first chapter of 50,000 words in a notebook. (Yes, I counted every single word in my notebook to make sure I had 50K words.) After that, any word processing program would do, as long as I could see my word count. Most recently I was using Open Office, which is free to download. But then I downloaded Scrivener and I haven’t looked back. There’s nothing better out there that I know of for organizing a manuscript. Everything is there at a glance, which I love. I’d highly recommend it. The trial is free for 30 days – that’s thirty days, counted in hours, of actual use. So if you download it and forget about it for two months like I did, you haven’t lost the chance to try it out.

Jean Davis

MS Word. Use the software you know and don’t have to think about. I don’t need spiffy features, I need a software that disappears so I can focus on getting the words out of my head. I set up a template with standard submission ready formatting and write everything in that so when a story eventually edited, it’s ready to go.

H. Anthe Davis

I’ve never used anything fancy.  For years I just used the Write program (.wri).  Eventually I forced myself to upgrade to a proper word-processing program, and now I use LibreOffice Writer, and….that’s it.  I occasionally use spreadsheets to hold some information, but no specialized software.

Elizabeth Rhodes

I love Dr. Wicked’s Write or Die app.  When it comes to getting words on the page, that program will force you to crank them out.  For saving files, I’ve been using MS Word, but I’m lukewarm about the program at best and am open to new suggestions.

D. T. Nova

Either Microsoft Word or a cheaper alternative that works similarly. The difference between different versions of Word doesn’t matter because the more “advanced” features aren’t anything you need. I’ve been using TextMaker and the only disadvantage compared to Word that I’ve noticed is how many words aren’t in the spellchecker.

Caren Rich

I don’t use anything other than Word, so I can’t answer this.

Gregory S. Close

Word still works for shorter projects, but I prefer Scrivener for novels.  Scrivener lets me save all sorts of information within the project for easy reference, including character sketches, place descriptions, and links to online references and/or images.  It let me move chapters around for easy re-structuring, and then export all or part of the product to the file format of my choice.  In Siege of Daylight was about 244 thousand words, so I needed that freedom to drag and drop chapters in order to adjust the narrative flow on a whim and keep it or put it back the way it was.  Word couldn’t handle the abuse.  Scrivener took it stoically and then asked for more.

There are also templates included with Scrivener to help with appropriate set up – getting the Title Page, Copyright Page etc. all in the right place.

Eric Wood

I’ve only ever written short stories, haven’t tackled a whole book yet. I’ve only ever used Microsoft Word because that’s what’s been available and I’m familiar with it. It’s easy enough to delete, rearrange, highlight, and do what I need it do it. It’s simple… a lot like me!

Allen Tiffany

Besides Word, I don’t use any software for the writing, though I’m about to explore Scrinver. I am, though, a big fan of style checkers. I think they are hugely helpful when it comes to fine-tuning your prose. I’ve actually played with a number of them. Here is my quick summary:

HemingwayApp: Free, simple, powerful. Very effective at highlighting awkward or troublesome sentences. Light on diagnosing the issue, which is fine. Just reports that something is not working, so I know where to focus when I edit. Try it.

Ginger: Works in Word, but can be a bit onry at times because of various conflicts it has with Micorosoft. Helpful at spotting some grammar issues, but can often be incorrect. I do very much like the built in Text-To-Speech function. TTS is a powerful tool to help you “proof” your work. In fact, I wrote an entire blog on it.

ProWritingAid: Exhaustive “syle” analysis. Great tool. Works inside Word. Sophisticated and can be customized. Will provide a detailed analysis of your work: Adverbs, sentence length, pronoun use, repeated phrases, etc. The list is long. Very powerful tool. PWA provides so much feedback that it can be overwhelming. You have to learn what to respond to and what to ignore. But if you want a detailed review, this is it.

AutoCrit: Very similar to PWA, but a slicker interface. The downside? Does not work in Word, which kills it for me.

Jay Dee Archer

Up until last year, I was using Open Office to write. I didn’t have anything fancy at all. But that changed when my old computer’s hard drive started failing. I’ve since moved on to Microsoft Word, which is far more versatile, I think. I’ve looked into Scrivener, but until I decide to pay for it, I’m not getting it. Word is working for me for now.

I’ve also used Excel to keep track of data for my world. Lots of stats for each country. But I like keeping things very organised for worldbuilding.

How about you?

If you write, what software do you use? Let us know in the comments below.

Coming Up With a Title

I find that one of the most difficult parts of writing a book is coming up with the title. It needs to be eyecatching, easy to remember, and be unique. How and when do you choose the title?

Some people create the title before they even start writing. I don’t think I can do that well. Others make up the title while they’re writing or when they finish. It’s possible that the title comes from something in the book, or maybe something someone said. It may even be a poetic title that isn’t even mentioned in the book. In any case, I think it’s difficult.

Looking at what I have planned for the future, I can make some guesses as to what the title may be. While I’m working on Journey to Ariadne right now, that’s the working title for the web serial. That’s not the title of the book, which I plan to do based on the serial. However, it’s likely it won’t be the first book published. What I plan to publish first in the Ariadne series is the first book that takes place several years after colonisation. Its current title is Ariadne Origins: Book 1. Not exactly a title, is it? Well, I do have a couple contenders for a title.

This is the first time you get to see the titles I may use. Let me know what you think. First is Knights of Ariadne. It has a dual meaning. If you’ve read the A to Z Challenge, you’ll notice that one person’s last name is Knight, and she is a young girl who develops this ability to control energy. On the other hand, Knights could refer to warriors of some kind.  I won’t tell you which one is correct, though it may be both, as well.

The other title is Solona. That’s the name of the girl I mentioned before.  It’s unique sounding, it’s simple, and it’s eyecatching, I think. She is obviously the main character of the first book.

The second book, which takes place after the first, has only the title Ariadne Origins: Book 2. But I haven’t figured out anything for a possible title. That’ll come later when I do more planning for the book.

If you write books, when do you figure out the title? How do you decide what it is?