Category Archives: Blether

…Susan Toy outlines 10 Ways To Kill Your Writing… PART FOUR…

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…I’m delighted to run a five-days consecutive series of posts from my terrific pal, Author, Susan Toy, for every author to enjoy and prob’ly learn lots from… here’s PART FOUR :

10 Ways to Kill Your Writing

This 5-part article is from a talk I gave at the Calgary Public Library Writers’ Weekend Feb. 4, 2012.

Thanks to all of you for reading this series that is very kindly being hosted by the ONE, the ONLY, SEUMAS GALLACHER!

 Part 4

  1. Don’t / do follow the rules

Rules are made to be obeyed and rules are meant to be broken. But you can’t obey or break them unless you first read and understand them. This holds true not only for writing, but also for submitting your manuscript and for publishing it.

Once you know and understand the rules of the business, you may work with them and redefine, to a certain extent.

But whatever you do – don’t think that you or your work are the exceptions to those rules. If you do that, you’ll find you will only hurt yourself.

  1. a) Listen to and believe advice and criticism from family and friends

I know your mother loves you, but that doesn’t make her the best critic of your writing. Neither are your Grade 6 teacher nor your high school BFF. Yes, it’s great to feel all warm and fuzzy hearing their compliments – I know. I’ve been there.

The one true thing I learned from my years writing and trying to get my work published is that we all need the experts – editors, writing instructors, mentors, good readers – and we should surround ourselves with them.

There’s nothing better than finding a reader with a discerning eye who can see not only what is brilliant about your manuscript, but also how it may be improved.

And editors are worth their weight in gold! A good editor will stand by what they are taught – to not make changes, but to offer suggestions as to how you may improve your work.

The best classes I took were those in editing, and I didn’t learn as much about how to edit my own work as I did about how to work effectively with an editor.

I consult with my own editor on a regular basis, mainly because we have become friends, but also because I know she “gets” me – and she has an eagle eye for mistakes I make! Plus she cheers me on and “encourages” me to get back to work on my next novel. (Okay, Rachel, okay!! I’m trying to write more …) You can’t do anything better for your writing than to find an editor you can work with, someone who can help you make your writing better and your words sing! It may take a while to find that perfect editor, but it’s worth taking the time to search. Begin by checking with professional editing associations for referrals.

Or you can check out this blog post I wrote about my own editor, Rachel Small. It’s in my best interest to keep her working as an editor, so I’m more than happy to share her with you!

I know you’re groaning, “But isn’t a professional editor expensive?” No, not in the scheme of things, and if you want a professional job done you call in the professionals. remember it was Sybil Fawlty who scolded her husband Basil when he hired a  cut-rate contractor in Fawlty Towers: “You get what you pay for!” This is true of editors, as well. Fortunately, a professional editor and fellow-blogger, roughsesinthemed, wrote a comprehensive post about what you can expect to pay for various types of editing:

What price your editor? (Or decorator, or plumber, or dentist, or cleaner)

And, just in case you’re wondering what editors actually do all day . . . watch this video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=3Gwhp3MuXXE

Remember, if you want a hug and a there-there about your writing, go visit your mother. If you want solid advice and help, seek out the experts and the professionals.

b) Argue with readers that they must not “get” what you’ve written

No, no, no, no and no!

Don’t ever argue with a reader. Don’t ever explain the point you’re trying to make that you think they’ve missed. If they’re missing something then it’s not their fault – it’s yours for not writing clearly enough. Listen to what your reader finds to be a problem and fix it.

A friend told me a story about what happened to him when he contacted someone who wrote a not-so-positive review … A reader posted a review in which she complained about the editing in my book. I messaged her back, thanked her for the review, and said how much I appreciated her criticism. She asked if I was being sarcastic, and I said absolutely not, that I really appreciated what she said because it made me go back and take a good look at the book and realize she was justified in her review. She said she would buy my next books because of my response. She liked the story, but the editing was a little rough. So I was able to keep a fan I wouldn’t have otherwise because I accepted what she had said and acted upon the advice.

