Notifications
Clear all

Writing Tools

19 Posts
8 Users
40 Likes
252 Views
Ease
 Ease
(@ease)
Posts: 247
Silver Star Member
Topic starter
 

In anticipation of a slew of facetious comments: pens, paper, pencils, typewriters, Word, Google Docs, Notepad, Notepad++, Wordpad, whatever's on a Mac, stone tablets, charcoal.

Now, onto the rarer, more interesting tools that some of you may not have heard of!

VOL 31: R - HM
VOL 38: HM
VOL 39: HM - HM - HM - SHM
VOL 39 Illus: F/DQ

 
Posted : November 15, 2022 4:49 pm
Ease
 Ease
(@ease)
Posts: 247
Silver Star Member
Topic starter
 

I've just discovered listening.io (that's a website address) - you give it a link and it converts it to a podcast for you, and sends it straight to your podcast app of choice. Why is that useful?

It's advertised as a way to do research while driving (or anything else, for that matter). Long articles can sometimes be a drain to read mentally, or you may be short on time, or wealthy in drive-time: listening.io will read them to you, and the artificial voice is actually pretty impressive.

But what I use it for is throwing in my latest finished draft, and having it read my work back to me. It's not as good as having another human read to you. But it's cheaper, both in cash (because it's free for the first ~5 hours or something of narrated content) and spousal-points (and as a writer with a full-time job, a pseudo homestead, and four children, I burn through them pretty fast). I've only used it a couple times so far, and it's made me aware of so many rhythm and pacing issues. It also reads every word, which is something I don't do when I'm reading it on my laptop screen. I should. I want to. I try to. But I don't. I do, however, hear every word read to me.

So that's the first rare tool I'm here to exhibit. Come back next week* for the next exciting tool! And feel free to wax lyrical about your new favorite writing toy, too.

 

*No guarantee it'll be next week. Could be tomorrow, could be December, could be 2023.

VOL 31: R - HM
VOL 38: HM
VOL 39: HM - HM - HM - SHM
VOL 39 Illus: F/DQ

 
Posted : November 15, 2022 4:50 pm
Joel C. Scoberg, Pegeen, Cherrie and 2 people reacted
V. R. Lassmann
(@vrlass)
Posts: 54
Bronze Star Member
 

Seems they are charging or compatibility with the pages and outputs…
Seems like they are using AWS Polly…

I think I’m gonna write my own minimalistic version with just the features i need…

 
Posted : November 17, 2022 7:01 pm
storysinger reacted
Ease
 Ease
(@ease)
Posts: 247
Silver Star Member
Topic starter
 

@vrlass They charge you for translation of text-to-voice after they've translated 5 hours worth of voice, but my average short story comes out at about twenty minutes, so I've got twenty five stories to listen to before I need to pay anything! And there's nothing stopping you from making a new account, if you were so inclined 🏴‍☠️

I have no idea about implementation, but if you write one that works (and ignore headers!) please let me know!

VOL 31: R - HM
VOL 38: HM
VOL 39: HM - HM - HM - SHM
VOL 39 Illus: F/DQ

 
Posted : November 18, 2022 3:38 pm
Ease
 Ease
(@ease)
Posts: 247
Silver Star Member
Topic starter
 

Our second tool is one I've mentioned before: otter.ai a freemium dictation tool/app for android and iOS. 

It's basically the opposite of listening.io - you talk, it transcribes. There are better transcription tools, I'm sure (DragonSpeaking comes to mind), but none that are as cheap (free for the first ten hours a month) or easy to use. Unlike the others I've used, you don't have to train it at all. You log into the app, press the microphone button, and start talking!

It shows you its guesstimate as you talk, and when you're finished it'll then spend a minute making sure it got everything right. Once it's done, you can email yourself the output. Now, it is designed for transcribing meetings, not solo dictations, so there are some features you won't need and the formatting isn't perfect. However, correcting the formatting doesn't take long, and I've found it's a great opportunity to quickly tweak and adjust things in my first draft, making it draft 1.5. 

