Fountain Pens – The Ones I Use

Now, I have had a lot of questions asked since I posted my opinion on mediums about the fountain pens that I use. So, I decided to do a special post all about them, just for you guys!IMG_0007

Now, I am not endorsed by either of the companies that I use (although I should be! lol), this is just what I like and what I find works best. I will be going in order from my least favorite to my favorite as well as a little segment at the end on how to fill them.

This is my Parker Urban starter set

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I wasn’t planning on getting this one, but I was only using cartridges at the time and wanted to try bottled ink. This starter set was an excellent buy and it was almost the same price as getting what I wanted on its own, so I figured why not pay a little extra and get a pen I can travel with as well. This Starter set came with a Parker black Urban fountain pen (as shown), a (57ml) bottle of Parker Quink black ink, 2 black ink cartridges, 2 blue ink cartridges, an ink converter, a cleaning cloth as well as a guide. I paid $70 for this on Amazon.

Now, even though this is my least favorite, that doesn’t mean I don’t like it, I just like my other ones more. When I got this set, I wasn’t really getting it for the pen, but when I got it, the pen was far better than I expected it to be. It writes fairly smooth and it’s comfortable to hold. What I don’t like about this pen is that it is made from a firm plastic and has no real weight to it at all. It feels a little odd to me, and I also don’t like the nib style of this pen, because it’s smaller you need to put a bit more pressure on it in order to write properly. The nib on this pen is a ‘Medium’ nib, but truthfully I find that it writes closer to a “Fine” than a “Medium.” With that being said, it is an excellent starter kit, and if you’re thinking about getting a fountain pen for the first time, this is the one I would get. It’s not expensive, and it gives you both options of a cartridge and bottle so that you can find out which you can like better.

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This one here is my Parker IM Premium Twin Chiseled Fountain pen

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This one is the newest pen to my collection, and I was very happy with this pen. I use this one mostly as a backup to my two main pens, mostly for when they’re being cleaned. This pen came in a standard Parker box with 1 blue ink cartridge. For being a chrome pen, I found it to be rather light, but with that being said it is very comfortable and much easier to write with than the ‘Urban’ is. This pen nib is classified as a ‘Medium,’ but I found it was closer to a ‘Bold,’ and is the boldest writing pen that I have. You can get one of these bad boys for around $65

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This is my Parker black Monochrome fountain Pen with 18k gold nib

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There are almost no words to describe how much I love this pen! It was an early birthday present to myself – I know me so well!- and the only thing I own with gold in it. It has a bit more weight to it than the other two pens I talked about, and it feels extremely solid in your hands. The ink just seems to glide from this ‘Medium’ nib and no pressure is needed at all to write with the clarity that I like. The 1, and the only reason that this pen is not my favorite is because the pen itself is a little wide for my liking. It comes with an ink converter and a pack of 5 black ink cartridge refills as well as it came in a beautiful gift box. In the box, it also came with a cleaning cloth and a dust cover for the pen. Due to its price, I would only get this pen if you really like writing with fountain pens. It ran me $360. I regret absolutely nothing!

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And this was my first, and favorite fountain pen. My Cross polished chrome Townsend.

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This one is a lot like my Parker Monochrome pen. Solid weight, writes flawlessly, and best of all, it was close to half the price of The Parker monochrome. It came in a wooden gift box with 2 ink cartridges. This pen may also be engraved if you wish, and it won’t fuck up the pen. I plan to do this with my name on the cap. This is also the pen I used to write The Paranormal Project. The price of this stunning pen is $180.

Now, as promised, I will post a bit on how to work them for those who are wondering.

To use an Ink bottle, you will need your pen and a converter (usually under $12) mine are all push in (although depending on the pen, some screw in). You simply dip the nib of the pen into the ink bottle and suck up the ink with the converter. Afterward, you clean the nib with a lint free cloth.

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Ink cartridges are even easier to use, but if you write a lot, it can rack up a pretty penny fast. You simply open the pen and push (or screw) the cartridge in. put the pen back together and you’re done!

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On the left is a pack of standard Parker Quink cartridges (also shown in pen), and on right is a standard pack for Cross. Both packs will run about $7 each. With a bottle of Parker Quink (57ml being standard), will run you around $11. About 1/2 finished my first bottle and I have gotten around 7 refills so far, and the converters (when full) hold around 1 1/2 times more ink than the cartridges. Sometimes you even run across good deals on the ink when you buy in bulk. I got 24 (30ml) bottles for $100. Because I write a lot and this will last me a while! Normally I would have spent close to $135 to get the same amount, and I still get over a half bottle more this way!

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Standard size on left (57ml), mini on the right (30ml) all prices were listed in Canadian dollars.

Did you guys like this review? Did you have any questions that I haven’t answered? Let me know in the comments!

