Is It Creation or Appropriation?

connect with Indies Unlimited on Facebook hands-543593_960_720Recently Hal Niedzviecji, chief editor of Write Magazine, the quarterly published by the Writers Union of Canada, was pressured to resign as a result of his editorial, “Win Appropriation Prize”. His take was that there ought to be no barriers to writing about those we do not “know” and that readers would be the ones to take us to task if we cross the line.

The furor that resulted prompted me to explore the topic of cultural appropriation in writing. It’s a tricky one and the opinions run the gamut from “never” to “anything goes”. Continue reading “Is It Creation or Appropriation?”

Writing Description: Then and Now

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Hemingway is famous for his short, straightforward sentences that get rid of unnecessary descriptive words for a more concise, minimalistic style of writing.August Wainright

In Death in the Afternoon, Hemingway wrote, “If a writer of prose knows enough about what he is writing about he may omit things that he knows and the reader, if the writer is writing truly enough, will have a feeling of those things as strongly as though the writer had stated them. The dignity of movement of the iceberg is due to only one-eighth of it being above water.”

This was a grand departure from the great literature that preceded it, like that of Dickens, Hugo or other romantic novelists. While Hemingway was a pioneer in this more terse, modern style, his opinions are by no means universally accepted. I have done some research and given some thought to the divergence of opinion on the uses and styles of description in modern writing and what brought about the changes. Continue reading “Writing Description: Then and Now”

4 Reasons not to Push that Publish Button

stop don't push that publish button hand-944306_960_720.jpgSo you’ve written your first book. Or maybe this is not your first, so you feel even more confident. You’ve put your heart and soul into it. It took so long and now you think it’s ready. You’ve even had a few family members and friends read it and they tell you it’s great. You’ve heard about how easy it is to publish on KDP, CreateSpace – even Smashwords.

It’s November and you really want to hit that holiday market. After all, that’s the time the most people buy books for gifts. The timing is perfect and you’re itching to push that publish button.

Whoa! Hold on a minute. Do you really want to take that risk? Continue reading “4 Reasons not to Push that Publish Button”

Guidelines for a Writing Critique Group

critique group feedbackThere are many formats in which critique groups can operate. Much of how they are run depends on the size of the group, whether they meet face to face or online, and the level of writing expertise among their members. As each group forms, the way it operates will evolve. It will vary with the aims and needs of its members.

For three years I have been a member of a small group that meets monthly at our local library. Over time we have lost and gained members. That has resulted in some changes in the way the group operates. In the last month, more shifts have happened and the old core members decided the time had come to formalize, to some degree, what we expect from the group and its members. Continue reading “Guidelines for a Writing Critique Group”