Francis Meyrick

Dropping Anchor at Writers’ Harbor

Posted on July 29, 2011

Dropping Anchor at Writers’ Harbor

If you are sailing into our protected waters for the first time, there are plenty of coves and sheltered bays waiting for your leisure. What follows is a checklist, tongue-in-cheek style, designed to make it easier for new vessels to find their way around…

1. Have you figured out that:
the avatars (photos/logos) of writers on the main page are clickable?
Yes? Go on to 2.
If “no”? Ah, you poor wee timorous beastie. Go to the main page, and choose, say, the top avatar, which is the biggest one, and the last article posted. Click on it. See? Yep, now you go to “Interface #1” which gives you 3 choices, namely “View all works”, “my favorite stories” and “best stories by others”.

2. Have you figured out that:
The three big buttons in the middle (Articles, Authors, News) are clickable?
Yes? Go on to 3.
If “no”? Yes, I know, you struggled with the new toaster as well. There, there. Try it and see. Uh-huh. Works, doesn’t it?
Note: the AUTHORS list only shows those who have actually posted articles or comments.

3. Have you figured out that:
There is a BROWSE function, and you can browse in different ways?
Yes? Go to 4.
Notes: browse by GENRE. We are continuing creating new genres and sub-genres as it were. If your preferred classification isn’t there, just ask, and I will add it.
Browse by AUTHOR. The author avatars are… once again, clickable.
Browse by GROUP. This is being modified/coded as we speak.
Browse by FAMILY. This is being modified/coded as we speak.
Browse by STORY. A search engine. If you remember the title, you’re in luck. If you don’t, you’ve been smoking mushrooms again, right?

4. Have you figured out that:
You can post your work in 2 ways: A. By clicking on the bold words “Post your Work” or B. By clicking on the cartoon of the “letter” being slid into an “envelope”. You will need to be signed in first…. (how’s the toaster going…?)
Now here’s a caution: you are wise to prepare your story on a Word document on your own computer, save it, (always have a backup) and then upload it to WH in “preview ” mode. There will often be some changes you will want to make in “preview ” mode (spacing, indents, font, spelling goblins, etc). THEN DON “T FORGET TO POST IT…
We had a member who said they kept losing their work. Turned out they were “writing in the pre-view mode ” and either forgetting to “post ” it, or scrolling away from the page before “posting ” it. Oops…. now it’s gone. We are working on a piece of code that is meant to warn you before you make this mistake.

5. Have you figured out that:
5 A. You can insert images into your story.
How? Click on the 7th image from the right, bottom row. Up comes this:
Go to Follow their instructions, and upload your own photos, or use somebody else’s. Basically, expect to click on any image in PhotoBucket, and a window will open with the code.
It will look like this:

“Copy” the code for the image. “Paste” that code into the space between . (in this case, delete the two IMG codes) Scroll down to “preview”. Check it out. If you like it, hit “Post”. You are done. Outstanding job. Here you go:

If you don’t know how to “copy and paste”, don’t despair, just find the youngest person you possibly can. Pre-teens are the best. If you can distract them long enough from their I-Phones, they will take pity and explain it to you. Probably very slowly, in words of not more than two syllables. If you’re lucky, they will hold the door open for you as well.

5B. You can insert YOUTUBE videos into your story. How?

Click on the 4th icon from the right, bottom row. You get this:


Now go find a YouTube video you like. Here, I’m biased of course, but how about
“Bob Seger – wait for me “

Find the video. Click on “share “.
Down pops this code:

Now: CAUTION. If you stick the WHOLE code between the two youtube brackets above, it will NOT work. All you have to do is use the actual number of the video, in this case, what comes after the last slash.

So we get rid of all those XXXX’s, pop in the number above, and, hey presto, we get:

Is that cool, or what?
Now you can get your own back on that pre-teen whipper-snapper with the I-phone. Next time he opens the door for you, you can tell him what you did, and watch his expression…

5C. Hyperlinks
A hyperlink typically is a word or an icon, that you click on, and it takes you to anywhere else in cyberspace. So let’s say I was talking about Damian’s story “The Housekeepers ” and I wanted it so that “The Housekeepers ” was a hyperlink straight to his story. How do I do that?
1) Decide on the sentence. E.G. “The Housekeepers ” is Damian’s first poem.
2) this is tricky: you have to place the cursor to the left of the “T ” with one finger, whilst the other finger holds down the left mouse button. Then “drag ” the blue ribbon that appears, all along the name “The Housekeepers “.
3) Now click on the 8th icon from the right, bottom row. (like a globe)
You will get this: url=]The Housekeepers[/url
No, you’re not finished. The hyperlink genie knows you want a hyperlink, but it doesn’t know WHERE you want to link to. For that, you are going to have to open Damian’s story. Now go to the address bar at the very top. Copy it.
You are now copying the URL:
Now, have a stiff drink first. This is the bit when you’ll need it.
Place the cursor positively in front of the “h ” of “http “.
Now PASTE that URL.
You get this:
url=]The Housekeepers[/url
No, you’re still not done. Close, but no cigar. Now you have to delete the example part. Delete this part:
And NOW… (hic!)… you should get:

url=] “The Housekeepers “[/url is Damian’s first poem.
I have deliberately left the brackets off the end, deliberately, otherwise the link will activate, and I can’t show you the code.
Last step, I will ADD the brackets back in. You don’t have to do this step.
And you get… you get…

“The Housekeepers “ is Damian’s first poem.

Is that clever, or what? Tell the pre-teen I-phone kid to take a hike. Grandma can do it herself…

5D. Background

The background function is the 6th icon from the right, bottom row.
Basically it means you can enter words over the top of a background image. For that to work well, and to be able to read the words, you will need to play around with a photo editing program, and produce a very light image, or fade down the contrast.

