NaNoWriMo 2016: Getting Ready Tip No. 2

There are 38 days left before the launch of National Novel Writing Month 2016.  Once again, I'm gearing up for the challenge.

Can I write a 50,000 novel in 30 days?  Probably.  Will I?  The better question.

This year, I'm trying my hand at a thriller.  Even if I don't make the deadline, I'm going to have a lot of fun in November!

There's no rule against planning in advance for NaNoWriMo.  You just cannot start writing the content before 12:01 on the morning of November 1st.

NaNoWriMo Tip No. 2: Have Your Outline Ready to Go

Sure, you can write by the seat of your pants without a plan.  Many authors prefer it.  However, I want to complete 50,000 words in a four week period that includes the Thanksgiving holiday.

I know from past years that the "seat of the pants" approach is more exciting for me -- but it has also caused me to buckle around two weeks into the campaign.  I get distracted as it is, and there are more distractions now.  The holidays are coming!  The holidays are here!

This year, I'm going to have a map to follow. An outline for my thriller.

Having made this decision, I have to remind myself not to take this outline too seriously.
  • Its purpose is to help me get back to work.  
  • It will not be set in stone.  It will be written in pencil, not waterproof ink.  I don't want to feel controlled by the outline,  (This can be very hard for me not to do.)
  • Things change as your story comes out of your head.  Characters change, or maybe you just get to know them better as things progress.  The outline has to be subservient to this evolution.  
Just making the decision to work with an outline is a confidence booster. I feel braver when I think of 30 days divided by 50,000 words is 1666.67 words per day.  Every day.  Even Thanksgiving Day.  

References for Outlining a Thriller

Here are a few reference materials I'm using as I build my thriller outline:

  1. James Scott Bell's suggestions in his Writer's Digest article, "The 5 C’s of Writing a Great Thriller Novel."
  2. Another Writer's Digest article, "How to Write A Great Thriller: 5 Pieces of Advice," written by David Ellis
  3. Every interview and article I can find dealing with Thrillerfest Grandmaster Nelson DeMille.  I love this guy.  

and I'm re-reading some of my favorites, including:

  • James M. Cain, The Postman Always Rings Twice;
  • Frederick Forsyth, The Day of the Jackal;
  • Daphne du Maurier, Rebecca; 
  • Vera Caspary's Laura; and
  • Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None.

And, of course, this is an excuse to watch or re-watch lots of great movies that have been made out of great thrillers.  Fun, fun, fun.  

Maybe all this will help you too, Dear Reader. 


I created the above image using Canva's free service and I release it into the public domain. This file is in public domain, not copyrighted, no rights reserved, free for any use. You can use this picture for any use including commercial purposes without the prior written permission and without fee or obligation.


Google Keep Review: I'll Stick With Evernote, Scrivener, and Padlet But You Might Like It

I'm a sucker for new productivity apps.  Aren't you?  Especially if they're free? Here's my Google Keep experience.  It started a few weeks ago.


DottoTech Questions Switching From Evernote to Google Keep

First, the backstory.

I subscribe to DottoTech's YouTube Channel.  Over lunch, I like to watch stuff like Steve Dotto's channel on my ROKU-powered TV, having cut the cable several years back.  (Read more on that here.)

So, last month I was chomping away on a deli salad, drinking iced Rooibos tea, and watching YouTube.

Sure enough, I learned something new.  Steve Dotto was comparing Google Keep with Evernote.

Maybe I had heard of Google Keep before, but it didn't stick with me. His question: should I switch to Google Keep?  Whattha?

My Evernote Loyalty

Now, I'm a huge Evernote fan.  I'm not abandoning Evernote.  No way, no how.

Still, I was interested to see what Google Keep could do, since it's got Google's awesome search function capability.  And that's a big, big deal for me.

Why?  Evernote is my research database.  I store stuff there.  My stuff; my clients' stuff; stuff I find online.

Evernote's search function is critical to me finding all that stuff after I've tossed it in there.

The ability to search all around Evernote is one of the big reasons I prefer it to OneNote.  But that's another story for another day.  Back to Google Keep.

How Could Google Keep Help Me?

So, I decided to check out Google Keep.  Give it a test run, see how it could help me be more efficient in my day.

Since I'm getting ready for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), I decided to use Google Keep as part of that preparation.

That way, it wouldn't interfere with my standard procedures in my real work.  The stuff that makes me money and pays for my dog's liver treats.

I used Google Keep as a tool to help me prepare for writing an outline to my projected 50,000 word thriller.  This afternoon, I've got some findings to report.

Google Keep Reminds Me of Scrivener's Corkboard and Padlet

In using Google Keep, I wasn't reminded of Evernote as much as Scrivener and Padlet.

If you use Scrivener, then you know it has this nifty corkboard feature, where you can move your chapters (or files) around as you like.

Sorta like index cards on a tabletop.  Except Scrivener is allowing me to do this with a huge amount of word count following along behind it.  

