Maybe I should have named my blog Potpourri or Pastiche or simply a Savory Stew because I aim to throw a lot of different things into the pot, mostly about reading, writing and art, but many other things, too, because I’ve lived a long time and have a lot of interests. I also will include here thoughts of others I come upon who share my loves. Including those of you who care to share your thoughts and impressions.

Archive - April, 2013

A Tip on Self-Editing Your Book
posted by Ed Farber on April 20, 2013

A Tip on Self-Editing Your Writing

David Sedaris, best-selling humorist, offers a suggestion in an article by Kristin Hohenadel to help writers discover errors in pre-published manuscripts, something every writer, pro or aspiring, must do. ( http://www.fastcocreate.com/1682768/say-it-out-loud-how-david-sedaris-makes-his-writing-better?partner=newsletter ) His is an unusual idea and that is to read your writing to an audience. He does it regularly now and even has a following that attends his public readings prior to offering his work for publication.

However, the practice of reading your precious words aloud will work even if you read it to yourself, your spouse or special friend. When you do, you tend to notice typos, repetitious words, awkward phrasing, many little things that may go unnoticed when you skim-read your manuscript. Reading aloud makes you focus on every word, and that’s a good thing.

Sedaris circles the things he notices that need editing as he reads. He’s even developed a kind of shorthand note-taking that helps, since if he is reading to an audience he can’t take timeouts for more complete note-taking. We—you and I—when reading aloud can take the time to make the correction on the spot or make a note in the margin.

Try it. I did and it certainly helped me especially in my dialogue segments. With so many complaints out there about the poor writing in many self-published books, it pays us as pros or semi-pros to present our work in the best form possible.

 

 

 

 


On Being an Intuitive Painter
posted by Ed Farber on April 18, 2013

I’ve read books and articles by artists who know exactly the correct combinations of colors to use for the effect they want in the paintings they create. Oh, to know beforehand in such detail how to lay on the paint. I envy those who can do that. I, for one, cannot. I know the effect I wish to produce when I plan the painting. I know generally the coloration I want to create for the mood in the painting. But to come up beforehand with the precise formulas? No can do.

I guess I am an intuitive painter. I’ve painted long enough to avoid a muddy mess when mixing, but I seem to achieve my goal by trial and error. I could save endless hours if I memorized all the formulas others have suggested, but I have neither the capacity nor the desire to do so. I have learned through the years how to mix my colors generally. But to get the precise color I want is a process I go through with every painting while I’m laying on the paint. I guess the analytical side of my brain is subservient to the intuitive side.

The enjoyment that comes with discovery—that AHA moment when you achieve what you set out to do—would be somehow diminished for me if I knew precisely how to get there before hand. Even now, sometimes when I look at a painting of mine long after it has been completed, I wonder, how in the world did I do that?

Would I be a better artist if I were a more knowledgeable technician? Maybe. But I enjoy the intuitive process and have found it to be a better teacher for me in the long run.

 


Here’s a Review I Just Wrote for Goodreads
posted by Ed Farber on April 14, 2013

It’s a short story by Mike Ronney on Goodreads. Here’s the link for the story:

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16160306-three-cheers-for-chunky?ac=1

The track coach says to Chunky, “Chunks, I expect you to be here tomorrow. I need you to race Markie.” And that becomes Chunky’s huge dilemma as well as inspiration in the short story, Three Cheers for Chunky, by Mike Roney.  I related to this amusing story with a message because, well, because once long ago I was on a high school track team and, like Chunky, hated to run. Unlike Chunky, I opted for field events (no running involved.)

Chunky has a different problem. He’s not really on the team, just likes the idea of hanging out with the guys and their highly respected coach. But running was never an option. When he did get on the track, he kind of jogged, “his arms flailing, his stomach bobbing along like a life preserver lost at sea,” as author Roney describes. You get the idea. Chunky is not built like a track star.  Roney’s colorful writing moves the story right along, bringing the reader back into that high school milieu with the joshing that goes on between Chunky and his friends.  Mostly, however,  it’s  Chunky’s inner conflict that makes this story so successful  as he faces a most important challenge in his young life. The conclusion, while unexpected, reminds us how a teacher or coach can be a strong, positive influence in our lives.

It’s a quick, very pleasant read, and whether you were on a track team or not, you too will cheer for Chunky.

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I plan to find time to do reviews (and reprint reviews) on more books in this blog. If you have a book to review, let me know.


Cover Design for my New Book
posted by Ed Farber on April 10, 2013

Being an artist and a writer has its advantages. For my new book I used one of my paintings as the cover illustration. The title of the book as I mentioned in an earlier blog is Echoes of Clara Avenue. The title of the painting which I painted long before I had the idea for the book is, The Old Neighborhood, Clara and Minerva. I grew up on a street called Clara Avenue in St. Louis and the painting from my memory is of the corner intersection of that street. It seemed appropriate to me to use it since my fictional Clara Avenue is an old neighborhood and obviously this one was too. I designed the book cover around that painting. Hopefully the book will be available on Kindle late this spring. Here’s the cover art:

 


Vampires, Zombies and Other Popular Genres
posted by Ed Farber on April 7, 2013

I uncovered a fact about reading (and writing) today which was a surprise to me but not to most people out there. The most popular genres appear to be supernatural (vampires, zombies, ghouls and ghosts); a subgenre of that genre: romance (among vampires, zombies, ghouls and ghosts); and YA which is short for young adult (and that includes vampires, too.) Since I haven’t read a young adult book since Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn (and those probably don’t qualify) I certainly am no expert, but a lot of younger writers are into that in a big way. My first encounter with a vampire was at the movies when I first saw Dracula as acted by Bella Lugosi, and he certainly was no romantic hero.


Goodreads Is for Readers (and authors)
posted by Ed Farber on April 7, 2013

Last year, I joined Goodreads on the internet, an immense group of people who love reading books, plus writers, like me, who want to spread the word about their own book. I discovered that, while I love to read, some of the contributors on the various forums are true bibliophiles, who have read hundreds, maybe thousands of books and reviewed a tremendous number of them. I was blown away by their dedication. If you are an avid reader, you might want to check out Goodreads and see if you want to become a member (for free.) Here’s the link:

http://www.goodreads.com


Why Self-Publish?
posted by Ed Farber on April 2, 2013

I wrote in an earlier blog (September 22, 2012) that my main reason for self-publishing was that I was 80 years old and time was too precious to be wasted on finding an agent first, then a publisher, and finally on having it printed,  all which realistically could take a number of years if ever. I didn’t have that much time to spare. After a number of weeks of online research, I published the book myself and also designed the cover (of course, I had written it much earlier.) Seeing your book finally published (even as an ebook) delivers much gratification and a great ego boost even if you do it yourself. At last, the subject of your labor of love can be read and (you hope) appreciated by others.

I’d like to hear back from others who have self-published and their reasons for doing so and results.