Posts Tagged ‘E.B.White’

If you have seen newspaper articles / news on TV about possible strike on July 4th & 5th at East Bay Regional Parks OR received a mysterious letter (…or read it on EBRPD website) from the general manager at East Bay Regional Park District . . . please do NOT be fooled by misinformation.  Please ask questions and use your mighty voices to express your concern for fair treatment to ALL employees of a public agency that is thriving because of YOUR property taxes (Measure WW), YOUR patronage, YOUR support, and 600+ employees’ dedication and labor.  Please ask the 7 EBRPD board members to ”Give your employees a fair contract now.”  (Their contact information is listed below.)

HOW CAN WE SAY “Thank you” to the employees who make East Bay regional parks and trails safe, clean and beautiful?  Write or email the 7 EBRPD board members (names and addresses below)  a simple note: ”Give your employees a fair contract now.” and cc: Local 2428 President. IF employees do go on strike, give them smiles and “Thank you” when you are entering the park on July 4th and 5th.

It’s so easy for us to complain “Oh how inconvenient . . . that this group and that group are going on strike.”  Workers do not go on strike for the fun of it.  Workers do not get paid when they go on strike; they are the ones who are severely inconvenienced. The universal desire to receive fair compensation for labor (in order to provide for our families, loved ones, and ourselves) makes us human.  This great nation has a long history of speaking up and speaking out for what is fair.  We are Americans, thank goodness  :)   We, the workers, are speaking up and speaking out!

On June 27, 2013, General Manager of East Bay Regional Park District sent “A Message to our Community – Possible Employee Strike Action at Regional Parks on July 4-5″  That document from the general manager contains incorrect and misleading information.

As I read the “Message” from the GM . . .  lines from E. B. White’s children book Charlotte’s Web came to mind.

“What are you thinking about, Charlotte?” Wilbur asked.

“I was just thinking,” said the spider, “that people are very gullible.”

“What does ‘gullible’ mean?”

“Easy to fool,” said Charlotte.

If we are to read the GM’s “Message” and accept the document as the whole truth (without conducting fact-checking), then, yes, we are gullible.

The ”Message” says that the District is offering an overall pay increase of 8.5% over a four-year contract. What his message doesn’t say is that employees’ buying power has eroded by 11.5% over the past four years.

The District is offering 2% wage increase for July 1, 2013–March 31, 2014 (previous contract has already expired on March 31, 2013) while 2013 Consumer Price Index is 2.4%.

CPI figures confirmed by http://www.bls.gov/ro9/9240.pdf

2010 2.4%

2011 2.1%

2012 3.5%

2013 2.4%

GM’s Message says: ” . . . current average total compensation (wages and benefits) for the basic park maintenance worker as a Park Ranger 2 with a high school education and three years of service is $102,000.” What GM’s Message doesn’t say is that (according to District’s website) the minimum monthly salary for Park Ranger II is $4,310.80 and maximum monthly salary is $4,693.87.  Office Assistant/Senior Office Assistant min. salary $3,800.88/month; max. salary $4,286.75/month. And, those salary figures are gross, not net.

Ask a Park Ranger II or Office Assistant what his/her take-home pay is.

Ask a Park Ranger II or Office Assistant what losing 11.5% buying-power over the past four years means in terms of paying:

  • rent or mortgage and property tax
  • food
  • utilities
  • hygiene products & clothing
  • transportation or gasoline, car maintenance and insurance
  • home owner or tenant’s insurance
  • doctor-visit co-pays
  • living expense for dependents

What the GM’s ”Message” doesn’t say is that while the EBRPD board members approve “merit increases” for managers . . . the job classifications and salary schedules for many non-management positions are outdated.

EBRPD is a special district (not state, not city). The District reports 2012 General Fund revenues exceeded expenditures by $9.7 million, or 10%, which means General Fund revenues grew by $3.4 million. In 2011, General Fund revenues exceeded expenditures by $9.3 million. In other words, the Park District is indeed financially healthy. Even during the recession, the District had a surplus of $5 million. Why erode skilled and loyal employees’ wages/benefits/buying power?

HOW CAN WE SAY “Thank you” to the employees who make East Bay regional parks and trails safe, clean and beautiful?  Write or email the 7 EBRPD board members (names and addresses below)  a simple note:  “Give your employees a fair contract now.” and cc: Local 2428 President. IF employees do go on strike, please give them smiles and  say “Thank you” when you are entering the park on July 4th and 5th. Join them on the picket lines.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

On June 26, 2013 AFSCME Local 2428 had released this statement: AFSCME LOCAL 2428 EAST BAY PARK WORKERS ARE PREPARING TO STRIKE JULY 4TH AND 5TH FOR A FAIR CONTRACT

WHY WOULD WE GO ON STRIKE ?

