Monday, June 8, 2015

Dear #Writers , What Technology Can't You Do Without? #writing

 When I started writing a few years ago, I was all for writing by hand. It kept me distraction-free, in touch with paper, and I could change the color of pens or the texture of paper as and when I wanted


Damyanti's technology suggestions for writers
Technology for Writers
While this was all very good when writing short stories, I balked at the thought of writing 100k by hand. So whether I liked it or not, I switched to writing first drafts on the laptop.

Now, there are sites I use: Google for (some of the) research, Thesaurus.com for when I need the right words, Dropbox for when I need to switch between devices.

I use Scrivener for my novel, the Pages app for when I'm writing on my iPad (it has a bluetooth keyboard, and is lighter to lug around). I use the Notes app to write down everything from recipes to new writing thoughts or sentences.

I'd of course be lost without email (betareads, mentoring, crit exchanges, and online writing forums).

In this article, they talk about a few of the other apps that a writer may use from grammar, spell checks, writing advice and connections to the marketplace. Check it out-- it's worth your time.

I'm still looking for a good text to speech app (for those days when I'm just not able to read my work aloud), and a speech to text app (for days when my back won't let me sit up and write). I've tried Siri, but she doesn't understand my pronunciation. Any and all suggestions welcome.
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What about you? What are the technologies and apps you use to make your life as a writer easier?

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Readers, Do you like Short Stories or Novels? #amreading

Reading is both my pleasure, and my bane. On days I miss breakfast or lunch or an appointment, I try to tell myself I won't do it again, but I know I would slip up. Always have, and probably always will.

A lot of what I read comes through the recommendations of my reader/ writer friends.  My to-be-read pile is a disaster in the making, doddering and high enough to scare me. I'm sure my only regret when I die would be an unfinished book, and that there wasn't enough time to finish everything I wanted to read.

Recently, I'm reading more novels than sort stories-- possibly because I've been bombarded on my social media timelines with must-read, award-winning novels, and couldn't resist-- especially because the Singapore National Library carries all of them.

I used to be an avid short story reader, because they take less time to read, and I can clip along at a pretty fast pace, no matter where I am.

But these days, for some reason, I can't get enough of novels. I've finished Caroline Leavitt's "Is This Tomorrow" and am now reading Sebastian Barry's "On Canaan's side,"  after which, I have on my bedside "Steps" by Jerzy Kosinski, "The Illusion of Separateness" by Simon Van Booy, and a dozen others, all novels.

I'm looking for recommendations, short story collections-- a good mix-- all the way from horror and crime, to literary and surreal. I don't know how soon I would start on them, but hopefully by next month.

What books have you read lately? Novels or short stories, which do you prefer? Why? Any recommendations for me?




Monday, May 4, 2015

#Writers : Do You Believe in Shitty First Drafts? #amwriting

Hemingway famously said: The first draft of anything is shit.

This speaks to me, because most times the first drafts of my short stories are indeed shitty. The first draft of my novel was even more so.

But when it comes to flash fiction, some of my best work happens in the first draft. I keep tweaking and moving words even as I write, and one sentence moves me to the next one, and the next. I rarely do rewrites of flash pieces-- most take a few tweaks and off they go for submission.

This leads me to believe that there are two ways of writing: 1) puking it all out on to the page, then revising and 2) spitting and polishing each sentence as you write. I suppose I do a bit of both-- depending on the length of story I'm writing.

I guess I need a lot of writing practice before I can carry the voice for longer than a flash piece. For now, I would have to settle for being a shitty first drafter-- because that's what seems to work for longer pieces.

Here's an excerpt from an article  I came across recently (which is worth a read, in case you're interested in the writing process): 

In fact, I cannot even allow myself to write a shitty first sentence, let alone immediately follow the first with another few hundred shitty sentences. This does not mean that what flows from my brain through my fingertips through the keyboard and onto the monitor’s screen is exactly what I want it to be. In fact, I am a ruthless reviser, an eager re-writer. 

So dear writers, are you a shitty-first drafter, or eager re-writer?

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Do You Make Your Own Rainbow?

I've been offline the past weeks, traveling, writing, reading. It has been one of the more relaxing, happy phases of my life, and as you can see from my picture below-- I've taken charge of making my own rainbow. Or, in this case, spotting one, in Penang, Malaysia.

What have you been up to? Made or spotted any rainbows lately?
Rainbow-spotting: Reading, Writing, Traveling

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Do you #write Inwards or Outwards? #amwriting

The last month or so, I've been trying to juggle life-stuff and writing, and blogging has slipped through the cracks.

Though I've technically surfaced from my self-imposed hibernation, the writer in me has gone into a cave again: all I want to do with the limited time I have on my hands these days is to write, edit, fix stories.

It is a peculiar thing, writing a story-- it is being someone else, getting into their skins, thinking their thoughts. It is feeling the weight of their flesh on your own bones, the bloat in their stomachs from their heavy lunches, the dizziness from their alcohol or drug trips, their helplessness in the face of death, their joy at winning a race, the adrenalin coursing through your veins as much as theirs. So many lives wrapped up in the world of stories, and through them so much understanding of what success and failure, joy and hurt, giving and accepting, mean.

I'm loth to stir out and about. When out with others, I still have my eyes gazing inward, because of these many lives I've created within me and the constant reminder: to each I must give a voice, an existence.

Haven't been blog-visiting these past months, not as much as I used to. I miss you all, sometimes, as if from within a torpor. Feel like I've fallen into an alternate universe, where imaginary people look more 'real' than the real and online people in my life.

I'm sure I'll wake up from this drowsy-dreamlike world, but until I do, here's a wave and a hug from my world spinning parallel to yours.

Have you ever had a similar experience of being in a faraway world of your imagination? Does reading or writing ever put you in this inward spiral? Do you write Inwards or Outwards?

 

Friday, February 27, 2015

What are you #reading?

I've been on a hiatus, more about it on my other blog, here and here. Long story short, I was in Yangon, Myanmar, last week with no book to read.

I walked out on the pavements, and also to the Bagan Bookshop (a rather interesting little place with loads of books discarded by foreign tourists selling for a dollar or two each).

Pictured below are the books I found: all of them printed in the 1970's, other than Orwell's book. I read Gore Vidal, and have microwaved all the books now that I'm back: don't want any tiny critters invading my shelves.


What about you? What have you read this new year? What books would you recommend?