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How to Watermark a Document Using Microsoft Word

This discussion will help anyone who wants to share excerpts from their novels, deleted scenes, bonus material or short stories on their website or blog. Today I will show you how to watermark a document in Microsoft Word to deter other individuals from plagiarizing your work. Please keep in mind that nothing you share on the Internet is truly safe. And if someone really wants to steal your work, a watermark isn’t going to stop them.

On that note, please remember that the people most likely to have their work stolen are the Stephen Kings and J.K Rowlings of the world. Unknown writers are not likely to have their work stolen.

If you would like to create a watermark – as a form of some added protection – to a document that you’d like to post to your blog or website, today’s topic is for you.

Here is how to watermark a document using Word.

Open your document in Word:

Next, select “Design,” from the top of the screen. ***Update*** If you are using Word for Mac you might not have a “Design” option on your screen. If this is the case, click on “Insert” and look for the watermark option in the drop-down menu.

And then click on “Watermark,” located on the upper right side of the screen.

You can choose one of the watermark options available OR you can click on “Custom Watermark,” and make your own, which is what I did.

In the image above, you’ll see a few different options for watermark. One option is a picture watermark. The other option is a text watermark. If you want a picture watermark, select “Select Picture.”

Find a picture on your computer you want to use and select it. Make sure that “Washout” – on the right side of the box – is checked. Then click “Apply.” This is what my document looked like when I inserted Pilcrow & Dagger’s logo:

If you want to adjust where the image/text appears on your document, place your cursor at the top of the page – where a header would appear – and double click. When you do this a box should appear around the watermark.

You’ll be able to use the squares surrounding your image to adjust the image size, direction and position. These same steps apply for both images as well as a custom text watermark like the one below:

Once you have positioned your watermark where you like it, go to “File,”, “Save As,” and then select PDF to save your document.

If you’re not familiar with using PDF files – they save documents like an image – limiting the ability of other people to edit the file. However, please be aware that PDF files can easily be converted back to a Word document for editing. 

Now you have your watermarked document. The next thing you’ll need to do is embed it on your website or blog.  Tomorrow, I’ll take you through the steps for doing just that.

As always, if you have any questions regarding the material I covered today, please let me know in the comments!

Pilcrow & Dagger is currently accepting submissions for its October issue. The theme for this issue is “What Lies Beneath?” What’s under your kitchen sink? Your coffee table? Your area rug?” The deadline for this submission is August 30th! Get your poems, essays and short stories in today! 

Beginning September 1st, we will open submissions for our Nov/December issue. The theme for this issue is “The Box.” What’s in your box? A gift? Secret love letters? A body part? Please tell us! We’re dying to know! The deadline for this issue is October 15, 2017!

 

Totally Cool

Yesterday the US was treated to a transcontinental solar eclipse. It began in Oregon and crossed all the way to South Carolina. Living just outside the limits of totality, I experienced 99% coverage. It was pretty cool. It didn’t get completely dark like it did under the totality path, but it did get dark like twilight. What was the best was looking at the ground and seeing light waves, like flames almost, or shadows of flames. With the weirdness of it all it was easy to understand why animals get freaked out and how easy it would have been for primitive man to be terrified and even ans recent as Medieval times how people could think it would be a portent of doom.

In fact, eclipses are so important that they are used in language as both a noun (Hey, did you see the eclipse?) and as a verb (Her beauty eclipses all the other girls.). And as a verb, it’s a fairly strong one with a strong meaning. It’s interesting how a natural phenomenon became part of the vocabulary.

What other vocabulary words can you think of that come from the forces of nature?

AND don’t forget, we are accepting submissions for the October issue! The theme is What Lies Beneath. Have you been lying? Have you been lying in wait? Have you been lying underneath something? Send it in!!

How to Make a Watermark for Your Photos

It seems today that a successful author platform is comprised of both quality content as well as pretty pictures. But the last thing any photographer wants is to have their photos stolen and reused. One way of deterring Internet thefts is by putting a watermark on the photos used on the Internet. This week I’m going to go through the steps needed to make a watermark.  Just like the previous two weeks, the software I’m using is Pixlr.

First, open Pixlr on your Internet browser. Please remember that while Pixlr does offer an app, the features I’m using are not available in the app. You must be on the full website.

When you see the above screen, please select Pixlr Editor. The features I’m using today are not available on Pixlr Express.

After you click on “Launch the Web App,” select “File” and then “Open Image.” Find the image you want to make a watermark for and select it.

