Reading in Print

books

Pew studies show the highest print readership rates are among those ages 18 to 29, and the same age group is still using public libraries in large numbers.

The Washington Post makes a case this week for reading in print: people retain more information and comprehend better when they read books as opposed to digital content. Comprehension includes recalling where particular information is located in a print work, something not easily duplicated in e-books.

There’s something to be said for holding a book: the scent of binding, the sound of turning pages, the feel of the paper. Reading a book can be a visceral experience, unlike reading digital content. And reading printed paper produces less strain on the eyes than reading on e-readers (with the exception of the new e-ink readers).

I personally read almost entirely digital content. I have no time or energy to travel to a library, and can read multiple works at a time on my tablet. Bored of reading? Play a game. Bored of the game? Download another, or shop for coffee, or purchase another book.

I can see where reading books is a pleasure. Yet, I sacrifice the visceral pleasure for the convenience of digital content — multiple books, games, news, and web — all in one place.

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Photo Prompts

I love photo writing prompts. They’re both wide open for interpretation and challenging to write from. I chose this photo for my writing group’s contemporary fantasy writing challenge:

Invisible

I find the photo inspiring, but in a non-fantasy kind of way. What would you write?

Writer’s Groups

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It’s hard to find a good writer’s group, to find other writers you mesh with. Yet, writers’ groups can be hugely important, a source of critiques and support from people who understand the one thing about you most people don’t: the tug to write. 

Afte trying an IRL group (and finding out I’m really anti-social, though I pose as a butterfly), I decided to check out online groups. It took three tries before I found the magic one, and it’s made a world of difference. For learning to write well, nothing is better than throwing a bunch of writers together and letting them argue about adverbs, tense, voice and point of view. Some know more than others, but the contributions can be insightful, educational and funny.

My current writing group can be found HERE. Made up of quirky, diverse and sometimes-frustrating writers of all genres, there’s something for everyone.

If you join, come say hello. I run the Urban / Contemporary Fantasy group. 

 

Part-Time Novels

Dollars in the books, isolated on white background, business tra

[According to the 2014 Digital Book World and Writer’s Digest Author Survey] …[j]ust over 77% of self-published writers make $1,000 or less a year, according to the survey, with a startlingly high 53.9% of traditionally-published authors, and 43.6% of hybrid authors, reporting their earnings are below the same threshold.  – Flood, Allison. Most writers earn less than £600 a year, survey reveals. The Guardian, January 17, 2014. Retrieved auaust 18, 2014, http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/jan/17/writers-earn-less-than-600-a-year.

Like many writers, I’m a part time novelist. The bills won’t pay themselves, and in reality a large proportion of writers – whether self-pubbed or traditionally pubbed – don’t make enough money from writing to support themselves. So, I have other jobs that take priority over novel writing (though none have priority in my heart, where it counts): family, home, pets, real life jobs.

I’m lucky enough to have a part time non-fiction writing gig in addition to being an independent contractor in a professional field outside of writing. I make my own hours and have time to spend with my family, while still having time to write. 

Unfortunately, the occasional deadline does interfere. With a September 2 deadline looming for a not-nearly-completed non-fiction publication, I’m forced to take a hiatus from novel writing. I love my editor (Patricia, are you listening?), and I’m always on time.

Good thing I don’t write for money. 

The Publishing Game

When I first began writing, years ago, I always assumed that I’d seek professional (agented) representation and traditional publishing. At the time, self-publishing hadn’t quite come into its own, and there was a certain stigma attached to it. Only people who weren’t good enough to get agents self-published.

Since then, my opinion has been turning. Dollars- and control-wise, there can be a benefit to self-publishing, where an author retains control over their work, and earns whatever the ‘market’ will allow. The downside is the need to market and be found in the sea of self-published authors, where bad, unedited novels are turning readers off left and right to novels that aren’t traditionally published.

Plus, there’s still a certain affirmation associated with finding an agent, and having a book traditionally published. Someone, other than me, agrees that my novel may be good enough to publish. Call me insecure, but when you self publish it’s just you. And the readers of course.

Some research over the next several months may help me decide. As of right now, I plan to self-publish the prequel to Handmaiden of the AlahimThe Pentrale – and then decide whether to seek an agent, or go with direct publication or self-publication.

Awesome, Anti-awesome and Most Overused Words

booksHuff Post’s article today on most overused words: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/09/these-words-are-so-overus_n_5447356.html?&ncid=tweetlnkushpmg00000031

The article seems to refer mostly to spoken words, but the same holds true for written words. Words like very, really and just don’t improve writing, and words like awesome and unique have been so overused that they’re bland, not strong.

Awesome used to mean ‘awe-inspiring’, but it no longer means that in ordinary usage. Unique, which used to mean ‘different from everything else’ now means something similar to ‘not exactly like everything’.

Literally now means its own opposite. So if we use literally to mean figuratively, what do we use when we mean literally?

And, what’s a ‘dress mullet’?