This Week in Writing: You’re not the Shakespeare you think you are

Pepe le Pew: child entertainer and racist sex pest who hunts females, knocks them down, and then rejects them when he finds out they aren't white enough for him. I never liked him.
Pepe le Pew: child entertainer and racist sex pest who hunts females, knocks them down, and then rejects them when he finds out they aren’t white enough for him. I never liked him.

For the historians among you, the self-publishing project is on hold as an editor is searched. In the angry time, here are some notes on writing I have learned aka learnt aka found.

  • Slang words are, in a way, easy to understand, slack, words. They usually are also close to the people who use them, and are used to form a group.
  • Drug transporters would no longer use terms “grass” “mull” “mary jane” “reefer”, because Johnny Law would know what they mean.
  • The use of slang words in writing could be the use of words that will take six years to be determined as real words by a dictionary company, or take six years to be failed to be understood.
  • Much exhaled playwright Shakespeare used/recorded/invented 1700 slang words. If he was alive today he’d probably be considered a confusing Melbourne hipster who writes a blog full of gobbledygook.
  • Microsoft Word doesn’t like it when I write the word “movies”. Is there no plural to “movie”?
  • Over 3,000 people clicked on my article about Marriage Equality. None of them wrote a negative response. Is that 3,000+ “yes” votes?
  • At a philosophy talk I was confused at what everyone was arguing about. As far as I could tell they were all agreeing with each other. They were confident that they didn’t agree with each other. That’s philosophy for you.
  • I heard a theory that was something like: When climbing a mountain you can not see what is on the other side. There might be a better way to the top. You need to talk to other people to find out, to hear their ideas, or else take the long trek around to experience it yourself.
  • To finish writing a book is, in that way, like climbing a mountain to the top.
  • I’m self-editing. It requires me to be very critical of my own writing. Sometimes I like my work, sometimes I don’t. It’s the times I don’t that are the hardest. I feel I am up a mountain and don’t know how to keep going. I need someone who can tell me about the other side, or if there even is another side, or drag me down, or tell me to go to bed, or to say “keep going”, or something. The mountain is chilly the further up you are.
  • Does this mountain analogy make sense?
  • Children’s books allow for the use of slang words. Either because children understand words at a slow rate, and thus the easy slang of words are the first they learn, or because people don’t expect more from them, or because the “in crowd” knowing of slang words makes the book intriguing to children.
  • I’ve been asked about writing a children’s book.
  • There are many sub sections to writing for children, as they develop in separate spurts. Australian teachers call these spurts “grades”.
  • To start with, the 3-7 age group
    • This age group spans the child being read to, and reading the book themselves
    • Usually 395 words
    • Pictures help tell the story
    • No need to be descriptive, as picture tells story (story is like the text of a film script)
    • No need to supply illustrations to publisher (usually best not to)
    • Important to think of why it will sell, the marketing angle, to help get published
    • Parents like to read rhyme, are familiar with rhyme, and children anticipate rhyme, which helps them learn reading
    • Story does not have to rhyme for publisher if market angle is good
    • Structure: Problem, character has at least three attempts to fix and must succeed in end
    • Don’t have child get too scared
    • End happily
    • Animal characters are good, as it allows more freedom to the writer
    • Publishers do not want angry/mean adult/child characters, but an angry/mean opossum/badger would be alright (eg: not good if Pepe La Pew was a real person.)
  • As always the voice, oh my, the voice required to tell the story is the hard part to writing.
  • If you’re going to start writing, just enjoy it and worry about the slang, mountain or voice later. Those can be the job of a guiding editor/friend/yourself.
  • I don’t know what Frozen is. Can someone tell me?

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