And whatever you do, don’t argue with readers online and in public. If they’ve taken the time to read your writing, be gracious, thank them for reading and commenting, but don’t argue with them if you disagree. And realize, too, that some people just like to see their own comments in print and there’s no arguing with them anyway.

And when your book is published and receives a bad review you don’t feel is warranted – do not comment! Just accept the fact that this particular critic did not like your book and hope another reviewer will.

  1. a) Bug everyone about your writing or your published book

This Way refers back to #1 about being too serious or obsessive about your work.

How many authors have you stopped following on Twitter or hidden on Facebook because you were tired of hearing them toot their own horn? You want to say, “If your book is so good then why am I not hearing about it from your readers?”

Remember, you’re not the first person to have written or published a book. And you won’t be the last. If you had done as I mentioned earlier, and become part of a larger writing community, you wouldn’t have any problem finding someone else to toot your horn for you.

So don’t overexpose yourself, especially if your book can’t live up to your hype.

  1. b) Promote too much / promote too little

On the other hand, there is also a problem with not promoting yourself and your work enough. I get it! Some authors are not comfortable promoting themselves so they should definitely consider calling in the professionals to help them.

So 10B comes into play here – find your happy medium, where you can promote at a Goldilocks’ level – not too much, not too little, but just right.

Because the absolute last two things you want to do is either piss off your audience or never reach them at all.

Be sure to come back for Part 5 and the Three Bonus Ways to Kill Your Writing!!!

Susan Toy has been a bookseller, an award-winning publishing sales representative, a literacy teacher, and is now a published author, publisher, and promoter of fellow authors and their books. Born and raised in Toronto, and after completing a degree in English Literature at Queen’s University in Kingston, she moved to Calgary in the late 70s and immediately found a job in a bookstore, beginning what has become a life’s career working with books and their authors.

Link for Island in the Clouds: https://islandeditions.wordpress.com/2012/08/23/where-in-the-world-can-you-purchase-island-in-the-clouds/

Link for That Last Summer:

https://islandeditions.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/where-to-purchase-islandshorts-ebooks3.pdf

 …yeez can catch some of m’Lady, Susan’s WURK and links here :

Blog: http://islandeditions.wordpress.com/
And a blog dedicated to promoting other authors and their books
Reading Recommendations 
cover-susan-full-colour-jan2012is_thatlastsummer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

…see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!… 

ALL MY BLOG POSTS ARE FREE TO SHARE OR RE-BLOG SHOULD YOU SO WISH—BE MY GUEST!

 

 

 

 

 

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…. my friend, Author, Shawn Griffith has some intriguing thoughts on ‘character’… enjoy…

…here’s an interesting blog piece from my friend, Author, Shawn Griffith, that has set my wee grey cells thinking, Lads and Lassies of Blog Land… I’m sure it will have some of yer own  twirling as well… enjoy…

From Shawn Griffith
shawn
#GotCharacter? Has society given up on character?
First I want to say, “Thank you Seumas!” Thank for the opportunity to share with your wonderful readers and to give a fellow blogger a hand up. You sir are a gentleman of character in many connotations of that term.
“Men of character are the conscience of the society to which they belong.”
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
There have been numerous books and studies done about our culture moving from character based one to that of personality based. What does this mean? Simply that it is now perceived to be more important to be liked than to have good character. I feel strongly that we (all of us) need to demonstrate, encourage and expect good character. If not, society will have no conscience. Do I expect you to become a one person fight against everything that discourages or disparages character? No. I do expect all of us to look around and when we see acts born of good character, point them out, extol them, celebrate them. If you tweet, use the #GotCharacter hash-tag when you want to share an act that exemplifies good character. When we have personal choices, I expect us to think, then act with good character. I know there are programs in schools to teach and encourage good character and also there are just as many bone-headed politically correct zero-tolerance, zero-compassion, zero-thought rules as well. Let’s point out the good in a public and joyous manner. Let’s help the bad to improve and change toward better in private and uplifting style. Much like the Starfish story (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Star_Thrower) if I can help one, then it matters to that one. If I can encourage one, then I have doubled my opportunities to improve the character and the conscience of society. I cannot do it alone. I need your help. I am asking for your help.
I am writing a book about this very topic and seek your thoughts, input and suggestions. This book will not be for sale. It will be freely given. Over the next several weeks, I plan to release some excerpts on my blog for review, comment, etc. to help me hone the message. I welcome any all thoughts on how to promote this message.  If you would, take a moment and answer the following questions. In the comments preferable, but at least write them down on a piece of paper at home.

