Happy Monday everyone! It is time for another batch of writerly goodness in the way of links. This time, I was a little more focused on the business end of writing, so there are articles about podcasting, copyright and publishing included with the usual writing articles. Enjoy!
I tend to not use tablets to do my writing. I am more comfortable using my Alphasmart Neo as a digital typewriter, keeping my iPod Touch nearby for research, serve as a dictionary, or to provide music if I don’t like what is playing at the coffeehouse. However, I am discovering that more writers are turning to their Apple iPads as full flung writing devices, forgoing even their laptops in favor of the lighter weight, smaller tablets.
The following is a personal review of iPad apps that family and friends have recommended to me. These apps are all focused on creative writing: some favor markdown language, others are great PDF annotative apps or additions to your favorite note taking apps and one is a great companion to blog writing. I have not been asked to review the app by the developer nor do I have any financial stake in their product.
If you love iOS apps, please also click over to an earlier post: iPad Writing Apps that Authors Love.
iOS 5.01 and later, iPad only
Many writers are used to jotting research notes in a Moleskine notebook with a favorite pen, but with the advent of the iPad, many are turning their offices paperless. The Penultimate app for iPad has been purchased by Evernote and now seamlessly integrates with their note based system. Handwrite notes in the classroom, on the go, or in your office and your sketches will automatically be saved in Evernote. If you have Evernote premium, your handwritten notes will be searchable. Penultimate imitates different paper and pen options to make your writing experience on the iPad more comfortable. If you already use Evernote, this is a no-brainer addition to your already robust note taking system.
iOS 7.0 and later, iPad only
Save your manuscript to PDF and use this app to read and annotate it in your iPad. You can choose different types of text to write with from pens, highlighters, stamps, straight-line, typewriter, underlines, strikeouts and more. Copy and paste your annotations from one document to another. You can connect iAnnotate with Dropbox, Google Drive, Skydrive, iTunes, or open PDFs from emails and the Internet. The PDF reader aids in the editing and revising process by taking your manuscript from one source and allowing you to view it as if it was a printed work, giving you the ability to see your words in a new light. If you are looking for a way to removing printing your novel and using a red pen to mark it up, this might be the solution you are looking for.
iOS 6.0 or later, iPad only
I found this PDF note taking app to be interesting because it integrated audio and video capabilities along with your note writing. It reminds me a little of the Livescribe pens that were very popular a few years ago. It allows a little more customization of the screen, is compatible with Pogo Connect and iPen Styli, one touch access to your notes, the ability to easily timestamp notes, and it can switch the touch screen to make it more left hand compatible. However, I find that the import/export is not as robust as the previous reviewed iAnnotate.
iOS 5.0 or later, iPad only
This PDF reader has won many favorable reviews for its robust features and integration with many online systems. You can read pretty much anything on it: books, maps, text, and photos. You can even view movies with it. Goodreader can be used for manuscript annotation since you can write on the PDF as if they were printed pages and can even handwrite in the margins. It has all the annotation goodies that you would expect in an app. Exporting is a breeze due to the numerous methods you can utilize. You can import/export via USB cable or a wifi connection, from email attachments and set the app so that it auto syncs with your favorite cloud server. Goodreader connects with Dropbox, Skydrive, Google Drive, SugarSync and many other online servers. Of all the PDF readers I’m reviewing in this article, I feel that this one is my personal favorite.
iOS 6.0 or later, iPad only
If you love to write with Markdown, this is a minimal app to do that comfortably with on your iPad. With a simple swipe to the left, you can switch from an in-line markdown preview to full HTML preview of your document. The smart keyboard is designed for writing markdown and includes all the special characters you will need. The app comes with 50 pre-configured actions, but you can add to them with your own python scripts to make it even more customized. Your documents sync with DropBox.
