Software For Writing

For my birthday last month, The Brother bought me the Windows version of Scrivener. I’d heard a lot about from the Mac users, so I was willing to give it a shot. I also picked up the iOS version, because I do a lot of my writing on my iPad and iPhone. Here’s what I’m liking so far:

1. The project folders – everything you need for your writing project can be stored in a folder, including text, PDFs, pictures. You can be as extensive or as concise as needed.

2. Syncing – So far, linking Scrivener and Dropbox has allowed seamless syncing across all of my writing platforms. This was an issue when I was using Byword and Editorial, as I would occasionally get conflicting versions from different platforms.

My biggest issue with Scrivener right now is that it does not support markdown. Part of it is that I’ve been writing in markdown for the past few years, so it’s instinctive, but another is that I don’t have to go looking for buttons or highlight text when I want to do bold or italics. Really important when writing on the phone.

Overall, I’d suggest giving it a shot.

Story Idea – Narrative Cop

I’ve been binging the latest season of Hawaii Five-O. I don’t know why I enjoy it.

The show’s tropie, oversimplified, and generally a popcorn action flick every episode.

While watching, an idea came to me. A cop show/novel/story where the protagonist is considered a brilliant detective. Why, because (s)he can identify the narrative and solve the crimes based on how it interacts with the current media narrative.

Uniform Cop: The deceased is a known gang member who was seen making a drug buy two days ago. Probably killed by a rival gang.

Narrative Detective: No, I talked to his relatives outside. He was turning his life around. This was a corporate hit. Probably some nefarious scheme to keep essentials out of the hands of the poor.

Language and Cultural Appropriation

One of my weekly podcasts is Econtalk. This week’s was on the changing nature of language. Highly recommend, especially if you constantly feel the need to correct people’s grammar.

As a writer, it’s important to understand how language is used – especially for dialogue. Knowing the “rules” helps to properly convey the movies in my head to the reader’s. Much to the frustration of many an instructor or curmudgeon, language is not static. Especially not the English language. The meaning of words and the usage of words change. Trying to force people to use “proper” English (or whatever language) is in the end, foolish.

And now we get to the second half of today’s title. Culture, like language, is not static. No one practices the same culture as their ancestors did. Cultures change with technology and new ideas. Moreover, cultures share and absorb new things as their practitioners come into contact with others. In short, appropriation is a feature, not a bug.

Message Vs Story

I’ve been listening to a lot of the back episodes of the “Unjustly Maligned” podcast. The premise is to find a property (book, movie, television) that receives a lot of hate and bring someone on to explain why the hate is not deserved. Sometimes, the episode is great, such as the episode on Twilight (still don’t like it, but I certainly understand its popularity more). Other episodes are frustrating.

The reason is several of the episodes are less on defending the property for its story or setting and more on its “message”. Example is when they had Brianna Wu on to talk about Star Trek Voyager. Personally, I liked Voyager and I thought Janeway was a good skipper. Instead, the discussion was pretty much “Voyager has STRONG WYMYN!” 

I know that some of you are saying, well what did you expect from a person best known for leading SJW’s in Gamergate? The truth is that I have friends who I disagree with politically, but can totally geek out with over Star Wars, Star Trek, Firefly, etc. Instead, it was message being more important than story.

This is the crux of the argument. What is more important, message or story? Story or message? 

For me, the story will always be the most important. Characters need to be in a story because they bring something. For me, it’s because they drive the plot. My current project (which is taking far longer than it should) has a gay character. Did I choose to put a gay character in to check off a box or so that some of my readers will identify with him? No. I chose him because he helps drive the plot. 

Message fiction has its place. A good chunk of my “invisible friends” are fans of Ayn Rand’s works, and they’re all message fiction. Parables are message fiction writ small. Sometimes a person does need to see someone like them doing great things to kindle their own greatness. 

I choose to write story over message. Those are the stories that need to leap out of my mind. 

Audiobook Available Now

Where the Moss Grows is an urban fantasy that Kenn Blamchard and I developed. Kenn had the original idea, I wrote the story, and then Kenn narrated it.

Check out Kenn’s site for more information on the audiobook, and click the button below to purchase the audiobook. The audiobook is $9.97.

Buy Now

Ten bucks for two and a half hours of entertainment!

Solomon Love is a small time blues guitarist in Memphis who stumbles onto a murder. A murder committed by a cop. Now, Solomon and the cop are hunting each other through streets of Memphis. The cop has not only the police’s resources, but criminal allies as well. Solomon has a few friends, and the fact he’s a centuries-old werewolf on his side.