Grammarly and ProWritingAid

Grammarly and ProWritingAid—Are they helpful?

Yes, most of the time.

I’ve recently purchased subscriptions to both editors. Both are free if used online but with limitations. Grammarly doesn’t show all errors unless you have a subscription. ProWritingAid only allows 500 words per session.

They both offer great features to help improve writing skills. Features for Grammarly include – critical grammar and spelling checks, conciseness, readability, vocabulary enhancement suggestions, and genre-specific writing style checks. (Underlined offered for free.) ProWritingAid has – in-depth reports, style, grammar, overused words, clichés, sticky words, repeats, combo, length, pronoun, alliteration, transition, and a thesaurus.

Why do I use them?

I’ll be honest, I love creating stories, but my punctuation and sentence structure skills are lacking. Most of the errors found through the critique group are punctuation and sentence structure related. Even after edits, Grammarly and ProWritingAid found areas to tighten.

As I continue to use the editors, my critique submissions and the final product will be a lot more enjoyable to read.

Be careful!

Be cautious in accepting the recommendations given in the generated reports—sometimes they’re way off point. Grammarly allows you to note that the suggestion is wrong. I haven’t found that feature in ProWritingAid. I’m new to using the editors. There’ve been several times when one editor will instruct me to remove a comma and the other to put it back. Grrr.

If you‘re uncertain about a suggestion, please check with someone who knows her/his grammar rules. Do your research as well.

So, should you buy the subscriptions?

Maybe. Try the online versions first. They may be all you need.

If you already use them, what are your thoughts?

Let’s talk.

PS: NOT SPONSORED.

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A Change of Plans?

I have been working on the edits for Pulse of Light. However, I was recently approached and asked to write 18 episodes for a children’s DVD series…I accepted.

Part of me wants to set aside the edits and focus only on the DVD series, but I don’t believe that’s what I’m supposed to do.

My goal is to continue working on edits and write the episodes. I will need to develop a schedule. I normally don’t do well when I have several projects on my plate. This will be a challenge.

Are you able to handle more than one task? If so, how? Seriously, I would like to know. If not, is it time to step out of your comfort zone?

Let’s talk. 🙂

Let’s Try This Again

I didn’t want to look at the date of my last post. Depressing. My excuse…life. Is it a good excuse? Nope.

So, I apologize for the absence. I will try to do better. (Yes, you knew that sentence was coming. It always does.) I’m going to treat this page more like a journal and not something that feels forced. It’s important. Our words are important.

What have I been up to with my writing?

I’ve been going through the critiques for Pulse of Light. If I work on it more today, I will be halfway through the manuscript. I need to finish the final chapter of Night into Day…or rewrite the whole story. Not sure what to do. I’m still praying about it.

YouTube has been a great help for learning to hone my writing skills. I have been watching a lot of videos by Michael La Ronn (Author Level Up). He gives practical advice. Other authors are sharing their experiences as well. I have been disappointed in the tactic used by some well-known authors this year. They had advertised they would share new information, but it turned out to be the same videos from last year, just given different titles. Grrr…

What else?

Scrivener 3 for Windows has not been released yet. I’m looking forward to using it. I’ve been working on improving my drawing skills. Umm…it’s harder than I remember. For those of you that can illustrate your own stories—impressive.

I’m still doing my writing on my iPad. PadOS is going to be released in a few months. I can’t wait. I love technology!

I think that’s about it for now. The next time we talk, I hope to report that Pulse of Light is ready for beta readers.

What about you? How’s your writing journey going?

Blessings!

What have I been up to?

Sorry for being quiet.

I have been busy with writing, critiques, summer vacation, cleaning my house, etc. 🙂 So…normal stuff.

Ted Dekker and Jerry Jenkins have shared their own writing programs to help writers on all levels—amateur, intermediate, and professional. They both are way out of my reach financially, but each author shared some practical tools for us to chew on. Most of the information was basic, but we need to hang on to that solid foundation.

I am working on edits for Pulse of Light. I've discovered some time conflicts, so I need to fix those before moving forward. As for my current WIP (Night into Day), I haven't submitted the final chapter to my critique group. Still working on how it will end. While I wait for inspiration, I'm also rewriting chapter 15.

I think I've shared this before, but all of my published books are for children that struggle with reading. The stories are condensed to help keep the reader interested and have a sense of accomplishment after finishing the book(s). Pulse of Light and Night into Day are a little longer. It has been a challenge to create more content. Soon it will be habit. 🙂

What have you been up to?

