Guest Post with Nikolas Baron

October 25, 2013

Good Morning Everyone! It’s Friday- hooray!! Today on the site we’re excited to have Mr. Nikolas Baron from Grammarly guest posting for us. Grammarly is an online editing tool that is a tremendous resource not only for authors but for anyone that wants to make certain that they are using grammar and punctuation correctly in any scenario. Nick is also sharing a few other valuable resources for writers. I can say that the majority of these ideas and shortcuts I use often in my own writing. So, without further ado, everyone say, “Hi Nick!”

Shortcuts for Writers

Why do writers write? We write, at least at the beginning, because it’s fun. It fulfills a fundamental need to pour ourselves out onto the paper, to express our innermost thoughts, or simply to entertain ourselves by spinning stories about people who we’d like to meet or be. It allows us to go on adventures without ever leaving our cozy chair, a cup of coffee and a box of chocolates close at hand. A writer can be a hero, riding out on a deadly quest to destroy a ring or win back a kingdom, or a villain, intent on destruction. For a short time, we can feel free of moral constraints and social considerations. The dragons we battle are fictional and we can, at any time, close the document and step back into the real world, leaving behind our fictional worlds until we pick up the pen and step through the mirror again.

Revisions, on the other hand, are hard work, and not so much fun. We revise because we want our writing to shine. We don’t want grammar errors, spelling goofs, or typos to throw rocks in the path of our story. We want it to sail along, carrying the reader along its twists and turns, curves and bumps, without a hitch. We write because it’s fun; we edit because it’s necessary. There’s no need to allow editing to eat into our writing time any more than necessary. There are several excellent online editing tools that can help make the editing process go more smoothly.

When you start writing, you might not be thinking about plot, structure, or story arc. Scrivener offers help with organization, freeing the writer to focus on their characters: what they’re thinking, what they’re doing, and the innermost workings that drive them onward through the story. With the scaffolding of story structure in place, writing becomes a matter of filling in the blanks with action, suspense, and drama, all the things that make creation enjoyable.

Grammar matters, but learning the rules and regulations that govern proper usage and punctuation can be difficult. Grammarly is an online tool that offers a simple solution to grammar challenges. Simply copy and paste the content into the handy box, and the site returns a report pointing out not only grammar issues, but poor word usage, awkward sentence structure, and other issues that can interfere with the flow of the writing. This is a great tool for adding that extra layer of polish to the work.

Urban dictionary
For fiction writers, proper English sometimes takes a backseat to slang. While most professional coaches admonish writers to use slang carefully and sparingly, it’s important to get it right when it is used, or the writer risks looking like a poser. Urban Dictionary is a constantly-updated collection of modern slang, with meanings provided by users. Tread with caution; some of the definitions are decidedly above the PG rating.

Merriam Webster
For less earthy literary pursuits, Merriam Webster is a resource that offers accuracy in usage and spelling. The online version replaces the heavy, awkward hard copy, and is regularly updated. Most editors turn to the Merriam Webster dictionary as the official bastion of the English language, so it’s a good choice for the serious writer. The searchable database helps users find the exact spelling of even obscure words.

 While Pinterest isn’t strictly a writing tool, it is an excellent resource for writers. The site can be used to gather resources together in one convenient place, and offers endless opportunities to browse for inspiration. Do you need a provocative setting for your protagonist’s bedroom scene? Simply browse the multitude of romantic bedroom collections. Can’t decide upon a name for your villain? Baby naming sites abound, providing you with endless possibilities. Sometimes, just browsing collections related to the theme of the writing can be enough to provide inspiration.

By Nikolas Baron


About the Author:
 Nick works with Grammarly, an online grammar and spelling checking tool that offers writers a “second pair of eyes”. He studies writing techniques and tools in order to learn how the product can better serve writers and help them improve their English usage.

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