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Choosing Your Medium

So, you have your idea and have pretty good idea of where you would like to go with it, now it’s time to start writing. So, here is a question I would like you to ask yourself. Which medium would you like to use? Sounds a bit odd, I know. But this helps a lot. I know a lot of people think you should only use word processors, and I agree with this only while doing the 2nd, 3rd etc, drafts and editing. I prefer to write all my manuscripts by hand, I use Cross and Parker fountain pens to do this, I love the feel of this, and I feel it helps me to write. I’ll get into a few of the pros and cons of methods I’ve used, try them out and see which one works best for you.

Word Processor – PROS. When using a word process your draft has already been created digitally, so you can make as many backup copies as you’d like (I have 10 of everything). Also, depending if you are planning to publish your work eventually, you will more than likely need a digital copy anyway. It’s faster and if you have a decent spelling and grammar check program, it will catch a lot and make things easier for editing later on.

Also, depending if you are planning to publish your work eventually, you will more than likely need a digital copy anyway. It’s faster and if you have a decent spelling and grammar check program, it will catch a lot and make things easier for editing later on.

It’s faster and if you have a decent spelling and grammar check program, it will catch a lot and make things easier for editing later on.

CONS. Most word processor programs are a pain in the ass to use and a lot of the built in spell checks suck. I use Microsoft Word and a Grammarly add-on now, which seems to do the job rather well. As some of you may already know, these programs cost a pretty penny, and when I started, I didn’t have enough extra cash to get a decent computer let alone a good word processor. There is a free version of Grammarly and it works very well, and for the processor itself, I used Apache Open Office. I used this to write both Diary Of Jane and Whispers In the night. It was by no means a bad set up, I just found it to be very frustrating at times to use. Those are just examples, there are literally hundreds of different programs you can use.

I don’t trust them. Because they are digital, they are by nature prone to problems. A real life example is when your swapping files between yourself and your editor. With the very first run of Whispers In The Night, the edited file didn’t save. So I released and promoted an unedited copy of the book, because the two files didn’t convert properly. Was not a happy camper when I found this out.

They are connected to distractions. They are built into a computer which more than likely will have internet access. Not a good thing when you’re trying to get shit done.

I find it harder to find mistakes. Mistakes happen, they happen a lot when you’re writing and there is no real way to avoid this, even some of the biggest names out there have mistakes in their books. The only thing you can do is catch as many of them as you possibly can on your own before the book goes to an editor. And even though spell checks help a lot, to my knowledge, there isn’t one in existence that will catch everything. So keep your eyes peeled!

 

Now we go onto the good old fashion pen and paper! When I say old fashion, I mean fountain pens! In my earliest days of writing (when I was around 9), this and an old typewriter is what I used.

PROS. The words seem to glide easier (to me at least). When I went back to this style of writing, I found myself falling in love with the craft all over again.

You can take this anywhere without having to take your computer with you! All you need is a pen of your choice and a few sheets of paper and you’re good to go! On a break a work? On a walk or at a family gathering that you really don’t want to be at? This is my ideal choice.

No distractions! You can’t very well check out Facebook with a pen and paper now can you?

This is an excellent way to notice mistakes and detail your book when you’re transferring it to a digital platform. This is true because while you’re doing so, you need to re-read every single word you wrote, and then type it out.

If you like to have a printed copy to check over. It’s cheaper. Now, this also depends on the kind of printer that you have. The average printer will cost you around $60-80. Not so bad, right? Until you factor in that ink is around $30 a cartridge. And one cartridge will only do about 60-70 pages if you’re lucky. which means (depending on book size) your spending around $60-90 or more, per printed draft of your book, before it has even been released. And if you’re draft happy like me, that’s a shit load of dough. For a decent fountain pen your roughly spending $50- 80 and if you use bottled ink, it’s about $10 a bottle. Which tends to last me around 400-500 pages. Now, if you like to have printed copies, I suggest getting a small office printer. They cost around $150 and ink refills are around $100, but they do 2600 pages per refill! And they tend to last a really long time.

CONS. It takes a really long time to write like this. sometimes over twice as long, and if you’re trying to get a bunch of books released, fast. This will not work for you.

You have to make it digital anyway. It’s a very love-hate thing with this one.

You only have 1 draft. The single biggest downfall I find is that you only have one draft, you can’t make 10 copies and save them to memory cards and USB drives. That one draft is all you have, so if anything happens to it, you’re fucked. I scan each page once I’m done, just in case.

You run out of ink. There is nothing worse than being right in the middle of something good, only to run out of ink. A good thing about digital is that the writing space is endless.

 

I hope that this was able to help a few of you guys who were wondering which one would work best for you. If you want to get a fountain pen and have never used one before, TRY IT BEFORE YOU BUY IT! There are a lot of shit ones out there, even some of the ones with big name brands. And do your research on the printers, I use a black and white Brother. Keep in mind, all the prices I listed are in Canadain and may change, but it gives you a rough idea.

