Word Tinker

Word Tinker: Words, Culture, History and Christianity (with a slightly Aussie slant) blog.

The other New Year’s resolution that changes the world

angleltrumpetwebMy second New Year’s resolution was about patience.* (Why does it change the world? See below.)

And here are some self-publishing tips to help you get through to publishers without running out of patience…

 

“The difference between a published manuscript and an un-published manuscript is about ten drafts,” so said a guru in the literary world. While you’re patiently working on those, don’t forget these vital points:-

   The editing process takes place with your left brain hemisphere, and it loves to argue with your right! So….

·        once the words are down, wait until you are sufficiently out of your creative brain and can come to your work with new eyes. The experts suggest six weeks later!

·        Ensure formatting is consistent. The first paragraph in a creative work is flush left. The rest are about 3 Em’s in.

·        Your Header should contain the name of your work and page numbering. The Footer should say ‘mf’, short for ‘more follows’.

·        Your title page should contain the genre in the LH top corner, your name and address top right; the title is centred in the middle of the page with ‘by’ and your name, each two spaces down from the other. Rights requested are in the bottom left and word count bottom right.  Your title and name are repeated at the top of page two. About two-thirds of the way down this page you begin your manuscript.

 

*How can Patience change the world?

 As Thomas Edison said, “Life’s greatest accomplishments are those that at first seem impossible.” With patience, which leads to diligence, that which seems impossible becomes possible.  

 

But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against which there is no law.” Galations 5:22,23. 

Furthermore… “With God all things are possible.”  (Matthew 19:26)  After travelling to Columbus, Ohio to register as a lobbyist, a nine-year-old boy spent three years campaigning to have this motto written into the state law in Ohio. His patience paid off. The motto remains to this day.

(Wendy McNeice is a writer, editor, inspirational speaker and tutor and a one-time history teacher and information adviser. Find more writing tips at http://www.scribeofspirit.com . Read her latest book As the Eagle Flies the King, based around the remarkable true story of the release of the Israelites from ancient Babylon by a Persian king. http://www.tatepublishing.com/bookstore/book.php?w=978-1-60604-339-4 . http://www.amazon.com/Eagle-Flies-King-Wendy-McNeice/dp/1606043390/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1223864553&sr=8-1  

Permission is granted to distribute this material provided the following statement appears on any distributed copy: © W. McNeice http://www.scribeofspirit.com

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January 11, 2009 Posted by | Self-Publishing; Christian Writing, Uncategorized | Comments Off on The other New Year’s resolution that changes the world

The New Year’s Resolution that changes the world

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My New Year’s resolution is, as it has been often lately, all about one of the world’s greatest paradoxes: giving. Why? Well if you want to think of it from a purely selfish point of view, it is the key to so many successes in life, including publication. There is a profound principle at work when we give unselfishly. It is not only the key to a new phenomenon that is solving everything from teenage addictions to Presidential victories, it is a Biblical principle— “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35)

Here’s one example of how the giving principle works in publishing…

Scott Sigler gave the world, free, chapter by chapter, his first five novels. He started in 2005 and in a few short years he had developed such a following on his novel podcasts that one of the world’s biggest publishers saw the demand and signed him up on a five-book deal.

When  people share their work with the world, they are abandoning a time old principle of writing, that is all about keeping copyright for the owner. They are sharing their most precious possession they have—their intellectual property. And by this Biblical law, they are reaping rewards. (Please note this is not an endorsement of Scott Sigler’s writing)

To learn how to make your own podcast, stay tuned for my next blog.

For now, share your work with your friends. Write for someone else’s therapy. Remember, in the words of St Francis of Assisi, ‘it is in giving that we receive’.

