Thousands and thousand of years ago people used pictures to represent words and ideas. This is why Chinese is such a bastard to learn. There are literally hundreds of thousands of pictures. Ancient Egypt improved on the picture system, cutting down the number of symbioses to a mere two thousand. Egypt's neighbors were like, yeah this is cool! And we can function with even fewer symbols.
Then Egypt's neighbor's neighbors were like, "Yo, neighbors. We can get this down to twenty-six letters that can be combined to make words which can represent ideas and shit."
And that was the year the word was big news-- you know, as cool a concept as the Ipad. Speaking of the Ipad, around the time it was revealed and the smart phone became the thing, symbols started reappearing everywhere.
My account began to look like this
So all across the world, everybody was all aboard on the icon effect. The more icons the merrier. Sure, the same icon on one site didn't/doesn't exactly take you to the same content on another, but hey icon not find.
And so today's language is changing, not only in the traditional sense of adding new slang, new words (muggle anyone) but also with icons and emoticons. If you live abroad (ahem, South Korea) you might even find yourself wondering what do all these butt faces mean?
Gold mining is often asociated with getting rich fast. Writing is also often associated with this as well. The average Joe, Jane and Dick think that writers in general are rich.... that writing a book in and of itself is a way to get rich quick.
I think the real reason I like Gold Rush is not gold, but how hard the people work. There's also a gamblers element to the work, something I think every writer can understand. We are all estentially rolling the dice, playing for a chance at the big time.
However, reaching the big time rarely comes without struggle. And whether it e mining for gold or writng stories, tears will be shed. Perhaps the most interesting part about it is, is not the pursuit of riches, but the pursuit of a dream.
Gold miners don't quit their job because they struck it rich. In fact they reinvest almost all their earnings back into mining. Why?
I think it's the because the pursuit is more rewarding than the destination. In other words, life's about the journey. Remember smell those freaking roses... or diseal fumes, horse manure, or old glue bound books. Smell it and weep because it's rarely about the money.
1. distress or uneasiness of mind caused by fear of danger or misfortune: He felt anxiety about the possible loss of his job.
2. earnest but tense desire; eagerness: He had a keen anxiety to succeed in his work.
3. Psychiatry. a state of apprehension and psychic tension occurring in some forms of mental disorder.
Synonyms Douglas anxiety.
Micheal J. Douglas
Escalator anxiety I'm going to get you.
I suffered from this. (Hey, they're dangerous.)
Anxiety: See, I was right.
The also are infested with sharks.
Now I have empty wallet anxiety.
Yell at your anxiety Kicking anxiety in the ass.
Anxiety is a voice in your head. It sends us a message that things are not right. But if you're like me, it never shuts up.
Me: "Shut up!"
Roommate: "Who are you yelling at."
Me: "Myself. Why?"
Roommate: "I don't know.... Because it's weird that's why."
Me: "You wanna know what's weird?"
Roommate: "Please, no."
Me: "Yelling works."
Anxiety is sneaky Never say never
If you're like me, you spend an enormous amount of effort convincing the voice of impending doom that nothing is going to happen and then a guy walks up to you and says:
"Hi, I'm you're stalker."
And it was creepy enough when he did it outside your house. But, when you reaching into your closet and he hands you your favorite dress, anxiety takes over.
Is this really what I want to wear? What necklace should I wear with it? Also, what's my stalker doing in my closet?
ps. This never happened.
And that's anxiety
How about you? What's anxiety to you?
I want to thank Ginny for letting us look at her work. I know this will be helpful to a lot of writers.
Ginny has done an okay job with format. One the plus side, she has everything an editor wants: her name, address, email the page numbers, word count and double spacing.
2. She'll left align her address and right aline her page numbers. Here I'f just put of bunch of spaces. You can also input a text box, set tabs, or creat an invisible graph. While it's uncommon for an editor to call her, it does happen. Especially, if the publication is approaching a deadline and Ginny isn't returning emails. Always include a contact number.
I've also removed the bold from 1 and 2. Writers want to draw the editors attention to their prose.
3. We're going to put some spaces between the tittle and her personal information. I like to put 12 single spaces or 6 double spaces. There's not set rule here, but your title should start about halfway down the page.
4. The title is centered and the biggest text. It doesn't hurt to make your title memorable.
5. Always put a by line. It may seem redundant but if the author uses a pen name, it's obvious because it's different from the name in the personal information. If the names are the same, the editor knows this author doesn't have a pen name.
6. I like to put for lines, but the exact number doesn't matter. If your unsure, zoom out and see out it looks. An editor should be able to read the title when he or she is doing a preview.
*** Later in this tale becomes nested.There are standard ways to format a nested story, but Ginny has chosen non-standard format that means extra work for the editor. It can also indicate other things that Ginny would prefer the editor didn't know about her reading habits. And hey, the assumptions the editor makes about this things could be entirely wrong.
But it was your first impression and rarely do writers get the chance for a second impression.
Something of Value by Ginny Swart (Original)
Hugh Forrester, Andre’s grandfather, spent most days slumped on a chair in the corner of the sitting room, champing his gums and making loud sucking noises. Sometimes he muttered wordlessly under his breath. Mostly, he stared out of the window, his milky grey eyes fixed on something distant and unseen, with his claw-like fingers rubbing his knees, up- and- down, up- and- down. He smelled stale, although his daughter Meg laid out clean underwear for him every day.
Andre’s friends who came to play just grimaced at each other, too polite to comment, but he was mortified that his grandfather had to be seen at all.
“Must Granddad sit there all the time?” he complained, “Can’t he stay in his room? He doesn’t even know what’s going on. He wouldn’t notice if you just left him in his room with the door shut.”
Andre's grandfather spent most days slumped on a chair in the corner of his living room, rubbing his knees with his claw-like fingers rubbing his knees, up- and- down, up- and- down. As he stared, he champed his gums, making loud sucking noises. Sometimes, he muttered under his breath. Mostly, he stared out of the window, his milky grey eyes fixed on something distant and unseen. He smelled stale, although Andrew's mother dressed his grandfather in clean clothes every day.
Whenever Andre’s friends came to play, they were polite, but Andrew always saw them grimace. He was mortified that his grandfather had to be seen at all. At dinner one night after his friends had gone home, Andrew slumped in his chair.
“Must Granddad sit there all the time?” he complained, “Can’t he stay in his room? He doesn’t know what’s going on. He wouldn’t notice if we just left him in his room with the door shut.”
Why I did what I did.
If we want to sell work, we have to look at the business aspect of writing. People kind of look at business as cold and calculating, but the issue is more complex.
In the first corner we have readers. These people are not writers and for the most part they don't care about grammar. They want to enjoy reading and be entertained by a story. .
In the second corner, we have the publisher. Sometimes the publisher and editor on one in the same, but usually. The publisher wants to make money. His or her job goal is to make a product that people will buy.
In the third corner is the author, who wants to make a living writing without compromising vision.
And being pulled three ways is the editor who must balance the writers artistic vision with the market (who the readers are greatly affect what kind of content a publisher will buy and what flaws they will accept) and the needs of the company.
I've mentioned all this because, none of my changes were arbitrary. Ginny's story is publishable, but it contains structural issues that might make selling it hard.
Point of view (POV).
There are three characters and the narrator takes all three points of view. However, this in not a case of Omniscient narration. Whether it's first, second, third, omniscient and limited omniscient, whatever POV the writer chooses, he or she must do it in a way that says "I'm in control of the prose."
Hugh Forrester, Andre’s grandfather, spent most days slumped on a chair in the corner of the sitting room champing his gums and making loud sucking noises. Sometimes, he muttered wordlessly under his breath. This is a very vivid description. However, Hugh Forrester is introduced as Andre's grandfather. Readers don't know who Andre is. Also, Andre has taken possession of Hugh Forrester (and later Hugh takes possession of Meg), which suggests the main character is Andre.... or wait, is it Hugh? The entire first paragraph is about him. Readers are very forgiving. They want to go where a writer takes but they can't because the author's intent isn't clear. A publishing company isn't going to make money buy confusing readers. I recommend third person, not because the rule book says multiple POVs is bad. Later in the story it becomes clear that Andre is the main character (MC) and the scope of the story calls for third person.
This is pretty much how sentences are put together. Structure affect how reader enjoyment. 90% of communication is physical. Writers cannot use gestures, tone or facial expressions to convey their message when the recipient gets confused. All you have only the words on the page.
Mostly, he stared out of the window, his milky grey eyes fixed on something distant and unseen, with his claw-like fingers rubbing his knees up- and- down, up- and- down.
(There are some very complex structural issued going on. There is no simple explanation. However, to help you see it, I've color coded the the sections. Light red and red are related. Red, is actually an independent sentence that's been spliced to the first. It could stand on it's own but the comma splice makes the entire sentence function like an adjective. The blue sentence should read
rubbing his knees up-and-down, up-and-down with claw-like fingers. But it can't because the subject of the previous sentence is eyes. "Grey eyes fixed, rubbing..." The eyes are doing the rubbing.
We could change 'with' to 'and' and 'rubbing to 'rubbed.'
Mostly, he stared out of the window, his milky grey eyes fixed on something distant and unseen, and his claw-like fingers rubbed his knees up- and- down, up- and- down.
This works but I didn't do this my example because rubbing is more tactile than staring. There is no definite rule on this, but grouping similar actions together affects readability.
He smelled stale, although his daughter Meg laid out clean underwear for him every day. This sentence is fine but later on this page there is a continuity issue. Grandpa is completely unaware of his surroundings so how can he put on his own underwear?
Andre’s friends who came to play just grimaced at each other, too polite to comment, he was mortified that his grandfather had to be seen at all.
This sentence has several complex structural issues.
Orange: Here's an example as to why pronouns are tricky. The pronoun applies to proceeding antecedent. In other 'he' is Andre's friends and that doesn't make sense. Of course readers will understand what is meant. If this story were to be published on a blog or maybe released as a single on Kindle, this probably won't hurt Ginny's career one whit. However, if she wants to sell this story, an editor is going to know that Ginny doesn't know this is wrong. If the editor were to correct the structure, might have to explain the grammar rule. Now, if there were no other structural errors in the story, this might not even get changed.
Green: This defines which of Andrew's friends. This description would be necessary if we had met Andrew's friends and knew which ones came to play and which ones didn't. It's a great shorthand technique to use in longer works. Descriptions like this can trigger a collection of information without rehashing a lot of details.
Purple: There is correct. I only changed this part because I wanted to show how ideas can effect comprehension. Which way was easier to read? Which style do you like more.
Timeline: Above we've jumped to an event that spans past present and future. (The first paragraph does this to some extent as well.) Below is a specific event. While it's okay to jump into dialogue, readers need help transition from a very wide time span to one that is very specific.
“Must Granddad sit there all the time?” he complained, “Can’t he stay in his room? He doesn’t even know what’s going on. He wouldn’t notice if you just left him in his room with the door shut.”
Even though I know 'he' means Andrew, grammatically speaking, "Grandfather" is "he."
Soon I'm going to zip my lips. Well, to be precise, bind my fingers so I can't type, but first:
Whatever flaws a story has with character, setting or plot, there are plenty of readers who will not only enjoy it, but fall in love. Readers are not writers. It's easy to forget that when you spend all your time getting critique from writers. And the truth is, after a certain point all the stuff you do in critique doesn't affect saleability. It affects your ability to write, but it can't remove the element of luck in getting published. The other truth is, the more you sell the easier it is to sell. This has a lot less to do with begin known and more to do with knowing how to dress your manuscript. If you're searching for your first sale there are three things you must do.
1. Knock on a lot doors.
2. Wear your pants and put on your shirt.
3. Better yet, don some slacks and button down.
Thank you Ginny. I know many writers will appreciate and benefit from looking at your lovely story through this perspective.
I had some old bananas and because of my impending <strike>dislocation</strike> relocation, I decided to made banana nut bread. I'm trying to use stuff up. I don't have any walnuts on hand, but I do have some pecans. I tossed in a pack of banana pudding because hate banana pudding in and of itself. My friends sent it too me from home in case you're wondering.
Anyway, adding pudding to a cake mix will result in a moister cake so I thought I'd try it with the banana bread. I didn't quite have enough flour so I took the trash out and stopped off at the Family Mart on the first floor of my building. They don't have much of a baking section, but I remembered seeing some flour. The single small bag was still gathering dust next to several bags of sugar which were not not dusty. I whooped with joy and grabbed a diet coke from the cooler. I got a bemused look from the cashier at the register.
This was about 10:30. Before bedtime shoppers are usually after beer, ice cream, and chips. There were two Koreans loading up on this goodies as I made my purchase. They too, gave me a bemused look and about ten minutes ago some neighbors stopped to linger outside my door. The scent of fresh banana bread has apparently escaped into the hall.
This might seem counter intuitive to buy more flour when I'm trying to use things up, but I have some pie filling I've been sitting on. It's not easy to come by here and I can't remember exactly where I got it, but I do remember when my shelf had a can of pumpkin, a can cherry and two cans of blueberry pie filling. That was probably two years ago. Anyway, I've one can of blueberry left and now that I'm returning to the land of perpetual pie ( You didn't know that is a nick name for the United States? Well, it is now.) it seems kind of silly that I waited so long to use it.
I'll probably give the pie to my boss, though I'll grab a slice when everybody at work sits down to eat it. The next few weeks they're going to discover some delicious surprises. I wouldn't say I have a lot of special stuff waiting to be cooked, but with only three weeks left, I can probably prepare two special dishes each week. it also means the hall is going to be smelling pretty sweet in the days to come. None of this is import.
Except maybe one thing. The power of smells, particularly smells of fresh backed deserts. My neighbors have not grown up with these scents. They do not recall their grandmother pulling a fresh pie out of the oven on Thanksgiving. They do not have the memory knowledge to distinguish pumpkin pie from apple pie from banana bread. And yet it compelled them nonetheless to linger. It could just be coincidence but I don't think so. In the 18 months I've lived here, not once has any one lingered. To me, that is proof of the power of a smell.
If there was a theme song for your life, what would it be?
What a stupid question.
We go through phases. Our theme songs change. There isn't one for an entire life, or at least there shouldn't be. A month ago my theme song would have been a classic. Something stable. Now that I'm leaving South Korea and everything is in a state of upheaval, maybe half of it is a sad country song about leaving a place you love, but the other half is heavy metal, kiss my %$#@.
Since everything is changing, it seemed like a good time to update the blog thing.
There is a time for everything. For example, the time to eat pie is always.
Not everything is like pie. Take coming and going. They are as unlike pie as mice are unlike elephants.
Living abroad, even with the occasional break, is like living in perpetual mental ward. Life can be very, very good-- there is something about being abroad in and of itself that is like happy gas-- but you still are in another universe where the dots do not quite connect. These are not always specific things. Sometimes it's just a longing for x to be like it is back home.
Scientists have developed a word to describe this complex relationship. It's called homesickness. Most people feel homesick within the first six months of leaving their country of origin. I did not. I did not feel it the first year or the second. At of this has to do with my lack of family relations in the states. But starting with my third year, homesickness slowly took up residence. I didn't even know it was there in the beginning.
There is a time to stay and a time to go. It's hard to know exactly when that time is, but if fear is your biggest obstacle, then the time is now. I am terrified of returning to the United States and the depressed job market that sent me abroad in the first place. But I am so very happy to be going home, a place where there are 500 kinds of cereal even though I only usually buy Raisin Brain and Oat Meal. Mostly, I just want to be confounded by choice.
Today I set down to setup an accounting system for my story sales. You know because I've just sold so many stories. (I'm being a touch sarcastic in case that isn't clear.)Before 2011 writing income was zero.
In 2011 it jumped to just shy of $200.00
In 2012 it's dropped to $35.00
I stand my ground firmly that anything is better than zero. However, if you calculate the hours of each story took to write and revise, I made .00001 per hour on each of the stories. Think it gets better when you sell a book. Nope. Lets say you spend 20 hours a week x 51 weeks. ( You took a week off , you probably invested more than 20 hours but you have a day job so it wasn't 40.) That's 10,200 hours. You snare an agent. The agent asks for revisions. The revisions take 5000 hours. Now your at 15,200 hours. You snare a publisher who is willing to give you a $10,o00.00 advance. It feels like you won the lottery. You happily pay your agent her 15%.
You are asked to revise more. You spend another 5000 hours. You are now at 20,200 hours on this book. But there's book signings and a lot of stuff. You can add another 20,000 hours of work. You're now at 40,200 hours. But thanks to all your hard work, your book has sold a gazillion copies, for which you get a 25% royalty. You're agent takes her 15% of your 25%. In other words your actually royalty is closer to 1.6%. ( I haven't studied math for years so I Googled the answer. Google might be wrong =)
You sold 1 million titles at $10.00. In other words you sold 10 million dollars worth of books. Your royalty check isn't $16,000 dollars. You got the advance remember. You get a check for $6,000.
On this book you made about 30 cents an hour. Now all you have to do is pay Uncle Sam his share and deduct your travel expenses. Of course if you could find a minimum wage job that you loved as much as writing, you would have made $281, 400 before taxes for your 40,200 hours.
"That's why I'm going Indie," you say.
Indie authors aren't doing any better than agented authors. They make a high royalty of up to 70% but selling volume is troublesome. And unless you can edit like a pro, you'll have to hire somebody. Minus cover art, marketing, etc. it comes down to about the same. Few people get rich writing. Hell unless you can live off .30 an hour one should never look at writing as financial decision. Do it because you love it.
Warning: I'm feeling reflective!
In life, we are always in transit, phasing from who we were to who we are. Just a minute ago you were someone different and in a minute you'll be different still.
Sometimes there is a thing we want to return to-- perhaps because we promised ourselves we wold-- only to discover you cannot go back.
For me this has been the cello. Middle school was hell and my home life was a fast sinking ship that ended in foster care. I found refuge in the school orchestra. I was lucky because the school kept donated instruments for poor kids could borrow. This meant anyone could play. This meant I could play.
Despite having loner instruments, I was a rare bird from a different class of people. The loners were most often used by the kids who had forgotten their violin, viola, bass or cello at home. Many of the kids had been playing since they were four or five. None had picked up an instrument for the first time in middle school.
The music teacher was clear that I was at a deficit with no experience and no money for private instruction. She wasn't not trying to dissuade me, but rather prepare for the reality. I could not expect to up with my peers. I had not met an adult who met the issues head on, did not deny them. These are the facts girl. You need to give up your lunch everyday and practice on the weekends. And even if you practice until your fingers bleed. You can't keep up with the kids and their private instructors.
I was not raised high class, but I came to roost there with books, art, writing, equestrian pursuits and music nonetheless. As with art, music was just something I could do. I was not by any means a savant. I gave up my lunches. I took the cello home on the bus every weekend-- endured the jeers this brought.
Picture a chubby girl with a wondering eye who always wore sweat pants and ugly second hand snake skin glasses because her mother had decided to fight the status quo with bad taste. Picture her on any bus with any group of middle school age children.
I might have well hung a sign around my neck that read: Please tease the shit out of me.
Perhaps it was watching me try so hard, always coming up a little short, but I worked my way into my music teacher's heart. Soon, she too was giving up her lunches to give me the private instruction I could not afford. When at 14, I transitioned from living with my mother to living in the home of strangers, I had the cello. And I would have kept the cello. But high school came there were no instruments to borrow. And then I was at a different high school with no orchestra. (To my foster mother's relief. She knew had to deal with drugs and criminal behavior, but not an okay cellist/aspire equestrian/avid reader/artist. I've never been one to follow the crowd, what can I say.) So, I joined choir.
In orchestra, when one of the kids, but particular this one boy, set about making fun, I pick up my bow and play until my heart danced with music. Because I made my heart dance, the music wasn't bad. But again, no savant. Yet this boy and the others were silenced by not bad because it was so unexpected.
I could not achieve not bad in choir because I was just plain old bad. The old adage, practice makes perfect, isn't always true. Practice only made me a bad singer who had practiced.
Fast forward some fifteen years, and I finally bought myself a cello. It was a rocky start but, to the surprise of my Korean instructor, I was not bad. Over the course of six months I progressed from Suzuki book one to book four and that's where things stalled.
Whenever I listen to classical music I get an itch to play,but this and passion are two different things. I have had my cello for nearly three years and aside from those first few months, I rarely play it. Twice in the last year in fact. So I put it up for sale because it is a cumbersome object for one with no roots and In six months, I'm going to spread my wings.
I'm not coordinated enough to fly so lets say I'll plummet into the next phase of my life. With an international job, and perhaps after some stateside time, more international work, such a large object as a cello presents nothing but obstacles and unnecessary relocating expenses.
For numerous and logical reasons, parting with the large musical instrument I don't play is the right thing to do. Yet our present is inevitably tied to our past by strings. For me the strings are pretty literal. Mostly though, it's breaking the promise I made to the little girl I once was. I promised her that one day I would buy a cello and play until I stopped being little short, that I would play until the bill was paid in full.
Well, I did get a cello, but I don't play and I'm still a little short. I think I just summed up some inexplicable part of life. It's not what I expected, but it's not so bad either.
So far this month I've had three short stories held for further consideration, one of which was rejected yesterday, and six form letters.
Agent wise I've received five: Dr. Uwe Stender of TriadaUS Literary Agency,Bernadette Baker-Baughman of Victoria Sanders & Associates, Jennifer Azantian of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency, Michelle Andelman of Regal Literary, Inc. I mention them by name because I wanted to thank them without clogging their in-boxes. These are great agents that any author would be lucky to have.
So agents thank you for rejecting me. I mean this with all sincerity.
Since I started querying in August I've sent out forty or so queries and gotten about 15 rejections. I've made no secrete how I feel about agents whose response is silence. (I don't like it=(
Rejections suck until you experience the alternative: silence= no. Not "maybe," not she/he's seriously considering the story, just "no." Silence was once a place were writers found hope, delusional as it may have been, that their work was a contender.
Now, I treasure each form letter. I appreciate them so much that, if they weren't electronic, I might even be caught petting the paper "No" is written upon. In the meantime, I've settle for stroking the computer screen and saying "This isn't what you think," to the coffee shop staff as I'm escorted out of the cafe`. "I got a form rejection from an agent today and I just wanted to give it some love."
"How does that improve this situation?" the Korean man said in perfect English.
M.R. Jordan is a writer, editor, sporadic blogger, and lover of beer. Lives in South Korea with her two cats, Bear and Geumbi.
Bear (Gom in Korean) then (above) now (below)
Geumbi (Gold in English)... then (above) and now (below).