Hollywood Jane’s Favorite Things

These are a few of my favorite things.

I’ve never seen an episode of Oprah in my life, but I understand that periodically she would share whatever tickled her fancy with her audience, and today’s my birthday, so I thought it would be a good time to share the things that have tickled mine. (Metaphorically.) I suppose with Thanksgiving coming up I could also title this post ‘Things I’m Grateful For’ but that enters the dodgy world of ending sentences with prepositions. Mostly, I want to share some neat or useful things I’ve found, and I love any excuse to use bullet points.

  • First of all, read this: Some Thoughts and Musings About Making Things for the Web. I shared it on Twitter, as have many others, because it perfectly encapsulates the writing process (and not just for the web.) This, ladies and gentlemen, is the battle. This is what the Writer’s Life is most often like. And I can only be grateful to the writer of Oatmeal for managing to put it into words because it’s a concept I’ve tried to explain for years that is very difficult to understand if you’re not a writer.
  • Writing software: I’ve tried just about every program for writing there is over the years, so when I recommend something, understand that it’s been put through its paces. I can’t offer advice on anything PC-related, though, sorry. I’m a Mac girl now, and for a great computer writing program, I highly recommend Scrivener. It’s got everything I wanted – places for notes, ways to save web pages directly in the program, character profiles, a virtual corkboard, multiple formatting options for everything from paperbacks to college essays, and a text editor all in the same place so you only have to open one program to access it all.
  • For the iPad, it took me some time to find what I was looking for – my primary reason for wanting a tablet was so I could use it as a notebook. Though I can’t write an entire novel long-hand, sometimes hand-writing sections helps me break writers’ blocks and I like compiling notebooks for, well, notes. As a lefty, actual, physical pages can be a hassle, and I liked the idea of saving paper. To that end, Notes Plus is pretty close to perfect for me, and one of the few apps where I felt it was worth shelling out the money. I’m using it to edit my manuscript right now; I imported the .pdf and am happily scribbling on the pages in virtual red ink – and I’m also able to insert extra pages if there’s a place where I don’t have enough room to write my notes, or I want to add another scene.
  • I also spent a long time searching for the perfect stylus. Steve Jobs did a lot of great things, but his insistence on the ‘touch-screen-only’ was irritating. Knowing I wanted to use my iPad primarily for writing, having a stylus that felt most like a pen was important, and I’ve settled on the Adonit Jot Classic. The little plastic disc at the tip takes some getting used to, and there are times when I’m worried about cracking the screen because I bring the stylus down hard (I’m used to the foamier tips), but it feels most like writing with a ballpoint pen, which makes my handwriting clearer.
  • I’m very excited to load up my Kindle with books for an upcoming trip and will hopefully have some new recommendations soon, but in the mean time, if you’re looking for good geeky fun to read, you should get Geekomancy by Michael R. Underwood and One Con Glory by Sarah Kuhn.
  • I watch a lot of TV. Less than I used to, more than I probably should. Still, here are some shows I love that you might not be watching:
    1. Haven – One of the last remaining sci-fi shows on SyFy, though it’s more horror/fantasy. As much as I enjoy ‘Trouble of the Week’ I really like the episodes that explore the main character’s multiple pasts. The last episode shows that Emily Rose looks really good as a red-head.
    2. Grimm – This took awhile to find its footing, but eventually came to earn the title of Buffy’s spiritual successor. It’s not Whedon-level, but once Nick embraced his destiny it found the humor in the horror, and moving from the Disney fairytales into its own monster mythology has done this show a world of good.
    3. Leverage – Long-time love. I’ve been with this show since before it started, when it was just whispers and behind-the-scenes pictures on John Rogers’ blog. Heisty-goodness every week with one of the best teams (both characters and actors) who have visibly evolved over the last four and a half seasons.
    4. Arrow – It’s the CW, so you know it’s pretty. I got into it for Katie Cassidy, but I’m staying because it’s a good, if dark, time. Stephen Amell is so charming off screen, that even when Oliver Queen is at his worst, you can’t help liking him. And now he has an awesome sidekick.
    5. Parks and Recreation – Pretty much the only sitcom I still love because there’s a sweetness at its core that other comedies have abandoned with age. Parks and Rec has embraced it. The relationships are strong, and the writers still can find the humor. Anyone who doesn’t melt during the scenes between Amy Poehler‘s Leslie and Adam Scott’s Ben is just…wrong.
  • Tumblr! I’ve spent a lot of time on Tumblr since falling down the rabbit hole in the wake of The Avengers (which belongs on this list.) I don’t spend time ‘reblogging’ and I don’t subscribe to anyone, but there are two artists I check up on at least once a week: Gingerhaze and Amy Mebberson. Gingerhaze, aka Noelle, draws fun comics about LotR, Avengers, Harry Potter and more, and I really like her style. Amy Mebberson draws the ‘Pocket Princesses’ which, if they weren’t Disney characters, would probably earn her tons of cash because they’re extremely clever.

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