Today I’m working with a picture of my cat, Gwennie. As you can tell by her picture, she’s extremely cranky, she’s a very friendly cat.

The next step is to open up a text box. You’ll do this by clicking on the letter “A” located in the lower left hand corner.Select whichever font you want to use and whatever font color you want to use. I chose Impact and a black font for this example. Type whatever text you want to appear as your watermark. In this example I used my name however your watermark could also be your website, the name of your blog or your logo. After you type your watermark text, you can adjust the size of the text in one of two ways. The first is to select the font size within the text box. It will max out at 130. If you need the font size to be larger than that you will need to rasterize the layer (see below).

Next, you will need to go to “Edit,” and then “Free Transform.” A small box will appear around your text.  Place your cursor on one of the corners and drag it out until you have the size you want.

You can also hover over the top right corner of the box and, while holding the cursor down, place the text in a diagonal line.

The next step is to adjust the opacity of the text. This is done in the layers box located on the right side of the screen. Look for a small square with three lines (located at the bottom left of the “Layers” box.

If you look at the image above you’ll see I’ve adjusted the opacity to 45. Play with the opacity setting until you get your text to the desired appearance. 

This was my final product:

If you have any questions/difficulties with these steps, please let me know in the comments and I’ll see what I can do to help you.

Tune in next week to learn how to watermark your documents!

Pilcrow & Dagger is now accepting submissions for its October issue. The theme for this issue is “What Lies Beneath?” What’s underneath your cupboards? Your floorboards? That strange mound of dirt in your garden? Don’t delay! Get your submission in by August 30, 2017.

Join us on August 31st as we kick off our round robin blogging event. In our of our Nov/Dec theme “The Box,” LeeAnn and I are going to take turns telling a story that follows this theme. Find out what’s in our box!

First Impressions

We all know that first impressions are important. When we go to an interview, we dress our best – typically we we shower and put on pants. Why? Because if we don’t make at least a decent impression, then we don’t stand a chance of getting hired. With writing, it’s the same thing. We want to make an impact with the readers so they, you know,  hire us – or at least keep reading our work. Yes, we need time to build the storyline to get to the hook – usually in the first chapter – but that first line needs to be catchy.

Some of history’s best first lines:

  1. It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. – George Orwell, 1984
  2. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times….- Charles Dickens, A Tale Of Two Cities
  3. Call me Ishmael – Herman Melville, Moby Dick
  4. There was no possibility of taking a walk that day. – Emily Bronte, Jane Eyre

So what’s all this about first lines? Well…. A. Marie and I are planning something fun in the very near future! You, yes you, will be able to chose the first line of a round robin short story that we will write right here on this very blog! So be on the look out for the first line choices!

In the meantime, the submission deadline for the October issue comes to a close on the 30th! Get your stories in soon. The theme is “What Lies Beneath.” So, try your absolute best to creep us out! Bet you can’t! Gonna write about the “things” buried in the back yard? Or how about those deeply buried emotions that if brought to the surface could create havoc and chaos? What about those unspoken desires you dare not let into the light? Well, that is creepy. But send them in!

How to Make a Meme – Part 2

I know I promised I’d write about watermarks and how to make them, but as it turns out, there are some issues with my previous post on memes I need to address. If you haven’t seen it yet you can read it here. Shortly after I published that post, someone commented on it.

via GIPHY

Which made me really happy because – as any blogger knows – if you go too long without a comment or a “like” on your blog, you begin to wonder if anyone is reading.

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Unfortunately, the person commenting had some problems getting the steps I provided to work for him. So, I went back through those steps trying to see if I skipped anything….and it turns out, I did.

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First, PIXLR does provide an app called Autodesk. The features I wrote about last week will NOT work with the app. You have to be in the full website which brings me to my next missed step. When you pull up PIXLR you will see this screen:

 

Make sure you select “PIXLR Editor” on the left. The features I wrote about are not available in PIXLR Express. 

The question then becomes, does the website work differently for someone who is using a Mac vs. Windows? I have high hopes that one morning I’ll wake up and discover that my iPad has turned into a Mac overnight, but until that day comes, I’m stuck with Windows. I did try to load the website using my iPad only to get the dreaded error message: This website requires Adobe Flash in order to work – which anyone with an iPad knows, Adobe Flash won’t work on it.

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Since I didn’t find any other missed steps, I’m now left asking for your help. Has anyone reading this been able to follow the steps in the previous blog – with a Mac -and had success with it? If so, please tell me what you did to make it work.

