On Festivals, Surrency Death, Audiobooks, and All That (WS 0915)

THE WRITE STUFF

 
   

Writing News for the Sunshine State & the Solar System
http://www.northfloridawriters.org
Editor: Howard Denson
November 2015
   

In this issue:


 
STUFF FROM
HITHER
AND YON
 
Click on the links below to read each article.
 
 
CLARICE LISPECTOR:
'MORBIDLY INSENSITIVE'
 
Nicolas Shakespeare writes about Clarice Lispector nearly 40 years after her death. He notes that the Brazilian novelist is now compared to James Joyce and Jorge Luis Borges. But he wonders if the radical works of “the great witch of Brazilian literature” deserve such praise. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/10607727/Clarice-Lispector-Morbidly-insensitive.html
 

HOW TOM WOLFE
BECAME…
TOM WOLFE
 
Michael Lewis delves deep into the archives of the legendary reporter turned novelist to discover what made the man in the white suit the voice of a journalistic generation.
http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/2015/10/how-tom-wolfe-became-tom-wolfe
 

STEVEN PINKER: 10 'GRAMMAR RULES'
IT'S OK TO BREAK (SOMETIMES)
 
You shudder at a split infinitive, know when to use “that” or “which” and would never confuse “less” with “fewer” – but are these rules always right, elegant or sensible, asks linguist Steven Pinker in a column for The Guardian.

 
THE MYSTERY
OF SACAGAWEA
 
Natalie Shure writes that, since aiding Lewis and Clark on their famed 19th-century expedition across the West, a Shoshone heroine has become a symbol for everything from Manifest Destiny to women’s rights to American diversity. She wonders if it matters that we don’t seem to know that much about her and traces how writers and historians have created their versions of Sacagawea. http://www.buzzfeed.com/natalieshure/how-the-west-was-wrong-the-two-sacagaweas#.lfonp4W5L

 
EARLIEST KNOWN DRAFT
OF KING JAMES BIBLE
IS FOUND, SCHOLAR SAYS
 
Jennifer Schuessler reports that an American scholar has found in an unassuming notebook held in an archive at the University of Cambridge, “what he says is an important new clue to the earthly processes behind that masterpiece: the earliest known draft, and the only one definitively written in the hand of one of the roughly four dozen translators who worked on it.”

 
BUCK ROGERS
AND THE
COPYRIGHT TROLLS
 
Anthony Rogers was a character in Phillip Nowlan’s 1928 novel, “Armageddon 2419 A.D.,” and, when a comic strip was made the nickname of “Buck” was added. The heirs of the comic strip Buck have been fending off movies and TV execs who would want to reboot the concept without paying to rights to a company that may not own the copyright. The Conan Doyle Estate had been shaking everyone down for sub-litigation payoffs and asserting claims over Holmes (despite serious copyright scholars all saying they had no right to do so). Les Klinger won the Sherlock case and hopes to win the case of hero from the future.
http://boingboing.net/2015/10/16/buck-rogers-and-the-copyright.html
 

THE NEEDLESS COMPLEXITY
 OF ACADEMIC WRITING
 
Victoria Clayton discusses a new movement that is striving for simplicity in governmental and academic writing. In recent years, she says the driving force for clear writing has been Annetta Cheek, the co-founder of the D.C.-based nonprofit Center for Plain Language. An anthropologist by training, she left academia in the early 1980s to work for the Federal Aviation Commission and is responsible for the 2010 Plain Writing Act.
http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2015/10/complex-academic-writing/412255/
 
Another website explores the history of plain writing in government and begins its discussion before the 1970s, saying, “After World War II, federal employees like Jim Minor advocated plain language in government documents. John O'Hayre, an employee of the Bureau of Land Management, wrote a book called Gobbledygook Has Gotta Go.” http://www.plainlanguage.gov/whatisPL/history/locke.cfm
 
A web search revealed useful information from this very newsletter, back in August 2008:
 
In the 20th Century, rhetoricians tried to fight against gobbledygook, multi-syllabic constructions that didn't say much. For example, during World War II, the Office of Civilian Defense advised in a pamphlet: “Such obscuration can be obtained either by blackout construction or by terminating the illumination.” The agency should have simply said [as President Roosevelt pointed out], “During an enemy air raid, put up blackout curtains if work must continue. If work can stop, turn off the lights.”

