Word Count Meters and Tight Writing Resources

2014-06-03_10-15-03A few people have been asking me where I source my pretty word count meter from. They are available in multiple colours and come from this blog: http://svenjaliv.com/resources/wordmeter/ Svenja also has themed, word count spreadsheets you can download, which cover all of 2014. She’s a talented lady! Each year, she updates her spreadsheets, so her site is always bookmarked.

Thank you to everyone who weighed in on the word count debate. It’s been interesting to see that nearly everyone said, “do it your way,” or “when it’s finished, it’s finished.” I have nearly hit the 71,000 word mark, which was quite unexpected. On rewriting, I had one of those moments that is more a flash of lightning hitting me, than a lightbulb moment.

Over the years I have worked as a freelance feature writer, course writer and editor. It was drummed into me with each one: write tight. Do not waffle, remove absolutely every extraneous word or sentence and cut everything back to the bone; to the marrow if you can. I can cut and slash pieces written, to get them down to a word limit with cold, hard malice. (Resources on how to do that are below.) The ebooks which I currently sell are very brief. They get straight to the point, because that is how I have been told to write. My blog posts come in under the recommended work limit. Essentially, I have boxed myself in out of habit and I am now learning to be free.

2014-06-03_10-33-42Over the last week I have been reading Victoria Grefer’s book, Writing for You. I have followed Victoria’s blog for a long time and have been enjoying the relaxed, conversational style of her book. It is nothing like mine. All my writing ebooks are quick-read, start from any chapter, writer’s companions. Standing next to other books in their category, they may look anorexic, but they are designed to save the reader time. You can put your finger on the topic: task accomplished! That is beneficial for some, but it is not the best way to write a novel. While we need to write with excellence, dot point detail novels are not good reads.

There is definitely a place for writing tight, by this I mean corset strength tight, not just writing well. To be able to edit your work down to the wire and say what needs saying in a succinct, precise form is a valuable skill, however, don’t let it limit you as I did. I love Kristen Lamb’s Warrior Writers blog posts, they break every blog rule on length, but I don’t care how long they are. They make me feel good and strengthen my craft. If something is worth reading, regardless of how long or short it is, it will be read and appreciated.

This has been a great lesson in breaking free of my self-imposed boxes. I didn’t even know I was in them. I’m enthusiastic about seeing what old habits I can break out of next.



3hi91daojioResources on how to write tight and cut out word, or phrase, redundancies:

 



Quick-read, writer’s companions.

These ebooks are available at the lowest prices I was able to set. You can purchase them through my web site as a .pdf or through Amazon Kindle. Please click on the cover for contents and ordering information.

conflict_in_fiction.html    Building Emotionally Realistic Characters Cover    conquering_writing_stress.html        

You don’t have to own a Kindle device to enjoy Amazon’s Kindle e-books. Here are the Support and Download links for the free Kindle Readers for a range of devices: Windows PCs, Windows Phone, Mac, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Andoid Tablet, Android Phone, and Blackberry.

Full-length course titles.

creative_spirit.html     prayer_journal.html

 


acomm

This article / blog post is Copyright Cate Russell-Cole 2014. All rights are reserved Internationally. You may not reproduce it in any form, in part of whole, without Cate’s prior written permission. That includes usage in forms such as print, audio and digital imaging including pdf, jpg, png etc. A fee may be requested for re-using her work if it is for a commercial venture. 

Link sharing and Pinterest pins are most welcome as long as Cate is the attributed Author.

Are Writers Poisoning Their Future? Tough Love On Bad News Overloads

McLKKK7caThe online writing community has it’s positive and negative aspects, one negative being that tightly packed communities can pass along nasty diseases. As seemingly protected as we are behind our individual monitors, we are still subject to catching poisonous attitudes and becoming dis-abled, dis-empowered and dis-enchanted by what ails others.

For the past eight weeks, I’ve been having a ball writing “The Dragon Tree.” Sure it’s tricky and I am an old dog that’s a little blurred with painkillers; but it’s been a voyage of discovery and I’ve only thrown hissy fits at typos I have missed for the fifteenth time! However, every time I read up on something I need to know, for example, first drafts, most of what I find is a mind-bending, howling chorus of negativity against putting pen to paper, or keyboard to pixel. First drafts are supposed to be the scourge of the writer, the substance of hell itself! I had fun. Is something wrong with me?

Writing is fulfilling. That is why we do it. We profess our love, yet, we sink into the negative aspects of the craft too easily.

Ask yourself this:

are we putting ourselves and other writers off the craft of writing,

by generating excessive clouds of negativity?