Did I miss anything? You do you have a way that works well for you that I didn’t mention? Let me know!

New Idea- Any Thoughts?

So, I was in the middle of waiting tables last night. And thought to myself, I need to reach more readers, so how do I do this? Maybe by offering more than just strictly horror novels? So, I came up with this idea about a modern day Grimm reaper named Rebecca Shaw. She would age, only a third as fast as normal humans do. And doesn’t want to be a Grimm Reaper. Has control over life and death, and can see how people will die by a single touch. I want this to be a mix of Horror, comedy, drama and fantasy. Of course, there would be people who know what she really is and it would be all about her life. Was thinking that this could even be a series. The Rebecca Shaw Chronicles. I like how that sounds. Maybe release 2 a year until it’s finished, and if possible, co-write with other authors.

Write Like A Writer

If you want to be a writer, start by writing like one. I am not talking about writing a 1000 words a day or anything like that, that’s later. I am talking about using grammar, correct spelling, make sure your sentences have structure to them. Even if all you’re doing is texting your friend. The more that you do this, the better that you get. Do this whenever you can, and you WILL get better at it. Trust me, my spelling and Grammar was complete shit before I started doing this. There was a good reason I went through 27 editors. I admit, I still need to do work on this myself, but it’s worth it. And it makes the pain in ass process of editing go faster, so that you can get back to what you love doing! And also, there will be less of a chance for mistakes to surface, which can be distracting to readers.

Where To Start

So you have an idea in your head, or if you’re anything like me, you literally have thousands. So what do you do with them? Really there is no right or wrong answer to this question, it’s whatever works best for you. I have a book I call my ledger, to be accurate, it’s about 4 books, and I would write this idea in my ledger. And when it’s time to write I choose and idea from this ledger, sometimes I combine a few of them. I will spend anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks coming up with this Core idea because it is this idea that drives the entire story. Even if the story ends in a completely different place from where it started, it is the core idea that brings it there. I used this method for both the Diary Of Jane and Whispers In The Night.

However, there are also sub-core ideas. And I used this while writing, The Paranormal Project. This is a story where there is a main and driving idea, but also a secondary one that separate from the main one. I think it is very important that all of your sub-Core ideas branch off your main Core idea, or else it can become very confusing. I think it really depends on the kind of story that you’re trying to tell on whether or not you even need a sub-Core mixed in there at all.

Have any questions? Comments? Or any person remarks as well as areas you’d like to see me cover at all. Then let me know in the comments!

Movies Can Hold Value. If you Know How To Watch

I said I would do these, so here is my first one. The reason I have decided to do these is because I get a lot of ideas from watching films. And who doesn’t enjoy a good movie? Okay, you’re probably like, “Isn’t that copying someone else’s work?” The answer to that exactly is, “It’s more copying an idea someone had, who copied it from someone else, who copied it from someone else.” To my knowledge. There is no such thing in the 21st Century as an idea that has never been done before. and if you’re asking, well, what do you mean? I’ll tell you. Take the film, Now You See Me (excellent film btw). That was pretty original, right? I beg to differ. At its core, there its 2 different ideas. Magicians, and bank robbers. On their own, those ideas have been done a million times each. What the creators did is they took those 2 ideas, combined them and created something completely new. Now, do you see what I mean?

When you’re looking for ideas for your story, I like to watch a film or two, and if there is an idea in my head, I like to write this down. And when I got maybe 20-30 ideas written down, I try to combine them. I write out a page or 2 of plot and see how it looks, if I like it, then I go with it. If I don’t then I try others. Now you have your core idea, it’s what you do with that core idea that makes it different. Keep in mind, this is one of many ways to actually come up with an idea. And in due time, I will list all the ones that I know. Try it and see if works for you.

 

Editing Your Work

This post is a little out of context because, I said I would post on how to write, and this is certainly part of that, but it is one of the final steps. I would prefer to go in order, but this is the stage I’m on with Paranormal Project and it has been on my mind a lot. Also, this should give people a pretty good idea that I actually know what I’m talking about.

So, you’ve finished your manuscript, your story is complete, what do you do next? It’s time to publish, right? Wrong. You need to edit your work. Make sure that this is the story that you are trying to tell. I made this mistake with Diary of Jane. You need to go through your work and make a 2nd, and a 3rd draft. Sometimes more. Why? Because you miss shit. You type it wrong. Sometimes you start going with one idea and then change your mind and go with another and forget to fix it. Don’t be discouraged, it happens to everyone on almost everything that they write. This is especially true if your story is long and takes a long time to write, or a very short time to write. This step is very important and is the most annoying part of writing. Why? Because now you need to be anal with your work. you need to chop it up, extend it and rewrite it. Only then will you have the story that you want to tell.

