New Blogs

See the links on the left side column of this page. I have created new blogs/pages for each of my books;

The Adventures of Chris Mouse; a Christmas story for the child in all of us

and

PROVIDENCE; a love story

Write On!

Copyright registered 2012-05-05
All rights reserved

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My Christmas Book

Last year – 2010 – I wrote a little Christmas book for children, The Adventures of Chris Mouse. Recently it appeared on Kobo Books recommended list.

Yahoo! (Cheering, that is!)

Take some time to read it and let me know what you think.

Thanks.

Write On!

Image representing Kobo as depicted in CrunchBase

 

Copyright registered 2012-05-03
All Rights Reserved

Writing Tips and Lessons, part 3 of 3

10 Ways to Improve Your Mind
… by Reading the Classics

*I had to share this find!

Written by Editor, Pick The Brain

The other day I came across some disturbing statistics on reading. According to a Jenkins Group survey, 42% of college graduates will never read another book. Since most people read bestsellers printed in the past 10 years, it follows that virtually no one is reading the classics. Although it’s unfortunate that the intellectual heritage of humanity is being forgotten we can use this to our benefit. By reading the classics to improve your mind you can give yourself an advantage. These examples illustrate 10 ways reading the classics will help you succeed.

  1. Bigger Vocabulary

When reading the classics you’ll come across many words that are no longer commonly used. Why learn words most people don’t use? To set yourself apart. Having a bigger vocabulary is like having a tool box with more tools. A larger arsenal of words enables you to express yourself more eloquently. You’ll be able to communicate with precision and create a perception of higher intelligence that will give you an advantage in work and social situations.

2. Improved Writing Ability

Reading the classics is the easiest way to improve your writing. While reading you unconsciously absorb the grammar and style of the author. Why not learn from the best? Great authors have a tendency to take over your mind. After reading, I’ve observed that my thoughts begin to mirror the writer’s style. This influence carries over to writing, helping form clear, rhythmic sentences.

3. Improved Speaking Ability

Becoming a better speaker accompanies becoming a better writer because both are caused by becoming a better thinker. Studying works of genius will teach you to express yourself with clarity and style. By improving your command of the English language, you’ll become more persuasive, sound more intelligent, and enjoy an advantage over less articulate people.

4.  Fresh Ideas

Isn’t it ironic that the best source for new ideas are writers who’ve been dead for centuries? I’ve derived some of my best ideas directly from the classics. It makes sense when you consider the competition. Everyone you know is reading the same popular blogs and bestselling books. Observing the same ideas as everyone else leads to generic and repetitive thinking. No wonder it’s difficult to sound original! By looking to the classics for inspiration you can enhance your creativity and find fresh subject matter.

5. Historical Perspective

I could argue this point myself, but why bother if Einstein has already done it?

Somebody who reads only newspapers and at best the books of contemporary authors looks to me like an extremely nearsighted person who scorns eyeglasses. He is completely dependent on the prejudices and fashions of his times, since he never gets to see or hear anything else. And what a person thinks on his own without being stimulated by the thoughts and experiences of other people is even in the best case rather paltry and monotonous.

There are only a few enlightened people with a lucid mind and style and with good taste within a century. What has been preserved of their work belongs among the most precious possessions of mankind.

Nothing is more needed than to overcome the modernist’s snobbishness.

6. Educational Entertainment

Reading great books is fun. The key is getting past the initial vocabulary barrier. It’s actually less difficult than you think. Even challenging authors use a limited vocabulary. After the initial learning curve, you’ll find the classics as readable as modern books and infinitely more stimulating. Classics have endured because of entertainment value. There’s a reason filmmakers keep remaking old books — they have the best content.

7. Sophistication

If you’d like to excel in conversation, knowledge of the classics is essential. These are books that keep coming up. They’re a part of human history that isn’t going to disappear in 10 years like 99% of books on the bestsellers list. By reading the classics you gain a deeper appreciation of ideas generally taken for granted. Plus quoting Aristotle or Voltaire is a great way to win an argument.