•We are trying to reach a fair contract with our employer the EBRPD. If we do not reach agreement by the evening of July 3rd, then, yes, we shall proceed with work-stoppage on July 4th and 5th; Local 2428 had already notified the public last week; mediation session is scheduled for July 1st, 2013.

•Our wages are 17% less than our counterparts in other public agencies.

•The District’s offer does not keep pace with inflation (our buying power has already eroded by 11.5% over the past four years)

•The District’s offer amounts to a net wage increase of 1.125% each year over 4 years; if CPI stays at 2.4% each year, we would fall further and further behind.

•If Board Members grant merit increases to one group of employees (highest-paid group), then it’s only fair to not erode the wages of the lower-paid groups.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

What is Local 2428 Negotiations Team asking on behalf of their 600+ members?

a 3-year contract April 1, 2013 — March 31, 2016 that offers:

•Year 1 – current CPI of 2.4 plus 1% = 3.4%

•Year 2 – CPI plus 1.75% — with 2.5% floor / 4.75% ceiling

•Year 3 – CPI plus 1.75% — with 2.5% floor / 4.75% ceiling

Since no one can predict future years’ CPI, percentages for floors and ceiling are used.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

 Here are names and email addresses of the 7 EBRPD Board Members and General Manager:

EBRPD Board President John Sutter” <jsutter@ebparks.org>

“EBRPD Board Vice President Ayn Wieskamp” <awieskamp@ebparks.org>

EBRPD Board Secretary Ted Radke”  <tradke@ebparks.org>

EBRPD Board Treasurer Whitney Dotson” <wdotson@ebparks.org>

EBRPD Board Member Beverly Lane” <blane@ebparks.org>

EBRPD Board Member Doug Siden” <dsiden@ebparks.org>

EBRPD Board Member Carol Severin” <cseverin@ebparks.org>

EBRPD GM Robert E. Doyle” <bdoyle@ebparks.org>

Please cc   “AFSCME Local 2428 President Cliff Rocha” local2428negotiations@gmail.com  510-566-5985

U.S. mailing address to Board Members and General Manager: EBRPD Board, 2950 Peralta Oaks Court, Oakland, CA 94605 1-888-EBPARKS (1-888-327-2757), extension 2020 for Clerk of the Board

Please cc Local 2428 President Cliff Rocha: Local 2428 East Bay Parks, 80 Swan Way, Suite 110, Oakland, CA 94621 Tel: 510-566-5985

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Yes, I am one of the 276 employees who voted “NO” to the District’s proposed contract that would further diminish my buying power and narrow negotiating parameters for future contracts.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I cheer for all EBRPD coworkers (Local 2428 members, seasonal and temporary employees, management, confidentials, public safety) current and future, retirees, volunteers, family, friends, neighbors, Alameda County and Contra Costa County property tax payers, advocates of Measure WW, EBRPD board members, all EBRPD park and trail users, all the Charlotte(s), Wilbur(s), Templeton(s), and Fern(s)!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Thank you, Local 2428 Executive Board, Negotiations Team, and Business Manager Brenda Wood!

I am Writing Coach Teresa LeYung-Ryan, asking YOU to also speak up for current and future East Bay Regional Park District workers. Do NOT be fooled by misinformation from the GM’s Message or the media.  Please ask questions and use your mighty voices.

I thank you!

Sincerely,

 

Teresa LeYung-Ryan

  • Berkeley resident
  • tax payer
  • user of EBRPD parks and trails
  • supporter of Measure WW
  • part-time Sr. Office Assistant for EBRPD
  • fan of all employees at EBRPD
  • published author and writing coach

http://writingcoachTeresa.com for more resources for writers and readers

 

*** Today, June 27, 2013, General Manager of East Bay Regional Park District sent “A Message to our Community – Possible Employee Strike Action at Regional Parks on July 4-5″  As I read the letter, lines from E. B. White’s children book Charlotte’s Web came to mind.

“What are you thinking about, Charlotte?” Wilbur asked.

“I was just thinking,” said the spider, “that people are very gullible.”

“What does ‘gullible’ mean?”

“Easy to fool,” said Charlotte.

If  we are to read the General Manager’s letter and accept the document as the whole truth (without conducting fact-checking), then, yes, we are gullible.

The letter says that the District is offering an overall pay increase of 8.5% over a four-year contract.  Why doesn’t it say that employees’ buying power has eroded by 11.5% over the past four years?

The District is offering 2% wage increase for July 1, 2013–March 31, 2014 (previous contract has already expired on March 31, 2013) while 2013 Consumer Price Index is 2.4%.

