Research Research Research

You can never research too much. Well, not really.

You can get lost in YouTube Hell: going in for videos on sword work and realizing you’ve migrated to watching kittens dancing to Timberlake.

You can start reading articles on sword work in Wikipedia and realize you’re now reading an article on nuclear fission (true story).

But in terms of backstory (stuff you will probably never use), you can never research too much. Know your subject matter. Know the character. Know the setting. You don’t need a degree in something in order to write a believable character. You just need to know enough to write about it. Your comfort level included. For example, I will never be comfortable enough to write a character who is into math. I know this. I can research all I want and it will never take.

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Moving the Blog

As I slowly make the change from rambling on Facebook to using this website more, I am faced with a decision. When I first started this blogging thing (way back in 2003), the site was done by hand in html and tables. It was ugly but it worked. Then I learned basic CSS and upgraded the website. Moving to WordPress greatly improved the look and feel of the place!

I created the main site (They’re Just Words) then re-created the blog as a directory. I did a LOT of copy/paste! I still have some of the original html pages.

And now I am considering moving the blog (where you are now) to its own sub-domain. So the URL would be blog.paulaoffutt.com. I’ve created it but it is empty because moving a WordPress site can either be easy peasy or it can be PITA wita. Since I am not switching hosts (I love DreamHost and have been with them since 2002).

What would be ideal is to copy the database over, leave this one with a single page that says “We’ve Moved!” and give the address. But that’s the PITA wita.

DRM and Calibre

I recently really really wanted a book but the only place I could find it was on Amazon.com. I can’t stand buying books from them. But I really really wanted this one. So I bought it. Problem is it wasn’t downloadable but only available through their “cloud”. I had to use their app or use a Kindle. I didn’t want either one. I wanted the book I paid money for. I tried several methods of getting the book onto my PC but, when that failed, I requested a refund.

Then someone on Facebook found it for me over on the Kobo website and I bought it there. Now the problem was although it was in the epub format, it had the Adobe DRM on it. This is what I did to remove that so I could read it where ever I wanted. Since, ya know, I paid for it.

So, go buy an ebook from Kobo. Go through the purchase process. They’ll send you a confirmation email. But you can also just go back to the page of the book and click the “View in My Books” link to the left. This will take you to a list of the books you’ve bought there. Right click the three dots to the right of the book. Select “download”.

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Cookies!

If you haven’t seen it yet, Thought Patterns (this blog) has a “privacy policy” now. Yay?

You can view that page here: Privacy Policy page. It has links explaining why on Earth I have a privacy policy. Not going to repeat it all here.

But I did some more research. See Linkages below.

I logged out of the admin panel then went into my browser’s privacy settings, found cookies, and deleted all of them from paulaoffutt.com. There were a lot because of the two sites within the same domain. Anyway, I removed them all, cleared the browser’s cache, and went to the website (paulaoffutt.com/blog). I then right clicked a blank spot and selected “Inspect Element” (this was Firefox but each browser should have the same “inspect” option). After that, click the “Storage” tab at top and “Cookies” from the lift on the left.

Doing so showed me two things:

First, visiting the site and accepting the privacy policy gives you two cookies. These are ironically from the new plugin I have to assist with keeping track of this GDPR thing. Go figure.

Second, if you leave a comment, and only if you leave a comment, you will get two (if you don’t enter a website) or three (if you do). See screenshot below. Click it for larger version.

Since I do not allow anyone to register and I don’t make anyone sign in via Facebook or Google and I don’t have any ads, that’s it as far as cookies go.

Linkages:
WordPress Cookies by commenters
Wikipedia article about Cookies
GDPR WP – the WordPress plugin I am using

Mindmapping

I was going to write another article of mindmapping resources but meh, too much work. But here’s the short of it:

I’ve demoed a LOT of mindmap programs and some are super simple to the point of being painful and others are super shiny to the point of being ghastly expensive. I’ll put linkages at the bottom of this. Currently, I have a subscription for Novamind (which I will cancel) and I have a paid version of SimpleMind (which I will keep). But what I am falling in love with and wish I could justify the cost of is TheBrain. So very, very shiny.

I’ve cleaned up my Writing Brain and will share the link to it. The software syncs between the desktop, the app, and the web version. You can mark the entire brain as ‘private’ which means no one but you and whoever you choose has access to it. You can mark the entire brain as ‘public’ which means anyone with the URL can access it. And you can mark certain parts of the brain as private and other parts public. Which is what I have done with my Writing Brain.

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Irons in the Writing Fire

I’m not sure how many other writers do this, but I typically work on more than one project at a time. I tend to pound out a lot of words then pause to consider it. See, I don’t plan or do an outline. I start a project because I have an idea, a “what if…”, or just a title. Usually I know the ending, sometimes I don’t. Other than that, the plot for the book just flows. And sometimes that flow takes my characters to places or situations I didn’t expect. And I need to back up and think about it. The more I write, the less I discover it was the WRONG direction. Either I’m becoming a better writer (and trust me, some of my early stuff truly stinks) or I’m getting better at figuring out how to get out of the corner I painted my novel into.

What I do while I think is either play games on my PC (my current obsession is Homeworld Remastered) or I go to another project. Sometimes that thinking takes a while and even if I come up with a solution, the path to getting there is not clear so I gotta think some more. And as some friends will agree so quickly they spit, I tend to think too much and not just freakin’ do.

So what irons are in my writing fire? Glad you asked.

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