My Writers Circle

Writing => All the Write Questions => Topic started by: Christopher Silva on November 02, 2007, 06:21:20 AM

Title: A Few Words to a Young Writer
Post by: Christopher Silva on November 02, 2007, 06:21:20 AM
A Few Words to a Young Writer:

Socrates said, "The misuse of language induces evil in the soul." He wasn't talking about grammar. To misuse language is to use it the way politicians and advertisers do, for profit, without taking responsibility for what the words mean. Language used as a means to get power or make money goes wrong: it lies. Language used as an end in itself, to sing a poem or tell a story, goes right, goes towards the truth.

A writer is a person who cares what words mean, what they say, how they say it. Writers know words are their way towards truth and freedom, and so they use them with care, with thought, with fear, with delight. By using words well they strengthen their souls. Story-tellers and poets spend their lives learning that skill and art of using words well. And their words make the souls of their readers stronger, brighter, deeper.



_
chris
thanks to ULG
Title: Re: A Few Words to a Young Writer
Post by: Nelodra on November 02, 2007, 06:35:26 AM
Nicely put, Funwriter.  :)
And I think you're so right.

Looking at my own stories, I see myself doing just that: choosing my words very carefully. Esp. because my stories are usually about disturbing themes. The things we'd all want existed in nightmares only, but sadly are a part of real life.

I don't care much for politics or the advertizing industry. Indeed they misuse words. They use them to deceive and for their own profit. Don't get me started...  >:(

Title: Re: A Few Words to a Young Writer
Post by: thatollie on November 02, 2007, 08:27:35 AM
I hope these words, chosen as carefully as I've seen in a long time, do inspire young writers to learn the proper ways to use their own.
Title: Re: A Few Words to a Young Writer
Post by: Spell Chick on November 02, 2007, 08:53:44 AM
I don't know about the rest of the world, but in the US the choices for words is influenced a great deal by politics. If I don't use Politically Correct verbiage, I will simply be in a world of crap. I am so sick of typing out African-American that I'm about to insist on Northern European-American, Mediteranean-American, Scandanavian-American, etc.

There are no more secretaries here, they are all administrative assistants, although they do secretarial work and are paid the same lowly wage. Sanitation workers used to be garbage men. And woe to any writer who uses the gender specific as in chairman.

We have gotten so crazy that we can't always talk about he did this or that and know that it can include she people too. So writers will use a "they" when they are talking about a singular of unknown gender to make the writing even worse.

I understand that words hurt. I am getting to the point where I think that PC speech is hurting us all.

Patti
Title: Re: A Few Words to a Young Writer
Post by: Nelodra on November 02, 2007, 09:26:18 AM
Just forget about being politically correct.
As a writer you can't afford something as silly as that. It will make for dry, stupid writing.
I don't mean to say that you have to be offensive or anything - but just forget about the politically correct thing. That's simply gone entirely too far!

I don't know about the rest of the world, but in the US the choices for words is influenced a great deal by politics. If I don't use Politically Correct verbiage, I will simply be in a world of crap. I am so sick of typing out African-American that I'm about to insist on Northern European-American, Mediteranean-American, Scandanavian-American, etc.

There are no more secretaries here, they are all administrative assistants, although they do secretarial work and are paid the same lowly wage. Sanitation workers used to be garbage men. And woe to any writer who uses the gender specific as in chairman.

We have gotten so crazy that we can't always talk about he did this or that and know that it can include she people too. So writers will use a "they" when they are talking about a singular of unknown gender to make the writing even worse.

I understand that words hurt. I am getting to the point where I think that PC speech is hurting us all.

Patti
Title: Re: A Few Words to a Young Writer
Post by: Spell Chick on November 02, 2007, 09:32:24 AM
I write non-fiction and find that I must be more rigid in my conformity for that.
Title: Re: A Few Words to a Young Writer
Post by: thatollie on November 02, 2007, 09:33:43 AM
I'm sure you'll find some leeway if you look for it.
Title: Re: A Few Words to a Young Writer
Post by: Spell Chick on November 02, 2007, 09:43:03 AM
When writing about the Orangeburg Massacre, I actually used the word "black" instead of African-American. But I still have African-American as a hotkey.