And if you want some more friends to social network with, here are a few more Christian writing networks to join:-

Associations (in alphabetical order)

Australian and New Zealand

Omega Writers Association.  Contact scribe@scribeofspirit.com

New Zealand Christian Writers Guild

http://www.authors.org.nz/info_for_writers/contactus.asp?em=Janet_Fleming

 

Canada

Inscribe Christian Writers

http://www.inscribe.org/000-firstpage.htm

UK

Association of Christian Writers

http://www.christianwriters.org.uk/?p=9

UK Christian Writer’s group (Subway)

http://www.subway-writers.org.uk/community.html

USA

Christian Writers Guild

http://www.christianwritersguild.com/

American Christian Writers Association

www.ACWriters.com

(For a more complete list, see my blog Dec 7th)

(Wendy McNeice is a writer, editor, inspirational speaker and tutor and a one-time history teacher and information adviser. Find more writing tips at http://www.scribeofspirit.com . Read her latest book As the Eagle Flies the King, based around the remarkable true story of the release of the Israelites from ancient Babylon by a Persian king. announcemtbookregajpg

http://www.tatepublishing.com/bookstore/book.php?w=978-1-60604-339-4 . http://www.amazon.com/Eagle-Flies-King-Wendy-McNeice/dp/1606043390/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1223864553&sr=8-1

Permission is granted to distribute this material provided the following statement appears on any distributed copy: © W. McNeice http://http://www.scribeofspirit.com

December 25, 2008 Posted by | New Year's Resolutions, Uncategorized | Comments Off on The New Year’s Resolution that changes the world

Watching a video of the nightly Jewish ritual of Hanukkah (known as Chanukah)—a systematic lighting of candles, one for each of the eight nights— reminded me of the rituals needed as a writer. As a person who loves spontaneity the rituals of editing were the hardest thing I had to learn when I started editing. When we’re self-editing we should also use a methodical ritual.

menorahbrass

Editing your manuscript… 

Before an editor begins a style sheet is created for headings (heading hierarchy etc.), spellings permitted (whether US or British, etc.), any shortened forms and specialist terms.

Structural editing should be checked first. If anything is to be plucked out of the manuscript there is no point correcting grammar. Next, grammar and punctuation should be checked, contents and the index, if used, consistency of chapter headings, illustrations—including title or figure numbers, caption and page numbers or location— tables and any other numbering systems should be checked, the foreword, preface, acknowledgements and finally footnotes and bibliography should be proofed for accuracy and currency of hyperlinks.

These elements should be proof read in these groupings, rather than randomly throughout the book. When done systematically, nothing is left to chance.

The Chicago Manual of Style is the ultimate editing authority.

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/home.html

The Style Manual for Authors, Editors and Printers  by John Wiley & Sons ( latest edition available) is the Australian standard of reference used for stylistic issues particularly related to government publications. Now you have the tools…

but who can really edit their own work?

Tips

  • We need a minimum of six weeks of detachment before we return with an editing eye. Otherwise we are as good as a crime investigator at a crime we committed!
  • Never edit solely online. The computer deceives the eye.
  • Always read the work aloud.

I did promise more links to writing communities around the world, but I’ve run out of space…so next time…  

HAPPY CHANUKAH AND MERRY CHRISTMAS!

December 16, 2008 Posted by | Editing; United Nations Days | | Comments Off on

Community, History and Words

Dec 7th…

          is Good Neighbourliness Day in Turkmenistan. Hey! you say, is there even such a word as Neighbourliness? According to the Cambridge International Dictionary, “the lack of ‘good neighbourliness’ has led to a breakdown in the traditional life of the community.”

Is this a word doomed to become obsolete?

Old Words still in Usage

Words relating to social manners have always had nicknames with each new generation. Here are a few words used as far back as the 14th century and still in use by our elders today.

 

Rabble…tumultuous crowd of people (1513)

Rascal…person of the lowest class (1330) Today: a term of endearment by elders

Crush…infatuated with (1884) “Have a crush on” (1913)

Shirty…(1814) disheveled, as in anger, bad-tempered

Hot-headed…(1616) ungovernable

Beau…suitor (1665)

But would you dream of using the word ‘neighbourliness’ in a sentence?

