A week off, and a question

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A week off, and a question

Post by glorybee » Sat Nov 28, 2015 11:35 am

I had a house full of company this week, and didn't have a chance to write a lesson. If I get caught up on things, I may post one early next week--or perhaps not until next Saturday.

In the meantime, I've love for you to look at the list of topics here. The items on the list that aren't currently linked to a lesson are ones that I intend to write at some point. Some of them were once lessons here on the boards, but disappeared years ago when the forums had a major crash. Some were suggested to me.

Are there any of those unlinked topics that particularly interest you? OR -- do you have a new topic to suggest?
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Re: A week off, and a question

Post by CatLin » Sun Nov 29, 2015 2:46 pm

Hi Jan!
I wonder if you have any insights or advice to share about self-publishing and how to find/work with an editor. I am blessed to be working with a fantastic editor who knows I'm inexperienced, but I'm still pretty clueless on the next step. (or even if I started on the right step).

Also, I learned a new literary term (I guess?) in Sunday School. We were discussing the Satan and King of Tyre, and I said it was allegory. My teacher said no, it was a dual reference. Both were real people, but an allegory was something that represents something else. Are dual references ever used in fiction writing? Also, how is a parable different from an allegory? (Okay, that was a lot of questions, but my brain kept asking them. :) )

Thanks!
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Re: A week off, and a question

Post by itsjoanne » Sun Nov 29, 2015 3:04 pm

Interested in MOST of them, but would especially love exposition and hook. Cliche's are also always fun.
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Re: A week off, and a question

Post by CatLin » Sun Nov 29, 2015 5:31 pm

itsjoanne wrote:Interested in MOST of them, but would especially love exposition and hook. Cliche's are also always fun.
Yes to those too. I wanted to say cliche's but was scared of the homework. :roll: :oops: I struggle with them still. (not using them that is. Old habits die hard, you know.)
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Re: A week off, and a question

Post by Vonnie » Sun Nov 29, 2015 6:30 pm

Jan, I would like to see something on submitting short stories, articles, or poetry to editors for possible publication. Years ago I typed them out on my typewriter and sent them in. Everything has changed with computers and the internet. I know you have to follow the writer's guideline for each publication, but are there other things we should know? I want to submit some of my writing but am afraid I won't do it right because of all the new computer language I haven't learned yet. God bless! LaVonne

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Re: A week off, and a question

Post by glorybee » Sun Nov 29, 2015 7:45 pm

Cat and Vonnie, I'm sorry that I know almost nothing about the process of publishing or submitting for publication. You'll have to ask those questions in other forums here, or elsewhere.

I've done a lesson on working with an editor here, but I also don't know much about finding one aside from the obvious:

1. Google it, OR
2. Look at FWs list of editors here, OR
3. Hire me :wink:

As for the rest of your suggestions, I'll move those topics to the top of the list--thanks!
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Re: A week off, and a question

Post by Cinnamon Bear » Sun Dec 06, 2015 2:39 pm

glorybee wrote:-- do you have a new topic to suggest?
Jan, I would like to see a lesson on dealing with the verb "to be"—is, was, were, and all the rest. I know it is a good idea to avoid using too many "ing" verbs—I was going, He was singing, etc. But I still have difficulty cutting back on the he was, she was, they were, etc.

Many Thanks.

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Re: A week off, and a question

Post by glorybee » Sun Dec 06, 2015 2:48 pm

Cinnamon Bear wrote:
glorybee wrote:-- do you have a new topic to suggest?
Jan, I would like to see a lesson on dealing with the verb "to be"—is, was, were, and all the rest. I know it is a good idea to avoid using too many "ing" verbs—I was going, He was singing, etc. But I still have difficulty cutting back on the he was, she was, they were, etc.

Many Thanks.

Cinnamon Bear
That really falls more on Ann's Grammar Forum. I'll mention it to her, and will link to it here when she finds time to write it. Thanks for the idea!
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Re: A week off, and a question

Post by Cinnamon Bear » Sun Dec 06, 2015 4:12 pm

glorybee wrote:That really falls more on Ann's Grammar Forum. I'll mention it to her, and will link to it here when she finds time to write it. Thanks for the idea!
Jan, I think it is a craft-of-writing topic. The grammar may be correct, yet the writing weakened.

For example, sentences such as: "I am hungry." "This information is helpful." "He was impressed with her work."

My problem: When I try to convert many of my "to be" sentences into a different format, I often come up with clumsy syntax and unclear meanings.

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Re: A week off, and a question

Post by glorybee » Sun Dec 06, 2015 6:42 pm

Cinnamon Bear wrote:
glorybee wrote:That really falls more on Ann's Grammar Forum. I'll mention it to her, and will link to it here when she finds time to write it. Thanks for the idea!
Jan, I think it is a craft-of-writing topic. The grammar may be correct, yet the writing weakened.

For example, sentences such as: "I am hungry." "This information is helpful." "He was impressed with her work."

My problem: When I try to convert many of my "to be" sentences into a different format, I often come up with clumsy syntax and unclear meanings.

