Categories
Books Editing The writing process

Why Do We Do What We Do?

I got homework to explain why I write books – in a one-minute video. How can I condense all that into one minute? Could you?

Whenever I have limited time or word count to deliver a message, I write down what I want to say and then cut it down to size. I’ve decided to use this blog post to write my thoughts in full. While you read it, think about how you would explain why you do what you do in one minute. I think it’s a great exercise for focusing your reasons, which in turn helps you to move in the right direction.

This is an interesting question. It’s not why did I begin writing. I’ve answered that question many times. I begin my answer with my late friend, Gill, who told me about social anxiety, leading to my becoming passionate about raising awareness of social anxiety and eventually finding an outlet in writing.

But this question is different. It asks why I write now, and it deserves a different answer.

Firstly, I love writing. I love combining words that make sense together, whether fiction or non-fiction. I love creating characters and exploring how they react and interact in familiar settings and in usual or unusual situations. I love the freedom writing gives me to clarify my thoughts, something I’ve never been able to do in conversation.

And I love editing, because editing lets you refine those words to read in the best way that they can. And it lets you find all the typos, point-of-view changes, repeated words and other issues in the text. I know, lots of authors don’t like editing, but I get a thrill out of spotting errors and possibilities for improvement.

I’ve met some wonderful people through writing, people who have helped, provided support, or just popped into in my life.

Just as important are the readers. Without readers, all my hard work would seem pointless. I write so that people can enjoy reading. That’s the main reason. But also, I write so that readers can empathise and sympathise, love and hate. I hope to arouse emotions in them. I also hope they learn something from the experience; we are all constantly learning, as long as we keep our minds open.

Why else do I write? I hope that, through my writing, I will become better known. I hope that more people will read or listen to me, and I’ll be able to promote better understanding of the issues I stand for.

You know what? If I were better at spontaneous verbal communication, I could probably say all of that in a minute. But I’m not, and so I’m going to concentrate on the three topics: writing, readers and raising awareness.

This particular video will appear only in a private Facebook group, but I will be producing public videos in the coming months.

Did you think about how you would transmit the why of what you do in a one-minute video? I’d love to hear about your thoughts.

Categories
Editing Israel

Reverse Engineering

Friend and fellow author and editor, Sue Barnard, posted this image from the Metro newspaper on Facebook last week.

I imagined the scene in the newspaper offices.

“Is it a boy or a girl?”
“I haven’t heard yet.”
“Let me know ASAP. I’ll write boy for now and change it if it’s a girl.”

Then I remembered the term for this from my hi tech days: reverse engineering. The Oxford Shorter English Dictionary says this is:

the reproduction of another manufacturer’s product following detailed examination of its construction or composition.

Well, maybe that’s not quite what I meant, but you get the idea. I’m thinking about working out how mistakes arise. That reminded me of those weird automatic translations. We’ve seen plenty of those around the world.

But the translations that make me laugh the most are the ones I see here in Israel, because I can work out how they came about. Take this one that I saw recently in Akko (Acre):

The word ‘character’ doesn’t describe the privileged residents; it means a letter or digit. But it’s incorrect here because it’s translated from the wrong meaning of the Hebrew word ‘tav’. ‘Tav’ can mean many things, including a ‘character’, but in this case it refers to a car sticker. So, there’s a double confusion here.

Conclusion

Automatic translations do not replace editors.

And changing something in a text often has implications for the rest of the text.

Look out for my next post, which will be about identity. That’s who you are, rather than the card you do or don’t carry.

Categories
Books Editing Interviews

All About SATS

SATS. That’s my new novel,

Style and the Solitary

In just five days, it will be launched into the world. My first venture into crime fiction. Fortunately, it has some wonderful people to help my baby emerge from the womb.

No, I didn’t mean Nathalie and Asaf. They carry the story through from start to finish. But I’m talking about the lovely, real people who have helped in many ways, and to whom I will always be grateful.

People like Melina Kantor and Shoshana Raun, whose prompts and other writing suggestions helped to craft the plot much more than I’d expected. Joan Livingston, who read and commented on my draft, and also wrote the cover line and the brilliant foreword. And Stephanie and Laurence Patterson of darkstroke books whose editing and cover design were magnificent.

Also to all those who have opened up (or will open up) their blogs for me:

Name and LinkTopicDate
Natalie WoodWhy crime?3rd March
Jennifer WorrellSettings24th March
Heidi SlowinskiInterview20th April
Sue BarnardImportance of Setting21st April
Tim Taylor
Paula Readman
Angela Wren

What can you do?

  • You can come to the Facebook Launch on Monday.
    Click now and press Going. There will be information about the book in text, photos and music, and plenty of interaction.
  • You can come to the joint online launch event called Ladies Who Launch, where three darkstroke authors will introduce our new books with readings and answer questions.
    It’s on 6th May. Click now to secure your free ticket.
  • And you can buy Style and the Solitary – paperback or ebook – on Amazon.

Thank you, everyone!