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Book Review: Searoad – Chronicles of Klatsand (Ursula Le Guin)

KLATSAND, FORMERLY FISH CREEK, IN OREGON is a tiny settlement that grows over four generations to become an off-the-beaten-track and less than fashionable coastal resort town. It lies on the Pacific coast of Oregon and is only separated from that mighty body of water by the Searoad of the title. In one poem, ten short stories and one longer assemblage of diary entries from the ladies of three generations of one local family, and occasional interjections from a fourth generation, we are introduced to a variety of residents and passing personnel who interact with their surroundings. In sharing the lives of these people we are enabled to see some of the pivotal events of the twentieth century on those whose lives are lived outside of the mainstream of American Society.

There are two factors, for me, that make this a hugely enjoyable but quite difficult book to read. Firstly, the language is so beautiful in its own right that it is very difficult to concentrate on the content of the stories rather than the words themselves. This is one book that should definitely be read, and loved, as a paper copy rather than an electronic one. Every word carries the feeling that it has been deliberated over at length, and chosen then placed with surgical precision. The language of all the stories and diary entries verges on the poetic and flows with the same effortless motion as the Pacific Ocean, which borders one side of the Searoad.

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Can’t Afford An Editor? Here’s One For Free!

IF YOU ARE SHORT OF AN EDITOR (OR OVERBLOWN PROOFREADER) all to yourself, you should read on.

So, I was thinking: what do I have to say that would add value to a bunch of writers’ lives?

I’m still thinking about it, but in the meantime take a look at the following FANTASTIC tool.

It’s a free manuscript and book editing software that you access online or ‘in the cloud’, if you like. And you don’t even need to sign up.

I’ve used it. It’s brilliant. Simples.

Just to help you to get started with it quickly, click the link to the site and scroll down to – and click – the button labelled ‘Use it Now’. (You can’t miss it.)

Copy and paste your writing into the box and click ‘Analyse’. It will then give you a report on:

  • Overused words
  • Cliches and Redundancies
  • Sentence Length Variation
  • Diction Report
  • Vague & Abstract Words
  • Complex Words
  • Sticky Sentences
  • Alliteration Analysis
  • Consistency such as, but not limited to, spelling, hyphenation and capitalisation

Furthermore, if you look at and click some of the links in the column to the left of of the report, it will give you more information about each of the above.

Just get in there and check it out. It needs two hundred words to get started; it’ll protest if you paste in less . . .

Enjoy.

Erm . . . P. S.

Apparently in the above text I have:

  • 4 overused words
  • 1 cliche
  • 1 long sentence
  • An average sentence length of 6.9 words
  • 6 diction issues
  • 8 vague and abstract words
  • 1 seven syllable complex word
  • 4 five syllable complex words
  • 4 four syllable complex words
  • 8 sticky sentences
  • 6 word alliterations
  • 1 spelling mistake and
  • 2 capitalisation consistency issues . . .

Click here: prowritingaid.com

— Stephen Gritton
 
 


Make Money With Your Writing Now

Make Money With Your Writing Now

I’VE BEEN DOING A LITTLE RESEARCH ON THIS SUBJECT RECENTLY and I’ve come to a conclusion: It’s time that you made that money as a writer!

Writing short stories or poetry is great fun and . . .should be regarded as a hobby. For now. Let’s get you a steady income from your writing. This will give you the breathing space before you tackle that novel!

Write Articles – Freelancing

There are plenty of writing jobs if you know where to look. If you can tell the difference between genuine opportunities and harnful scams, online freelance writing is your best bet.

The vast majority of people are unaware of the varied writing possibilities available on the net. Write some simple articles and press releases. Get blogging. Eventually, you might move on to authoring e-books; the scope for earning money from writing is pretty amazing. (I’ll get to blogging in a bit.)

Clients often pay up front for material by offering a set fee per word, or per assignment. Others will pay per hour for proofreading or writing website content.

Freelance writing network sites like Freelance Writers or The Freelance Writing Jobs Network are the best place to start. With writing jobs and advice, these places make it simple to get moving. Websites like Elance and Freelancer are good bets too.

Every day, thousands of businesses post up writing projects on the sites I’ve mentioned here. Suck it up, push yourself forward and apply to these new opportunities: there is an immediate income available for you.

Respond to as many writing job notices as possible. Offer to work at a reasonable rate. Be quick to respond to enquiries from prospects.