For more information about “readability” and the “Fog Index,” you should Google or Yahoo those terms, along with “Rudolf Flesch” and “George Orwell Politics and the English Language.”
 

FROM COLD WAR SPY
TO ANGRY OLD MAN:
THE POLITICS OF JOHN LE CARRÉ
 
Adam Sisman, who has penned a biography of John le Carré, writes in The Guardian that “The Spy Who Came in from the Cold” was such a hit that John le Carré (penname for David Cornwell) had to resign from the secret service when his cover was blown. In the decades since, as his new biographer writes, his politics have become more overt, and more
 
In the New Statesman, William Boyd writes “Why John le Carré is more than a spy novelist” and notes that le Carré modernized the spy novel first established by Joseph Conrad and made spy novels more realistic than what Ian Fleming did with his James Bond melodramas. Boyd refers to Adam Sisman’s fine biography of le Carré, which shows that young David Cornwell’s childhood at times resembled that of a Dickens’ hero. 

 
IN SEARCH
OF
TAD SPACES
 
By HOWARD DENSON
 
I won’t bore you with my tales of working as a printer’s devil, setting up some type, stereotyping using molten lead, and furtive attempts to figure out how to use a Ludlow machine for headlines.
Take my word that early on, I focused on types, various fonts, and diverse and sundry peculiarities of printing, gaining more knowledge about it than you may have, but less than a journeyman printer would know.
This interest ratcheted up a notch or two when Aldus Page Maker desktop publishing came along. This program let you lay out a page as in the hot metal days without worrying about molten lead splashing onto your pants legs and socks.
You eventually started noticing inconsistencies. For example, with apostrophes and quotation marks, you have quote marks that have curly tails and other quote marks that look like snake bites. An apostrophe might have a curly tail…or a single fang mark.
If you are editing or proofing something, you keep an eye out if the text gives you a mixture of the two fonts. You then fix the problem so that the text uses a consistent style.
“So what? Who cares? Who notices?”
Actually, readers who pay attention to the language often spot such irregularities, and they either feel sorry for the writer or editor who let the flaw through…or they go tsk-tsk at the lack of skill in the supposed professionals. I notice and care because I’m an “indie” author who wants his books to be as professional and polished as possible.
This preamble leads me to a problem that I have been fighting for fifty years: the quote within a quote. What’s galling is that I was unaware of another style requirement (see later in this piece).
Let’s enter the world of Warnertopia, where candidate Bugs Bunny is running for office. A story might say this:
 
Earth Party candidate Bugs Bunny came out of his warren and announced, “As our founding bunnies said, I want a government ‘of the carrot, for the carrot, and by the carrot.’”
 
Notice that the sentence ends with ’” (a single and double quote), and, in hot metal days, it was devilishly hard to get the punctuation through an editor, a linotype operator, and proof readers in the composing room and on the copy desks. I would try to check the galley proofs and the page proofs to ensure that it came out correctly.
Another Warnertopia story may say:
 
“‘Of the carrot, for the carrot, and by the carrot’—that’s what our founding bunnies fought for,” said Earth Party candidate Bugs Bunny.
 