6. View all Works
As stated above, you get there by clicking on anybody’s avatar, and landing on what we call “Interface # 1 “. It works all right when there are not too many works. However, we soon realized there were problems. If you click on my avatar (The Buddhist monk showing his contempt for worldly matters by blowing bubbles) and then hit “view all works “, you will see what I mean.
Yep, 14 pages of titles. Too many scribbles. It’s a mess. Sure, you could wade through the genres, but it’s still akin to a pig in the poke. After some thought, we came up with several different solutions…

My Favorite Stories
If you click on that icon, you get a list of stories I kind of like. That, somehow, clicked with me. The list of stories I have selected (and you can do the same with your works) are all hyperlinks. I.E. they are “clickable ” and that takes you straight to the story.
How do you make one of your own stories show up on your “personal favorites ” list? Look up at the top right, and you will see a button labelled “Favorites “.
Click it.
How do you make somebody else’s story appear in your personal collection under the icon “Favorite Stories by Others “? Exact same button. Easy.
You might consider “favoriting ” this “how to ” guide, because we will be expanding on it as we go along, and then it will be easy to find.
And there is more…

8. The “SERIES ” Function
Okay, so you have clicked on the tipsy monk, then (hic!) clicked on “My Favorite Stories “. From the long list of… scribbles, you have selected, let’s say, “A Blip on the Radar – Eyes of Dead Man “. You click on it, and now you are in the story. Now comes the clever bit. (Roll of the drums). Look to the left. Do you see, in black, “SERIES THIS BELONGS TO ” ? Well, you are in Part 8, but all the other parts are listed there. If you want, you can go back to the beginning, or pick any other story from that particular series.
This SERIES function is available to all members. Next question you will ask is: “How do I use the SERIES function? ” Answer: make sure you post your stories FIRST. It’s 2 separate actions. Don’t try and create a SERIES while you are posting a story, because you will get confused. Once your stories (or chapters) are posted, then go top right to “My Account “. Click on it. Look over to the left. You will see “Create Series “. Click on it. Fill a title of the series into the small top box. “The adventures of Delilah, a novel in 20 chapters “. Now in the larger box below, you should see ALL the works you have posted on the site. DRAG which ever ones you wish all the way down to the bottom, to the third box, the one that says “Works in Series “. Once you have them there, you hit the APPLY button, and you are DONE. If you are planning to post 20 chapters, you can create the SERIES function after posting only 2 chapters. Then every time you post another chapter, you update the series. Now the method for UPDATING AN ALREADY EXISTING SERIES is slightly different. Remember, you are not “Creating it “. You are just adding another chapter to it.
To achieve this update, open any chapter you wish that is ALREADY part of the series. Look left, and click on the title of the series, just under the phrase in BOLD letters “Series this belongs to “. A new dialogue box will open up, and you then hit EDIT. Now you are back to the boxes already described above.
The SERIES function is great for helping your readers find similar poems or stories to the ones they already like. It took us FOREVER to get this coded up, but now it works flawlessly. I use it all the time. Try it, you will like it. Applaud

9. Best Stories by Others

If you go back to Interface # 1 (by clicking on anybody’s avatar) you will also see an icon called “Best Stories by Others “. I actually think this is an important function, and a great way for every member to participate in the site. If you really like somebody’s work, consider “adding it to your personal collection “. If you look at the top of the writer’s story, to the right, you will see either:
“Be the first person to favorite this story “
“Favorited (3 times) ” Clapping
You get the idea. Such positive votes push the story up the search rankings. This is a new piece of code, and it’s not got many hits yet. But as time goes by, it will hopefully be a real help. The search results will show up in the next function….

If you click on the ARTICLES button, of the 4 columns we have, 2 are dedicated to search functions. The left column gives you “most visited ” and the next column gives you “Most Favorited “… So you see how we are constantly trying to give both readers and writers creative tools. The big benefit of owning our own code is that we can constantly play around with it. The “fine tweaking ” never stops!

11. Writer’s Personal Studio

I mentioned how the “view all works ” starts becoming swamped when you get a whole lot of works. The SERIES function, the FAVORITES, and the different GENRE choices are all different attempts to empower YOU. But there is more…
I got this idea from watching a former girl friend move about her pottery and photo studio. It was more than pottery and photos. She, free as the wind, moved around her little sanctuary as if in a trance. Memories were everywhere, and you
felt privileged to be there. Well, what is neater than having a personal corner of cyberspace, I thought? We created the software for it, and it’s another tool for you. I had a rough shot at it, and one day I will expand on it. To see mine, go to interface # 1, then click “view all works “. Now. Notice that at the very top of the page, it says:

Francis Meyrick’s story guide

and if you want to see the whole thing, you would click on:

[show full guide]

In this area, you can post photos, videos, etc. I started to put in a whole bunch of titles, and many of them have been successfully “hyperlinked “.
It’s another way you can, if you wish go a step further that a brief profile.
I’ve called it a “story guide “, but I’m thinking of calling it a “Personal Space “. It can be anything you want. Photos, favorite music, paintings you have done, your pet donkey, the kids, your ATM pin number, whatever you want.
The options are many. But we’re still not done…

12) Cyber portals

I have experimented with opening several cyber portals into Writers Harbor. Check out this one:

Tunaboat Helicopters

As you can see, it’s a whole web page, with nothing but hyperlinks to various chapters. One web address makes a whole section of stories readily available. So far, we have had 6,000 + hits just on this link. That’s not bad for a bunch of lies. Errr…stories, I mean. The point is: YOU TOO can do this, open a webpage, and LINK INTO Writers Harbor.

(to be continued…)

Last edited by Francis Meyrick on August 8, 2011, 11:08 pm

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