Debbie Ridpath Ohi reads, writes and illustrates for young people. Every few weeks, she shares new art, writing and reading resources; subscribe below. Browse the archives here.

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Will Write For Chocolate


Archived WWFC strips


If you'd like to see older WWFC strips, please check the Will Write For Chocolate archives or start from the beginning. You can also follow WWFC on Facebook, Pinterest and Google+. Thanks so much for your continuing support! -- Debbie


Meeting Tasha


Software for writers

Thanks to Drawn! and Comixpedia | The Webcomic List for mentioning Will Write For Chocolate recently! If you enjoy my cartoons for writers, be sure to check out the revamped Inkygirl: Daily Diversions For Writers.

The Rejection

Last week, I posted a survey in WWFC and Inkygirl asking what software you find useful in your writing process. There were so many interesting replies that I think I'll break this topic into two parts. If you haven't had a chance to answer the survey yet OR if you've thought of more software you find useful as a writer, please do post in the comments section! This can be ANY type of software you find useful, not just word processing.

Microsoft Word: I use MS Word 2004 and should probably upgrade at some point. I both love and hate MS Word. It seems to be a standard format that almost any editor will accept. Yet it still drives me nuts sometimes by doing unexpected things to my text. I need to take the time to go through a manual or tutorial someday soon so I know how to turn OFF all the bells and whistles when I don't want them, plus learn how to make my quotation marks behave properly. Quite a few of you mentioned MS Word as well.

Lemming Writers' Critique Group

WWFC reader Arya mentioned Google Docs. Arya says that Google Docs used to be called Writely before. "It’s pretty much like Word, except it’s online. The best part is that we can share documents with each other, and open them at the same time. So if I’m writing my chapter, my friend can look in and read while I’m writing, a very cool (and less annoying) form of reading over my shoulder. The program works pretty well, though there are formatting errors every now and then. For us, though, it’s awesome!" WOW, how very intriguing; I'm looking forward to playing around with this. And it's FREE, which is one of my favourite words.

BenPanced uses a word processor called Z-Write. "When you create a new file, it opens a two-paned window. The left side is a list of sections and the right is the work field. You can add and delete sections as you need, keeping an entire novel in one, smaller file; my 2004 NaNoWriMo novel is currently 820k. While it can handle basic formatting (bold, underscore, italics) and spell check, I copy and paste the sections into Word for the heavy-duty work." From the Web site, it looks like Z-Write is only available for the Mac; the newest version is Mac OS X compatible but not yet completely optimized for that operating system. There is a two-week demo, after which you're reminded to pay each time you launch the app. Cost: $29 (US funds, I think).

Wendy's Rejection

Christopher Reimer says he uses MS Word if he has a piece ready for manuscript format. "For stuff that’s not ready for manuscript format and preparing web content, I use CopyWrite for the Mac that has basic page formatting, organize documents by project and maintain multiple versions of each documents." According to the CopyWrite Web site, the software is only for Macs. From the site: "CopyWrite is a project manager for writers of all kinds. Rather than focus on formatting and layout, CopyWrite stands apart in its project-oriented approach. Word processors and page layout tools are good at what they do - formatting and layout - but they offer no help at all to a writer during the creative process. In fact, the 'gee-whiz' features crammed into these tools do more to hinder writers, getting in the way of their work flow. Put simply, these tools constipate writers; CopyWrite is like a tasty bran muffin ... with extra bran." The demo version allows only five documents per project and the export feature is disabled. Cost: CAD$37.18.

Next week: Useful software for writers (Part 2)


Sven's Valentine Present


Mimi's Traffic


Good blogs

Thanks to Comics Worth Reading, Sequential and Journalista (The Comics Journal news weblog) for mentioning Will Write For Chocolate!

In my last column, I talked about good blog writing and asked people what blogs they enjoyed reading primarily for the author's writing style or "voice". Here are some of the results:

From Erin:

Good question. I always enjoy reading So Anyway by my close personal friend Eden. I also read John Scalzi’s Whatever, despite never having read any of his books, because he’s such an entertaining writer. Another blogger I’ve found that I read just for the sheer enjoyment of her writing is Mac at Pesky’Apostrophe.

From Shelly:

I read hundreds of blogs, some for content (mostly book blogs and comic book blogs) and some because they’re fun (a lot of link blogs are in here). Also Miss Cellania.

Some for the writer’s voice (tho content helps for these, as I need to be interested in the topics), such as
Wil Wheaton
and many lesser known blogs that I think are exceptionally written and very moving at times. My favorite of those is Anonymous Rowhouse.

The Exchange

From YummY!:

I read many blogs, because I’m a blog addict and I’ve made a few friends.

The ones I like reading because of the authors voice is a short list.

Abstract Utopia is one person who I enjoy every blog entry, whether she’s talking about baking, or Cacti or Music.

From Rachel:

Neil Gaiman, Jen Ig, Inkygirl :) . If Tolkien or Dickens or Lewis or a lot of other writers had blogs I would read them, but sadly, they’re mostly all dead. I content myself with their books instead.

From Mari Adkins:

One of my favorite blogs is Wyrdsmiths. It’s the collaborative blog of a handful of writers in Wisconson, and I found it because I was corresponding with Kelly McCullough at the time (I reviewed his first book, “WebMage”, for Apex Digest last Summer). I enjoy this blog because they discuss not only the ins and outs of writing, but what makes them tick, their writing process, and their thoughts on certain different things within writing/marketing/publishing.