8. More Efficient Reading

I just finished reading The Road by Cormac MacCarthy. It’s so good that it won the Pulitzer Prize. Afterwards I read the first few chapters of Lolita. I was shocked by Lolita’s superiority. Truly great books don’t come around every year. If you only read contemporary literature, you’re drawing from a diluted pool. Why not make the most of your reading time by finding the best of the best?

9. Develop a Distinct Voice

If you’re a writer/blogger, ignoring the classics is a mistake. This has nothing to do with subject matter. Regardless of what you write about, you need to be persuasive and develop a distinct voice. The best way to learn is from the masters. I’ve seen several articles recommend examples of good writing — they’ve all been other blogs. I have a feeling most people reading this article already read enough blogs. Spending some time with the classics will give you an edge.

10. Learn Timeless Ideas

We like to believe, in our modern arrogance, that technology has changed everything. In truth, it feels the same to be alive today as it did a thousand years ago. The lessons of the classics carry as much weight as ever. They contain information that is directly applicable to your life. Don’t believe me? Try reading Ben Franklin’s Autobiography without learning something. Reading the classics develops an understanding of the human condition and a deeper appreciation of modern problems.

In closing, I’d like to briefly anticipate criticism. This is not an attack on everything modern. To read nothing but the classics would be as foolish as completely ignoring them. The aim is to combine the wisdom of the past with the innovation of the future. The two are inextricably linked — the best books are yet to be written.

Also, this is not an appeal to snobbery. Quite the opposite. Reading the classics is a cheap hobby. Used copies can be borrowed from the library or purchased for 1/20 the cost of trendy books that are the talk of high society. Please stop associating the classics with your English Lit. Professor.

If you enjoyed this article, please bookmark it on del.icio.us!

http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/improve-your-mind-by-reading-the-classics/

Originally appeared onAugust 10th 2011;
written by: evercaptivating

Resources

I can’t make a formal set of recommendations. There are just too many great books and my experience is too limited. How could I presume to know your tastes or area of interest? What I can to do is point out a couple places where you’ll be sure to find something of interest.

Anyone who follows this site knows that I’m a whore for the old stuff. Strangely, the internet (combined the with public domain) is the best thing that’s happened to old books since the printing press. Bartleby contains an extensive collection of materials that are well formatted for online reading. Project Gutenberg has almost any old book you could want.

Of course there are many other great sites you can find with a quick search. Although these sites aren’t great for long-term reading, they can be used to test out books you might be interested in or fill a few spare minutes with quality reading. If you don’t know where to start, I recommend browsing famous quotations.

Once you find an author that resonates, learn more about them. You should never read a book just to be able to say that you’ve read it. Reading all the books in the world won’t make you any smarter unless you think about what you read and apply it to your own existence. You should read for self-improvement, not to feel educated and superior. Reading, even the most rigorous intellectual type, should be a labor of love. It might be easier to read lighter books, but the moments of discovery created by challenging books are more pleasurable and exhilarating than any suspense novel.

If you make an effort to read more profitably, you’ll be rewarded with wisdom, beauty, and many hours of productive leisure.

Copyright: All Rights Reserved
Registered: 2012-04-09

imaStory.com – Everyone has a story!

Keep watching for this link to read parts of “My Story”.

You may want to follow the link and create your own story. These would be excellent to share with you children and/or grandchildren.

imaStory.com – Everyone has a story!.

Write On!

Writing Tips and Lessons, part 2 of 3

George Orwell’s 5 Rules for Effective Writing
Written by Editor, Pick The Brain

Categories: popular, writing tips

In our society, the study of language and literature is the domain of poets, novelists, and literary critics. Language is considered a decorative art, fit for entertainment and culture, but practically useless in comparison to the concrete sciences. Just look at the value of a college degree in English versus one in computer science or accounting.

But is this an accurate assessment of value?

Language is the primary conductor between your brain and the minds of your audience. Ineffective language weakens and distorts ideas.

If you want to be understood, if you want your ideas to spread, using effective language must be your top priority.In the modern world of business and politics this is hardly ever the case. In many instances, imprecise language is used intentionally to avoid taking a position and offending various demographics. No wonder it’s hard to make sense of anything!

Picture of George Orwell which appears in an o...