Here you encounter a problem produced by the curly font quotation marks. When you have an initial quotation mark (“) and put a single quote next to it, you end up with “’ (notice the second one isn’t curling in the right distance). Also, if you are referring to years, you initially get ‘99 when you want ’99.
Did I hear you scream, “Who cares? Who notices? So what?” Well, many people do, so sit your fanny down and pay attention. (Sorry: the teacher still comes bubbling out of me.)
So I laboriously go along initially typing ‘’99 and then go into the date to delete the opening single quote since the mark that shows that something is omitted curls the other way.
An advantage of the snakebite quotes and the single fang mark is that you don’t have curly tails to worry about.
The defaults in programs may create irritations, as in this sentence:
 
“What’s up, Doc?” Asks Bugs Bunny.
 
The writer probably had “asks” properly written in lowercase, but the defaults may be telling auto-correct: “Hang on, a question mark is a terminal punctuation mark. That means the next word should be capitalized.” In this case, it shouldn’t, so an alert editor or proofreader will fix the error.
Then in the middle of the revisions and proofings of three of my upcoming books, the eagle eyes of Frank Green (head of The Bard Society) spotted a problem in Clare and the Country People and Other Stories:
I was not using the tad space.
In fact, I didn’t know what a tad space was, and, while it’s probably discussed in The Chicago Manual of Style, my copy is somewhere in the home library, I’m guessing down about the seventh layer, a few inches from Hector’s helmet.
Let’s look at one of the Bugs quotations from earlier and see how it’s supposed to look:
 
Earth Party candidate Bugs Bunny came out of his warren and announced, “As our founding bunnies said, I want a government ‘of the carrot, for the carrot, and by the carrot.’”
 
Here is what you do to get that small space between the single and double quote marks:
·         Highlight the two marks.
·         Click on Home and then Font.
·         On the lower right, click on the arrow to get the full page.
·         Notice that you have Fonts and then Advanced. Click on Advanced.
·         You will notice the screen shows options for Character Spacing, with the second line being Spacing.
·         Change Normal on Spacing to Expanded. The default is set for 1 pt., but, to make it easier to spot, this discussion has changed it to 2 pts. (And it’s highly possible that the various email programs may simply omit the space.)
 
If you just hit the space bar, you will wind up with too much space. You could go another route: Insert, to Symbols, to More Symbols, to Special Characters. When you go down the options for Special Characters, you will see ¼ em space.
These options are largely for Microsoft Word, but several word processing programs will have similar options. PageMaker (now put out by Adobe) had an option called “tracking,” and you could expand or tighten a line as the page layout required.
After I went through an entire manuscript inserting ¼ em spaces, I discovered an occasional problem. If the closing quote within a quote was at the end of a line, I might have “…carrot.’ on one line and “ all by itself starting the next line.
So I tracked down Frank’s directions and laboriously changed all my changes to what is recommended earlier.
“So what, Doc? Who cares? Who notices, Doc?”
Just you watch it, you wascally wabbit!

 
NFW SCHEDULES NEXT
QUARTERLY MEETING
IN JANUARY
 
The Jan. 9 quarterly meeting of the North Florida Writers will feature education writer and novelist Edward Baldwin. The meeting will start at noon and end before Riverside VyStar closes at 3 p.m.
 
Critiques after the speaker
 
For the critiques, someone other than the author of respective works will read aloud the submissions (up to 20 double-spaced TYPED pages of prose, and reasonable amounts of poetry or lyrics). Authors may not defend their work, but they may attach questions they would like answered (e.g., “Is the scene on the beach convincing?”). Authors should listen to the words and rhythms of their creations.
 
Parking: VyStar requests that NFW members and guests park on the side of the buildings to leave spaces in front for their regular customers.

 
CHAMBLIN’S UPTOWN SETS
BOOK RELEASE PARTY
FOR WILEY’S ‘SECOND SKIN’
 
Author Michael Wiley will sign copies of “Second Skin” at a release party from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 6, at Chamblin's Uptown Bookstore (215 N. Laura St., Jacksonville, adjacent to the Downtown Public Library).
 
Wiley, an English department faculty member at the University of North Florida, writes two series of mysteries: the Joe Kozmarski Detective Novels, generally set in Chicago, and the Daniel Turner thrillers, set in northern Florida.
 
