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New Top Writing Courses site from Story Software

I have put all our member’s only courses onto a new free site called Top Writing Courses > (opens in new window).

This has full courses with exercises by professional authors and scriptwriters. There are also several ebooks available of the courses and some other topics.

More details to follow.

So what should I write? A summary

This is a summary article of types of writing. It is written by our Fiction tutor, Karena. If you wonder what is the point of trying to write, read on…

Irina Hakamada - writer politician

Irina Hakamada - getting an award - politician and writer. Image licensed from Dreamstime, do not copy

We are surrounded by writing. Everywhere you look when you go out anywhere there is writing. You hear it on the radio, you hear and see it on television or in movies, and read it in books, magazines, pamphlets, newspapers, flyers, brochures, and all over the Internet.

Anyone become a writer with proper training and practice and guidance, and with the Internet, anyone can become a published writer. The Internet connects us all and allows us to share, but more than this it provides entertainment, information and news.

Somebody has to create all of that. The Internet is a voracious machine, gobbling up content as fast as people can make it. If you can learn you can write. If you can talk you can write. And no matter what you write, there’s a place for it.

See our general Writing Courses list >

So let’s look at all the different kinds of writing.

The first distinction is between fiction and non-fiction.

Fiction simply means that it is not all true. However, fiction is always based in truth or we wouldn’t bother to read it. Believability is a strong concern for fiction writers.

Non-fiction is, by definition, factual.

Between fiction and non-fiction the types of writing that are done today include everything that you see around you: books, magazines, newspapers, movies, television shows, radio shows, comic books, animations, speeches, newspaper reports and articles, reports for industry the government or the people, children’s stories and kinds of content for the Internet.


So what about the forms? Fiction has many forms.

Short stories may include postcard fiction, flash fiction or stories for film or plain old short stories for publication, or reading in a writers’ group.

Longer short stories are just called short stories. If it’s longer than a short story but not long enough to be called a novel, it is a novella.

Novels and novellas can be serialized and short stories can be grouped and presented like a serial with each using the same characters and different stories.


This ranges from little pamphlets and cookbooks, how to brochures and articles for newspapers, magazines, newsletters, encyclopedias, and the Internet. Full-length non-fiction books can be written on literally thousands of topics.

Textbooks are special, since they usually include a number of exercises and assessments.

Coffee-table books are more illustration than text, but the text still has to be written by a writer. Some coffee-table books are the works of one person doing both the illustration and the writing. Usually they are a mix of photography or art, and writing. Layout is very important so a designer is also vital.

Academic writing is a genre all by itself, and includes research papers, theses, and dissertations.

Essays are written by school children of all ages. And also by newspaper and magazine columnists, some of whom are famous, win awards, and get huge fees. Essays can get syndicated and anthologised.

Drama and scripting can include both fiction and dramatised non-fiction.

Anything on television has to have a script. Even talk shows or discussion groups have to have a working script.

Then there are a number of different kinds of entertainment shows that draw on fiction. These include weekly series on crime, action and adventure, humor, serialized drama (soap operas), reality shows, made for television movies, miniseries’, romance, horror, science fiction and fantasy.

All of these are separated according to the audience at which they are aimed.

Television , broadcast or online, also has a great deal of non-fiction that must be scripted. This includes the daily news, documentary shows, self-help and how-to’s, children’s informational shows, nature and science shows and political messages.

Drama also includes skits for presenting live on stage, one-act plays and full-length plays, usually three acts. Two offshoots of these are the musical and Opera.

For the Internet, content ranges from hundred word articles to many-paged documents and books.

In addition, animations, movies, filmed informational shows, podcasts, blogs, informational booklets and ad copy.

It is tempting to include advertising copy (ad copy) as non-fiction, but that’s not always true. Ad copy is special and it has close connections to poetry, another odd kind of writing, because part of the aim for each is the same, to touch on a very deep level not with the words, but with the audience’s reaction to the words.

There are many other names for most of these things I have mentioned and some odd types of each, such as reports may be white papers, which are designed to sell, scientific research reports, or news reports, or any of dozens of other types.

Reports or White Papers are non-fiction, generally designed to inform or provide facts. These must be factual, but they are designed to get people interested in a company or a product.

So not only is the range of writing high, which requires legions of writers to supply it.

When you add the Internet to this mix the demand is far outreaching the supply.

So if you want to write, all you have to do is figure out what you want to write, why, and then get somebody to help you learn to do it.

If you don’t know what you want to write, try starting with what you read. What do you like to read? Maybe that’s what you should write.

This doesn’t mean you’re going to become the next Norman Mailer or Maya Angelou or any of 1000 other great writers, but we don’t spend most of our time reading them.

Think about what you read every day, and most of it is written by people just like you.

