Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

“Reading and writing are acts of empathy and faith. Guard that trust carefully — in this rapidly changing business, it’s the only sure thing.” ~Erin Keane
"Never give up. And most importantly, be true to yourself. Write from your heart, in your own voice, and about what you believe in." ~ Louise Brown

"Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it."
~Jesse Stuart

"A writer's job is to take one thing and make it stand for twenty." ~ Virginia Woolf

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Z is for ZEUGMA

The term ZEUGMA is used in several ways, all involving a sort of "yoking":

1) when an object-taking word (a preposition or transitive verb) has two or more objects on different levels, such as concrete and abstract, as in Goldsmith's witty sentence, "I had fancied you were gone down to cultivate matrimony and your estate in the country," where figurative and literal senses of the transitive verb "cultivate" are yoked together by "and."  

2) when two different words that sound exactly alike are yoked together, as in "He bolted the door and his dinner," with "bolted" being used as two different concrete verbs.

Jane Austen was extremely skilled at using these two kinds of ZEUGMA in her work, for subtly humorous effect in dialogue between her characters.

The third definition has to do with grammar--

3) a grammatical irregularity that arises when a conjunction yokes together forms that cannot all be reconciled with other material in the sentence, as in "Either you or he was responsible." The "you" cannot be reconciled with the verb "was." In "one or two years ago," the singular "one" does not match the plural "years," but hardly anyone will try to avoid such a ZEUGMA by going the long way around with "one year or two years ago".

So there you go people, literary terms from A to Z! I hope you all learned something. I enjoyed the refresher course and will remember it better for having posted about the terms. I think this time I might even remember ZEUGMA.



(This post has been inspired by and in some instances, directly quoted from A Handbook to Literature, 8th Edition, by William Harmon and C. Hugh Holman)

Friday, April 29, 2011

Y is for YOUNG MAN IN THE PROVINCES

The phrase, YOUNG MAN IN THE PROVINCES,  was used by Lionel Trilling, famous literary critic of the 20th century, for a kind of novel that deals with the experiences of a young provincial in a great city. Classic examples are Fielding's Tom Jones and Dicken's Great Expectations. Or YOUNG WOMAN IN THE PROVINCES, would be Dreiser's Sister Carrie.

Another twist on this theme is when the pernicious forces of the city move to the outermost provinces and corrupt a pure savage-- this pattern appears in Huxley's Brave New World.

Can you think of any modern YA novels that have this element as a major theme? With either a boy or a girl as a main character? Remember, the main elements are city and country, and how these different environments affect experience. (Like in the children's story about the city mouse and the country mouse.)


(This post has been inspired by and in some instances, directly quoted from A Handbook to Literature, 8th Edition, by William Harmon and C. Hugh Holman)

Thursday, April 28, 2011

X is for X-CERPT

Okay, there's no official literary term I could find that starts with X so I have to cheat a little. But that's okay, because EXCERPT is an important term to understand in the publishing industry.

As in posting an EXCERPT of your work on your blog. Be careful with this one. Most of us aren't the best judges of what's good and what isn't in our own writing. We can post something we think is fabulous, and really it stinks. This makes us lose credibility and look unprofessional in an industry that demands it.

If you are under contract, don't post anything from your manuscript until you receive permission from your publisher, and then only post an approved EXCERPT.

As for posting an entire manuscript online? Again, dangerous territory. Many publishers will consider this previously published and not touch it. Although this is changing as we speak so I'm not even sure why I bring it up as it makes me look out-dated and ignorant. But hello, it used to be the case. Now, self-published e-book authors with work that sells extremely well are getting offers from agents and publishers. Think The Christmas Box and The Shack. Think Amanda Hocking and Karen McQuestion.

Self-published authors with anything that sells extremely well will get offers from agents and publishers. As they say, "Show me the money." That's what it's all about-- money. If an author, self-pubbed or whatever, is a potential money machine, then the calls will come.

But until you are a proven money-machine, be careful what you post online, and especially avoid EXCERPTS from your current works-in-progress.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

W is for WIDO PUBLISHING and the WINNER of the Submissions Contest

Recently I held a submissions contest where the WINNER would win a contract with WIDO PUBLISHING. The top three finalists are announced here.

And the winner is announced HERE-- 


Congratulations to Paul Anthony Shortt, who has won a publishing contract with WiDo Publishing, for his manuscript, "Locked Within."


Paul's blog is Coffee Thoughts. Stop by and wish him well. He deserves it for beating out many other excellent entries in the contest.