What is good character to you?

Why is it important to develop good character or not?

How does pop culture in music, movies, books and social media portray and affect character?
 
Why do you witness acts born of poor character around you and think you should not get involved?
 
If you could only do one thing to improve your own or someone else’s character, what would that be?
 
Are the thing you feed your mind (books, music, movies, people, conversations, social media, etc.) building and encouraging your character or tearing it down?
 
If I were to observe an opportunity to help you improve your character, how would want me to bring it to your attention?
 
Thanks for stopping by. I hope I left you with some food for thought and better yet an urge to improve, not just yourself, but the world around you. We can do this. One person, one idea, one change at a time.
Here’s Shawn’s contact info:
Shawn Griffith has had a wide and varied career, a large part of which has been to take the round peg and pound it into the square hole and make it work. This was most true when he was at Texas Instruments, but he has always had the opportunity to work with a collection of systems that may or may not have been intended to work together. This coupled with his love of puzzles made for some interesting and challenging scenarios. He converted from a software engineer to a business analyst in his time at Southwest Airlines.  Shawn’s specialties include process improvement, troubleshooting, business analysis, improving existing systems, metrics collection, analysis and reporting.  When he is not working, he enjoys hiking, photography, kenpo/kempo karate, reading, writing and blogging.
…cheeeers, that man, Shawn… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!
ALL MY BLOG POSTS ARE FREE TO SHARE OR RE-BLOG SHOULD YOU SO WISH—BE MY GUEST!

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May I Introduce……

Seumas Gallacher:

…I’m gratified to be allowed space on my pal, Barbara A. Martin’s page, ‘LETSTALKBOOKS’…a page worth following, Lads and Lassies of Blog Land…:):)

ALL MY BLOG POSTS ARE FREE TO SHARE OR RE-BLOG SHOULD YOU SO WISH—BE MY GUEST!

Originally posted on LetsTalkBooks:

profile (1) Seumas Gallacher

May I introduce you to one of my favorite blogger friends. He has one of the most fun, thought provoking and informative blogs on the Internet. I’ll let him tell you a little about himself.

SEUMAS GALLACHER escaped from the world of finance five years ago, after a career spanning three continents and five decades.

As the self-professed ‘oldest computer Jurassic on the planet’ his headlong immersion into the dizzy world of eBook publishing opened his eyes, mind, and pleasure to the joys of self-publishing. As a former businessman, he rapidly understood the concept of a writer’s need to ‘build the platform’, and from a standing start began to develop a social networking outreach, which now tops 18,000 direct contacts.

He started a humorous, informative, self-publishers blog three years ago, never having heard of a ‘blog’ prior to that, was voted ‘Blogger of the Year2013′ and now…

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…Susan Toy outlines 10 Ways To Kill Your Writing… PART THREE…

…I’m delighted to run a five-days consecutive series of posts from my terrific pal, Author, Susan Toy, for every author to enjoy and prob’ly learn lots from… here’s PART THREE :

10 Ways to Kill Your Writing

This 5-part article is from a talk I gave at the Calgary Public Library Writers’ Weekend Feb. 4, 2012.

Thanks to all of you for reading this series that is very kindly being hosted by the ONE, the ONLY, SEUMAS GALLACHER!

Part 3

  1. Learn nothing about the publishing business

There was a time when writers sent their work off to publishers, signed a contract, worked with an editor, then sat back and let the publisher take over. They had no clue as to what happened next in the process of printing, publishing and selling their books. And, to be fair, many publishers liked that things stayed that way.

