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Happy Birthday Jaime!!!

Happy birthday to stillnotbored!!!

How to Write a Novel Part 4: Software

There's a lot of good software out there that can aid you with the creative process. Sure you could just use a pen and paper, and maybe a thesaurus and dictionary--if you're Amish.

For the rest of us who have discovered fire, here's a short list of software that I find most useful:

Spacer software created by author Simon Hayes offers yWriter for free which allows you to write, edit, and keep track of just about everything from character descriptions to locations and timelines. Did I mention it's free?

For you Apple snobs who can afford to part with your beer money there's also Scrivner, with it's fancy dancy cork-board and hoity toity formatting features. You can also buy Scrivner for your PC but I'm pretty sure if you do Justin Long shows up at your house and makes fun of you.

Scrivener does have a nice feature which allows you to compile your manuscript into eBook formatting in case you'd like to self-publish and give your books away for free sell your books on Amazon.

While this software is nice, if you really want to push your creativity into overdrive the following is a must:

Planetside 2: Simply one of the best MMO FPS games out there. Battle for the planet Auraxis as one of three factions: the Terran Republic (Go team!), Vanu Sovereignty (nancy-boy Prince wanabee's in purple spandex), and the New Conglomerate (Vanu's bitches.) But be warned, it's not for sissies. (Unless you're playing as Vanu.)

Red Orchestra 2: You get to shoot WWll Germans IN THE FACE. Or you can be German and shoot someone else in the face. Either way it's win/win.

Batman Arkham Origins: Because if you can be Batman, hey, be Batman.

What? Hey, I said it would increase your creativity, not productivity.

You might want to invest in a headset to trick your significant other into thinking that you're actually writing and not...being creative. Luckily all your swearing as you're being team-killed should be enough to convince them that you are, in fact, writing.

Software can be a boon to your creative process. Just remember to back up your work or you'll have to play that level rewrite those hard won words all over again.

I keep several copies--one on my laptop, one on my desktop, one on a flash drive, and most importantly one I burn so the Russians don't get it.

How to Write a Novel Part 3: The Workspace

Noise can be a distraction at inopportune moments, for instance when you've almost nailed down the resolution to that plot point that's been nagging you, you've just noticed a gaping plot hole, or you're just about to place the black jack on the red queen. Any little break in concentration and you could lose your train of thought--or that game of FreeCell--and have to start over from scratch.

For most writers a noise free environment is essential.

Here are some locations you might want to avoid:

1. Airport
2. Heavy Traffic
3. Nickleback Concert -- as if you need another reason to avoid these.

Of course some writers thrive on noise and nothing distracts them--not screaming kids, gunfire, Bobcat Goldthwait--nothing.

These people are freaks and will probably never amount to anything, but their crappy manuscripts can clog an editor's in-basket and hide your masterpiece.

Ideally you should have your own office, somewhere you won't be disturbed while you play Grand Theft Auto work on your masterpiece. A nice quiet room where you can hide from your wife create without distraction can be essential to your "process."

Some of the things you might find useful here are:

1. Desk
2. Computer or laptop (An abacus just won't cut it--I speak from experience)
3. Comfy chair
4. Mini bar
5. PS4 (Xbox will do in a pinch)
6. The complete series of Firefly, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and random episodes of Doctor Who
7. Contact info for Pizza/Chinese/Thai/Sushi takeout. (I recommend Luigi's Royal Thai Dim Sum Emporium)

Some people prefer to write to music, a sort of sound track to their work, and while music can greatly enhance your creativity some can creatively lobotomize you—like Yanni, for instance, or the afore mentioned Nickleback.

Confirmation Question"

Your workspace should be a distraction-free as possible.


Answer: True—unless you're Helen Keller, in which case it may not matter. Sure, maybe you can write with SLAYER turned up to eleven while the kids are juggling chainsaws and the dog humps your leg, but most people can't.
If you send your masterpiece to several Beta Readers (that's industry speak for suckers--you know, the same sort of folks who aren't smart enough to get out of jury duty) and only one or two of them point out something that "pulls them out of the story" odds are it's safe to ignore them. They probably just forgot to take their ritalin that day.

If, however, several of them point out the same thing, then obviously you need a better class of friends--ones who aren't mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging cretins who can't read past a Dr. Suess level. (Yes mom and dad, I'm looking at you.)

On the off chance you happen to agree with them (because you lack faith in yourself, you mewling douche-waffle) then by all means make the change, and remember to thank them in your forward. (You'd be surprised at how much a little insincere pandering can endear you to the reading public.)

