Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Literary Terms You Should Know

Epistolary: Frankenstein, The Perks of Being a Wallflower and The Color Purple may have little in common on the surface, but they all share epistolary structure. Most or all of the narrative comes to readers through letters or other correspondence rather than a more traditional storytelling manner.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Literary Words You Should Know

Epigraph: Many writers like to include quotes or passages at the beginning of their works to reflect the overarching theme or message. Mark Twain and his warning about shooting anyone wanting to critically analyze Huckleberry Finn (oops) famously parodied this trope. Iron Chef’s use of a George Bernard Shaw quote before each episode is a notable non-literary example. Allez cuisine!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Tips for Creating Effective Timelines

Create Weekly Timelines

  • Start by looking at the next week of business. Create a blank page on your computer and start filling in all the tasks you have to do until you can’t fill it up any more.
  • Then take a look at the items and move them around in order – the most important rising to the top of the page, the least important to the bottom.
  • Put work or completion dates to each task. Then reorganize them again in order of work or completion dates.
  • Every morning when you start work, view the timeline and start with the most important items of the day. Don’t skip any – try to stick to the prioritized items. Sometimes you can bold or highlight the most important items to give them an even more visual sense of importance.
  • During the day when you accomplish each tasks, erase them from your list.
  • As your day progresses, you might have to add new tasks onto the list that come from completing the original items. That’s okay – it’s part of work and part of staying organized.
  • At the end of every work day, review your timeline, move around priority items, add new ones, and have it ready for the next morning.

Create Project, Client or Event Timelines

For medium to large projects, it is wise to create individual timelines to keep you on track. Start by “dumping” as much information as you can that needs to be done for the project, event, or client onto a blank page on your computer. Then organize the tasks into days, weeks or month blocks. You can transfer individual project or client timelines onto your master timeline periodically to keep you organized.

As you work on the project, cross off timeline items and add new ones. Update the task dates and completion dates as time progresses.

Consider sharing copies of timelines with clients or staff if you think it would help them manage their side of a project

Create Event or Project Folders or Binders

Create individual event/project folders or binders for each client or major projects so you can keep important communication, contracts, timelines, and other items on file and easily accessible. You can also create a phone and email directory listing with client contact information, important vendors, or other client associates on a page at the front of the folder or binder for easy access.

The folders or binders will make staying organized much easier for you especially when you have multiple projects occurring.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Prologue, Dedication, Introduction, Prelude, Preface, Forward and Acknowledgements - How to Choose

Prologue, Dedication, Introduction, Prelude, Preface, Forward and Acknowledgements - How to Choose by L. Winslow

When writing a book whether it is a book of fiction or non-fiction, novel or petite eBook the author must choose which general information to include in the beginning. Often the publisher will have something to say as well. Some authors go all out and have many different intro-style pieces, but one should be forewarned that if you go overboard on the beginning, often readers will get confused. Yet, it is widely known that if you jump right in you may indeed confuse the reader even more.

So, how does one choose what to call the beginning information and what should these pre-chapter writings be labeled? Perhaps you have seen many of these typical pre-chapter pages in books that you have read?


 The choices as you can see are vast and therefore it really makes sense to carefully consider your options. I have only seen one book which had all these in it and it was a non-fiction book on the winery industry and the authors wanted to thank everyone and each co-author made a contribution to the pre-chapter information and each pre-chapter was written by a different person although the dedication was packed with paragraphs of names.

This strategy worked for this particular work although it is not advised, picking 2 or 3 makes sense and if you feel there is something very important to say perhaps 4. If the work is a second or third in a series for instance a fiction novel "trilogy" then you need to bring the reader up to speed or if it is a 5th or later addition of a non-fiction work that too might be a reason to go past 4 pre-chapter pieces.

You must of course be weary of over loading the reader or sounding like a verbose writer, as this will take away from your work. For many authors "introduction" or "preface" sounds too plain and therefore they prefer to use other words. A dedication page is always a smart move, as it shows that the author is in full faculty, with friends and family and is duly grounded in society.

Acknowledgements can be used in place of a dedication page or combined, although it certainly does not take away to have both. Perhaps one to thank your mom, dad, wife and kids or someone who is the sole inspiration of such a work, while the acknowledgements can include all those who contributed or are worthy colleagues that you discuss such information with regularly. It is okay to fully load up on the acknowledgements, but a dedication page is more about good use of white space and a 2-3 lines exhibiting emotional intelligence and sincere-ness, even straight out empathy.

For shortened eBooks (under 150 pages) more than four pre-chapter components is over doing it. It is not proper, similar to calling someone out for a first date before the two-day period. There are instances where 5 or more pre-chapter components are appropriate, but not many and four is generally considered okay. If you are going to have more than that, make sure there is a good reason and make them count.

L. Winslow is an Economic Advisor to the Online Think Tank, a Futurist and retired entrepreneur
http://www.worldthinktank.net . Currently he is planning a bicycle ride across the US to raise money for charity and is sponsored by http://www.Calling-Plans.com and all the proceeds will go to various charities who sign up.