VINTAGE WORD PROCESSORS – I find the evolution of technology fascinating, not only for the machinery itself, also for the way these tools shape our thoughts/ expression. The first desktop computer I used was an Apple. It had large soft floppy disks that had to be changed out each time the mouse was used or a keyboard shortcut was entered. That enabled basic commands such as bold, italics, copy, paste and underline. There was no internet, no laser printer and (I’m pretty sure) dictionary or thesaurus features weren’t available. The saved files didn’t make it through all of the software changes from Apple to IBM to Microsoft to Word Perfect to MS Word. The first word processor had a small screen–the size of a calculator–which could view about five lines of text at a time. It had a built in typewriter, dot matrix paper that loaded on roll, with printed pages that unspooled like paper towels. After the pages finished, a thin strip of perforated paper along the sides was discarded, guides that allowed the pages to spool through the machine. The tools of writing have evolved so much. But, the computer enables me to be significantly more productive than those early days, using first generation word processors.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
BOOK IN A MONTH – Book in a Month by Victoria Lynn Schmidt is an excellent tool for writers. Out of the several dozen books I have on writing craft and promotion; it’s got to be one of the best. Why? All of the ideas aren’t necessarily new (examples – hero vs. villain; plot/ subplot; three act structure; short story arc; draft, edit and revise). What’s great about it: take your novel idea off the procrastination shelf, open this toolkit and sit down. Complete your first draft. No excuses! What’s included: goal setting, tracking time and research, focus on plot or character along with excellent reproducible worksheets. There’s something to be said about getting your butt in the chair. Do it for long enough to practice storytelling, integrate fiction mechanics, devote sufficient time, let the story unfold and establish a consistent routine. I really believe that once the schema is established, the spark of creativity will follow.