“Save It”

“Save It” is Michael Jackson’s lesser known song about writers and the importance of backing up electronic manuscripts (to be sung to the tune of “Beat It“).

Save It

[1st Verse]
They told us listen up, you reckless writers look here
Don’t wanna see your typeface, word doc disappear
The muse’s in your eyes and your words are really clear
So Save It, Just Save It

[2nd Verse]
You better backup, you better do what you can
Don’t wanna see no blue screen, don’t leave it up to chance
You know your draft’s rough, better save while you can
So Save It, Or you’re gonna be mad!

[Chorus]
Just Save It, Save It, Save It, Save It
Ctrl + S isn’t overrated!
Showin’ how prudent and wise is your mind
It doesn’t matter if your laptop dies

Just Save It, Save It
Just Save It, Save It
Just Save It, Save It
Just Save It, Save It

[3rd Verse]
They’re out to get you, all those storms and pop cans
They wanna fry your laptop, wanna drench your draft
You wanna manuscript, better save while you can
So Save It, Just Save It

[4th Verse]
You have to show them that you’re really prepared
You’re playin’ with your book, this ain’t no fanfic dare
They’ll soak you, then delete you,
Then your battery will wear
So Save It, Or you’re gonna be mad!

[Chorus]
Just Save It, Save It, Save It, Save It
Ctrl + S isn’t overrated!
Showin’ how prudent and wise is your mind
It doesn’t matter if your laptop dies

[Chorus]
Just Save It, Save It, Save It, Save It
Ctrl + S isn’t overrated!
Showin’ how prudent and wise is your mind
It doesn’t matter if your laptop dies
Just Save It, Save It, Save It, Save It, Save It

[Chorus]
Just Save It, Save It, Save It, Save It
Ctrl + S isn’t overrated!
Showin’ how prudent and wise is your mind
It doesn’t matter if your laptop dies

[Chorus]
Just Save It, Save It, Save It, Save It
Ctrl + S isn’t overrated!
Showin’ how prudent and wise is your mind
It doesn’t matter if your laptop dies

[Chorus]
Just Save It, Save It, Save It, Save It
Ctrl + S isn’t overrated!
Showin’ how prudent and wise is your mind
It doesn’t matter if your laptop dies

[Chorus]
Just Save It, Save It, Save It, Save It
Ctrl + S isn’t overrated!
Showin’ how prudent and wise is your mind
It doesn’t matter if your laptop dies
Just Save It, Save It
Save It, Save It, Save It

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Forum Friday: What’s in your story cellar?

I keep notes in many scattered places on things– places, events, phenomenon, mythology, unsolved mysteries, diseases, science, etc.– that I think would make for a good story, or else that fascinate me and would therefore be interesting to use in a story.

Among them:

Since these things are “fermenting” in my subconscious (or perhaps more accurately, my hard drive) like grapes into the wine that is stories, I am calling the collective of such lists my story cellar.

What about you? What are some of the ingredients steeping in your story-crafting cellar?

Julie’s Guide to Writing a Novel (12 Stages)

Writing a Novel in 12 Stages

Let me just say, even though I’ve committed a certain formula to illustration here, the novel writing process is just that: a process. It is full of trial and error, it changes, and with each repetition you improve it. In fact, the process I went through with my first novel was very different from what is pictured above. What I’ve drawn here is based on my own experience and what I have learned. I can already tell you that in practice, there may very well be even more drafts. And cupcakes (one hopes).

Please feel free to use this illustrated page— share it, print it, color it, mark it off like a checklist for your own book– and, if so inclined, share what your own book-writing process looks like in the comments below!

Forum Friday: Outlier Books

Have you ever read a book that did something totally different? I am thinking in terms of format specifically, but answers do not have to be limited to that context.

A few outlier books that come to mind:

  1. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. This book is a nesting doll of six narratives, following six characters (who are all, as an added layer, interconnected/reincarnations of one another). The really cool thing about Cloud Atlas is that it does not just go in chronological order (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6); it first goes 1-6 and then goes backward: 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. I have NEVER read anything like it. EVER.
  2. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Anne Shaffer and Annie Barrows. Composed entirely of letters. Guernsey Literary is certainly not the only book to do this, but it is still an unusual format worthy of note and accolades.
  3. Crank by Ellen Hopkins. Crank is one of several books by Hopkins whose narrative is told exclusively through poems. Again, there are probably other books that do this, too, but the format is something to marvel at.

What unusual novel formats have you encountered? Any books specifically that you would recommend?

Forum Friday: Do you have a literary bucket list?

If so, what’s on it? Writing fan letters to your favorite authors (or perhaps meeting them)? Visiting places from your favorite books, like the House on the Rock in American Gods (or the Harry Potter world in Universal Studios)? Going on a literary pilgrimage, or filling a library of your own with signed first editions?