Well done, Paul!

And well done to Kerri Cueves and Jack Hessey, who were also among the three finalists. Many thanks to all those who entered.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

V is for VAPOURS

This post is for all you Victorian fans out there, and note how the spelling of vapours has the British "u" in it? So very Victorian.

VAPOURS is a word commonly used in eighteenth-century literature to account for eccentricity. VAPOURS were exhalations, given off by the stomach or other organs of the body, that rose to the head, causing depression, melancholy, hysteria, and so forth. In 1541 Sir Thomas Elyot wrote that "of humours some are more grosse and cold, some are subtyl and hot and are called vapours." Heroines of eighteenth-century fiction were particularly susceptible. Young, in 1728, produced these lines:

Sometimes, thro' pride the sexes change their airs;
My lord has vapours, and my lady swears.

Too bad the Victorians didn't have access to that other V word, Valium, which would cure their vapours quite well. As a matter of fact, too bad we modern women don't have access to it, except when we go to the dentist. Okay, maybe it's good we don't, after all.


(This post has been inspired by and in some instances, directly quoted from A Handbook to Literature, 8th Edition, by William Harmon and C. Hugh Holman)

Monday, April 25, 2011

U is for UTOPIA

UTOPIA is a type of fiction describing an imaginary, ideal world. The term comes from Sir Thomas More's Utopia, written in Latin in 1516, describing a perfect political state. The word UTOPIA is a pun on the Greek "outopia," meaning "no place," and "eutopia," meaning "good place." The earliest UTOPIAN work was Plato's Republic. Dystopia, meaning "bad place," is the term applied to unpleasant imaginary places, such as those in Aldous Huxley's Brave New World and George Orwell's 1984.



(This post has been inspired by and in some instances, directly quoted from A Handbook to Literature, 8th Edition, by William Harmon and C. Hugh Holman)

Saturday, April 23, 2011

T is for THEME

THEME is a central idea. In nonfiction prose it may be thought of as the general topic of discussion, the subject of the discourse-- the thesis. In poetry, fiction and drama it is the abstract concept that is made concrete through representation in person, action, and image. No proper THEME is simply a subject or activity. Both THEME and thesis imply a subject and a predicate of some kind. For example, not vice in general but some such proposition as "Vice seems more interesting than virtue but turns out to be destructive."  "Human wishes" is a topic or subject; the "vanity of human wishes" is a THEME.

When people say "there are no new stories," what they are really saying is that there are no new THEMES. Nearly everything-- every single THEME under the sun-- has been thought of, considered, written about and discussed in some context. It is how you write about your THEME that makes it something remarkable, not the theme itself.


(This post has been inspired by and in some instances, directly quoted from A Handbook to Literature, 8th Edition, by William Harmon and C. Hugh Holman)

Friday, April 22, 2011

S is for Showing vs. Telling

SHOWING vs. TELLING is an empirical concept (meaning that it can be entirely subjective whether a scene deserves showing or can be told just as effectively). It emphasizes the superiority of dramatization, demonstration, enactment, and embodiment over mere telling. In To Have and Have Not (not such a great title btw), Hemingway could have told us something rather abstract-- "Shots were fired"-- but he chose instead to make us see and hear: "The first thing a pane of glass went and the bullet smashed into a row of bottles on the show-case wall to the right. I heard the gun going and, bop, bop, bop, there were bottles smashing all along the wall."

So when your work is critiqued with these hated words: SHOW DON'T TELL, think of these words: 

dramatization
demonstration
enactment
embodiment

And that's what you do. Just remember, however, that there are times when TELLING is okay. It's up to you, the writer, to determine what seems right in each instance-- because clearly one cannot SHOW the entire 100,000 manuscript.


(This post has been inspired by and in some instances, directly quoted from A Handbook to Literature, 8th Edition, by William Harmon and C. Hugh Holman)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

R is for Reader

No writer should say, "I am writing for me. I don't care who reads it." Because anyone who says this is either--

lying
deluded
talking about a personal journal  
never read a book and thus has no concept of the author/reader relationship
is participating in NaNoWriMo

The READER is king in the writer's world. It's all about connecting with the READER. A writer should have the READER  in mind as he writes. Stephen King has often stated that his primary reader is his wife Tabitha. He writes with her in mind as his audience. He knows if she gets it, then his demographic will, too. She represents his demographic. Tabitha King has made her husband a best-selling star among authors.

