Friday, September 30, 2011

Preparations Complete! Launching October Madness in 3 ... 2 ...1 ...

Today I took myself to Barnes & Noble and picked up my writing-prompt source for the month of October.  I know from experience that I work better with visual prompts than with word prompts, so I selected Spectrum 17: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art.

There are over 400 images inside, and I am exercising great restraint by not plowing right through.  The plan is this--each day I will open to a random page, select one image, and start writing.

The good news is that I am so excited to get going that I'm actually going to take a practice run today.  I've got the ammunition, might as well start shooting!

Again, I welcome anyone who would like to join in October Madness to jump right in.  You select whatever you want to write (no need to use visual prompts if they aren't your thing), and aim to write a minimum of 500 words each day.

October Madness, starting in 3 ... 2 ... 1 ...

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

October Madness

Usually at this time of year, I'm deep in planning out what I'm going to write for NaNoWriMo in November.  I haven't decided yet whether I'm going to play in that ballpark this year or not, but I don't want to let October vanish in a haze of thinking and no actual writing.  Hence, I've decided to set myself a challenge.

Every day in the month of October, I will find or create a writing prompt and write at least 500 words based on that prompt.  These may be stories, or they may be exercises on using setting to develop character, or creating a dynamic action scene.  I don't expect all of these exercises to create a story worth pursuing, but I do think that at least some of them will.

If I get very excited about something I've started, great!  I can work on it more ... after I've accomplished my 500 minimum new words for the day.

I'll check back in as the month goes along with updates on my progress.  Got to have a way to keep myself honest!

If anybody wants to join me in my October Madness, I'd welcome the company.  Drop me a line and let me know!

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Wonders of Microsoft Anna

So I've heard off and on for several years now that when you're editing, it really helps to read your work aloud.  For some reason, I am incredibly shy about hearing my own voice reading my own work.  I have no explanation for this, as I am a performer and love being on stage, but within the confines of my own room, I simply can't do it.  So, I never did.

Then, I heard about getting your computer to read it to you.  Odd concept, I thought.  Well, yesterday I tried it.  I downloaded a free program that gets this crazy lady called Microsoft Anna to read to me.  (There's probably a way to do this that's already on my computer, but I couldn't figure it out.)

She reads like, well, a computer.  It's not pretty.  There's no inflection.  Actually, worse, there's completely inappropriate inflection.  However, by listening with my eyes closed and not following on the screen, I found four separate places where my brain had simply either added a word it knew should be there, or ignored the extra word that shouldn't have been.

They were little words: the, to, her, but even though I'd read through the work numerous times, I never caught them.

I am totally sold.  I can't recommend either reading aloud yourself or getting your computer to do it for you enough.  I had no idea how much I was missing.