Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Words that are their own opposites

I found this article about words that are their own opposites and it absolutely made my day. Such fun!

Did you know there is actually a term to describe such words? “Contronyms”—words that are their own antonyms.

The article opens with this: “Because of the agency’s oversight, the corporation’s behavior was sanctioned.” Does that mean, 'Because the agency oversaw the company’s behavior, they imposed a penalty for some transgression' or does it mean, 'Because the agency was inattentive, they overlooked the misbehavior and gave it their approval by default'?

Mental Floss lists 25 contronyms but I’m sure you can find more.

One of my favorites is Trim. It can mean either adding or taking away. Are you decorating something or taking bits of it off. And the context doesn’t always make it clear. If you’re trimming the tree are you using tinsel or a chain saw?

For all 25 contronyms go here:

Helen Woodall

Helen is available to line edit and/ or content edit fiction and non-fiction. Rates on application.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Accepting Criticism for Authors and Readers

No matter how good the book you write is, sooner or later there will be someone who doesn’t like it. I’m not just talking about trolls who get their fun from being nasty to authors. There are people like that everywhere and they are best ignored. Never engage in dialogue with a troll because that just feeds their sense of importance.

I’m talking about a genuine reader/editor/critic who doesn’t like your book. Maybe they only like short books and yours is long. Maybe they hate historical books which yours is. Or perhaps the characters who were so real for you didn’t gel with them. Whatever the reason, accept their criticism, cry in private if necessary, and then read their comments carefully and see if there is something you can do in future to improve your writing.

A good writer can turn anything into a learning experience and/or plot point.

Never do what Richard Brittain author of “The World Rose” did, which was stalk the person who gave him a one star review and hit her over the head with a bottle of wine. He’s in jail now. It would have been much smarter of him to drink the wine, cry a little, and then get over it.

Helen Woodall

Helen is available to line edit and/ or content edit fiction and non-fiction. Rates on application.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Rejected Book Titles

Some authors find choosing a title the most difficult part of writing the book.
Even when they finally settle on one they like, sometimes the publishing company insists on changing it as it is too similar to an existing book title. I clearly recall meeting a well-known Harlequin author who confessed that sometimes she had to read the back-cover blurb on her own books to know which book it was as the title was nothing like what she had originally called her story.

Writer’s Circle has chosen five book titles which are quite different from the final title. They challenge readers to guess the book.

None of them are my personal favorite name change, “Gone with the Wind”. That was going to be called “Tomorrow is Another Day”.

Writer’s Circle chose, “The Kingdom by the Sea”, “Among Ash-heaps and Millionaires”, “The Last Man in Europe”, “Fiesta”, and “Something that Happened”. To find out which books they are, and their stories, go to:

Helen Woodall

Helen is available to line edit and/ or content edit fiction and non-fiction. Rates on application.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Business Musings: What Market?

Author Kristine Kathryn Rusch has written a very long, detailed, and thought-provoking article about the market for fiction stories.

The key point she makes is that there is “no” market. By the time a genre or style or interest is discernible to the average person, the peak has passed.

Historically speaking the big print publishers decided what readers wanted to read and that was what they produced. For those who weren’t interested in reading such books it was simply too bad. No one actually surveyed readers and asked them what they wanted. Even today if a particular genre is selling well publishers buy more and more books in that genre until readers are sick of it and sales taper off. But because of the long time lag in print publishing, dozens of books will still be in production and coming along after readers have tired of that genre. Those authors, who submitted as instructed, and wrote what they were told to, are unlikely to make much money.

There are no gatekeepers in indie publishing, no one telling authors what genre they should write. Writers who try to copy the “market” might make some money, but are unlikely to strike it rich or really enjoy themselves.

I have ALWAYS advised writers to write what their passion is. That way their love will shine through in their writing.

Ms. Rusch says the same thing. “…what makes a book unique and different isn’t the plot or the subgenre…It’s the writer himself. His perspective. His voice. His take on something that the writer—the writer—loves. The books that breakout, the ones that become memorable breakouts, the books that everyone else is chasing—those books are written from the heart, not from some cynical analysis of a market that no one understands.”

So write what you want to write. Maybe you’ll make some money and maybe you won’t. But at least you’ll be having fun, not getting burned out.

Ms. Rusch’s comprehensive article is here:

Helen Woodall

Helen is available to line edit and/ or content edit fiction and non-fiction. Rates on application.