Monday, 25 February 2013

The Laupahoehoe Position!

Like most bloggers, I imagine, I welcome comments on my blog but not the ones trying to sell tramadol, viagra, cialis etc. or trying to promote irrelevant sites.  For this reason, on my foodie blog Sudden Lunch, I moderate comments before having them published.  This can be a lot of fun!

Here is a recent gem, I apologise if you have already read this on my Facebook page but I feel it deserves as wide an audience as possible.

'My spirit moved absent аbout three уrs previous tо mу body had the bravery to last οf all conclude this ѕаgа, and I did discoverΙ ωaѕ mοгe desirable acquired in the city I finally found tο and as fοr the excellent fortune Ι was in search of, I discovered what Joseph Саmρbell wrote was a faсt: "Your full bodily procedure knowѕ that this іs the wаy to be alive in this society and the way to gіѵe the reаllу beѕt that you have to offer." - Centre tunnel chimney duct to maximise successful incredibly hоt airflow. Continue 11 miles, and observе mindfully for the sign to Laupahoеhое Positіon Beаch front Ρark on the prοрer.'

Now isn't that lovely? As you can no doubt deduce from its content this was commenting on my post about Welsh Rarebit - and I thought I could write!

Can anyone beat this?  Comments welcome!

Suzy Bowler

PS.  Perhaps, as a friend suggests, this writing has been augmented by Google's translator.

Friday, 22 February 2013

A Writer's Voice

When I decided I wanted to write I read a lot about finding my "voice" which led me to believe that best way to do this was (and is) to write as if I am speaking to a friend ie. in my natural voice.  This doesn't mean I don't work on it, try not to be repetitive, boring, obscure, stilted, have long sentences that go on and on and on .... etc. I have been told by friends that they can hear me talking when they read my writing (which apparently they view as a good thing) and by people I don't know that ...

~   (I have) good ideas and an interesting writing style.
~   (I write in) a witty, quirky way which is a joy to read.
~   (My work) is humorous and well written.
~   (and) very fun to read.

and so on and so forth.  I have also had reviews saying ...

~  "regarding the writing style, I found the tone to be condescending rather than informative."
~  "... spelling errors, paragraph errors, grammatical errors ..."

Both of these last two surprised me (as you know if you have read previous posts) and several people have jumped to my defence.

I have therefore done a bit more research about writer's voice and have read that ...

~  (One should) "write at least in part how you speak to capture your essence"
~  (Your voice is) "... not just how you write but who you are."
~  Style is the expression of the writer’s personality on the page.

So I have now decided to grow up: I am taking it all too personally.  Before I do grow up however I'd just like to mention this.

Till vs Until

Yesterday I received a 3 star review of my "291 Tips ..." ebooklet, and I am honestly grateful, which read ...

"The tips in this book are good for the novice and/or aspiring cook, however I have to take stars away for the constant use of "till" instead of the correct word "until" throughout the book."

Now maybe I am too sensitive and I know one "Can't please all of the people all of the time" (a bugger though that is) but am I wrong in feeling people are being a little too picky about a booklet giving a list of handy tips?

Anyhoo, being as how I'm a bit of a twat I looked up till vs until on the web and read over and over again that the two words are interchangeable. More interestingly on World Wide Words  (I love this site and can while away hours on it) I learnt/learned that ...

"The most common belief is that till is a shortened form of until. You can see how this could have grown up, but the truth of the matter is that till is by far the older word, being recorded from about the year 800, while it took another 400 years for until to appear in the language (it’s a compound of till with the archaic Old Norse und, as far as, which also survives in the archaic unto)."

... and ...

"The current position is that until is the more common of the two words and is generally considered to be slightly more formal, which is why it turns up more often in edited prose. It is also rather more likely to appear at the beginning of a sentence than is till. But till is perfectly good English and the choice of whether to use it or until is often decided by the rhythm of the sentence."

I think I'll stick with till!

Sorry, by the way, I don't think anyhoo is a real word.


Suzy Bowler

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Two Questions about writing style and reviews

Does anyone have any ideas how to gently encourage readers to put a review on Amazon?  As you may know I have self published a couple of ebooks and initially made them both available for free in the hope that would get the word out. 

Lush Ice Cream was downloaded for free about 1,700 times and 219 Tips nearly 3,000, a handful of each have been borrowed by Prime members and both have sold a few copies for small amounts of money (£2.25 and 77p respectively).  So out of say 6,000 readers I got 20 reviews (and one said my style is condescending - me, the sweetest new food writer ever to live on this side of the road in my village! What do you think; am I condescending?). 

In keeping with other ebooks I have read, at the end of 219 Tips I have asked people to review on Amazon but with very little result.  Has anyone any ideas?

Talking of book reviews - see here where I review "Breakfast for Dinner" by Lindsay Landis and her husband Taylor Hackbarth. 

Lovely weather down here by the way - my friend Carol and I actually had coffee sitting outside in the sun in Padstow yesterday and there is blackthorn all over the place.  The pictures not very clear but the blue bit in the background is Padstow harbour.

If you have any answers to either of my dilemmas please leave a comment.

Thank you

Suzy Bowler

Friday, 15 February 2013

Both Aaaaaargh and Phew!

I am just about ready to send the corrected proofs of 'The Leftovers Handbook' off to my publishers.  That was hard work, I can tell you.

Writing the book was mostly done at a pretty even pace, I didn't shirk but then again I didn't rush. Working through the proofs was done to a deadline and there seemed so much to do!  This is my first book and I hadn't realised what this stage would involve.  I'm learning lots and next time (!) I shall be more prepared.

Because there was more editing to do than expected at this late stage the publishing date has been put back, tentatively, to May although I think it still hoped to get it out before then so, of course, I'll let you know!

Now I am going to have some of these ...

... because I'm worth it (and knackered).

Cheers and good night

Suzy Bowler

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Proofreading - even more Yikes!

Today I received a hard copy of my book for proofreading.  Well!  I thought writing it was a bit like work but this really is.

I was quite excited to get the package (and to be honest still am) and immediately after my real man went off to work I settled down to business. 


Getting down to business.

Spreading out (notice the "leftover" Christmas chocolate to keep my strength up)

Crikey - lucky I've got my glass of wine and lucky pig!

I was really pleased to see that my editor had kept in all my little jokes and asides but there were (what do I mean were??? I've barely started) quite a few things to check out, change or correct.  Nothing big but still there! 

This is the first time I have seen the book paginated and as it is severely cross referenced I have to (I assume) put the correct pages where it says "(pOO)" - not poo! - which requires a lot of flicking about.  This is the first time I have ever done this so I am learning as I go, I hope.

~    I have been using a gel pen but I realise now that when I was told to use a biro that was probably for the best.
~    With all the cross checking I have decided to keep a handy list of the most referred to pages.
~    I am going to hang my glasses on a string round my neck because I need them to read print in artificial light but can't see the computer screen properly with them on.
~    I shall try to remember to keep the fire topped up with wood and to stretch now and then.

In other News ... 

I get a newsletter from Writers Digest and a recent article concerned "5 Things that should be on Every Writer's Bucket List" and I am delighted to have accomplished the last one on the list which is ...

"5.  Live poor for a few months (or years)"

You may then wonder why there are so many fresh flowers in the photos above well they cost 15p a bunch!  We're very good at bargains.


Suzy Bowler