The definitive online source to go to if you had to check is the Onelook Online dictionary http://www.onelook.com/ .

The Websters Revised Unabridged Dictionary http://machaut.uchicago.edu/?resource=Webster%27s&word=jacknape&use1913=on&use1828=on  is a great source for obsolete words. And if you want to check word usage for your historic novel to give it that authentic ring, look in the Online Etymology Dictionary http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?search=dandy&searchmode=none.

 If you don’t know the word you’re looking for, look up the concept in the Onelook Reverse Dictionary http://www.onelook.com/reverse-dictionary.shtml .

Michael Quinion has the best index I’ve seen of online dictionaries at http://www.worldwidewords.org/wordlinks.htm including such gems as the Australian National Dictionary, The Jargon File  (for net heads) and The Luciferous Logolepsy for obscure words, plus various slang dictionaries.

By now you would have discovered that neighbourliness is in fact a word in usage. But for how long? Perhaps we need a sociologist to answer that one!  Social Scientist Alvin Toffler says we’re on the cusp of a new civilization. But in a new civilization where communities are full of people (online) you may never meet, has the very concept of neighbourliness  gone out the door? Think about how you can change that today!

PPST! Here are a few Christian  writing communities you could join in the meantime—

Christian Writers Networks Online

International

http://christianwriters.com/forums/usercp.php

www.faithwriters.com

http://www.xalt.co.uk/index.php?i=108&prev=1 (UK based)

 More next time…

 

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December 4, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Comments Off on Community, History and Words

Writing to change history

2 December setfree2

Today is International Day for the Abolition of Slavery

 

 

If there was one piece of writing, other than the Bible, that changed history it was a book written in the nineteenth century by a devout Christian. It was about slavery. Yes, as writers we really can make a difference to the big issues in life. Here is a prime example…

 

The one thing that had the most sensational effect of all time on the issue of slavery was not a politician, but a novel, called Uncle Tom’s Cabin, http://www.gutenberg.org/files/203/203-h/203-h.htm by Harriet Beecher Stowe.  Abraham Lincoln is reputed to have said of Mrs Stowe “so you’re the little lady who started this war.” (http://www.abc.net.au/rn/summer/2007/talk/terrylane/)

 

It was in fact the most influential and widely read book of the nineteenth century. Ideas of faith and religion are paramount in the book, and it was considered inflammatory, so for that reason it later fell out of favour. The main character, a slave named Tom, though, wrestles with a lot of doubts and moral choices as any rounded character should.

Uncle Tom’s Cabin was published in 1852…

and the Civil War started in 1861.

 

 

The North Star is a symbol of freedom.

 It was used by Southern US slaves to

 find their way to the free north. It is

also a fixed reference point for sailors

 lost at sea at night.

 

The North Star is not the only symbol associated with slavery and freedom.  But if you were writing a book about their story you would simply HAVE to include it.

A symbol as defined by the Encyclopedia Britannica  is “the term given to a visible object representing to the mind the semblance of something which is not shown but realized by association with it.” (v.21 p.702)

God loves symbols. If you want evidence, look at the parables of Jesus or Chapter 12 in Ezekiel.welcometinkersignweb2

There are many symbols, or signifiers, which we draw upon for their individual significance. But a good piece of writing is made up of many symbols. And it is these symbols which tell us something about where the writer is coming from—his launching pad into blank space.

  • The symbols will give the connotations of the text—the underlying meaning, whereas regular nouns only give the denotation.
  • Don’t forget to use symbols in your writing, with images and language. It will take your writing from mediocre to classic!

 

A point to ponder…

 

If you were released from slavery and had two choices:-

a.    To stay in the city you grew up in under a foreign ruler who had slain a king or

b.  To trek across the desert for years to rebuild a homeland that had been virtually destroyed…

                                                

which would you choose? That was the dilemma facing the Israelites after their forty years of exile in Babylon, when they were released by a Persian king who worshipped the god Marduk…the subject of my book, As the Eagle Flies the King.

