Tag Archives: Literature

What Does a Publisher Do? Part 2

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Hello All, below you will find part two that goes along with last weeks post. The Chicago Press has done an excellent job in explaining exactly what is an Editor and his/her job.

publisherMay I Speak with an Editor?
In a publishing house, an editor may do a number of things. An acquisitions editor is the person with whom you’ll first come into contact, since this is the person with the primary responsibility to recommend projects for publication consideration. Some houses call this position sponsoring editor or commissioning editor.

Beyond that, your acquiring editor (the person you will quickly come to call “my editor”) may line edit your book. Even if this doesn’t get a thorough line editing, the acquiring editor will need to make decisions about your manuscript that can include cutting big chunks out, insisting you rethink parts, or requiring you to add something you’ve never thought of before.

If this weren’t confusing enough, many publishing houses establish rankings within their organizations that assign different job titles to acquisitions editors at different salary or seniority levels. Some houses have adopted rankings for editors that mirror the academic distinctions of assistant, associate, and full professor. You may find yourself reading a letter from an assistant or associate editor, or perhaps someone whose title is simply editor. Don’t be distracted by this. The person who has expressed interest in your work is the first person with whom you want to bond, whether or not she has been promoted to the highest ranking at her press. Obviously, there can be advantages to working directly with a very senior editor. But if you find yourself chatting with the associate editor for politics don’t sit there wishing you could meet the real politics editor—it’s likely you already have.

A manuscript editor or copy editor will be responsible for correcting style and punctuation, and may raise questions about clarity and intention. Sometimes a piece of writing will be subject to only the lightest cosmetic adjustments, while other times the manuscript will be substantially reworked. Once, manuscript editors were housed in a publisher’s offices, but increasingly manuscript editors work freelance, and are managed by someone in-house. The manuscript editor will be the person responsible for querying anything unclear or missing from your text. You, however, who are responsible for the final version of your book.

A developmental editor isn’t an acquiring editor, but may be assigned to an important project, lending the author or volume editor crucial assistance. Developmental editors are common at textbook houses, but are rare in other branches of book publishing. Sometimes development means taking a chaotic project and organizing it, while in other cases development might mean taking on myriad details (such as permissions and illustrations) for a complex volume initiated by the press itself. Authors who have heard about developmental editors sometimes wonder aloud why the press can’t provide one to help them through the last rewrite. But a developmental editor’s time is precious, and those work hours will be committed only to projects for which the publisher sees the possibility of significant return.

You might also work with someone described as a line editor. A line editor is someone who, as the title suggests, combs through a manuscript line by line, not only reading for sense but listening for rhythm and euphony as well. You might even get some fact-checking thrown in. Though line editor and manuscript editor are closely related job titles, a “line edit” is frequently reserved for trade books. Line editing is expensive.

A managing editor usually oversees copy (or manuscript) editors, and sometimes supervises further elements of the production process. Managing editors manage not only the copyediting process, but much of the scheduling your book will require. Increasingly this means that the managing editor must juggle the schedules of freelance copy editors, proofreaders, and indexers while keeping an eye on the printing schedule. The managing editor will likely not manage the acquisitions editors, however.

Diane Baker to Brian Aherne, playing a high-powered trade editor in The Best of Everything: “Oh, no wonder you’re an editor! You know so much about people!” Different kinds of editors perform different functions. All, however, are grouped under the editorial umbrella of a publishing house, which embraces two functions: acquisition, or signing books up; and manuscript development, or making them better. Some acquiring editors spend all their time “editing a list”—that is, bringing in projects—and no time developing or enhancing the author’s words. A specialized monograph publisher may operate this way. More commonly, acquiring editors both bring in projects and, perhaps selectively, spend time on detailed shaping and rewriting. On the other hand, a developmental editor may spend all of her time on shaping a manuscript, and have no acquisitions responsibilities at all.