See our new courses on the Writing Course with Story Live free site:

Writing Course for Fiction & Narrative > and

Writing Course for Movie & Film Scriptwriting >

Also the general Writing Courses list >


Amazon Kindle Fire review for writers and readers, ebooks, Story Software Live version

News from Amazon is the expected iPad competitor, the color Amazon Kindle Fire. Funny name, but eh… Kindle a Fire… geddit? That has to be the naffest name for a corporate product since Chrysler car names – a small sporty car is called the Crossfire as in

“Chrysler’s hot new sports coupe, the Crossfire, has a name that does justice to the car’s edgy, explosive looks”

– in some parallel universe that is.

Amazon Kindle Fire ereader tablet

Amazon Kindle Fire ereader tablet

Anyway back to the Kindle Fire, it looks very good, is cheap, cheerful, and will knock a lot of iPad sales. The iPad is expensive and many people don’t buy in to the Apple DRM (digital rights management) experience. The Kindle Fire uses a custom Amazon browser, the Amazon Silk browser (is that to contrast with Google Chrome?). It uses Amazon’s cloud storage for backups, and Whispernet for delivery. In all these respects it can outperform Apple and also come in a lot cheaper. Will the Silk browser be available on the web as another browser? Don’t know yet.

The Fire will deliver color magazine content with news, sports, films, etc, plus advertising. It is a tablet rather than an ereader… so it will be interesting to see how that works out, given the current user base of the Kindle. One assumes a big take-up.

Amazon Silk

Amazon Silk

Silk browser

The Silk browser uses a lot of cloud computing concepts to prepare content for delivery (ie, caching, reducing file size by compression, and presumably custom content). This is creating another ‘walled garden‘. So does all this indicate the fracturing of the internet and web into many separate competing technologies and ecology?

We already have Facebook, Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, Apple producing app ecologies. These are all different as this is quite natural commercial activity, which tends towards segregation of core audiences. A lot of standards-based tech, but with a lot of proprietary tech mixed in – just enough to divide and rule.

This means developers have to produce for Apple OS, Android, HTML/CSS/JS etc Web OS (I mean the Web operating system, the ‘web as in HTTP’ rather than the defunct HP system) (for browsers) and Silk format; for desktop, Windows, Apple Universal and (possibly) Linux. This is going back to the old format wars. Software companies now have to develop many different versions of the same app, which is going against basic web internet principles. I suppose the argument is that tablets are not the web, it just uses the internet for delivery. For optimized apps, developers will have to use specific localized proprietary systems.

The use of HTML5 will be used to try and circumvent all this, but has a performance overhead.

Pricing and marketing

The Kindle Fire will retail at an amazing $199. There is also a Kindle Touch, with a touchscreen, so you page turn by tapping, which is easier than the little button it has now, and no keyboard, as with all this tech, the fewer button or keys the cheaper it is to manufacture. A lower price basic Kindle is also due out at 79$, and a sponsored with advertising version, at an even lower price. Eventually (sooner than you think) there will a free tablet ereader with live content, given away at train stations and malls. Compare this to Apple’s chase for the high end consumer and haute design.

We will be getting a Kindle Fire and testing it when they are available here in November.

Story Software

Here at Story Software, we are nearly launching our Story Live online version of the multiple box editor. This is in standard web technologies so we can deliver it anywhere. The Story Live system allows editing online, for saving in Story format (.sto), rtf and text. We are planning some sort of ebook publishing system off Story Turbo, the new upgrade version of the desktop application. All this is due November 2011.

See this Reuters Kindle Fire news item with video >

Google ereader Story HD from iriver – Amazon Kindle, Sony Ereader, Nook challenger?

Google iriver Story HD ereader

Google iriver Story HD ereader

Google enters the ereader market with the iriver Story HD. Main new things are:

  • Higher screen specification – 15cm, 6 inches, 768 X 1024 pixel resolution, like a PC, and 16 grayscale color depth.
  • Keyboard
  • Access to Google ebooks – many classics (out of copyright) – from the Google ebookstore

  • Wifi
  • eink (same as Kindle etc)

BUT… with the ipad and other touch screen readers out, it looks like a Kindle device, so is playing catch-up. We have not tried one out yet as it is due to be launched in USA at Target stores and online on 17 July 2011. So does it have that annoying page turn flash like the Kindle? We assume so.

Also, Google is still battling with the publishing industry over book rights, which looks set to worsen as the Google plan is obvious now, get lots of digitised books for free, give away on their own ereader; fight Amazon/Kindle with FREE…

See also:

iriver Google Story HD ereader site >

Google ebookstore site >

And our own Story Software Story Lite How to use page, as it can be used to make ebooks in its unique non linear format >