[Interlude] WEM, Apple, Microsoft and Victoria’s secret…

Like most people in this age, I work overtime. In exchange for the overtime I take time off. I try to arrange my time off for Fridays. This Friday I had some errands to run for work.

I made it to WEM, the largest mall in the world. At least I think it still is. If not, it is one of them. Once in the mall, I needed to negotiate the sprawling temple to consumerize to one of the King’s or should I say “Princesses” of today’s modern age, the Apple Store. Let me be clear, I am not anti-Apple. In fact I have recommended people to use Apples. They aren’t for me. The reason why, shouldn’t allow us to be distracted from the title of our mini-blog.

I arrived at the shrine to Steve Jobs early. Inside the troops were gathered in their muted blue and gray shirts listening to the evangelist, strengthening them for the incoming horde of heathens, who for some reason had been not been properly vetted, and therefore had purchased an apple product and now needed the help of genius priests to solve their spiritual needs of staying connected to this world. With the glass freshly cleaned, and yes, I mean the glass front to the store was professionally window washed directly before opening, the doors to the house of worship were opened. I waited for the all the other believers to enter before I dared enter. I had said my goodbyes to my family, carefully hid my Chinese knock-off android device and cross the threshold.

And was not struck down by lighting…

With a deep breath, carefully stood to the side looking overwhelmed, not sure what to do. In less time then it took Ben Johnson to run the 100 meters an acolyte arrived at my side.

I explained I was here to pick up an iPad, it was in the back and correctly gave him the name of my dial a prayer partner. He mystically disappeared. And now that I think about it, I don’t remember actually seeing him walk to the back. He just silently apparated and reapparted.

When he apparated I made a mistake. I took out my phone. A simple Redmi phone. Popular the world over.  Security started working towards me, carefully positioning themselves so I couldn’t penetrate deeper into the sanctum and taint the holy of holies without clearance. How do I know they were security? They smiled at everyone, but me.

With care I turned to the wall and pretended to look at the pictures on the stained class of the church. Ok, not stained glass, but they are truly amazing, crystal sharp images. Stunningly beautiful. Seriously, go into an Apple store and look closely at the pictures, not the TV displays, the pictures. They are amazing and detailed. (Don’t worry, I’ll get to Victoria’s secret)

The re-apparition of my personal acolyte mildly startled me from the revere I was experiencing. Thankfully, my credentials and spiritual ranking was affirmed through my offering and I received the iPAD. I left the store dazed and proceeded to get out of the mall as fast as I could. This took me past other stores, of course.

One of them was the Microsoft store.

Why ,Oh why, couldn’t I have remembered to walk on the other side of the mall? They smelt me, and as their visual acuity for the Dark Prince Jobs avatar is unrivalled, their heads turned and then their bodies turned as perfect and precise as a mia michaels modern dance piece to me. With laser focus they locked on the bag I carried and their eyes travelled with slow purpose up my body to look me in the eyes. They knew I had betrayed King Gates by entering the apocalypse of apple. I darted with a speed I hadn’t known since my youth into the nearest store.

“Are you looking for something for yourself, or someone else?” A voice said from somewhere behind me. I was still making sure I wasn’t being followed. Fortunately it was a windowless store.

Idiotically, I replied with a plea for help, “I just needs some support right now.” The exhaustion taking me.

“Certainly sir, just this way to the fitting rooms.” The voice continued.

$125.65 with GST later I had secured my Apple bag inside a Victoria secrets bag. On the upside, my moobs have never felt better.

Be Well…dcd

 

Editing, no one told me there would be editing…GAH!

Sent the first scene/chapter off of “The Einstein Fallacy” for critiquing.  Should have all the results back around April 20th, 2017. I may post a before and after.

I wish I had a drinking problem. Even though I trust these people, and they are excellent writers, fear still invades me at the thought of having anyone read my work. Why?

Why?

squirrel

I suppose it’s because if they don’t like the writing, they don’t like me. The subconscious me wants them to validate my writing so they will validate me. My mother always said I was a fragile child, and it appears that I am. Aren’t we all fragile children? Somewhere hidden inside we fear being known and at the same time want to be known. That inner self. To be identified with, to know we aren’t alone. The exposure of true self is guarded.