Pilcrow & Dagger is now accepting submissions for the October issue. The theme is, “What Lies Beneath?” What’s under your bed? What’s in your cellar? What’s under that strange mound in your backyard? Tell us all about! The clock is ticking! The deadline for this issue is August 30, 2017!

My First Time

There’s a first time for everything. Truth. One of the questions we ask consistently of the authors we interview is, “What is the first thing you wrote?” Most, if not all, our authors can remember the very first thing they wrote with great detail. I too can remember the first thing I wrote. At least the first good thing I wrote that I was proud of and that made me want to be a writer for real.

It was a class project. We had to pick a partner and together write a short story. First, let me say, I have never liked “group work” because a group doesn’t work. One person works and the others watch. No big deal because I liked to write and I liked coming up with the story. My partner came up with the characters’ names. Our story was about a boy and his dog. And just to make it interesting, I wrote the story from the dog’s point of view. What can I say, I was 10 and it seemed like a good idea. The dog’s name was Rufus and the boy’s name was Jimmy because my partner liked a boy named Jimmy. The title of the story was Rufus, because, you know, the main character.

The gist of the story was that Rufus had a boy who went missing from home. Rufus went on a journey to find Jimmy. It turned out Jimmy was simply at school. The story wasn’t long, just 10 pages, and it was certainly short on plot and character development. But, it was original, had dialogue, paragraph structure, a climax and denouement. The BEST part was that our story was chosen by the teacher to be posted on the bulletin board in the classroom as the best story from our class.

I was very proud of that story and I really wanted to be a writer ever since that day. I wish she’d have given the story back to me, I’d like to have it, just to have it.

So what was your first time? What did you write? Do you still have it? Let us know!

DON’T FORGET TO SEND IN YOUR SUBMISSIONS FOR OUR OCTOBER ISSUE. THE THEME IS “WHAT LIES BENEATH.” WHAT’S BURIED IN YOUR BACK YARD? UNDER THE BASEMENT? IN THE DEEP DARK CREVICES OF YOUR SOUL? WHAT EMOTIONS HAVE YOU TAMPED DOWN AND HIDDEN? SEND IN YOU SUBMISSIONS BY AUGUST 30TH!

How to Make a Meme for Free

On my personal website, I set up a Zazzle store. It was one of many ideas I had to monetize my blog. The problem was that I didn’t have anything to sell. Nothing dazzling to put on one of the many products Zazzle sells that anyone would want to buy. But then it happened, there was a flash of light, I walked straight into a door, fell over, and I had an epiphany. Why not put a meme on a coffee cup or tee shirt and try selling that? How hard could it be? After all, a meme is just a photograph with a large, clever caption written over it. And, there are plenty of websites out there such as memegenerator.net and imgur.com that will make the meme for you. All you have to do is upload the photo. They also provide photos for people to use but to be clear – if you aren’t the photographer you do NOT own the rights to the photo and can NOT sell it.

Well, here’s the thing. When you use one of your own photos in the free meme-making websites, they automatically place their watermark on the image.  If you upload that image and try putting it on a coffee cup or tee-shirt, companies like Zazzle will flag it for copyright issues, preventing you from selling it on their sites.

That being said, I figured out a way to make a meme that could be placed on a product All that’s needed is a photo and photo-editing software.

Photos are easy – if you’re like me you have thousands of them on your computer and you’re wondering why you photographed the same pencil 27 times. The photo-editing software is also easy to come by and it’s FREE. I’m sure there are a number of websites available but my personal choice is pixlr.com.

(Any of the following screenshots can be enlarged by double-clicking on the image.)

Select “open image from computer” and find the image you want to turn into a meme.

I found this little guy on pexels.com. Pexels is one of a handful of websites that has royalty free and free for commercial use photos with no attribution required.

Once the photo has been uploaded, move your cursor over the letter “A” located in the toolbar on the left side of the screen. Then place your cursor over the photo where you want the text to go and left click on the mouse. When you do, a text box will pop up on the screen just like the one below.

Next, place your cursor on the down arrow and then scroll down to the font, Impact. This the most common font used when making memes. The text box will also let you change the color of the font. Double-click on the “Color” box located in the lower, right corner and select the font you want. I always choose white which has the hexidecimal code of #ffffff.

After that font has been selected, turn your caps lock on – assuming you want the text to be in all caps. Typically the captions on memes are written in all caps but it’s not necessarily a requirement. Then start typing.

