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Source: Reading While White: On White Fragility, by Guest Blogger Justine Larbalestier

It\’s like English for time-travelers.

Source: How Unrecognizable Was The English Language Just 300 Years Ago? – The Writer’s Circle

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.

 

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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”.

Freelance Work

How many writers do you know who do freelance work? 1? 2? Or none?  Well if your like me most writers do their writing as a second job and don’t get paid. So to any untrained eye this would appear to be a hobby. What? No way! I work too hard and long for my writing career to be considered a hobby.

So how to break the mold and make a career out of writing? Easy… get published! Well okay enough with the sarcasm. It is not easy to get published, let alone get an agent to even LOOK at your work. So the alternative is to become a freelance writer.

The website Freelance Writing Jobs at http://www.freelancewritinggigs.com/ is a good place to begin.

This website can help you locate the job that is right for you. Everyone has to start somewhere, because we can’t all become famous authors with our first book.

Build up your skills writing for different companies. Learn new talents and make connections and get a great looking resume. Every literary agent and publisher wants to see a little writing experience behind newbies. Then when your book is published you can give credit to your experience as a freelance writer.

Not every path to glory is set in stone. Take the road less traveled and become richer for it.

Happy writing!download

I recently read an article about how writers need to connect more with the wants of readers.  The idea is to help writers.  The only way to get these answers though is to do a survey or ask people in a blog what they want to read.

I love to read children’s books and some adult fantasy and mystery books. I have also been reading some fantasy young adult. Please comment below what you like to read?

The reason I read these genres is because this is what I like to write. In the book store or library, my head will be bobbing up and down in the children book sections examining all the new or old titles, looking for the next big hit. I love to explore new authors works. I also like to read what is at the top of the New York Times bestseller list. This keeps me up to date on what the market is selling, or publishers pushing, and also what readers are hungry for.

Readers are an important part of the writing process. They keep authors writing more to please them.  When a book review comes up on Goodreads or Amazon about a book you wrote, then you want to read it no matter if it is good or bad. Authors are starving for feedback. What is working and what is killing a book?

I love readers and I feel happy when I see someone curled up in a chair with their nose in a book.

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To read the article click here: http://www.writersdigest.com/online-editor/advice-for-writers-3-keys-to-connecting-with-young-readers-online

 

A book that uses the shoulders and backs of other hard working novels to become a bestseller tends to get some attention. When I read a book I look for the audience it is written for: like Children, Middle Grade, Young Adult, and Adult. Then I see what the genre it is: Comedy, History, Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror. Is it Fiction or Non-fiction? Does it have a huge following? Is the author well known? Has the book won an award? Or has the author won any awards? These questions are used for the selection of book I will read to fill my brain with.  image_preview

There is a little bit of space in my brain and unlike a computer I cannot add an external hard drive to store more information. So I am pretty selective about what I read. I have a degree in English literature and have had to read books that were not of my choosing. These books were chosen because they are in the literature canon. Not every book that makes it into this collegiate masterpiece of literature is likable. I did not like reading “One Hundred Years of Solitude” by Garcia Marquez Gabriel, nor did I understand how this book became a classic. But other books I was glad to have read.

I have read so many books over the years that I have to have a log of what I read or I would forget them all. My genre of choice is Middle Grade fantasy. Why? Because this is what I write. When a writer is told by other authors to “write what you know”, that means to write what you read or experienced.  Now this does not mean I do not read adult or young adult books, because there are occasions in which I flit over to the other shelves tempted because of an attractive cover. Which brings me to my point.

 

I just finished reading a novel (more like a novella) called “A Shade of Vampire” by Bella Forrest. The authors name alone told me she was a fan of “Twilight”, but I should have noticed by the title that she was a fan of “Fifty Shades of Grey”, too. This book is what makes other writers cringe. Too many cliches. Too predictable. And the writing was high school level. When I say she wrote what she knew it is evident when you read the first few pages. This is not classic literature with beautifully written prose. Nor is it written by someone with a large vocabulary. When did romance/fantasy novels become sub par on their writing? There are adult books written by Mary Higgins Clark or Nicholas Sparks that are smarter than what I read. Books should be enjoyed and pondered over. Young adults should not be reading something that needs to belong in the Adult section of the bookstore. The only thing stopping me from giving this book a negative review on Goodreads was that I know what happens to books like this. The book everyone hates turns into a best seller because everyone wants to know what the big deal is, then they go buy the book. So I gave it an average rating and made no comments. Readers beware of the trap of making a new writer into a hit. Instead read the cover for yourself and decide if you want to read some drivel about a guy and a girl and you know how it ends. The books are all the same. In fact new writers spit out so many books at readers that they all blend into one massive collection of phlegm. Gross!

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Please save a reader! Write good works.

Recently I participated in the #Pitmad in September.  If you do not know what it is here is a brief explanation.  You have the great opportunity to pitch your manuscript to editors and agents on Twitter with just 135 characters.  This also means that for those next eight hours on Twitter you are watching the feed like a mad person, hence the Pitmad.  I tweeted about two of my manuscripts every hour and knew that more than three of the pitches had more than 400 engagements.  I had four agents favorite my tweets and I was very excited.

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This meant that they were interested in my pitch and wanted me to query them.  Out of the four agents I have heard back from three and one of them sent me this very personable rejection letter:

 

Hi Jessica,
Happy Sunday. I hope you’re enjoying your weekend so far. I’m sorry for the delay in getting back to you. I know waiting is the hardest part. I finally had a chance to read over some of the requested material for AN OCEAN OF SECRETS. I’m a lover of mermaids, and I loved the premise of this story. However, after reading, I didn’t feel a real connection to the main characters. In the first six pages we’re introduced to an underwater magical kingdom, but we have no idea who are characters really are. Getting to the action quickly is so important and I feel like you’ve done just that. But doing so while introducing our character’s personalities is important as well. 
I’m so sorry I don’t come with better news. I do encourage you to pursue other agents because their views may differ from my own. I wish you the best of luck with your writing/publishing journey. 
Good luck. Keep writing, you’re good at it! 
Warm Regards,
A really nice agent
Give me a Break!
I took this letter to heart and I am now revamping this manuscript to this person’s specifications.  After I cried for like hours.
Some writers would say that I shouldn’t rewrite anything and just try another agent, but what if she was right. Either way I was very impressed with the time this agent took in sending  me such a detailed letter about her likes and dislikes.
I can say I have close to a hundred rejection letters and out of those hundred there are probably ten or so that were personable like the one above.  When you have been working on your craft as long as I have (which is going on eight years) you can start to see what really works and what doesn’t.  I know some writers get discouraged by the time they hit year three of querying but truly it takes as long as it does because of the wait time.  One author I am friends with has an agent after eleven years of trying. Read about her story : http://theitsybitsywriter.blogspot.com/2015/05/how-i-got-my-agent-steven-chudney.html
Share your success stories.  Everyone can learn from each other.
Have a great writing day!
Corey D. Truax

Author | Editor | Father of Thor | Veteran | Military Spouse

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