Okay. You have just finished your fifth draft. You’re done, right? You’re ready to get this baby published, right? Wrong again. Now that your done self-editing, you need someone to edit your work for you. Why? Because no matter what, you are the author of your work. Your mind will see things that a reader will not see, and same goes for what the reader will see. No matter how good you are or how big your name is, you will NOT be able to catch everything. I know, I have tried. I know what you’re thinking after reading that last sentence. “Isn’t this guy contradicting himself? I mean, he says you need an editor, but then he just said he tried to edit his own work?” This is true, because as some of you may already know, finding a good editor isn’t a simple Google click away. It can be, but you better have money flowing out of your asshole if that is the route you take. I found that the average editor runs anywhere from $3000-$8000 for a novel the size of Whispers In The Night. That is a 70,000 word novel, most are bigger than that.

So, if you’re like me, you don’t have a spare $8000 lying around that you can spend on an editor for a book that may never make any of that back. Now, if you decide to self-publish(more on this at a later time), there are some packages that include editors and it won’t run you that much, but it still isn’t affordable. So now I have given you 2 possible options. Here is the 3rd. Find someone who will willingly edit your book. This is a common suggestion by many authors, and it is also something that I recommend. Let’s dig into this a little more, shall we? A lot of authors and a lot of writers say, find someone who is unbiased to edit your work. I’m gunna horseshit on this one. Now, I know sometimes you get lucky and find someone who will work out, but most times, you won’t. Why? Because honestly, they don’t give a shit. You and your work DON’T mean anything to this person, so why would they finish it if there is little or no gain in it for them? With Diary of Jane, I went through 23 editors and another 4 with Whispers In The Night.  Making a total of 27 different editors. So here is what I suggest and what I did. Ask someone who you believe can do it, who is biased towards you. This could be a close friend, your mom, your dad, a close co-worker, your boyfriend or your girlfriend. Why? Because they DO give a shit about you and your work! They want you to succeed, they want you to make your dream a reality. And they will do their very best on their part. Will it be perfect? No, probably not. But it’s a lot better than what you had before they did it. I admit I was uneasy about doing this, but since doing this, my books have never been praised or loved more.

As always, if you’d like to leave a comment or have any questions for me, please feel free to do so below.

 

Whispers In The Night Free offer

As I have stated, I am also using this blog site to promote my own books, so here is the first one. My novel, “Whispers In The Night,” is being offered for free on Amazon’s Kindle from March 13th – March 17th! You can get Kindle as and e-reader of course, but you can also get it on your computer, your phone, your tablet and your iPod! So go on! Tell your friends! Tell your mom! Tell your dad! Tell your dog! I’ll even include a link at the bottom!

Welcome To My World

 

As a lot of you coming to this blog site for the first time will already know, I am K. R. Lane, the writer of the horror thriller novels: “The Diary Of Jane,” “Whispers In the Night,” and the upcoming novel, “The Paranormal Project.”

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Here is what you don’t know. I am also an everyday worker, just like most of you. I work as a restaurant server In Niagara Falls, mostly working the midnight shift. I think the single biggest question I have been asked is, how can you do what you do? The truth is, there is no simple answer. And the reason I have started this blog is I want to help other writers out there. Not just the ones who are trying to be the next Stephen King, Anne Rice, Lee Harper, but the ones who also don’t even know where to start. And I know what you’re probably thinking. “I have read a million, ‘how to write books,’ a million, ‘this is how I did it,’ books, and a million blogs on the same subject. I know, because I have, and I know something else. Most of them are fucking useless. The only one I have read with useful information in it at all is, ‘ON WRITING: A MEMOIR TO THE CRAFT- Stephen King.’ I highly recommend that you guys check it out.

I told myself if I was going to do something like this, I wanted it to be useful, honest and uncensored. Because of this, there will be a few times where what I put stuff on here that may offend or upset a few people, especially new writers. Trust me, I have been where you are, and this is not my intention. This world can be a nasty fucking place at times, and it doesn’t always work the way that you want it to, but truthfully, you already knew that. I am telling you this so you know what to expect, so that it’s not a punch in the face when it happens. Because I, like you, am not Stephen King. I am not Anne Rice. And I am certainly not Lee Harper. I am K. R. Lane, I am still trying to get my novels out there and reach as many readers as I can, admittedly,  these blogs are a way of doing that. With these blogs, I not only want to tell you what I write, but also how I write. What I have found works and what doesn’t. If there is a way I have found to do something, even if it hasn’t worked for me, I want to tell you what that is, because you’re not me. It might work for you. And I want to share the story behind the stories with you. These will not be edited. And unless it’s someone’s name who doesn’t wish to be mentioned, these will not be censored. These will be the truth, and nothing but.

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