Every month, I share all of the websites I come across that I find helpful, humorous, or just awesome. Below, you’ll find all of April’s Website Wonders categorized into Writing, Reading, Art, and the Weird.
If you enjoy these websites, be sure to follow me on Twitter @AuthorSAT because I share even more websites and photos like this there.
I really loved how honest and open it was without making the reader fell overwhelmed or inexperienced for not already knowing the information. (Plus, I agree with everything said in the article.) A great, to-the-point piece to consider.
Clean Teen Publishing is hosting an event – the #AskCTP Giveaway on Twitter TONIGHT! I’m REALLY excited about this live author-reader Q&A, and I really hope you all can make it. You can even win a CTP Mystery Box, which includes 1 to 2 print books, swag, and more.
In other news, I will be at the 101st Annual Missouri Writers’ Guild Conference in Kansas City, Missouri from April 29 to May 1! Feel free to shoot me an e-mail if you’re coming, so we can connect! I’d love to see some of you there. It’s going to be an absolute blast.
#AuthorinaCoffeeShop Episode 17 starts this Thursday via Twitter’s @AuthorSAT at 7 PM CDT. What is #AuthorinaCofffeeShop? Just how it sounds! I sit in a coffee shop, people watch, tweet out my writer thoughts, and talk to you! I hope to see you there.
He’s currently talking customer service into giving him paperclips to adjust the weight of his paper airplane. 📎📃✈#AuthorinaCoffeeShop
Every writer needs an editor, but before that, every writer needs to edit for themselves. It’s always best to make your manuscript the best manuscript you can before you hire someone else to help on top of that. Because of this need, I am excited to share today’s article with you. Sarah Whitson is here to help you help yourself with six tools for your grammar.
Disclaimer:The views and opinions expressed in guest articles are those of the author/s and do not necessarily reflect my own. To show authenticity of the featured writer, articles are posted as provided (a.k.a. I do not edit them). However, the format may have changed.
6 Tools to Improve Your Grammar by Sarah Whitson
Whether you’re a writer, a novelist, or simply a student who would like to revisit English language skills once in a while, your top concern will always be how well you’re doing when it comes to grammar. Grammar is undoubtedly the trickiest part of learning a language because there aren’t always concrete rules to determine why something is said the way it is said.
Excessive use of slang, colloquial language, idiomatic expressions, and verbally spoken incorrect grammar also distort grammar rules, making it even more difficult for linguists and writers to get the hang of the latest grammar rules and making sense of it all. A recent article published on the Business Insider reveals how a Harvard linguist debunked many grand grammar myths, transforming the way we think about words such as “like“ and “as”, along with many other terms and usages.
So, what should keep you up-to-date with grammar rules and areas where you may need improvement? Here are X tools that might help.
Grammarly: If you often use word processors to type up your writings, here is a tool that will help spot your grammar mistakes– andwork ten times better than the typical default grammar checker, of course. Grammarly can spot and fix 250+ mistakes that MS Words can’t find. You can also add Grammarly to your browser and double check mistakes even when you’re using Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, Tumbler, or using other websites where you may have to write.
New York Times-Grammar and Usage Section: The infamous NYT dedicates an entire section to “grammar and usage” that includes commentary on grammar and archival texts published related to the topic.Find out what professional linguists have to say about grammar rules in the latest articles.
Writing Forward: Writing Forward is a creative blog founded by Melissa Donovan, a creative writer qualified with a BA in English from Sonoma State University. Donovan aims to provide writers with tips and ideas along with posts about grammar, good writing habits and practices, and tons of exercises to keep your language in shape.
Grammar Blog: If bad grammar gives you the pet peeves (whether it’s someone else’s or your own) join the Grammar blog! This blogattempts to “mock poor grammar” (and they mean that literally). Grammar blog will (jokingly) point out places where people went against the sacredrules of grammar and point out how they could have been used properly. You can also directly ask the blog’s team anything you like related to grammar with a quick email.
