This week the Writer’s Links are tutorials on improving your writing for the most part. There is also a great video from Neal Gaiman about the spirit of creativity that you should not miss. Enjoy!
Using the Cloud for storing or accessing files has become second nature to most people these days. We use it to back up our files, share photos and text with family, co-workers and friends, or even do our work there, using our devices as mere input hardware.
When it comes to using the cloud for writing, my first thought is Dropbox. It seamlessly integrates with a large assortment of programs on my android table and iPod Touch and can be quite useful when I’m on the go. One my main uses of Dropbox is to store manuscripts as a backup in case I have a hard drive crash. My Scrivener program is set to automatically create a backup on Dropbox at the end of each day. I also like the use the other popular document storage cloud storage, Google Drive. I use this to store manuscripts that I wish to have critiqued privately by a small group of people. Placing it online with a password makes the work easier on everyone.
However, there are more sharing and storage apps available on the internet and I thought that I’d review a few that I’ve tried over the past year. It could be that one of these services might work better for you than Dropbox or Google Drive and could be a great addition to your app arsenal.
Free basic account 5GB storage
This is the one that started it all. I have used Dropbox for many years as a place to store manuscripts and backups of work in progress. It works with Scrivener, my writing program of choice, and it can be accessed from all my devices. It is not quite as flexible as some of the newer services, but it is stable and recognizable.
The first month is free and then it is $10 per year.
This is a file sharing tool. If you need to move large files via email, for instance novel manuscripts or large book covers, this service will handle it for you. All you do is type in the email you want to send the file to, upload it to their server and they will take care of the rest for you.
10GB available storage for free
This service is similar to Dropbox, but with more free storage. You store your content online and access, share and manage it from all your devices. It integrates with Google Apps. A great way to share manuscripts with an editor or beta readers or book covers with contributing artists.
Free Basic Account with 5GB storage
Cubby is another service similar to Dropbox, but its share folders are more flexible. You can have a “cubby” folder in the cloud, or can set any folder in your computer to become a cubby shared folder. If you upgrade to the first level of pro, you can even transfer your manuscripts directly to your various computers without going into the cloud at all. It supports access via all devices just like Google Drive or Dropbox.
5 GB of free storage
I confess that I don’t use this service as much as I should, but most of my writer friends love it. I’ve seen Excel forms set up to track contests, sharing of manuscripts with beta readers privately or in a small group or using the text editor to work on a Nanowrimo project on the fly. You should consider setting up an account here if you don’t have one yet.
Basic Free Account with 2GB storage
SugarSync allows you to instantly save your photos on the cloud, transfer files of any size via email or shared folders and it allows you to set any folder on your computer into a shared SugarSync folder. You can use this service to backup your computer to the cloud and it works with a large number of third party apps such as Evernote, Gmail and Salesforce.
I’m sure that there are many more similar services out there. Is there one I didn’t cover that is a favorite? Let me know in the comments.
Lauren Lynne is a young adult author of action adventure, contemporary fantasy stories and an educator of children and adults. Please welcome her to No Wasted Ink.
My name is Lynne, Lauren Lynne and yep, I’m a James Bond fan. Seeing as how I’m not nearly as cool as the British secret agent, I write adventure stories. When I began writing it was intended for young adults but luckily for me my stories draw a much wider audience. I’m more than a published author. I’m also a certified teacher in Oregon and I work with students from kindergarten to adults. This last year I even started doing some technical editing but my passions will always be engaging readers in vibrant stories. I do more than just teach, write and edit. I love hanging out with my boys, our looney golden retriever and our array of cats. I’ve come to believe that “sucker” is tattooed on my forehead since we have four furry fosters at our house right now. So, when I’m not scooping cat boxes, I may be reading or taking scenic pictures.
When and why did you begin writing?
I started writing for fun in elementary school. As I’ve gotten older I can write a wider variety of things but as a kid growing up it was all fiction. I hated everything else.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I started a novel in college but I never did anything with it. I hope to revisit it, finish it and publish it. I was playing Dungeons and Dragons with my college buddies at the time so guess what the basis of that story is. I was definitely a writer by 2011 when I began in earnest on my journey to publication.
Can you share a little about your current book with us?
My current work is to finish the fifth and final book in my Secret Watchers series. I have very mixed feelings as my time with Owen comes to an end. He has been a part of my life since 2011 and it will be hard to let him go. With the exception of the first book in the series I have not worked on only one book at a time so I am also working on a dystopian young adult novel and a children’s Christmas book.
What inspired you to write this book?
To talk about what inspired me to write Destiny, the last book in the Secret Watchers series, I have to go back to Visions, the first in the series. My life was in turmoil and I had the strong desire to make some changes. In real life there are some things we cannot change, so I invented a pretend world where I could decide what would happen. If I could not be the master of my own destiny for the moment, then I would control someone else’s.
Do you have a specific writing style?
I understand that it is unusual, but I very much like to put the reader right in the protagonist’s head. This style has its difficulties in that you can only show the reader what the protagonist literally sees, hears and experiences, but I feel that readers gain a closer connection.
How did you come up with the title of this book?
The final book in this series is Destiny. All the other titles had to do with how we experience our world (Visions, Whispers, Insights, and Perceptions). Visions are Owen’s special ability and now in this final book it is his Destiny that he must face.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I’m a teacher. My first goal was to reach out to male reluctant readers. Through the years I have also witnessed a change in our students and so my second goal became to encourage them to be the best that they could be and to try to always do the right thing even if it’s hard.
Are experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
The experiences in the book are from all around me. I am constantly writing down the way that someone says something to asking if I can use their story to weave into my own. When Owen split open his chin; it was inspired by my neighbor who had just done the same thing. The way Owen looks at the world is a little bit me but mostly my boys and our favorite characters from literature. When I write for Owen’s mom; it is exactly how I would talk to my boys.
What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?
For me it is less about the author and more about the work. It is the characters they build that really speak to me. I read cozy mysteries and all kinds of young adult novels. One of my favorite series is Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling but I’m also a fan of Rick Riordan, Anthony Horowitz, Suzanne Collins, Cassandra Clare and Cleo Coyle. This eclectic collection has characters that move me and I can connect with.
If you had to choose, is there a writer would you consider a mentor? Why?
I would choose Rowling. I admire how she raised herself up from humble beginnings and seems to listen to her audience. She seems to be a likable person and I believe that is just as important as creating a good product.
Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?
I am published by BookBaby. I gave the design team a brief description of book one, color ideas and told them how much I liked a clock face they had used on another book. I also sent along a picture I had taken at Heceta Head, Oregon. Their first try was amazing and all I did was suggest a color change. Since then we have kept my picture from Hecta Head and the clock face because Owen’s watch is vital to the plot line. In the last three books we added outdoor pictures I took of local high school students. So who designed them? We did.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Don’t give up and keep writing. Whatever we choose to do regularly, we get better at. Don’t expect to be a best seller in the first week your book comes out or even in the first year; that is something that only happens to a lucky few. Stay positive; our day in the sun will come. I’ve read several places that the best way to make money is to keep producing more works, so get going, I know you have something to say!
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Big hugs friends and follow your dreams. If there is a story in you, get out there and share it!
Visions (The Secret Watchers book one)
Making your way in the world today as an author is an uphill battle. There are so many details you need to learn in order to make your career as a writer sing. This week I focused more on articles to help you with marketing and how to make yourself stand out as an author.
Welcome back to another Monday of writer’s links here on No Wasted Ink. This week I was in a blogging mood and several of the articles relate to this subject. As always, there are plenty of general writing tips to take a peek at. Enjoy!