Writing Fun #5 + #6 #YDWordPrompt

Here are two very short stories I tweeted for #Vss365 that I forgot to post the other day.

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Click here to see the Daily Word Prompt From Feb 20thFebruary 2020 banner

 

Writing Fun #4 #YDWordPrompt

Here’s a little romancy short story for the day of Valentines.

 

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https://onedailyprompt.wordpress.com/2020/02/14/your-daily-word-prompt-devotion-YDWordPRompt-february-14-2020/

Writing Fun #3 #YDWordPrompt

Writing prompts can help with creativity, they can even inspire others to write or think outside their comfort zone. Prompts are also a good way to break out of a rut or writer’s block. But most of all, they are a great way to meet others who write them.

February 2020 banner

https://onedailyprompt.wordpress.com/2020/02/14/your-daily-word-prompt-devotion-YDWordPRompt-february-14-2020/

Writing Fun #2 #YDWordPrompt

Writing prompts can help with creativity, they can even inspire others to write or think outside their comfort zone. Prompts are also a good way to break out of a rut or writer’s block. But most of all, they are a great way to meet others who write them.

It’s been a while since I posted even to my own daily prompt, mostly because I’m so busy. I decided to force myself to take just a little time to share my Very Short Stories here.

February 2020 bannerhttps://onedailyprompt.wordpress.com/2020/02/10/your-daily-word-prompt-blithe-YDWordPRompt-february-10-2020/

Writing Fun #YDWordPrompt

Writing prompts can help with creativity, they can even inspire others to write or think outside their comfort zone. Prompts are also a good way to break out of a rut or writer’s block. But most of all, they are a great way to meet others who write them.

It’s been a while since I posted even to my own daily prompt, mostly because I’m so busy. I decided to force myself to take just a little time to share my Very Short Stories here.

 

https://onedailyprompt.wordpress.com/2020/02/07/your-daily-word-prompt-inequality-YDWordPRompt-february-7-2020/

The Plight Of The Twitter Bot

bot

The Plight Of The Twitter Bot

Writing has taken me on a fantastic journey and one of those places it Twitter. There I can choose a group of like-minded writerly people to talk with and share ideas. The #writingcommunity is full of wonderful people to hang out with online.

But there are always the negatives, and while I don’t dwell on negative, this is a subject worth discussing. They are the fake twitter accounts of scammers, usually initiated by bot programs. So I’m going to touch on some of what a Twitter Bot is and what to do about them.

What is a twitter bot?

People will use fake twitter accounts and programs to ‘follow’ unsuspecting people on twitter. Once they are followed back they will either initiate a conversation by DM (Direct Message) or by tweets.

What do they do?

They will tweet asking you to contact them or send them a DM or even send other information like emails. They may even tweet you a link to follow.

If they DM they might do the above or try to use conversation to lure you into a sense of ‘friendship’ or ‘romance’ or ‘pity.’

DM conversations might be with a human or with a very convincing AI program that will continuously leed you until you give them the information they want.

What do they want?

Money and information. They will offer prizes, rewards, reimbursements, winnings or shared winnings, and even inheritance.

Simply put, nobody gives money away for nothing. Usually, it’s… send me $$ so I can send you more $$$$ back. They will never send you money.

If they’re after information it is possible it is for identity theft or to hack your computer or bank accounts.

Bots are not harmless. They use tactics to prey on people who are unable by mental or emotional strength, awareness, or health to turn away.

What can I do about them?

Block. Or, block and report as a fake account, spammer or someone sending harmful links. Just blocking doesn’t stop that account. Some would argue that reporting them doesn’t do any good, they have hundreds of accounts and can just create more. That is true, however, I personally feel that if I spot a bot/spammer account and I’m able to report that account then perhaps it saves someone who isn’t able to see the trap from becoming a victim. I’ll never know, but that’s fine.

What does a bot account look like? How do I know it’s a bot or scammer?

There are a few things to look for. First, are insane typo’s in the user profile.

For example, today’s lovely bot had a funny one that inspired today’s word prompt and this post. “Because I’m handsome kind ..gentle… and plight.” I know the user meant polite, but… since I mostly follow writers, readers, and artists, they’d know the difference. Second, is the lock symbol beside the name. That could mean they are a bot/scammer or someone who is careful about who they follow. So I’ll look at their profile.

Image

The next thing I look at is the Following Vs. Followers numbers. If there is a larger following by a significant amount respectively, it’s likely a bot. (The opposite is usually someone famous or an account that doesn’t follow but has followers)

Now, a lot of people sign up for twitter not knowing a thing about bots and scammers. Twitter automatically generates a twitter handle with a string of numbers. Bot/scammers rarely change this info. Humans do. Now some people do keep the numbers, which is why checking their profile and tweet activity is a good idea before following back.

