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.