Tag: internet

nanowrimo

The Best Apps for Every Step of NaNoWriMo

So it’s the beginning of National Novel Writing Month, and you only have time to do things like go to school for eight hours, sleep for an inconvenient five or so, and occasionally eat. Writing does take time, but you have more time than you probably think (unless you thought you had twenty-four hours in a day, which is technically accurate but unlikely for a functioning person). While there are some circumstances where you can’t whip out your laptop, there are far fewer cases where it’s unusual to take out your phone. So instead of lamenting your wasted time, use the moments you do have to chip away at that 50k on iPhone or Android… with some (all free!) apps to help you with every step of the process.

 

1. The research process 

 

 

Charlie Kelly from 'It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia'

Image Via Imgur.com

 

Evernote, free for iPhone and Android, is perfect for keeping track of all your research and inspirational quotations. Its Web Clipper feature allows you to incorporate your source material directly into your notes, so you don’t crash your computer (again) with your 22 dubiously-useful open tabs.

 

2. The outline 

 

 

Millie Bobby Brown Gif

Gif Via Tumblr.com

 

Go Writer Lite for iPhone incorporates note-taking into the writing process with the draft board feature, a temporary storage space for text fragments (like that one sentence you just can’t figure out). As a bonus, the app will read your text aloud to you, so you can hear for yourself what sounds the way you imagined it.

 

Workflowy for Android is perfect for complicated outlines, allowing users to see any heading and its subheadings in isolation to prevent distraction (to the extent that it can). The app also includes searchable hashtags, so you can mark problem areas you want to remember for later—and then actually remember them.

 

3. The first draft

 

 

'Tom and Jerry' Gif

Gif Via Github.com

 

Writer for iPhone is more powerful than your typical word processor, saving all drafts of your product so that you never lose any material. In addition to your usual built-in spell check, this app also comes with a built in thesaurus to help you find the right (write?) word. On top of that, the app has simple yet varied table of contents formatting to help you and (and your eventual readers!) stay organized.

 

4. The editing process 

 

 

Frantic Typing Gif

Gif Via Gfycat.com

 

Unlike your typical sticky note phone app, Jotterpad for Android keeps track of your word count, paragraph count, character count, AND reading time. With a built in dictionary and thesaurus, this app is already better than many word processing computer programs. Jotterpad is especially good for your second and third drafts, as its snapshot feature allows you to revert to earlier versions of your story.

 

With any luck, these apps will help you put your (relatively few) moments of down time to work writing the novel of your dreams (or occasionally your nightmares).

 

Featured Image Via WeScreeplay

dead girl's detective agency

HarperCollins Launches First Snapchat Novel

HarperCollins has partnered with Snap to launch the first story of its kind— a Snapchat mobile adaptation of a teen mystery novel. Suzie Cox‘s The Dead Girls Detective Agency, a popular YA mystery from 2012, has taken its place at the frontier of digital storytelling. 

 

 

Promotional shot for 'The Dead Girls Detective Agency' based on novel by Suzie Cox

Image via fiercevideo.com

 

 

On October 10, 2018, Snap launched its new Snap Originals: five-minute episodes of original shows with new episodes premiering daily. At the moment, there are twelve shows available through the Discover feature. All episodes are vertically shot, meaning they’re perfectly adapted for mobile viewing. The content ranges in subject matter, with many documentary style shorts across every genre from horror to romantic comedy. One follows the exploits of Bhad Bhabie (A.K.A. the ‘cash me outside’ girl); another follows the rise of teen queens (that’s drag AND drama queens).

 

 

Snap Originals Logo

Image via mobilesyrup.com

 

This adaptation is just one of a few ways that technology continues to push storytelling further into multimedia territory. A much earlier example is the publication of Lauren Myracle‘s inventive The Internet Girls books (ttyl; ttfn; and l8r, g8r), a series Myracle crafted entirely from instant messages. Other YA novels have since followed suit, incorporating social media elements like chats, blog posts, and online profiles into the structure of the story. Books have taken inspiration from social media for well over a decade; now, social media is taking inspiration from books. The HarperCollins Snapchat partnership further demonstrates the way in which the symbiotic push and pull between books and technology ultimately shapes both mediums.

 

 

Featured Image Via epicreads.com

Stack of nice books high resolution quality nice pretty

Meet the Stars of Bookstagram, Who Bring the Glam to Reading Life

It’s no secret that bibliophiles are often creative, artistic, and innovative people: after all, they’ve learned the power of building new, beautiful worlds in every book they’ve read. That’s why Bookstagram, a community within Instagram designed entirely for bookworms like yourself, is the perfect platform to share bookish wisdom and whimsy in creative ways. 

