Learn Writing with Uncle Jim, Volume 1

editing_for_authors
Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

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Yeshanu

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It sounds like Fred/Winnie may be MPD, with one personality being male, and one female. Which makes sense, because it was Winne who took the NyQuil, having had a bad cold for the last three days and being unable to sleep, but it was Fred at work (who didn't remember about the NyQuil) who overdosed on the coffee at work.
 

euclid

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I'm confused. So did the copier repairman kill Sam(antha), and if so why? Presumably the whole thing was a revenge attack on Wini(Fred) that went horribly wrong.
 

smsarber

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We have a 7 year-old boy named Randy- he's great. He doesn't necessarily want to be a writer, but he loves to make his own books, so who knows?! Maybe he'll follow his father's footsteps. He loves to be read to, and makes up his own stories and games, so he has the creativity and imagination to do it.

And we will stop at two. It is nice we'll have one of each, but we never wanted a big family, small and cozy is fine for us. And my health at 32 is not exactly good (to put things oh-so-mildly), so that has to be a factor in family planning. Thanks for the props, Euclid!
 

Chris Grey

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It sounds like Fred/Winnie may be MPD, with one personality being male, and one female. Which makes sense, because it was Winne who took the NyQuil, having had a bad cold for the last three days and being unable to sleep, but it was Fred at work (who didn't remember about the NyQuil) who overdosed on the coffee at work.

Not necessarily. There are many reasons a woman might go undercover as a man.

On that note, congrats on the baby girl! Have you thought of names yet? Winnifred, perhaps?
 

smsarber

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Rachel LeeAnn. I wanted Rachel Leigh, my mother-in-law wanted Rachel LeeAnn, so we compromised: the birth certificate will say LeeAnn, but I can call her whatever I want. Thanks, by the way!
 

James D. Macdonald

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I was sort-of waiting for something like this to come along. Here (because it's short, and because it's in electronic form so I don't have to retype it), is a contract for a short story reprint.

AN AGREEMENT, dated - concerning a literary WORK
entitled

"Philologos; or a Murder in Bistrita" by Debra Doyle &
James Macdonald

between the EDITORS, who are David G. Hartwell &
Kathryn Cramer, c/o Dragon Press, [address redacted], and Debra Doyle & James
Macdonald, The SELLER, [address redacted]:

1. The Seller hereby licenses and grants to the Editors the
right and permission to publish the Work in an
ANTHOLOGY, provisionally titled Year's Best Fantasy #9, to
be published by Tor.com, a unit of Tom Doherty Associates.
The Seller grants to the Editors non-exclusive world
anthology rights in all languages throughout the world to
use the Work. It is understood that the use of the Work by
the Editors entails world volume rights, both in the English
language and in foreign translations, and in hardcover,
paperback, book club, and reprint editions of the anthology.
It is also understood that the Editors, are licensed to use
the Work only in the Anthology and in reprints of it,
including print and electronic versions, complete or partial,
and that all rights not specifically granted in this
Agreement are reserved to the Seller.

2. The Editors agree to pay $90.00 payable upon final
acceptance of the completed Anthology by Tor.com, a unit
of Tom Doherty Associates. This payment is an advance
against a 50% pro rata share of the Anthology's earnings, if
any, beyond the initial advance, earning to include income
from trade, book club, reprint, translations, electronic
editions, foreign sales of the anthology, or any subsidiary
rights income received by the Editors. All electronic
excerpts will be tracked and any royalty income
apportioned according to authors included. It is anticipated
that batches chosen by the publisher, of three or more
stories, will be offered electronically, but no individual
stories will be offered alone. Fifty percent of the earnings
actually received by the Editors will be distributed to the
Sellers of the stories in the Anthology at least once each
calendar year, as soon as such earnings exceed $20.00 per
story.

3. It is understood that the Anthology will be represented
by Susan Ann Protter, literary agent, and by her or the
Editors' overseas agents, and that the customary agency
fees will be deducted before payments are made to the
Editors.

4a. The Seller warrants that the Seller has the clear title to
the Work or is authorized by the Work's owner to sell the
Work; also that the story contains no libelous material and
is not in violation of any rights of privacy or any other
rights of third persons, and does not violate any existing
common law or statutory copyrights, and agrees to
indemnify and hold harmless the Editors, Tor.com
Publications, and any and all other publishing firms
licensed by the Editors to publish the Anthology, from any
loss, expense (including attorneys fees) or damage
occasioned by any and all disputes and judgements finally
sustained arising from ownership of rights herein granted,
which would constitute a breach of any of the foregoing
warranties.

4b. The Seller warrants that the Work was published for
the first time during the calendar year 2008.

5. The Editors may have the Work translated where
necessary.

6. The Seller agrees that the Editors and Publisher(s) may
use the name and biographical data of the author(s) of the
Work in connection with the exercise of and exploitation of
rights to the Work, and in the advertising or promotion for
the Anthology.

7. The Seller will receive one complimentary copy of the
first edition of the Anthology in which the Work appears.

8. The anthology shall be copyrighted in the name of the
Editors; also a separate copyright notice shall be included
for each story. Please correct notice provided below. If
blank, please provide complete notice. The copyright
notice for this story shall be worded as follows:

____c copyright 2008 by Debra Doyle & James D. Macdonald

__________________________________________________________________

9. Payment of the above advance shall be made in US
dollars. If the Seller wishes the Editors to pay all sums due
under this agreement to the Seller's literary agent, please
note the agent's name and address:




ACCEPTED AND AGREED: Please indicate your acceptance
by signing and returning all three copies of this agreement
to David G. Hartwell at [address redacted]. For further information call Kathryn Cramer &
David G. Hartwell at [phone number redacted], or David G. Hartwell
at [phone number redacted]. One copy will be returned to you.