Pinocchio's Dilemma

From Waltzr:

I am not much of a Blog reader except Zen’s, yours, and, of course, my longtime friend Phil as it is a way to keep up to date on his life. It is extremely well written although more political than you generally would read, at least that is my suspicion. However, he comments on a wide variety of subjects and is a new fan of your cartoons.

Have a look at

From Victoria:

I simply love yours, and the cartoons, too, first time heard about you on nanowrimo, and i do enjoy Leo’s blog, at

From WhimsicalWoman:

I adore Poppy Mom and Dooce. They both have extremely strong voices. I tend to use my blog as a means of keeping in touch with family and friends.

Bad Rabbit

From Jennifer:

I’ve got several personal and professional connections to the Canadian film & television industry, so my all time favorite blog is Denis McGrath’s Dead Things on Sticks. He has links to a lot of other excellent writers blogs as well.

I’m a relative newcomer to blogdom so I’m still working on building readership, mostly by commenting on other people’s blogs (like here :). I even had a bunch of cards made up that just say “READ MY BLOG” with a brief description and the URL. I hand them out whenever the subject of my writing comes up.


What software do you currently find useful in your writing? This includes organizational software in addition to word processing software.

Ask Mimi


Mimi's Advice Blog


Miss Snark

For those who aren't familiar with the informative and highly entertaining blog that Mimi mentions in this week's comic, see Miss Snark, The Literary Agent. You can find out more about Miss Snark and her blog in her FAQ.

Last week, I announced a list of readers who have won fabulous custom-made Will Write For Chocolate bookmarks to reward them for their bravery in posting their New Year's Resolutions. I've received snailmail addresses from Rachel, Stacie, Deborah, Stephanie, Kerry, Susan, and Katharine. If you were on last week's list and haven't contacted me to let me know where to send your bookmark, please do email me!

Reader feedback

Last week, I asked you all how YOU revise. Here are some of the replies...

From Olivia:

"I usually revise as I write.

I mean, I write, and then the next day, before I start from where I left, I tend to revise what I wrote the day before. I guess it helps me get in the mood of what I’m writing. Or maybe I’m just a bit obsessed.

Either way, after I finish the novel I still revise it at least a couple times. Then I send it to a friend or two (the special beta reading friends ;)) and based on what they say, I revise it again.

I love revising. It’s so nice to see it all done and written, and then go on fixing and deleting. Uh! I love deleting stuff. :)"

From Rachel:

I get a first draft down as soon as possible, with minimal revising along the way. If a chapter or scene just isn’t working I’ll revise it until it hits its groove. Otherwise, revisions are for the second draft. They’re never extensive. Does that mean I’m lazy, or just good at first drafts? ;)

From Jo Ann:

"I don’t write in order… Depending on the idea and mood, I come and go from the first to the last to the middle without regrets. When I manage to put everyting together,I start revising and rererewriting. Can’t do it otherwise."

The Rejection

From Katharine Swan:

"When I write nonfiction, I tend to revise as I write, then proofread it once or twice and make small corrections. When I write fiction, I do some revisions while I write, but usually go back through later on for the major revisions. At least I think that’s how I do it - I’m not very good about going back through it, so I have a lot of first drafts hanging around here still………."

From Himani:

"I revise later. It’s hard enough trying to keep the internal critic at bay while I’m writing, why complicate matters by letting it roam free as I write and revise then? But I also have a pretty in-depth way I like to revise works. It includes lists. ;)"

From Rebecca:

"I often drag my feet when it comes time to seriously revise. Like so many others, I am my own worst critic when it comes to my writing. It makes it challenging for me to get past the point of saying, “Oh my gosh, this is terrible. I’ll never write again,” to a color-coded series of passes for various fixes.

Then, more often than not, I’ll shelve the whole project again for another two to twenty-four months and start hating it again. (I had no idea writing was such an angsty process for myself.)"

From Mari:

"I write totally out of order. I write whatever scene, chapter, vignette, etc, is in my head at a given time. And I’m one of those weirdos who writes longhand, to boot.

After I write everything down for today, it goes in the “to be typed pile” for tomorrow. Then, I take the completed chapter printouts (and only after the chapters are “completed”) and put them in page protectors in a 3″ binder. This becomes my “working copy” where I can scribble notes, ask myself questions, write more information/scenes/dialogue etc in the margins or on the backs of the sheets.

The revised, completed copy I make from that “mess” becomes the “readers draft” which goes out to my first readers. ;-)"

From Stephanie:

"I used to print everything and edit longhand. I liked to make little notes and corrections and such with pencil.

I’ve found just in the last few months that using the laptop is much easier for me. I never liked writing on the laptop b/c of the keyboard but since I practiced (by writing), I’m better at it and it’s a better editing tool.

I like to finish, then go back. Once I know where it’s going, I might have changes to make earlier in the piece. When I pick up again, I do like to reread a few pages back and I’ll make minor corrections (on typos, etc.) but if I get caught up in major rewriting, I don’t move forward.

I love creating the original rough draft but I’m also a fan of the editorial process. There’s always a certain amount of letdown when you finish w/ the story. It’s rewarding to revisit the characters, no matter how."

From Tina Chaulk:

"I get whatever I can onto a page (with pen and paper) and then procrastinate revising until everything is done (and my house is clean, the dog is groomed, the roof is patched, the tiles in the bathroom are grouted, the lawn is mowed/driveway is shoveled, the cans are stacked alphabetically in the cupboard, etc)."

Finding a quiet place to write: Idea #241


New Year's Resolutions


Season's Greetings