Saturday, March 23, 2019

The Mind, the Writing, and Reality

Once any writing is completed, it remains a rough draft, which means it is full of mistakes. It needs editing and revision. Editing is important on both a personal and professional basis for good communication. Mistakes happen. It’s good to have a sound foundation in how grammar and writing mechanics work, but some new digital programs (MS Word for sure) can help with this during the rough draft process for a manuscript... yet I’ve found they make mistakes with their advice, too.

I think there is a mind-finger-eye connection when writing. My vision knows what my mind was thinking and what my fingers were typing, so my brain knows everything is right. Until that connection is broken, I won't see the obvious mistakes I made. For me, twenty-four hours usually works. What I think I’ve written, and what is contained within a document are two different realities.
The first novel I sent out was rejected, and once I started rereading it, I was embarrassed by my mistakes. Now I reread and edit every completed manuscript up to four times. The longest was twelve times, but it still had mistakes. Why? With the mind-finger-eye connection mentioned above, a time delay is necessary between the writing and the editing to break that connection. Plus, I'm a terrible speller. If I edit immediately after completing a writing my mind knows what I thought when writing and my vision refuses to notice my mistakes. After at least a day’s time, that eye-mind connection breaks and reality returns. Now I can see the misspelling, punctuation mistakes, and incorrect wording. Another problem is in the editing process. With digital documents cut and paste happens a lot. It can cause many mistakes. Again, my vision misses them because my mind is telling me I did it correctly.
Spell check is great, especially for a confirmed misspeller like me, but it can make mistakes, too, especially if the misspelled word spells another word correctly. And all those homonyms -- which to use! Now grammar check often catches those mistakes, but not always. I also keep a list of words I tend to overuse in writing and go through the list at different times in the process; words like before, just, like, remained, seem, then, there, and the to be verbs.
These numerous re-readings also help me find a plot, the setting, and character mistakes, which helps polish the manuscript before I send it anywhere.
Once a manuscript is accepted, it usually goes through two more edits. I still find mistakes in my published manuscripts. How did I miss those mistakes? They always make me feel unprofessional and I wonder if the reader thinks the same thing. I had a new book accepted in January for August publication. I received the content editor's copy. I went through that twice before returning it and the mistakes I found surprised me. I look at wording because concise wording and stronger verbs move the story forward in a better way. I also look for repetitious wording.  Then I received the line edit copy. I thought my first time through caught everything but decided I had time to go through it again. I found more mistakes, mostly clarity issues and wrong character names... I hope I have found everything needing correcting.
These grammar mechanics skills are not only necessary for fiction writers, but for anyone who writes for school, business, or just personal communications.

Visit these other sites for the author's insights on this topic:

Skye Taylor
Diane Bator
Beverley Bateman
Connie Vines 
Anne Stenhouse  
A.J. Maguire 
Dr. Bob Rich
Victoria Chatham
Helena Fairfax
Judith Copek

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Too Much Media?

When I thought about this topic, I thought it would be easy, and I could rant about how everything has changed because of our continually evolving electronic media. But then, I looked up the definition of media at Merriam Webster. Surprise! What a morass I discovered. Media in the meaning I meant it as is plural for medium or ‘a channel or system of communications, information or entertainment’ (Merriam-Webster Dictionary, 2004). Right now we have so many channels of media people are getting lost in them.

That was one of a number of meanings. Medium also refers to the size of something; medium lies between small and large, or in being in a middle position. Medium is also a way to effect or convey something such as money allows in trade. It can also be a surrounding or enveloping substance such as water or oil containing pigments to create paint; or a mode of artistic expression (paint, pencil, pastel, ink, photography, etc.). A medium is someone who has a channel between here and the world of spirits, which I suppose in another communication method if you believe such. And the medium in environment is where something flourishes, such as roots thrive in soil. 

The meanings for media also offer some interesting takes on the word. AND this is only one singular-plural combination of one word with multiple meanings in the English language! No wonder using words can lead to so much misunderstanding, and yet words are the basis of communication.

Communications media deals with the visual, audio, gestural, and written aspects of presenting messages. From ancient times we have oratory which is often linked to gestural inclusion including hand and face movements and vocal inflection in speeches, sermons, prayers, and plays (let alone just talking to someone); visual communication is whatever we see and so includes the design of architecture, painting, sculpture, written, carved, and sewn, and all are open to interpretation. Since the 19th century, we’ve added photography, radio, TV, movies, and videos. Within the last forty or so years we’ve added the computer media, the Internet, and other digital devices.
Is fashion a medium? I think so as it is a form of self-expression which is important in many media. I’ve probably missed some, too, plus many of these media have genres added into the media. 

Communication is important in employment. Many forms of media affect business. Media companies need employees and purveyors who want to spread their particular medium's usage. Most businesses use the medium of advertisement to spread their product's usage while increasingly using digital communication between management and workers.

With 7.5 billion people on Earth that gives a very wide array of interpretations for any communication. No wonder we have so many miscommunications. 

Can media become addictive for the general public? Yes, but maybe a necessary addiction. We know of a growing problem with many addicted to digital devices, but sometimes in more of the drug type of addiction. This is not new. People have been addicted to different types of media before, such as TV. Was Socrates addicted to oratory? He did a lot of it; most artists, musicians, and actors strive to succeed in their medium, too. Are they addicted or just driven to succeed?
Communication is necessary for everyone's mental and physical health. We all need to be connected to our world, and media helps us achieve this even to creating a global community.  

The most essential medium, though, is the vocal and gestural communication between family and friends in the present, real world. Yet when a person ignores what is happening in real time-space for what happens in the digital world, it can cause problems such as isolation which leads to depression. To ignore what it happening in real-time for the digital world makes the medium dangerous.