Tag Archives: editors

Photography and Writing

12 Jan

First – if you like Facebook groups for authors, editors, and/or any one to do with writing, here’s a fantastic one for the Author Extension Community. It’s just another way to meet more people willing to support other artists.

Second – I want to thank Sarit Yahalomi at Coffee & Books & Art for reviewing Minutes Before Sunset: “I can always appreciate a female character whose purpose is not only to look cute and pretty in the arms of her leading man but to actually show some attitude and who knows how to fight back.” Check out her entire review here.

I joined Instagram. Believe it or not, this actually has to do with my post today. I didn’t plan on talking about photography and how it has affected my writing life, but I thought sharing my surrender to Instagram was a good way to open up this little discussion that has more to do with my past than my current life. I would love it if you would join me there. I will probably (mainly) take fun photos of cats, coffee, and my writing adventures, and I hope to see your photos, too.

But what do photos have to do with writing?

I used to love photography. I still do, but I meant to say that I used to participate in photography. At one point, photography actually overcame my writing – which wasn’t a surprise, considering my father worked for Kodak for 25 years, and our house was full of one-time-use photograph machines. I used to have a beautiful camera that sadly died a number of years ago. I have been weary about getting a new one, only because I need a new laptop first, but I miss it – a lot.

I found creativity behind the lens just as I find adventures behind words today. I used to spend hours walking through empty fields and forests, imagining all of the magic that could exist in one backyard.  Below is actually a photo I took in my front yard, and – fun fact – it was used on the back cover of Minutes Before Sunset.

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A part of this is now the back cover on Minutes Before Sunset.

At some point in my childhood I realized the magic I obsessed over was in the simplest of things – in the broken bottle cap or the abandoned farmhouse – because it came down to perspective. 

A farmhouse wasn’t just a barn that no one wanted – it was a mystery, a creaking doorway into the unknown. Perhaps this is why articles about abandoned places inspire me so much. They leave room for the imagination in reality rather than forcing the imagination while sitting in an empty room. It’s fresh air, so to speak.

The magic found in creating art is discovered by challenging a perspective. 

This is what photography has to do with writing – for me, it’s about how we see the world, but it’s also about trying a new hobby to enhance a talent (or taking a moment to get away from the keyboard and out of the house.) I’ve shown how I’ve used photographs in a book to keep track of writing, but there’s more to photos than simply staring at them in the same sense that reading words is different than writing words down.

The point of this – honestly – isn’t about getting you to love photography but rather sharing my experience with realizing that I might be able to further my love for writing by dabbling back in my love for photography. 

So, try it with me if you want – go back in time, remember something you used to love to do, even if it was rarely, and attempt to love it for a day again. Enjoy it like a vacation or rededicate yourself to practicing it again in 2014.

I know I will be. In fact, in the future I will be blogging about why the photo below is symbolic to my writing. If you recall, it was used as the placement photo before the cover to Seconds Before Sunrise was revealed, and there’s a very good reason for that. I’m looking forward to sharing that reasoning soon.

What does this have to do with Seconds Before Sunrise?

What does this have to do with Seconds Before Sunrise? You’re about to find out.

~SAT

New Page: Tips

10 Sep

If you follow my Author Facebook Page, then you already know I’ve been spending the day updating ShannonAThompson.com. I’m excited, because I’ve been talking about this update for a while, but I finally found some spare time (even thought it’s because I’m sick and sitting around in bed.) But I’ve added the “Tips” page. And, yes, it’s already up on the bar.

So what is the “Tips” page?

It is a collection of all the writing, editing, and publishing tips I’ve ever posted about. It also includes helpful websites and inspirational ideas at the bottom. From now on, I’ll be adding each of my posts to this list, so you can easily return to it in the future.

Check it out, and let me know if you’d like to see it set up different or anything else added! I’m always up for suggestions, and I look forward to continue on with more writing tips.

But, just for fun, the Minutes Before Sunset Facebook Page has a new cover photo:

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~SAT

Editing Tips: Grammarly

2 Aug
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Bogart and his KU spirit.

I used Grammarly to grammar check this post, because Bogart would rather I spend time feeding him than editing. ;]

No. Really. This sentence defines what my first post in August will be about: editing. Here’s to August–another month of writing, reading, and dreaming is ahead of us, and I wanted to begin with a very helpful website you can consider using for editing purposes.

Grammarly is an online editor, but it is beyond spellchecker. As described on their website, Grammarly “corrects contextual spelling mistakes, checks for more than 250 common grammar errors, enhances vocabulary usage, and provides citation suggestions. More than 3 million registered users worldwide trust Grammarly’s products.”

On top of that, it has numerous settings, including General, Business, Academic, Technical, Creative, and Casual. (I used the casual setting for this post.) There’s also a support page where you can communicate with other writers.

Other things to know I found out while testing this product:

  • This program should be used as a “second set” of eyes for your writing–meaning it enhances the editing process, not controls it. But the enhancement is in-depth and clearly labeled. When it highlights your grammar mistakes, it has an option of “short or long descriptions.” These buttons explain what particular rule you might be breaking. That way, you might not make those mistakes in the future, or you will learn what you most commonly forget.
  • Grammarly for Desktop includes MS Office integration and other features, but the desktop version is not available for Mac yet. This means you can use it online but not install it on your computer. It’s still great though, because I use a Mac, so this is exactly what I was doing.
  • Although the free sample allows you to upload text, it will only give you a list of how many mistakes it found–not the specific mistakes. However, you can sign up (with a credit card) and try a free 7-day trial which allows you to try the complete version for free by allowing you to remove your credit card before the trial has expired.
  • If you decide to stay with Grammarly, the prices range by how often you wish to pay (annually, quarterly, or monthly.) The cheapest is annually, but you’ll pay $139.95 once for the entire year. If calculated, that’s about 11.66 a month.
  • The grammar check is beyond basic spellchecker, but it is like any other kind of technology. You need to check it yourself. Don’t simply “accept all” or “ignore all.” But most of the suggestions are really great. I was impressed by how many “commonly confused words” it caught and/or other grammatical aspects spellchecker doesn’t always catch.

Basically: 

I think Grammarly is a remarkable tool for all kinds of writers, especially self-publishing authors who may not be able to afford numerous (or one) editor. I WISH I had this product during my past four years at college, but at least I’ll be able to use it during my last semester. It’s worth a try. I have to admit that I’m generally skeptical, but this website is definitely bookmarked to be returned to often.

Have you used Grammarly? What do you think?

~SAT

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