Keep moving forward!

Blessings – Kimberli

School is out!

We have survived another school year. Since both boys don’t care for school, it was a struggle.

My goals – edit Pulse of Light (the cover is awesome) and then send to beta readers, finish spring cleaning (I don’t do windows), keep walking on the treadmill (so thankful for music…and fans), finish Night into Day (on the last chapter), and work on Deed of Trust.

I’m not sure what this year will hold. Praying the Lord will continue to guide me.

Are you working? Pressing on? If not, what’s holding you back?

Praying we all keep growing!

Blessings!

Author Azelyn Klein came to visit!!

We are blessed to have author Azelyn Klein with us today. She has recently released the first volume in the novelette series – Last of the Memory Keepers. Let’s jump right in and get to know her better.

Welcome, Miss Azelyn. You have an awesome first name. 🙂 Please tell us about yourself.

Hello, there! I’m a chaplain’s daughter and the middle child of three. My Dad is an Assemblies of God pastor, but I was raised attending various nondenominational chapels. I currently live in Germany, and I enjoy visiting castles, especially the ruined ones. I’m an avid supporter of my local library, and I’ve always had an interest in old-fashioned sports like horseback riding and fencing. Recently, I’ve taken up acrylic painting as another creative outlet in addition to writing.

When did the Lord place the calling to write on your heart?

I knew I was called to be a writer since the second grade. Throughout my life, my parents taught me the power of stories. My mom used to tell me lots of stories, and my dad used personal experiences as sermon illustrations.

Can you write anywhere or does it need to be quiet, or music playing, or a bowl of candy within reach…

I can write most anywhere, from my desk to a local café to the middle of an airport. I prefer to have music on in the background, usually a soundtrack that matches the mood of my story, and a cappuccino or a cup of tea nearby.

What are your favorite genres to read?

I like to read most anything, from classics to contemporaries. But my all-time favorite genre is fantasy. I’m partial to The Books of Pellinor, The Chronicles of Narnia, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, The Lord of the Rings, and The Scorpio Races. I also enjoy sci-fi and WWII historical fiction, and I’ve recently gotten into graphic novels.

Did you find self-publishing to be easy or hard? What would you do differently?

Overall, I found self-publishing fairly easy. Marketing and formatting, not so much. Next time, I would probably use a longer-term marketing plan and spend less time on cover design. While a well-designed cover is vital to marketing, I wasted a lot of time creating fonts and such that I ended up discarding.

If another writer came to you seeking advice about self-publishing, what would you say?

Publishing, whether you go the traditional route or the self-publishing route is not a solitary journey. Get somebody else to read over your work before you release your book. Ideally, I have three sets of readers who look over my work: critique partners (draft 2), beta readers (draft 3), and proofreaders (final drafts). If you can afford to, hire an editor.

Is there an author who has helped spark your interest in writing? What has he or she taught you?

There are so many. But if I were to pick the first author who sparked my interest, it would be Mary Elizabeth Edgren. My third-grade teacher read her first book, Methuselah’s Gift, to my class, then took us on a field trip to meet her. Edgren taught me that inspiration can come from anywhere, including our own back yards, and that stories have a way of touching peoples’ hearts.

Tell us about your novelette series?

Last of the Memory Keepers is a fantasy series with five races based loosely off the five medieval wits. The stories are told from the perspectives of Rhona Farlane and Ellard Coburn as they navigate the challenges of their developing world. Rhona is apprentice of Deep Memory Keeper, a diplomat in training, and is determined to unify the races despite all odds. Ellard, on the other hand, is Apprentice Communicator, and shares her views of unification and wishes he had half her courage.

I wanted to write something that would appeal to readers who don’t necessarily have time to read a full-length novel. Each story comes in one-sitting pieces between 35-50 pages. I also wanted to undermine several clichés. For example, there is no love triangle, and several of characters of opposite genders have platonic relationships. There’s even a female villain who is not after revenge. Although I can’t claim to have avoided every cliché, if that were possible, I have done my best to subvert expectations.

Do you have a favorite character in the series? If so, who is it and why do you like him or her?

I almost feel like I shouldn’t have favorites among my own characters because they almost feel like my own children. But alas, I do. Finley Craig has to be one of the most interesting—and challenging—characters I’ve ever written. Although he likes to defy every rule in existence, he’s also very curious and self-assured. I wish I had half his wit.