iOS 5.0 or later, iPad only
While I would not use this app to work on a novel or short story, it is helpful when writing blog posts, something I do almost every day for my writing platform! One of the reasons people buy iPads is so that they can get work done on the go. You can maintain several different blogs at the same time with Blogsy on the following platforms: WordPress, Blogger, TypePad, MoveableType, Drupal, Joomla, Tumblr, Squarespace and MetaWeblog. Use the built-in web browser to drag and drop videos from YouTube, photos from Flicker, Picasa, Facebook, Instagram and Google image search at the touch of a button. Style your blog posts with bold, italics, text alignment and more. Easily change the image and video properties and alignment via menus, write and edit in HTML, toggle comments on and off, and much more. You can also schedule your posts, create online drafts and pending-review posts right inside the app. It also has markdown support. It is no wonder that this app has received so many rave reviews all over the internet.
iOS 6.0 or later, iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad
As a writer, many of us are used to working in the Microsoft Office environment. CloudOn allows you to use your iOS device to access your Word, Powerpoint, Excel files easy to access and use on the go. You can edit documents, spreadsheet and your presentations from anywhere you travel, be it an editor’s office or the local coffeehouse. Transport or store your MS Office files via Dropbox, Google Drive and SkyDrive. The app version of Office is minimalist and streamlined, but it is fully compatible with your computer Office programs.
iOS 5.1 or later, iPad only
Cymbol gives a unique functionality to your iPad’s keyboard. This is an app designed by writers for writers and provides a fast access to those special characters not available on the iPad’s onscreen keyboard. On Cymbol’s ready scratch pad, you can save a variety of enhanced character sequences, symbols and other snippets to then be cut and pasted into your written document. Cymbol provides common symbols such as the pilcrow (¶) and section symbol (§), copyright (©), trademark (™), text glyphs such as the number abbreviation (№) and other typography. The application includes full sets of subscript and superscript numbers used in math, chemistry, and physics documentation.
17 comments | tags: apple, author, blogsy, books, cloudon, cymbol, editorial, evernote, goodreader, iannotate, ios, ipad, notebinder, novels, penultimate, writers, writing | posted in Commentary, Tools
Dystopian novels about an uncertain future are very much all the rage right now. Robert Corrado was once a local writer to me, but has since moved on to the mile high state of Colorado. I hope you enjoy his interview here on No Wasted Ink.
My name is Robert Corrado and I’m a 33 year old husband, author, telecommunications guru, geek extraordinaire, and generally awesome guy. I live in Denver, Colorado with my wife and my “son” Joey (he’s actually a Jack Russell Terrier). I grew up in a small town in the California foothills reading comic books and science fiction novels, muddling through pen and paper role-playing games, and filming amateur action shorts on my neighbor’s VHS camcorder. I now work in telecommunications and enjoy reading novels, watching films, skiing, dancing, karaoke with my wife Karen, and spending time with Joey.
When and why did you begin writing?
I’ve been writing since I was in grade school. I can remember the first short story I wrote that got high praise from one of my teachers was a story involving an veteran of the Civil War. That was in sixth grade. I think I got into writing largely because I was such a huge gamer geek and I kept wanting to write my own games for my friends and I to play. That translated right into just writing entire worlds for my friends to read about and enjoy.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I think it really hit me when I sold 20 advance copies of The Fifth Column right at the end of September. A small order but hopefully just my first of many. Depositing that check it hit me that someone is buying my work because they want to sell it to readers. Up until that point I always thought of it as just a hobby.
Can you share a little about your current book with us?
Absolutely. The Fifth Column is a dystopian fiction set a few decades into the future of the United States which has now become a police state that the characters refer to as the Unified State. A group of families in a small town find themselves swept up in the anti-government insurgency that is occurring across the country, and the novel explores how they deal with it, the choices they make, and ultimately what happens to them as a result.
What inspired you to write this book?
Some close friends and I dabbled in film around 2008 and we all took the same week off work and we put out this weird little amateur action comedy called Violent John, you can find it on the internet. The film was nowhere near the kind of production I had originally envisioned and although I learned a lot I was generally disappointed. So this result got me thinking about the type of movie that six or seven people could make on a shoestring budget and still have it look and feel like a movie put out by a studio. The Fifth Column started out as this concept but the more I wrote the more I realized that there was enough going on in the country politically and culturally that I could really build on these ideas I had. So I made it a full novel. There is so much fear and distrust about what is going on with our government, and also so much political passion for one side or another that it really inspired me to try and tap into that in the book.
