The Magic of Google Docs

The Twirl and Swirl of Letters

There’s something great about using Google Docs to write, both fiction and term papers.

The fact that it displays how much time its been since the page has been edited.  How helpful! I’m easily distracted at times, and being able to see just how long its been since I worked on a project is magnificent.

“Oh dear, it’s been fifteen minutes since I edited the document!” I exclaimed. “I suppose I better get back to work!”

I don’t like seeing the ‘last saved’ numbers get beyond three or four minutes. That’s time wasted, time I should be writing, producing, creating.

It’s very good for keeping me on task. I’ll have to try writing more using this.

Backstory here, backstory there, backstory everywhere!

The Twirl and Swirl of Letters

I like backstory far too much. So much that I end up working on it for months, little minute details of characters’ lives that will never see the light of day.

It leaves me drained. Writing about what happens in the actual context of a story shouldn’t be that hard, but with all the backstory I come up with…to quote my roommate, “Why don’t you just tell the backstory?” It would be a lot easier.

I should. I really should. But I’m a glutton for punishment in the creative sphere of things.

Should I just wing it? To Hell with the backstory? Or should I continue with my insane planning, as ultimately every action has a reason, even if said reason is twelve years in the past?

Dealing with Prima Donna Characters

The Twirl and Swirl of Letters

I’m not sure how it happened. There they were, minding their own business, being perfectly fine main characters…until they met the secondary ones.

My secondary characters have the habit of being demanding. They don’t like being secondary. They feel they are more important than the main characters. And I believe them.

Geoffrey, the subject of my never-ending-ever-revisiting fantasy story, began his life as a typical mentor type for this wide-eyed-naif Thomas. Geoffrey quickly assured me (well, it took a year or two) that he was far more interesting than Thomas who was just a typical idiot on a quest. Geoff’s a rather bored historian who runs a Boston hotel.

See also Liv. He was supposed to be the second in command to a space ship captain (who was the primary character). Liv told me that as a grumpy, I-hate-children type person, he’d be better suited as the main character. He must be the center of attention at all times. Well, they’re on terra firma and Liv is still the center of attention. Cheeky little scene stealer.

Thank God Geoff and Liv reside in different universes. I’d never get a story told with their egos butting around.

On temperature and weather

The Twirl and Swirl of Letters

We get that it’s cold. Or that it’s hot. Or whatever.

But there can be more description to the weather in books over that. Bitingly cold. Sweltering heat. Boring, dull, cliche phrases.

Today’s assignment: come up with something more interesting to describe what it’s like where you live.

The day reminds me of England. Temperature wise, it isn’t that cold, perhaps 40 or 50. But it’s the damp that gets you. That creeping, gloomy damp that seeps into your knuckles and makes them ache. No amount of polar fleece can keep you warm. You shiver, huddling in a blanket, and wonder when it’s time to go to bed. Tea is the beverage of choice, as it alone can warm your core.

What a cabbage!

The Twirl and Swirl of Letters

Languages have such wonderful little idioms. For example, in Italian when you want to say “damn!” you say “che cavolo!” That’s literally “What a cabbage!”

English has some quaint expressions as well. In New England, “wicked” is positive. “Wicked good” is several notches above good, and “Wicked awesome” is about as good as you can get.

For example:

Mike: “Did you see the Sox game last night?”

Jim: “See it? I was there! Beating the Yankees 12-0 was wicked awesome!”


In creating different cultures (I’m looking at fantasy and sci fi writers specifically), keep in mind the strange things that might not be translated literally. It could be very interesting to have a character translating from his language to another, or even from one area of the country to another, and having a complete miscommunication.

Grammar is your friend

The Twirl and Swirl of Letters

Grammar is your friend.

Really. Seriously. It’s that kind of friend who you sometimes ignore, but always understands what the hell you’re talking about, or at least attempting to.

I’m not out to write a how-to guide for grammar. That’s already been done by people who are more knowledgeable in the area than I am (in the process of typing this post, I made and caught three grammatical errors).

I would like to point out that good grammar is key, but quite a few people already know that.

Instead, a story.

When I was younger, I was involved in a creative writing group. One member thought that she was above using proper grammar–and that if she got her story published, her editor would figure it out.

I refused to read her story beyond the first paragraph.

While it may seem that grammar can be fixed by others, people should take the initiative to learn it themselves. Stop making excuses. Do it.