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When I studied English in college, I learned that this language is more complicated than most  American people realize. Foreigners understand how complicated it is because learning to read and speak it is very difficult.  There is not only grammar and punctuation to worry about but also the phonetics of the language. Trying to read by phonics just does not work all the time.

The best way to learn how to speak English, in my opinion, would be to listen to a book on CD while reading along. The reader learns the different pronunciations of words along with the definition of words by association or how the word is used in the sentence.

What fascinates me the most about the English language is the root words.  Most words derived from German, Celtic, Old English, Irish, Latin and Welsh to name a few.  So in essence the English language is just a pot of mixed languages.

Because of this rich language though we see that it is ever evolving. The language takes on a mixture of words today that are not just considered slang but are put in the dictionary. Where will the English language be in another 100 years? With all the influx of immigrants from different countries the language could change even more. Today we see that text messaging is fading away because the younger generations want to snap chat or use emoji’s to communicate with.

There are poets, philosophers and writers everywhere who turn the English word into something magical that touches ones soul; Robert Frost, Ernest Hemingway, Mark Twain, Virginia Woolf, Charles Dickens, Plato, Aristotle, and Socrates. But most influential to the English language was William Shakespeare. We still use his words today.

 

william-shakespeare.jpg.300x0_q85_crop_scale

 

One poem I came across recently gave me pause in how we use words and how we create them.

A wife who loses a husband is called a widow.
A husband who loses a wife is called a widower.
A child who loses his parents is called an orphan.
There is no word for a parent who loses a child.
That’s how awful the loss is.
Jay Neugeboren – An Orphan’s Tale – 1976

How is it we have words for almost everything under the Sun but not for a parent who loses a child? That is sad. If I could contribute to the English language it would be to fill the gaps in our language where people have not before.

Words are how we communicate in this world.  We can be better understood by using the right words. Think how peaceful the world would be if we could communicate more clearly and people understood each other. That is the world I want to live in.

My mother always used to say, “Choose your words carefully”.

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I know I have covered procrastinating before.  (See “Procrastinating” post: 2011/09/08.)  And I even went so far as to think that I am the only writer who does procrastinate.  But now I find out that this phenomenon is not solely my problem but many other writers as well.  Attending countless writers conferences and hearing agents and editors all say the same thing about the problems of writers I just did not connect the dots till now.  I read an article posted by friend and it says that procrastinating is something all writers face. This is should not be a new concept but let’s just say I was a little slow to finally grasp the connection until I read this.  The article was spot on with all the problems I have and I am so glad to see I am not alone.  So for all I would like to say…..

“Hello, my name is Jessica.  I am a procrastinator.”

Why Writers Are the Worst Procrastinator

 

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I present to you, Olan Rogers

I present to you, Olan Rogers (Photo credit: ryan.nagelmann)

How to Know You’re a Writer (In GIF Form) | Nathan Bransford, Author.

You know when someone is pretty darn awesome when they also think that Olan Rogers is hilarious.  I just loved this blog post by Nathan.  He made me laugh and wonder how the heck did he know the websites I visit all the time.  So funny and true!

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Cover of "The Awakening: And Other Storie...

Cover via Amazon

Nathan Bransford, Author.

I agree with this article but there is a big misconception about authors.  There are good authors who are not recognized because their work is not mainstream popular reading.  The decisions to read and study certain literature in a canon is determined, in my opinion, by political and cultural preferences.  Whatever is popular now is what people want to read about.  There were books held back from the public (like Kate Chopin‘s The Awakening) because of people in power found their work offensive.  Literature is a fickle thing.  I don’t know a lot of people that can actually agree about what should be studied in college literature classes or read as entertainment.  As a society we are like a leaf apt to go where the wind blows us.

The new writers and authors are flooding the market with self-published books and e-books.  There are all kinds of writers.    Sure we don’t have a lot of Mark Twains or Edgar Allen Poes’ anymore.  But shouldn’t we find some that are still worthy to quote?  Obviously the Noble Prize in Literature is still finding candidates to hand out the award to.  Even the Newberry Award is given out every year.  So there is still some talent out there.

Mark Twain statue

Mark Twain statue (Photo credit: stevebkennedy)

People will read what they want to read.  As writers we just need to write what we feel.  Whether it will make it into a canon or not is up to those who select it.

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Literary Agents have been around for a long time. They are sought after like a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. But how does one go about capturing one? How does a writer’s query set the tone for their work? Agent Kelly Sonnack tells all in the 2012 Children’s Writers & illustrator’s Market book. (Sambuchino)
ON STARTING STRONG
When you’re reviewing a partial fiction manuscript, what do you hate to see in Chapter 1?

  • I hate to see a whiny character who’s in the middle of a fight with one of their parents, slamming doors, rolling eyes and displaying all sorts of other stereotypical behavior. I hate seeing character “stats” (“Hi, I’m Brain. I’m 10 years and 35 days old with brown hair and green eyes.”). I also tend to have a hard time bonding with characters who talk to the reader (“Let me tell you about the summer I….).
    -KELLY SONNACK is a literary agent with the Andrea Brown Literary Agency

ON PICTURE BOOKS & ILLUSTRATIONS
With picture books, I suspect you get a lot of submissions and most of them get rejected. Where are writers going wrong?

  • Rhyming! So many writers think picture books need to rhyme. There are some editors who won’t even look at books in rhyme, and a lot more who are extremely wary of them, so it limits an agent on where it can go and the likelihood of it selling. It’s also particularly hard to execute perfectly. Aside from rhyming, I see way too many picture books about a family pet or bedtime.
    -KELLY SONNACK is a literary agent with the Andrea Brown Literary Agency

KellyKelly Sonnack is a literary agent with Andrea Brown Literary Agency, has attended writer’s conferences and is found talking about children’s books on Facebook and Twitter. She has represented many authors that include Steve Watkins’ Golden Kite Winner DOWN SAND MOUNTAIN and his YA novel WHAT COMES AFTER. Find out more about this agent at:

http://www.andreabrownlit.com/agents.php

 

 
For the writer’s out there that want a different voice to help them decide if an agent is right for you please watch the video with Michael Larsen, literary agent, and Brain Felsen, president of BookBaby.

Works Cited
Sambuchino, Chuck. “Agents Tell All.” Sambuchino, Chuck. 2012 Children’s Writer‘s & Illustrator’s. Cinncinnati: Writers Digest Books, 2012. 26-30.

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