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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Writer Wednesday: Celebrating Banned Books Week with The Trial and The Invisible Man- The Invisible Trial?

On Writer Wednesday, I discuss another author and his or her book. Today I'm looking at two classics I recently read: Franz Kafka's The Trial and H.G. Wells' The Invisible Man.

In some ways, these are inversions of each other. Kafka's work is invisible justice for a visible man, while Wells' portrays visible justice for an invisible man. In The Trial, K. is put on trial for seemingly no reason in a court that seems to make the rules up as it goes along. This is eerily reminiscent of what would become of the Jewish people across Europe during WWII. It's also worth noting that all of Kafka's works were banned under the Nazi regime. This week is banned books week, which makes that particularly interesting. I found it interesting that the character, although given the first name of Josef, is often referred to simply as K. Perhaps, Kafka was placing himself within the frame of this character- feeling persecuted or under a struggle. Considering that this book was never finished (one chapter states it was never finished, but subsequent chapters are and still there is a satisfying conclusion) I wondered if Kafka felt confined by something such as writer's block or creative disruption.

In The Invisible Man, a scientific discovery turns a man invisible and he is then faced with the moral implications of that new life. Must he follow the rules any more? Does his invisibility render him capable of escaping that life of justice? Unlike The Trial, justice is prominent throughout The Invisible Man through the inclusion of police and moral judgements on the crimes that are committed. Like Kafka, H.G. Wells' works were also banned under the Nazis.

Both of these works are worth reading and offer some interesting moral grounds to mull over. Which do you think is more dangerous: invisible people, without moral holds on their lives, or invisible justice which randomly targets the public?

**As a special  note to authors and all clients of Extra Ink Edits, it is often said that reading is vitally important to writers. It is true that one must read within the genre that one writes, but I'd also encourage you to delve into the classics. Books that are classics have a staying power that translates into something worth studying. More often that not, it's the characters and the situations that they must face that stand out as the defining elements of these works. Though dialogue, setting, even theme to an extent, may change with passing years, the traits of a stand-out character remain largely the same.

Also, as mentioned above, The Trial was not finished. This means that Franz Kafka wrote the book out of order. He skipped over ending one part to write the next. I often tell writers that it's not important what order you write in, so long as you write. Indeed, if you write passages that you are particularly excited about, rather than just writing filler, your work will often come more alive. Just try not to be like Kafka in this instance and make sure that you do finish all the story and fill in all necessary connections! :)**

My best to you all,

Monday, September 28, 2015

Monday Features: Autumn Poetry and a Carpet of Leaves

Leaf Carpet on my Autumn Walk

Scarlet beauty
Flutter down
Painted trees
Now cover town

Whisper gold
Ribbons unfurl
Bathe the earth
With silken myrrh

Joyous tumbling
Of bronze leaves
Blackberries wink
the product of bees

Autumn awakens
Gold sunlight abound
Visions of color
Nature's mirth found

-Megan Easley-Walsh
September 27, 2015

Friday, September 25, 2015

Friday Fun: Peanuts and Snoopy


I <3 Snoopy. He's a writer too! It looks as if he might need a bit of help, though. Perhaps, he's in search of an editor.

And here I am, as a Peanuts character with Snoopy! If you want to make your own Peanuts character, visit here.

My best to you all,

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Happy Autumn! Writer Wednesday: To Autumn by William Blake

Today is the autumn equinox. Happy Autumn! May it be fragrantly spiced, beautifully colored and full of happiness for you.

In honor of the day, today's Writer Wednesday is  "To Autumn" by William Blake.

O Autumn, laden with fruit, and stained
With the blood of the grape, pass not, but sit
Beneath my shady roof; there thou mayst rest,
And tune thy jolly voice to my fresh pipe,
And all the daughters of the year shall dance!
Sing now the lusty song of fruits and flowers.

“The narrow bud opens her beauties to
The sun, and love runs in her thrilling veins;
Blossoms hang round the brows of Morning, and
Flourish down the bright cheek of modest Eve,
Till clust’ring Summer breaks forth into singing,
And feather’d clouds strew flowers round her head.

“The spirits of the air live on the smells
Of fruit; and Joy, with pinions light, roves round
The gardens, or sits singing in the trees.”
Thus sang the jolly Autumn as he sat;
Then rose, girded himself, and o’er the bleak
Hills fled from our sight; but left his golden load.

My best to you all,

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: To Be Read List for Autumn 2015

Today's Top Ten Tuesday from The Broke and the Bookish is top ten books that are in my to be read pile for autumn. Here are some of mine, in no particular order...

Messenger of Truth by Jacqueline Winspear is the fourth book in the Maisie Dobbs series. I gobbled up the first three earlier this month and I look forward to continuing to read the series. 