Dobyns Chronicles

Words Beginning With For- and Fore-

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writingHello everyone, this morning I am posting from Daily Writing tips about some common problem words. Have a great weekend and blessings to all.
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English has several words that begin with the prefixes for- and fore- Sometimes the prefix means “before” or “in front of.” Sometimes it means “outside,” a meaning derived from an Old French element related to modern French hors, as in the French borrowing hors d’oeuvre, “outside the main course.”

Perhaps the most frequently misspelled of this category is the word found at the beginning of many books: Foreword.

A book’s foreword is a preface, a brief essay not necessarily essential for the understanding of the text of a book and commonly written by someone other than the author of the text. Confusion arises from the existence of the adjective forward.

As an adjective, forward is used to describe something that is in front of or ahead of something else. On a ship, things located towards the front are said to be forward, for example, the “forward hold.” A “forward child” in a positive sense is a clever child, precocious for its years. In a negative sense, a “forward child” is like the ones on television who exchange quips, insults, and double entendres with adults; again, the sense is that the child is ahead of its years.

The three verbs forecast, foretell, and foresee all mean “to predict” or “to prophesy,” but have different connotations:

The weatherman forecast showers for Monday. (prediction based on analysis of data)
The gypsy foretold Gwen’s marriage to a rancher. (prediction based on mysterious knowledge)
Harold’s business experience enabled him to foresee the consequences of his partner’s decision. (prediction based on personal experience)

Some other verbs beginning with fore- in which the sense is “happening before” are:

forebode: to announce beforehand.
Forebode and forbid come from OE verbs with similar meanings. Forbid now means “to command a person not to do something.” Forebode means to announce ahead of time. The word forbode carries a connotation of dread, for example, “Vanishing act of middle class forebodes turbulent time.”

The verb bode, on the other hand, means simply “to predict” or “to give promise of something” and may be used in either a positive or a negative context:
Stephen Colbert’s Super-Charming ‘Late Show’ Appearance Bodes Well for His New Gig.
Scottish independence does not bode well for its economy

foreordain: to determine in advance.
“His hostility drives the drama in the first act, and his frenetic dancing in the second makes his demise seem foreordained.”

forewarn: to warn or caution in advance.
This quotation from Charles Kingsley has become a proverb: “To be forewarned is to be forearmed,” (i.e., knowledge of what is about to happen is like having a weapon with which to defend yourself).

In the following nouns the prefix has the sense of “before”:

forelock: A lock of hair growing from the fore part of the head, just above the forehead.
In old novels you’ll find references to farm workers and other social inferiors touching or tugging their forelocks to show respect to their superiors: “There was plenty of bobbing from the girls and pulling of forelocks from the boys.” The expression “to take opportunity by the forelock” means to take advantage of a situation as aggressively as possible: “He seized opportunity by the forelock and secured the best aid possible in his business…”

forefather: an ancestor, one who has come before.

foresight: The action or faculty of foreseeing what must happen. For example, “[Jacob Little] had unusual foresight, which at times seemed to amount to prescience.”

In the following verbs, the prefix is from the French borrowing that meant “outside”:

forbear: to abstain or refrain from
“The defendants were asked to forbear to arrest Mr. Swift.”

forswear: to swear falsely; to abandon or renounce
“As waggish boys in game themselves forswear,
So the boy Love is perjured everywhere.” –A Midsummer Night’s Dream, I, i, 240-241.

forfeit: to lose the right to; give up
“The execution of a murderer does not violate his right to life, because he forfeited that right when he committed a murder.” –John Locke

forget: to lose remembrance of

forgive: to give up resentment

forsake: to give up, renounce

foreclose: to preclude, hinder, or prohibit (a person) from (an action). Although spelled fore-, the prefix in foreclose has the “out” meaning, as in “to shut out.”