The photos used are often a dead give away. They are usually stolen from other accounts, people or stock photos. Sometimes they match sometimes they don’t. After a while, you get used to seeing the same stolen images for different accounts and don’t need to even check a profile to know it’s a bot.

The name can often be the top clue. Keanu Reeves or any prince of any country are not likely following you. Sorry. If they are famous or in a corporate position of power, ie Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Sheryl Sandberg, they’re not real either.

111keanu

The Sheryl Sandberg account is a classic, money scam. Note the lock symbol, ZERO Tweets, the long string of numbers after the name and the much higher following number vs. followers.

1111sherylsandberg

Checking their tweets and tweets&replies is a good way to see if they are real or not. Often with a scammer or bot, they will have the same message. “Thank you @name for following me” Or something like that. Or “Hello dear,” “Please DM me” or “How are you?” It will be very obvious because it will be repeated in their tweets or replies.

Sometimes they have no tweets or replies but have been up for months… Very likely a bot.

Still not sure a bot has asked to be followed?

There are some things to do to clarify.

  1. Google their twitter handle.
  2. Reverse search their profile picture (It will often be listed as used by scammers)
  3. Follow back and see if they INSTANT tweet or DM you. At this point, they make it clear by the ‘probing’ questions or the message is slightly-to-extraordinarily creepy.

What to do if a scammer or bot sends you a DM or Tweet?

You have options.

  1. Don’t respond and instant report then block.
  2. Respond but don’t give them any information.
  3. Fish for clues that pin them as a bot and report it. (In a DM you can report the message.) I have done this and even given them my “Contact” information. By that I gave them the contact email and name of the police internet fraud department. (Funny story because they contacted the police several times asking for my bank information.)
  4. Ignore them. (I tend to do this)

Once you know it’s a bot or you are sure, report to twitter then block them.

So how do bots/scammers have so many followers?

A lot of people (including myself) have or will follow a bot. Sometimes their profiles are convincing, sometimes I click, follow by mistake. Some people will follow any and every person that follows them for numbers.

I do have a number of bots following me(Because twitter needs a better way for us to make them not follow.) I do my best not to follow them back and I report the ones I notice and have time to look into. Usually, I’ll report and block the more tricky scammers, the ones that aren’t obvious bots.

These are just some ways to identify a fake, bot, scammer or spam account. There are other tell-tale signs. If you see one and have the time, report them then block.

Thanks for taking the time to read this post.

Happy writing and twittering.
-Sheryl

Today’s daily prompt is Plight
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Reference

Reference

Reference

(PLEASE NOTE ALL IMAGES CLICKED WILL TAKE YOU TO THE WEBSITE LINK FOR THE RESOURCE)

When it comes to writing, there is something fundamental that all writers need. Good reference materials. Whether it’s books, blogs, google(Reliable websites), or people, it’s necessary to have something to refer to when you come up short on a topic or subject.

My most favorite reference book is The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression (Second Edition) by Becca Puglisi and Angela Ackerman.

The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Character Expression (Second Edition)

I’m not plugging this, or any other resource here, for compensation. I don’t get anything for sharing this information with you. In fact, I’ve bought the TET twice now. That’s how important it is to me. The other Thesaurus books Angela and Becca have written are also fantastic, and I highly recommend you read them whether it’s from the library or purchase. Trust me, there is only so much smiling, frowning, sighing, and nodding a person can do, and there are so many more ways to show emotions than the typical expressions that are easily overused.

I won’t give any examples since I don’t have permission, but I will say that when I write or revise, I have this resource open and ready to go.

Other writing resources get high praise or significant recommendations so I’ll share a few of them here. Whether you need help with setting, editing, revising, plotting, crafting characters, drafting query letters, writing a synopsis, logline or pitch, setting a scene, or even writing a blog or twitter post, there are resources out there in print and digital. For print or e-books, you can buy new or used and even borrow from your local library or friend. Blogs and websites are virtually free to access.

Not all reference sites or materials are the same quality. Never stop at one, look at several until you find ones that suit you and your style. Just because one person swears by a resource, doesn’t mean it will work for you. Though, if it irks you, stop and ponder why… even that can be a help when it comes to writing.

Here are some links to resources I personally adore or ones that have been recommended to me regularly or even recently.  (ALL IMAGES CAN BE CLICKED AND WILL TAKE YOU TO THEIR WEBSITE OR LINK)

I also love the Master Lists for Writers, and there are no less than forty labeled tabs for quick reference sticking out of this one. I’ve also included one about Tropes. Some people feel strongly one way or another about tropes in writing, they work for a reason, and they don’t work when written poorly. It’s not necessarily the trope that’s the problem, it’s how it’s used… (not shown in any particular order)

Master Lists for Writers: Thesauruses, Plots, Character Traits, Names, and More  Writing the Breakout Novel  The First Five Pages  On Writing: 10th Anniversary Edition: A Memoir of the Craft    Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, Second Edition: How to Edit Yourself Into Print

   

Recommended by Twitter friends:

   

Here are some online resources for fantastic writing information and advice(aside from my own of course)

For excellent tips on how to things like building an author platform and how to write critiques visit Jennifer

J. L. Burrows

https://www.jlburrows.com/2019/11/11/5-ways-to-give-a-positive-critique/

The Writing Lodge, hosted by Gregory is a collaborative hot-spot for tips on writing, editing, and other fun things written by writers. writinglodge.com
Writing Courses, Editing, & Specialty Services

If you’re writing a query letter, have written or are querying with no results, you MUST check out the Query Shark.

