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How to Write Amazing Characters Like Stephen King

How to write amazing characters like Stephen King

I love Stephen King's books and especially his characters. I once sat on the floor reading Dolores Claiborne instead of packing for a move. I hadn't planned to sit and read the entire book. I picked it up, flipped to the first page, started reading, and didn't stop.

What did you ask, Andy Bisette?
Do I "understand these rights as you've explained em to me"?
Gorry! What makes some men so numb?
No, you never mind—still your jawin and listen to me for awhile. I got an idear you're gonna be listenin to me most of the night, so you might as well get used to it.

I did sit and listen to Dolores for awhile. A long while, the sort of thing I haven't done many times, just sit and read a book through front to back in a single rush. Yes, the pages are a bit narrower than some, and the lines are generously spaced, but it still comes in at 305 pages in the hardcover edition I read. King started writing the book the year I finished high school and it came out the year I finished college—and I still don't understand how he creates such compelling characters.

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Is Traveler the Ultimate Distraction-Free Writing Tool?

Traveler

Astrohaus, the company behind the Freewrite, launched a new crowd-sourcing campaign today for the Traveler. The e-ink writing laptop, billed as the ultimate distraction-free writing tool reached its funding goal in less than 30 minutes. At the time I'm writing this, the campaign is at 324% funding.

I wrote about setting up a Scrivener laptop as a dedicated writing tool. A dedicated, zero-distraction tool for writing can be a big boon for productivity. Unfortunately, it's easy to give in to distractions on such a device. It's the matter of a moment to open a web browser or other applications. The Traveler looks to be just what I've wanted since first holding an e-ink ereader.

Does it hold up to my hopes? I can't know for sure. Let's take a look at what the Traveler offers.

What is the Traveler?

The Traveler is the successor to the Freewrite Smart Typewriter. The Freewrite is billed as the distraction-free writing tool. It features:

  • Mechanical keyboard switches
  • An e-ink display—viewable in sunlight
  • Long battery life
  • Alternate Pencil
    Internal storage and cloud-sync

The Freewrite met most of the features I wanted in a dedicated writing tool. Except the form factor. I wanted something smaller and more portable.

Freewrite
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Dictation Redux

Dictation

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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42 Answers to the Question, “Why Blog?”

number 42

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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Using Python to Generate Story or Novel Titles

Python

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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Introducing Your New Writing Tool – Novlr

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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Your Writing Routines Are Destroying Your Productivity

Routine

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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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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