The Journal, Wednesday, 6/14

Hey Folks,

I keep feeling like I need to take a day to create covers and promo docs for the last nine short stories I wrote. Then I need to distribute them and ship them off to BundleRabbit.

I’m ever aware that each day I wait is a day that story isn’t able to accumulate sales.

Usually I do all that stuff as I go, often the same day I write the story. But in the frenzy that was my recent writing in public challenge, I let it slip.

And just my mindset, when I get in the mood to create covers, it will be better to do them all one after the other.

So soon I’ll do that. But not today. Today I get to “novel” for awhile. (See the topic below.)

***

In the midst of everything going on — or actually not going on — with Job Corps, I got a Facebook message early this morning with some bad news. One of my heroic uncles (lifelong forest ranger, firefighter and so much more) is fading.

Depending on various factors back there, soon I’ll take a couple days to go see him or to attend the funeral. Part of life and living, but so much of it gets to be a drag after awhile. I know I’m confiding in the choir here.

Topic: Please, Don’t Be Ignorant

Or at least don’t put your ignorance on display.

Ignorance is not a “bad” quality. It just means a lack of knowledge.

But if you choose to be a writer, shouldn’t you at least try to learn everything you can about the language and word usage?

It seems to me we’ve entered an age in which many of us would rather sound cool than illustrate that we aren’t ignorant.

I’m talking about creating nouns of verbs and verbs of nouns and other word-usage anomalies where there’s no reason to. Other than wanting to sound cool.

I don’t mind, really. But it’s still annoying. And disappointing.

When I read the work of a favorite author and see, in narrative, phrases like “should of” instead of “should have” or “should’ve,” it doesn’t completely destroy the reading experience. But it mars it.

When I hear that a writer “journals” when what she means is “writes” or “keeps a journal” or “makes entries in a journal” I want to hurl chunks. I know, I know, but bear with me.

When I hear that someone “journals,” I wonder why nobody “diaries.”

And why doesn’t anyone “novel” or “short story” or “flash fiction” or “poem”?

“I can’t go tonight,” she said. “It would interrupt my journaling.”

Yeah? Well, I can’t go either. It would interrupt my “short storying” and maybe even my “noveling.”

In “Of Interest” today I feature an article by Nate Hoffelder of The Digital Reader.

In his article, he features an infographic that’s titled “The Ultimate Flowchart for Finding Your Next Book.” Perfectly legitimate, that.

But in the title of the article he wrote to showcase the infographic, Nate saw fit to change “Book” to “Read,” as in “The Ultimate Flowchart for Finding Your Next Read.”

Why?

The change doesn’t enhance the meaning of the title. It doesn’t make it more descriptive or more informative.

It only makes me wonder whether the author is actually ignorant, is trying too hard to be innovative, or is just lazy. (Lazy because “read” used as a noun is short for “reading experience,” which of course means “book.”)

I feel the same way when, in a work written for publication, I find “gift” used as a verb in place of the perfectly adequate “give” (or “gifted” for “gave” or “presented”).

And I feel the same way when I hear professionals use “likely” when they mean “probably.” Or when body parts are given human traits (“nose smelled” “legs raced” “eyes looked” “ears heard” etc.).

Contrary to what some folks believe, I don’t go around looking for instances where the writer’s ignorance is on display. I really don’t. Even when I edit.

I just read. Those instances of ignorance on display leap off the page at me and interrupt my reading.

And then I don’t buy anymore of that author’s work.

Food for thought.

Today, and Writing

Spent the first couple hours of the day playing with Facebook and then writing the stuff above. Cross-posted the topic to the ProWriters blog too.

Around 6:30, I went to the Hovel to “novel” for awhile. (This is fun.) As has become my habit in this book, I cycled back first, then wrote about 600 new words in a new chapter. Moving right along.

A good day of writing today. We’ll see what tomorrow brings.

See you then.

Of Interest

See “D2D Partners with Findaway Voices to Provide an Alternative to ACX Starting 7/18/2017” (More Freedom and Control Over Your Audiobooks) at https://draft2digital.com/blog/d2d-partners-with-findaway-voices-to-provide-an-alternative-to-acx-starting-7182017/. Sounds like a really good opportunity.

