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What a Computer Does When You Turn it On

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Have you ever wondered what happens when you press the power button on your computer?

Well, it’s pretty straight-forward, really. Your average PC or Mac is designed in such a way that the parts are interchangeable, so when it turns on, it has to check to see if any of its parts have been removed or replaced, or if new parts have been added. It does this by running a POST, a Power On Self Test.

It checks that all the necessary parts for operation are present, such as the CPU and the RAM memory, both of which are crucial to running the computer. It also needs the components for video, either on the main circuit board or a separate video card. If any of these items are missing or faulty, the computer halts its startup and there will be nothing displayed on the screen.

If they are present, it will continue to check and test everything, then, if everything is okay, pass control over to whatever operating system you have installed on your computer’s hard drive. This could be Windows or Linux, or if the computer is a Mac, it will be Mac OS.

The operating system (OS) is a program that acts as a middle-man between you and the computer, so that you can tell the computer what you want it to do. It talks to the computer’s hardware and other programs to make things happen.

If you want to know more about your computer and the basics of the operating system, check out the other tutorials on my site.

Do I write Mum and Dad, or mum and dad?

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This can be a difficult thing for a lot of people. Most of the people I know (non-writers mostly) don’t know when you should capitalise words like mum, dad, grandma, grandpa, uncle, aunty, and any other variations of these words (eg: ma, granny, pa, papa, unck, grandfather, etc).

There is an easy answer to this, and an easy way to remember which one to use. The rule is this: if you are saying “my mum”, “my dad”, “my uncle”, and so on, you don’t need to capitalise. You are telling us the relationship you have with these people. On the other hand, if you are calling them mum, dad and uncle in place of their name, then you would use a capital letter. For example, “Hey, Dad! Dinner is ready!”You are calling him Dad instead of his given name. It is a title, just like his actual name, so, just like his actual name, you give it a capital. Or “Let’s go to Grandma’s house for lunch!” She is your grandma, but you call her Grandma.

I hope this has been helpful to you. Let me know in the comments.

What Do They Mean by “Show, Don’t Tell”?

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As writers, we constantly get told to “Show, don’t tell”. Now that’s easy for them to say, but what does that even mean? How do we “show” something? How do we know that we are “telling” instead? It’s all too confusing. I’ll try to explain, because I didn’t have a clue what they were on about.

When you “tell”, it means that you are giving too much info in terms of things like emotions. If you say that your character felt sad, you’re giving it a name and feeding that exact emotion to the reader, but being told doesn’t have the same effect as “showing” them. The way to “show” the reader what your character is feeling is to NOT give it a name. Describe the feeling instead. For example:

Telling:

I felt sad.

Showing:

Tears stung my eyes and I tried to swallow past the lump in my throat.

I hope you can see how much more interesting it is when you don’t just spoon-feed your readers. If you show them, they feel things more deeply and it is easier for them to imagine themselves in that situation. Give them room to make up their own mind about what your character is feeling.

Below is a more in-depth example to illustrate my point. I hope it’s helpful to you.

Telling:

I walked into the room and saw my boyfriend kissing another girl. I felt very angry. He tried to explain, but I screamed at him and ran out of the room.

Showing:

I pushed the door open and saw my boyfriend standing with his lips stuck to another girl’s mouth and one hand up the front of her top.

I froze. Adrenalin shot through my body and I couldn’t breathe. They broke apart and turned to look at me. There was no air in the room. My face felt cold, like all the blood had rushed to my feet.

“Cassy! I – I can explain!”

I somehow found my voice. “You bastard! How could you?”

My voice trembled and I felt the heat rise inside me, spreading to every limb and up to my face. I couldn’t be here. I had to leave. Had to get out. I turned and ran out of the room, ignoring his calls for me to stop.

As I ran, I noticed that my palms were hurting and realised that I’d clenched my fists so hard that I’d dug my fingernails into the skin. I didn’t stop to see if I’d drawn blood.

Which one did you like best? The Showing or the Telling?

Are there places in your writing that could be improved by showing and not telling? Are there any examples in your writing or in your favourite book that you’d like to share? Put them in the comments below.

Equal Rights…

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I wrote this the other day when I was thinking about stuff. This is NOT aimed at anyone in particular, it’s just a general thing:

What some men don’t seem to be able to get through their heads is that women have equal rights now. We’re not living in the past anymore. You don’t yell and you don’t put down and you don’t hit. You don’t need to be macho. It’s okay to cry when you’re sad.

What some women don’t understand is that we have equal rights now. And it means exactly what it says. Equal rights. That doesn’t mean that we are the bosses and we do whatever we want and use sex as a weapon. And we don’t yell and we don’t put down and we don’t hit.

I don’t know if you agree with me and if you don’t, then that’s just too bad. It’s the way I feel.

Novel Themes – Tamisan (Tamisan Book 1)

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What defines us? What makes us who we are? Is it our appearance? Our personality? Our family? Our past? Our education? Our memories? Or is it a combination of all of these?

What if someone took one of those things away from you? How would you feel? Incomplete?

What if someone changed your appearance without your permission or knowledge? It would take away part of your identity and sense of self.

I explored this in my novel, Tamisan. The main character’s consciousness was transferred into another body, and the body wasn’t even human. She had to deal with the identity issues, as well as the fact that the alien body could breathe above and below the water and had psychic abilities.

Her escape into the dangerous jungle adds more peril, and then her adventure really begins. There are a number of characters in the book that treat her as an object instead of a person. Is it just because of her appearance? Is a pretty face all anyone cares about?

And, of course, there is the issue of slavery. What kind of person makes another person a slave?

 

* Tamisan is available now through Amazon on Kindle and paperback.

Review – PODs

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By Michelle Pickett

A future that could become a reality

A deadly virus is killing people all over the world. The government has a plan to save people, but only a small percentage of the population can be saved. They will be put into PODs and sealed underground until the virus is gone, separated from their family and friends, who are left to die.

When they’ve been in the PODs for over a year, they’re let out to start a new life. But not everyone died. The virus has mutated.

Eva met David while they were stuck in the POD and now they face the people who are infected with the new strain of the virus.

There is a part of me that believes that this is how the government would handle a situation like this, especially with how they went about selecting “random” members of the population to go into the PODs. This story shows how people react to the situations they are forced into.

It’s a great story. I loved the relationship between Eva and David and liked their friends. It was hard to put my phone down and stop reading. (I have Kindle and Scribd on my phone.)

It’s impossible to talk about some of the parts I liked without writing spoilers, but I can say that I loved this book.

Here is the link to it on Amazon.com if you would like to read it yourself.

5 out of 5 stars

Tamisan Re-released

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I have finished revising Tamisan and have decided to make it part of a series. The new title is Tamisan (Tamisan Book 1). It is available on Amazon and Smashwords. Smashwords puts your book through to Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Apple, so it is available at all of those online stores, too. If you prefer print books, it is available in print through Amazon.

I am excited to have the improved version of my story out there and can’t wait to see how it goes.

For anyone who reads it or who has read it already, I would appreciate it if you could write a review. It is one of the best ways for me to advertise my books to the world. Thanks in advance.

Sue