And remember, never respond to negative reviews of your work. It only demeans you. (Responding under an alias is a no no as well. Somehow the public always finds out no matter how well I disguise my...never mind.)

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

I have to create a lesson to trial some Distance Learning developement software at work, so I made one on "So You Want To Write A Novel!" Here's an excerpt from the section on Inspiration:

We writers are inspired by a myriad of sources. Maybe you have a crazy aunt--I mean really crazy--like electroshock therapy-been-locked-in-an-asylum-most-of-her-life-crazy. There's a font of inspiration with every visit right there.

Better yet, maybe you're stark raving mad yourself. After all, you do want to be a writer, so odds are...

Sure, some posers get their inspiration from music, or art--even movies, television and books, believe it or not, but that just shows a lack of dedication.

That's almost as bad as writing a book based on your life experiences. Diary of Anne Frank? Seriously, a book about some German girl locked in her attic. Boring!

If you want to be creative and original, you have to really think outside the box. I find psychotropic drugs help, and the afore mentioned electroshock therapy. And never underestimate sleep deprivation!

What? Oh, fine then, pansy. Go watch a movie or read a book.

Confirmation Question: Match the following sources of inspiration with the kind of success you might expect after publication.

1. Books, Movies, Television
2. Personal Experience
3. Psychotropic drugs, sleep deprivation, electroshock therapy

A. Maybe your mom will buy a copy.
B. Runaway best seller!
C. You might guilt some people from work into buying a copy.

Summary: Nobody really cares where you get you inspiration from, as long as you don't steal it. Correction, as long as they can't prove you stole it. So whatever works for you. If you're inspired by running naked through the fountain in the center of the town square covered in mayonnaise while you throw marshmallows at spectators heads, go for it. Some of the best books were written from prison.

Happy Birthday Marsha!

Shout out to msisolak!!!

Self Improvement 101

These 20 things are making us dumber according to this article:

Google, Sugar, Smartphones, TV (Just watching dumb people makes you dumber. Honey Boo Boo anyone?), Domestic Violence, Chewing Gum, City Living, Jet Lag, Poor, Ventilation, Spanking, Stress, Meetings, Air pollution, Email, Smoking Weed, Junk Food, Fluoride, Evolution, Fox News, TV (Again? This time it's the type of show you watch.)

I have since given all these things up (Well, as soon as Pen stops beating me I'll have the Domestic Violence one covered, and luckily "spanking" means the punishment you received when you were young, and not…never mind.) and as a result I am now the smartest man on the face of the planet!

Take that, Stephen Hawking.

This is why we can't have nice things.

Just got my rejection from Harper Voyager. After almost a year, and making it into the final few hundred submissions, I get a form letter rejection. Traditional publishing can kiss my ass.

Here there be monsters!

Lately I've been playing a lot of Planetside 2, which is an awesome MMO FPS. I play quite regularly as (the oldest) member (by far) of the 1st Terran rangers. (Best outfit ever!)

This weekend, however, I will be attending the Michigan Renaissance Fair, so I submitted a Leave of Absence letting them know where I'll be.

This is how one of the outfit members responded:

Echocharliebravo2496 - I know you like reliving your 20s but beating the crap out of all those reenactors won't bring the dragons back.

Oh well, at least he wasn't on my lawn when he said it.

Still rooting for the zombies.

I find our fascination with the fantasy of a Zombie Apocalypse intriguing. We've all seen the internet memes. Eg:

The hardest part about a zombie apocalypse will be pretending I'm not excited.

Let's face it, who wouldn't want the opportunity to shoot their boss in the face--because we all know that moron is likely to be one of the first ones infected. Other than that though, what's the allure?

Is it that our society has become so complex and so restrictive that we might actually prefer the simplicity? In our zombie utopia there's only one rule:

Find food; don't be food.

You don't have to worry about things like where are you going to get the money to get the brakes fixed on your car, or how are you going to pay your mortgage, or how much longer can you go on working in a soul crushing job, accomplishing nothing and never getting ahead, before you shoot your boss in the face. (Zombie or not.) You don't have to worry about your neighbours telling you that you can't paint your garage door green because it doesn't match the aesthetics of the neighbourhood, or the city denying you a permit to build a deck, or the cop pulling you over because you came to a rolling stop even though there wasn't another car around for miles. No one's going to tell you that you can't help defend against a horde of zombies because you're gay, or black, or a woman, or physically handicapped.

Of course most of us have an inflated sense of our own chances of survival. We're the same deluded fools who are convinced we would thrive on Avatar's Pandora, where virtually everything is designed to kill you.

But hey, at least the Na'vi don't pay taxes.