I don’t generally attribute specific sources of inspiration to my writing, but occasionally, something grabs my attention and says, “Hey! You need me!”
That’s how I had a theme song for a novel before I even started writing.
Here’s what happened. Read the rest of this entry »
Ebooks are all four of the Horsemen of the Publishing Apocalypse digitally processed into one little, bloodthirsty file.
Or they’re the shining savior who’ll give all writers bajillions of dollars, euros, or even dirham if they feel like retiring in Morocco.
Whatever. Let’s all take a deep breath and be honest with ourselves here.
Why are publishers trembling from fear and writers from excitement?
I need your help. And I promise it’ll hurt less than trying to read Ulysses.
If you tell me what writers I should be reading, you’ll
win Nathanael Green Endorsement Points!*
And the more writers you suggest, the more points you’ll rack up!
I just want to hear who your favorite authors are. That’s all.
I’m a fan of literature in general and enjoy everything from Joseph Conrad to Audrey Niffenegger. But pretty early on, I developed an especially strong hankering for fantasy fiction. I’ve read many (though by no means all) of the more common names in the genre like George R.R. Martin, J.R.R. Tolkien, Terry Goodkind, Robert Jordan, Robert E. Howard … you know, the household names that top on the must-read and best-first-fantasy-to-dip-your-toes-in lists.
Despite decades of reading, there are thousands of other excellent writers out there who I haven’t, but should, read. Maybe you’re even one of them.
So, please, dear readers of the webbernet, tell me what writers move you. Help me discover new, exciting voices for my next few book purchases.
Leave a comment and tell us what writers you think everyone should read. Plug your favorite books or plug your own books. And they don’t have to be fantasy or sci-fi, though those may earn beefier points. Just share what you like and you’re on your way to NGEP glory!
*I’m without a doubt making the Nathanael Green Endorsement Points (NGEP) system up as I go along and understand exactly how silly it is. They’re not worth anything whatsoever except as an inaccurate and arbitrary indication of my gratitude. Still, winning lots of points at anything rocks.
Bet you thought you’d never see that title. Still, there it is in black and white.
So, all you avowed word-nerds will certainly love this. But have you ever studied English as a foreign language? Maybe you’re an anglophile (mmm … scones). Or maybe you just have a hankerin’ for a rap battle, ANY rap battle.
Then you’ll dig this video.
As a part of their “What’s Your English” theme at the Macmillan Dictionary website, they apparently:
… asked Baba Brinkman (a Canuck) and Professor Elemental (a Brit) to produce a satirical rap-battle on the theme of stereotyped Canadian English versus stereotyped British English. The result was this ‘What’s your English?‘ video …
There you have it.
Also, I have to admit I stole my blog title from one of the best things on YouTube. It’s this guy, Nice Peter, who does videos called Epic Rap Battles of History. They’re probably not safe for work or children … and that’s exactly why they’re awesome-possum.
Ever go to plan a vacation (somewhere … anywhere but here!) and wonder where your English will be of the most use?
Of course, I’d advocate learning at least some, if not a significant amount, of any local tongue. But let’s face it: learning all of the world’s estimated 6,500 languages is hard. Like, really hard.
So what countries speak English the best?
This blog post from The Economist highlights a new study that examines the fluency of foreign English speakers.
According to the post:
EF Education First, an English-teaching company, compiled the biggest ever internationally comparable sample of English learners: some 2m people took identical tests online in 44 countries. The top five performers were Norway, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden and Finland. The bottom five were Panama, Colombia, Thailand, Turkey and Kazakhstan. Among regions, Latin America fared worst. (No African country had enough takers to make the lists’s threshold for the minimum number of participants.)
The post, which is fairly short and contains lots of other intriguing tidbits about the whys and hows of foreign fluency.
But one thing in particular caught my eye:
Starting young, while it seems a good idea, may not pay off: children between eight and 12 learn foreign languages faster than younger ones, so each class hour on English is better spent on a 10-year-old than on a six-year-old.
All right. I guess I can buy that, especially from a financial standpoint, but I would like to point something out.
Even though children may be able to learn more quickly at a later age, it still may be a good idea to start a second language younger so that by age 10, they’re already working with a good foundation and can grow from there.
An often-cited study by K.A. Ericsson and A.C. Lehmann shows that expertise in almost any field requires 10,000 hours of deliberate practice.
If older children really soak up languages better than their younger brothers and sisters, think how much more and how quickly a ten-year-old would learn if he’d already had four years of instruction.
I felt a twinge, something along the lines of angry defiance the first time I noticed the link on a literary journal’s website:
Later, I figured out that this was the link I needed to click to get my fiction published. It had nothing to do with domination of any sort.
“How do you get a story published?”
I’ve been asked that a few times lately, and there are entire libraries written on craft and storytelling and selling your novel. So I’m going to skip all that for now. Instead, here’s a quick explanation the submission process and how writers’ creative brain-dribbling ends up on public display.