Posts Tagged ‘naiwe’

Words Matter Week 2011 Day 4: Mangled Words

Philichart elephantWords can be mangled, misused, or misunderstood. What is your funniest example of mangling, misuse, or misunderstanding?

Here’s a story that reaches far back into my childhood. I had a soft blue elephant toy, and his name was Philichart. One day my mother asked what “Philichart” meant.

“It’s from that song. You know, ‘Revive us again, philichart with thy love . . .'”

She wasn’t usually the hysterical type, so I was surprised when she laughed and laughed and laughed until tears ran.

“It’s not philichart,” she finally explained. “It’s ‘fill each heart.'”

Fill each heart or philichart, I still loved my little blue elephant.

If You Think You Want To Be Published, What Should You Do?

Want to be published? Learn about the industry!So, what do you do when you think you want to get something published?

Here are a few tips for where to start when you have something to say and want to see it in print.

Know your goals. Sometimes self-publishing is a better option than pursuing traditional publishing (if you’re writing a book that you want to give to prospective clients, for example, or if you’re writing the history of your family). Self-publishing done right can be cheaper, quicker, and easier– as long as it fits your goals. You can read a few more thoughts on deciding between traditional publishing and self-publishing at an earlier post.

If you’re serious about getting published, join a writers’ critique group and get feedback at a local level before submitting. Other writers can see things you’ve missed, ask questions that help you clarify what you’ve written, and just offer good advice for the journey. You don’t have to take all the advice you receive, but you’ll find your work strengthened by the exposure to feedback from other writers.

If you’re not absolutely confident that your grammar, punctuation, and word usage are extremely good, hire an experienced copyeditor to clean up your manuscript before you submit or self-publish. Traditional publishers want to see material that is close to publication-ready. Editing is time-consuming, so don’t expect to get a good job free (unless you’ve married an editor;-)).

If you want to be published traditionally, learn about the industry. Read writing magazines; read a lot of good work in your genre; get Writer’s Market and learn about the submission process; and go to writer’s conferences and workshops. In any field, it’s necessary to learn and practice the basics before you can expect to succeed. You probably wouldn’t expect to be hired as a symphony violinist if you’ve taken only six weeks of lessons, so it’s reasonable to assume that there’s a learning curve for the writing and publishing process as well.

Accept the fact that there are standard procedures and timetables in the publishing industry, and you can’t change them. Stephen King or J.K .Rowling may be able to get special treatment, but novice writers needn’t expect anything special. It pays to learn to learn about the industry so that you won’t accidentally sabotage yourself through impatience or lack of knowledge.

Get involved with the writing/editing/publishing industry. Join a writer’s association such as NAIWE, the National Association of Independent Writers and Editors, where you’ll learn a lot more about writing, editing, publishing, and marketing your work.

Finally, enjoy the process. It can be challenging and frustrating at times, but writing is worth it.

Words Matter Week Blog Challenge: Writers That Make My Heart Sing

Wednesday’s blog challenge question for Words Matter Week is:

Writers are people who take isolated words and craft them into memorable phrases, stories, poems and plays. Who are the writers who make your heart sing? What is the magic ingredient?

Different writers appeal to me at different times, and the magic ingredients can be found in different proportions in most of my favorites.

Here are the magic ingredients for me:

  • A sense of possibility
  • A big idea
  • Humor
  • A worldview that I can believe in
  • A wonderful setting (usually foreign)
  • Something unexpected

Writers who make my heart sing:

I love C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien anytime, all the time.

Other authors who’ve had the magic touch at some point in my life (and usually still do– I tend to remain loyal):

  • Madeleine L’Engle (Crosswicks Journals, as well as her middle-grade fiction)
  • Rosemary Sutcliff (Dawn Wind)
  • Edith Wharton
  • Dorothy Gilman
  • E. Phillips Oppenheim
  • Mary Stewart
  • Edward Ormondroyd (David and the Phoenix)
  • Frances Mayes (Under the Tuscan Sun)
  • L. Frank Baum
  • William Butler Yeats
  • Anne Morrow Lindbergh (Gift from the Sea; Journals)
  • Laurie Colwin (Home Cooking)
  • Annie Fellows Johnston (Little Colonel books; Mary Ware)
  • Clair Blank (Beverly Gray series)
  • Edgar Rice Burroughs
  • Isak Dinesen

Of course, there’s always a flip side– things you couldn’t pay me to read. I won’t read anything in which an animal is harmed, and I am dismally bored by whiners, navel-gazers, chronically-depressed characters, and insecure people in unhealthy relationships. I confess to a completely low-brow desire to spend my reading time with characters, ideas, and settings I find interesting. Life’s too short to tolerate bores!

You can visit the Words Matter Week website and blog to find more posts from the blog challenge. They’ve been a lot of fun to read.