X X
Seller/Agent Editors

SS# or Tax ID#________________________ If the payee is a US
citizen, we must have a SS# or Tax ID# to issue a check.

--
David G. Hartwell [email address redacted]
Senior Editor, Tor Books
 

euclid

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Very good article. What is MFA? I found it in Wikipaedia

And what exactly is "literary fiction"?

And what's a "bonehead" (worn at a halloween party)?
 
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batgirl

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Terrific article. The point about ideas coming in through the back door only is very helpful - makes me feel better about ideas sneaking in, actually. And I'm sitting here with that thought about 'Stranger Comes to Town' and 'Person Goes on a Trip' being the same story, turning the idea around and looking at it like a pretty rock.

Euclid, here's a link that might help. Literary fiction is perhaps most easily described by what it's not. It's not genre, it's not bestsellers, it's not 'escapist'. It's usually more character than plot, and sometimes more description than action.

-Barbara
 
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Calliopenjo

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Hi Uncle Jim,

Silly off topic stupid question time. How are chapters numbered? The reason I ask is because I have Ch. 1 & 1B, Ch. 2 & 2B and then 3, 4. . .until 9 (Chapters 1 & 2 being the only odd chapters). Should I renumber them or do I leave them as is?


:Shrug:
 

HConn

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No way I could even attempt to answer that question. My book (if that what we're taking about) is 106,000 words long...It's written in the first person, so I suppose "I" is the doer of the action throughout. If anything, the words "I, me, my" probably appear too may times!

Did a count. Out of 106,000 words (260 pages single-spaced), the word "I " appears 4,106 times. That's an average of nearly 16 times per page!

What I was trying to get at is whether the critiquers might be responding to a protagonist who is done to, rather than does (and the sorts of sentences that would follow from those story choices).

Just something to consider.
 

Niamh1882

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For what it's worth, here's my stupid grammar trick:

Go to the bookstore and get yourself a copy of "Learn/Teach Yourself/Absorb Through Osmosis [Language of Your Choice] in [Short Amount of Time]". "Learn Swahili in One Week", "Teach Yourself Latin in Time for the Exam", and "Absorb a Working Knowledge of Japanese Before Your Plane Lands" would all be fine choices. It doesn't particularly matter what language you chose. Choose a book that is focused on reading/writing, not speaking or listening. You don't need a dictionary, or a book of verbs, or anything of the sort because we're not actually interested in learning the language.*

If you've chosen well, you'll have a book full of grammar examples, explained in very small words for people who don't normally deal with grammar. My experience is that learning what the terms mean in the context of a foreign language makes it easier to turn around and examine what you are doing in your own language.**

Also, when trying to make a character sound foreign (either because they're an elf, an alien, or just Canadian) instead of tacking "eh?" to the end of all the character's sentences, mimicking the sentence structure of a non-English language may do the trick for you.

YMMV,
Niamh


*If you are interested in learning whichever language you've chosen, you'll get a lot further by taking a class.
**Full disclosure: I just finished a B.A. in German and Comparative Lit, so comparing English composition to everything else is pretty much how my mind works. Math-minded people may have better results if they take a pen and replace all the non-English words in "Writing Mandarin for Absolute Beginners" with the geometric figures of their choice.
 
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Judg

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LOL. Seriously, I learned almost all my grammar in foreign language classes. I had old-school grammarians too, so they knew their stuff. I think second-language training is invaluable for a writer on so many different levels.
 

Chris Grey

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Niamh's totally write. It's not just that the words for grammar only start to make sense when you learn a second or third language (instead of the preferred way of asking children to memorize what a participle is in the third grade), but that 70% of a grammar is in the unwritten rules. Give any native English speaker the words girl, french, the, four, and they will arrange them as "the four french girls" unless they're being cheeky. As an added bonus, you'd never put "young" anywhere but between "four" and "french," would you? It's a rule that's completely under the surface, but, by being aware that it exists, you can create an air of foreignness by breaking it.
 

FennelGiraffe

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Agreed. I never did learn to speak Spanish, German, or French, but they did wonders for my English grammar.
 

James D. Macdonald

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I am of the firm opinion that every writer should know at least two languages to the point of being able to think in the second. It definitely expands the way in which you can know the world.

(The Learn Frisian in Fifteen Minutes trick sounds Really Swell, though, and I think I'll steal it.)


Oh -- brief brag on a student: Jean Huets (who attended Viable Paradise a couple of years ago), sold the story she wrote at the workshop to Kaleidotrope.
 

RJK

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When I was president of our local school board, at a work session, I asked the administrators and board members to try to punctuate the following (you may have seen this test before):

that that is is that that is not is not that is it is it not

The only person to punctuate it correctly in a reasonable amount of time was the deputy superintendent, who took several years of Latin in high school.

There is more than one way to punctuate the example.
 

Scribhneoir

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I am of the firm opinion that every writer should know at least two languages to the point of being able to think in the second. It definitely expands the way in which you can know the world.

Way back in school I had reached the point of being able to think in Spanish, but those days are long gone.

Uncle Jim, can you think in a second language and, if so, which one? Frisian, perhaps? ;)
 
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