Category Archives: Tools for Writers

One Vintage Photo Can Inspire a Best-Selling Novel

miss-peregrines-home-peculiar_book-coverDid you know that a vintage snapshot provided author Ramson Riggs with inspiration for his best-selling book, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children?

Browse through the following collections of vintage photographs, and, who knows, one picture might be the inspiration for YOUR best-selling novel!

Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Online Catalog

The Prints and Photographs Online Catalog (PPOC) contains catalog records and digital images representing a rich cross-section of still pictures held by the Prints & Photographs Division and, in some cases, other units of the Library of Congress. The collections of the Prints & Photographs Division include photographs, fine and popular prints and drawings, posters, and architectural and engineering drawings.

National Archives Library Information Center

The National Archives site will keep you busy for hours with links to scores of additional vintage photo resources.

State Historical Societies

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Suffrage parade, New York Historical Society

Search for any state historical society online, and you will find collections specific to the state and its cities.

Flicker Commons

In January of 2008, Flickr launched a new project aimed at increasing access to publicly held photography collections in civic institutions around the world. They called it The Commons. The idea was to provide a space for the public to contribute their historical knowledge to compliment the information the institutions already had.

Washington, D.C., 1922. “Department of Agriculture. First device to accurately measure a loaf of bread in cubic centimeters/SHORPY

Shorpy

Shorpy.com is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago. It includes unusual, and even bizarre, photos not found in other sources.

Ancient Faces

Launched in 2000 as a place to share vintage family photos, this site now also includes family stories and even recipes. Photo tags make it easy to look for pictures of everything from cowboys to royalty.

Old Photo Archive

8 Things Parents Did In The 50s & 60s That They Could Never Do Today http://oldphotoarchive.com/stories/parenting-in-60s

OldPhotoArchive.com exists to preserve and share history by telling stories through old photos. Browse the Story Archive, and you’ll find plenty of inspiration!

And here are several other places to look:

Google images

Type in a decade or a specific year. You can also refine your search by topic (ex. 1940s fashion, cars, inventions, etc.)

s-l1600Ebay

Ebay is another source where you’ll find unique vintage photos (for sale). Search “vintage photographs” or “antique photos”. The collection is ever-changing.

 


Pinterest

ce6634cdf9dfd1f0d9e4415b4eb6f371Pinterest is the best site to find just about anything, and vintage photographs are no exception. Search “vintage photos” on Pinterest, and you’ll find plenty of pins that lead you to blog posts and other fascinating online destinations.

Visit my Pinterest board where I’ve collected photos of vintage Santas.

And a bonus site, not for photographs but for historical manuscripts online:

The Shapell Manuscript Foundation

The Shapell Manuscript Foundation is an independent educational organization dedicated to the research, collection, and exhibition of original manuscripts and historical documents. The Foundation’s focus is on the histories of the United States and the Holy Land, with emphasis on the 19th and 20th centuries. Its extensive holdings include American presidents, especially Abraham Lincoln; Mark Twain; Albert Einstein; Custer and the Little Big Horn; and Theodor Herzl.

Now, get busy and start writing!
A picture is worth ten-thousand words.

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5 Tips to Help You Get Published

Pub

The question I’m most often asked is: Can you help me to get published? If you mean can I connect you with specific publishers, editors or agents to help you get published, my answer is no. But I can give you five quick tips that might help.

1, Do you need an agent? The short answer is it depends.

Whether or not you need an agent depends on what you are trying to sell to a publisher. If you hope to publish your work with a well-known trade book publisher (The “Big 5” in the U.S. are Hachette Book Group, Harper-Collins, Macmillan, Penguin/Random House, Simon & Schuster) then you definitely need an agent; but, if you are aiming for a small or niche publisher, you might not need one.

Most publishers post guidelines for submissions on their web pages. If a publisher does not accept unsolicited manuscripts, you may only approach them through an agent. WritersMarket.com is the best tool for finding publishers and their guidelines. (Subscribe online for $5.99/month and cancel any time.)