Picture of George Orwell which appears in an old accreditation for the BNUJ. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is hardly a recent problem, and as George Orwell wrote in his 1946 essay, Politics and the English Language, the condition is curable. By following Orwell’s 5 rules for effective writing, you’ll distinguish yourself from competitors and clearly communicate your ideas.

1. Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.

This sounds easy, but in practice is incredibly difficult. Phrases such as toe the line, ride roughshod over, stand shoulder to shoulder with, play into the hands of, an axe to grind, Achilles’ heel, swan song, and hotbed come to mind quickly and feel comforting and melodic.

For this exact reason they must be avoided. Common phrases have become so comfortable that they create no emotional response. Take the time to invent fresh, powerful images.

2. Never use a long word where a short one will do.

Long words don’t make you sound intelligent unless used skillfully. In the wrong situation they’ll have the opposite effect, making you sound pretentious and arrogant. They’re also less likely to be understood and more awkward to read.

When Hemingway was criticized by Faulkner for his limited word choice he replied:

Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words? He thinks I don’t know the ten-dollar words. I know them all right. But there are older and simpler and better words, and those are the ones I use.

3. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.

Great literature is simply language charged with meaning to the utmost possible degree (Ezra Pound). Accordingly, any words that don’t contribute meaning to a passage dilute its power. Less is always better. Always.

4. Never use the passive where you can use the active.

This one is frequently broken, probably because many people don’t know the difference between active and passive verbs. I didn’t myself until a few months ago. Here is an example that makes it easy to understand:

The man was bitten by the dog. (passive)The dog bit the man. (active).The active is better because it’s shorter and more forceful.

5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.

This is tricky because much of the writing published on the internet is highly technical. If possible, remain accessible to the average reader. If your audience is highly specialized this is a judgment call. You don’t want to drag on with unnecessary explanation, but try to help people understand what you’re writing about. You want your ideas to spread right?

6. Break any of these rules sooner than saying anything outright barbarous.

This bonus rule is a catch all. Above all, be sure to use common sense.These rules are easy to memorize but difficult to apply. Although I’ve edited this piece a dozen times I’m sure it contains imperfections. But trust me, it’s much better now than it was initially. The key is effort. Good writing matters, probably more than you think.

I hope you find these rules helpful, and through their application we’re able to understand each other a little bit better. If you enjoyed this post, be sure to read Orwell’s original essay. It contains many helpful examples and is, of course, a pleasure to read.

Copyright: All Rights Reserved
Registered: 2012-04-08

Writing Tips and Lessons, part 1 of 3

The following three posts share some information I have gleaned over the past few years and “misplaced” in my files. I want to share these with you over the next three days.

(These were all from different authors and are not original with me.)

The 38 Most Common Fiction Writing Mistakes.

Cover of "The 38 Most Common Fiction Writ...

I borrowed a great book out by Jack M Bickham called; The 38 Most Common Fiction Writing Mistakes ( And How To Avoid Them). He is the Author of seventy-five published novels and numerous publications on the craft of fiction writing.

Take a peek with me inside the cover and look at the table of contents.

  • Don’t Make Excuses … when you can avoid procrastination and delays with these ideas to get your project started.
  • Don’t Consider yourself Too Smart … when you can bring your writing down to earth—where your readers are.
  • Don’t Show Off When You Write … when you can give your writing
    Writing

    Writing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    power by putting complex ideas into simple language.

  • Don’t Expect Miracles … when you can achieve your writing goals through hard work patience and perseverance.
  • Don’t Warm Up Your Engines … when you can write a captivating story from the start.

This book is only 112 pages and very informative.

Copyright: All Rights Reserved
Registered: 2012-04-07

Every Now and Then

Every now and then I just feel like a change. I can’t change my real environment, so I change my online appearance. So … I changed the look of this blog.

I always like to have more than one widget column, and I always want it to be professional looking. This is “Digg 3 Column”. Previously I was using “Notepaper”. The latter was more to the theme, but it didn’t do what I wanted.

So, here I am. Same old copy! Brand new look!

I hope you don’t mind!

“Write On!”
Wayne

 

Copyright: All Rights Reserved
Registered: 2012-04-03