Each month, there's this great day in my mailbox where the new issue of the National Geographic magazine arrives! I'll be reading October's and November's. 

I was in a used book shop recently. Stacked with overflowing book shelves, there were many interesting finds. I picked this one up that I've been wanting to read: A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson. The owner was also very helpful and offered both tea and cookies to everyone who entered the bookshop! 

Halloween picks... Each year, I read atmospheric books for the holidays. I'm intrigued by this one by Neil Gaiman. Neverwhere sounds like it will be suitably accommodating in a world that exists somewhere below London. 

Continuing on with the Halloween theme, I'm looking forward to this version of Frankenstein: This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel. I first read the original in high school. 

Watching the Universal Classic monster movies is a Halloween tradition for me. Having watched The Invisible Man, I'm looking forward to reading this classic by H.G. Wells.

There are always many books I want to read and I don't often reread books because of that, but I make a huge exception each year to read The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. This is the exact version of the book that I have. I remember ordering it from a Scholastic book flyer in middle school and every year since I was 12, I've read it at Halloween. Yes, I've read Rip Van Winkle in it as well, but it's the first half of the book that I return to time and again. 

Pre-dating Dracula and published a year after Frankenstein, Vampyre by John William Polidori emerged on the literary scene in 1819. I'm interested in seeing how it is!

I'm looking forward to reading more work from clients this autumn! www.ExtraInkEdits.com Novels (especially literary, historical, women's, mystery, suspense and YA), memoirs (preferably inspiring), short stories and essays (humor, lessons, etc) are always welcome! I provide both content editing (my speciality) as well as proofreading and offer help with queries, synopses and submission packages in addition to full manuscript critiques.

And... finishing what I'm reading now. Currently, I'm reading The Trial by Franz Kafka and The Illustrated Gettysburg Reader: An Eyewitness History of the Civil War's Greatest Battle by Rod Gragg.

What are you planning to read this autumn? Do you read atmospheric books or books to coincide with holidays as well?

My best to you all,

Monday, September 21, 2015

The Importance of Ink and Why I'm an Editor


My editing business is called Extra Ink Edits. Why?

More than just having red ink applied to your manuscript (characteristic big marks to draw your attention to glaring errors) I believe in helping you improve your writing. I've taught writing and I understand that you have to show writers what they're doing well (or anyone in general) and not just mark what could be improved, in order to create the greatest success.

In my editing, I use extra ink. I use a three color system to edit. In green, I mark what the writer has done especially well. In red, I mark any grammar errors- think punctuation, tense or spelling. In blue, I mark areas that can be stylistically changed. It is not always necessary that these blue areas are changed. They aren't mistakes exactly. Simply, it's my professional opinion that they could be strengthened. I also write a cover letter explaining everything and adding overall impressions of the piece.

Each time I edit something for a client then, I am - I hope- not only helping the writer improve the particular piece but also helping to strengthen the writer overall. Having a piece edited is a mini writing lesson, in essence.

I've never considered myself as part of the "grammar police" or other harsh terms. I don't delight in drawing attention to others' mistakes and that's certainly not why I became an editor. I do love the excitement of seeing a piece become stronger though and, even better, seeing a writer's confidence build.

I'd be honored to read your writing and help you become an even better writer!

I'm also excited to share my new video with you!

My best to you all,

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Writer Wednesday: Maisie Dobbs

On Writer Wednesday, I discuss another author and his or her book. Today's pick is a series: Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear.

Ah, Autumn! Apple cider simmering on the stove, a nip in the air, and a good mystery! I often find myself drawn to reading mysteries in autumn. A couple of years ago, I read Sherlock Holmes during the autumn and now this year I'm delighted to have found the Maisie Dobbs books. This is an ongoing series that was first published in 2003, but was unknown to me until very recently. I have already gobbled up the first three books this

What is so appealing about them?
Maisie Dobbs is a female detective in the 1920s and '30s. She's more than that though. She knows people, really knows them, and she cares about them. In fact, her shingle reads that she's both an investigator and a psychologist. How does Maisie understand people so well? She's lived among them. From being a maid, to a nurse on the western front during WWI, Maisie has been exposed to much.

Befriending all classes, because she herself has been among them, she intuitively solves mysteries, leaving not just the answers found but the people affected in a cared for position. It's a refreshing take on a detective. Rather than aloof, like the beloved Sherlock Holmes, Maisie Dobbs really connects to her clients and the people involved.

Another feature of the books I like is that the past always informs the present. In addition, these stories are multi-layered. There is no single big reveal. In other words, one can't cheat by jumping to the end. I love that! Each mystery must be uncovered through the pages of the story. Maisie Dobbs is fascinating and I look forward to getting to know her better as I continue reading her series. She's the kind of character that I enjoy writing as well as reading about.

My best to you all,