2. Fiction and nonfiction have different paths to publication.

31d444fc17ab9e199629f67ac4dd9cb3d1b71875_hqAn agent will often want to see a complete manuscript for a work of fiction or a memoir, but for most nonfiction works, a book proposal will be enough. Before you pitch either to an agent, make sure that you are submitting your best work. If you aren’t familiar with writing a solid, convincing book proposal, then learn to write one before you approach an agent. I can’t stress enough how important this is!

Research agents to find which accept the kind of work you are submitting. A good place to start is PublishersMarketplace.com. (Subscription: $25/month, no long-term commitment.)

3. Be meticulous when preparing your submission.

Depending on
* what you are submitting,
* the publisher’s guidelines
* and an agent’s requirements,
you might be asked for any of the following: a query letter, a book proposal, a synopsis and sample chapters. Again—if you aren’t proficient in writing a query letter, proposal and synopsis, learn to do so! These items are KEY to getting your book published.

4. Self-publishing is an option.

Woman holding traditional book and e-book readerOnline services exist that make it relatively easy and inexpensive for authors to self-publish their books and make them available as e-books and also paperbacks. Some of the more popular services are Amazon KDP, PronounDraft2Digital, and CreateSpace.

Self-publishing allows you to make all the decisions. You are not only the author, but also your editor and marketing manager.

5. Getting published takes work—long, hard work! My most important tip is DO YOUR RESEARCH. Don’t rush. Plan your path to publication.

In my opinion, one of the best starting points for researching how to get published is Jane Friedman’s blog. (I often repost her articles on my Facebook author page.) Jane’s site is a goldmine of detailed information. I suggest making it your starting point. Go there, and spend time reading and learning about the business of publishing.

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Filed under Aspiring Writers, The Business of Writing, Tools for Writers, Uncategorized, Writing goals, Writing Tips

7 Online Tools for Improving Your Writing

toolsHere are seven simple online tools to help you become a better writer. All are free and don’t require a download.

  1. Word Counter

Maybe you have a habit of overusing a word or words. Word Counter can help. Simply enter your text, and Word Counter will show repeated words.

  1. Cliché Finder

There_s nothing inherently wrong with clichés. They_re just . . . tired. Stale. Overused.Overused clichés are part of our everyday speech; so common that they slip into your writing unnoticed. Cliché Finder will identify clichés. To use this tool, delete the text in the box and replace it with your own.

The Oxford Dictionary blog offers an excellent article on avoiding clichés. Find it HERE.

  1. Rhyme Zone

If you write for children or if you’re a poet or songwriter, Rhyme Zone suggests rhyming words for your text. Enter a word to find a list of its rhymes. The drop down menu offers many additional options like finding lyrics and poems, similar sounding words, related words . . .

  1. Capitalize My Title

Paste in the title for a chapter or blog post, and Capitalize My Title will automatically correct any capitalization errors. You can choose from APA, Chicago, AP, or MLA styles.

  1. Portent’s Content Idea Generator

This tool turns any subject you enter into an idea generating title. For example, say you want to write a blog post on the subject of dinner. Type in the word “dinner” and the idea generator suggests titles to direct your content: “Unbelievable Dinner Success Stories”, ”Why Dinner Beats Peanut Butter on Pancakes”, “How Dinner Made Me a Better Person.” Have fun playing with this one!

  1. The Hemingway App

46062-Ernest-Hemingway-Quote-All-you-have-to-do-is-write-one-trueThis tool has so much to offer! It analyzes your writing for adverbs and weak phrases, complex words, passive voice, and hard to read sentences. The Hemingway App also shows word count and readability. To use, delete the text under the header and enter your own. A desktop app is also available.

  1. Read-O-Meter

According to Time Magazine, in this fast paced age of technology humans have a shorter attention span than a goldfish! Is your article or blog post too long to hold your readers’ attention? Paste in your text, and Read-O-Meter will estimate the reading time.

Check out THESE attention span statistics from StatisticBrain.Com

Do you have a favorite online writing tool? Share it in a comment.

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*NOTE: Any ads appearing in this post were not put there by me nor do I endorse them. WordPress sometimes posts ads in exchange for hosting this free blog.

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