But lets return to the skill of editing. I don’t have it. It is so much easier for me to write drivel on a page then it is to go and edit the writing. Having said that, I can learn to edit. Here is my current process in a nutshell:

  1. Tea and a Timer. Normally Peppermint and the Pomodoro “Tomato Timer” https://tomato-timer.com/ I work 25 minutes get up and take a break for 5 and then back at it. I try to do a min of an hour.
  2. I start with Passive Verbs, spelling, and adverbs, and remove them – as Stephen King said:

“I believe the road to hell is paved with adverbs, and I will shout it from the rooftops. To put it another way, they’re like dandelions. If you have one in your lawn, it looks pretty and unique. If you fail to root it out, however, you find five the next day… fifty the day after that… and then, my brothers and sisters, your lawn is totally, completely, and profligately covered with dandelions. By then you see them for the weeds they really are, but by then it’s — GASP!! — too late.” Stephen King

3. Once this is done I print a hard copy, double sided, 1″ Margins, double spaced, and read it out loud to myself and make notes in the text with a red pen. I go all the way through. This time it took me three days over the weekend. If I see that I need to move where plot points are, I detail them on a separate sheet as well, with the page numbers listed.

4. Back on the computer, I read through a couple of more times and then send it off to an alpha reader that is unknown to my writing groups. If they reply with the “I want to know more” or “Well what happens next”. I submit.

5. Once I get the feedback. I make sure that I understand their notes, asking for clarification or examples when needed. Then I put these items away for 10 days to two 2 weeks. The urge to leap in and make the changes suggested to me is too strong. I have to take a step back, wait and then in cold sober calculation consider what needs to be changed.

The goal is to have all the chapters done in time for When Words Collide this summer and pitch it to a Publisher. Or as I refer to it, outa da fryin pan and into the fire…

As always, be well

dcd

oneRock

 

When Words Collide – Part Seven

Grammar – Call them Guru’s, not the other word.

I shudder at the thought of this blog. Grammar, you see, is not my forte. If you have read any of my other blogs you will see exactly what I mean.

Crab1

With hesitation I entered the room holding this panel. Hesitation and I are old friends. I was late, from my fear of what I would be told. A chair in the back, against the wall, on both sides, it was a trap. Four passionate, articulate, erudite panellists follow me with their eyes as I crept into the room. The lady beside me smiled as I sat. Perhaps she was happy not to be alone at the back. As with most panel discussions the front seats were packed.

The Guru’s were in the midst of a discussion on split infinities – I wondered if this was a Star Trek panel by mistake. Things were dangling and unmodified, I was scared maybe I was a participle, I tend to think that I am unmodified. Then they launched into a discussion on the application of Latin rules on Germanic words, I just wanted to know about english, Danke!

From there we lept into a discussion of reference books, and websites and and and ALWAYS ASK! Trust some grammar “GURU” will tell you.

All in all I had a wonderful time in the grammar workshop – Thanks – Andrea Howe, Constantine Kaoukakis, Ian Alexander Martin, Nola Sarina

I have one observation to make about this discussion on grammar, no one went over what the “rules” were. The discussion was primarily about “exceptions” to the rule. When you are as weak in grammar as I am, just starting out, a review of the “rules” would have been great.

The discussion of grammar and the language surrounding this discussion is something that I am just learning. Last year I don’t think I knew about active and passive voice. I still don’t understand it all the time, but at least I know they exist now! And who knew that adverbs were bad! I absolutely, positively, completely did not know they were so evil!

I will attend another session on grammar; I always enjoy when someone speaks passionately and intelligently about a subject. I will still sit in the back, but I will be early.

Here are my stream of consciousness notes.

You must have good grammar – lee-way depending on voice

First Person view gets away with more grammar –

Query letter and writing should be at the same level

The pronoun “I” between you and me – don’t end a sentence in a preposition?? Is no longer incorrect –

Don’t split – an infinite is ok –

The Latin rules were applied to Germanic words – “To Boldly Go” is fine –

English is a living language – Webster’s 11 edition otherwise we would still be on Webster’s first –

Don’t use “LITERALLY” –

Are you done your sandwich – is it western sandwich – regionalism –

BBQ – verging nouns…intercoursing creating a verb. –

Grammar people are passionate about grammar – more so than other parts of writing –

Is it a hard or soft “H” – h gets the “an” – depends how old you are…

Diagramming sentences —

Inviting new words – how we write –

Switch the pronouns he and him –

Lay is for objects – lie is for yourself

More concerned about being nice –

Grammar people are very ADD –

Present perfect tense…???

