Friday, 19 November 2010

I want to know everything about Copyright, what about you?

I have read many blogs and sites on Copyright and I must say I've found mixed information on this topic. Some say you should always copyright your work, others say it's not necessary, that the moment you write something it is yours. I'll always remember reading an agent's blog (Jane Judd) where she joked about our work probably not being that good to steal anyway, and even if she was joking, she is most likely right. However, as a writer, this issue affects me and I want to know I'm covered in the face of any events. I want to have all the details confirmed and the facts verified by a reliable source, that is why I'm going to keep a close eye on Jane Smith's blog who has declared an official Copyright day over at her place:

I encourage you to visit it if you have as many doubts on copyright as I do.

Friday, 12 November 2010

Aggressive Anonymous

It’s funny how we need writing to establish terms formally and make sure there are no holes in agreements, and yet writing often leads to many misunderstandings.

The lack of intonation, visual feedback and personal connotations or context can often make the reader understand a completely different message. This is where sarcasm is so dangerous in emails. A few months ago a friend of mine wrote an email saying something like “so and so was as horrible and mean as usual”. I didn’t know this other person and I had no background on their relationship so I immediately raised my hackles up and felt annoyed at this stranger. Luckily my friend then made it quite clear that it had only been sarcasm and her intention had been the opposite. They were in fact very good friends and she was far from being horrible or mean.

Writing is such a powerful tool and we have to be very careful with how we use it. A few days ago, an anonymous blogger tried to explain their knowledge on a topic but their tone was quite offensive. My first reaction was to ignore their message even if the contents were interesting, even if I eventually decided to focus on the information and not the tone for my own benefit. Maybe their intentions were honourable and only meant to help, but their choice of words came across differently and caused a sense of rejection.

I’ve found this across several blogs lately, where people seemed to be nasty just for the fun of it, and in many cases they didn’t really contribute or give any constructive criticism. I've noticed they are mostly people writing under a pseudonym and this must give them the impulse to be nasty without restraints. I can’t help wondering, what’s the point of doing this? Is there a new trend called the Anger Blog Therapy? 

I think choosing the right way to convey your message will get you further. The reader will be willing to listen to you if you address them politely, even if they disagree. If you are considerate, tolerant and polite, you are more likely to be heard and your opinion respected.

Have you encountered any of this aggressiveness? I hope not, it makes life so unpleasant.

Note: If you're wondering about the conflictive post I'm talking about, you can see it on Jane Smith's excellent blog How Publishing Really Works, which is always very useful and insightful.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Deep-frozen Imagination

I've always considered myself as someone with little imagination. However, I recently discovered that by using it and exercising it I could make it work.

In Spain, the educational system, especially in secondary school and university, consists on learning things by heart. Yes, it's useful if you process and understand what you're learning by heart, but you can probably get away with pouring out the contents of the lessons as an automaton.

I think this made my imagination go into hibernation. I didn't need to use it, I was never asked to write a short story or account, or even draw whatever I wanted, so I pushed it into a burrow and forgot it ever existed. It was deep-frozen for the future. Now it's thawed and woken up, however, I find it taking a main role in my life. I'm sitting at supper discussing the day's events when the communication component in my brain turns off and the imagination one jumps in, taking over all other activities. This is where my eyes glaze, my smile freezes, my ears block and my head nods rhythmically until someone affectionately -sometimes- slaps me on the back of my neck or pokes their face in mine to bring me back.

It's so much fun having that inside world playing scenes in my head. No wonder children can be hours playing on their own, they've got a whole universe of activity and characters to entertain them and no guidelines to contain it.

I'm so happy my imagination has woken up and I hope it won't go back into hibernation, I'll make sure it keeps awake. Did yours ever hide away in a burrow? Or are you lucky to have kept yours in full motion?

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