Finally, there are two words that look almost alike, but have quite different origins:

forebear (noun): An ancestor, forefather, progenitor (usually more remote than a grandfather).
This noun is formed from the prefix fore- (before) and an old word, beer. This beer has nothing to do with the beverage. Instead, it comes from the verb to be. A be-er is one who exists. A forebear existed before you did.

forbear (verb): to abstain or refrain from something.
“Woman, forbear that weeping!”

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The Time is Here…..

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I’m so excited and can’t keep my old heart from jumping up and down. I finally have my book of short stories on Amazon. It’s called, “Shirley’s Shorts and Flashes”. You can read just about any genre you want with these stories. I started working on them a couple of years ago.

One thing I’m very pleased about is using Afaheem Solutions to do the drawings before every chapter. Those pictures set the story off and give you little hints what it’s about. It was fun to see what concepts he would come up with in a short period of time. If I wanted something changed he would do it immediately.

I think my favorite of the stories is Forever Love based on a true event from my life. If you like paranormal, love and tragedy all wrapped up in a neat package, you will like this story.

Take a look at it and let me know what you think about the book.  Blessings to all.        Shirley

Attention Writers: Flash Fiction Contest

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I thought we could have some fun writing a Flash Fiction story of no more than 400 words around the topic of July 4th.  It can be any genre you wish, any topic, but keep it clean.  All entries must be submitted by June 30th to shirley_mclain@yahoo.com. The winner will be announced on July 3rd.  The prize is two ebooks of your choice from Amazon.

Please submit title and author of the books you would like as well as the address where you want them sent.  The story I posted called Angie’s Secret is for a flash fiction contest. You can read it and then try to do better.

Here is a YouTube video that explains flash fiction a little further. I hope you enjoy it. I look forward to reading what you come up with.  Happy writing.

Keep Talking, Andy…..

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I started a new book yesterday.  Now every time my mind is not specifically thinking about something else, plots and scenes keep running through my brain.  I find the creative process very interesting.  My muse, (I’m going to call him Andy,) works overtime when I’m writing.  Most of the time it is a very good thing, but sometimes I would like for Andy to stop talking to me.  I like being quiet at times, but not Andy. I can safely call him a motor mouth.

I have an advantage this go around that I didn’t have before.  I know my main characters very well since they were in The Tower.  Sam (shortened from Samantha ,) has a twin brother, Allan.  They share a psychic connection and are very close.  Sam works for Allan at IDEA (International Diagnostic Environmental Agency). Allan’s company investigates and recommends fixes for any environmental problem that affects people anywhere in the world.

Right now Andy is helping me to decide on what kind of character I want my protagonist to be. It is being said today that publishers are not only wanting a book with good, strong characters and strong plots but they also want a story with a hook (Whatever that means.) I will have to do some reading and find out more about that hook business.

I want to write the best book I can,  which means Andy and I will be spending a lot of time together of the next few months. Hopefully he will continue to talk to me as much as he does now because if he doesn’t, I may be in trouble. I may gripe about his constant talking but I know I need him to help me accomplish what I want to do.

A Little Help Needed From My Friends…..

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A week or so ago I wrote a blog called, “How Do You Know.” It’s about trying to decide on a name of a book of short stories. Well, I am now putting together my book of short stories and it’s called, “Shirley’s Shorts and Flashes.” It’s a simple title that I thought would work out OK.

Now I am in the process of having a cover designed for the book. I always have a lot of fun doing this but trying to decide which is the best cover to use is enough to make you lose your mind.  The first instructions I gave them was to try make something to go with the title.  I ended up with a lot of very well done covers, but they looked like they belonged on a children’s book, instead of stories that mostly deal with mystery and death and other things.  I had to say oops, I was wrong and lets start over and so they did. I ended up with 135 designs that I have now whittled down to seven.

I know the artwork on a book-cover usually tells you something about the book.  What kind of artwork do you choose when you have a little bit of every genre in the book? I  picked what appealed to me and hope that I make the right decision.  Actually, how about a little help from my friends?  Go to 99designs and help me pick a cover.   In the sidebar under blogroll you will find a link that will take you directly to the voting page. If you think of anything that you think might help the cover, just tweet and let me know.