In “Second Skin,” Florida businessman William Byrd is summoned to identify the trussed-up, naked body of a woman found in a pile of garbage on Blue Avenue. He recognizes the victim as Belinda Mabry, the girl with whom he spent a passionate summer 25 years before. He is determined to find out what happened to the woman he once loved and must revisit his own troubled past.
 
In the Daniel Turner thrillers, Homicide Detective Turner appears in stories told by others – victims, perps, innocent and guilty bystanders. More than a secondary character but never quite primary, he gets caught in the spirals of crime that he investigates. He is the common element in lives and deaths in the backwoods and on the city streets of northern Florida.
 
For more information, call 904.674.0868 or visit his website at  http://www.michaelwileyonline.com/ .
 

FERNANDINA’S WRITERS BY THE SEA
TO HEAR SEVEN STEPS TO GETTING
BOOKS INTO READERS’ HANDS
 
Writers By The Sea, the Fernandina Beach chapter of the Florida Writers Assn., will hear  Raffaela Marie Rizzo Fenn, author and marketing communications consultant, on Thursday, Nov. 19, .at the  Amelia Island Museum of History (            233 S. Third St.,  Fernandina Beach 32034).
Her talk is entitled “Marketing Matters—Seven Steps to Getting your Book into Readers’ Hands.” At 6 p.m., members and guest will gather for good seats/announcements, and the presentation will begin at 6:30, followed by breakout specialty groups.
Authors are learning that selling books in today’s competitive environment requires more than simply making the title available to readers. “Writing is an art, but selling books is a business,” says Ms. Fenn. Her seven-step approach is aimed at helping indie published authors unleash their business thinking to help them sell more books.
She is a former senior executive with numerous business and marketing communications awards.  Her new book, “Thank you for the Shoes: the Story of an Extraordinary, Ordinary Man” launched in October, and is gaining national and international attention.  Currently, she serves as president of Ottima Group LLC and its subsidiary, Giro di Mondo, Publishing Services.  Formerly she was with Rayonier Inc. and was the inaugural president of the USA National Peanut Board. She holds an MBA from Jacksonville University and a BA in media studies from Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn., where she graduated magna cum laude. She is a member of the Florida Writers Association, and serves as this year’s President of the Amelia Island Book Festival. In addition to being a director on the Nassau County Boys & Girls Clubs Foundation Board, she is a lector at St. Michael’s RC Church in Fernandina Beach.  Born in Italy, raised in Connecticut, she and her husband, Mark, make Amelia Island home.
 
A few key success factors covered to increase book sales include developing an actionable marketing plan; unearthing your unique “brand platform” and identifying and igniting your targeted audience segments. With Fenn’s seven-step approached, authors will be armed to help ensure their hard work in writing their book is rewarded by the recognition and sales it deserves.
 
At Writers by the Sea, attendance is free to all writers, from all backgrounds (adult and young adult), with an invitation to join the FWA. Check for updates on meetings and more at: https://www.facebook.com/WritersByTheSea.Amelia
·         
·         For more information, contact the group leader, Nadine Vaughan, Ph.D. at nvaughanwilliams@gmail.com.
 

HAVING TROUBLE MEETING
YOUR WRITING GOALS?
TRY TIPS FROM CLAY COUNTY WRITERS
       
The Nov. 18 meeting of the Clay County Writers will focus on “Goal Setting for Writers: Planning to Pursue Your Passion in 2016.” The meeting will begin at 6:15 p.m. and end at 8 p.m. It will be in the conference room of the Orange Park Library (2054 Plainfield Ave., off Kingsley Ave. just behind the Dairy Queen).
 
Meetings are free and open to all.
 
The facilitator for the meeting will be Dr. Maureen A. Jung, whose communication workshops have reached thousands of individuals across the country: businesspeople, consultants, and professional writers.
 