CPI figures confirmed by  http://www.bls.gov/ro9/9240.pdf

2010  2.4%

2011  2.1%

2012  3.5%

2013  2.4%

The letter says: ” . . . current average total compensation (wages and benefits) for the basic park maintenance worker as a Park Ranger 2 with a high school education and three years of service is $102,000.”  What it doesn’t say is that (according to District’s website) the minimum monthly salary for Park Ranger II is  $4,310.80 and maximum monthly salary is $4,693.87.  Office Assistant/Senior Office Assistant min. $3,800.88/month; max. $4,286.75/month.

And, those salary figures are gross, not net.  Ask a Park Ranger II or Office Assistant what his/her take-home pay is.  Ask a Park Ranger II or Office Assistant what losing 11.5% buying-power over the past four years means in terms of paying:

  • rent or mortgage and property tax
  • food
  • utilities
  • hygiene products & clothing
  • transportation or gasoline, car maintenance and insurance
  • home owner or tenant’s insurance
  • doctor-visit co-pays
  • living expense for dependents

What the letter doesn’t say is that while the EBRPD board members approve “merit increases” for managers . . . the  job classifications and salary schedules for many non-management positions are outdated.

EBRPD is a special district (not state, not city).  The District reports 2012 General Fund revenues exceeded expenditures by $9.7 million, or 10%, which means General Fund revenues grew by $3.4 million. In 2011, General Fund revenues exceeded expenditures by $9.3 million. In other words, the Park District is indeed financially healthy. Even during the recession, the District had a surplus of $5 million.  Why erode skilled and loyal employees’ wages/benefits/buying power?

How can we say "Thank you" to the employees who make East Bay regional parks and trails clean and beautiful?

On June 26, 2013 AFSCME Local 2428 had released this statement:

AFSCME LOCAL 2428 EAST BAY PARK WORKERS ARE PREPARING TO STRIKE JULY 4TH AND 5TH FOR A FAIR CONTRACT

WHY WOULD WE GO ON STRIKE ?

  • We are trying to reach a fair contract with our employer the EBRPD. If we do not reach agreement by the evening of July 3rd, then, yes, we shall proceed with work-stoppage on July 4th and 5th; Local 2428 had already notified the public on June 26.
  • Our wages are 17% less than our counterparts in other public agencies.
  • The District’s offer does not keep pace with inflation (our buying power has already eroded by 11.5% over the past four years)
  • The District’s offer amounts to a net wage increase of 1.125% each year over 4 years; if CPI stays at 2.4% each year, we would fall further and further behind.
  • If Board Members grant merit increases to one group of employees (highest-paid group), then it’s only fair to not erode the wages of the lower-paid groups.

What is Local 2428 Negotiations Team asking on behalf of their 600+ members?

a 3-year contract April 1, 2013 — March 31, 2016 that offers:

  • Year 1 – current CPI of 2.4 plus 1% = 3.4%
  • Year 2 – CPI plus 1.75% — with 2.5% floor /  4.75% ceiling
  • Year 3 – CPI plus 1.75% — with 2.5% floor /  4.75% ceiling
Since no one can predict future years’ CPI, percentages for floors and ceiling  are used.
Please write letters or emails to the EBRPD Board Members and General Manager (and cc AFSCME Local 2428 President) to express our concern for fair treatment to ALL employees of a public agency that is thriving because of our property taxes (Measure WW), our patronage, our support, and employees’ dedication and labor.

Here are names and email addresses of the 7 EBRPD Board Members and General Manager:

“EBRPD Board President John Sutter” <jsutter@ebparks.org>

“EBRPD Board Vice President Ayn Wieskamp” <awieskamp@ebparks.org>

“EBRPD Board Secretary Ted Radke”  <tradke@ebparks.org>

“EBRPD Board Treasurer Whitney Dotson” <wdotson@ebparks.org>

“EBRPD Board Member Beverly Lane” <blane@ebparks.org>

“EBRPD Board Member Doug Siden” <dsiden@ebparks.org>

“EBRPD Board Member Carol Severin” <cseverin@ebparks.org>

“EBRPD GM Robert E. Doyle” <bdoyle@ebparks.org>

Please cc   “AFSCME Local 2428 President Cliff Rocha” local2428negotiations@gmail.com 510-566-5985

U.S. mailing address to Board Members and General Manager:    EBRPD Board, 2950 Peralta Oaks Court, Oakland, CA 94605    1-888-EBPARKS (1-888-327-2757), extension 2020 for Clerk of the Board

Please cc Local 2428 President Cliff Rocha:  Local 2428 East Bay Parks, 80 Swan Way, Suite 110, Oakland, CA 94621   Tel:  510-566-5985

