Tuesday, June 26, 2012

How to Annotate

Annotation is the practice of highlighting, underlining or jotting notes in the margins while reading. Creating comments which are usually a phrase to a couple of sentences gives points of reference and relevance to the writing.

Learning to annotate in books that you’ll use as reference in the future is helpful for several reasons.

  1. Placing notes with definitions help with the understanding of the document or work.
  2. Notes will remind you of your frame of reference.
  3. Stream of thought notes will recreate those moments of discovery or realization.
  4. Words and thoughts will move you from one thought to another for growth through a systematic form of logic.

Read a passage. Pause. Do you have any questions or thoughts? Write them in the margin.

As an example: The first paragraph of the Gettysburg Address with Annotation

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

What is four score and seven? A score is twenty years – four score is eighty years- 87 years ago.

Who are the fathers? Revolutionary Founders and Country Forefathers: Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Franklin, Hamilton, etc.

Conceived in liberty Dictionary lib·er·ty   [lib-er-tee] noun, plural lib·er·ties.1.freedom from arbitrary or despotic government or control. 2. Freedom from external or foreign rule; independence.3.freedom from control, interference, obligation, restriction, hampering conditions, etc.; power or right of doing, thinking, speaking, etc., according to choice.4.freedom from captivity, confinement, or physical restraint: The prisoner soon regained his liberty.5.permission granted to a sailor, especially in the navy, to go ashore.

Why is this speech so moving so many years later?

Gettysburg was haunting when I visited there.

Annotating makes the book your own. It helps study. It helps memory. It helps growth. Annotating is a good habit for readers and writers.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Write What You Love

If you write daily, write often, write, write, write; you are a writer. Writing is something that writers do.

Picking projects, finishing them and moving them through to publishing, is the business of writing. Today's market requires writers do much of the editor and publisher duties. In addition. writers are expected to market their books too. Wearing 10 hats is the business of writing today.

With so much on a writer’s to-do list it’s amazing that any writer gets anything written. The answer is to write about what you absolutely love or hate, passion will make the difference in writing regularly.

One of my passions is Disneyland. I was three when my parent s first took me to the Magical Kingdom. I’ve loved Walt Disney’s creation ever since. Today, I have a regular column at Examiner.com about Disney California. It’s easy to write about the Happiest Place on Earth.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Billy & Miss Sally

“Would you like a glass of Sassafras?” The barmaid offered her suggestion to the rugged cowhand. She liked Billy. She also knew that Billy had a problem with whiskey. It seemed the strong stuff led him one of two places into jail or into a gun-fight.

“Why, yes, ma’am, I’d love me some of your Sassafras,” he smiled his charming smile at Miss Sally. “I never liked it before, but your recipe is the best in the west.”

Miss Sally’s recipe changed every time she made it based on available ingredients. She was thrilled that Billy liked hers best. The base ingredient was the Sassafras root but she could use Licorice or Sarsaparilla too. Spicing the root for a zing flavor, she often added chocolate, clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, hops, mint or anise.

“I’m so pleased you like it Billy, but you know it’s different every time,” Sally smiled.

“This one is the very best Miss Sally, I hope you wrote down what went into this here, Root Beer,” he said with some foam dripping from his upper lip.

“This time I did,” she waved a small piece of paper with the ingredients back & forth like a flag.

Billy sighed, “Sally, I think I’m in love.”

Monday, June 4, 2012

Writer's Inspiration

Life happens and writers write about it. Well, that’s sometimes true. More often than not, life happens and writers write to vent their frustrations or create a new universe. I’ve done both.

All life is inspiration if we choose to see it that way. Wherever it comes from, the inspiration to write should be honored. Take notes of those moments when you think to yourself. This so-and-so should be the victim of a serial killer. Don’t kill him, just write about it.

Therapists often assign writing as a way to work through problems. These writings need not be fodder for blogs but they can be used as inspiration. For example: a certain 7th grade English teacher was excellent as a pompous merchant in a short story. The butt-in-ski nose with the small half-moon glasses was priceless. I couldn’t make it up. But I did change his profession and exaggerated his character-traits to the delight of my editor.