For Word users, did you know that you can tell your autocorrect feature to replace any typed something with something else? I have taught my computer that afam really means African-American so when I type afam and hit the spacebar, it prints the longer phrase, captilized and hyphenated. You can do this with any word or phrase you type often and yet hate typing out. Well, when using the text program, anyway.    :D

Tech assistant,
Patti
Title: Re: A Few Words to a Young Writer
Post by: thatollie on November 02, 2007, 09:44:18 AM
I'm so going to do that someday, but not today.
Title: Re: A Few Words to a Young Writer
Post by: Nelodra on November 02, 2007, 09:46:57 AM
Yes, I'm sure it's more difficult when you write non-fiction.

Thanks for the Word tip, BTW.
I knew about thereplace word function, but never even thought of it to use it that way.  :)
Title: Re: A Few Words to a Young Writer
Post by: thatollie on November 02, 2007, 09:51:51 AM
Tell me exactly how to do it, yes I want it on today. Hello Nano quickener.
Title: Re: A Few Words to a Young Writer
Post by: Spell Chick on November 02, 2007, 10:09:58 AM
Two ways:

1. Type out what you want it to actually look like, my case African-American
2. Highlight that text
3. Go to Tools; then select AutoCorrect Options ... (Older versions I believe just say AutoCorrect)
4. Type in what you want to type, my case afam
5. Click on Add
6. Click OK


Other way
1. Go to tools and open the AutoCorrect dialog box by clicking on the AutoCorrect options. ...
2. Type in abbreviated form and the way you want it to look
3. Hit add
4. Either add more autocorrect things, or click ok to close dialog box

Either way you will now get the machine to correct  your type.

afam comes up African-American, but if I want plural, I have to backspace once to add the S, I could put in afams and have it come up as the plural.

This section will hold a HUGE amount of data. I used to have whole forms stored in there so that they automatically popped up.

Caveat,
I never type my name because I just enter my initials and my name displays. My sister's initials are CAN and she does not want to have her name appear each time she writes the word "can" so she has to use something else. Be sure that whatever you enter is not a real word, and be sure it is spelled correctly!

You can go back and modify your entries. They can be deleted, too.

Best of luck. This makes typing so much easier for me and I hate to type. I love to write, tho. <<< In Word that would have come out though.

Title: Re: A Few Words to a Young Writer
Post by: thatollie on November 02, 2007, 10:24:17 AM
thanks, it's working beautifully.
Title: Re: A Few Words to a Young Writer
Post by: DGSquared on November 03, 2007, 02:41:17 PM
SpChick, having you around is like having a Genie in my MWC! Maybe that was old hat to those of you who are proficient at the computer but not all of us have trained ourselves so well.  ;) Thanks love.

Perhaps you should start a helpful hints and shortcuts thread for those of us who use software every day that we could be using more efficiently....in your spare time. ;)
~Deb
Title: Re: A Few Words to a Young Writer
Post by: Spell Chick on November 03, 2007, 08:12:14 PM
I'm not sure how many helpful hints I know that are "secret."
One thing I use frequently: To double space text quickly, highlight it and then hit Ctrl + 2
Or to single space stuff Ctrl + 1

and the tricky 1.5 space is Ctrl + 5

another thing that I had to tell my students over and over - before you do anything - SAVE YOUR FILE. Then if you lose material, don't like it, or the machine locks up, you have a good file to come back to. Spell check used to cause glitches years ago. I just got very used to saving early and often.
Title: Re: A Few Words to a Young Writer
Post by: Christopher Silva on November 04, 2007, 04:36:11 AM
Spchick,

your are a wizard, amazing, like a well of PC / writers tips.

Great one.

_
C
Title: Re: A Few Words to a Young Writer
Post by: Roisin on November 08, 2007, 11:26:16 PM
SpChick: there is nothing more frustrating than having a good idea and getting so excited about typing it out that everything ends up being typed incorrectly and it's such an annoyance to type everything out properly that you don't bother. (happens a lot...)

Thanks for the great tips; now I can type shortened versions of pretty much anything; cheers!


Thank you FW, too; that was very nicely put. Great point.
Title: Re: A Few Words to a Young Writer
Post by: Amie on November 09, 2007, 01:40:04 AM
I don't know about the rest of the world, but in the US the choices for words is influenced a great deal by politics. If I don't use Politically Correct verbiage, I will simply be in a world of crap. I am so sick of typing out African-American that I'm about to insist on Northern European-American, Mediteranean-American, Scandanavian-American, etc.