I love writing and the entire book making process.  I hate marketing, but that’s another blog.

How Do You know?

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The best short stories of Mark TwainOK, I admit it, I really don’t know a great deal about writing.  That expression “flying by the seat of my pants” is exactly what I’m doing. I have to say I learn something new  every day and I find that exciting. Knowledge is what makes the world go round. Everything we have in life is due to someone’s knowledge and ingenuity.

Right now I am struggling with a simple thing(not to me), that is knowing, but not knowing enough.  I want to get the perfect title for a book of short stories.  I came up with a list of titles, but nothing seems right.  The stories are of different genres from horror to mystery with  even a love story or two. A title might fit one but not all.  So how do you come up with a title?

I’ve tried the internet and I can’t say I got much help from there. There was lots of information about how to write a short story. There were a couple of articles that mentioned naming but they were talking about one story not a dozen or so.  Usually my titles just come to me but not this time.

We all want the perfect title that will grab the attention of the reader so they will pick up the book. We want the title to lead them to open the book, and never put it down until it’s read. Here are six keys to writing a title by Terri Marie of White Wing Entertainment:
1. Write down all possible titles. Anything and everything you can think of. You never know which phrase may catch and stick.
2. Pay attention to how YOU feel when you tell others your title. Do you feel proud, tentative, scared, stupid? The feeling you want is like a proud mother or father of your new little baby. Give it the best name you can. It will be called that name the rest of its life.
3. I also researched other titles on amazon. You don’t want a title that everyone has. It will get lost. You also don’t want a title so obscure or under-descriptive that nothing will come up on a search.
4. It needs to have intrigue and yet be clear.
“Things Your Priest Doesn’t Want You To Know,” would be intriguing. So would “Things Your (fill in the blank) Doesn’t Want You To Know.” We humans like to know what others are doing, thinking feeling etc.
5. Does your title help the reader to become a better person? We want to strive higher, yet it has to be an achievable goal without huge effort. If your title is “How to increase your IQ by 10 points, studying an extra 5 hours a day,” I’m not interested.
6. Sum up your book in one sentence. Write as many as you can of these one liners. If you get just one chance to give a message from your book to others, what would you say? That’s often all you get. Use it wisely. When it all comes down to it, go with your gut.

Does knowing the above information make it any easier? It doesn’t for me. When it comes to titles, how do you know?

 

 

Plotting for the Protagonist

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Sleeping Beauty

Image via Wikipedia

Plotting does seem to be for your main character.  Your plot is based around what your protagonist wants.  His/her needs, dreams, obstacles, feelings, any thing that affects your protagonist can contribute to your plot.

The plot has three main parts;  The beginning, the middle and the end.  The  structure of a plot hasn’t changed for a couple thousand years.  Each section of the plot has its own role in the telling of a story.

The beginning of your story has to produce three things: 1.) The reader must be in the middle of action 2.) It has to establish the background information, and 3.) establish the major dramatic question.

The major dramatic question is one which can be answered by the end of the story.  “Does the three little pigs escape from the big bad wolf?”  “Does Harry Potter kill Valdamort?”  “Does Sleeping Beauty wake up?”.  As you can see from my examples, it is the question that will drive your story telling.

The middle section of the plot take most of the space, because it is where you expand your story.  The characters grow, and where most of the problems arise for your protagonist. The middle is also where the core action takes place and your struggles grow.

The final section is the end section.  This is the section where everything comes together. ** “The end generally follows a pattern that could be called the three C”s”–Crisis, climax and consequences.  The crisis is the point where tension hits its maximum, and the climax is where the tension breaks and where we get the answer to our major dramatic question.  Then, the consequences , are alluded to at the very end of the piece.”

Enjoy the video for today from Anne Rice: Developing Plot  http://youtu.be/xJX8uX_mjwM

 

** Writing Fiction by Gotham Writers Workshop