Saturday, November 28, 2020

Writing Aids & Awards

g'day gentle reader

The result of all my wailing and gnashing of teeth over writing programs is I decided to buy Scrivener, to organise big projects like my 600,000 word trilogy and an anthology of my Writers of the Future awards,

speaking of which, 2020 was another good year for me.  4 submissions to WotF returned 2 Honourable Mentions and a Silver Honourable Mention. 3/4 ain't bad. Ain't good either. Only 1st 2nd or 3rd count.  I did the same only better in 2018. 3/4 and one was a Semi-Finalist.

The awards however are asymmetric. The Table shows awards given for the Quarter.  My Silver HM Qtr.4 was equal 134th. if it had been in Qtr.3 it would have been equal 67th. Conversely my HM ranked better for being in Qtr.3 equal 330th, rather than Qtr.4 where it would've been equal 458th. As the contest grows the competition get stiffer, I am happy to still be winning awards, I must be improving.  

I also decided to buy ProWritingAid (Black Friday sale) for checking grammar and style and everything else chapter by chapter since with anything more than a chapter the incredibly detailed checks it does will slow you down. For example: Part 1 of Book 1 in the trilogy (90,000 words) took 9 mins and gave me 1473 errors and I accidentally hit the [Realtime] button instead of the an [issues] button. It restarted and wasted another 9 mins. And if you don't correct (or ignore?) the errors then save, it restarts next time you open.  

The error count was a lot bigger first time around but I had corrected the spelling issues, (again almost exclusively my Character Names) and saves the story 

The firsts lesson: don't open a whole book in PWA, do a chapter at time.

These comments subject to change without notice, I'm on a steep learning curve.    

I practiced with a couple of paragraphs (326 words) from my next sub to WotF, fixed all the issues and then sent it back to gold fashioned,  to format ready to submit. Word found a grammatical error PWA  missed.


Sunday, November 15, 2020

The GRim error count ... continued

g'day gentle reader  

as promised  ProWritingAid's five remaining errors turned out to be ordinary boring abbreviations of a space opera kind:  comms (2) for communications , 1 each of  techos (1) and unsuit (1).  ProWritingAid informed me there were 'no such words'.  The fifth and last error was  a preference for air-con rather than aircon (1). PWR also had a couple of

style suggestions 

hot water spigot: can you use a stronger adjective than hot  (boiling scalding scorching) This was a simple case of misconstruction, which hot-water spigot solved. 

and a couple of rubbery eggs ...  readability may be enhanced by and two rubbery eggs. It may, but it will also loose the comic flavour - I left that one alone beside Australian usage (er - mine) does not necessarily mean exactly two.   (give it a couple of days, she'll be right = 2 at least days.) 

hadn’t damaged anything  to had damaged nothing  readability again (  more positive - accepted) 

[ "Both were crammed" into her life pod ] passive verbs make your writing less direct. Good advice but the suggestions were nonsensical in the context  [ "I/we/they crammed both" into her life pod ] they are already there.

like Word, PWA wants to convert all We'll have to to We must,  but must is not always appropriate it depends on the context. Sometimes what is mean is We aught to. 

I loved this one 

the electrics are shotas one character says to the other meaning the electrical circuits no longer function.  PWA said they/I/we/it shoot/s the electrics Seriously? 

Of course the program was objecting to the passive verb "are" It pays to keep in mind, ProWritingAid et al are sets of algorithms, perhaps a bit more sophisticated than most but still just programs.   

And it seems to me the program does not yet have a handle on dialog. 


Monday, October 5, 2020

The GRim Error Count

Once more unto the blog, gentle Readers, once more;
Or finish the story up with our English words

(with apologies to the Bard)

Now let me be clear from the start. I'm back unto the blog in an effort to promote my writing and lift my profile a little above sea level. All post will now be solely about the writing and nothing but the writing.

My earlier trilogy of blogs begun in 2004 were meant to be about

original blog
The original Blog

Life: called "That's Life" subtitled 'A Baby Boomer's thoughts on the privilege of aging. (concerned as ever with maintaining my
(live donor) kidney transplant)' 

the Universe: called "A Writer's Blog" and tagged: 'I write, therefore I am' survived until 2014 and the one you're reading now that I'm resurrecting.

and Everything: called "Eye of the Robot" which was set up in 2004 and got its first post in 2007. I had such plans but it never really got off the ground.  

In the end due to failing kidneys and a transplant "That's Life" usurped "Eye of the Robot"  which  in  2015 was itself transplanted into "A Writer's Blog" (the 2004 entry is embedded in a  2007 post)

So, to begin again as I have begun so many times

gday gentle readers

I've been experimenting with Pro Writing Aid.  I uploaded The GRim, a tongue-in-cheek satirical comedy, or perhaps a comical satire to (here-in-after PWA) This story analyser (free online to limited of 10,000 word) is supposedly the best thing since sliced bread for writers - assuming writers like sliced bread. Its definitely a step up from, which is only marginally better than words Grammar & Spelling checker.

The Grim @ 7000 words is one of my shorter stories, and it appears in the anthology Out of the Dark, edited by Robert N. Stephenson and published by Altair Australia Pty Ltd.

PWA found 256 errors, divided thus: 160 grammar issues, 63 style issues and 33 spelling issues starting with "unusual capitalisation" in reference to the title The GRim. (as explained in the story GRim is how the characters of the story refer to their environment ~ the Galactic Rim)  

As in most of these programs there is a choice of fixes. In this case "ignore" or "disable rule".  I chose to ignored, until it popped up again. I then chose disable rule which PWA chose to ignore.

As with word, once I added character names  to "my dictionary" the spelling issues dropped from 33 to 5.  I'll discuss those 5 in my next post.

to be continued ...

ooroo for now