Archive for November, 2009

FSB Media places content of published authors with website editors and bloggers. For example, Ben Winters who wrote ‘Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters had an article related to his book placed on HuffPost by FSB. Now, FSB has gone a step further and created a service collecting links to book bloggers by category. You can check it out here:

FSB Web sites

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Check out thriller writer Joe Konrath’s post where he opens his ledger to us and discloses profits from self-published e-books vs. e-books where the publisher gets a cut. He compares his digital sales to print sales as well. His numbers speak louder than all of the shouting going on in the press about changes in publishing. Have a look.

A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing: Kindle Numbers: Traditional Publishing Vs. Self Publishing


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The passive voice jumbles my prose. I try to edit my work to eliminate this tic of mine. In ‘Annie Dillard and the Writing Life’ Alexander Chee recalls Ms. Dillard’s comments on his struggles with the passive voice during a writing class he took with her at Wesleyan University. Chee’s essay is found inĀ Annie Dillard and the Writing Life by Alexander Chee – The Morning News. It is part of a collection of essays in Mentors, Muses mentors-muses& Monsters, edited by Elizabeth Benedict. Chee remembers Dillard’s words:

You want vivid writing. How do we get vivid writing? Verbs, first. Precise verbs. All of the action on the page, everything that happens, happens in the verbs. The passive voice needs gerunds to make anything happen. But too many gerunds together on the page makes for tinnitus: running, sitting, speaking, laughing, inginginging. No. Don’t do it. The verbs tell a reader whether something happened once or continually, what is in motion, what is at rest. Gerunds are lazy, you don’t have to make a decision and soon, everything is happening at the same time, pell-mell, chaos. Don’t do that. Also, bad verb choices mean adverbs. More often than not, you don’t need them. Did he run quickly or did he sprint? Did he walk slowly or did he stroll or saunter?

So, I was sitting here wondering… See, there I go — passive! It sounds so tentative, as Chee notes, it ‘blunts agression, all direct inquiry’. Chee says this voice was a particular problem for him, but I wonder as a female, if I write that way to avoid confrontation. After reading this advice from Dillard, I went back to the first two chapters of my memoir and removed the word ‘was + ___’ing’ four times. Next, I plan to follow Dillard’s advice (an idea she learned from Samuel Johnson) and circle all the verbs I’ve chosen in the first two chapters. Do they make the story come alive? Could I do better? I’ll let you know.

Thanks to Richard Gilbert for pointing out Chee’s essay on his blogĀ NARRATIVE

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