6 02 2018

How the internet changed the way we write – and what to do about it

The usual evolution of English has been accelerated online, leading to a less formal – but arguably more expressive – language than the one we use IRL. So use those emojis wisely …

English has always evolved – that’s what it means to be a living language – and now the internet plays a pivotal role in driving this evolution. It’s where we talk most freely and naturally, and where we generally pay little heed to whether or not our grammar is “correct”.

Should we be concerned that, as a consequence, English is deteriorating? Is it changing at such a fast pace that older generations can’t keep up? Not quite. At a talk in 2013, linguist David Crystal, author of Internet Linguistics, said: “The vast majority of English is exactly the same today as it was 20 years ago.” And his collected data indicated that even e-communication isn’t wildly different: “Ninety per cent or so of the language you use in a text is standard English, or at least your local dialect.”

It’s why we can still read an 18th-century transcript of a speech George Washington gave to his troops and understand it in its entirety, and why grandparents don’t need a translator when sending an email to their grandchildren.

Read further @ The Guardian

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The Rule is Don’t Write a Novel

12 01 2018

THE FIRST RULE OF NOVEL-WRITING IS DON’T WRITE A NOVEL

ELIZABETH PERCER: NINE NON-RULES FOR WRITING

If you’d asked me 15 years ago how I saw my future, I would tell you about all the hard work I’d put into earning my doctorate, about the post doc that promised me a way into a fantastic research opportunity; about the tenure track position I hoped to secure one day. I would tell you all this with a clenched jaw, a fierce smile, and a knot in my belly. Because although I’d spent most of my young life envisioning academic achievement as the pinnacle of success and fulfillment, these goals were forged from a lifetime of trying to measure up. I’d shoved my quirky, not particularly scientific self into a mold that suited my family of physicists, mathematicians, and software designers. But somehow along the way, in measuring myself against those I loved and admired, I forgot to check in to see if there was a form within me that was more essential and less shapely, to see if I had measures of my own to follow.

It wouldn’t be until after several life-altering events—most notably, the birth of my three children in somewhat rapid succession—that I would slowly relinquish my grasp on borrowed titles. Once liberated, however, I found myself in the distinctly uncomfortable position of realizing that original compositions are so much harder to develop than derivative ones, not least because they don’t have the same examples to follow.

Still, like any good academic, I tried for years to work at my writing the same way I’d worked at anything. I pushed myself. I was stern with myself. I created strict rules to follow and chastised myself when I didn’t follow them. When that didn’t work, I looked to experts, who told me that I needed to write for about the same time every day in the same place, or that I should seriously consider getting an MFA, or that I should seriously consider not getting an MFA, or who told me that only the most talented writers could succeed, or that true creative talent would never realize any kind of commercial success, or who told me I was too young, or too old. It’s no wonder that in looking for others to tell me how I needed to be, I got into the habit of showing up to my writing at the same time in the same place and freeze

1.  Don’t write a novel
2. Keep your publishing dreams in check
3. Writing doesn’t always look like writing
4. Books do not respond to timelines, spreadsheets, or graphs
5.  Make space for what comes
6.  Procrastinate
7.  Get to Know the Demons on Your Block
8.  Go Gentle into that Dark Night
9.  Don’t Neglect the Rest of You

Read further @ Literary Hub





HOW TO WRITE A CHILDREN’S BOOK

29 11 2017

If books are magic, then children’s books are an extra special brand of magic. The books we read as kids don’t just stick with us, they form who we are and what we believe and how we see the world. Writing a children’s book is a calling, but learning how to write a children’s book is also a very long process with nitty-gritty, non-magical details—and it’s full of variables. No two journeys are exactly the same, but if you’re an aspiring children’s book writer, here is a rough outline of how to go from idea to book!

STEP 1. READ A LOT

STEP 2. CRACK OPEN THAT NOTEBOOK AND GET TO WORK

STEP 3. BE PERSISTENT

STEP 4. CELEBRATE! THEN REVISE

STEP 5. BRING IN OTHER EYES

STEP 6. DO YOUR RESEARCH!

STEP 7. CRAFT A KILLER QUERY

STEP 8. CULTIVATE PATIENCE

STEP 9. CULTIVATE SOME MORE PATIENCE, BUT ALSO KEEP WRITING

STEP 10. WORK WITH EDITOR! AND MORE PATIENCE!

STEP 11. YOU HAVE A BOOK!

Read further @ BookRiot





Easy Steps to Become an Novelist

12 10 2017

HOW TO BECOME A NOVELIST IN
TEN EASY STEPS

1. Examine your motives
2. Arrange financing
3. Write a bad novella
4. Don’t publish the bad novella
5. Think of a plot and characters
6. Write your debut
7. Never worry about style
8. Get an agent
9. Sell it
10. Write another one

Read further @ Literary Hub





Creating Young Characters in Books

1 09 2017

AMITA TRASI AND CECILIA GALANTE ON WRITING YOUNG CHARACTERS

“I WANT TO EXPLORE THAT SIDE OF ADULTHOOD WHERE WE STILL HAVE THE CHILD WITHIN US”

Both Amita Trasi and Cecilia Galante explore difficult issues in their fiction through the experiences of young characters. Galante’s most recent book, The Odds of You and Me, features a young mother grappling with sexism and abuse. Trasi’s recently-published debut novel, The Color of our Sky, follows two childhood friends from entirely different worlds growing up in Mumbai. Below, they discuss how their lived experiences inform their storytelling, what dictates their audiences, and their favorite parts of the creative process. 

Read further @ LiteraryHub

 





Is Writing a Painful & Bloody Process

1 09 2017

WHY DOES ANYONE WRITE?

WRITING A NOVEL IS A PAINFUL AND BLOODY PROCESS

Writing a novel is a painful and bloody process that takes up all your free time, haunts you in the darkest hours of night and generally culminates in a lot of weeping over an ever-growing pile of rejection letters. Every novelist will have to go through this at least once and in some cases many times before they are published, and since publication itself brings no guarantee of riches or plaudits, it’s not unreasonable to ask what sort of a person would subject himself to such a thing.

Read further @ LiteraryHub





Tips to Building Suspense

1 09 2017

WHAT JANE AUSTEN CAN TEACH US
ABOUT BUILDING SUSPENSE

HOW TO USE DRAMATIC IRONY AND PLOT SECRETS

Secrets are key to Jane Austen’s fiction and to driving her narratives forward. She lived in a society where life was lived very publicly, and yet true feelings and emotions were often kept hidden. In Love and Friendship she spoofed the cult of sensibility—the characters have constant fits of fainting, weeping and running mad—but in her mature works Jane Austen demonstrated the power of keeping characters’ feelings under wraps. Mr. Darcy’s first proposal to Elizabeth is a wonderful example of suppressed feelings coming to the surface. In Chapter 34 of Pride and Prejudice he bursts out, “In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you,” sentences that can now be bought on tote bags and keyrings. Until this point Mr. Darcy has kept his feelings hidden because he thinks that Elizabeth’s family are beneath him.

Read further @ Literary Hub