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Short Review of the Jota+ App

31 Aug

Jota+ (the “Jota” is pronounced “Iota”) is a free writing app for your phone. It does code or something too, but I only use it for writing, so that is what I’ll focus on. It has other features that you can download for it that automatically integrate into the app; such as spellcheck and voice write.

The spellcheck worked once or twice for me and now gives an error message (it might work only with the paid update now). When it did work, it spellchecked well enough but you couldn’t make changes while it was working. The voice write works beautifully, though.

Jota+ has a bit of a learning curve because some of its features seem hidden or live along routes that don’t make sense. It saves as .txt files which is convenient for transferring to your computer and opening later in Word or Roughdraft. I haven’t tried that yet, but I’ve done it with other programs, so it should work the same.  Your saved files can be a bit tricky to find, however, when using the “Open” menu. It basically shows you your phone’s files. All of them.

I’m going to buy the full version and test that one soon. I love this program as is, so I think it’s worth the little it cost for extra features—such as Dropbox integration.

Where Ideas for Stories Come From

20 Jul

You’ve likely come across one recently. One of many blog articles or forums discussing where plot ideas come from.  In many cases, the bottomline answer is simply ‘everywhere.’ I’m not here to refute that. I agree, whole-heartedly. But I think the real confusion for new authors isn’t where to find them, but how to find them. How do you find a story in the bottom of the laundry basket? Or in that uneventful drive to work that was as mundane yesterday as it was yesterday seven years ago? Those count in ‘everywhere,’ right?

I not only believe they count, but I believe you can find ideas in those places easily once you know how to look. The real trick is in teaching yourself to see them, and to do that you need to redevelope one lost thing. No, not your imagination. Your sense of wonder.

There is a lot on the importance of imagination, which is essential, but I believe there is little to imagine if you don’t first wonder. To wonder is to ask questions; and questions want answers. Always.

What would the world be like if werewolves existed? What if a shy school teacher fell into the embrace of a womanizing rogue bent on conquering every woman he sees? What if a frustrated cop turns serial killer and his partner finds out? People have once asked some of these questions and readers the world around have appreciated their answers.

Going back to the laundry basket, ever wondered why they have holes in them? What if that basket were redesigned, how would it look in the future? What if it could annoy you with chit-chat while you pretended to be too busy loading the washer?

Also, that mundane drive to work. What could you wonder about the other cars? Their drivers? Those driver’s passengers, or lack thereof? What about that suspicious looking couple parked at the side of the road (pretending they’re only) walking their dog?

See all those questions? That’s wonder at work. It’s not always about sitting and just brain storming. Sometimes it’s in wondering what you’d do if you had superpowers but were always out-shined by your ex on the justice team. Ask questions that need answers and those answers could become the next short story or novel you write.

Imagine that.

Writing Prompt – Not Alone

29 Jun

Hello!  Today’s prompt is actually an idea I’ve had for a short story recently.  I’m not going to flesh it out, just give you guys the bare skeleton.  Here she goes:

A woman and her husband are in a restaurant trying to have a romantic dinner when the woman receives a call from home.  It is their daughter.  The little girl is distraught and rambling incoherently in hushed tones.  She can’t get the babysitter to the phone.  What’s going on at home and what do the parents do?  ((Hint: no, this will not be a robbery or kidnapping story.  Those are predictable and predictable is cliche. . . which is cheating.))

This is the prompt for today.  Until next week!

Try Write-o-meter

28 Jun

It’s an android app that will motivate you to write! http://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.thinkerers.writeometer

I sometimes find it hard to motivate myself to write, I think mostly because I have a hard time beginning tasks anyway.  With this app I set my daily word goal, my overall goal and my deadline.  I’ve also set three different projects so I can find time for each one.  I then earn points for completing timed runs (which start at 25 mins., but I’ve changed mine to 30).  With the points you can “purchase” rewards such as ‘eat a cookie!’ or, one I’ve made, ‘surf the internet.’  A very helpful little free app.  🙂

Writing Prompt – Spring Cleaning

22 Jun

Welcome again, guys!  It’s Saturday and I’m here with another prompt.  This one is a story starter:

 

Lillian pulled down the aged ladder and climbed up into the attic.  She clicked on her flashlight and sighed.  There were a lot more boxes jammed in there than she’d last remembered.  Some were stacked shoulder high, some shorter; like tall weeds in a sleeping cardboard jungle.  She covered her mouth to spare herself the startled dust particles now airborne.  More dust buried everything in a one-inch minimum layer.   How long had it actually been since she or Phil had been up there?  Had they really accumulated so much junk in just ten years?

Putting her flashlight in her mouth she tugged the nearest box closer, picking any old one to start with at random.  As Lillian pulled it down, a large heart-shaped box, like the ones chocolates came in, nearly slid off the top and out of the attic.  She caught it with her forehead, and then carefully maneuvered the larger cube back so she could grab the heart with her hands.  The thing was light and looked old, but it was strangely dust-free too.  Curious, she picked it open. . .

 

And that is the prompt for today.  Until next week.

bottledworder

easy reading is damn hard writing