If I don’t use, I lose it…

Where do I learn it now…

Good Grammar Books – Gregg reference manual –

Primary form of communication

Humor gets in the way of everything done –

Inundated with wrong grammar – the impact of visual –

Reference book

What are the rules –

Great discussion and passion –

Quotations must be

Subject and predicate on both sides of the semi-colon.

Grammatically correct but not style correct

Grammar podcast –

Fowler’s book for example’s Fowler’s use of English – 11?9?

Be consistent –

Writing about communicate and get to a wider audience – is the author voice correct …losing immersion by using

Grammar girl – GRAMMARLY – promote literacy

Strive to talk English good –

Don’t know something – ask – find out

The First Ten Pages

In less than two weeks I need to get the first ten pages of my first novel into the hands of several people. As a first time writer looking at what i have written, none of it is now good enough. A couple of months ago I really enjoyed reading it, now, its crap. So I am re-writing, and re-writing and being frustrated. My biggest struggle is what I call the “This” or “That” dilemma .   Right now I have two openings for the book, I like both, so I have blindly sent them off to two friends to see what they like. That in itself is scary enough. (I am using the word first way too  much, I should change that first)

And to top it off, I am having terrible problems with verb tense and point of view. AGH! I need help!

BleedingHeart02

The above was written 10 days ago, and I am happy to say that I got the pages out to several people and have received some responses already! Friends are wonderful.

First of all I got some great feedback from a college English teacher who went through and helped me clean up punctuation and some verb tenses. On top of that she likes sci-fi and believes there is hope…

I suspect that I will spending the better part of the summer reading about verb tenses. What was most interesting to me was how much I didn’t know. I am amazed that I graduated…GAH! [Please note that AGH! and GAH! are different and not typos of each other]

Three other brave souls have the 10 pages: A Co-Worker, A Friend who is an author and a professional writing coach. Only time will tell if I am crushed or not. My mother always said that I was a fragile child.

On the MORE GOOD NEWS FRONT , I have almost another 5000 words done and I haven’t had to kill any characters recently, unlike some authors who believe that blood and gore are all the rage. [Take That GRR].

This update is done and off to the ether of the internet.

Be Well, dcd

Fear is the mind killer

I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer.  Dune

It is very interesting to me how much fear or more accurately “being scared” is creeping into this whole writing thing.

I am trying very hard, well trying, at least, to follow what I identify as the common advice given to first time writers. Some of the them I have outlined. The one not covered is being scared.

At 54, I find myself carefully protecting my persona from injury, both physically and mentally. Trying to be an author, for me, requires a great deal of exposure, of personnel honesty, of being able to let myself be criticized; to open myself to being wounded, hurt.

The most frightening path I have gone down (so far) is to attend a local writer’s group meeting. Very frightening. All these people are writers, whereas I am not…

I went to the public library where the meeting was to be held. The Librarian said to me, “Go through the door marked exit.” I laughed.

She wasn’t kidding, going through the door marked exit were 12 other individuals. I was late because I was scared of being early, I am normally early. 12 heads turned, 12 pairs of eyes turned to look at me…

It was a great meeting for me. I don’t know if it was just the giddiness of being near other writers or how impressed I was by all of them or just that I was meeting new people for the first time in a long time, but it was a very energizing night.

The most surprising part of the night was how well all of the people there read. Hearing all the the different voices reading the short 2 or 3 paragraphs from a writing prompt was amazing.

I did not expect to listen to such a great group of readers, orators. Changing their tone and emphasis as the read the story, so different from their normal speaking voice. Charming and enlightening.

Will I go to a second meeting ? I think so. My biggest concern is that they are all so good, and I am such hack. What can I contribute to the group? Oddly enough in my ongoing reading about writing I came across a small bit on the writing of George Orwell:

from http://www.chrismoriartybooks.com/writing.html

“If you think I’m joking, go find a biography of George Orwell and read the stuff he was writing when he was twenty- five. It sucked. In fact, it was so awful that thirty years after his death his friends and relations were still struggling to figure out how an average kid with no talent at all turned into one of the greatest writers of the 20th century.”

I will never be a writer like Orwell, that is not my intent, nor do I have that talent. My goal is to write a complete  novel, nothing more, nothing less. It doesn’t even have to be considered “good”. As long as I finish it and it is a novel.

Be Well – dcd