Two things I learned

January 6, 2012

Things I learned

BY Philip (Norval Joe) Carroll

I read a blog post this week and I learned two things:

1) Don’t write like you talk.
2) Make and support your point early on.

This is how the article taught me these things:

I often write like I talk. I assumed that created a conversational tone to the blog and would make it easier to read.

The blog I read was written much like mine. Conversationally, with many commas and jumps from fragmented thought to fragmented thought. I found it distracting and difficult to follow. I will repent and attempt to be more contiguous or homogenous in the future.

Secondly, I felt by the time the author got to her point, I had lost interest.

The blog started with the statement that human slavery is alive and well in the United States and each of us is a willing supporter of it. I was interested, initially, because I attended a discussion at Baycon last Memorial Day on this very subject. At the discussion they made the claim that anyone who is expected to perform any task without being paid for it is a slave. This presumption was focused primarily at churches. Several popular sects were named. This same allusion would have to be applied to other volunteer organizations, such as, the boy scouts, girl scouts, Rotary Club, Elks Club, Flying Samaritans, 4H, etc.
I hoped the blogger would address this same argument, and hopefully clarify it.

Instead there was a long winded description of inalienable rights and several descriptions of slavery. I was trying to read this on my iPhone, and that may have lead to some of my frustration with the circuitous way the author was approaching her contention.

Finally she came to her point. At least I assume it was her point. I read the paragraph three times trying to understand what she was saying.
She spoke about applying for a grant to write something outside her normal genre to make some money while she worked at getting a novel published. She was denied the grant because her work was deemed ‘commercial fiction’.

Here is my point. I read this paragraph in which she described this response as baffling and horrifying three times to see how it might equate in any way to slavery. I didn’t see it. What I saw was that I had to read further to find out what the hell she was talking about.
But I had lost interest.

If my co editors wish me to continue writing a blog in the future, I promise that I will make them short and to the point. I have said before that I am not an expert, just trying to share some ideas and techniques that have worked for me. I haven’t sold a novel, taught a course, or made a buck at writing. So if you don’t want to read this, no problem.

And if they don’t want a blog, I’ll limit myself to book reviews and only trouble you five or six times a year. Speaking of which, next week I will review the book, “Declare” by Tim Powers.

Otherwise, keep writing. That’s the only way you’ll get any better.

Philip ‘Norvaljoe’ Carroll is as staff editor at Flying Island Press and a family man with many interests. Living in the Central Valley of California there are many sporting and cultural opportunities, few of which he avails himself. He hates traffic and crowds, so avoids San Francisco like the plague. He sunburns, so avoids the beach like the plague, or maybe, like skin cancer. He is happy to be at home, writing, playing Eve online, or spending time with his kids.

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