I believe authors do themselves a great favour by learning something about the publishing business because by doing so they then can become a more effective partner in the publication of their book.

Publishing Trendsetter’s Life Cycle of a Book  

http://publishingtrendsetter.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/Book-Cycle-FINAL.pdf

Publishing Trendsetter is a website I stumbled upon that is devoted to educating the industry. Elisabeth Watson, the president, and her staff developed the above flow chart called The Life Cycle of a Book, and a series of videos covering all the steps a book takes from concept to reader. I love flow charts! And this one is particularly good. Do spend some time going over it carefully. How many steps are covered that you didn’t realize were part of the process?

Writer – has an idea for a book, writes it, edits it into a manuscript, sends to agent.

Here’s Adam Gidwitz, first-time author, speaking of his initial experience as a new writer…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=vJ77QvwRowA

After you’ve finished reading the rest of today’s post, go back to the site and watch the other videos. Educate yourself!

  1. Stop trying to improve your work

I attended a talk given by Aritha van Herk during which a person in the audience asked, “When do you know that something you’re writing is finished?” And Aritha’s answer was, “You never finish. You can always improve.”

Writing is a process and we can constantly learn, and improve, and discover ways to make our books better.

So don’t think you’re finished because you’ve written “The End.” That should be your cue to go back to the beginning and figure out how to make your manuscript even better. After all, you owe it to your readers to make whatever you write the very best it can be!

Susan Toy has been a bookseller, an award-winning publishing sales representative, a literacy teacher, and is now a published author, publisher, and promoter of fellow authors and their books. Born and raised in Toronto, and after completing a degree in English Literature at Queen’s University in Kingston, she moved to Calgary in the late 70s and immediately found a job in a bookstore, beginning what has become a life’s career working with books and their authors.

Link for Island in the Clouds: https://islandeditions.wordpress.com/2012/08/23/where-in-the-world-can-you-purchase-island-in-the-clouds/

Link for That Last Summer:

https://islandeditions.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/where-to-purchase-islandshorts-ebooks3.pdf

…yeez can catch some of m’Lady, Susan’s WURK and links here :

Blog: http://islandeditions.wordpress.com/
And a blog dedicated to promoting other authors and their books
Reading Recommendations 
cover-susan-full-colour-jan2012is_thatlastsummer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

…see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!… 

ALL MY BLOG POSTS ARE FREE TO SHARE OR RE-BLOG SHOULD YOU SO WISH—BE MY GUEST!

 

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..R.I.P. Dave Mackay… a fine professional footballer and a tough exponent of the beautiful game…

…one of my latter-day footballing heroes has passed away at the age of 80… Dave Mackay, who played for the then Scottish First Division side, Heart of Midlothian (Hearts), and latterly for the great Tottenham Hotspur side of the nineteen-sixties, as well as for his country… he played in an age when hard, tough, uncompromising play was expected, given and taken on the field, in a manner that would put most of the current soccer prima donna wimps to shame… I thought it appropriate to rerun this blog piece I posted during the World Cup in July last year, in which the former Scottish international featured…enjoy…

…Look What They’ve Done To The Beautiful Game, Ma…

…I’m at severe risk of being labelled ‘old-fashioned’ with my views in this particular post, but hey, I’m well past the age for caring about such compliments… more years ago than is decent to remember, this ol’ Jurassic actually played professional football in the then Scottish First Division (now the Scottish Premier Division)… I LUV the game with a passion when it’s played the way it’s supposed to be played… it’s a hard, fast, contact sport with tons of skill and teamwork… today’s batch of the very best of the breed of players can stand reasonable comparison with the guys I used to watch decades ago… Dave Mackay, Chopper Ron Harris, Billy Bremner, Norman Hunter, Tommy Smith, were all acknowledged as excellent practitioners of the ‘thou-shalt-not pass’ brigade… but they were ‘tough’ men, not ‘dirty’players…

mackay and bremner

 

 