 

At its most basic, #bookstagram is used as a hashtag for book-related images on Instagram, from your latest beach read to the facade of a bookstore you’re dying to visit. But if you’re dying to show the world exactly how much you love reading, you can create an entire “bookstagram” yourself. There are no strings attached here—all you have to do is start a new Instagram account, then start posting all the literary photos your little heart desires.

 

Meet some awesome Bookstagrammers!

 

1. @hotcocoareads

 

 

“A bookshelf is as particular to its owner as are his or her clothes; a personality is stamped on a library just as a shoe is shaped by the foot.” —Alan Bennett . . I finally finished my January bookshelf project! I moved out all my non-fiction and middle-grade books to other rooms in my house so that I could have this area dedicated to classics. There is one small section of Young Adult books in the corner, but it’s fine for now. I’ve also left lots of space on most shelves for growth, and we’ll see how things are looking again next January, when I usually want to reorganize my books again. When is the last time you reorganized your bookshelves? Do you do it very often? Do you enjoy it—because I really do! I love holding my books in my hands again, leafing through them, smelling their pages and dusting them off! ? ? ? . . #bookshelves #shelfiesunday #shelfie #bookshelfie #homelibrary #bookcollection #bookcollecting #collectingbooks #booksbooksandmorebooks #bookseverywhere #booksbooksbooks #readingspot #booknook #readingspace #writingspace #readersofig #ilovebooks #amreading #readmore #homeoffice #surroundedbybooks #bookdecor #janinbooks18 #bookproject

A post shared by Jeana ?☕️? (@hotcocoareads) on

 

Jeana has been posting her literary adventures since 2015. With beautifully framed photos of her current reads and stacks of classics, she uses props like flowers and cozy essentials to decorate her content.

 

2. @thxboywthebooks

 

 

Maxi is an Argentinian vlogger who maintains a consistent cool-toned aesthetic on his account. Alternating between stacks, single book highlights, and spreads, he offers seriously addictive visuals of his favorite reads.

 

3. @reverieandink

 

 

Brittney is a book blogger who launched her Bookstagram account back in 2016. Her photos are jam-packed with rustic themed shots of her favorite fantasy and YA reads, each ornamented with cozy additions like her super adorable cat, Wes.

 

And don’t forget to get creative with your own Bookstagram! There are tons of ways to make a splash with your Bookstagram account. You can opt for simply posting swoon-worthy shots of your bookshelves (A.K.A. literary eye-candy) or you can get involved with reading challenges. You can find these on some big-name Bookstagram profiles if you’re willing to sift through your favorite accounts, but @thereadingwomen and @strumpetstea both have active challenges going on right now if you wanna get a headstart!

 

Don’t be afraid to reach out to authors and other Bookstagrammers: comment on their posts, ask questions, invite conversation. It often helps to pick a theme for your content and stick to it. Decide if you’re going to maintain a specific aesthetic (colorful, rustic, black and white, etc) then challenge yourself to deck out your account that way.

 

Sure, Bookstagram is chock-full of mesmerizing bookish photos to make you run to the nearest bookstore, but that’s not the only magic it has. The most beautiful part about Bookstagram is the sense of unity it fosters. An entire community of bibliophiles desperate to share their favorite reads with the world, Bookstagram allows an avenue for connection and comfort with like-minded bookworms all around the world. Don’t know what to read next? Need a bibliobuddy to fangirl with? Just head to Instagram and start swooning over words with bloggers who just might become your new best friends.

 

Feature Image by Aliis Sinisalu Via Unsplash

GoT map

This Interactive ‘Game of Thrones’ Map Makes the Story So Much Clearer

The world of A Song of Ice and Fire is so mind-bendingly large, it’s hard to keep track of who was where when. Wait, where was Arya when Bran became the Three-Eyed Raven? Oh, hold up, was Jaime in King’s Landing when Davos was in Braavos? Also, just knowing where Braavos is in relation to King’s Landing is so hard when you’re staring at a bunch of words on a page. And, if you’re watching the show, then the spinny map intro thing is really not much help. It’s all twisty and confusing.

 

Luckily, a few diehard fans have created an interactive map to help everybody keep track of their favorite characters. If you’ve just begun the books or are only a few seasons into the show, you can adjust your favorite character’s path across the world based on what chapter (of which book!) you’re up to, or which episode you’re on. You won’t be spoiled!