Take with a grain of salt “Q & A with Peter Stampfel, Submissions Editor of DAW Books” at http://themetropolitan.metrostate.edu/issue/2016/12/005/. (Thanks, Ann!)

See “Infographic: The Ultimate Flowchart for Finding Your Next Read” at https://the-digital-reader.com/2017/06/13/infographic-ultimate-flowchart-finding-next-read/.

“Two Bundles With Two Novels” at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/two-bundles-with-two-novels/. I have to admit, I’ve bought both of these bundles.

Fiction Words: 3462
Nonfiction Words: 870 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 4332

Writing of June Novel

Day 1…… 2248 words. Total words to date…… 4925
Day 2…… 0505 words. Total words to date…… 5430
Day 3…… 1204 words. Total words to date…… 6634
Day 4…… 1535 words. Total words to date…… 8169
Day 5…… 2825 words. Total words to date…… 10994
Day 6…… 1631 words. Total words to date…… 12625
Day 7…… 3462 words. Total words to date…… 16087

Total fiction words for the month……… 42559
Total fiction words for the year………… 335466
Total nonfiction words for the month… 9800
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 99780
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 435246

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 566 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels)………………… 5 novels
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 25
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 3
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 176

2 thoughts on “The Journal, Wednesday, 6/14

  1. First of all, in case you don’t know, I admire the challenges you set yourself. I don’t know if I’ll ever be at the point where I can write a short story a day. Yes, I follow Dean Wesley Smith, and I admire him, too. Both of you amaze me.

    Now, on to why I decided to comment. I know what you mean in your “Don’t Be Ignorant” section, but the English language is fluid. I, too, have been stopped by a noun used as a verb. I’ve seen that technique recommended by writing teachers. It’s even been done in some classic literature. Most of the time, this creative word usage drives me nuts.

    But then you attacked “journal” as a verb. Uh… I use journal as a verb. That’s a word that seems to be in transition. While Merriam-Webster only recognizes the noun form, dictionary.com and the Oxford online dictionary also define it as a verb. The fact that a writer isn’t short storying has nothing to do with the fact that they might be journaling. The English language is hardly consistent. (The only place I’ve seen “noveling” is at the NaNoWriMo site, but they do it on purpose as part of their whole not-serious, just-for-fun attitude.)

    I think constructs such as “your next read” come from advertising. They _want_ you to stop reading. It’s an attention-grabbing device. Are you old enough to remember the whole “Winston takes good like a cigarette should” brouhaha? I don’t think it did their campaign any harm.

    Anyway, an interesting read–oops!–an interesting post. 🙂

    • Hi Elise! Thanks for the comment.

      Yep, I’m that old and happy about it actually. I recently learned that DWS is exactly 2 years and 9 days older than I. And I envy him. He was born on the Marine Corps birthday. (grin)

      Anyway, I do understand English is a living language. And I understand change is inevitable in a living language. But I also believe such change should be a long, arduous, drawn-out affair and the eventual change hard-won.

      As far as the “journaling” thing, that one happened practically overnight. But I do seriously maintain that “short storying” in place of the more dreary “writing a short story” or “noveling” in place of “writing a novel” or, for that matter, “diarying” in place of “writing in my diary” are no worse than “journaling” for “writing in my journal.” At least on the surface.

      Especially “noveling.” The base word even ends in an L, making the transition to the “ing” a smooth one, just like “journaling.” On the other hand, “short storying” or “diarying” will never catch on, in part because of the awkward transition from one soft “I” sound (in the Y) to another soft I sound in the Ing. (grin)

      In short, people who say “diary-ing” or “story-ing” sound like they’re s-s-stammer-ing, whereas those who say “journaling” or “noveling” sound perfectly fine, edging up on Cool. Like their pinky finger should be protruding as they hold a glass of wine in one hand and a very special cheese in the other at a launch party. (grin)

      When I hear others use some of the words I listed above (and several others) I cringe inwardly, but most of what I wrote above was tongue-in-cheek. And honestly, I don’t care either way about lexicographers (they’re only humans with opinions) other than Daniel Webster himself. If I’m remembering correctly, he’s the one who said the correct usage is always whatever’s being said on the street. Who am I to argue with a pronouncement like that?

      Still, I have to wonder what he would say about ebonics. Or even the film Idiocracy. (grin)

      Now look at that. Together we wrote another entire post. Let’s hope others read it.

      Harvey

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