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by Catherine L. Tully
I know I have mentioned this great resource before, but only in passing. Grammar Girl is a heavy-duty tool for the writer–new or experienced. Mignon Fogarty is the name behind this character, and her “Quick and Dirty Tips For Better Writing” include goodies such as:
- Affect vs. Effect
- Toward vs. Towards
- All Right vs. Alright
- Lay vs. Lie
These are excellent, bite-sized tips for the writer that can mean the difference between getting a query nod and having the editor hit delete. Let’s face it–in this business, you’ve got to know what you are doing when it comes to grammar and sentence structure.
It doesn’t really matter how you decide to keep up with Grammar Girl. She’s on Twitter and she even has her own podcast on iTunes. A little honesty? It’s the only podcast that I have actually downloaded and listened to on my iPhone.
Naturally, if you prefer a good, old-fashioned book you can go that route as well.
Why am I so excited about this? Well, grammar is huge, and it is usually presented in the most awful, boring format. Grammar Girl gives it to you straight, but in a palatable way, without taking too long to get the point across. I’m a serious fan.
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by Catherine L. Tully
Everybody should do this. Seriously.
Fellow writer Jake Poinier has a survey out that will allow him to compile data for the 2010 Freelance Forecast–Boomvang Creative Group’s second annual survey of creative freelancers and the clients who hire them. This is a great resource, and if you fill the form out, you’ll not only be helping clients understand writers better, but you’ll also be entered into a drawing for a $100 iTunes or STAPLES gift card.
Not bad! (And if you can get a client to take the survey, you’ll have good karma. Jake says so. I have asked several of mine to participate….good karma is mine!)
I’ve been a fan of Gang of Four bassist Dave Allen’s blog, Pampelmoose for quite some time, but I was never happier to be an avid reader than on the day Allen blogged about a fabulous little application called Peel. This app has literally changed my life as a writer in a small but wonderful way; Peel legally harvests free MP3s from music blogs anywhere you tell it to go. Within two weeks I had more free music than I know what to do with, and even listening in the home office for the better part of the work day I can’t possibly keep up with it all. No more changing CDs in the middle of a tricky writing assignment for me, Peel can be set up to dump all the MP3s into iTunes automatically so I just hit “party shuffle” and enjoy endlessly.
Peel is designed to give you access to all that great stuff you’ve been missing with the same basic notion that all good MP3 blogs have: if you like what you hear, buy the full album and support the artist. Contrary to what the major labels and the RIAA would have you believe, this is a supportable business model for an independent artist as evidenced by the recent Radiohead album, In Rainbows which was released digitally “for any price you want” long before the CD went into stores. Radiohead sales have been fine in spite of the damn-near-free digital release.
Peel is my new favorite tool, but alas it is only available for the Mac at present. You can download it for a free one-month trial, and then buy it once you’re hooked for the ridiculously low price of $14.95.
Ever get a sudden idea for a great story, article, or plot device at the exact moment you can’t write anything down or e-mail it to yourself? This 1-gig MP3 watch from Skullcandy is the answer to that problem. The built-in voice recorder lets you dictate your ideas and save them for later in .wav format, compatible with all audio editors and playback software like Cubase, Vegas, Pro Tools, and iTunes. The watch stores a full gigabyte of MP3s and you can transfer music via USB just like any Zune or iPod.
Buy for $169.95