White Smoke Anywhere: This tool is an all-in-one English correction tool. The complete and comprehensive software aims to perfect your English with advanced techniques. The tools will check your spelling, grammar, as well as sentence structures. This is a great tool to use while writing a dissertation papers through Dissertation mall. You can install the software on your desktop computer, smart phone, tablet, browser or anywhere where you write digitally! Translation capability enables text translation for over 45 different languages. Oh, and if that wasn’t already enough, there is also a plagiarism checker.
Paper Rater: Paper rater is a free online tool that will proofread your text and point out spelling and grammar mistakes. Unlike other software, you won’t have to signup, download, and install this tool for it to work. Apart from grammar checking, Paper Rater also double-checks plagiarism from over 10 billion documents. Paper rater also offers writing suggestions that will help improve your writing style. Simply hit the “Use Now For Free” button, copy paste the text, and get a report. A paid version will enable faster processing, file upload capability, and an enhanced plagiarism checker.
About Author: Sarah Whitson is a creative writer, mostly helping those students who lack English language skills.
Want to be a guest blogger?Now is the time to submit.I will be stopping guest blog posts in December, but before then, I would love to have you on! I am accepting original posts that focus on reading and writing. Pictures, links, and a bio are encouraged. You do not have to be published. If you qualify, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’ve always wanted to know just a little bit more about Take Me Tomorrow, Confessions of a Book Blogger reviewed the novel with slight spoilers (but nothing major!) And you can read why she said, “this book is practically perfection.” by clicking here to read her full review. I hope you check out Take Me Tomorrow!
Also, another review of Take Me Tomorrow is available on ATROX. Here is a sneak peek, “This book has lifted my spirits about dystopian books because this was fresh and original. If your a dystopian lover or you just love adventure, this book is definitely for you.”
Every month, I share all of the websites I come across that I find helpful, humorous, or just awesome. Below, you’ll find all of October’s Website Wonders categorized as so: Halloween-Themed, Reading, Writing, and Just For Fun. Between each category is a photo. If you enjoy these websites, be sure to like my Facebook page because I share even more websites and photos like this there.
Website Update: 2.40 p.m. The host of Goodreads has clarified the poll is working and no one is cheating. She’s excited when new members join and vote, so I’m still in, and I feel much better about the situation. Thank you to everyone who’s supported me, voted, and even returned to explain who you are, so your identity was verified. I really appreciate this. I couldn’t have better people helping me 😀 (If you didn’t see my last post, some authors accused others of cheating to get votes last night.)
If you all recall, Minutes Before Sunset needed nominations for “Book of the Month” on Goodreads, and you all succeeded! But I need votes. PLEASE VOTE BY CLICKING THE LINK. We’re in first place thanks to your votes, but I need all of the support I can get to stay in this position.
So I used to do posts under the topic “Website Wonders.” Basically, I’d share a website that I thought was good for writers and/or readers to use in order to enhance their artistic lives. However, my “last” one was back in January, because I really stopped labeling them as such. (Mainly because they’d be a part of something else, like a Writing Tips post.) But today I bring it back.
On December 8, 2012, I wrote Website Wonders: Twitter: ShanAshleeT23, which directed followers to my Twitter while also giving tips on how to promote yourself via Twitter. I did this for an important reason. I often share websites I come across on my Twitter, and I do this on a regular basis. So today’s post will be the top sites I’ve found and shared on my Twitter in the past month or so:
I also share funny things on my Twitter about my every day life: This is a giant cinnamon roll I ate! It came with a steak knife. How awesome is that?
If you all find any websites you like as a reader or a writer, comment below to share it 😀 Also, I hope you voted. It really helps me out. I’m simply flattered you support me here! And I’m excited, because so many more people are supporting Minutes Before Sunset now that the paperback has been released through all major retailers. Check it out if you haven’t already:
Before I begin today’s post topic, I have two things to address:
First:Special thanks to Nicole Lee at “Ennlee’s Reading Corner” for reviewing Minutes Before Sunset: “…The book alternates between the point of view of each of the main characters without a set pattern, and Ms. Thompson should be commended for her ability to create two characters that are similar enough to keep these sections from being disjointed, but different enough that the reader can tell in an instant who is speaking…”
Second: As many of you know, I held another contest where the winners receive a free account at Happify, a website dedicated to bringing happiness to social media within a great community of encouraging peers. The winners are:
Based on status, you’ll receive a confirmation. (If you don’t fell comfortable sharing your email on my comments, please send an email to ShannonAThompson@aol.com identifying yourself, so I can send the invite) Follow me here, so I can find you, and I’ll be sure to follow back!