This reminds me of when a US friend was visiting a few years ago.  I'd referred to someone as "black", and this friend looked at me disapprovingly and said, "You mean African-American".  I said, "Well, no....  she's British".  She said, "Okay, African-British then".  I was like, "No one says that here.  And anyway, she's Jamaican".  Trying to get her to understand that the word "black" is not offensive was just an impossible task.  I actually think that making the word offensive is offensive - like there's something wrong with being black.  No one seems to think it's offensive to call Northern Europeans white.

btw, I am not white, I am Asio-Amero-British ;)

(apologies for going off topic Funwriter - great post!)
Title: Re: A Few Words to a Young Writer
Post by: thatollie on November 09, 2007, 01:51:21 AM
My roots are easy to say and sound damn cool, German-Irish. Not only is Robert Duvall's character in The Godfather German-Irish but it sounds like someone who'd make a ton of trouble.
Title: Re: A Few Words to a Young Writer
Post by: wannabewriter on November 10, 2007, 06:42:29 PM
I am a new writer just starting out. Still working on my first book. I have a question but also a tip. My question is I would like to take a writing to refresh me on alot things that I have forgotten. However, I am short on funds so I am wondering is there a decent righting course online that may be free or one that doesn't cost an arm and leg?

My tip of the day. This is people that use MS Word. If you one that like to have your saved so you don't loose it this may help. I copied this from the word help.

Change how often you want Word to save documents automatically
On the Tools menu, click Options, and then click the Save tab.


Select the Save AutoRecover info every check box.


In the minutes box, enter the interval for how often you want Microsoft Word to save documents. The more frequently Word saves documents, the more information is recovered if there is a power failure or similar problem while a document is open in Word.
Note   AutoRecover is not a replacement for regularly saving your documents. If you choose not to save the recovery file after Word opens it, the file is deleted and your unsaved changes are lost. If you save the recovery file, it replaces the original document (unless you specify a new file name).

Any comments or suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,

Paula
Title: Re: A Few Words to a Young Writer
Post by: Christopher Silva on November 11, 2007, 10:05:53 AM
Hi Paula,

I don't know of any inexpensive writing courses and have never really taken any. I have been writing as long as I can remember and I read a lot.. I wish you luck in finding one though and I recommend that you join a local writing club in your area...

Also MWC is a great resources for writers.


Regards,

Chris
Title: Re: A Few Words to a Young Writer
Post by: wannabewriter on November 11, 2007, 10:12:38 AM
Thanks for the feedback Chris. I will definitly look into joing a writers club.

Paula
Title: Re: A Few Words to a Young Writer
Post by: AJ Barnett on November 13, 2007, 08:06:38 AM
Funwriter, you're so spot on. Sometimes I'll go back into my work several times and change words because they just don't seem to gel. - Anthony
Title: Re: A Few Words to a Young Writer
Post by: Christopher Silva on November 13, 2007, 08:26:37 AM
Yes Sir!  I edit and edit again.  The great thing is that the tale just gets better and better. Or, I screw it up  :-[
Title: Re: A Few Words to a Young Writer
Post by: wannabewriter on November 13, 2007, 04:20:38 PM
Funwriter,

I know just what you mean. I have found myself editing and editing. the other day I found myself stuck on this one paragraph. I must have changed it 6 times and I'm still not happy.

I do have a question for you. I have read in alot of places that you should outline your story to help you keep track and make sure you cover everything. My problem is I know nothing about doing an outline. Is there somewhere that I can get an example of how one is done?

Thank,

Paula
Title: Re: A Few Words to a Young Writer
Post by: AJ Barnett on November 14, 2007, 03:52:57 AM
Hi Paula, I wonder if this might help. It's what I did for my latest. It's the first general outline that I worked on for the book, to give me a sort of encompassing feel for where I wanted to go, to constantly remind me of the objective. It's all too easy to get side tracked. Nothing was set in concrete though. The thing changed at times, BUT THERE WAS AWAYS VALID REASON for it, it wasnt just on whim, and of course, the outline structure had to be changed to suit.

The individual chapters had similar but far more detailed outlines.


