Containers and Copyrights

When you eat out and have left overs, you bring home the excess food in a box. When organizing a child’s room, we often use baskets to hold all their toys. When we write, we use paragraphs to hold our sentences. And sentences are the container for words.

It is useful to see words as the toys that we put into a basket. However, it is even more helpful to see how all the toys in one basket are alike or different, and how we need the diversity in each basket. For example, let’s build a sentence together:

Get it!

This is a short sentence with only a verb and a noun. More often, we have a noun followed by a verb. In this case, it is the noun and get is the verb. We could also call this subject and predicate. Subject being the noun and the verb being the predicate.

I rock!

So, in this sentence I is the noun or subject and rock is the verb or predicate. Every sentence you will ever write needs both a subject and predicate. The ONLY exception is when the subject is understood.

Go!

The understood subject is (you) and go is our predicate.

Can you see how having containers help? We cannot plant a seed or a plant without a container. Sometimes the container is a pot full of dirt and sometimes the container is the garden. The garden might contain many more seeds or plants.

In writing, we often see the container much like the garden. A book is much like the garden in that we plant multiple seeds or plants where seeds and plants are actually the sentences and paragraphs.

Containers can be big or small. Containers can be plain or decorative. Containers can also be genius or terrible. Grammar is not an optional component, but it is actually the backbone of any writing container. It is okay to get your book written down, but before you go to print, make sure you get it edited. There are two kinds of editing: Copyediting and Developmental or Content Editing.

Copyediting

Copyediting is the line-by-line check for grammar and punctuation (actually punctuation is part of grammar, but most people see it as something else). This should be the last thing that you do before publishing. However, it is sometimes helpful to do it more than once, if you have a lot of corrections to do. That way, you make sure that you’ve gotten them all.

Developmental or Content Editing

Developmental or Content Editing is not the same as Copyediting. While grammar may come into play during Developmental Editing, it is not the focus. Actually, Developmental or Content Editing has more to do with the flow of a manuscript.

For book-length manuscripts, flow is important and often as important as reworking it for redundancy and undeveloped plots, characters, and book structure. While you may think these are minor things, consider the reader. Consider why you are writing whatever it is you have written.

If you have not hooked your reader in the opening scene or paragraphs, you may have lost the reader. If your book really gets going on page 17, what makes you think that your reader will read that far? Most readers will read the first few paragraphs of a book, if they are not pulled into the story by the paragraph three, they put the book down and do not buy it! The same goes for non-fiction. If the reader has not found the relevancy of your book by paragraph three, your reader will not buy the book!

So let us move from conventional containers and see how words fit into containers. The short story container is short, which is a subjective word rather than giving us anything exact. However, as a magazine publisher, we might restrict your word count for a short story. So when submitting one of your containers, you’d need to see how big or small your container needs to be.

Let’s say, you’ve used a container for a short story that is 4,000 words, but the magazine’s limit on short story containers can only be 3,000 words. To submit your container, you’ll need to shave 1,000 words off of your container.

Most containers are plain, giving only words. However, many writers attach images to their containers, which dresses them up! When you approach the publisher, you will want to justify your decoration. And you must make sure you have the rights to the image. If you took the photo yourself, then you own the rights to the image. Understand that most publications assume the rights to any material submitted and accepted for publication. What this means is if you want to publish your work and your image in another publication, such as a book, you need to get permission from the magazine.

Most magazines publish in their guidelines what rights they will take. For example, in Weeping Cherry International Review (http://weepingcherryinternationalreview.org), the magazine that I publish, I don’t actually take any rights, well in theory, I don’t. I am actually taking One-Time Electronic Rights, which means that I have the right to publish your piece one time in an electronic format. I also have Archival Rights, so that your piece can be available in back issues. However, the right to grant someone else the right to publish your material rests solely with you. I also do not have the right to take the material and compile it into a book. To get clear on all your Copyrights, read this article http://freelancewrite.about.com/od/legalissues/a/rights.htm or check with a Copyright or Literary Attorney.

When you publish a book, the publisher is asking you for ALL rights, which really does mean: Every. Single Right. This is one of the motivators for Indie Publishing. If you publish it yourself, use your own publishing company or your business name as the publisher, then you retain all your rights and can re-use the information in your book for many other things, such as courses, mini-series of Kindle Books, and many, many other things.

Containers of any size and form, such as articles, short stories, poetry, true short stories, column-type articles, book reviews and most any other type of written material has an automatic copyright as soon as you put it down on paper.

Work-for-Hire Containers are not copyrightable by the person hired to do the work. For example, if you hire me to rewrite or ghost write your book, it isn’t MY intellectual work. Even if I created it with only a hint of information from you, I still have no legal right to the material, because I agreed to do the work as a work-for-hire arrangement. With or without a written contract, once you have hired someone to do some specific work on your manuscript, they have no legal right to it. However, it is always good to have a written contract so that there are no misunderstandings. Also, if the person was unscrupulous who took on the rewriting or ghost writing of a manuscript, without a contract, it will be harder to prove that the person unlawfully has laid claim to the copyright.

Checking out your container, getting the appropriate editing, and be aware of what copyrights that you are giving away when you get published.

How to Stay Motivated and On-Track as a Writer

The Focus of Publish With Connie is to meet the needs of Writers – Aspiring Writers, New Writers, and Seasoned Writers. Keeping Writers motivated and on-track as a writer is no easy task!