Now, onto today’s post:
I wanted to discuss “setting” in a novel, but I specifically wanted to share websites where you can find more information on your place (or perhaps browse the world for inspiration, even if your setting is in another world entirely.)
I think your background is a great place to start. Everyone has heard “write what you know,” and there is truth in it. Placing your novel in a place your extremely familiar with is the easiest route (not necessarily the right route), and this can make descriptions easier. For instance, Minutes Before Sunset takes place in Hayworth, Kansas. This is not a real town. It’s actually a play on Hays and Ellsworth, both towns in Kansas. I haven’t lived in these locations, but I have been to them, and I currently live in Kansas, so I am very familiar with the culture, layout, and how the weather works. Plus, I wanted an ironic name. Since the novel is about a dark fate, it only seemed appropriate (and humorous) to have a name that suggested the town was worthy.
In regards to familiarity, another thing to think about is your basic settings. By this, I am referencing your rooms. I’ve discussed interior maps before, and every house in Minutes Before Sunset is based off of a real house I’ve lived in (aside from Eric’s. That’s my dream home.) And the maps are available on the Minutes Before Sunset extra’s page.
Back to location:
If you’re looking for a place you’re not entirely familiar with, I wanted to give a great website out there for beginning, especially if you’re not positive on what you’re looking for.
Earth Album Alpha: This is a slick flicker collection of photos, virtually capable in regards to clicking anywhere on the map just to see an arrangement of pictures from the specific country. This can be very broad, but it can also help narrow down what you’re looking for. As an example, the picture below is of Serbia. (I clicked randomly.) You’ll see a collection of tiny pictures at the top, which you can enlarge, that will show the region. In particular, this country has a lot of beautiful fields, so you may not be interested in Serbia, but you might realize you want an open space, and you can go from there.
Weather Base: This website helps summarize what happens in regards to weather in the average year based on the location you choose. This is actually a traveling website, meant for tourists to figure out ideal weather to travel in, but you can learn whatever you want all over the world. I really recommend checking these things, because fallacies can happen in location, if you’re not familiar with how citizens live beneath the weather clouds. A good example of this is the famous young-adult novel, Twilight. Although Meyer set it in a rain-prone state, the amount of rain she used was very unrealistic to the location. In an interview, she even admitted that she visited for weeks without rain and was quite disappointed with her lack of research. However, she was delighted to bring tourism to the city that wasn’t known before. So there are pros and cons to everything.
American Culture: If you want to stay in the states, this blog is full of information about history, culture, language, education, and more. It even includes family arrangements, death rituals, and relationships to other countries where these things may have taken place originally. This won’t only help your setting; it can help your characters round out as they’ll have a family background stabilized within reality. For instance, it may remind you of the variation in language used across certain areas. An exact quote: “Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Tagalog due to immigration from the countries where those languages are spoken, and to a certain extent French, primarily in far north New England, due to the Acadian-Canadian influence, and in Louisiana (Cajun).”
My hopes is that sites like this will help the initial process of choosing a location you (as much as your readers) feel connected to as much as your characters will be grounded in it.
If you have any other sites, comment below! And, as usual, if you have a topic you want to hear about, let me know, and I’ll credit your blog for asking the question on that post.
I hope everyone is having a great time! (Paperback news is coming soon!)
Goodreads Quote of the day: “I was falling in love with her, and she was falling in love with me. It was fated, decided before any of us were born, and I hated it as much as I loved it. I could barely stand it.” (Eric, Minutes Before Sunset)