WITHOUT REPROACH sparks into life during the onset of autumn, at La Finca Piedra, a beautiful Spanish villa nestling under the sierras of the Costa Blanca.
Jenny Bucknall, slender and fiery, is in her twenties, a woman of ideals, intolerant of injustice, still looking to carve a place for herself in the world.
Eduardo García is a successful businessman not well disposed towards fools. He is in his thirties and been selected as candidate for the next Parliamentary elections. Someone is sending Eduardo menacing letters.
Jenny, raised in England, inherits a share in La Finca Piedra from Spanish artist, Juan García. She has never met him, has never heard of him and is not related to him. Jenny’s psychological problems start when she sees the finca for the first time, and recognizes certain parts. Worse, there is a nude painting of her in the entrance hall.
Eduardo, twenty years younger than half-brother Juan, is also a beneficiary of the Will. Conflict erupts out of Eduardo’s single-minded resolve to preserve the finca for the García family, and Jenny’s equal determination not to give it up. She sees the finca as a chance of making something of her life. He sees her as a gold-digger. “You’re so f*****g pompous,” yells Jenny “You think you’re the only person that counts; but you’re not. Everyone matters, not just you.”
The contradiction of aggression and tranquillity, of angry and obsessive feelings amid the calm surrounds of the beautiful Sierras, heightens the mood of WITHOUT REPROACH.
Jenny finds herself struggling with Eduardo on several levels; her escalating attraction towards him, his promiscuous reputation, his belief that she may be involved with the threatening letters, and his absolute but unjustified dislike of her friend, Miguel.
Jenny tries to unearth what connects her to the mysterious finca, but there are always dark secrets. Her growing belief is that there is a conspiracy against her. The enigma spirals as a tentative relationship with Eduardo develops.

Ends


Hope this helpd a little
Anthony
Title: Re: A Few Words to a Young Writer
Post by: Christopher Silva on November 14, 2007, 05:58:45 AM
Wannabee,

I very rarely do an outline. I tend to just got at it full steam and write it to the end. If I don't have time, I try and keep a bit of focus on the work and handhold it through to the end.

On a rare occasion I have had a thought about a possible story while on a plane or in some odd situation (doctors office). Below is an example of an idea I had and just jotted it down sa as not to forget it:


 The Maltese Treasure:


Kenneth Nill passed away at ninety seven. He had four children.

Kenneth was a wealthy gentleman with an unknown past. When his estate was to divided up amongst his living children, some now in their seventies. All were pleasantly surprised at his accumulated wealth.

One late evening, when his four children were going over the last of Kenneth's documents and personal items, they found an odd reference to an account on the island of Malta. To their surprise, the account has been open for seventy five years. The only reference was a battered black account book emblazoned with a gold Maltese cross on its cover.

In this book was a nine digit number 530-861-539. Below this number was a carefully printed transfer message: Rev. Joel Passardi to allocate $10,000.00 US to Anabelle Nill monthly.

Below the name Anabelle Nill was an address:

54 Aralah
Valletta
Malta
__

on the next page in Kenneth's own clear script:

Details: Safety Dep. box 237. Valletta - Royal Bank of Malta.
Code: Crucible

*

naturally the four children were shocked at the possibility of a sibling or for that matter a stepmother.

But even more interesting, was the fact that their father had an account somewhere that transferred $10,000.00 US dollars monthly for seventy five years... An account that could transfer that kind of money monthly must be enormous. Now it belonged to them!

*

Kenneth's Children and their Characters:

Conrad Nill: Conrad is the oldest at seventy two. he graduated from college and did a short stint in the military as a young officer in Korea. Conrad is smart, disciplined and successful. Conrad has two children both now nearing forty.

Diane Nill: Diane has been married four times and decided to marry for money after her first marriage to a musician. Diane is smart ruthless and keeps herself in top physical condition. Diane is sixty two
Diane has two sons: One thirty eight and the other thirty four.

Kenneth Nill Jr. : Kenneth Jr. is perhaps the smartest of all of them. He has dabbled in his fathers business and has been a successful investor. Kenneth is thoughtful and a family man at heart. He loves history and geography and travels often with his family. Kenneth Jr. is fifty: Kenneth has one daughter and one son

Karen Nill: Karen is the youngest and was always spoiled. She never really works and had off again on again marriages. She lived of the trust from her father and has never worked or studied. Though not educated she has a sharp mind and is addicted to one thing, luxury.

The four children decided to go and find out more about the account and this Anabelle Nill.

But most of all, they want the contents of the Safety deposit box..!