Yes, I am one of the 276 employees who voted “NO” to the District’s proposed contract that would further diminish my buying power and narrow negotiating parameters for  future contracts.
* * * * * *
I cheer for all EBRPD coworkers (Local 2428 members, seasonal and temporary employees, management, confidentials, public safety) current and future, retirees, volunteers, family, friends, neighbors, Alameda County and Contra Costa County property tax payers, advocates of Measure WW,  EBRPD board members, all EBRPD park and trail users, all the Charlotte(s), Wilbur(s), Templeton(s), and Fern(s)!
* * * * * *
Thank you, Local 2428 Executive Board, Negotiations Team, and Business Manager Brenda Wood!
I am Writing Coach Teresa, asking YOU to also speak up for current and future East Bay Regional Park District workers.
* * * * * * * * * *
Sincerely,
  • Berkeley resident
  • tax payer
  • user of EBRPD parks and trails
  • supporter of Measure WW
  • part-time Sr. Office Assistant for EBRPD
  • fan of all employees at EBRPD
  • published author and writing coach
http://writingcoachTeresa.com  for more resources for writers and readers

Lists of Books Referenced in Teresa LeYung-Ryan’s & Mary E. Knippel’s “Be Your Own Editor” session at SFWC

Tool #1   Grounding Reader with the four Ws (Who? When? Where? What?) “What does Protagonist want?” (in prescriptive nonfiction “What does Reader need?”)

Tool #2   Hooking Reader from first page to last with core themes. 

Tool #3     In Fiction & Narrative Nonfiction (both genres are forms of  “story-telling”) — Who are your protagonist, antagonist(s), and other archetypes?

Fiction:

The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler

Lost In Yonkers – a play by Neil Simon

Wordsworth! Stop the Bulldozer! children’s picture book by Frances Kawugawa

Love Made of Heart – mother-daughter novel by Teresa LeYung-Ryan

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Charlotte’s Web – a children’s classic by E. B. White

Where the Heart Is by Billie Letts

Husbands May Come and Go but Friends are Forever by Judith Marshall

Narrative Nonfiction:

Woven of Water by Luisa Adams

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion

The Secret Artist – Give Yourself Permission to Let Your Creativity Shine! by Mary E. Knippel

The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts by Maxine Hong Kingston

Wisdom Has a Voice: Every Daughter’s Memories of Mother – anthology edited by Kate Farrell

If You Want to Write: A Book about Art, Independence and Spirit by Brenda Ueland

A Joyful Encounter: My Mother, My Alzheimer Clients, and Me by Lynn Scott

A Dreamer’s Guide to Cities and Streams (poetry) by Joan Gelfand

Prescriptive Nonfiction:

Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn

Cat Mulan’s Mindful Musings: Insight and Inspiration for a Wonderful Life – photo/gift book by Margie Yee Webb

Break Through the Noise: 9 Tools to Propel Your Marketing Message by Elisa Sasa Southard

My Dreams: A Simple Guide to Dream Interpretation by Angie Choi

Help Me Live: 20 Things People with Cancer Want You to Know by Lori Hope

Build Your Writer’s Platform & Fanbase In 22 Days: Attract Agents, Editors, Publishers, Readers, and Media Attention NOW  by Teresa LeYung-Ryan

The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master by Martha Alderson

TellTale Souls Writing the Mother Memoir: How To Tap Memory and Write Your Story Capturing Character & Spirit by Lynn Cook Henriksen

Correct Me If I’m Wrong: Getting Your Grammar, Punctuation, and Word Usage Right!  by Arlene Miller

Social Media Just for Writers: The Best Online Marketing Tips for Selling Your Books by Frances Caballo

The Book Reviewer Yellow Pages: A Book Promotion Reference Guide for Authors and Small Press Publishers  by Christine Pinheiro  e-book published by http://www.stepbystepselfpublishing.net

How to Write a Book Proposal by Michael Larsen

The Power of Memoir by Linda Joy Myers

Marriage Meeting Starter Kit  by Marcia Naomi Berger

Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy by Sarah Ban Breathnach

The Secret Artist – Give Yourself Permission to Let Your Creativity Shine! by Mary E. Knippel

Also, please refer to the SFWC list of presenters

Mary E. Knippel & Teresa LeYung-Ryan teach 'Be Your Own Editor' at SFWC - photo by Margie Yee Webb

 

Free Webinars –   register with https://www.authorlearningcenter.com

3 Top Tools for Editing Your Manuscript After You’ve Written Your First Draft  with Coach Teresa

·         April 10, 2013  at 10:30am Pacific Time / 1:30pm Eastern Time

·         April 25, 2013  at 4:30pm Pacific Time /  7:30pm Eastern Time

Writing Coach Teresa LeYung-Ryan cares about helping fiction and nonfiction writers build their platforms and work on their craft simultaneously with ease.  She says: “Wear the dual hats as promoter and writer and be happily published. Reach out, not stress out, to materialize your dearest dreams.”

http://writingcoachTeresa.com

 

Coach Teresa here.  At the San Francisco Writers Conference, Elisa Sasa Southard and I presented “GETTING TO FIRST BASE BY BUILDING YOUR FANBASE

In our interactive session, Talking-Tagline Guru Sasa asked me: “Coach Teresa…What is a platform?”