Generally the font is set to a default size, to change the size there are a couple of options. The first is to change the font size with in the text box. It’s located on the lower left side. However, sometimes even after you max out the size of the font within the text box, you may decide you need the font to be even larger.

To make the font even larger, you’ll need to rasterize the layer.

Then you’ll need to use the free transform tool to increase the size of the font.

When you select free transform, a blue box will appear around the text.

Now all you need to do is place your cursor on one of the corner boxes and while holding down the shift key, drag it out until you get the size that you want. You can also use the free transform tool to move the entire text box around so you can place the text anywhere on the photo.

***If you want to have two lines of text, one on top of the photo and one on the bottom, you will need two text boxes. To get the second text box, click on the “A” and then tap anywhere on the screen to get an additional text box to pop up.***

At this point you could call it done, but I like to take one more step. In order to make sure the font can be read, I like to place a black border around it.

To place a black border around the letters, you’ll need to turn your attention to the far right side of the screen.

Double-click on the small folder that has a star sticking out of its right side. It’s circled in yellow in the photo above.

Another box will pop up with options of Drop Shadow, Inner shadow, Bevel, Outer Glow and Inner Glow. Select Outer Glow and then double-click on the words “Outer Glow”.

When you double-click on Outer Glow, another box pops up.

Change “Hardness” to 3 and “Size” to 5. If the “Color” box isn’t already black, double-click on it to open the color wheel.

If you want the letters to have a black outline type in six zeros (000000) in the box with the hashtag next to it. Or you can just look for black in the color wheel. I find it’s faster to enter the hexidecimal code into the box than it is to fight the color wheel but that’s just me.

Once you’ve completed this step, you’ll have a finished meme ready to save to your computer.

This is my final product and in case you’re wondering, I borrowed the caption from one of my favorite movies, “Home.” Also, if you’re wondering about the black outline – this is one of my first memes and I did not use it for this caption because I didn’t feel it was necessary but on most of the memes I’ve created, I have used a black outline to make the font easier to read.

Also, I created my own personal watermarks on this photo – one connecting the photo to my blog and the other giving credit to pexels.com – the website where I found the photo of the raccoon. Technically no attribution is required but I still like giving credit to the website where I found it.

My next blog post will be on how to create a watermark so you can protect your personal photos when using them on your websites.

Calling all writers! We are now accepting submissions for the October issue.  The theme is “What Lies Beneath?” Shadows under an old porch? A strange burial mound? A sandbox? Tell us your stories! The deadline for this issue is August 30, 2017!

 

 

 

 

Formatting – It’s Not That Hard

I read and edit a lot of writers’ works during the course of a month. Some plot lines need help, some need punctuation work, some need help with vocabulary. What I see most of is basic trouble with format. It’s not rocket science and formatting a document isn’t trying to use an architectural program to design a sky scraper or a complex wiring diagram. But formatting is just as important because a good format makes the work EASIER TO READ. I yelled that last part.

Perhaps the problem began with emails. People stopped indenting for paragraphs and went to a block format. That’s fine in email, but please, not in writing. Yes, yes, I know people are using it now in business writing. But it’s ugly and inelegant. Stop it.

And there are hosts of other issues. Today, I’m going to attempt to explain how to correctly set up a format that can be used and acceptable for most applications.

 

Page Set-up

Most applications ask for 8.5 X 11 paper with 1-inch margins. This is done by selecting the PAGE LAYOUT tab in your Word document. From there you can select the margin size, page orientation, number of columns, and page size. You click on each one and use the drop-down list to make your selections.

 

 

 

 

 

Text Set-up

Once your frame is set up, now to set up the text. This is the important part because this is what your recipient reads. Yes, you want the text to be quality, but if the format isn’t conducive to reading then it can’t be read. Our requirements are:

Font: Times New Roman – because a serif font is easier to read than a sans serif font.

Size: 12 pt. type – because it is a comfortable size to read. Too small (less than 11 pt) or too big (more than 14) is uncomfortable for reading for prolonged periods of time.

Spacing: Double space – because it makes reading faster and allows the eyes to see the individual lines for corrections that need to be made.

Indentation: First lines of paragraphs indented 0.5″ – because it indicates a new paragraph rather than a full pause or separation in the narrative.

Justification: Left justified (meaning it lines up evenly along the left-hand side of the page) – because it is easier to read and scan for line breaks.