Since 1984, she has been a Fellow of the South Coast Writing Project, University of California, Santa Barbara. She’s written over a hundred articles for business, popular, and peer-reviewed publications. A writer/editor of two White House presentations, Maureen was lead writer on a successful $15 million Federal grant for a healthcare nonprofit.
 
In 2012, she wrote A Place to Grow: Nutritious Food, Better Health, Stronger Communities, a study of nutrition education and obesity prevention projects for the California Dept. of Public Health and the Network for a Healthy California. Maureen has edited more than 20 nonfiction books, including Karen Elizabeth Gordon’s acclaimed grammar and punctuation classics, The New Well-Tempered Sentence and The Deluxe Transitive Vampire: The Ultimate Grammar Handbook for the Innocent, the Eager, and the Doomed.
 
Goal-setting experts say the most powerful step in achieving a goal is to write it down. Focus on your writing dreams and jumpstart your plans to achieve them. Consider these questions:
 
* What steps do you need to take to reach your goals?
* What potential resources have you left untapped?
* How can you improve at the craft of writing?
* Where will you begin?
 
Aspiring writers are encouraged to join with others for a hands-on exercise in mapping writing goals. Mind mapping is an easy, practical approach to learning, planning, and problem-solving. Bring along your to-do list, your questions, and your ideas. Each writer will leave with a writing goals map, including steps for achievement. Start now (if you haven’t already) to plan for greater success over the next 13 months.
 
Ms. Jung, also the group leader for the Clay chapter of the Florida Writers Assn., gives this update about the Clay County anthology: “In our November and December meetings, we’ll discuss progress on our group anthology project. CCW members may contribute their articles, short stories, poems, scripts, memoirs, etc. to this joint effort. Attend this session to find out the details and to discuss your specific topics.”
 
 
Monthly meetings (the third Wednesday) focus on the art, craft, and business of writing.
 
Some meetings offer presentations by author-speakers. We also hold hands-on sessions, where writers sharpen their skills, give and receive feedback, and leave with practical suggestions to improve their work.
 
To learn more, join us on Facebook at “Clay County Writers” or visit: https://floridawriters.net/
 

JAX BY JAX ON NOV. 14
TO FEATURE 24 WRITERS
IN PARK, KING, RIVERSIDE
 
Twenty-four writers and poets will participate in the Nov. 14 Jax by Jax celebration at 12 venues near Park and King in Jacksonville’s Riverside.
 
The Saturday event will go from 3 to 7 p.m.
 
For $10, people may attend an after-party and book-signing at Evervess Art Studio on the  
corner of Rosselle and King Streets.
 
Organizer Tim Gilmore says Jax by Jax seeks to show this city how its writers are writing it, to show Jacksonville its own thriving writing scene, and to introduce the city to its own literary voice. In 2014, its inaugural year, Jax by Jax brought out 500 people to see 14 featured writers. In 2015, Jax by Jax will feature 22 writers in 11 venues around the intersections of Park and King Streets in central Riverside.
 
The writers and poets include Fred Dale, Monica DePaul, Frances Driscoll, Tangela Floyd, Sohrab Homi Fracis, Liz Gibson, Tim Gilmore, Lisa Vick Grubba, Matthew Lany, Jordan Logue, Johnny Masiulewicz, Tiffany Melanson, Emily K. Michael, Carol O’Dell, G.M. Palmer, Marcus Pactor, Heather Peters, H.K. Rainey, Raleigh Rand, Andres Rojas, Michaela Tashjian, Jeff Whipple, April Gray Wilder, Hurley Winkler.
 
Readings will be held at the Annex Bar, Beer:30, Cool Moose Cafe, Flaire Celebrations, Jacksonville Magazine, Nourish: A Juice Café, Paperwhite Salon, Riverside Liquors, Silver Cow Watering Hole, Sunday Tattoo Gallery, Superhero Hive Comic Book Store, Whiteway Conference Room.
 