My top tip: decide on common "generic white guy" replacement names for your fantasy characters. It's never going to get "Sylvaneth" right, but it will always hear "Sarah" and a quick find + replace will put that right in two seconds once you have the text in your Word processor of choice.

VOL 31: R - HM
VOL 38: HM
VOL 39: HM - HM - HM - SHM
VOL 39 Illus: F/DQ

 
Posted : November 18, 2022 3:46 pm
V. R. Lassmann
(@vrlass)
Posts: 54
Bronze Star Member
 

@ease 
I FINALLY HAD TIME TO DO IT!
And what can i say… ITS AMAZING!!
Not only I hear someone else read my stories (which is awesome and rewarding), but also the not-workings and love-ups are way more evident.
(Btw is f**kup pegi13?)

 
Posted : December 2, 2022 12:56 pm
Spencer_S
(@spencer_s)
Posts: 52
Bronze Star Member
 

Three tools I always use: Word, laptop, background music in repeat to get me into a flow state ideally. Not rare, however, haha.

I use the term "tools" in a broader sense, not just including mechanical / software tools, but anything that makes me a better writer.

The Hemingway editor is sometimes helpful for quickly noting how much passive / adverbs are in the story and determining general readability. I also keep a selection of organized files, one for each of magazines to target, cover letter design, revision tools, outlining tools, and so on. Basically a toolbox of every idea and method that's helped me in the past, so I can pick and choose what helps for each respective project.

I'd say the best tools I've had most recently are several solid books on writing (Donald Maass, for example, has a few excellent books filled with practical knowledge), and Brandon Sanderson's lectures - I've learned so much from those. At this point my "writing tools" word document is 130 pages long, nice to review from time to time to gloss over ideas, especially when I am revising or stuck.

But as for "rare" tools, Hemingway editor is one of them. Simple and effective.

Never tried voice to text. I know a few writers who do that very well.

“Stories are the collective wisdom of everyone who has ever lived. Your job as a storyteller is not simply to entertain. Nor is it to be noticed for the way your turn a phrase. You have a very important job—one of the most important. Your job is to let people know that everyone shares their feelings—and that these feelings bind us. Your job is a healing art, and like all healers, you have a responsibility. Let people know they are not alone. You must make people understand that we are all the same.”
Brian McDonald
2022: Second Place Winner V39 Q1
2021: HM, HM, SHM
2020: R
2019: SHM, R
2018: HM
2017: HM

 
Posted : December 3, 2022 8:13 am
Annaliess, Joel C. Scoberg, Pegeen and 1 people reacted
Spencer_S
(@spencer_s)
Posts: 52
Bronze Star Member
 

@ease Okay, that's cool. I have to try that.

“Stories are the collective wisdom of everyone who has ever lived. Your job as a storyteller is not simply to entertain. Nor is it to be noticed for the way your turn a phrase. You have a very important job—one of the most important. Your job is to let people know that everyone shares their feelings—and that these feelings bind us. Your job is a healing art, and like all healers, you have a responsibility. Let people know they are not alone. You must make people understand that we are all the same.”
Brian McDonald
2022: Second Place Winner V39 Q1
2021: HM, HM, SHM
2020: R
2019: SHM, R
2018: HM
2017: HM

 
Posted : December 3, 2022 8:14 am
Ease reacted
V. R. Lassmann
(@vrlass)
Posts: 54
Bronze Star Member
 

Posted by: @ease

Our second tool is one I've mentioned before: otter.ai a freemium dictation tool/app for android and iOS. 

It's basically the opposite of listening.io - you talk, it transcribes. There are better transcription tools, I'm sure (DragonSpeaking comes to mind), but none that are as cheap (free for the first ten hours a month) or easy to use. Unlike the others I've used, you don't have to train it at all. You log into the app, press the microphone button, and start talking!

It shows you its guesstimate as you talk, and when you're finished it'll then spend a minute making sure it got everything right. Once it's done, you can email yourself the output. Now, it is designed for transcribing meetings, not solo dictations, so there are some features you won't need and the formatting isn't perfect. However, correcting the formatting doesn't take long, and I've found it's a great opportunity to quickly tweak and adjust things in my first draft, making it draft 1.5. 

