Posts Tagged ‘writing’
I’m going to begin this today with a disclaimer. I have not written a biography and do not plan on doing so, this is just one possible method of structuring it brought to mind while reading an article by Russell Brand on Margaret Thatcher. You can read it yourself here and I suggest you do so.
Brand is a rather controversial figure, not just because he’s an outspoken comedian but because he really pushes boundaries. The day after the attacks in New York in 2011 he arrived at work dressed as Osama bin Laden, naturally he was sacked. I’ve seen part of one of his shows where he invites two men from the Westboro Church to find common ground. It is awesome.
Basically, Brand is youngish and outspoken. He’s led an interesting life with several medical diagnoses in common with so many people and it’s very easy to identify with him.
Margaret Thatcher, on the other hand, needs little introduction but I’ll try just for comparison. She has little in common with Brand being very self-disciplined – her nickname of The Iron Lady was given to her with good cause. She was the first female Prime Minister of Britain and led the country with an absolute iron hand for 11 years. Brand was 15 when Thatcher was finally ousted from office, an impressionable age.
What struck me about the article was how apt it was. It was a nice little snapshot of how Brand viewed Thatcher and it got me wondering what other people born in different decades might have thought of The Iron Lady. What might they have seen in her, what were they doing and how did she impact on their lives? This led to the next train of thought, what about an biography constructed around articles written from these different points of view. If you take one person born in each decade starting in say the 1970s going backwards, get them to write their viewpoint on Thatcher and then use that as the starting point of each chapter.
Biographies have to start somewhere and they often start with an interesting point in the life of the subject working backwards and or forwards in time as the narrative and personality calls, often they include a section about the subjects parents and grandparents to show the bigger background. The biography of Yitzhak Rabin written by his widow, Leah, starts with his funeral, a finalising event in everyone’s life. The biography of Sir Frank Packer also starts with death but the death of Julius Caesar and Joseph Stalin. Both books then move on to other events. A book about Thatcher could start with her election to the office of Prime Minister, the riots in 1981 or even her death, I feel to be really different, to really get Baroness Thatcher’s point of difference would be to take one of these articles and start with that before moving on. Yes, I agree, it is starting with her death but in a different way to any biography I’ve seen before.
Anyway, it was just a thought. Vale Baroness Margaret Thatcher, a woman who polarised opinions.
Browsing the internet looking for something to write about and I happened upon this article, you need to read it before going much further here as I any summary leaves out many of the salient points. Just in case you haven’t clicked through the articles goes a bit like this:
Stop asking to receive apps for free as the author has put a lot of work into it and the pittance you pay doesn’t even begin to cover the cost. It includes this letter:
I am the parent of a child who cannot speak and really needs help. I saw that you offer therapy services to people like my child and I’d love to have access to them. However, I am really surprised that your therapy services are so expensive and think that you should provide them free of charge. Other people provide free therapy services and there are also many people who are not therapists who provide free therapy services in their spare time.
I’d be happy to provide a recommendation of your therapy services to other people if you were to provide them to me for free. Otherwise, I am afraid I will just have to blog about how expensive your therapy services are and go somewhere else. It seems so sad that children in desperate need of help are denied access to therapy services because of people wanting to make a profit from their disability.
and then includes it again replacing ‘therapy’ with ‘app’. I’m not making light of their thoughts as they’re entirely correct and I’m totally guilty of mouthing off at the price of an app but I’m truly grateful I didn’t write a letter like that. What I’m suggesting is we take their letter and replace ‘therapy’ with ‘book’ or ‘ebook’.
A book (print or digital) can take time to write. A friend has just spent six months of his life writing his first book and now needs to have it edited before sending it to agents, you can have a look at his Kickstarter campaign and contribute if you choose. That’s six months where he ignored family and friends, left his email to its own devices on so many occasions and basically hibernated. Six months when he could have been doing something else. In Australia a paperback is generally priced at around $20. So, the author has spent six months writing his book and you buy it for $20, if you do some maths that works out at a stupid number of dollars per hour, sorry, I meant cents per hour. It means you really need to sell thousands or millions of copies to make any decent kind of dollar amount per hour. That totally ignores the amount paid to the bookshop, publisher, editor, agent etc. So when you sell a book at $20 you’re only getting a fraction of that.
I’m not going to look at the US where books cost so much less or the UK where they also cost less. I could look at New Zealand where they cost more but I’m not convinced the author gets more money for their time.
I just wonder what value we’re putting on the author’s time when we spend such a small amount on a book.
The question is more what I don’t know about writing, because the answer to that would fill a library whereas the answer to what I know about writing would fill a pin head but I’ll give it a go at scribbling a few words.