For more information, go to http://www.jaxbyjax.com or contact Tim Gilmore at 904.616.3884 or at tgilmore@fscj.edu.
 

FWA NEWS
FROM
VIC DIGENTI
 
Lots of good news in this month’s blog post for NE Florida FWA members, and writers of all persuasions. Click here to read all about it.
 
Aside from a listing of our regular meetings you’ll find a tip of the hat to winners from this year’s RPLA competition. Hopefully, you’re among them, or plan to be next year.
 
Good November tidings, y’all. -- Vic DiGenti, FWA Regional Director. Websites: www.fwapontevedra.blogspot.com
www.parkerfrancis.com

 
STUFF
FROM A
WRITER’S QUILL
 
I have always felt charged with the safekeeping of all unexpected items of worldly or unworldly enchantment, as though I might be held personally responsible if even one were to be lost.
 
– E.B. White
 
 
 
THE
WRONG
STUFF – FORENSIC GRAMMAR
.
Follow the link below to find where often sane and sensible writers (and editors) have stumbled in their writing:
 
http://howarddenson.webs.com/theforensicgrammarian.htm
 
The second edition of a paperback collection, “The Wrong Stuff: Findings of a Forensic Grammarian,” is available online at Amazon.com and Barnes & Nobel’s website.
 

WRITERS BORN
THIS MONTH
.
To check out the names of writers who were born this month, go to this website:
 http://howarddenson.webs.com/novwritersbirthdays.htm
.
The list includes novelists, poets, playwrights, nonfiction authors, writers for the small and silver screen, and others.
.
Looking for your favorite writer? Hit “find” at the website and type in your favorite’s name. Keep scrolling to find writers born in other months.
.
With misgivings, the list generally omits lyricists (to avoid the plethora of garage-band guitarists who knock out a lyric in two minutes to go with a tune). Often lyricists are accomplished in other writing areas and may cause their inclusion (e.g., Bob Dylan, Johnny Mercer, and Cole Porter).
.
Unfortunately, some writers fret about identity theft and will only say they were born in 1972 or whenever. Typically that means they don’t get included on a “born this day” list. Recommendation: Writers may wish to create a “pen birthday”; that way, their names stay on the public’s radar.
.
If you see that we have omitted a writer, give us his or her name (and preferably a way to verify the belly-button day).

 
SOME USEFUL LINKS
 
Writers, poets, and playwrights will find useful tools at http://howarddenson.webs.com/usefullinksforwriters.htm
 
KEEP UP WITH THE NFW
ON OUR FACEBOOK PAGE
 
You may join us at any time on Facebook. Webmeister Richard Levine has changed the privacy setting of the NFW from Closed to Public. That way, you can check out our group at your leisure.

 
NEED SOMEONE
TO CRITIQUE
A MANUSCRIPT?
 
If you have a finished manuscript that you want critiqued or proofread, then look for someone at http://howarddenson.webs.com/potentialcritiquers.htm. Check out their entries on the website to see if they suit your needs. They include the following: Robert Blade Writing & Editing (rmblade@aol.com); Frank Green of The Bard Society (frankgrn@comcast.net); JJ Grindstaff-Swathwood (jgswathwood@gmail.com); Brad Hall (variablerush@gmail.com); Joseph Kaval (joseph.kaval@gmail.com); and Richard Levine (Richie.ALevine@gmail.com).
 
THE WRITE STAFF
 
President: Howard Denson (hd3nson@hotmail. com)
Vice President: Joyce Davidson (davent2010@comcast. net)
Secretary: Kathy Marsh (kathygmarsh@bellsouth. net)
Treasurer: Richard Levine (richiea.levine@gmail.com)
.
Presidents Emeriti: Frank Green, Dan Murphy, Howard Denson, Nate Tolar, Joyce Davidson, Margaret Gloag, Richard Levine, Bob Alexander, JoAnn Harter Murray, Carrol Wolverton, Margie Sauls, Stewart Neal.