Novel Writing Software…

Wow, if I had a novel for every one of these that came along… Well, suppose I have that many ideas, just don’t -yet- have time to write them all down.

This one is Microsoft’s version of the software, updated to Office 2007. Read here.

I will admit it has a couple fancy features. Novel templates might be interesting, but they also may encourage more beginning novelists to follow a formula more closely than they otherwise would. Who am I to say, though?

This one, unlike most of the others I’ve highlighted, isn’t free. It says you don’t need another word-processing software to use it. Better not, if you have to pay for it. Among the cooler features is one to assess readability and reader age, as well as an ability to record submissions to agents.

Do you ever notice?

So many previews, so little time.

The new Star Trek looks cool. It makes me remember so many times I’ve watched them since I was young. So often the aliens looked just – like – us. Not always, but most of the time in the original series. There are small cosmetic changes between us and them, but not enough.

The newer series did better, though most of them seemd based on the same lines. I find it interesting, but we are somewhat limited in film for what we can realistically show. “Realistically” is probably not the right word, since so many things that happen on the silver screen are no more realistic than balancing a Chevy on my little finger. Even those that are not mean to be science fiction get a little hazy, as you’ll notice once you sit next to a literal-minded engineer in a theater during an action feature. (If you haven’t done it, you haven’t lived! Or, lived to be annoyed…)

I still wonder sometimes about the books that do make it to be movies in the science fiction genre. Many of them don’t translate well; others lose too much in translation to the visual art. Do you wonder if you want your creations mangled by a creative mind when it took so much of your time to build the written world? I think and imagine and still don’t have a good answer. Perhaps if I’m ever lucky enough to get an offer like that I’ll figure it out.

Geek Appeal

Even though it’s no longer considered a planet, Pluto still captures my imagination.

You wouldn’t think so, perhaps, because I hate the cold. It’s estimated Pluto’s surface is -220 degrees Celsius. (Only 53 degrees colder and all movement stops – the literal ‘frozen solid.’)Yet scientists wonder why it’s so warm. Warm? Really? I don’t think it’s a joke. The methane in the atmosphere apparently makes it ‘warm.’

I’m fascinated that the atmosphere freezes when it’s farther out and becomes gaseous again when it returns to the sun. Now that’s harsh conditions and makes my mind wander in so many directions. I wouldn’t live long enough to see a full cycle if I lived there, though. Pluto’s orbit takes 248 years.

Read more about it here.

Another cool thing about Pluto is sometimes it’s closer to us than Neptune. I’ll just have to keep tabs on it when the news comes in. It must be able to turn enough corners in my mind to make a story out of there somewhere. Though, what creature in my mind breathes methane, carbon dioxide, or nitrogen… Oh, wait, I have one!

My critters are awesome! One day I’ll share them with the rest of the world, hopefully in novel form.

Geek Appeal

Good news for doodlers everywhere! Ever been stuck somewhere, like a lecture or on the phone with an especially long-winded person, and began to doodle on a sheet of paper? A new study suggests those doodlers may actually remember more than those of us who drift off to daydream.

Read more here.

No hope for me, I’m afraid. I’m a serial story-dreamer. It takes effort to concentrate, and sometimes I lose the battle – as evidenced by a few of my lecture notebooks in college.

And a word for Twitter, which I recently joined: Secret Confessions?

They say they don’t even track your IP address, so you can let out your secrets to the world with complete anonymity. What is it about secrets that we feel we need to tell them to the world, just so long as our names aren’t attached?

So many people have much more bravery when they’re unknown, but when the time comes to take responsibility, everyone disappears. It’s interesting that we need such outlets – or maybe just that we think we need them.

Geek Appeal

But – I might want this to be Geek Unappeal…

Read more here.

Oh, now I’m really wondering what those politicians are thinking about. I have a wi-fi network in my home. Keeping records for who used it for two years? Not so bad since it’s encrypted, but still not looking forward to that.

And how about all the networks you know get hopped on? You find an unsecured network, you connect – how does the owner know? And just because you stopped in and used even a hotspot at Starbucks doesn’t mean I know who actually used it.

It’s supposed to be aimed to stop child pornography. I’m all for stopping that, but it doesn’t seem like this was really thought through before they put a bill in place.