How many great books won’t be finished or published, as someone/s have shrunk back under the perceived external pressures of too hard? Why? Because the Internet has become overloaded with bad news about how terrible the life of the writer is. We are sneezing the plague over each other.

There is a difference between, “does anyone know how to handle this? and “I can’t cope, it’s awful…” I know it’s tough being an author, my sales stink too. There are some aspects to life which are a love/hate relationship. I know I fall into the same traps you all do and  I’d love to write posts that would make it all better; but at this point I am standing back and asking, has needing constant support and broadcasting our creative issues become a way of life that is pulling us all down? Is my negativity feeding yours, then do you pass it on?

Are we in a needless negativity trap out of habit?

dededefheifuhq3118047108ehoSo I made a creative decision for the sake of my sanity. I stayed offline. In other words, I put on my gas mask and got fresh air into my lungs. There is a lot to be said for writing alone. I have 69,000+ words and my work is growing in a healthy environment of, “yes, I can!” It may be awhile before I decide to come back online properly.

I am not alone in being sick of all this. The Indie Writers Monthly blog has started an interesting series on lies writers tell each other. It’s intriguing, a little complex, but worth reading and evaluating if you are falling into some of these traps of thought such as, “your first book will be unsellable.” Why do we tell each other things like that? Do we believe them ourselves as we’ve read the same thing in so many places, erroneously? The repetition of the negative needs to stop.

We can do better than this!


acomm

This article / blog post is Copyright Cate Russell-Cole 2014. All rights are reserved Internationally. You may not reproduce it in any form, in part of whole, without Cate’s prior written permission. That includes usage in forms such as print, audio and digital imaging including pdf, jpg, png etc. A fee may be requested for re-using her work if it is for a commercial venture. 

Link sharing and Pinterest pins are most welcome as long as Cate is the attributed Author.

Support an Author: Grab that Book You’ve Been Wanting ~ #saam14

There is a pie shop near here that has the slogan, “Buy one so we both don’t go hungry.” It is one of the best advertising slogans I’ve seen. Books feed both the reader’s and the writer’s soul in so many ways. So, you know you’ve been meaning to… this week, your love task for Support an Author Month is to go buy that book you’ve planned to get, but didn’t get around to.

Don’t forget, wherever you buy your books from, leave some love!

 Please note: this is a pre-scheduled post. Comments are off.

764732

Author Survival Resources

salvagente_architetto_f_01rCommuniCATE frequently posts tips, references and encouragement for all writers and authors. The post links below will take you to the most helpful information on the blog.




Social Media and Networking Help




Book Marketing



REBLOGS WELCOMED

realisticfiction

Support an Author: How to Write a Book Review

To sell books, we all need reviews… as much as we sometimes dread them! One of the best ways to support any author is to write a well-crafted review. I had to do a lot of searching online to find out how. Most of the information you get off the Internet is about F.o.r.m.a.l. college-type reviews, technical journals and things that scare my hair off. So to save us all, I have “borrowed,” and slightly modified these awesome tips. They are user-friendly. So please, write a book review this week… unless you hate the book. In that case, just walk away quietly and leave the world a more peaceful place.

The source of the wisdom below is http://slashdot.org/faq/bookreviews.shtml I took out the negative parts of writing a critique, as this is support, not tear apart, month!

  • writing spinesDid you like previous works from the same author or series?
  • Where and when does the story take place?
  • Is this book part of a series?
  • Is there an identifiable central conflict, or a complex of conflicts?
  • What is the tone and style? Is it frightening? Clinical? Amusing? Scattered?
  • Do you like the characters? What about them makes them believable, dynamic or static?
  • From whose viewpoint is the story told, and how does that affect the narrative?
  • Does the book remind you of others by the same author, or in the same genre?
  • Do any twists particularly inspire? (Don’t give away too much, of course.)
  • If you really have to, don’t ‘pan’ a book without specifying your context and expectations. I did ask you nicely not to though, so please, walk away…

If you can add more suggestions, please do in the comments below. Plus, as one commenter pointed out, if someone asks you to write a review, don’t say that in the review! It looks rigged.


acomm

Please do not reblog this post.

The suggestions in this blog post are Copyright Slashdot.org. Only a very small part of their entire page has been reproduced here. (It is massive.)

“Slashdot welcomes readers’ book reviews. In particular, we’re interested in reviews of books on programming, computer security, the history of technology and anything else (including Science Fiction, cyberpunk, etc.) that fits under the “News for Nerds” umbrella.” http://slashdot.org

Support an Author Month: Love a Blogger! ~ #saam14

support an author month2014

This month is Support an Author Month here on CommuniCATE. The aim is to spread the love… It’s a time to put away competition and give each other a hand onwards and upwards! We are stronger as a unified community.

