Jamie Wells

An authors journey

Author: Jamie

Writing Tools

Back in Hemingway’s days, the only tools he had was a typewriter, typewriter oil and fingers. Fortunately for us, we have the internetz and a plethora of tools at our disposal. There are four that I use for writing and a brief description of each. They are:

  1. Hemingway Editor, http://hemingwayapp.com
  2. Grammarly, https://app.grammarly.com
  3. Scribens, https://www.scribens.com/
  4. Microsoft Word macros, http://www.archivepub.co.uk/macros.html

Hemingway Editor

This one I like the best because of its ease of use, and lack of restrictions. You can paste and analyze entire novels here. It highlights adverbs, passive voice, simpler alternatives to words and sentence reading difficulty. It also provides you with a handy guide of how many adverbs is too many, as well as passive voice. If you chose to use any of these, this one is highly recommended, and on top of the list for a reason.


I use the free version. Some of the corrections here are wrong, but it is still a strong competitor for number one. This corrects more than the Hemmingway Editor, more focus on English usage, spelling and comma usage, which will get everyone no matter who you are. A cool tool, if a little irritating to use sometimes.


This is the final check I use and my favorite. This tool checks for word repetition that can take your reader out of the story, sentence structure and clichés. It also checks for subjectivity, whatever that is. It has a word limit of 5,000 words, but you can work around this. If you only had to use one tool, use this one.

Word Macros

I have modified some macros to use with word to find showing vs telling words, unnecessary words, passive voice, prepositions, and a few other minor things. You have to be good with macros, or know how to write them for this to work. I am unsure of how well this works, as I have found multiple errors with these macros on professionally published work. It is irritating to remove every preposition from fiction, not to mention quite tedious. Those reasons are why this is listed last.

That’s it for the introduction. Let me know if you want more detail on any of those in the list. Next week, I will post a progress update. Good luck with your writing!

Why Write if You Don’t Read

People online and on twitter have asked this question, is reading necessary for writing? No, but why would you want to write? Why would you want to write if you don’t read? Will you read your own book? Honestly, comprehension of this escapes me.

I may not understand because of my reading habits. For example, this week I read:

  1. Trolley Problem by Philippa Foot.
  2. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (only the first chapter)
  3. Brothers Karamazov by the same author, (not finished yet)
  4. The Catholic Church’s response to Philippa Foot (can’t find the source)
  5. On the Genealogy of Morality by Friedrich Nietzsche (200 ish page book with 3 essays)
  6. 50 other webpages and 100 pages of my work for editing.

It was a slow week; we have company staying with us in addition to family and work responsibilities. Typically, I will read at minimum 400 pages of dense text, on a good week that number will be tripled.

I tried to find some authors who write fiction that don’t read and failed. If you are one of them, please leave a comment. We would all like to hear from you.

Heinlin’s Rules

Reading on Reddit someone mentioned Heinlin’s laws of writing. To save suspense, because it’s a blog post, not a novel. Here they are:

  1. You must write.
  2. Finish what you start
  3. You must refrain from rewriting, except to editorial order
  4. You must put your story on the market
  5. You must keep it on the market until it has sold
  6. Start working on something else

Unfortunately, I have broken these rules. I was stuck on a story about Demons for 6 months, which did nothing for me. I should have worked on Futurecraft instead. But I went through the motions of editing, rewriting in places, adding and deleting until I had something that even I hated.

What I should have done is write another 5 other short stories, and finished Futurecraft. And because I was editing, I stopped writing, breaking rule one.

Now, moving forward, I will adhere to Heinlin’s laws. I hope you do too.

You can see for yourself, how I did. Here are the introductory few paragraphs of version one:

Our bare red feet were sending up clouds of dust as we walked down the road to the bronzing chamber. It was Greg’s time. Reaching out a hand to rub his scalp, I sighed. He looked at me with his black eyes and said,

“Morderth, will it hurt?”

I have seen it happen. I have done this to hundreds of thousands of hatchlings. I watched them scream until they could scream no more, I watched them pound on the glass until their little red hands bled, I watched them scratch at their coal black eyes, I watched them pull off the flaps of their ears from atop their heads, and I watched them stare at me without expression; a few begged for mercy and I asked them, where will you go? Those were the worst. All of them I knew, some of whom I would call my friends. After we bronzed them, they were all the same. I sighed.

“No,” I said.

Here is version ten:

Our red feet slapped the ground sending up clouds of dust into night while we marched to the bronzing chamber, dirtying my only shirt. I reached out my clawed hand and rubbed Greg’s scalp. No horns. I checked them for horns before bronzing.

“Morderth, does bronzing hurt?”

Greg puffed his cheeks and exhaled. His solid black eyes stared out into the distance.

Does bronzing hurt them? I watched them scream my name while they were being bronzed. I watched them pound on the door, staring at me, their red hands bleeding. I watched them pull at the flaps of their little ears. Others covered their eyes and cried.  Did bronzing hurt?

“No, Greg.”

I can see a difference, but between 10 edits, is number 10 better than number one? Eh. Was I a much better writer after version 10 than I was at one? No. The reason why is because I was editing, not writing. The plot did not change, and the entire work stayed largely the same. The flaws were there in the beginning of the work, and nothing could change that besides a re-write.

I hope you found this useful, and good luck on your writing adventure!

The Journey Begins

Looking over your old writing is a curse. You find typos, and get irritated, and say, “Who the heck wrote this!” So we say, write first, then wait a month. Then look at what you wrote, and see if its publishable. I broke the first law right off. Now I fixed it, and I have deleted everything except the picture of the original article. Enjoy!

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