Adventures Around the Web Octber 21-26

This week, the colder temperatures marched in, and then bounced around.  Pretty typical for DC, but it’s hard when your sinuses are going, “I’m not happy”…

Lulu the dog flunked out of CIA bomb-sniffer school because she just didn’t care

Spy dog fails classes at CIA!  Lots of very cute dog pictures for Friday.  Labs have a gentleness about them that’s just fun to look at.  Link courtesy of Day Al-Mohamed.

Serialized television has become a disease

I’ve of mixed feelings about serialization.  Early on, I did think it gave shows a continuity they desperately needed.  On the show Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, it was like the writers hit a reset button each time they wrote a new episode.  If aliens invaded the ship, it was treated as if it was the first time, even when it wasn’t.  Characters come into our lives and become something more, just like in books.  But serialization does not allow episodes to stand out.  What if the serialization for the year is poor?

Adding Tags in OneNote

This one’s a software tool I’ve been using for my research library.  I was on Evernote, but I switched over over because I don’t need extra software to confuse things.  I already had OneNote as part of the 365 subscription–why pay for a second program?  I know Scrivener had notes for projects, but I always thought research notes should be available for reuse. That’s a little hard if it’s done by project.  I also heard someone say that OneNote doesn’t have tagging.  I don’t use it myself, but the link explains to to tag.  And a photo of my research library …

A screenshot of my index pages showing headers for Ocean Liners and links underneath.



Writer’s Smart Book

I published three new stories over the weekend, and it made me realize I needed some kind of information sheet for them.  There were a lot of moving parts!

The military had what was called a “Smart Book.”  It refers to a book the trainees were given in Basic Training.  We kept it in our cargo pocket, where it got all sweaty and smashed up.  Any time we stood in line, we were supposed to have it out and be reading it.

What did it contain?  Basic things about the military, like rank.  Designed as a reference for the trainee and easy to read.

I decided I needed a “smart book” for my indie publishing.  The three stories below make ten (woo-hoo!).  Partially, the reason was that the process was starting to get complicated, and I didn’t want multiple files.  For example, I just downloaded an image for Rogue God, my novel.  I haven’t done anything else yet, but I needed to save the cover credit somewhere.

Smart Book.

Then there’s the keywords, which I can dash off at any time.

Smart Book.

So I have all the following:

  • Title
  • Original Title (because I have some stories I retitled, for various reasons.  Devil Winds was originally called The Devil Dances on Whisky Flats.  It sounded too much like a Western, and the new title is a much better one).
  • Type of manuscript (short story, novel, etc.)
  • Blurb
  • Submission History (where I submitted and dates rejected.  I hate, hate, hate keeping a spreadsheet).
  • Epublishing History (includes the price and the dates I published it; the categories for each vendor, since some of them varied, particularly on Foggy Paws; ISBN; Cover Image Credit; Keywords)

I like having it Evernote because it’s not much effort to access it.  I don’t fuss with tags; I just put them in a folder called Smart Book.  Meanwhile, here’s the covers to the three books.

Cover for Foggy Paws showing a girl and a dog Cover for Booby-Trap at Beaver River showing a woman standing on a cliff Cover for Devil Lands showing a desert planet

A Necessary Evil: Keeping Track of the Writing Stuff

I’d like to eventually write fiction full time.  It means, among other things, that I have to write a lot, but I also have to get my act together with the organization side.  That’s not always been easy.  My typical research session was go to the library, scrawl some stuff on some notes I intended to put in a 3-ring binder, and then the pages wander off on their own.

Most of the methods everyone advocates are way too complicated, way too much work, and way too structured.  They’re also for a one book writer, not someone who has to keep track of multiple projects.  I guess the person with the goal of getting one or a few books published doesn’t have to think as much about being more — I wanted to put efficient here, but that’s a dangerous word that some companies use to pile more work on people.  So a more basic phrase: Able to easily find everything with minimal effort and work.

Because I want to write, not spend my time organizing everything.

I’ve been using Evernote, which is free.  My focus has been on paying attention to the tags.  It’s easy to mess those up.  One of my challenges is that sometimes I’ll come up with a different tag, but one that duplicates others.  Or I forget the tags entirely.

Bridging the Nerd Gap has some excellent tips.  One of the major ones that I have to pay attention to is curating (#24).  It’s very easy to see something interesting, toss it in, and never figure out how I’m supposed to find it again.  And I really have to make sure I do it on a regular basis because it is so easy for chaos to wander in.  Sometimes I use pictures to help me describe things, and I was just going through those.  Some were labeled with the file name or site name, which made no sense.  So I had to clean up titles.

One thing I do for the tags is try to group them, so all like tags are sorted together.  So my research for Hawaii is HI-Plants and Animals; HI-Culture; and so forth.  That way I’m not having to look for however I called it. The stories each have a number assigned to them (e.g., 13s-14), so that number gets assigned to correspondence, writing expenses, etc.  I use an asterisk on a month tag so I can mark when the stories are due.  Much better than writing it in a planner or saving the link somewhere and trying to remember!

It’s still a work in progress though.

Writing Tally

  • Short Story Submission: 1
  • Mystery Novel: 799 words