Who is your READER? Who do you write for, or think about as you work, perhaps even chuckling to yourself as you type out a scene, "Oh, yes, she is going to love this part"?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Q is for QUATRAIN if you're a poet and QUERY if you aren't

This is for all you poets out there. The novelists seeking publication can skip the next paragraph and instead go to this link on how to write a really good QUERY letter.

A QUATRAIN is a stanza of four lines. The possible rhyme schemes vary from an unrhymed QUATRAIN to almost any arrangement of one-rhyme, two-rhyme, or three-rhyme lines. Perhaps the most common form is the abab sequence; other popular rhyme patterns are aabb; abba; aaba; abcb. Robert Frost's "In a Disused Graveyard" consists of four QUATRAINS. In iambic tetrameter, each in a different rhyme scheme: abba, aaaa, aabb, abab-- quite a tour de force. W. H. Auden's "Leap Before You Look" rhymes abab bbaa baab abba aabb baba, in effect turning itself inside out.


(This post has been inspired by and in some instances, directly quoted from A Handbook to Literature, 8th Edition, by William Harmon and C. Hugh Holman)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

P is for PARODY

A PARODY is composition imitating another, usually serious, piece. It is designed to ridicule a work or its style or author. When the PARODY is directed against an author or style, it is likely to fall simply into barbed witticisms. When the subject matter of the original composition is parodied, however, it may prove to be a valuable indirect criticism. Or it may even imply a flattering tribute to the original writer.

The PARODY is in literature what the caricature and the cartoon are in art. Known as a potent instrument of satire and ridicule even as far back as Aristophanes, PARODY has made a definite place for itself in literature and has become a popular style of literary composition. PARODY  makes fun of some familiar style, typically by keeping the style more or less constant while markedly lowering or debasing the subject. Thus Dickenson's--

                                                         The Soul selects her own Society--
                                                         Then-- shuts the Door--

has been parodied:
                                                         The Soul selects her own Sorority--
                                                         Then--shuts the Dorm--

The craft of PARODY prizes minimal tampering.


(This post has been inspired by and in some instances, directly quoted from A Handbook to Literature, 8th Edition, by William Harmon and C. Hugh Holman) 

Monday, April 18, 2011

O is for Omniscient Point of View

OMNISCIENT is the point of view in a work of fiction in which the narrator is capable of knowing, seeing, and telling all. It is characterized by freedom in shifting from the exterior world to the inner selves of a number of characters, a freedom in movement in both time and place, and a freedom of the narrator to comment on the meaning of actions.

Sometimes called the "God-like" point of view, a writer must be extremely skilled to tackle this successfully. For novice writers, the first or third - person points of view are best. If you try writing a novel in OMNISCIENT POV you will most likely be called on it by your beta readers, with POV CHANGE!! red-penciled into the margins.


(This post has been inspired by and in some instances, directly quoted from A Handbook to Literature, 8th Edition, by William Harmon and C. Hugh Holman)

Saturday, April 16, 2011

N is for Narrator

In fiction, the term NARRATOR is used for the ostensible author or teller of a story. In first person, the "I" is the NARRATOR. The NARRATOR may be in any of various relations to the events described, ranging from being their center (the protagonist) through various degrees of importance (minor characters) to being merely a witness. A NARRATOR is always present, at least by implication, in any work. A NARRATOR may be reliable or unreliable. If reliable, the reader accepts without serious question the statements of fact and judgment. If unreliable, the reader questions or seeks to qualify the statements of fact and judgment.

The NARRATOR may not always be the main character. In first person point of view, the narrator is most often the main character. However, there are instances where this isn't the case. In Breakfast at Tiffany's (awesome title btw) by Truman Capote, a first-person novel (more like a novella), the narrator is not the main character. The story consists of the narrator's relationship with and observations of the real main character, Holly Golightly (even more awesome character name).


(This post has been inspired by and in some instances, directly quoted from A Handbook to Literature, 8th Edition, by William Harmon and C. Hugh Holman)

Friday, April 15, 2011

M is for Memoir

MEMOIR is a form of autobiographical writing dealing usually with the recollections of one who has been a part of or witnessed significant events. MEMOIRS differ from autobiography in that they are usually concerned with personalities and actions other than those of the writer, whereas autobiography stresses the inner and private life of its subject.

One of the best-known MEMOIRS is Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt, the story of his growing up years in Ireland, specifically centered around his mother, Angela. A MEMOIR does not need to be written by a famous person. McCourt was an unknown writer when he wrote his debut work. It is more in the meaning given within the MEMOIR rather than the fame or importance of the author.