My top tip: decide on common "generic white guy" replacement names for your fantasy characters. It's never going to get "Sylvaneth" right, but it will always hear "Sarah" and a quick find + replace will put that right in two seconds once you have the text in your Word processor of choice.

after I have tts coding stt poc I estimate on half a hour… but why do you need it? I am not the best storyteller (probably bottom 5%) and when I used stt to speed up writing I ended up really disappointed in my self to the pint I burried the story. 

Are you a better storyteller? Are you using it in a different way? How does it help you?

 

 
Posted : December 3, 2022 11:25 am
Pegeen reacted
Ease
 Ease
(@ease)
Posts: 247
Silver Star Member
Topic starter
 

@vrlass I often work 70-100 hours a week, with ~20 hours of that in the car. Speech to text let's me keep writing when I'm stuck on the road! Recently, with staff shortages, almost all my "writing" time has been while driving.

It's not for everyone, but for some it can be a life saver.

VOL 31: R - HM
VOL 38: HM
VOL 39: HM - HM - HM - SHM
VOL 39 Illus: F/DQ

 
Posted : December 4, 2022 8:56 am
storysinger reacted
Ease
 Ease
(@ease)
Posts: 247
Silver Star Member
Topic starter
 

@jason, I got a notification for a reply from you on this thread, but when I come here there is no post from you, and Joe Benet's post has disappeared. Did something glitch out?

And @vrlass, any phrase/word with the letters KFCU (in the order you're thinking of) is not PEGI-13. I believe you're allowed one 'female dog' in a PG-13.

@spencer_s, I had completely forgotten about the Hemingway App! It's been a decade since I last used it. I must try it. That said, critiquing others' works stimulates my adverb/passivity detector enough that it actually triggers for my own writing, too, so hopefully frequently critiquing (which I pretend to do altruistically but honestly benefits me just as much as the critiqued) means that Digital Hemingway won't catch too much in my writing. 

VOL 31: R - HM
VOL 38: HM
VOL 39: HM - HM - HM - SHM
VOL 39 Illus: F/DQ

 
Posted : January 15, 2023 9:55 pm
Jason Toth
(@jason)
Posts: 310
Silver Star Member Admin
 

@ease, yes there was a post here as well, but it was moved to a dedicated thread.

This is a tip from Joe Benet regarding the Mythulu Creation Cards:

https://www.writersofthefuture.com/forum/writing-craft-talent-technique/mythulu-creation-cards/#post-49085

You are welcome to comment on it here too as well as on the other thread.

I added a link to the podcast regarding these cards, which is here too:

https://soundcloud.com/writersofthefuture/166-laura-crenshaw-stabilizing-and-expanding-the-storytelling-industry?si=5d17353070854003988f1acd455b4632&utm_source=clipboard&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=social_sharing

 

 
Posted : January 16, 2023 10:32 am
Annaliess
(@annaliess)
Posts: 5
Active Member
 

She isn't rare, but I do love my little portable typewriter. It's hard to get distracted by social media or the internet when you are 100% analog. There's also a gratifying clickity-clackity and Ding! when you finish a line.

I do keep a small digital voice recorder on hand for when an idea strikes while I am driving, but that's not exactly a rare item either.

I dug an old dictionary and thesaurus out of a free book bin, and sometimes thumbing through them to find weird, obscure words can help when I am stuck on a story trajectory or plot. It's not usually the word itself that gets the wheels turning again, but the "what if" rabbit hole that ensues.

Otter.ai and Hemingway app are both useful!