When I was young I was given a journal with some ideas about what I could put in it, the gifter had written down some entries for my birthday from various people throughout history, people I shared a birthday with. I did try to write things down in it with the idea I’d only write on my birthday and update it once a year with what had happened during the year. This fizzled out and I found myself scribbling updates at odd times, then going back and disagreeing with what I’d written and how I’d written it all the while being so dissatisfied with my life. I found the whole process onerous so I threw it out one day and have barely regretted it. The odd time I do regret it is because it was on The Hobbit paper.
I’ve never been too happy with my writing, I did write one quick short story in year 11 I was happy with and I still have it somewhere. I’ve never thought I had any skills with words, I still don’t. I tell people I know two languages; English and Australian with no great skills in either. I can’t think why people laugh. I started writing this blog in April 2009 ostensibly to help with SEO but in reality to let out my inner frustrated writer, it’s something I’ve always wanted to do but never felt I had the skills. Now I blog knowing I don’t have the skills but determined to do it anyway. At various times I add some studies into the mix in an effort to improve my writing and my grammar, my last was year 12 English Literature and I do feel it helped my writing, it was a course I enjoyed greatly. I recently completed a Certificate 3 in Business Admin, I did this online and was not very excited by the process I much prefer a classroom situation with people interaction.
Just so you know, I write more or less how I speak with no swear words and unless my mouth stops working properly I try to speak with proper grammar, sometimes I succeed. It’s so much easier in print as you can go back and fix any problems you’ve found.
This post is part of What I Know About Writing run by That Space in Between, you can see more articles on the same topic here. I have to stop reading the rest of the articles, it’s an absolute must but I know I won’t. One lady talks about NaNoWriMo, she’s entering for the third time this year and what she says makes me want to join her. It’s absolute madness, to attempt to write 50,000 words in 30 days, but I’m seriously thinking about it. I can’t help but wonder if I can do it, I’m sure there will be nothing sensible at the end but it fascinates me. They say you should aim for 1,666 words per day and that’s a lot of words. Can I sustain 50,000 words in such a short time? Can I make it all make any kind of sense? Can I do all of this while also doing everything else? Can I think of any other questions? That lady mentions her first time with NaNoWriMo and how she wrote semi-biographical rubbish which was good as it cleared the way for other useful ideas and writing. Knowing it will never see the light of day means this might be a good place to start, using it as a counselling session and just get rid of whatever rubbish is in my head. I still don’t know about NaNoWriMo but it is tempting.
Click here to go to That Space In Between.
“Robbery at the Public Library?” exclaimed Bony. “Well, I expected it, you know. People will read books, and now that the government has cut down on the importation of books, people are bound to rob the libraries to get them. It’s a crime which I acclaim. May I have another cup of tea?”
This is a quote from Murder Must Wait by Arthur W. Upfield and I love it so much, let’s unpack it to find out why.
The first sentence ‘Robbery at the Public Library’ is really awesome, it tells me that there is good in the world with people wanting to read and doing their best to ensure they can. It’s a great title for a book.
‘People will read books…’ A good phrase giving us the idea that reading is something people will do whether they’re given permission or not. I used reverse psychology with my kids and once they were able to read told them they couldn’t. I think it worked, they now read as much as they’re able.
‘…the government has cut down on importation of books…’ Show us roughly where we are in history. There have been bans on bringing certain books into Australia for many years, here are two links which don’t tell me the details I was hoping to find, Auslit and Wikipedia. Judging by the sentence at that point in time the government were probably not letting as many books come into Australia as they were before, not just censoring the shipments of books.
He’s obviously in favour of people reading, some people don’t approve as it gives them ideas and makes them think for themselves…whoever gave people the idea they could think for themselves? *walks away shaking head*
Then Bony casually changes the subject and asks for a cup of tea. Just brilliant. The only problem with this paragraph is the item in question was not a book but an Aboriginal carving.
While looking for information to include in this article I came across a pair of articles which are of interest here despite being slightly dated. On BookThingo’s blog they discuss the issues surrounding parallel importation, a problem that wouldn’t have been around in the 1950s when Murder Must Wait was written. It’s a lengthy article in two parts but well worth reading, part 1 is here with part 2 here.
This could be scary but so many people do it all the time. You’ve got retail people and front of house people who do the bulk of their work in the public eye so why not writing? I’ve watched people live blog from Nuffnang and other blogging conferences and I find the idea really interesting, I don’t think my typing is anywhere near fast enough though so I don’t intend to try it.
One enterprising author is going to the other extreme and writing her novel on Google Docs. You can read more about it here, don’t forget to read the comments, as is often the case they’re more interesting than the original article.