Soon to be released is this MEMOIR by Ann Carbine Best, a blogger that many of you know from A Long Journey Home.  It is titled In the Mirror, A Memoir of Shattered Secrets. Oooh, sounds intriguing!




In the Mirror, A Memoir of Shattered Secrets by Ann Carbine Best is the story of a woman who planned on her marriage lasting forever.

When Ann marries Larry in September of 1961, she’s certain he will be that eternal companion. Eleven years later, she is devastated to learn that he’s been having affairs with men. She wants to help him. She wants to save her marriage.

However, powerful emotions pull Larry away from his family, and eight years later their marriage ends. As a single parent, Ann is now faced with four grieving children who don’t want to leave their father and their home in Utah Valley. But Ann needs to start a new life in a new place.

In the beautiful Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, Ann at last makes peace with the past.


I am looking forward to this one. Go, Ann!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

L is for Local Color Writing

LOCAL COLOR WRITING is a term applied to writing that exploits the speech, dress, mannerisms, habits of thought, and topography peculiar to a certain region, primarily for the portrayal of the life of a geographical setting. About 1880 this interest became dominant in American literature. Bret Harte, Mark Twain and Joaquin Miller wrote of the West; Joel Chandler Harris of the South; Sarah Orne Jewett and Mary E. Wilkins Freeman of New England.

LOCAL COLOR WRITING was marked by dialect, eccentric characters and sentimentalized pathos or whimsical humor. It lacked the basic seriousness of true realism and was content to be entertainingly informative about the surface of specific regions. It emphasized verisimilitude of detail without being much concerned about truth to the larger aspects of life. The bulk of the work done in the movement was in the sketch and the short story, although Mark Twain captured the genre perfectly in his novels The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn especially.

It is helpful to modern writers to understand earlier movements and genres, so that some of the particular flavor of these can enter the work and add to its originality. Now we call LOCAL COLOR WRITING more accurately regional novels. WiDo Publishing has recently released two regional novels that use the local color concepts to add to the interest and originality of the stories: Mississippi Cotton by Paul H. Yarbrough and Arizona Guy by Raymond Spitzer. It is the LOCAL COLOR WRITING that adds to the charm of these two regional mysteries.


















(This post has been inspired by and in some instances, directly quoted from A Handbook to Literature, 8th Edition, by William Harmon and C. Hugh Holman)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

K is for Knickerbocker Group

The KNICKERBOCKER GROUP was a group writing in and about New York during the first half of the nineteenth century. The name was made famous by Washington Irving in Knickerbocker's History of New York. Their association was one of geography and chance rather than of close organization.

Writers have always tended to flock together and form groups. Now with the internet, there need be no geographical boundaries, and our group can consist of writers around the world. A few groups I've noticed are the Blogger writers (more closely knit imho than the Wordpress writers), the indie ebook authors on Amazon forums, those on Facebook groups (I'm part of one of these and the constant email notifications are currently driving me insane), those all represented by a single literary agent, or published by the same publisher, those writing the same genres.... If you think about it, writing is such a solitary venture, yet we like to interact with other writers. Who else can really understand our peculiarities?

(This post has been inspired by and in some instances, directly quoted from A Handbook to Literature, 8th Edition, by William Harmon and C. Hugh Holman)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

J is for Journal

The official literary definition is: "A form of autobiographical writing including a day-by-day account of events and a record of personal impressions. It is usually less intimate than a diary and more obviously chronological than an autobiography."

The word JOURNAL gives me a pleasurable thrill. I am a prolific journal-writer. When I was little, I began every entry as "Dear Diary," now I just start with the date. I use large three-ring binders with punched papers that are blank on one side "scratch paper" and I fill the pages quickly with large loopy handwriting, going through pens almost as fast as I go through paper. I will fill about 6 of these binders per year. Love the J word JOURNAL!!


(This post has been inspired by and in some instances, directly quoted from A Handbook to Literature, 8th Edition, by William Harmon and C. Hugh Holman)

Monday, April 11, 2011

I is for Imagery

IMAGERY designates a special usage of words in which there is a change in their basic meaning. Patterns of IMAGERY, often without the conscious knowledge of author or reader, are sometimes taken to be keys to a deeper meaning of a work. Some critics tend to see the "image pattern" as indeed being the basic meaning of the work and a better key to its interpretation than the explicit statements of the author or the more obvious events of plot or action. Contrasting images of light and dark are among the most conspicuous of IMAGERY.

