Ryan, Author at Ryan M. Williams

All posts by Ryan

Dictation

Dictation Redux

One of the pleasures of being a librarian is sharing resources with people. When it comes to making recommendations on books, we tend to talk about "readers advisory." I think there is also a place for "writers advisory" in libraries—librarians have a long history of working with writers and I think it is a relationship that we should cultivate. For this post, I want to suggest resources for writers thinking about dictation. If you haven't considered dictating your work, take a look at these resources to see how many writers today take advantage of speech-to-text technology to write.

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number 42

42 Answers to the Question, “Why Blog?”

The Number 42

Few writers have made as much of an impression as Douglas Adams on my imagination. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy remains one of my favorite books.

“Forty-two,” said Deep Thought, with infinite majesty and calm.

The number 42 has entered the popular imagination since the release of Douglas Adams' book. I don't know the ultimate question. I have asked myself on many occasion, "Why blog?" Most recently, while taking the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog course from Problogger. One of the first assignments is writing a post answering that question. It probably isn't the ultimate question, but I decided to use the number 42 to answer it anyway. Here are 42 answers I came up with to the question, in no particular order, as far as I know.

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Books Gone Bad Bundle

Books Gone Bad Bundle

The Books Gone Bad Bundle with my story Invasion of the Book Snatchers on BundleRabbit is now available for pre-order at Amazon, iBooks, etc. with a release date of July 27th. I'm excited to have my story included in this bundle along with so many great authors.

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Writing Prompts

Weird Weekly Writing Prompts

Welcome! I've written some of my favorite stories with simple writing prompts that have encouraged my imagination to come up with things I probably wouldn't have come up with otherwise. Check back each week for new writing prompts, or sign up for Readinary to receive my weekly emails and get the prompts in your inbox along with my latest posts. I've also set up a simple submission page you can use to suggest writing prompts.

Latest Writing Prompt

Write about your doppelganger, what makes them different from you?

Prompt courtesy Ryan M. Williams, author of Invasion of the Book Snatchers.

Invasion of the Book Snatchers

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Python

Using Python to Generate Story or Novel Titles

Writing doesn’t require learning to code. But you can have fun, save time, and improve creativity by learning at least some coding. Even something as simple as creating a word count tracker can help with productivity. Picking up knowledge around HTML and CSS can help writers with websites. Discovering languages like JavaScript or Python unlocks potential for many other options.

I faced this recently with a problem I faced around titles for novels in a series. Don’t worry if you haven’t coded anything before—this is a short example of using Python to generate a list of possible titles for my books. The techniques used can apply to any programming language—or even to doing it entirely by hand.

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Novlr

Introducing Your New Writing Tool – Novlr

I’ve been known to bounce around trying out different writing software. I’ve tried a range of programs including Microsoft Word, Scrivener, StoryBox, yWriter, Omniwriter, Write or Die, Wattpad, Evernote, and many others. Years ago, using Palm OS-based PDAs, I particularly liked WordSmith. I haven’t found the perfect program yet. I currently use Scrivener and Word for many projects. Right now I’m also using Novlr for writing my first drafts.

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Space Monkeys

Space Monkeys Audio Drama Podcast

on-spec-magazine-summer-2011-85-vol-23-no-2-cover-200x320Several years ago, editors at On Spec Magazine published my short story Space Monkeys. As if that wasn't enough of a thrill, they created a teacher and librarian toolkit of the story for students.

Now they've added a dramatized audio-play adaptation of the story, available over on Soundcloud. Or just click to listen.

I'm thrilled to see—listen—to the new audio version.

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Routine

Your Writing Routines Are Destroying Your Productivity

Routines destroy productivity when they become fixed rituals—especially if you want to write while working at another full-time career. If you need to have the right chair, the right work space, computer, or the perfect software program, then you’ve restricted your options to write until those times that the stars and planets align and provide you with the perfect environment.

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Punctuate This

Punctuate This | Writing Exercise

I got this writing exercise from one of my mentors, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, at a workshop I did a few years back. I found it very instructive. It's simple to explain, and much harder to do.

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Unplanned Time Off

Unplanned Time Off

I took some unplanned time off from working on my blog over the past few weeks. It stemmed in large part from a life roll—the loss of our two dogs. Poppy passed at the end of April, age-related reasons, at 18 years old. Worf, only 7 years old, was diagnosed with cancer and had stopped eating despite all that we tried. It became clear he wasn't improving and we made the difficult choice to have him euthanized. It's been hard for me and my family. As I get my creative life back on track, I thought I'd share some tactics I've used that you might find helpful. 

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