A literary bucket list is something I’ve been meaning to sit down and commit to paper for a while now. Or at least brainstorm over. I think it’s always good to have dreams, and as a writer it could be especially nice to round out some of the Years Away, Distant Mountain goals like publication and viable authorhood with things you can cross off in a day. I’ll be interested to see what’s on other people’s lists! 🙂

Why ‘Food Rules’ is Awesome, Part 2

I posted earlier this week about Food Rules, a book by Michael Pollan that offers 83 basic “rules” on what and how to eat for a healthier life. That post focused on the message and what I came away with. This post focuses on the book’s medium.

What do I mean by ‘medium’? I mean how the eponymous Food Rules are presented.

Here are some things the book employs in presentation that I admire, adore, and would love to or am already thinking about using myself someday:

  1. A concept-driven list. The 83 “rules” are all the items of a themed list, the driving idea being “eating better”. The introduction even offers a mantra that underlies all of the rules to follow: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” Other books that do this include, among others, a personal favorite of mine: Wreck This Journal by Keri Smith, whose pages encourage alternately encourage readers to burn, tear, drag, throw stuff at and sew them.

    One of 83 of Michael Pollan’s Food Rules

  2. Clean copy. Dividing different ways to accomplish the same idea into small, numbered items (a collection of “rules”) is genius: it has the same effect as taking a long-term, hard-to-visualize goal and breaking it down into achievable increments. The idea becomes not only accessible in aesthetic (i.e., not an overwhelming amount of text), but in practice. We can work towards the ends one step, one idea, one page at a time.

    A page from Wreck This Journal by Keri Smith

  3. Marriage of word and image. Granted, the edition I picked up of Food Rules happened to be the illustrated one– it works. Maira Kalman’s paintings are colorful and engaging: a pleasure to view, and something more concrete to fix the ideas the book presents in our mind. Wreck This Journal does use some illustration, but relies more on reader engagement (i.e., commanding readers to poke holes in the page or spill something on it). It is my hope that a future project will combine the best of both image and reader engagement.

An illustration from Food Rules by Maira Kalman

All this said, of course, my gushing simply can’t do these books justice– go pick up a copy of Food Rules and Wreck This Journal see for yourself how awesome they are!

“One leg in”: The Julieism Dictionary’s First Entry

After a wonderful reader kindly observed that I’ve a tendency to fashion new words, I began more closely monitoring my expression so as to catch such plays in action. The result?

C’EST VRAI. I may not drop them at the rate a chocolate hen drops Cadburry eggs, but I drop ’em.

Me being the creative mischief-maker that I am, I naturally resolved to take note of such creations and flood the world share favorites on the Magnificent Allshare that is the internet. I’ve already established a “Julieisms” page on my author website, and will now periodically deposit these expressions there as well as here.

My first entry for the running theme I am calling The Julieism Dictionary is this:

Julieism - One Leg In

one leg in /wʌn lɛg ɪn/ adj. 1. half complete; having started, but being perpetually far from finishing something, usually a project 2. having only the first leg into one’s trousers

More nonsense is in the making– follow the excitement and corrupt expand your lexicon today!

How To Install New Fonts On Your Computer (And Why You Should)

A couple weeks ago I was designing a pseudo press release and needed some new fonts to make it look more legitimate. Once I figured out how to download and install new fonts on my computer, which is surprisingly simple,  I was blown away by the copious quantities of typeface freely available online and promptly wandered the internet’s vast resources like an elated kid in a candy store.

Today I share a selection of spoils from my treasure hunt. (Look for an upcoming post in which I share my favorite new fonts.) First you’ll need to know:

How to Download and Install New Fonts

  1. Find a font you like from a typeface library such as FontSpace, Dafont, or 1001 Free Fonts. (Hint: there are many more. Google “download free fonts” and the world is your playground.)
  2. Click “Download”. If given the choice, click “Save File”.
  3. Bring up your internet browser’s Downloads page. The file you downloaded should be recorded as a .zip file. Right-click the zip file and click “Open containing folder”.
  4. Right-click the zip file therein and select “Extract All”. If another box pops up, hit “Extract” to proceed.
  5. Copy the extracted files and paste them into your “Fonts” folder. The fonts folder (in Windows 7 at least) is found under Computer > C Drive > Windows > Fonts.
  6. Voilà! The next time you use any Windows application (Word, Photoshop, etc.) your new font will be there!

Now– perhaps you need some convincing? If my fictional press release didn’t do it, consider the following:

Reasons to Install New Fonts

  1. There’s a wide, wide world beyond Times New Roman and Comic Sans.
  2. Fonts, which you only need to install once, can forevermore add personality, authenticity, and aesthetics to any word document, image, or project.
  3. Apple guru and all-around innovator Steve Jobs had a particular fascination with typefaces in his early years. In fact, some of the aesthetic innovation for Macintosh was inspired by a calligraphy class he took at Reed College. If it’s good enough for an artistic genius like him…
  4. All the cool kids are doing it. Perhaps literally.
  5. New fonts enable better mocuments, parodies, and other mischief.
  6. LOOK WHAT I CAN DO

fonts 1 - my font is cooler

fonts 2 - dont you wish

fonts 3 - the great julie