A Writing Textbook

Writing War book cover

I am a member of the Veterans Employee Resource Group where I work. This spring the group offered a creative writing course. Sign up was limited, so I put my name in right away. Doing so much reading has my head swimming with ideas for writing, and I was looking for some guidance on starting. Fortunately, I was included in the class which finished up this past week. We used as our text Writing War: A Guide to Telling Your Own Story by Ron Capps.

This is a well-known book that has been used for many years as the curriculum for seminars and workshops provided by the Veterans Writing Project. As the subtitle suggests, its focus is on veterans writing about their experience, whether as a part of therapy or as a record for their families. The book uses excerpts from veteran authors to illustrate concepts such characters, plot, and dialog. I was surprised that many well-known authors are in fact veterans. It is a very practical book with exercises.

As part of the course, we were invited to share some of our writing for feedback and critique. I submitted a short story that I first started many years ago. What I learned in the class and the feedback of my classmates helped me to improve it. Perhaps I will share it one day here. I learned a lot in the course and from this book and look forward to continuing to grow as a writer.

Digital Reading and Writing

reMarkable Tablet

I love to read. And my preferred method of reading is on my ereader. Currently I have a Kobo Aura ONE that I use. That’s the hardware. I don’t use the default Kobo software, though. It is good enough, but I found an open source project that I like even better. I was able to load it on my Kobo alongside the existing software. It’s called KOReader. Using this ereader software, I can read on my phone or my ereader, anywhere, any time. And I can queue up any number of books that I want to read. That way I have many choices for my next book when I finish the one I am reading. I also always have my books with me, on my phone or ereader. I try to use my down time to read rather than play games or surf social media.

Today, while I was surfing social media, I saw an ad on Facebook for an eInk tablet called reMarkable. Normally, I don’t click on Facebook ads, mostly because they usually aren’t anything I care about. But this was for a product that I am familiar with. I passed on the first version of the reMarkable tablet. It seemed to have all the flaws of a version one. But this ad was for the second iteration. I decided to click through and learn more.

It bills itself as the tool for reading and marking up PDF files. It also allows users to take notes digitally with an included pen. They even say they have given it the feel of writing on paper. In fact, they call this “digital paper”. You can take notes in your own handwriting and convert them to typed text with OCR. And all this syncs with your phone and computer. What it does not do is distract you with email, games, or social media. It sounded amazing and like something I would use. It is a little on the expensive side, but I decided to pre-order it.

It also serves as an ereader, reading epub files, so I was thinking that it could become my everyday ereader. I have a couple of magazine subscriptions that come with a PDF version of the print edition. I plan on reading those on the reMarkable tablet, so I was thinking maybe I could move all of my reading to it. I did some research and others are saying that it is a subpar ereader. When I searched to see if KOReader was available for it, I found that it is!

Now I am very excited to receive this device and see how it measures up to my plans for it. It won’t ship until September, so I have a bit of a wait. In the meantime, I’ll continue to read on my Kobo and take notes in my notebooks. Happy reading!