Most posts this month will be geared towards that goal, with call to action posts every Friday.

This week, your call to action is to visit a favourite blog; locate a post that inspired you and leave a comment saying, “This is my favourite post or blog. Thank you!” Be sure to Tweet, Facebook or share it on G+ so the author knows you’ve spread the word.

#bestpostever or #bestblogever

You are also welcome to leave a link in the comments here and recommend a blog, if not a specific post.

Cheers everyone!

How to Avoid “Dead” #Triberr Tribes and Easily Manage Yours: The Missing Manual

 

goldfish jumping out of the waterThis post is pretty much the Triberr user manual which desperately needs to be written and I often see asked for! Triberr is the best blog traffic and network booster I have come across (click on link above to learn about it.) Handled well, it is gold! These are the lessons I’ve learnt, which I often see questions on.

The most important one is “think community.” This is about give and take, not all about you!

Joining Tribes

If you are looking to join new tribes, or receive an invitation, always look at the member list. Avoid or leave them if:

1. There are many followers who haven’t been made into members. That is a sign the Chief is on the free Triberr plan and there is no room. You will see and be able to share everyone’s posts, they will never see or be sharing yours. If you have never been admitted to a tribe as a member, you can go into the list of tribe members and remove yourself.

2. The Chief hasn’t logged in for several months: no free-loading, or inactive members will be removed. Again, you will be sharing their posts, they won’t give a fig about yours. Don’t forget, people try Triberr and forget it or don’t like it. Each tribe has old members who have stopped blogging or moved on. They need weeding out. (It’s not a sign of a mean Chief, just a smart one!)

3. Look at how recently a majority of members shared. If there are quite a number of members who haven’t been sharing in around three months or more, that will be a very low value tribe. I have culled 20 tribes from my stream on that alone and it made no difference to the number of shares I received. Anyone who I would miss, was invited to my tribe.

4. If you hate certain kinds of posts, such as SEO, social media how-to, constant product promotion posts, or erotica, check out how much of that sort of content is in the tribal stream. You can mute individual members, but that may be the wrong tribe for you.

5. Tribes with fewer members in them can be more faithful than the giant ones. Don’t let the head count swing your decision. Look for activity.

6. I have always found that the best Chiefs are paying, Prime members. As we pay for the service, we make sure our tribes function! You can tell who they are as they will have tribes with over 20 full members in them.

7. Don’t feel pressured to share everyone’s posts, all the time and don’t expect the same from them. If, like me, you have a topic specific blog, as long as you share as many as you can and support members by following them on Twitter and visiting their blog, you are ok. One concern I see is members worrying about filling their social media streams too much with shares. You can set share frequency to combat that problem. Be generous, but discerning.

super triberrFor best effect, join as many tribes as you can handle and use autoshare for your favourites. Consider paying the $10 a month for Triberr Prime. I wouldn’t be where I am now if it wasn’t for Triberr.

Remember this service is not supported by advertising, so pay for use is fair. I appreciate their Paypal option.

Did you know you can also follow individual members? If you know people who you just love to read and share, whether they are in a tribe with you or not, you can still stay in contact with them. Moving tribes won’t affect you.


How to Maintain a Tribe Effectively and Quickly

Chiefs, it takes very little time to maintain your tribe. New followers asking to be members I check out and add or reject as the notices arrive. Other than that, it is very low maintenance. Every few months, I see who is inactive, check and see what’s happening with them (in case their activity stats are wrong, as new Triberr features are added, some areas do become buggy); remove the “dead wood” and invite any new actively sharing members I now have the space for.

Set a specific goal or theme for your tribe. People will try and join without reading it, but if someone joins just to swell their numbers and not add value for everyone, you have good reason to refuse membership.

Sorry, you do have to keep a check on all those damn emails! I have learnt to skim them and just attend to the ones which apply to my three tribes. Also, crack down on members who use the message screens to further promote themselves in a spammy manner. You can delete those posts as Chief.

If your tribe is full, turn the settings to “Protect My Tribe” so you don’t get masses of frustrated followers you just can’t add. Sure, they may share your posts, but they soon lose interest as they realise they are being used.

If you start a new tribe, invite new active sharers. I have found no one wants to be a founding member in an empty tribe. It takes little time.

Lastly, if you want to stop using Triberr, don’t leave a dying, hanging tribe. Ask who wants it and then under the membership setting for that person, promote them to Chief. You can then opt to leave Triberr altogether, or stay in that tribe without worrying about it’s future.


REBLOGS WELCOMED

This blog post by Cate Russell-Cole is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. You are free to share and adapt it.