Cinnamon Bear
Thanks for having faith in my abilities--but I'd be totally over my head if I attempted a lesson like this. However, I'd love examples of your 'before and after' sentences so that I can see more clearly what's problematic for you. Maybe that will push me toward doing a lesson on this, after all.
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Re: A week off, and a question

Post by Cinnamon Bear » Mon Dec 07, 2015 6:31 pm

glorybee wrote:I'd love examples of your 'before and after' sentences so that I can see more clearly what's problematic for you. Maybe that will push me toward doing a lesson on this, after all.
Jan, here is the link to a website that provides three examples of "to be" sentences that are revised to omit the "to be". Personally, I don't think the revised sentences are all that good.

http://writingcommons.org/stylecc/gramm ... o-be-verbs


Some examples from my own writing:

1) Interchange between three young women discussing the book Little Women:

"If you could be any one of the sisters, which one would you be?"

"I’m Jo, definitely. Jo was the only one of the four who ever did any real nursing."

"And I’m Amy. I don’t think I’d want to marry Laurie. That was a flaw in the novel. He was supposed to marry Jo."


2) The only thing she could think of to wear was the grey suit she had worn at the tea.

3) Rose Hawthorne was a close friend of the poet, Emma Lazarus. When Emma died of cancer in 1887, she was profoundly affected.

4) All she needs is smoke coming out of her ears to make her expression complete.

5) When they arrived at the western bank, the Minuteman Statue was there to greet them.

Any thoughts on how to revise these?

Cinnamon Bear

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Re: A week off, and a question

Post by glorybee » Mon Dec 07, 2015 8:58 pm

Cinnamon Bear wrote:
glorybee wrote:I'd love examples of your 'before and after' sentences so that I can see more clearly what's problematic for you. Maybe that will push me toward doing a lesson on this, after all.
Jan, here is the link to a website that provides three examples of "to be" sentences that are revised to omit the "to be". Personally, I don't think the revised sentences are all that good.

http://writingcommons.org/stylecc/gramm ... o-be-verbs


Some examples from my own writing:

1) Interchange between three young women discussing the book Little Women:

"If you could be any one of the sisters, which one would you be?"

"I’m Jo, definitely. Jo was the only one of the four who ever did any real nursing."

"And I’m Amy. I don’t think I’d want to marry Laurie. That was a flaw in the novel. He was supposed to marry Jo."


2) The only thing she could think of to wear was the grey suit she had worn at the tea.

3) Rose Hawthorne was a close friend of the poet, Emma Lazarus. When Emma died of cancer in 1887, she was profoundly affected.

4) All she needs is smoke coming out of her ears to make her expression complete.

5) When they arrived at the western bank, the Minuteman Statue was there to greet them.

Any thoughts on how to revise these?

Cinnamon Bear
Well, the first one that seems changeable to me--at least according to the guidelines set forth in the link you provided--is #5: You could say When they arrived at the western bank, the Minuteman Statue greeted them. But that's no better than your example, and may even be worse (depending on the context).

In my opinion, pages like the one you provided--and of course, lessons like all of mine--are of limited value if one looks at them as absolutes. While it's true that many "to be" verbs can be switched for more active verbs, if doing so creates an awkward or ridiculous sentence, then a writer should trust her own writing and leave it be. You could write something like:

She thought about what to wear; the gray suit she had worn to tea would have to do.

...and while that's a perfectly good sentence, yours has a more natural flow and it has your voice.

Similarly, you could write:

Rose Hawthorne and Emma Lazarus enjoyed a close friendship. Rose grieved deeply when Emma died of cancer in 1887.

...but I'm not sure that has the rhythm or the flow of yours.

In short, I guess I'd say that you can consider re-writes such as the ones I've done here, but if they change your voice substantially, or you're unhappy with the result--go back to your original. If I were editing any of those sentences, I doubt that I'd have used any red ink.
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Re: A week off, and a question

Post by Cinnamon Bear » Mon Dec 07, 2015 10:23 pm

glorybee wrote:In my opinion, pages like the one you provided--and of course, lessons like all of mine--are of limited value if one looks at them as absolutes. While it's true that many "to be" verbs can be switched for more active verbs, if doing so creates an awkward or ridiculous sentence, then a writer should trust her own writing and leave it be.
Thanks, Jan. I have been corresponding with some recent graduates of the Iowa How Writers Write Fiction course. I suspect that they exhibit the zeal of the newly converted in their quest to seek and destroy all forms of the verb "to be". :lol:

I'm glad they mentioned it to me—my writing will benefit from carefully considering the "to be" verbs. But as you indicate, I shouldn't murder all of them. :)

Cinnamon Bear

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Re: A week off, and a question

Post by RachelM » Mon Dec 07, 2015 10:47 pm

Jan,
What about a general lesson on scenes? Current novel-writing advice seems to recommend cutting in and out of scenes as close to the action as possible--more like a movie. I like how it makes the writing more immediate and intense, but I think it leads to choppiness and some scenes that are too short. Have you found this? Any suggestions? Do you think every scene should have an intro and resolution?
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Re: A week off, and a question

Post by glorybee » Mon Dec 07, 2015 10:49 pm

Thanks for this idea, Rachel! I'll put it on the list.
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