I responded: “Before I define ‘platform,’ let’s talk about fans and what fans do for you.  Fans tell their friends about you.  Fans will pay to see you; they will buy what you have produced; they listen when you speak.  Your name hooks their attention.

“So, how does one build a fanbase?  By making your platform consistent. A platform is not something you step on, it is what you stand forHelp your fans find you by articulating the themes and issues you care about/write about.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I am a fan of many fine writers, with last names starting with A to Z.  From Chinua Achebe, Luisa Adams, Martha Alderson, Jane Austen . . .  to Margie Yee Webb, E. B. White, Anzia Yezierska, and two hundred other authors, including Scott James (fellow presenter at San Francisco Writers Conference).

Scott James writes novels under the name of Kemble Scott; I heard about Kemble when his first novel SoMa was published by Kensington Publishing Corporation New York (also my publisher for my first novel). Scott James, the journalist, writes about San Francisco, including contributions to the New York Times.

http://media.baycitizen.org/uploaded/images/profiles/2010/5/scott-james/kemble_scott_square.600x800.png

I am a fan because Scott James speaks/writes eloquently. His latest article is enlightening and compelling.

Scott says:  The latest of my new columns on Medium is now up. This one is on gay marriage, and gets a bit personal.  It’s called “My Big Gay Shotgun Wedding.”

Since I am a fan, I shall tell my friends about Scott’s columns.

 

Coach Teresa LeYung-Ryan cheering for you!

 

Writing Coach Teresa LeYung-Ryan cares about helping fiction and nonfiction writers build their platforms and work on their craft simultaneously with ease.  She says: “Wear the dual hats as promoter and writer and be happily published. Reach out, not stress out, to materialize your dearest dreams.”

 

http://writingcoachTeresa.com

 



 

Coach Teresa, what’s your advice on using flashbacks in a children’s novel?

Here’s my response.  Ask yourself these questions?

  • What age group am I writing for?
  • Will my audience be reading the story by herself/himself?
  • Will she/he be read to?
  • What is a flashback?   Leaving the front-story and going back to a past event
  • Will a child (in age group I’m writing for) have the mental faculties to follow the plotline while weaving in and out of front-story?
  • What is my story about?
  • What do I want to teach the reader? What messages am I presenting?
  • Do I want my reader to ask the question “What happens next?”?
  • What if I tell my story in sequence?  Which flashback would show my protagonist confronting her/his first conflict?  What if I make that scene the beginning of my story?

Example:

If E.B. White had started his story (Charlotte’s Web) with a grown Wilbur seeking Charlotte’s help and using flashbacks to explain who Fern is, how Wilbur came to live in Zuckerman’s barn and why he needed help, that weaving back and forth in timeline would diminish the drama of Wilbur’s journey.

Happy Writing & Rewriting!

Happy New Year from

Coach Teresa LeYung-Ryan

http://writingcoachTeresa.com

Teresa is author of Build Your Writer’s Platform & Fanbase In 22 Days: Attract Agents, Editors, Publishers, Readers, and Media Attention NOW

Teresa is author of Love Made of Heart

Coach Teresa edits manuscripts (contemporary novels; thrillers; children’s novels; memoirs; short stories; anthologies) for authors who want to attract agents  & publishers  OR  want to be their own publishers.

 

 

“Coach Teresa, what should I do before hiring an editor?”

Look at Your Manuscript with an Editor’s Lens

By Teresa LeYung Ryan

Writing Career Coach; Manuscript Consultant; Author

Since writing a story with the intent to engage the reader is so much like meeting a stranger and wanting him/her to be interested in you, you’d want to hook the reader’s attention in the first quarter of your story (starting with the first page, oftentimes with the first line).

I love working with diligent writers who want to transform their manuscripts into page-turners. However, there are things you can do before you give your work to an editor. Let me show you how you can help yourself.

The big four elements to look for in your manuscript:

  • Planting hook(s) or story-question(s);
  • Grounding the reader with the three Ws (Who? When? Where?);
  • Showing (not telling) what the protagonist wants;
  • Paying attention to language and rules

Let’s learn from the pros.

Planting Hook or Story-Question:

In The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts, Maxine Hong Kingston hooks us with the first line: “You must not tell anyone,” my mother said, “what I am about to tell you…” Then, Ms. Kingston transitions into her story with: “Whenever she had to warn us about life, my mother told stories that ran like this one . . .”

Grounding the Reader with the Three Ws:

In Woven of Water, while the story timeline spans from 1957 to 2005, Californian author Luisa Adams brilliantly shows us who she was as a girl (not with a year-by-year narrative, but with a single exquisite chapter). Because she grounded us with “who, when, where,” we eagerly follow as she (the middle-aged woman) takes us into her enchanted world of a “cottage in the forest.”