Dave Mackay and Billy Bremner having a ‘friendly’discussion on the finer points of football… hunter

 

…and Norman Hunter, another ‘persuader’ on the pitch…

 

 

….the ‘football dribbling’ geniuses and flying wingers were led by Georgie Best, Kevin Keegan, Denis Law, Chris Waddle, Paul Gascoigne, and dozens of others, too numerous to mention… yeez’ll all have yer favourites if yeez were around in those days… but seldom did yeez observe these ‘flyers’ crumple to the turf at the merest touch or tackle…

bestie

 

 

 

…the incomparable footballing genius,Georgie Best… they really haven’t found one better than him yet …

 

…one of his playing partners, another incredibly gifted goal-scorer, Denis Law…  law

 

 

 

…but now, just look what they’ve done to The Beautiful Game, Ma… granted, the nasty stuff’s been building for many years but notably, the more I watch the WURLD Cup matches, the less I like what I see… Cynicism, Petulance, Cheating… blatant body-checking and hacking down of players… the talking heads on television call it‘taking one (a yellow card booking) for the team’ as if that condones the thuggery… to my mind, it’s downright cheating… and the automatic ranting at the referee when the official gives any decision whatsoever against  them… yeez don’t see that at the highest levels in Rugby… and that sport’s a great deal more physical than football will ever be… other nonsense, the real sickness in the game, is the prima donna ballerinas who collapse in apparent agony, clutching their faces, when all they may have received was a tap on the shoulder… add in the waving of imaginary cards at the referee when an opponent tackles them, trying to get a man sent off… the stealing of up to twenty yards at throw-ins… the blocking of a free-kick until yer mates are lined up to defend it, without immediately retreating the required ten yards… it really isn’t the same Beautiful Game any more… ah, Mabel, I think they call it progress’… well they can stick their ‘progress’ where the Brazilian sun don’t shine… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

ALL MY BLOG POSTS ARE FREE TO SHARE/RE-BLOG SHOULD YOU SO WISH—BE MY GUEST!

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What do you call a tartan cat?

Seumas Gallacher:

…m’Lady, Authoress and bonne femme en France, Ailsa Abraham carries this wee blether piece today …enjoy …:)

ALL MY BLOG POSTS ARE FREE TO SHARE OR RE-BLOG SHOULD YOU SO WISH—BE MY GUEST!

Originally posted on The Bingergread Cottage:

Sometimes one strikes up friendships on-line and even though you never meet each other, it is a case of “real pals”. Such a man is Seumas Gallacher who, in deference to his Weegie start and my own family’s connections with the city, I usually refer to as “Big Man”.
I have been very remiss recently and did not welcome him to the family of Crooked Cat Publishing when he joined. I’m putting that right today by inviting him over from far-flung lands to chat about this decision and show off his wares … drop the kilt-hem, Seumas, I meant your books!
Welcome, welcome, dear man, both to the scruffy kitchen and to the Cat Basket. Let me ask you some impertinent questions while you help yourself to a drink.Seumas
 
SG : Question away, m’Lady… it’s a pleasure as ever to be here with you.
 
I’m published by the…

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…Susan Toy outlines 10 Ways to Kill Your Writing…Part Two…

hpim3640

…I’m delighted to run a five-days consecutive series of posts from my terrific pal, Author, Susan Toy, for every author to enjoy and prob’ly learn lots from… here’s PART TWO :

10 Ways to Kill Your Writing

This 5-part article is from a talk I gave at the Calgary Public Library Writers’ Weekend Feb. 4, 2012.

Thanks to all of you for reading this series that is very kindly being hosted by the ONE, the ONLY, SEUMAS GALLACHER!

Part 2

  1. Copy others and don’t search for and develop your own voice

When I first began writing creatively, I had already enjoyed a long career in bookselling and as a sales rep for publishers. During that time, I got to meet everyone – and I mean everyone!

Gail Bowen was one author I worked with who became a friend and I wanted to be just like her – writing mysteries set in a specific locale.