No way that Google Keep compares to Scrivener in this function.

And, if I want to do this rearranging outside of Scrivener, I'll use Padlet.  It's easier.  And I can keep all my stuff together on one topic there in a separate "padlet" for reference.

I like Padlet.  I use it.  It's fun.

Check out the Padlet Gallery for examples of how much fun this tool can be (lots of teachers use it).

I like Padlet better than Google Keep for brain dumps and brain storming.  

Bottom Line:  Meh.

I didn't NOT like Google Keep.  It was nice. It just doesn't serve me as well as the tools I already have in my tool belt.  So, for me Keep is not a Keeper.

Maybe it is for you, Dear Reader.  It's fun to test drive, anyway ....


Yelp Ordered to Take Down Negative Online Review After Law Firm Wins Defamation Case: Yelp Fighting Back (with Lotsa Big Gun Help)

A negative online review is posted by unhappy client on Yelp.com.  The negative Yelp review discusses services provided by a lawyer and law firm. So the law firm files a lawsuit, arguing that the online review is derogatory and has hurt business. Sound familiar?

It should.  It happened two years ago here in Texas.  

For details, read "Texas Law Firm Sues Client Over Negative Online Review at Yelp.Com." It includes a link to their original petition, as filed in the Travis County District Court.  

California Court Orders Yelp to Remove Negative Review Held to be Defamatory

Different twist out on the West Coast, one that's getting lots of media coverage.  There, a California personal injury law firm filed suit seeking damages allegedly resulting from a negative online review. 

Difference here between the two suits?  The California case includes Yelp being ordered to take down the review.  

Spearheaded by plaintiffs' lawyer Dawn Hassell, the California law firm won at both the trial and appellate levels (admittedly easily done as the author of the online reviews failed to show up and "defaulted.")  

Hassell's victory?  That's big news right there.  But there's more.

California Appeals Court Agrees With Court Order  to Remove Negative Review

The California judge ordered Yelp to remove the defamatory online review from its site.  And the California appeals court affirmed his decision.  

Their reasoning?  Read the appellate opinion: Hassell v. Bird, No. A143233 (Cal. Ct. App. June 7, 2016).

Yelp was not ordered to pay monetary damages to the law firm.  (Doing so would arguably violate the California Communications Decency Act.)  

Big deal here:  Yelp was NOT a defendant in the California case.  The law firm didn't sue Yelp.  It came into the case after it was ordered to remove the review.  Anyone else thinking about a possible due process problem?  

California Supreme Court Reviewing Case; Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft Write to the Court

Bigger news.  The "friends of the court" that are entering the arena.  

It's reported that powerhouses including Facebook, Twitter, and Microsoft have written to the California Supreme Court.  This is fine; it's called acting as a "friend of the court," or "amicus curaie." 

Their letter warns Hassell's victory, if not reversed, will endanger free speech and otherwise do bad things.  

Among others filing before the California Supreme Court wanting a reversal:

Docket Information on Hassell v. Bird


NaNoWriMo 2016: Getting Ready Tip No. 1

National Novel Writing Month begins in 45 days.  I'm going to participate again this year.

One of the hurdles I have failed to jump in past NaNoWriMo years has been the requirement that you cut and paste your writing into their platform.

This is how they track your progress, and how you confirm to their Powers That Be that you have written 50,000 words in 30 days' time.

Scares me.  I've had my online published work stolen on more than one occasion.  Am I paranoid? Gun-shy?  Whatever I am, it's been enough for me to keep track of my own word count and forego inserting my work into the NaNoWriMo web site.

And even if I get over that fear, there's another problem.  I like to write with a pen and paper as much or more as with a keyboard.  More on that on my blog Everyday Simplicity, "Cursive Handwriting vs Typing Your Words."

So, how am I to insert handwritten content into their platform?  Scan and OCR it?  Re-type it? No way, Jose.  

Well, I have discovered how to get around that obstacle.  As for my trepidation of putting 50,000 words into the NaNoWriMo site -- I'm working on that one.  Fingers crossed.

NaNoWriMo Tip No. 1: Converting Handwritten Content for Daily Word Count

There is a wonderful site called Lorem Ipsum which is a godsend for NaNoWriMo as far as I'm concerned.  It provides a way to insert typed words that correspond to your handwritten word count.

Now, you have to know your handwritten word count, that's a given.  You must overcome any temptation to just stick stuff into the platform willy-nilly.  (Lorem Ipsum is kinda fascinating with what it conjures up as text.)

Using the Lorem Ipsum site will allow my handwritten content to be counted in NaNoWriMo.  I think this will work.  It's making me more excited about November.  And I feel less vulnerable to losing my stuff by uploading it onto their site.

Maybe this will help you, too, Dear Reader.

I created the above image using Canva's free service and I release it into the public domain.

This file is in public domain, not copyrighted, no rights reserved, free for any use. You can use this picture for any use including commercial purposes without the prior written permission and without fee or obligation.