Showing What the Protagonist Wants:

In The Other Mother, young Carol Schaefer wants to ask questions: “Was there any way to keep my baby? Was there anyone who would help me find a way to do that?”

Elizabeth Gilbert hooks us with “I wish Giovanni would kiss me…” in her memoir Eat, Pray, Love. Simple as that.  She’ll have other desires as her story moves forward, but, right there on page 1, she’s clear about what she wants.

In Love Made of Heart, protagonist Ruby Lin is thinking: What have I done?  I watch the uniformed police officers escort my mother from my apartment.

Paying Attention to Language and Rules:

Read the first five pages of Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt and you will see how this wordsmith plays with language and rules. (You can “bend” the rules to create flow, but you must not ignore the rules.)

Are you saying: “Coach Teresa, that’s my style–I don’t like to use commas all that much. You might see typos but that’s your job right to correct them? I write like I talk. Okay.”

I say: “Read your manuscript out loud.  Do you really talk like that?  If you hear yourself pausing in a sentence, that’s probably where you’d put a comma. You are a writer; use correct spelling.  Do use vernacular that is indicative of your story-world; however, will your reader hear the differences in speech patterns in your characters OR will they hear just one voice in all the characters?”

Sentences Deserve Your Attention:

Remember Groucho Marx’s line “One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas…”? That sentence got a lot of laughs. But, what if you didn’t want to be funny (ambiguous in this case)? Watch out for those misplaced modifiers.

How would you rewrite these poorly constructed sentences?

  • He likes to fish near the Farallon Islands and they jump when they’re hungry at dawn or dusk.
  • She insists on knowing when I come home and leave, not to be nosy, but for safety reasons.
  • Being cautious as not to step on the dog’s tail, the children tip-toed away from him while sleeping.
  • My husband still in bed snoring, I have always enjoyed rising before dawn and I eat my toast and drink my green tea on the terrace.

To improve your sentence structuring and other skills, I recommend these books:

  • The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr. and E.B. White
  • Woe is I: Grammarphobe’s Guide to Better English in Plain English by Patricia T. O’Conner

More Advice:

  • In all the stories referenced above, the authors present memorable experiences by employing authentic details, unusual story-worlds, and poetic language. You want to do the same for your story.
  • Also, the stories have another vital component–all the plotlines have what Martha Alderson, author of Blockbuster Plots, Pure and Simple, calls “Cause and Effect” linked scenes. Another must-read blog: Plot Whisperer
  • When you’re writing non-fiction and do not have the luxury of rearranging the sequence of events to create a page-turning plotline, you can engage the reader by using concise expositions to leap over blocks of time in order to focus on the core themes and fast-forward the story. A helpful website: Linda Joy Myer’s http://www.memoriesandmemoirs.com
  • You the author must show the reader what the protagonist wants, even if the protagonist doesn’t know at first.
  • We don’t have to “like” a protagonist, but, we do need to connect with him/her on an emotional level.
  • Read my colleague Vicki Weiland’s “Vicki’s Four Questions” © on her blog: http://vickiweiland.wordpress.com/vickis-four-questions-%C2%A9/

In the fiercely competitive arena of the publishing world, how does one stand out in a crowd? Building relationships is one key to success in this business. Another key is to know how to translate the themes from your life to your writing and articulate those themes as community concerns. I want to see all hardworking writers realize their dreams.

My best wishes to you!

Sincerely,

Teresa LeYung Ryan

Coach Teresa edits manuscripts for authors who want to attract agents  & publishers  OR  want to be their own publishers. She specializes in contemporary novels, thrillers, children’s & YA novels, memoirs, short stories, and anthologies.

22-Day Platform-Building Coach Teresa LeYung Ryan helps authors identify their themes to hook agents' and publishers' attention.

author of Love Made of  Heart

author of Build Your Writer’s Platform & Fanbase In 22 Days

To comment on any of my columns (blog posts) or to contact me, just click on the blue title bar of the post, fill in the boxes and press “submit.”

 

What to do before hiring an editor for your manuscript?

 

My advice for narrative non-fiction writers is the same for fiction writers.

“Look at Your Manuscript with an Editor’s Lens”

by Teresa LeYung Ryan–Developmental Editor/Manuscript Consultant/Writing Career Coach


Since writing a story with the intent to engage the reader is so much like meeting a stranger and wanting him/her to be interested in us, I will focus on “how to make the first quarter of your story a compelling read.”

I love working with diligent writers who want to transform their manuscripts into page-turners. However, there are things you can do before you give your work to an editor. Let me show you how you can help yourself.

Does your manuscript pass these tests?

  • Planting hook(s) or story-question(s);
  • Grounding the reader with the three Ws and the big C (Who?  When?  Where? Circumstances);
  • Showing (not telling) what the protagonist wants;
  • Paying attention to language and rules

Let’s learn from the pros.

