Déjà vu

If this post seems familiar to some of you, it should do. I originally posted it on the 15th of February, 2015. Later I reblogged it. But as you know WP only allows a post to be reblogged once by any given individual. Hence the repost today with a couple of additional points included. Why? Because in these days of don’t read anything longer than a tweet, its message is still relevant – probably more so…

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woodchuck

How much wood could a woodchuck chuck
If a woodchuck could chuck wood?
As much wood as a woodchuck could chuck,
If a woodchuck could chuck wood.

If you are of a certain age, chances are that you learnt that tongue twister in primary school, just as I did back in the early nineteen-fifties. It is a perfect example of the overuse of specific words, even though in this case it’s just a fun thing for kids to learn and to attempt to recite.

Many emerging writers tend to rely on a limited vocabulary, even though most words have perfectly acceptable alternatives. How many times have you seen specific words endlessly repeated by a new writer? Either that, or the incorrect versions of words.

Chances are you will come across examples of words when writing, which while sounding similar when used in actual conversation between two people, are completely wrong in a given instance within any piece of writing.

Note to self – hmm, a lot of words beginning with ‘w’ in that last sentence. Must watch that. Damn, there’s another one!

If you want an example of similar sounding words think about there, they’re and their. They all sound exactly alike. But in each instance they have a totally different meaning. Even simple words we all use such as and, can and do become seriously overused by most writers. I’m no different in that regard. I’ve even been known to start a sentence with it on occasion, for example the one word question – “And?” But only during a conversation between some of my characters.

What I’m about to say, I’ve said in previous posts here on my blog. But just for you, here it is again – once you have written that first draft, go back over it many times during its edit phase. Make sure that one of your editing sessions is solely dedicated to deliberately finding alternatives of those words you are so fond of overusing.

How? Use the synonym function incorporated into your writing software in conjunction with a dictionary and thesaurus. Even better, why not rewrite certain sentences using completely different words, that convey the same meaning as the original one?

Before some of you feel an attack of righteous indignation coming on, and are thinking of going on the offensive, I am fully aware that I have used several words in this post more than once. In this instance I am completely justified as I’m merely pointing out that every one of us needs to pay heed to the way we write.

In short folks, do your darndest to avoid using certain words too often. Here are some more similar sounding words that writers tend to get wrong – your and you’re, to and too. Allowed is yet another example of a word that sounds the same when spoken even when spelt differently. Its cousin aloud has a completely different meaning. The list is endless. Is it any wonder that so many people find the English language hard to come to grips with?

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Next, I would just like to point out something to all of the various types of literary cowards who insist upon hiding behind pseudonyms, such as a number of the armchair critics, pedants, grammar nazis, literary snobs etc, who inhabit the darker recesses of the Internet, each of them purporting to know far more about the written word than most writers.

None of us likes a smart arse who deliberately sets him or herself up as a scathing critic.

To all of the above – I can only surmise that what you appear to be suffering from is the literary equivalent of penis envy. Remember this, apart from being counterproductive, jealousy tends to feed on itself. Never forget that. It’s the only reason I can think of for why you deem it absolutely necessary to be so vicious towards not only the newcomers, but also seasoned writers, whether Indie or traditionally published?

First of all, may I suggest that you get over yourselves. Secondly, instead of endlessly criticising new and seasoned writers, by issuing those interminably boring, often repetitious one and two star reviews you are so fond of placing in the public arena, in your pathetic attempts to destroy a writer’s reputation, as some of you still tend to do on Goodreads and Amazon (you know who you are), why not actually try to write a book yourself. Maybe you already have, which probably accounts for the way you behave. But go on, give it another try. Far better to occupy your time by writing a book. Once you do, prepare yourselves for when it is torn to shreds by your fellow trolls. In other words, I’d think long and hard if I were you before you feel the overwhelming desire coming on, to rubbish someone else’s work.

Like most writers, I always refrain from reviewing some books, especially those written by new writers, if they did not succeed in gaining my full attention by drawing me into the story. Believe me when I say that it’s always better to do that, rather than to publicly condemn, and by definition, earn yourself a reputation as yet another vicious troll.

Just cast your minds back to the so-called review of my historical story Autumn 1066 , which I posted here on my blog a few weeks back… If I ever feel the need to offer criticism, it’s usually in the form of advice offered privately, well away from the gaze of the general public, either by email or when chatting to my fellow writers on Facebook.

All disenchanted individuals should try doing the same thing instead of attacking…

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A Message To The Slackers

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If you get a free copy of any book, it behoves you to at least read it!

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Unfortunately for independant writers, the downright miserly of this world will never deign to purchase a copy of anything you write. Instead they wait for a free copy to become available. Which brings me to the free giveaway of my latest scifi novella last month. So far out of the one hundred and five free copies of The Guardian taken up, it has received a grand total of five reviews – two five star, two four star and one three star. Does that mean that only five people read it? You could be forgiven for thinking so.

I can just hear the weak-willed apologists right now saying something like “ah but they probably have it on their TBR lists. Besides, reading a book, let alone reviewing it, is not compulsory.” To which I would readily reply, “in that case why did you help yourself to a free copy of the book?” I would go further by pointing out that good manners and common decency demand that you must read and review it.