 

King Cyrus became God’s “anointed one” and walked into the mightiest stronghold of the greatest empire in the world, toppling its regime without resistance, freeing the Israelite slaves and thereby founding the first charter of human rights.  It is one of the most remarkable stories in all of history and has been left out of the literary canon, I believe, because of confusion over titles.  Read my explanation at http://www.scribeofspirit.com/bible-research.php .

(Wendy McNeice is a writer, editor, inspirational speaker and tutor and a one-time history teacher and information adviser. Find more writing tips at www.scribeofspirit.com . Permission is granted to distribute this material provided the following statement appears on any distributed copy: © W. McNeice www.scribeofspirit.com

 

December 2, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Comments Off on Writing to change history

Welcome to my Ceilidh!

welcometinkersign1 

Welcome to my Ceilidh

We writers are the ultimate tinkers. We constantly borrow and rearrange words, images, sentence constructions and whole styles just as the nineteenth-century tinker created implements, pots and pans and all manner of iron, silver and brass objects, often from recycled materials. 

It may surprise many, but the majority of twenty-first-century writers have simply tinkered with either Ernest Hemingway’s sentences, or, in the case of the more idiosyncratic, James Joyce’s stream of consciousness.  

Because these two writers set the benchmark for modern writing.

And every twenty-first-century blogger is not just simply redoing what Justin Hall first did with his personal tours of the web in 1994 [1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Justin_Hall  ; we bloggers are also recreating an ancient tradition in a new way—the art of ceilidh…as my Irish and Scottish ancestors call it—of gathering together and telling stories by the new web-hearth.

  • Blogs should be current
  • Blogs should contain good research
  • Blogs should be personable in style

 

 

Join my ceilidh.

 (Wendy McNeice is a writer, editor, inspirational speaker and tutor and a one-time history teacher and information adviser. Find more writing tips at www.scribeofspirit.com . Read her latest book As the Eagle Flies the King,based around the remarkable true story of the release of the Israelites from ancient Babylon by a Persian king. http://www.tatepublishing.com/bookstore/book.php?w=978-1-60604-339-4 . http://www.amazon.com/Eagle-Flies-King-Wendy-McNeice/dp/1606043390/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1223864553&sr=8-1

imagetate1comprssd2Permission is granted to distribute this material provided the following statement appears on any distributed copy: © W. McNeice www.scribeofspirit.com


 advent-candles_weba

Nov 30th Advent and the Media Release…

Today is the first day of Advent, and the origins may come as a surprise. The first mention of Advent in literature was in The History of the Franks  by St Gregory of Tours in 480, when St Perpetuus  made a proclamation that the people should fast three times a week in preparation for the feast of the coming of Christ. It is difficult to know whether this was enforcing a pre-existing custom into ecclesiastical law or whether it was instituting the new law. In any case, the custom seems to have Catholic roots.

THE ADVENT CALENDER was first printed in Germany in 1908. Hand-made advent calendars appeared in England first in 1851. During WW 11 the production of advent calendars with pictures was banned.

 

 

 

 

 

ADVENT…and the Media Releaseslide1

As writers we have our own writing advent…our media release.

The elements of a good media release are principles we all need to know:-

The heading: Media Release

Complete contact details: Name, address, phone, web-link, email.

The basic facts…

Who, what, where, when and why

and a hook…

Something to grab the reader’s attention.

Yours must stand out from the multitude of media releases the press receive.

The best book I have seen on how to do a Media Release is So you want media coverage by A Frangi and M Sayer. http://www.amazon.com/So-You-Want-Media-Coverage/dp/0702233005/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1227839311&sr=1-1

          But before you venture into this area, you should read

The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR by A & L Ries.            http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0060081996/fwis-20

******Send a media release on a weekend or a Monday*******

Find more writing tips at www.scribeofspirit.com  . Permission is granted to distribute this material provided the following statement appears on any distributed copy: © W. McNeice www.scribeofspirit.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

November 30, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Comments Off on Welcome to my Ceilidh!