Students in literature classes often get tired of teachers harping on how IMAGERY is used in literature to express meaning and theme, but it is this very thing that gives a work the depth that sets it apart from a simple telling of a story. And it is done so subtly by a skilled writer that it takes a careful reading, usually more than once, to recognize how the author uses IMAGERY.

(This post has been inspired by and in some instances, directly quoted from A Handbook to Literature, 8th Edition, by William Harmon and C. Hugh Holman)

Saturday, April 9, 2011

H is for Hyperbole

I could have gone with historical novel but I chose HYPERBOLE-- which is pure and simple exaggeration. It can be used to heighten effect, or for humor. Shakespeare employed HYPERBOLE extensively. Children's books often use it with great success. Think the Lemony Snicket Series of Unfortunate Events books, and anything by Roald Dahl.


(This post has been inspired by and in some instances, directly quoted from A Handbook to Literature, 8th Edition, by William Harmon and C. Hugh Holman)

Friday, April 8, 2011

G is for Gothic Novel

The true GOTHIC NOVEL is a novel in which magic, mystery, and chivalry are the chief characteristics. Where a suit of armor may suddenly come to life among ghosts and clanking chains. Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley's Frankenstein is an example of the genre. The novels of Charlotte Bronte and the mystery and horror type of short story exploited by Edgar Allen Poe contain materials and devices traceable to the GOTHIC NOVEL.

The term is today often applied to works, such as Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca, that lack the Gothic setting or the medieval atmosphere but that attempt to create the same atmosphere of brooding and unknown terror as the true GOTHIC NOVEL.  It is also applied to a host of currently popular tales of "damsels in distress" in strange and terrifying locales. Author Isak Dinesen has used the term "Gothic" in titles to indicate simultaneously a literal setting in northern Europe and a fantastic spirit combining horror, crime, romance, and realism.


(This post has been inspired by and in some instances, directly quoted from A Handbook to Literature, 8th Edition, by William Harmon and C. Hugh Holman)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

F is for Fantasy

FANTASY designates a conscious breaking free from reality. It applies to a work that takes place in a nonexistent and unreal world such as a fairyland, or concerns incredible and unreal characters, or relies on scientific principles not yet discovered or contrary to present experience, as in some science fiction or utopian fiction. FANTASY may be employed merely for whimsical delight or it may be the medium for serious comment on reality.

FANTASY is not my genre, but oh how I loved The Hobbit, one of my favorite books ever. Why is that, fantasy readers? Why would someone who can't stand to get past one chapter of a fantasy book (I only read Harry Potter to see what all the fuss was about),  have The Hobbit as one of her favorites? I don't know the answer to that.

(This post has been inspired by and in some instances, directly quoted from A Handbook to Literature, 8th Edition, by William Harmon and C. Hugh Holman)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

E is for Episode

An EPISODE in a work of fiction is an incident presented as one continuous action. Though having a unity within itself the EPISODE in any composition is usually accompanied by other EPISODES woven together to create a total work. It is an incident injected into a piece of fiction designed to illuminate character or to create background without advancing the action.

Think about a book that is all action, you think it might be exciting but really it would be tiresome. EPISODES exist for a purpose outside of promoting plot or advancing action. To illustrate this, I quote from a book I read recently that I really, really liked and reviewed  here on Goodreads: Mississippi Cotton by Paul H. Yarbrough (WiDo Publishing, 2011).

The following paragraph is just part of the EPISODE which involves a man stopping by the farm at breakfast. It doesn't move the plot along, there is no real action; even the character mentioned, Earl Hightower, is not a main character. But it creates background, illuminates character-- the Southern character-- and sets a tone. EPISODES enrich and add depth and interest to the story. Mastering them are a crucial part of learning the craft of writing.

Earl put his brown hat in the chair next to him. In his work clothes, he looked tanned and strong—a real cotton farmer. His blue cotton shirt sleeves rolled up revealed big hairy forearms, with hard-looking muscle that came from farm work. He had a gentle way about him, but a mannerism that made you know he was definitely no softy. One of his big hands swept around the cup, not using the crook, and took a big swallow. Black. No sissy coffee for Earl Hightower.
 

(This post has been inspired by and in some instances, directly quoted from A Handbook to Literature, 8th Edition, by William Harmon and C. Hugh Holman)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

D is for Description

DESCRIPTION is one of the four chief types of composition (along with argumentation, exposition and narration) that has as its purpose the picturing of a scene or setting. Although sometimes used for its own sake (as in Poe's Landor's Cottage) it more often is subordinated to one of the other types of writing, especially to narration, with which it most frequently goes hand in hand.

