We’re so lucky. The English language is like play dough.
Oh yes, we have strict rules of grammar, tense, POV, all the way to the minutia of intransitive verbs. We can choose from a number of eminent grammar and style guides to ensure conformity. We have stalwart English teachers to drill those rules into our heads so that we are all on the same page. (And bless them all – there is nothing better than order over chaos). But despite those rules a writer has so much freedom to shape our mother tongue into forms wry, brittle, silly, heartbreaking, snarky or just plain mad.
I don’t have much command of any other language; a smatter of German, a soupçon of French, about a third cup of Latin and a healthy plateful of Spanish. But I do know that the rules of those languages are not as forgiving as English — not as much room to roam before you run afoul of the language police. English allows us to mangle all the rules of spelling, meaning, and sentence structure to reflect dialect, or character traits, add color, shift perceptions or mood and anyone with a good command of English can understand — and only pedants ever complain. Of course, you have to use the rules of punctuation. Gotta have those traffic signs.
Anthony Burgess used bits and pieces of Russian mixed with Shakespearian English and other tongues to give us Nadsat, the terrifyingly unique argot of his dark characters in A Clockwork Orange. The reader may have had to work at it a bit, but it was intelligible and colored the story with an unforgettable feel. Fantasy and Sci Fi from J.K. Rowling to Ursula K. Le Guin play with all sorts of mixed up language that become magical words and when you’re reading in those worlds you understand.
Dialect and special vocabulary enrich a tale on many levels and I’m in awe of those writers who do them well, but my favorite form of play dough English is the portmanteau. Anybody can create one of these inventive combinations, and everybody does — usually with something faintly deprecating or ironically funny in mind. And with just one word a portmanteau can ooze with meaning. Frenemy speaks volumes — we’ve all had one and it’s exhilarating to give ‘em a proper name. Craptacular very neatly wraps up the verdict on so much of our over-hyped media. And then there’s pompidity, my own invention from University days when I struggled to describe the quality of politicians.
All writers love words. Words are paint, chisel, fabric, and clay for our creativity. If you can’t find that one word that perfectly reflects your intent, try cobbling a new one together — no one will take points away. Blog is a portmanteau (web log) so if you’re lucky enough to have your portmanteau go viral, you might wind up in the OED.
With a BA in Anthropology and English I pursued a career in advertising and writing and segued into developmental editing. It was a great choice for me. I love the process of creating and am privileged to be part of that process for so many great voices — voices both seasoned and new.
I’ve worked on nearly 400 books over 20 years, books by noted authors published by New York houses including Penguin, Kensington, Pentacle and Zebra as well as with Indie bestsellers and Amazon dynamos. From Air Force manuals and marketing materials to memoirs, thrillers, sci fi and romance, my services range from copyediting to developmental coaching.
Having worked in advertising and marketing, I am always cognizant of the marketplace in which the author’s work will be seen. I coach for content and style with that knowledge in mind in order to maximize sales and/or educational potential. My objective is to help the author’s material stand out from an ever more crowded and competitive field.
As I near the completion of my first novel, or so I hope: and by complete I mean as far as I am able to take it on my own, my thoughts turn to seeking a professional editor. Why, I wonder, aren’t there any editors who donate their time and skills to the literary world and to novice hopefuls? (Me, me, pick me, pick me!).
One can find volunteers in just about every profession, and organizations such as AARP and the Small Business Administration offer freebies for tax-returns, employment, business start-ups, and other services. Colleges allow Senior Citizens to take free courses. Even law firms provide free legal aid.
I sigh and look up at the white, blank like my bank account, ceiling. The 70s hit parade blasts on my radio playing, ‘Wanted, young man single and free.’ It inspires me to consider writing an ad of my own.
Wanted: Editor, faithful and cheap. Experienced with Kid-Lit and YA. Dowry small. Pro bono preferred. Let’s tie the knot.
I imagine a reply and picture the Statue of Liberty waving at me with her torch and calling out, “Give me your bedraggled manuscript yearning to be perfected.”
With my thumb and pinky I hand signal and mouth, ‘Call Me.’
Her torch lights up.
I leap, arms stretched upward, and yell, “It’s a match!”
See you next time on April 22nd.
Manager, Educator, and former High School Social Studies teacher, Veronica credits her love of history to the potpourri of cultures that make up her own life and to her upbringing in diverse Brooklyn, New York. Her genres of choice are Historical Fiction where she always makes new discoveries and Children’s Picture Books because there are so many wonderful worlds yet to be imagined and visited. She currently resides in Macungie, PA.
About the Class:
What is the hype with Holiday Romances? Have you ever wondered why so many people do Holiday Romances? Or why there are so many people that read them? Ever wondered what it takes to write a Holiday Romance? Or when to publish it? Or when Publishers even send out calls for them?
Well now you can. Join the thousands of writers who are publishing Holiday Romance short stories, novellas and novels and helping them to move their careers forward. Learn what you need to incorporate into your story. How to write a sci-fi, fantasy or paranormal holiday story and more and why this genre is year after year one of the best sellers and biggest money makers for authors!
About the Instructor:
Rebekah Ganiere is an Award Winning Bestselling Author and Screenwriter. Her debut novel Dead Awakenings, hit the bestseller list on release day. She has won several awards in both writing and screenwriting. Books in her popular fairytale retelling series Fairelle as well as her Wolf River Series have won several awards. Rebekah is a prolific author releasing upwards of five books a year and is currently working on six different series including in the Paranormal Dating Agency Kindle World. Rebekah’s screenplay No More Goodbyes was awarded Best Screenplay by the New Hope Film Festival as well as the Family in Film Festival and is currently in pre-production.
Rebekah was the 2017 President of the Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal Chapter of RWA and is a member of several local and online chapters. In her spare time when she isn’t writing you can find her teaching on SavvyAuthors.com or at RWA. Rebekah is also known for her elaborate cosplays with her family and has been a guest speaker and panelist at San Diego Comic Con, Wondercon, Salt Lake Comic Con, Long Beach Comic Con, Comikaze, Fyrecon and several other Comic Cons on the west coast as well as LTUE, Romantic Times Convention, RWA, InD’Scribe, Genre LA and Authors After Dark.
This is a 4-week online course that uses email and Yahoo Groups. If you do not have a Yahoo ID you will be prompted to create one when you join the class, but the process is not difficult. The class is open to anyone wishing to participate. The cost is $30.00 per person or, if you are a member of OCCRWA, $20.00 per person.
Enrollment is a two-step process. In Step 1, you ask to Join the Yahoo Group. Step 2 is your payment via PayPal.
Class Fees are $20.00 for OCC/RWA members: $30.00 for non-members. Sign up at http://occrwa.org/classes/april-online-class/.
For further information regarding this class, refunds or problems enrolling/paying for the class, please send an email to the OCCRWA Online Class Coordinator at email@example.com.
OCC/RWA Online Class Coordinator