All of these things can be done mostly in one place. From the HOME tab in your Word Document you can set the font and size. In the same HOME tab you can use the PARAGRAPH drop-down chart and set the rest of the parameters.

Just doing these simple few things will make reading your work easier for you to proofread as well as for any editor or agent to whom you are submitting your stories.

And not just for your stories. Try it with memos, letters, or anything that you need to write/type text. Your reader will thank you because it is easy to read. And it makes a terrific professional presentation. 

 

 

 

 

The July issue

I spend a great deal of time critiquing other people’s work.  Sometimes I do this for money but most often I do it so that they’ll, in turn, critique my work and help me make it better.  I help them, they help me.  Sounds nice, doesn’t it?

The fact is, I really enjoy critiquing works and the whole feeling that I have something worthwhile to contribute to the story they’re writing.  As I’m not naturally a confident person, this feeling is born from experience rather than innate self-worth.  Others have judged my critiques to be worthwhile and sought them out, sometimes paying me for my “expertise” but most often asking for my assistance on my favorite critiquing website (Scribophile).  Like I wrote, it’s gratifying to be part of an author’s journey in any capacity, but most especially when they invite you into the circle like that.  It’s even more gratifying to feel worthy of being a part of an author’s journey.  I’ve worked hard to get to this point as a writer.  I’m not sure I’m expressing this well, but I hope the point comes across.

The darker side of this critiquing, though, is that I rarely read for pleasure anymore, and when I do I find myself critiquing the work automatically.  Still, those times come when I just don’t want to think about how a story is written and just want to enjoy it.  Tonight was just such a night, and lo and behold a new Pilcrow and Dagger had just come out.  I was behind on my issues anyway, so I took the opportunity to get current.  And what a joy that was!  Not just because it was Pilcrow and Dagger, but because the stories were a real treat to read.  And I was only tempted a dozen times to email the authors and make suggestions!!!  That’s a joke for those who don’t critique a lot of works.  It really does affect how you read for fun.

I’m just a little ways into Conspiracy Theories (aka the July issue) and am looking forward to more rewarding stories.  When I get another chance to read for pleasure.  Which reminds me of the motto I often use here:

Life is short.  Read fast.

Portfolio

Recently I was asked to submit some writing samples from my portfolio. That sounds like it should be easy enough; I’m a writer, I have samples. But I discovered that as hyper organized I am about my projects and time, my actual storage of my writing needs some work. Yes, all of my writing is on a computer – either the laptop or the desktop – possibly in Dropbox, or on a thumb drive in the desk drawer, or the end table drawer, or my purse. See, it took me all day to locate some writing samples that were “okay” and I don’t like my writing anyway so then I was depressed all night because the samples I selected I felt needed apologizing for. This is not the place I need to be in and I’m sure that many writers need to get their act together as well.

Writing is a profession. And we should treat it as such. I have a resume and portfolio that highlights everything I’m accomplished for every job/career I’ve had. Samples, charts, graphs, bullet points, you name it. Yet, my writing career? My passion in life? Yeah, squat. My stuff is scattered in random files, across several devices. Some have several drafts not labeled other than writing1 or story2. GAH! What is that?! That’s not how I am, so why did I do that? Apparently, I need work on this. Sooo, when I return from vacation and school resumes, I will be turning my hyper focused attention to organizing my writing and editing portfolio.

The best way to do this? Well, here’s my plan:

  1. Create a mega folder in Dropbox. This allow access to my writing from the desktop, laptop, tablet and phone.
  2. Inside the mega folder, create subfolder labeled with each writing – newspaper articles, short stories, novels, blogs, etc.
  3. Within each subfolder label the writing as draft1title, draft2title, draft3title, finishedtitle.
  4. Save each subfolder on it’s own LABELED thumb drive so I have a digital back up.
  5. Print each finishedtitle so I have a physical copy because I’m old. These will be stored in binders on the bookshelf.

I don’t know if the samples I sent will tickle the fancy of the editor. The odds are low. I’m not sad. However, the request did bring to light a glaring problem I have and for that I’m glad. How do you store your work? Do you treat your writing passion as a profession? Is your portfolio put together and organized? What is your system?

Very soon the submission window for the August/September issue will close. The theme is “That’s Gonna Leave A Mark.” So, if you’ve been damaged, traumatized, broken or bruised, write it down and let us know! We will begin accepting submissions for the October 2017 Issue. The theme will be “What Lies Beneath.” Any deep dark secrets? Skeletons in the closet or under the bed? Told any half-truths? Bet you can’t creep us out!

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