 

Follow this link to explore the map here!

 

Part of the fun of reading a fantasy series like GRRM’s is designing the world in your own head. The show does a good job of replacing the reader’s aesthetic with professional design. Because of the show you can see the dragons fly like falcons and that the clothing of the Iron Isles is Viking-y. But the readers lose something. Their, you know, imagination.

 

GoT fan art

Image By pulyx Via Deviant Art

 

This tool is a great balance of providing a totally helpful visual aid to the reader while still allowing people to retain their own conception of GRRM’s world. Kudos to the creators! Now they just have to update it to have all of season seven…

 

Feature Image Via Polygon

Friends looking at iPad

Five Ways to Read Entire Books Online

Trying to read full-length books online can be frustrating, but it doesn’t have to be. We’ve put together five of the best websites to read full-length books online!

 

1. Project Gutenberg

 

Project Gutenberg logo

Image Via Project Gutenberg

 

Project Gutenberg, a volunteer effort to digitize and archive cultural works and “encourage the creation and distribution of eBooks”, is the granddaddy of eBook publications. Started in 1971 with the digitization and online publication of the first “eBook”, Declaration of Independence of the United States of America, Project Gutenberg has become the standard, as many sites that offer free eBooks gather titles from the public domain, many of which were originally uploaded through Project Gutenberg.

 

Project Gutenberg offers a variety of different download options if you’re interested in an offline reading experience, but reading online via HTML is pretty much as easy as can be.

 

Project Gutenberg download options

Image Via Project Gutenberg

 

Ideal: The most comprehensive collection of classics available, and available to read online and download for free.

 

Not ideal: Digitized copies of current books aren’t necessarily a priority.

 

2. Read Any Book

 

Read Any Book logo

Image Via Read Any Book

 

Stephen King, J. K. Rowling, the Gossip Girl series, and many, many others are available through Read Any Book (RAB). While the format RAB uses for their free online reading isn’t ideal, it certainly isn’t terrible. Unlike Project Gutenberg, there isn’t an option to read in HTML, but full books are available in a Kindle-esque viewer which is easily readable on both desktop and mobile devices. 

 

Read Any Book online reader

Image Via Read Any Book

 

Ideal: If you’re looking to read popular books from major publishers online with no frills and no fuss, this is the one for you. 

 

Not ideal: If you want to download any books, you are prompted to sign in with your lucentfun login. Lucentfun is a monthly subscription service offering “all your favorite late night movies, games, books, and music in one spot for $39.95”. Yikes.

 

3. Smashwords

 

Smashwords logo

Image Via Smashwords

 

Smashwords is the largest and best developed platform for independent authors and publishers with over 465,000 total books available and over 70,000 free to read online. The search feature is surprisingly helpful, with options to organize search results by price or length.

 

Smashbooks online reader

Image Via Smashwords

 

Ideal: Hands down the best online reading experience. You’re able to customize font style and size, text and page color, as well as line spacing.

 

Not ideal: I’m torn. The platform Smashwords gives independent authors is incredible but there’s just so much to discover. An optimized search feature that gives recommendations based on an author or book you enjoy could really take this site to the next level.

 

4. BookRix

 

BookRix logo

Image Via BookRix

 

BookRix is a free self-publishing platform that offers eBook distribution services to independent writers. Users can share their writing, connect with other readers, and discover new books and authors.

 

BookRix online reader

Image Via BookRix

 

Ideal: BookRix’s homepage is simple, simple, simple, with two columns: Bestsellers and Recommendations. To compare, Smashwords homepage shows you the most recent books, any price, any length.

 

Not ideal: Like Read Any Book, their format could be better. But hey, free books are free books!

 

5. Scribd

 

Scribd logo

Image Via Scribd

 

Scribd still makes the list, though I think their shift to a subscription based membership has really limited their audience (free books are no longer available to non-users). After a thirty day free trial, you’ll pay $8.99 a month for unlimited audiobooks, unlimited access to magazines and documents, but will be limited to three book credits a month. Sure, these credits roll over and any book you “purchase” with a credit will be available to you as long as the book is available on Scribd. 

 

Scribd online reader

 

Ideal: The book selection is excellent, and so is the iPhone app. They offer an Essential Student Bundle to undergraduate and graduate students, a one time cost of $29.99 that gets you one semester (four months) of Scribd, plus digital access to the New York Times.  

 

Not ideal: Currently, there’s no way to access more than three books a month, so if you read a lot, you’re going to feel limited. 

 

Featured Image Via VideoBlocks.