Doesn’t that remind you of a few other bills we’ve had pass through Congress?

Geek Appeal

Read more here.

The interesting part of science is the advances they make to try to fix things. What they’re discovering in this article looks like a way to silence genes to promote health. The part that amuses me is where they’re going to make pills to target the parts they want to improve.

Science fact is catching up with science fiction. Star Trek had plenty of little pills or shots to cure what ails – and society does seem to be craving easy solutions to every problem. (Funny, everyone wants to take the easy fix with just a pill, rather than the hard work for actually changing behavior, yet when doctors prescribe medications, they sometimes have trouble getting those same patients to take those doses needed to cure – which leads to some bacteria with strains that are immune to the medicine… but back to the subject.)

I’m waiting for the day when there’s a pill for everything, and we look the other way to get our own solutions. If they do learn to silence the bad genes properl, we could really help a lot of people – but what if by helping them we lose some of the things about our own individuality? We struggle so much, but sometimes that’s what makes us into who we are. On the other hand, it might be nice to take the easy path once in awhile. Medical malpractice might get out of hand, though – “I was looking for the little green pill to help my meory loss, but they gave me the little¬† dark green pill and now I have no recollection of anything, except that pretty pill…”

Might have to use that in a story, sometime.

Geek Appeal

Robots!

They’re wonderful tools in fiction, but the scientists are doing their best to catch up to the writers’ imaginations. I find it amazing they’ve figured out how to make the robot respond with seeming empathy to stimuli.

Of course they have a bit to go for looks. Their current picture looks like a lego guy with Einstein’s face attached. Definitely an oddity.

Scientists aren’t always known for their aesthetic values, though. They’re the ‘function’ lot. When they let the fashion gurus in, the clashes begin because the process of prettying up the prototype often involves difficult changes to the functional part of the machine.

Bugs the heck out of engineers to figure out how to make things work once that new design has that polished look. There is no end to the work!

Tools of the (Science Fiction) Writing Trade

Okay, I suppose it could be used for fantasy, too. Tolkien was revered as world-builder, even to the point of making real languages for his fictional characters. He did it before we had such tools as the internet to find helpful resources, or computers to type things on, or so many advantages today’s writers (and the fan world) take for granted.

Other examples of created languages include Star Wars and Star Trek, of course. It’s different to hear them on TV and expect them, but people really do create them for stories and books for a more realistic feel.

The Language Construction Kit

It’s organized as an outline, so you can get as crazy or detailed as you like. You can use it to provide a background, a more realistic form of naming strange characters, or just another way to annoy your English teacher during class. (Last example is not recommended!)

Linguistics is not my particular strong point, so a couple of the questions are lost on me. (Is your language inflecting, agglutinating, or isolating?)  For the most part it is very straightforward and inviting. I find it difficult not to dive right in and try it out!

Geek Appeal

A new quantum internet? This article, while quite technical, talks about things like teleportation as a reality, not science fiction.

It gets the brain wondering how close we are to some of those Star Trek ideas that seem so far off. It’s all about ‘beaming’ the information from one place to another and I find it fascinating.

If we’re able to get our information from one place to another faster and with great accuracy, it shows we can make great strides for the future. I’m sure there will be more applications for this as time goes by. It only depends on our creativity.

Read about it here.

I hope the next thing they pull from the silver screen science fiction is replicators. It would save so much cooking time!

Social Networking

Might want to think again about those social networking sites like Facebook, Flickr, and Twitter… read article here.

It amazes me just how much we can do on those. I must admit I’m only on Facebook because I can only keep up with so many sites, but I do hear about a lot of the other ones and wonder.

The article talks about how the younger generation has an ‘innate radar’ to know that there may be inaccuracies with immediate coverage of news, but also that they’re out to share it right away. There is only so much space to post little blurbs, but anyone can say a lot with few words when necessary.

I do plan to use the Facebook page for promoting my book when it comes out, but I’m not regular enough to be uploading news. Also, the guy in question uploaded to Twitter via his phone, and mine’s just not that cool – yet.

So next time you hear someone make comments about the uselessness of social networking sites (or you actually hear them spewing from your mouth), you might want to reconsider.