If you write YA, go easy on the DESCRIPTION. Younger readers love dialogue and will avoid a book that has large paragraph blocks describing the environment. Keep your descriptive passages brief and include in the dialogue tags to make your story a fast read.

Some genres are known for fuller use of description, such as fantasy where the readers need to visualize the world created in the story. And literary fiction. In fact, in these particular genres, if the author doesn't utilize DESCRIPTION properly, their readers will feel cheated.

(This post has been inspired by and in some instances, directly quoted from A Handbook to Literature, 8th Edition, by William Harmon and C. Hugh Holman)

Monday, April 4, 2011

C is for Celerytree.com

I got the idea for Celerytree.com from seeing the amazing online support writers have for each other, especially in buying books from one another. I thought there needed to be a way to organize this social media phenomenon to help us all make more money doing what we love-- writing books. I blogged about this last year in a post, It's Time to Unite our Villages and Sell More Books.

Why do we need a village? A central location for authors?

Authors are engaging in social media in record numbers because a) writing comes easy and natural for them b) writing is a lonely job and this is an excellent social outlet that works with their routine and c) most are desperate to get attention for their books and increase readership and sales.

The problem is that all this social networking is time consuming and tedious, taking time away from creative writing and producing new books. What we need is a one-site-fits-all website, where we have our author and book profiles, links to our blog and other social media sites, forums to meet and talk to each other about our similar issues, as well as a place to buy and sell books. See? One stop does it all!

Celerytree.com will be that gathering site to network and buy books-- a worldwide community of published authors getting to know each other through blogs and buying books, reviewing, forums, and generally supporting the process of writing.

An author quote: "I bought 15 books at the ..........Conference. Most of those are not in my genre. Most I bought because I met the author and wanted to show my support."

Celerytree.com will be like a big, ongoing author conference where even the most inexperienced first-time novelist will have the opportunity to be seen.

Currently the site is preparing to launch with an enthusiastic group of authors and an assortment of exciting books from various genres. Follow the Celery Tree blog for more information and updates. And I must thank N. R. Williams, a fantasy author who inspired this post. She said, "I'm a member and not sure I understand it!" So we are linking to each other today for our C posts. Thank you Nancy!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

B is for Blurb

In the book trade, a BLURB is the very short matter printed on the jacket or back of the book and elsewhere in promotional material. The term was invented by Gelett Burgess before the first World War. One can take a phrase or brief section out of a review and create a BLURB. This is perfectly acceptable practice. When someone agrees to give advance praise (or not so praising) and/or a review of a work, it's with the understanding that the publisher and author can glean BLURBS for promotional purposes.

How to get BLURBS for your work? Ask those you know with credentials. You could ask famous authors but they will most likely ignore you or send a form email telling you to contact their agent, who will then ignore you. Most of us know a few people whose credentials will look good on a BLURB, and who would be willing to read an ARC of our book. Think of local media people in your community, newspaper blurbs always look good. Think of your college professors, if their expertise would apply to your book. Think of other published authors. None of these people need to be famous, they simply need appropriate credentials.

And don't forget-- you can cut and paste. Like if someone writes back and says, "This completely confused me, I couldn't get past the first chapter, and your punctuation was atrocious. But I loved the dialogue."  Then guess what you use, and forget the rest? "Loved the dialogue." ~ Really Helpful Blurb-giver and Author of 3 Novels.

(This post has been inspired by and in some instances, directly quoted from A Handbook to Literature, 8th Edition, by William Harmon and C. Hugh Holman)

Friday, April 1, 2011

A is for Action in a work of fiction

The ACTION in a work of fiction is that series of events that constitutes the plot, or what the characters say, do, think or in some cases fail to do. Orderly ACTION differs from aimless or episodic activity; an ACTION customarily has a beginning, middle and end.

So it's not just the entire work that needs a beginning, middle and end, it is the ACTION as well. Or what one might think of as "scenes." And each scene must mean something. There must be a purpose for its existence in the manuscript-- to advance the plot, to explore the characterizations, to set the tone or develop themes. "But this really happened to my uncle Ned" isn't a good enough reason to include meaningless ACTION into your story.

(This post has been inspired by and in some instances, directly quoted from A Handbook to Literature, 8th Edition, by William Harmon and C. Hugh Holman)