So I’ve decided to take the plunge and enter into the world of Facebook.

I mean, in a different capacity I’ve been mulling around Facebook for years, as many other people have.

But it occurred to me that if I was truly going to give this writing thing a shot (especially if I go Indie) I’m going to need some presence on Facebook. After all, it’s only one of the largest social networks on the planet, right?

I suppose my two biggest fears are that a) Few people will like my author page and it will turn into another vehicle for self-pity. b) It will become a massive time-suck that will pull me from other, more important, tasks.

What do you think community? Is jumping into Facebook a wise move? Will my writing/publishing career suffer or benefit from it? I’m wondering what your thoughts and experiences are.

In the meantime, I’ve set up an author page. Going to make it just one more place that people can find me.

If you feel so inclined, you can find it at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Justus-R-Stone/250724508276754 Give it a LIKE, I’d appreciate it. And if you have your own Author page, let me know, cause I’ll return the like in return.


Writing Software Changed My Life – For the Better

I’ll admit it, I’m not an organised person. My “office” is a chaotic storeroom of books, bills, important documents, and an assortment of other baubles. To be honest, it’s hard to move in here.

So it’s a tad ironic that when it comes to writing, I crave organisation. I hate having to have multiple Word files. I despise writing ahead because it means putting the scene in another Word file or constantly bumping it down while I write ahead of it. But what if I have multiple scenes that take place later in the book? Ugh.

Because of this, I never really planned out my books, I always wrote in a linear fashion and if I had a great idea for a scene, I would scribble on a piece of paper or just hope I remembered it when I got there.

Writing software has changed all that.

I started with yWriter5. There were two reasons.

  1. It was free.
  2. It was compatible with Windows.

I didn’t mind yWriter. Every chapter was its own file, so I could create a number of chapters and add data to them so I knew what I had planned for that chapter. If I had an idea for a scene in a chapter later than the one I was working on, I just hopped over to that chapter and added it.

There was a place for adding character information, scene information and so much more. And it had an export feature so I could fire it off to Word as a single compiled document when I was done.

The things I disliked about yWriter though were

  • Pop-up windows for writing.
  • The in-program spell check wasn’t user friendly
  • It felt like I was jumping through numerous tabs to find things I wanted.

For me, yWriter wasn’t a perfect solution, but it was vastly superior to Word. yWriter allowed me to be a bit chaotic and free flowing in my writing, yet provided me with enough structure that I could still see where the myriad of pieces fit.

A few weeks back, I saw a tweet about a Windows version of Scrivener.

I’d been anxious to try Scrivener because I’d heard great things about it and some of my favourite authors were using it. So I went ahead and downloaded the free Beta version.

I’m in love 🙂

Scrivener does all the things yWriter does, only it doesn’t have any of the issues I had with yWriter. There’s no pop-ups, spelling is handled much like my WordPress blog and all my info is handy on the left-hand side of the screen. I also appreciate that Scrivener has some built-in templates for characters and locations. Overall, it’s clear why yWriter is free and Scrivener is a paid for product; Scrivener just has more polish. I find I don’t flip from one tab to another because I can lay out my screen with all the info I need.

About the only issue I have with Scrivener is that the Windows version doesn’t have the capabilities of the newest version of Scrivener for Mac (which includes compiling straight to eBook formats!).

Regardless of which you choose (or if you know of another similar product), writing software allows so much more freedom and organisation of materials. I noticed a marked increase in output when I switched. Do you think it could help you too?

Choosing the Right Title & The Call

In the spirit of my previous post, I present to you some articles I found very interesting and helpful.

Understand also, I include these because one day I know I’ll want to go back and look at them.

The first is a post by Chuck Wendig about Choosing the right title for your work. I really enjoyed how he shared insights but also his own insecurities about a fairly critical task.

While on the title kick, here’s a quick link from Bubblecow on coming up with a good title.  Good ideas to consider!

Finally, I pass on a link I discovered while in my Twitter chats last night.  Sending out queries to agents to get represented is a pretty big step.  Waiting, as many participants related, sounds horribly nerve-wracking.  But when the agent calls, how do you know they are the right fit?  What kinds of questions should you ask to keep from getting into a messy business relationship?  That’s the purpose of this link, The Call or What to Ask a Literary Agent When Offered Representation.

Hope these help on your own journey!

What Harry Did Right

When approaching Young Adult fiction, there is a singular holy grail of modern achievement.  I can’t recall a series that had such equal appeal across age and gender.  Naturally, I’m talking about Harry Potter.

Now, when you have a series as big as Harry, there are going to be the naysayers and pundits that want to tear the book apart and justify why it should not be the success it clearly is.  As writers, I don’t think any of us really care about Harry’s grammar, structure or any other negatives people drag up.  What we care about is, why does it work, and how can we use those lessons to improve our own chances of success.  Well, I have a handy series for you to look at that can do just that!

Jane Friedman’s website There Are No Rules contains a wealth of advice and information.  One particular series of articles, contributed by guest writer Jim Adam takes a look at The Strengths of the Harry Potter Series.  There’s a wealth of things to learn from looking at the fundamental elements that makes Harry Potter work.  I know the first article, on being able to sum a plot in one sentence, gave me some serious pause on my own work in progress.  I went back to ensure my story held up to this seemingly simple test.  Initially, it didn’t, and I realised I was writing more of a concept than an actual story.  Some serious soul searching and digging in the guts of what I was writing eventually produced that simple sentence, and I found almost immediately everything seemed more cohesive.

So go check the link.  I found every single one of the points useful and will be returning again and again just to check.  There are far worse role models.