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Editor’s Corner with Shawn MacKenzie

One of the things we have started doing on Plum Tree Books is featuring different writers who contribute to our Plum Tree Book’s Facebook page. Plum Tree Books is very lucky to present to you Shawn MacKenzie Editor’s Corner. Each week, I will be reblogging her post. She is a brilliant writer and editor, and I know that she has much good advice to share with us all. Thank you Shawn for your brilliant, regular corner on Plum Tree Books.

MacKENZIE's Dragon's Nest

Music to the Ear

“Now this is very profound, what rhythm is, and goes far deeper than words. A sight, an emotion, creates this wave in the mind, long before it makes words to fit it …”      … Virginia Woolf

Always remember, never forget: As much as there is rhythm to life, there is rhythm to writing.

Scribe smallIn preparation for the challenge of the Editor’s Corner, I have, much as time and stomach allow, perused a cross-section of blogs and self-published novels and short stories. While there are sparks of brilliance out there, I am amazed by the amount of clunky, tin-eared prose out there, replete with stilted dialogue, baroque narratives, and lurky-jerky labyrinths of bad grammar and even worse punctuation. It’s enough to make this editor weep – or at least tear her hair.

‘Can’t these people hear what they’re writing?’ I ask myself. Such a simple question, yet…

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About Dr Niamh

When I was a little girl (a very, very long time ago), I used to love learning new, really big words like ‘discombobulate’. As I grew, my love of words grew too, until I loved them so much, I could not stop writing them down. One day, as I was scribbling a particular word, a very peculiar thing happened. The word shouted at me, “Stop! Don’t put me there!” As you can imagine, I was shocked and nearly fell off my chair. When I recovered somewhat, I said to the word, “Could you stop shouting, please? I am not used to it.” Can you guess what happened next? No! I thought not. The word said, “I might be small, but I will misbehave if you do not use me properly. I will not tell the story you would like me to tell. I will say something entirely different!” I dropped my pen. I hoped that by dropping my pen, the word would stop talking. Alas! It did not. It carried on chitterchobbling, even after the ink had dried. I was in a pickle. I could not allow my words to run away with my story, now could I? I don’t know about you, but when this sort of thing happens, there is only one thing left to do if you prefer not to spend your time arguing. “Very well,” said I. “I will do as you ask if you will just be quiet and allow me to concentrate.” Since that day, I have been paying special attention to every word I invite into my stories. After all, a story should say exactly what it means to say and not be led astray. With love from Dr. Niamh, Ph.D in Learning Through The Imagination and Founder of Dr Niamh Children's Books. www.drniamh.co.uk

5 comments on “Editor’s Corner with Shawn MacKenzie

  1. Shawn MacKENZIE
    April 9, 2013

    Thank you for the reblog, Niamh. It is a pleasure to be here on the Plum Tree.

    Like

  2. the secret keeper
    April 10, 2013

    This post that originates on Plum Tree Books FB is well written and quite helpful in improving one’s understanding of just how to improve one’s ability to write more effectively. I’m learning a great deal following Shawn MacKenzie’s Editor’s Corner every Tuesday and also on her blog to find out more information about Dragons and other interesting and mystical things. jk the secret keeper

    Like

    • ontheplumtree
      April 10, 2013

      This is brilliantly written and deeply helpful as it gives recognition to what so few people know about writing: Writing is music.

      Like

      • the secret keeper
        April 12, 2013

        Yes, it is. It feels when you are writing poetry or prose that there is something happening to your body that is reacting to a certain flow that is rhythmic and organic and so connected to the drums and flute of the Gaelic or at times for me the general rhythm of rap/hip-hop or whatever music I am connecting with at the time. Well said Niamh. jk

        Like

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This entry was posted on April 9, 2013 by in Special Projects and tagged , , , , , , , , , .
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