On the odd occasion when I do read a free book, even those I beta read for other writers, I always review them without fail. Yes I have a TBR list, but when I owe someone the courtesy of reading and reviewing, I get on with it! Think about it, how else will any author know if their books are being read? Book sales figures don’t tell you.

Five out of one hundred and five definitely have read it. Its high time the rest of you got your backsides into gear. You know who you are, so please read and review it, preferably during the next two weeks! I gave it to you for nothing. So you owe me…

At the moment on Amazon US The Guardian sits at 2066th place in its genre (Science Fiction), while here in the UK The Guardian is placed at 1020th. What does that tell you?

I know what it tells me. The Guardian aint dead yet.

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Totally Illogical Practices

confusion-1024x739

Illogical adj. lacking sense or clear, sound reasoning

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For anyone who isn’t a writer, and doesn’t deal with Amazon other than to purchase items from them, here is a classic example of the mindset of those individuals employed by Amazon that all writers have to endlessly do battle with.

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A few days ago, in order to get everything ready for the launch of Goblin Tales I first went to my page on Kindle Direct Publishing to unpublish its former incarnation – Globular Van der Graff’s “Goblin tales for Adults.” One edition down, one to go.

Next I went to CreatSpace to do the same for the paperback version. Unlike KDP, CreatSpace does not have the facility for the author of the book to do the deed. So I sent them an email from their ‘contact us’ facility, which as it turned out went straight to KDP, requesting that they ‘retire’ it from my list of paperback editions. A few hours later, I received an email stating they had done as I asked and that it was no longer available for sale. All fine and dandy you would think, right?

I then went to my Author’s Page on both main sites for sales of my books – Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk, to check. Sure enough the Kindle version no longer showed. But, the paperback version was still up. So I made further enquiries. According to Amazon, the paperback version could not be eliminated from my Author’s Page, just in case someone who owned a copy might want to sell it back to them.

The very fact that no more than ten paperback copies were bought, most of them by myself to give to friends, probably hadn’t registered with the mental retards Amazon employs. Had they bothered to check the sales they would have known this!

To prove my point about them being idiots, I recieved the following in a ‘no reply’ email from Amazon this morning:-

At this time we cannot accept the following suggestions. We cannot remove a book(s) from an authors page when the author in question is indeed the one who wrote the book.

If that’s the case, who the hell can remove it if not the author of the work?

While they don’t complain when an author unpublishes a Kindle version of a book, why is it that they say no to removing the paperback version. After all, Amazon’s ‘resale’ system also works for any and all Kindle eBooks!!!!

This is a classic example of how differing departments within Amazon, fail to follow the same rules, nor talk to one another. The way Amazon’s minions operate at the moment under all three banners, to say the very least, is incomprehensible, let alone illogical…

PS – So, if you are perusing my books on Amazon, please take note. The paperback version of Globular Van der Graff’s “Goblin Tales for Adults” is no longer available. For that matter, neither is my science fiction space opera Onet’s Tale, even though both of them still appear.

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Cyber Bullying On GoodReads

It’s to be expected given that it is now wholly owned and controlled by Amazon, who allow cyber bullies to attack anyone and everyone who publishes books. A lot of rhetoric abounds from both sites about ridding themselves of the problem, and yet to date nothing positive has happened. While I’m all for freedom of speech, there are limits!

Cyber Bullying On GoodReads.

The Publishing Establishment’s Delusion | Just Publishing

Derek exposes the way the publishing establishment sees Indies

The Publishing Establishment’s Delusion | Just Publishing.

I Hate Animal Cruelty!

cat-vet

Yesterday while perusing Facebook I came across yet another disgusting animal cruelty post. Like our good friend Chris – The Storyreading Ape, I am totally sickened by these posts. So I thought I’d do something about it. I clicked on the top righthand corner of the post and followed the drop down menu for complaints. When asked why I wished to complain I clicked on the ‘animal cruelty‘ button. Almost immediately the offending post disappeared. That was that I naively thought.

A few hours later I received the following from Facebook via email:

Thank you for taking the time to report something that you feel may violate our Community Standards. Reports like yours are an important part of making Facebook a safe and welcoming environment. We reviewed the share you reported for containing graphic violence and found it doesn’t violate our Community Standards.

They couldn’t even get that right! Graphic violence? I specifically reported animal cruelty!!!

The fact that the post was provided by the Daily Mail, a leading newspaper here in the UK, couldn’t possibly have anything to do with it, could it? No, perish the thought that they might upset a major daily and possibly a corporate shareholder.

Silly cynical old me…

Clearly when it comes to Facebook’s much vaunted Community Standards, they only pay lip service to it. Were you or I to post such an offensive item, you can bet your sweet life it would be deleted and we would be censured! If we continued, they would close down our account immediately.

Chances are that when I press the ‘publish’ button for this post, and it automatically appears on my own Facebook page, they will take exception to it. Well to hell with them!!!

In instances like this, Facebook is nothing more than the internet equivalent of the lowest form of gutter press when it comes to things like animal cruelty and other assorted questionable posts. It’s a pity because when it comes to keeping up with our friends, it is a brilliant medium. Do any other social media sites condone animal cruelty? Pinterest doesn’t I know. If anyone knows of a social media site with all encompassing legitimate ethics, please tell me and I’ll swap sites.

Shame on you Facebook. Do the decent thing for once, delete all animal cruelty posts.

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