__
Hope this helps.

Chris

Title: Re: A Few Words to a Young Writer
Post by: wannabewriter on November 14, 2007, 03:55:32 PM
Chris and Anthony,

Thank you very much. You have both helped me to where now I think I know what to do. Also I have ordered some software that should help as well. The software was a reccommendation from a friend. The name of it is Writers Dreamkit. I will let you know how it is once I get it. From what I've seen I think it will help a great deal. I got it through Amazon for thirty something.


Again thank you both for your help.

Paula
Title: Re: A Few Words to a Young Writer
Post by: Roisin on November 14, 2007, 06:33:09 PM
After two failed attempts at writing a novel because the idea wasn't fully formed in my head, I decided that I was going to outline the next one.

My current work-in-progress is being completely outlined. It's actually been quite helpful. That way, when you sit down to actually write, most of the work is already done and you can focus on the writing. It may take longer outline and then write, but if you don't know the entire plot from start to finish, this will save you a lot of time in the long run.

Hope this was helpful,
Roisin
Title: Re: A Few Words to a Young Writer
Post by: thatollie on November 14, 2007, 07:21:05 PM
I tried outlining, doesn't seem to work for me, but with a little editing the directionless prose I'm writing will sparkle [hopefully, although I've seen many places where an edit would do the piece a world of good].
Title: Re: A Few Words to a Young Writer
Post by: wannabewriter on November 14, 2007, 10:32:34 PM
Roisin and Thatollie,

Thank you both. You both have good points. The only reason I thought of an outline is cause my head is flooded with ideas. I thought an outline would help me keep them straight.

We will see. I will let you know how it works out for me.

Paula
Title: Re: A Few Words to a Young Writer
Post by: Christopher Silva on November 15, 2007, 05:13:33 AM
My plot seems to roll as I go... Oh well, we are all different.


chris
Title: Re: A Few Words to a Young Writer
Post by: naturewalker on November 15, 2007, 02:10:35 PM
I, too am working on my first 'serious' manuscript. I read a post for a competition where they asked for HARD RETURNS between paragraphs. At the risk of sounding REALLY stupid- I have to ask- What does a HARD RETURN mean?
Title: Re: A Few Words to a Young Writer
Post by: thatollie on November 15, 2007, 02:49:23 PM
Wanna: If my post was helpful at all, then I am happy.
Now I must throw a smoke bomb on the floor an disappear back to my novel, au revoir.
Title: Re: A Few Words to a Young Writer
Post by: Spell Chick on November 15, 2007, 03:08:56 PM
Most text editors use a soft return to go to the next line. It is part of the Word Wrap feature. To make a hard return, hit the Enter key to start a new line.

I just made a different kind of return, but hitting the Enter key twice. You can adjust your program to begin paragraphs with an indentation so that a second paragraph is momre obvious.

On the ruler at the top of the page are some cute little triagles that point at each other. If you drag the top pointing down triangle to the .5 inch mark (not sure where that would be in metric but maybe 1 cm) then when you start a new paragraph begins the first line will be indented.

Patti
Title: Re: A Few Words to a Young Writer
Post by: naturewalker on November 15, 2007, 03:11:44 PM
Does that mean I hit ENTER twice? And maintain the same margin?
Title: Re: A Few Words to a Young Writer
Post by: Spell Chick on November 15, 2007, 03:30:09 PM
it sounds to me like they want a blank space between paragraphs, so yes. \

but i'm not positive
Title: Re: A Few Words to a Young Writer
Post by: Simon on November 15, 2007, 04:16:38 PM
Socrates didn't believe in writing. He thought it made your memory worse because it make it so you don't practice your memory as much, cause everything is just written out. The same way calculators have reduced mental math skills.
Title: Re: A Few Words to a Young Writer
Post by: heartsongjt on October 27, 2018, 01:37:22 PM
A Few Words to a Young Writer:

Socrates said, "The misuse of language induces evil in the soul." He wasn't talking about grammar. To misuse language is to use it the way politicians and advertisers do, for profit, without taking responsibility for what the words mean. Language used as a means to get power or make money goes wrong: it lies. Language used as an end in itself, to sing a poem or tell a story, goes right, goes towards the truth.

A writer is a person who cares what words mean, what they say, how they say it. Writers know words are their way towards truth and freedom, and so they use them with care, with thought, with fear, with delight. By using words well they strengthen their souls. Story-tellers and poets spend their lives learning that skill and art of using words well. And their words make the souls of their readers stronger, brighter, deeper.



_
chris
thanks to ULG


Good advice is always good advice.       jt