The number one problem that writers say, “I’ve been so busy that I haven’t gotten to my writing.”

The number one solution to that problem is finding an Accountability Partner or Accountability Group. Since this is the number one problem, I decided it was time that I offered a SOLUTION! And that is a Weekly Accountability Call: http://publishwithconnie.com/once-a-week-accountability-call/.

The Benefits Include:

  • Gain support of a community
  • Keeps you on top of your goals for writing and running your business (especially those who have businesses related to a book)
  • Keeps you aware of moving forward.

Other Problems and Solutions:

  • Schedule your writing time, too often, I hear writers say, “but I’m too busy to adhere to my schedule.”
    • Solution: Do not schedule more than you can handle. Keeping only three things on your to-do list per day is workable. Some people schedule their writing time like they would if they were meeting with someone. This is a good only if you give it the same importance as a meeting. This is why an Accountability Call is a good choice for staying on-track.
  • Set a time aside each day for writing. I’ve know writers who have gotten up in the middle of the night to write. Naturally, some writers will say, “but I need my sleep for {fill in your favorite choice here}.”
    • Solution: Make your writing schedule doable and at a time that works for you. Getting up early works for some people. Maybe you need to stay up late or go to the library, or your favorite coffee shop. Whatever helps you write is the best choice. Naturally, an Accountability Call can help you stick with your schedule.
  • Set your sites not on time, instead make it goal oriented. Write so many pages. Setting your goal for a number of pages written can be motivational to some. To some writers, setting a page count can induce writer’s block faster than you can say, “Creative Juices!”
    • Solution: Find something that works for you. It’s important to set some sort of goals to keep you moving forward on your writing project. An Accountability Call can help you meet your goal. However, the bottom line is that you have to want to meet your goal. Sometimes it’s a matter of finding what motivates you.

What Does It Take to Be a Published Author?

For those who are not published, it feels like such a huge mystery. Most aspiring authors don’t know what “they don’t know,” so it makes it hard for them to ask the right questions.

It takes so long to write a book, and then it takes more time to get it published. Is there any way to speed up the process?

Yes. Start with something smaller than a book. Write a non-fiction article; a non-fiction story, which is more entertaining than informational; short fiction, such as a short story; poetry; a book review; or letter to the editor. Publications to look for include magazines and newspapers; literary-type magazines, including my new magazine, Weeping Cherry International Review (http://weepingcherryinternationalreview.org); and daily magazines in most cities. Remember, even a letter to the editor published in a magazine or more often in a newspaper means that you have been published. When you list it in your bio, you simply list the name of the publication: “published in Daily Planet Newspaper.”

How do I get started?

This is one of the harder things that most aspiring writers face, and the answer is simple: START! No I’m not being condescending or funny! You simply start somewhere. Put some words on a piece of paper and move them around to make a sentence. String more sentences together into paragraphs. No, it really is this simple, but I also know how difficult this simple thing can be.

Pre-writing helps a lot. If you are writing creative stories, start with character development. If you need help in how to do this, my book 10 Ways to Develop Characters available on Amazon at http://publishwithconnie.com/10waystodevelopcharacters2. Please, leave me a review! Or a Character Development Course at http://publishwithconnie.com/courses-2/character-development-2/, which is a 4-part course and the first one is free.

Another part of pre-writing can be creating your plot, which we normally see as a series of plot points. Understanding where we begin, what happens in the middle, and how we end is part of every creative story. Novels have more than one plot going on in the book; whereas shorter fiction usually have only .one. To help you learn about this, I have a mini-course called Plotting Your Plot at http://publishwithconnie.com/courses-2/plotting-your-plot/.

I’ve heard that the first paragraph or first scene is the most important part of the book. How can I make that happen?

You are totally on the right wavelength asking this question! We always want to HOOK our reader and pull them through our work. What we want is to make it so exciting or intriguing that the reader doesn’t want to stop reading. If you are writing a book, we call this a page-turner!

Depending on what you are writing, you will want to write a strong opening. This applies to non-fiction, fiction, short fiction, and non-fiction articles, etc. Now that we’ve narrowed down what we mean by HOOKing your reader, let’s talk more about how to do that: start with a CONFLICT or PROBLEM! Most new or aspiring writers of fiction want to begin with the back-story, which is BORING!

Non-fiction writers want to give the whole history of whatever you’re writing about up to the current topic, which is BORING! Either way, you’ve lost your reader. They’ve moved on to something else.

So what can you do? Think of your non-fiction topic as a problem that you need to solve. You pose the problem, and then you solve the problem. In a book, you’ll divide the solution into pieces, which end up to be your chapters. In an article, these solutions might be sub-headings.

The problem in fiction might look more like a conflict. It’s still a problem in many ways. If you’ve read James and the Giant Peach, James’ problem is that James’ parents went to London to shop and got eaten by an angry rhinoceros, then he had to go live with his two aunts. This was James’ problem and the conflict began with his two aunts, who were not nice. What they put James though pulled you through the story. You had to keep reading to see what horrible thing the aunts were doing.

If you’d like a little bit more help, I have FREE Book called, Writing a Compelling Opening, which only requires that you sign up on Publish with Connie at http://publishwithconnie.com/free-gift/.