 
Posted : January 17, 2023 4:44 pm
David Hankins
(@lost_bard)
Posts: 413
Gold Member
 

I recently picked up the book The Guide of All Guides that is a great resource for short story markets. The author (TV Producer, Journalist, and Author Angelique Fawns) researched the current markets (from pro to token) and compiled them into an easy-to-read format. It includes all the basic info you would find on Submission Grinder, but also has editor notes, typical opening windows for intermittent markets, and other great info. I think it’ll be a good supplement to my usual research via Submission Grinder. 

https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/1777507022/ref

Winner, Volume 39, 2nd Quarter, 3rd Place
Subscribe to The Lost Bard's Letter at www.davidhankins.com
Published Stories:
"A Properly Spiced Gingerbread" - Critters Best Magical Realism Story of 2022
"The Last Quest of Corbin the Coward"
"Reassessed Value" - Tangent Online 2022 Recommended Reading List
”Hell’s Bureaucracy”
Coming Soon:
"Felix and the Flamingo" in Murderbirds!
"Another Day on the Orbital Ranch" in DreamForge Magazine

 
Posted : January 22, 2023 6:33 pm
Annaliess, storysinger, Joel C. Scoberg and 2 people reacted
Ease
 Ease
(@ease)
Posts: 247
Silver Star Member
Topic starter
 

@lost_bard I've got that book, too! And if you use Amazon Prime and occasionally pick the "slow delivery saver" option (whatever that's called) you'll probably find you've got enough digital credits to buy it for "free" too!

VOL 31: R - HM
VOL 38: HM
VOL 39: HM - HM - HM - SHM
VOL 39 Illus: F/DQ

 
Posted : January 22, 2023 7:16 pm
Dustin Adams
(@tj_knight)
Posts: 1149
Platinum Member
 

Like Spencer, I'm a Word - laptop (with ergonomic keyboard attached) music/headphones guy. I need those three things. Sans keyboard if I'm away.

One writing tool/trick I use with short stories is to read in the style I want to write. I don't read much in general, so it's easy for me to, say, want to write something cyberpunk and pick up Neuromancer for a bit. Write something silly and pick up Harry Potter for a bit.

Career:

1x 3rd place
2x Finalist
2x Semi
9x Silver
11x HM
7x R

 
Posted : January 25, 2023 2:27 am
David Hankins, Joel C. Scoberg, Ease and 1 people reacted
Morgan
(@morgan-broadhead)
Posts: 311
Silver Star Member
 

I run my stories through the Grammarly website a couple times during my final edit passes, just to make sure I'm catching all those elusive fiddly grammar and spelling bits.

"Writers WRITE. And they finish what they start."
— Chuck Wendig
Drop me a line at https://morganbroadhead.com
SFx1
HMx2
Rx4

 
Posted : January 25, 2023 4:55 am
Joel C. Scoberg and Ease reacted
Ease
 Ease
(@ease)
Posts: 247
Silver Star Member
Topic starter
 

@morgan-broadhead I love Grammarly. Used to have in enabled to correct as I write, but it was too distracting, especially when it was wrong or when I was writing dialogue (it's dialogue, Grammarly! It's not gonna be perfect grammer!).

@tj_knight that's Mary Robinette Kowal's trick, too. She read Jane Austen almost constantly while writing her Glamourist Histories series. I like doing it as well: I read The Great Gatsby a number of times while writing my 1920s alternate history. I think you need a certain amount of prior writing experience to really pull it off though. You want it to color your tone just a little, to conjure that resonance, without making it seem like you're trying to ghost-write for that author. When I was an even more fledgling writer than I am now, whatever I was reading at the time would almost get copy and pasted (subconsciously) into my work, and while it wasn't plagiarism it was close enough to it that I normally felt pretty gross rereading works afterwards.

VOL 31: R - HM
VOL 38: HM
VOL 39: HM - HM - HM - SHM
VOL 39 Illus: F/DQ

 
Posted : January 25, 2023 6:00 am
Dustin Adams
(@tj_knight)
Posts: 1149
Platinum Member
 

Yeah, I suppose after putting in my million words, I mimic, not copy. Still, I enjoy the way things turn out and how my thoughts think in the style of what I'm reading. Martin Shoemaker says (paraphrasing here) reading allows you to write in writing.

Oh, no, that wasn't paraphrasing, that was murder.

Reading allows you to think in writing?

Five bucks to anyone who can find his quote...

Career:

1x 3rd place
2x Finalist
2x Semi
9x Silver
11x HM
7x R

 
Posted : January 25, 2023 1:24 pm
Share: