Archive for October, 2010

I’m excited and flattered that a publisher has expressed interest in publishing my “other” blog as a book. (Old School) Yay!!! Publishers liking my writing! That’s a good thing.

There are so many questions, though.

How long should it be? Which posts do I choose?

Do I arrange things in categories, like a cookbook? Or do something like “A year of self-reliance” with a project a week?

How many pictures should it have? On the internet pictures don’t cost money. I can load my blog posts up, no problem. But lots of pictures in a printed  book=expensive.

Would I make more money if I self-published it instead?

Would it be dog-ugly if I did?

p.s. if you read the Old School, would you leave me a comment on which post is your favorite? Trying to make some choices…

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(cross posted from Mormon Mommy Blogs)

You say what you want to say. You say it the way you want to say it. Right?

Does it matter if your blog posts follow grammar rules?

There are two sides (at least) to every argument, but the Damsel would like you to consider the following:

1. What is the point of writing? Is it purely self-expression, or is it communication? If it doesn’t matter if anyone understands you, then grammar really isn’t important. If your point is just to bellow a primal scream, feel free to break all the rules.

2. If you want people to understand what you write, then grammar rules are there to smooth the way. It takes practice to write well, but it’s worth the effort because more people will understand you–and that’s the first step in communication.

3. Orson Scott Card has said that in writing, three things are most important: faith, hope and clarity. What is clarity? To write so that your meaning is perfectly clear. Good grammar is a tool to make this possible.

4. Even if it seems that badly written stuff is understandable, you take a risk by writing this way. What’s clear to you may not be clear to someone else when you don’t follow the rules. And, even if your meaning is nice and clear, bad grammar will put some readers off. Maybe you don’t care about that. But the truth is, when that happens, communication ends. And to the Damsel, that’s just plain sad.

5. Not only will correct grammar make you easier to understand, but you’ll look more polished and professional. That doesn’t mean you’ll sound hoity-toity. People will believe what you write. They will connect. Isn’t that what we all want?

So what do you do, beyond taking 7th grade English over again? Here are some suggestions for writing better on your blog:

  • Have someone you trust proofread your posts before making them live.
  • Create your posts in MS Word or another good word processor and take advantage of the built in grammar checker. It’s not always right, but it’s a great place to start.
  • Read a lot. You’ll acquire, over time, a natural feel for correct writing.

Keep in mind that you can still have a comfy, conversational blog style and have correct grammar. Yes! You can have both!

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(crossposted at Old School)

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A lost, unpublished Dr. Seuss book has surfaced. (Well, it’s a book idea. Click New Suess to see.)

I would so wear these.

Dr. Seuss turned learning to read on its head, never to be the same. He taught me how to read, and I still love him with all my heart. So I eagerly looked at the scans and comments of this unpublished book, along with the remarks from his publisher.

I find it utterly unbelievable that the publisher would reject this book instead of suggesting a revision. I mean, come on, the book would be a guaranteed sell. The publisher said it was dumb that the main character fumbles balls instead of catches them, and that would put off the readers. Okay, even if that’s the case, how hard would it be to suggest altering the pictures? But he doesn’t.

Maybe Dr. Seuss would have said, no, I want it to be THIS way. There are plenty of little boys who fumble balls and I want it like THIS.

But he isn’t even given the opportunity. That is a crazy publisher. Or did I miss something?

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It worked for her.

Plotting the Order of the Pheonix:

This is the most fascinating image I’ve looked at in a long time. I love seeing into the mind of J.K. Rowling. There’s so much of this I love. Look at the timeline! The various plotlines charted and kept organized! Chapter titles! Click on the image to see it bigger: zoom in. Look and learn, people.



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I went to a writing workshop Friday and Saturday. I learned some great stuff.

Along with how to shape a scene and to play nice in the author sandbox, I also learned something about myself.

I used to suck everything in at these things. After all, pretty much anyone in the world knew more about writing than I did. But this time, I listened, thought, and then decided I actually disagreed with something that was being taught.  (not you, Annette or Josi)

There’s a certain confidence that wasn’t there before. Maybe I’m not an infant writer anymore. Maybe I’m actually a toddler now.

The fact that I feel all kinds of awkward saying that shows how much a baby I still am.

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photo credit

Wednesday I read pages written by my critique group, red pen in hand. They’re great writers, so there wasn’t much to fix. Just a comma here and there, a funny little misspelling, a viewpoint that needed to be gently pointed back in the right direction.

Later, I found myself editing my closet–taking out summertime clothes, things that no longer fit, things that no longer please me. Fixing a dangly button. Ironing a blouse so it was smooth.

Then, my Wednesday piano students started to arrive. I realized I was editing again. Guiding a hand into the proper shape. Correcting a misplaced note. Making things more harmonious. Shaping a phrase.

I didn’t realize pretty much everything I do is editing.

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