Then I began taking writing classes and I’m embarrassed and ashamed to admit to you now that I actually said to Paul Quarrington, my mentor, that I had not read any of his books before beginning the course because I didn’t want his writing to influence the “voice” I was trying to develop.

I know! What an idiot!

Writers should always find an author whose writing they can aspire to emulate. Not mimic or imitate, but a standard of accomplishment and success to aim for.

I realize now how arrogant and insulting I must have sounded to Paul at that time. The only consolation I have is that I hear the same words from other beginning writers – that they need to develop a unique voice and cannot risk being influenced by such-and-such a great writer.

You should be so lucky to learn to write that well!

By the way, that unique voice I was so concerned about developing? It eventually came to me, and without my actually realizing it, because the more I wrote the more ME I put on the page. It was unconscious at the time, but I have been told by readers that they enjoy the voice I’ve created in my stories, so I’m pretty chuffed about that.

I never would have reached that point though if I hadn’t just kept writing, reading, revising, and learning my craft.

  1. Believe you are the first to have . . .
  2. a) written a particular story

There are very few new ideas in this business, but there are fresh approaches to those ideas. Shakespeare gave us the twelve great stories, the original themes, and everything else tends to be a variation of one of those themes. The key here is to be able to tell each story with a twist – from your own personal perspective.

b) made mistakes in your writing

I could include here, “Believe that you are the first to say stupid things,” as I mentioned I did with Paul Quarrington.

I bet if I could ask here for a raise of hands we’d see a lot of them in answer to a question whether anyone has ever made a mistake in their writing, especially early on in their careers.

It happens – get over it! But do make sure you learn from those mistakes.

  1. c) struggled to write

Again, asking for a raise of hands would probably garner a response from everyone reading this blog post.

  1. d) heard from readers that perhaps you should consider finding a day job . . . Or a new hobby.

Writing isn’t for everyone and definitely it’s not for the faint of heart. If you can’t take criticism then step away from the computer. If you can withstand the slings and arrows, then learn from them. Learn how to work with an editor. Find a writing instructor who can help you.

If you truly have a passion to write, and a story to tell, you will overcome those early critiques and learn to write so that readers believe this IS your day job!

And don’t kvetch about mistakes, difficulties, embarrassments, criticism, rejection, etc. We’ve all been there. We all know what you’re going through. So just pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and get back to writing!

  1. Think that “everyone” will want to read what you write

If you tell me this then I know you don’t have a clue who you are writing for. You must know your market. While every one of us hopes our books will sell a million copies and that Oprah or Mark Zuckerberg will invite us to be featured in their book clubs, the reality is your book will likely appeal to a rather small segment of the population. Know who this is you’re writing for, who your writing will appeal to, or at least have a good idea of your audience. This will really help your writing develop when you focus on a particular group.

Or take that even further … Aritha van Herk told us in a workshop that she always thinks of Alberto Manguel as being her perfect reader, and that she writes specifically with him in mind. Who would be your perfect reader, the one author you would write for and whose approval you seek?

Susan Toy has been a bookseller, an award-winning publishing sales representative, a literacy teacher, and is now a published author, publisher, and promoter of fellow authors and their books. Born and raised in Toronto, and after completing a degree in English Literature at Queen’s University in Kingston, she moved to Calgary in the late 70s and immediately found a job in a bookstore, beginning what has become a life’s career working with books and their authors.

Link for Island in the Clouds: https://islandeditions.wordpress.com/2012/08/23/where-in-the-world-can-you-purchase-island-in-the-clouds/

Link for That Last Summer:

https://islandeditions.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/where-to-purchase-islandshorts-ebooks3.pdf

…yeez can catch some of m’Lady, Susan’s WURK and links here :

Blog: http://islandeditions.wordpress.com/
And a blog dedicated to promoting other authors and their books
Reading Recommendations 
cover-susan-full-colour-jan2012is_thatlastsummer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

…see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!… 

ALL MY BLOG POSTS ARE FREE TO SHARE OR RE-BLOG SHOULD YOU SO WISH—BE MY GUEST!

 

 

 

 

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