[Electric Speed] QR codes | Clean your camera roll

Digital tools and resources for creative people
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Electric Speed from Jane Friedman
A note from Jane

In my work with writers, I often advise they strike the word “unique” from their query letter, book proposal, marketing copy—anything they use to pitch or sell.

Because: Of course you are unique. Everyone is.

“Unique” quickly becomes a meaningless word when you’re trying to describe a story, a piece of art, a person. Uniqueness is realized in the details you select—through your own weird, distorted and entertaining lens on the world. Once you nail that, there’s no need to apply the “unique” label any longer. People will see it for themselves.

But here’s the counterpoint that’s just as true: No one is unique. The universal can be found in all you meet and in all experiences. An ongoing struggle for any creative person is to convey those universals in a surprising or unexpected way. When you strike gold like that—and you usually know it—that makes the creative struggle worth it.
Jane

P.S. Most popular blog post this month:
How to Avoid Taking Edits Too Personally

Cartoon by Bob Eckstein: Ethel and Lucy struggle to wrap the chocolate candies passing by on a conveyor belt in a scene from a 1952 episode of "I Love Lucy."
Bob Eckstein
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Jane’s Electric Speed List
Here are some of the latest things I’ve discovered. (I am not paid to mention any of these resources; there are no affiliate links.)
Send files across devices using QR codes
I learned about aQRoss from the BrainPint newsletter, which referred to it as a “low-tech version of Airdrop.” No login or account required, but there are two big caveats: It’s for immediate sharing. The QR code and file storage lasts only 5 minutes, then expires. Also: there’s no encryption. Do not use this for sensitive information.
Easily generate an icon (favicon) for your website
Ever notice those little icons in your browser tabs that represent the site you’re visiting? That’s known as a favicon, which are a bit fussy to create for the average person. If you haven’t customized one for your site, try the Real Favicon Generator to create one. If you’re not sure if your site is able to display a favicon, this site can tell you. I also discovered this tool through BrainPint.
Make your next road trip more fun!
I thought I knew about every major and minor attraction off I-64 between Cincinnati and Evansville, Indiana, which is close to my hometown. But when I tried out this site, Make My Drive Fun, I discovered an attraction I had never seen or heard of before (Dr. Ted’s Musical Marvels). Give it a try on one of your next road trips.
Need to clean up your camera roll?
I do, so I’m installing the Swipewipe app. I plan to start using it while I’m waiting in line, or for my husband, Mark, to bring me cookies on the couch.
 
Conquer the Dreaded Synopsis with Jane Friedman. $15 webinar hosted by Creative Nonfiction. Wednesday, November 9, 2022. 2 p.m. to 3:15 p.m. Eastern.
NEXT ONLINE CLASS
Nov. 9: Conquer the Dreaded Synopsis with Jane Friedman
It’s one of the most despised documents of all time: the synopsis. Agents and editors sometimes ask for a synopsis because they need to know—from beginning to end—what happens in your novel or memoir. In this 75-minute live class with Jane Friedman, you’ll learn how to write a synopsis that’s lean, powerful, and engaging. And just as important, you’ll get examples of what to avoid.
Your turn: Go-to gifts for writers
In the last issue, I asked you to tell me if you have a go-to gift for the writers or other creative people in your life. I was overwhelmed with responses! Heres a sampling of what you said:

  • For something really special, I turn to the small family-owned business, Aélhaus. They are a joy to work with, and their wood engravings are gorgeous. I find they are perfect for decorating bookshelves, mantels, and writing spaces. I have even collaborated with them to do custom pieces for book launches. —Vanessa Rasanen
  • I think the items and clothing sold by Litographs.com (“art from books”) are pretty neat. —Gale Leach
  • My favorite gift to me-the-writer is stationery. This year’s obsession is the Uni Kuru Toga 0.5 mm mechanical pencil with 2B or 3B lead, and the Kokuyo Campus binder (which uses these squishy soft plastic rings instead of metal ones, no pinching your fingers) and Kokuyo Campus paper. Luxe! —Tracie
  • I have given Parker Jotter pens as gifts. They’re not for impressing with what you spent—they’re about six bucks—but their classic design, utility, and unfussiness have been popular with writers and designers I know. —Damien Dabrowski
  • I love all the book-themed candles from Frostbeard Studio. The scents range, everything from “Spooky Stories” to “Oxford Library” and “Darcy’s Parlour,” but my favorite is the classic “Bookstore,” a unique blend of mahogany, leather and coffee. —Jen Craven
  • The War of Art by Steven Pressfield is a gift I’ve given to my creative family members and close friends. It was so incredibly helpful when I first read it that I wanted to share it with every artist I knew! —Leslye Penelope
  • I like to give the Seltzer Seven Year Pen. Lots of options, inexpensive, and refillable. I got my first one coming on seven years ago now. I’ve misplaced it a few times, but it resurfaced and is still writing what I tell it to write. —Andrea Firth
  • One thing I’ve been gifting to writers once in a while lately is master classes at Writing the Other. These are great one-off pre-recorded online classes on topics like Writing Deaf & Blind Characters, or Writing Trans & Nonbinary Narratives. —Cecilia Tan

Next question: What is your favorite tool for annotating photos or images? Hit reply to this email and let me know, or discuss over on Discord.
 
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“At electric speed, all forms are pushed to the limits of their potential.”
—Marshall McLuhan
Jane Friedman
Created by Jane Friedman
I report on the publishing industry and help authors understand the business of writing.

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