Planting Hook or Story-Question:

In The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts, Maxine Hong Kingston hooks us with the first line: “You must not tell anyone,” my mother said, “what I am about to tell you…”   Then, Ms. Kingston transitions into her story with:  “Whenever she had to warn us about life, my mother told stories that ran like this one . . .”

Grounding the Reader with the Three Ws and the big C:

In Woven of Water, while the story timeline spans from 1957 to 2005, Californian author Luisa Adams brilliantly shows us who she was as a girl (not with a year-by-year narrative, but with a single exquisite chapter).  Because she grounded us with “who, when, where” and the “circumstances” as to why she had left her love affair with water, we eagerly follow as she takes us into her enchanted world of a “cottage in the forest.”  Another device to ground the reader is the employment of sensory details (not long descriptions).  Sensory details put the reader in the scene/story world.  Re-read one of your favorite author’s books. Study from the masters.

Showing What the Protagonist Wants:

In The Other Mother, young Carol Schaefer wants to ask questions:  “Was there any way to keep my baby?  Was there anyone who would help me find a way to do that?”

In Eat, Pray, Love, Elisabeth Gilbert says: I wish Giovanni would kiss me.

In Love Made of Heart, my protagonist Ruby Lin prays: Please don’t end up like Grandmother (while witnessing police officers escorting her own mother out of her apartment).

Paying Attention to Language and Rules:

Read the first five pages of Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt and you will see how this wordsmith plays with language and rules. (You can “bend” the rules to create flow, but you must not ignore them.)

In Bastard Out of Carolina, Dorothy Allison’s protagonist Bone is a girl.  Bone’s voice is convincing in dialogue and in internal monologue. Brilliant use of dialect.

Sentences Deserve Your Attention:

Remember Groucho Marx’s line “One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas…”? That sentence got a lot of laughs.  But, what if you didn’t want to be funny (ambiguous in this case)?

How would you rewrite these sentences?  See the misplaced modifiers?

  • He likes to fish near the Farallon Islands, they jump when they’re hungry at dawn or dusk. (the islands jump?)
  • She insists on knowing when I come home and leave, not to be nosy, but for safety reasons. (who is not nosy?)
  • Being cautious as not to step on the dog’s tail, the children tip-toed away from him while sleeping. (who’s sleeping?)

To improve your sentence structure and other skills, I recommend these books:

  • The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr. and E.B. White
  • Woe is I: Grammarphobe’s Guide to Better English in Plain English by Patricia T. O’Conner

More Advice:

  • In all the stories I referenced above, the authors present memorable experiences by employing authentic details, unusual story-worlds though real, and poetic language. You want to do the same for your story.
  • Also, these stories have another vital component–all the plotlines have what Martha Alderson, author of Blockbuster Plots Pure and Simple, calls “Cause and Effect” linked scenes.  Another must-read blog:  http://plotwhisperer.blogspot.com/search?q=first+quarter
  • When you’re writing non-fiction and you do not have the luxury of rearranging the sequence of events to create a page-turning plotline, you can engage the reader by using concise expositions to leap over blocks of time in order to focus on the core themes and fast-forward to the next scene.  A helpful website for memoir writers: http://www.memoriesandmemoirs.com
  • You the author must show the reader what the protagonist wants, even if the protagonist doesn’t know at first.
  • We don’t have to “like” a protagonist, but, we do need to connect with him/her on an emotional level. Perhaps what he/she wants is also what we want.
  • Story-telling is a skill learned, practiced, and mastered. May you practice with joy.

In the fiercely competitive arena of the publishing world, how does one stand out in a crowd?  Building relationships is one key to success in this business. Another key is to know how to translate the themes from your life to your writing and articulate those themes as community concerns.  I want to see all hardworking writers realize their dreams. My best wishes to you!

To read other posts in my blog (about writing contests, publishing opportunities, more tips on platform-building), click on [ Home ] and scroll down  OR key in words in the search box to find specific posts. Example: if you key in the words: poetry anthology 2011 into my blog’s search box and click [search], you will see my post containing info about the  Las Positas College Anthology and other contests for other genres (Thank you, Poet Laureate Deborah Grossman!) To read the entire version of a post, click on the title bar of that post.

To see my website for all my books, go to:  http://writingcoachteresa.com

Reach out, not stress out!

Sincerely,

Build-Your-Writer’s-Platform Coach Teresa

Teresa LeYung Ryan–Developmental Editor/Manuscript Consultant, Writing Career Coach, Author, Publisher

Teresa specializes in editing fiction and narrative non-fiction with themes on the human condition.

She likes spunky protagonists in thrillers, women’s novels, memoirs, and children’s literature.

Love Made of Heart is:
• recommended by the California School Library Association and the California Reading Association

• read by students at Stanford University, U.C. Berkeley, CCSF, and many other colleges and high schools.