Keep applying . . . landing that first assignment is often the hardest part, but as you build up a portfolio and client list, you’ll get work more consistently. Keep on going.

The key to gaining and maintaining a steady income from freelance writing is to produce as many quality pieces for your portfolio as possible. That’s not all – use job boards and social networking strategies to promote your work. The more traffic that you can send to your work, the more interest you’ll stir up from businesses who need writers like you.

Here are 4 tips for your writing portfolio:

1. Set up a web page with your curriculum vitae, your contact info and a few writing examples. It’s very easy to do this by utilising sites such as Churchill Hosting.

2. Establish a good reputation by submitting your best quality work to potential clients.

3. Network with other busy writers; they may send extra work your way.

4. Participate in writers’ forums by writing useful comments. Include links to your website and online work in your profile.

Make Money Blogging

What is blogging?

‘Blog’ stands for web log. Effectively, they are online diaries. You can make money with a blogging site. The secret is this: focus on an area of expertise, or a subject that is popular with search engines.

Here’s how to get started blogging:

1. Approach it with the intent to write unique, quality prose. Offer useful info. By establishing yourself as a trustworthy resource, your readers will send you word-of-mouth traffic to your blog. Do your research carefully because your visitors can tell whether you know what you are talking about. You must focus on quality material.

2. It’s easy to get started blogging. Go to blogging websites like blogger.com or wordpress.com. I’ve found WordPress to be the best blogging site. Personalise the blog with your own domain name: you’ll have to pay, but a great cheap alternative is churchillhosting.com. On this site, you’ll get a free .com domain when you take out their hosting. Installing a blog site is very easy, you just need to click a link.

3. Once you have got going, you can monetise your blogging endeavours, utilising advertising networks. Set up free accounts with Google Adsense or Chitika. With a few clicks and a copy and paste or two, they’ll serve relevent adverts on your blog. You’ll get paid whenever somebody clicks on these ads. Amazon’s affiliate programme is very popular. Check to see if you want to earn extra cash in this way.

4. Promote it using social media sites like Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin. Posting meaningful comments on forums related to your blog content is also an excellent way to gain attention. Put your mind to it; you’ll find plenty of other ways to poke traffic at your blog.

Freelance writing and blogging are only two of many ways to make money online. You can write your short storys, of course – and your poems. You can enter into writing competitions, or write your novel, but you know how hard it is to get these accepted. By freelancing and blogging, you are on to a sure way to make money. I know that following this advice might require a little time and effort, but you’ll quickly be earning. There is a huge potential for large profits; go for it.

***********************

The Coffee Shop Millionaire is the new, Internet

revolution that’s helping people like you to start

their own dream business, create absolute

financial freedom, and escape the rat race for

good, faster than they ever thought possible.

Click this link right now to learn how you

can join the new class of ‘lifestyle

entrepreneurs’ and make a full-time Internet

income, or even generate millions of dollars

working online from any coffee shop, anywhere in

the world.

—-

A note from Sonny about CoffeeshopMillionaire:

I hear people saying ‘Scam Scam!’, but let me tell you that CoffeeshopMillionaire’s techniques do work. However, you must understand a few things:

  1. you need to be able to write to a good standard of English
  2. you need to be able to grasp new concepts and
  3. follow instructions and
  4. you need to work hard to get things rolling
  5. you need to have willpower to see things through and
  6. you need to see this as a possible additional revenue stream because
  7. there is a learning curve and
  8. not everybody gets to give up the day job
  9. certainly only a fraction of people will become millionaires because
  10. it is harder than is portrayed here with the usual brash American enthusiasm.

As you can see from above, it would be easier to cry ‘scam’ than it would be to actually work.

It would be healthier for you if you were to think of this as a possible way to fund a holiday, or possibly a deposit on a new car.

The advantage of coffeeshopmillionaire is that if you get it right, every product that you promote has potential to keep earning for you whilst you do other things – like finding new products to promote (working), and/or bumming around in coffee shops. Just don’t cry ‘scam’ if you don’t want to put the work in.

Love Language: A Salutary Tale

A LACK OF LOVE OF LANGUAGE MUST BE THE ROOT CAUSE, I surmise, of its continuing degradation. What else can be so destabilising a factor as to result in the puerile whimsical puns of journalists and a street proliferation of ‘kwik’ contractions with all their implications of speed, of being ‘bite-sized’, of being dumbed-down for the hard of understanding? Those who are being taught are let down by some who teach, but they in turn are at the mercy of a societal urge towards the simple.

