Friday Links - Nov 13, 2020
3 min read

Friday Links - Nov 13, 2020

  • Merriam Webster has a tool to find out when a word was first in print.
  • Squibbler is a writing app that makes your writing disappear (like completely unrecoverable) if stop for too long.
  • The Ludwig search engine helps your writing by giving you contextualized answers. You can compare sentences, discover meanings of missing words, paraphrase sentences, compare the frequency of words, and help you order a group of words.
  • This one was recommended by Trey, friend of the newsletter: Voracious Readers Only helps match readers and authors to help build word of mouth.
  • Ginger is another grammar checker. I haven’t yet tried it but I am curious.
  • I remember Pippi Longstocking as a kid, but not the Moomins, but this article from Aeon considers author Tove Jansson and how her writing was a response to fascism.
  • Splasho is an writing app that only allows you to use the top 1000 most used words in the English language. Sidenote: This was inspired by Randall Munroe, creator of the web comic XKCD, who wrote an entire book called Thing Explainer based on this idea.
  • I think it’s important that writers are aware that the companies they use for their websites might be tracking their visitors.
  • As a follow up to the above, use this site to actually see what your website is tracking.
  • I know I am all anti-Amazon and at some point I am going to have to contend with that, but until then, take note of what Apple Books offers its authors.
  • Cory Doctorow also shares some bad news about Audible, an Amazon Company. (TBF, he also takes issue with Apple as well. But this is why I am always attracted to the independent, DRM-free, sell-it-off-your website approach.)
  • Which is why I love Derek Sivers’ approach of selling the ebook, audiobook, and all digital formats and/or including the paperback for a few dollars more.
  • I want to remember this idea when I think about the structure of books: A city is not a tree.
  • Staying organic, let’s explore some digital gardens. (I am starting to think DDJ is going to be the start of a digital garden...or something.)
  • Although I’ve never been able to make a bag of words work, I have always loved the idea and think for some of my writers, it would be a fantastic way to get writing.
  • Essential story structure viewing: the shape of stories from Kurt Vonnegut. (Strangely, I never saw this before I found my own path to story shapes, partially out of my research on narratives for my Masters.)
  • I’ve been cleaning up my photos and found an old screenshot of the periodic table of storytelling.
  • A rant against printer ink by Cory Doctorow. PS - I am on that stupid monthly printer subscription because I don't want to be going to the store whenever we run out. I know they're gouging me, but I still do it.
  • Make sure you have proper capitalization for those styles of address.
  • Sounds of the Forest - I freakin' love this. Listen the sounds of different forest all over the world.
  • TODAY + SOON - a paper-based to-do system, based on Ugmonk's Analog.
  • Since I want to discuss status next semester, this post from Seth about the interplay between dominance and affiliation is interesting.
  • I'm still waiting for bookshop.org—"a socially conscious alternative to Amazon—to come to Canada, but until then, articles like this one from the Guardian will continue to whet my appetite: "each independent bookstore that joins has its own 'storefront' page, where customers can browse virtual tables of recommended books."
  • If you liked The Martian, Andy Weir's short story The Egg is quite popular.
  • Creating Online Parks: "Alongside and between the digital corporate empires, we need what scholars like Ethan Zuckerman are calling "digital public infrastructure."
We need parks, libraries, and truly public squares on the internet.