I’m also partial to Jahan, son of Elam (he makes his first appearance in “The Quiet Apprentice”). I like to think of him as my Sherlock-esque character. He’s very stoic.

When will the next volume be released? How many volumes are in this series?

The next volume, “The Quiet Apprentice”, comes out April 7, 2017. There are six volumes in this series, with the final volume estimated to come out this August.

I’d like to ask Rhona Farlane a question, please. Rhona, are you prepared for the journey before you or are you scared?

I’d consider myself prepared for the journey life offers. I’ve known my whole life that I wanted to be Master of Deep Memory like my father before me. Even before I turned sixteen and became his apprentice, I was training to be a diplomat. Of course, I can’t claim to know everything. I’m still learning memory accessing techniques, but I look forward to finally interacting with the representatives of the other races.

Rhona, thank you for visiting with us as well. We hope you meet several new friends on your journey.

Meeting new people is fascinating. It has been a pleasure speaking with you!

Awesome! Now back to Azelyn. 🙂 Do you have a website or blog readers can visit?

Yes! Readers can visit my blog, Word Storm, at http://www.azelynklein.com . I like to post about poetry, books, writing, and fictional character types. I first started the blog with the hopes that each post would be a conversation-starter.

Where can readers buy your book?

Readers can purchase the first volume, “The Diplomat’s Daughter”, on Amazon.

Thank you so much for visiting with us. It as been fun!

Thanks for having me!

Please leave a comment to welcome Azelyn. When you have a moment, please drop by her blog and say – Hey! (Actually, you can say what you want.) 🙂 Now head over to Amazon and check out her novelette.

Gearing up!

Writing, helping my boys with school, laundry, and other stuff…rinse and repeat!

Have you ever felt as if you don’t have time to breathe? That is how I’ve been feeling lately. It hasn’t reached an overwhelming point. God is keeping my spirit calm.

Today I was able to sell all of the books I carry around in my mobile office. That was such a blessing. I was able to use my Square credit card readers—super fun.

April will be here soon and I haven’t started the edits for Pulse of Light. I will be working with the graphic designer for the book cover in a few weeks. Yikes! Night into Day is coming along very well. Worked on a gut-wrenching scene this weekend. I am happy with it. Let’s see what my critique group says. 🙂

Time to get back at it!

Are you following the path the Lord has for you? I pray so. If not, get at it. 🙂

Blessings!

Welcome, 2017. I hope we will work well together.

It is another year. A new year.

I have no idea what this year will hold. I pray it will be one of learning.

Whisper Willows is now live on Amazon Kindle. Excited!! I will receive the paperback proof soon. If you’d like a paperback copy, please contact me.

As the Lord leads, Pulse of Light will be a summer release.

What are your goals for this year? Whatever it is, go for it!

Blessings – Kimberli

Waiting…It’s not easy

Update on where things are in my writing journey.

I am scheduled to work with someone for the Whisper Willows book cover in December. It seems like years away, but I know it will be here before I know it.

While I am waiting, I have been working on and submitting chapters for Night into Day to my critique group.

Pulse of Light is ready for edits, but I haven’t started working on it.

My mind is kind of in a daydream state as if another story is forming. I have no idea what it will be about.

Even though some of us are in a waiting season, we need to keep working. It’s not the time to sit around. There is work that still needs to be done.

Keep writing!

Blessings.

Scrivener…Where have you been all my life?!

I purchased Scrivener, a writing software, a few weeks ago. After watching lots of tutorials, I’m beginning to feel a little more comfortable using it. I am actually using it right now as I write this blog post.It was quite easy and a little bit tedious putting my manuscripts into folders, but I am so happy that I did. Using Scrivener will help me stay organized. When I’m working on a manuscript, I have my research, character sketches, and photos all in the same place. It is fabulous. Seriously.

To be honest, I have some stories to prepare for publication, but I can’t wait to start a new project so I can use the corkboard and outline to map it out.

There is one thing that is a little irritating. The Mac version has a little more to offer than the Windows version. Although I would LOVE to have a Mac, I don’t have one. Many users don’t. I hope the makers of Scrivener (Literature and Latte) will update the Windows version to match the Mac version someday…soon. 🙂

If you are a writer, please check out Scrivener.

http://www.literatureandlatte.com/scrivener.php

(Literature and Latte did not pay or ask me to write this post. I am just a very happy customer.)