SavvyAuthors is a great place to go if you’re looking to showcase your work or find agents or even find some helpful information from other Savvy Authors.SavvyAuthors

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If you got this far, thanks for reading this post. I hope some of the information here was helpful directly or indirectly.
-Sheryl

Today’s daily word prompt is Reference: 
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Conviction

The definition of conviction from dictionary.com is

Conviction – A noun

• A fixed or firm belief: No clever argument, no persuasive fact or theory could make a dent in his conviction in the rightness of his position.
• The act of convicting someone, as in a court of law; a declaration that a person is guilty of an offense.
• The state of being convicted.
• The act of convincing a person by argument or evidence.
• The state of being convinced.
Conviction
When I write, I write with a certain level of conviction. Every writer does. I believe what I have to say is unique and a story others want to read. I know what I write isn’t for everyone, just as there are subjects out there that aren’t for me. I firmly believe that if I love what I write at least one other human out there in the world, I, will too.
Of course, doubt will play a part once I’m done. It charges in to knock down my confidence and make me worry that what I wrote is crap. So, I reread my work, and I know it’s not, and I can say that beyond any doubt that I love what I write. I love writing. I even love revising and editing my work. If I didn’t, then I wouldn’t be bothered.
With several finished novels waiting for their turn at revisions and edits, I am currently querying Prophecy Ink out to agents. I have a lot of projects to keep me busy over the winter. Now to get back to revisions…

 

 

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Get Uncomfortable To Write

Get Uncomfortable To WriteGet Uncomfortable To Write

When I talk about being uncomfortable to write, I’m not talking about my normal writing situation. When I’m writing my novels, I like to be at home in comfy clothes with a hot cup of tea while listening to inspirational music.

However, to get to the place where I can write comfortably, I need to get uncomfortable first. I’m talking about putting myself in extremely awkward learning experiences that help me learn and grow as a writer. Get out of my comfy-zone and try something I know I struggle with.

I have recently taken some writing workshops. I had mixed feelings about this activity because I suck at writing on the spot and then sharing that writing. I was excited to go an learn and YES, man, oh man, I learned a lot.

The main thing I discovered is that I have a weakness in my writing. Short stories. Now, add the pressure of writing one on the spot, in front of other writers… it’s a lot of stress. Anxiety kicks in, doubt has its way with me, and I struggle.

The power of thought can alter perception. A million questions pop in my head like, what if they laugh? What if it’s horrible? Stupid? Grammatically incorrect? Or Utter nonsense? After all, I will share (in a small group or one on one) my first draft.

I usually don’t let anyone read the first draft of anything — ever.

Once I got out of my head and understood that I was in a room with writers, people who have the same struggles, goals, and desires, it was fine. I was fine. The story was okay… for the first draft of a short story(totally not my wheelhouse.)

But that’s the point of pushing beyond my limits. When I felt panic grip me, I knew I had to do it again, and again and I will go to another workshop. I will face those fears, and I will learn to write short stories on the spot with a prompt. Because I learned and the story wasn’t bad, just unpolished—Just like everyone else’s.

This is just one aspect of writing workshops. So much more happens at them than just uncomfortable moments of writing under pressure. I can’t recommend them enough because learning and improving writing skills is most important. For me to become a more confident short story writer, I need to get uncomfortable to learn to write them.

 

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Your Daily Word Prompt – Legitimate – October 3, 2019

Your Daily Word Prompt

Banner October 2019
⇑Click the banner to visit October’s prompt Page ⇑

Daily Prompts – Words and Images

To participate in This Daily Prompt, all you have to do is publish a post on your own blog that responds to the prompt. It can be words, images anything that you like. Put the link (listed below) in your post to create the automatic pingback. You can leave a link to your post in the comments if you wish.

Today’s Word:          Legitimate   

Please link to this prompt in your post by using this URL link in the text of your post or at the end of your post:

https://onedailyprompt.wordpress.com/2019/10/03/your-daily-word-prompt-legitimate-october-3-2019/

Make sure to check out the comment links and pingbacks to view other posts inspired by today’s prompt.

Thank you and happy blogging. 

-Sheryl

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To report issues with the daily post please contact me directly.
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