Writer Tools






Sometimes I’m digging for meaning in my novel, and all I am finding is dirt, pebbles and lumps of clay. Sure I could take the clay, wash it, add a bunch together with a bit of water, and create a “David” statue replica. But that would be a side-route, a false meaning. My book doesn’t have anything to do with the statue of David. Of course, I am a writer and not a sculptpr, so my play with clay resembles a ball. Sculptures are pretty, but I want to pin some meaning on the tail of my plotkey. HeeHaw.

At times I get so enamored with the hole I am digging, and the straight and smooth sides, that I forget I am actually looking for something in the hole. But, those sides are pretty awesome, right? This hole is ready for a citrus tree. Hey let’s plant a citrus tree. I want some citrus, citrus, oh crap I live in the northwest. Wait, I was digging this hole for some other reason…what…oh yeah, GOLD.

There’s GOLD in them thar hole. Somewhere. Hmm I just hit something hard with the tip o’ my shovel. Rock, Root, Robot, Rabbit? Nope, there it is, I finally get it some wonderful treasure box, box, box, that’s um, empty. Good thing I didn’t open this on live TV.

But, seriously. I have a meaning in my back pocket, other one, that needs to be put in this treasure box. Maybe a moral? Something that makes riding the plotkey, Hee Haw, worth the bumps, the smell, the noise. I think. Get yer shovel.


  • Lists
  • Magazine
  • Cards
  • Full Article (only on desktop/laptop version)

Nice right?

If you desire a Zite or Flipboard type experience on your laptop/desktop. Feedly is probably your answer. Feedly is essentially a user created magazine based on your subscription to rss feeds. But, it is better! You can easily find content based upon your subject interest.


And, tying back to my article a couple weeks ago about Pocket, you can save articles in Pocket, Evernote,, and instapaper. For Social, there are the typical G+, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, its own “Save for Later” and e-mail.

You can easily create collections of blogs that you like to follow. Especially those outside of WP (ahem, Blogger, Typepad, LiveJournal) if they have an rss address. Usually under the symbol below. Sometimes the content isn’t available within Feedly when you paste in the rss address. I’ve found the majority of popular blogs available.

Why are Lists, Magazine, Cards or Full article cool? Because you can arrange your feeds in List view, magazine view, you get the picture. Feedly is available as a download, and a Chrome web store app (which is the way I use it). I don’t know everything about this cool tool, but it is a nice personal magazine for those unable to use Zite or Flipboard. Now, Pulse for windows is an option for Feedly, which…we will review next week! 😀

I would recommend trying out as many of the tools as you can so you can pick the one right for you. I use Zite and Feedly. Until next week…keep improving your quiver of tools.


Here’s a review from December about Zite with more pictures.

My editorial is that, I agree with the reviewer that 2.0 was a step backward.
The good news is that the current release is much better.

If you are into application comparisons, here is a comparative: Flipboard, Zite, and Pulse. (Keep in mind the review is 12 months old)

It’s outa-Zite!

Yep, today I’m going to plug describe Zite, the iPad/iPhone User created magazine.

I use Zite usually 3-4 times per week. I have selected a group of topics related to writing, literature, etc. The magazine learns your preferences by allowing you to “like/dislike” the content it displays. Easy peasy. For articles you want to save, i.e. research, it has multiple methods. You can e-mail to yourself (or someone else), and it has full integration with Pocket (reviewed last week). (Also Evernote, Facebook, Google+, Instapaper, Twitter, and LinkedIn).

Disclaimer (sheesh): I’m not hating on Flipboard, I use it as well (but that’s another week). And I’m not hating Android. And I’m not hating on…well, you get the picture.
It’s just a tool. Use it if you have access to the iPad/Apple appStore. It’s a great addition to your research tools.

As stated on the support site:

“Some search engines and social sites provide additional tools or features when you verify that you are indeed the owner of a specified URL. In order to do this, you normally need to add a hidden “meta tag” to your page. Since you can’t edit the theme files of your site on, we provide additional tools to make this easier.”

If you haven’t done this step to your blog (like I hadn’t) start here:

However, I thought I would share a couple tips I learned yesterday. The solution wasn’t as intuitive as I had hoped.

