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Toning up your writing

“Is your writing flabby or fit?”  That’s the question The Writer’s Diet asks, and it gives you immediate feedback on your writing, showing you where you have excessive verbs, prepositions, and adverbs (among other things).

I found The Writer’s Diet via MetaFilter, one of my all time favorite websites.  I’ve been introduced to hundreds of news stories, photographers, artists, singers, ideas, and interesting individuals I would never have discovered otherwise.  This is just the latest.  From the metafilter post:  “The WritersDiet Test, created by Dr. Helen Sword, allows you to enter a writing sample of 100 to 1000 words and have it graded from “lean” to “heart attack” on its level of excess verbiage.”  Well, of course I wanted to find out where my writing fell.

Since I wasn’t on the computer with my current WIP, I entered in the text of one of my more storytelling posts on my other blog, Blessed by Holy Water in Tallinn.  The results?  My overall score was “Fit and Trim,” with everything except the verbs coming in at lean.  My verbs, though, evidently need toning.  The site also highlights each of the instances within your text, so you can see where you might look into editing your content.  I can see each and every instance I used be, is, are, were, am, and was.  Very interesting, indeed.  You can also download a full diagnosis, which includes suggestions for improvement.

I definitely wanted to see what came up with my current WIP, so I switched computers and copied in the first chapter.  My results:

My current WIP is lean, baby!!

So what about this post?  “Fit and Trim,” although my verbs still need toning (but, it counted the 6 instances I used it in the paragraph above as examples, so I think I should get a break on that!).

Try out The Writer’s Diet and let me know what you think of the site.  Do you think it’s useful?  Where did your writing sample fall on the health chart?

 
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Posted by on August 6, 2012 in The Writing Process, Useful sites

 

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55 word microfiction – Wednesday Writing

I found out about 55 Fiction from Metafilter.  “55 Fiction is a form or microfiction with a few rules, including a limitation to 55 words.”  There are a couple of websites with the name, although apparently unrelated to the original 55 word contest. 

I thought, what the heck, could be fun:

The frigid office is a shocking contrast to the jungle outside.  The hairs on my legs stand up and grow faster.

“Please, can we turn it up, just three degrees?”  68 sounded temperate.

“No can do, pretty lady.  We turn the temp up, the jungle comes inside.”

I look down at my legs.  “Too late.”

 
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Posted by on July 20, 2011 in Fiction, Wednesday Writings

 

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Favorite Things

(***This post was originally posted on Open Salon on March 6, 2011, in response to an Open Call for Favorite things.  Please see this post about my decision to migrate to WordPress…if you’re interested.***)

In response to Alysa Salzberg’s Open Call, I submit the following things that bring me joy lately:

All things Firefly.  I was a Buffy and Angel fan, but came to the Firefly game a little late.  I’m not sure why I ended up watching it on DVD, but I immediately fell in love, and introduced the (sadly, cancelled) series to friends.  They gave me a quote tee-shirt for Christmas this year (see below – “Also, I can kill you with my brain.”).  Jayne slays me with lines like “I’ll be in my bunk” and “It’s my very favorite gun,” and my love for Summer Glau is immeasurable.  Every time Nathan Fillion eludes to it on Castle, I squee (especially when he showed up on Halloween in his Malcolm Reynolds outfit).  Lately, there has been a lot going on on the Firefly front.  Fillion made an off-hand comment recently that he would buy the franchise if he won the California Lottery, and Browncoats (aka: fans of the show) immediately seized on the opportunity to show support.  While I don’t think more Firefly is likely to happen, I would love to see it.

Also, I can kill you with my brain.

My new teacup.  I have plenty of large mugs, but one day I decided I wanted a proper teacup and saucer.  A visit to a local antique mall uncovered this cute little gem, complete with pretty much every zodiac/good luck symbol you could imagine.  On the outside, it says, “Perchance this cup will show it thee.   Would’st thy fortune like to see?”  (Seems like those sentences should be reversed, but that’s what it says.)

teacup

My Haiku bag.  Another recent Christmas gift.  I have a little Acer notebook, and really wanted a bag that I could carry it in.  Being particular, as I am, I wanted very specific things – a bag that went across the chest, so it wouldn’t kill my back, and the ability to use it as a regular purse, sans computer (IOW, I didn’t want a laptop bag).  My friend found me The Perfect Bag, and it’s only gotten more perfect over the last couple of months.

Haiku bag

(Haiku Laptop Courier Bag available at REI.)

My japa mala.  I have been wanting a japa mala for a while now, but really wanted to make my own.  I finally sucked it up and made one.  It’s just simple, cheap wood beads, and I hope one day to get more significant beads and make a new one, but for now, this one makes me happy.

japa mala

Scrivener.  I’ve never had a Mac.  I grew up on a PC, and that’s what I’ve always had.  So I didn’t know anything about this software called Scrivener until last November, when I discovered Scrivener for Windows.  It’s in beta right now, due to be released in early April, and I’ve already requested it for my birthday.  I now understand why I could never finish a book in Word.  Trying to edit and revise 70,000 words all at once is…daunting.  But break it up into little moveable parts, with the ability to make notes, and…well, let’s just say I’m getting closer.

Metafilter.  Random news, sometimes weird, sometimes beautiful, sometimes boring.  My favorite post of all time (the one I still tell people about) is people playing Roomba Frogger on 6th Street in Austin.

Margaret & Helen.  A friend of mine (Thanks, Paula!) recently introduced me to this blog, and I was an instant addict.  I love little old ladies who say it like it is.  Screw being PC, screw worrying what people think about you, and screw anyone who messes with Helen.


 
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Posted by on May 19, 2011 in Thoughts

 

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