I think this could be really boring for the reader, especially if they’re watching me. I type for a bit then delete whole swathes as I’ve decided it’s useless, or I make a typo and then delete whole swathes to fix the typo, then I stop and think for a while. Rinse and repeat ad nauseum until I finally finish what I’m typing. It might be okay if the writing was good to start off with or if I was a faster typist but it’s pretty boring watching someone type.
Will I ever do living blogging? Don’t know, I can’t read the future. I do tell people not to contact me by telepathy as I’m not good at receiving so why would I be any better at reading the future?
I’ve been talking recently about the problems I’ve had with the discount voucher and other things and how I just couldn’t seem to get them working. Thanks to a wonderful anonymous person in the community on my shopping cart plugin I’ve now got the important codes working and to celebrate you should be able to put mazaltov into the promo code section of Checkout to receive a 15% discount. I’ve extended this until 31st July. I’ve also managed to get the postal charges working and you should now receive a correct quote for the postal charges, well, correct for a given value of correct as I now need to update all the weights on every listing so until I manage to do that you’re likely to get a vast discount on postage. Why not take advantage of this and buy your favourite books?
As you know I’ve been studying too many things at once and have been finding it more than challenging to keep up with everything. Last Tuesday it was midmorning when I suddenly remembered I hadn’t scheduled Mondayitis, I went on strike with my writing and am going back to normal as of today. I’d just had enough and needed a short break, fortunately or unfortunately depending on your point of view, I now have more books to review and as I’d really like to delve down to the bottom of the piles and find my desk I’m going to review them fairly regularly until I get there. The good news is that I’ve finished all my studying and I’m trying very hard not to pick up anything more for at least two months to give me some time to catch up and find my desk underneath all these books and magazines.
There’s a common theme there and it might have something to do with finding my desk, it’s improved a little this weekend, I now have my scales sitting on an empty part of the desk. Enough of me for today, tomorrow is Mondayitis by someone I consider very special, tune in tomorrow to find out who.
I mentioned a while ago I would be starting to do reviews of toys for the kidlets, this is my first attempt and it includes a competition. Wherever possible I will include some element of education in my competitions and will endeavour to make it about reading or writing.
Geleez are aimed at primary school children, they are DIY stickers and come complete with the reusable stickers and some gel ‘pens’. My kidlets are adult so I had to steal someone else’s for the exercise. I popped a sheet of paper in a laminating pouch with one for each child, they brought their creativity and away we went.
Three children aged between five and seven sat down at a table and opened the packs. That was a bit of a struggle, scissors and parents came in handy, don’t expect to use the cardboard afterwards for something else. The packs are complete with reusable stickers, ‘pens’ and some other bits and pieces to help make things beautiful. Here’s a picture of the ‘pens’.
You can see one sticker being restuck in the following photo, it was stuck down several times before she was happy with placement with no lack of stickability.
All three kids had a ball and created very different scenes. Now to the competition. The prize is two Geleez packs comprising the Geleez Designer Studio at about $30 (includes a work station to help keep things neat and tidy) and Butterfly World at about $20, with 3D butterflies to colour in -lots of fun. If your child doesn’t win the competition then they’d still make great presents, they kept these children relatively quiet and happy for about an hour and they’ll get more fun out of them the next day after the gel has dried as they can then put the stickers elsewhere, again, and again etc.
Show these scenes to your child and ask them to write a story in words. Type this story into the comments section below along with their age. Competition open to primary school aged Australian residents only. Closing date is the 4th July 2012.
Maybe your child will be a published author one day with this as their first story. Who can read the future, all I ask is that you let their creativity run wild.
Thank you to Moose Enterprise for allowing me to use someone else’s kids and have fun.
I was fixing up a magazine on my website, a nice little part-work magazine just making sure it had enough information for some lovely person to buy and noticed what I was typing.
Transplant a heart and it will die unless its tissues match those of its new owner. Volunteers, who hope that when they die their still healthy organs will help another live, may carry cards that describe their tissues. Surgeons of the future plan ‘organ banks’ where hearts and lungs, livers and kidneys can be kept until they are needed.
I misread it slightly and thought I should share my thoughts with you.
So, I’m an organ donor but I don’t have a card to describe my tissues, maybe I should make one today. Having never seen most of my organs I’m not quite sure how to describe them but I could say something about my eyes.
Eyes: regular size, roundish, the colour changes depending on what I’m wearing, sometimes have flecks of green. You won’t need to put in coloured contacts, just change your clothes. Can’t guarantee you actually want these eyes as they’re old before their time. They’re short-sighted, the good news is they’ve stopped getting worse due to age and I now need to wear reading glasses to see the computer, my dinner, my tapestry…the other side of the table. Actually, maybe you do want them then you could have a blind date and you wouldn’t know what the person on the other side of the table looked like, they could look like a super model in your minds’ eye.