For Google.
It is important that you choose “Alternate Methods”, and select “HTML” to get your verification code. The code in the red circle (no you can’t have mine) is what you paste into the google verification code place on your “Dashboard-Tools-Available Tools” spot.  Also, wait a bit before clicking the verify button on the google webmaster tools site. 5-10 mins I think. Be patient.
googlealternativemethodBing was a piece of cake.
Everything is on one page. Choose the meta tag option and copy the string in the red circle.


I can’t get you a screeny for Pinterest. Suffice it to say that you don’t want the code from the filename option. You want the other option. It will be a longer code.

So, just trying to be helpful and save my fellow writers and authors (oh, and others) some time and frustration.

Today is Thursday. That means…Writer Tools!

Well, I’m excited about it even if you aren’t.

Today we talk a little bit about “Pocket”
Pocket is one of the many utilities for capturing web content for future perusal.
I’ve used, and currently also use Evernote’s web clipper.

Pocket is easy to use. There are chrome, iOS versions, Android and Kindle Fire versions. You can send to your pocket via e-mail, and from twitter, zite and flipboard (and others). Windows Mobile, WebOS, Symbian 60, & Blackberry too! This is a huge expandable pocket so you don’t need to worry about your shirt having a huge lump. 🙂

I like to use Pocket for quick capture. I may move the content over to Evernote later if I know I want to use the information. There is not concept of folders in Pocket, but there is the more modern method of “tagging” to organize your content, which is really much more powerful than folders.

Give it a spin. I’ll review Evernote some other Thursday.

Kirk out.

I used iA Writer on my iPad to write all the first draft content for my current work-in-process. I used the on screen keyboard. In fairness, I started practicing with the on-screen keyboard a year ago when I took my Berklee class. But, back then I was using Evernote, also a great tool. You may ask, "Ty, what do you have against pencil/pen and paper?" 2 things. One, I don't have the patience to write then transpose to my compy. Two, I can't always read my handwriting. So, nothing against handwriting. I love the whole sensuality of writing with a pencil. (not that kind, geez). With that, on to the features. Clutter free and clean: For a clean screen editor, iA Writer is the best I've found for iPad. Unfortunately, for those in the Android faith, there is not an iA Writer version available. Us Apple adherents have Mac, iPhone and iPad versions currently. Happy, Happy. Marketing words "As soon as you type the title bar disappears and all you see is the clean typing sheet, distraction-free, ready for your ideas to take shape. With over 600,000 copies sold, Writer has helped students, journalists, and bestselling authors to find more pleasure in working with text." ;) It does make a great writing tool for us non-bestselling authors, too. ;) Cool Keyboard: This innovation is the feature that separates iA Writer from other tools. They have added things like quotes, dashes, parens, colons, semi-colons on the main keyboard so there is no annoying shift required to access these keys. And for dessert, there are left and right arrow buttons to move around. Nice! I knew you'd like that. Marketing words "iA Writer for iPad comes with an elegant keyboard extension that lets you navigate left and right, with direct access to punctuation." What? You aren't convinced yet? Sheesh. - How about iCloud and Dropbox storage options, huh? - And AirPlay or HP ePrint printing options. What now? Ok, time for a bit of reality. Getting used to typing on the screen keyboard may result in some frustration. I may have said a bad word or two over the past year, but I always took it back, didn't I? Thank you for joining me today on Writer Tools. Your friend in the writing business. Ty Roper

I’m relatively organized. I hate wasting time. For this project I am using Scrivener as my collector/organizer. Such a great tool. I do my daily writing with IAWriter on my iPad. IAWriter saves my dailies in separate text files in my Dropbox account’s folder. Then at the end of the week, I open up Scrivener on my PC (it’d be much nicer on a mac) and store the dailies as separate files in folders labeled for the month. Then, I go back and copy out sections from the dailies and categorize them into scenes in my outline folder. I currently have 33 scenes identified. This week, I created 8 folders in my outline folder which correspond to the 8 point story arc. Next weekend I may start moving scenes into these 8 separate folders.

/sigh, compulsive

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