Think of a black hole: in some suggestions the spiral of the funnel leads to a simple, dense singularity. Certainly, in UK society, the trend towards this analogous point has been taking place – in language – for at least a generation, possibly more. It is more complex an issue than to simply refer to language as just reflecting the nature of language ‘as it is’ (the descriptive, rather than the prescriptive argument). It simply does not excuse the funnelling of language use towards the simplistic.

Those who are in the privileged position of being able to directly and quickly effect culture transition should be made acutely aware of their culpability. Defences such as ‘art reflecting society’ are not assembled with absolute integrity. ‘Art’, in this sense, encapsulates the output of TV, film, advertising, newspapers, the internet, magazines and, of course, books. Language absolutely must be loved.

It has always struck me that early education, in the UK at least, is fundamentally flawed. A ‘back to basics’ approach is often espoused by right-wing proponents of educational reform; yet, the ‘back to basics’ foundation is known as ‘The Three R’s’: that is, reading, writing and arithmetic. Has nobody else ever become irritated by the lack of urgency in addressing the irony? Perhaps the notion is not deemed important enough. Frivolity is, after all, a notable quality: anathema to the serious business of survival on this planet; we should not take ourselves so seriously. The dangerous implication though is that we then do not take anything seriously.

Language defines us. We, as a species, have opposable thumbs and words. If we cannot take what separates us from our primate cousins seriously, we risk joining them. Yes, the future of our species is at stake here. It really is of phylogenetic importance that we understand the slide of our linguistic demise.

Without a love of language, with a continuation of the ‘kwik-kulture’ (and it pains me even to write this in this way), the simple singularity of the black hole draws ever closer. ‘Art’, being all its potential cultural forms, must start to take responsibility: all of us who use words must be included in this statement. As a society, we must look at the basics and know that the details matter. If we ignore such fundamentals, if we continue to show such flagrant disregard for language, we will no longer be the greatest of the apes.

— Rafael Shareef
 
 

Little Bookshop of the Imagination

IT IS A LITTLE BOOKSHOP, AND IT ISN’T REAL. Perhaps. Well, it is my place – though I open the doors to you now. In fact, the door is always open. It’s warm inside: there’s a fire, a Chesterfield sofa, comfortable chairs, rugs and throws. It doesn’t sell coffee, though you’re welcome to bring your own. You don’t even have to buy a book (if might even be preferred if you don’t), but if you do, you name the price. The owner will read quietly or talk with you about books: whichever the case may be, your needs will be sensitively known.

So, what is the point of this fictional space? Well, in the first instance, I’m struck by the lack of affective quality that many bookshops seem to have, even the little ones. The affective environment is the one that stimulates and results in feelings about a place: that which can affect. A book is an object of sensory appeal (it has physical weight, texture, smell). Always smell the pages of a book! Objects with the power to affect the senses also have the power to affect moods, before the words are even read. Such objects deserve a similar magic of environment.

In the second instance, a magical environment can’t truly be found in the corporate stores with their fitted shelves and units that partition spaces into neat pockets of subject areas. Sure, walking into even a corporate branded store does excite a certain small crackle for the dedicated bibliophile, but that will wane when compared to the feeling of walking into a ramshackle haven off the beaten track. The latter isn’t perfect though: they’re all too often owned by the quirky oddball you’d cross the street every time to avoid. A magical environment is one where any book might be found, where corporate coffee isn’t on tap, and where the owner may be odd but isn’t unapproachable.

I don’t mind if the owner is male or female, young or old but, in the third instance of this little bookshop’s exceptional status, he or she must know each and every person who comes through the door. I don’t mean ‘know’ as in ‘have met before’; rather, I mean ‘know’ as in ‘intuitively gets what they need’. When I walk into a bookshop out there in the real world, I’m often received with disdain, with an aloofness, by a feeling of being frowned upon – or at least watched. How poetic it would be to be ‘read’ well by the bookshop owner as you entered over the threshold.

Despite the popularity of the electronic word, a book still has a place in this world: it should be a place that fits the book’s esteemed nature. A book should be absorbed in affective surroundings: surroundings that, in turn, absorb the reader. A book deserves better than the cold comfort of corporate shop units, ill at ease amongst the branded coffee mugs. A book, its owner and its reader should all be connected in an understanding: the owner and the reader should know what the book represents and what and who each other are. It is a little fantasy place. If I’ve imagined a reality, please do let me know.

— Dean Cody Cassady