Do you have a specific writing style?
Am I allowed to say I have a style after only one book? I’ll leave you with just a few vague comments. I love tragic heroes with a dark side. I really love using dialog, especially when I can make the dialog ring true. I want my characters to talk to one another how real people talk to one another because I think that puts you right into the world.
How did you come up with the title of this book?
The title is from a quote attributed to a Spanish fascist named Emilio Mola during the Spanish Civil War. It is quite a juxtaposition in my view because the protagonists in the book are actually fighting against Mola style fascism. Mola bragged to his enemies that he had four columns of troops moving against the city of Madrid, but that a fifth column of loyal citizens within the city would rise up and jump into the fight. In my book the Fifth Column is rising up to fight against this kind of thing.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
There are many. I really hope readers ask questions after reading it. Perhaps it provokes some debate on how they feel about things like free-will versus determinism, free-markets versus socialism, liberty versus safety. Even if it does not end up changing anyone’s mind I think the dialog can be healthy. We live in a society now that is red versus blue and I think we’ve lost so much capacity to open up our minds to other ideas. I tried to be fair to different ideologies in the book.
Are experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Many of them are. The park that Pedro plays in during the opening scene was a real park my father took me to in San Francisco. The families in the book are variations on my own upbringing. I’d like to say I fought a giant robot and won in my real life but that has not happened yet.
What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?
I really got started reading heavily with Star Wars because I loved the films as a child so much. I don’t think I would have considered putting pen to paper if I had not read so many great books set in that universe by Timothy Zahn and Kevin J. Anderson. As far as my absolute favorites I would say Phillip K. Dick for his ability to keep you thinking about the twist and questioning everything, Heinlein for his biting social commentary, Frank Herbert and Isaac Asimov for being so great at writing about really large epic worlds that you wanted to stay in. I also really love David Drake because the action scenes he writes are so amazing and sincere.
If you had to choose, is there a writer would you consider a mentor? Why?
Glen Cook, who wrote all of the Black Company series of fantasy novels. Not only do I love his dark characters and settings but I love his real life story. He wrote the first Black Company novel when he was still working in an auto assembly line for General Motors. I wrote my first book while I’m still working my tail off in telecommunications. He wanted something different out of life and he put in the extra hours after his normal job to achieve that goal. He did it before Createspace was invented too!
Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?
I designed the cover myself. I selected that guy to do it because he did the work for the cost of a cup of coffee and a couple jelly donuts.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Write as much as you can, even if it is uninspired crap. Sometimes I go back and see things that I thought were crap that I wrote a month ago but I tweak it and then I feel better about it. Getting it out of your brain and onto paper or into a computer is the best thing you can do.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I hope you enjoy the book. Whatever your political views and beliefs may be, I truly want you to enjoy my book. I wrote it so that it would entertain people. If it causes you to think outside the box for a few minutes that is just icing on the cake, but above all, ENJOY IT!
When I look for home office inspirational photos, I am usually drawn to more sedate offerings. Yet, this confetti hued garage office drew me in. The base furniture and walls are all white, providing a smooth background. The accent pieces all provide pops of color to liven the cool space up. I especially love the little yellow rolling drawers under the desk. I’ve often considered purchasing one of these metal drawer units for my own office since it would provide plenty of space for my fountain pen collection and specialty papers and notebooks. Which would be your favorite accessory?
- Article by Wendy Van Camp: More #iPad Writing Apps That #Authors Love wp.me/p25YUL-yR #writing #apps 12 hours ago
- No Wasted Ink interviews #author Robert Corrado about his #novel The Fifth Column wp.me/p25YUL-yt #books #scifi #dystopian 13 hours ago
- Nano Spotlight: Wendy Van Camp wp.me/p25YUL-yi #writers #authors #interview #nanowrimo 17 hours ago