• used in Advanced Composition English-as-a-Second-Language classes
• archived at the San Francisco History Center

Teresa says: “The more you read, the more your own writing will flow.”  
Please click here for my blog’s home page  http://lovemadeofheart.com/blog/

My fun workbook is now available through Amazon!

BUILD YOUR WRITER’S PLATFORM & FANBASE IN 22 DAYS: Attract Agents, Editors, Publishers, Readers, and Media Attention NOW

http://www.amazon.com/Build-Your-Writers-Platform-Fanbase/dp/0983010005/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1297630400&sr=1-1

http://lovemadeofheart.com/BUILD-YOUR-WRITER%27S-PLATFORM-&-FANBASE-IN-22-DAYS.html

 

When weaving a story, keep “it” simple.  “It” = story-structure.

One of my favorite stories is E. B. White’s Charlotte’s Web.  This timeless tale has wonderful hooks, memorable characters, universal themes and a compelling yet simple plotline.   Writers, I recommend your dissecting this book and your favorite books if you want to understand story structure for fiction or narrative non-fiction.

Cheers!

May your writing projects take on new form and new vitality in the new year!

Sincerely,

Writing Coach/Manuscript Consultant Teresa LeYung Ryan

author of Love Made of Heart (recommended by the California School Library Association and the California Reading Association)

http://writingcoachteresa.com

What Should I Do Before I Hire an Editor to Review My Manuscript?

The question is answered by Teresa LeYung Ryan–Book Doctor/Manuscript Consultant, Career Coach, Author

 

Nina Amir, creator of Write Nonfiction in November http://writenonfictioninnovember.com/ had invited me to be her guest-blogger in 2008, to help answer that question.  My advice for narrative non-fiction writers is the same for fiction writers.

“How to Look at Your Manuscript with an Editor’s Lens”


Since writing a story with the intent to engage the reader is so much like meeting a stranger and wanting him/her to be interested in you, I will focus on how to make the first quarter of your story a compelling read.

I love working with diligent writers who want to transform their manuscripts into page-turners. However, there are things you can do before you give your work to an editor. Let me show you how you can help yourself.

As an editor, the four biggest mistakes I encounter are manuscripts that are weak in these elements:

  • Planting hook(s) or story-question(s);
  • Grounding the reader with the three Ws (Who?  When?  Where?);
  • Showing (not telling) what the protagonist wants;
  • Paying attention to language and rules

Let’s learn from the pros.

Planting Hook or Story-Question:

In The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts, Maxine Hong Kingston hooks us with the first line: “You must not tell anyone,” my mother said, “what I am about to tell you…”   Then, Ms. Kingston transitions into her story with:  “Whenever she had to warn us about life, my mother told stories that ran like this one . . .”

Grounding the Reader with the Three Ws:

In Woven of Water, while the story timeline spans from 1957 to 2005, Californian author Luisa Adams brilliantly shows us who she was as a girl (not with a year-by-year narrative, but with a single exquisite chapter).  Because she grounded us with “who, when, where,” we eagerly follow as she takes us into her enchanted world of a “cottage in the forest.”  Another device to ground the reader is the employment of sensory details (not long descriptions).  Sensory details put the reader in the scene/story world.  Re-read one of your favorite author’s books. Study from the masters.

Showing What the Protagonist Wants:

In The Other Mother, young Carol Schaefer wants to ask questions:  “Was there any way to keep my baby?  Was there anyone who would help me find a way to do that?”

Paying Attention to Language and Rules:

Read the first five pages of Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt and you will see how this wordsmith plays with language and rules. (You can “bend” the rules to create flow, but you must not ignore them.)

Sentences Deserve Your Attention:

Nina Amir’s post on her blog  http://writenonfictioninnovember.wordpress.com/2007/11/ is a must-read.

Remember Groucho Marx’s line “One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas…”? That sentence got a lot of laughs.  But, what if you didn’t want to be funny (ambiguous in this case)?

How would you rewrite these poorly constructed sentences?

  • He likes to fish near the Farallon Islands and they jump when they’re hungry at dawn or dusk.
  • She insists on knowing when I come home and leave, not to be nosy, but for safety reasons.
  • Being cautious as not to step on the dog’s tail, the children tip-toed away from him while sleeping.
  • My husband still in bed snoring, I have always enjoyed rising before dawn and I eat my toast and drink my green tea on the terrace.

To improve your sentence structure and other skills, I recommend these books:

  • The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr. and E.B. White
  • Woe is I: Grammarphobe’s Guide to Better English in Plain English by Patricia T. O’Conner

More Advice:

  • In all four stories (The Woman Warrior, Woven of Water, The Other Mother, Angela’s Ashes), the authors present memorable experiences by employing authentic details, unusual story-worlds though real, and poetic language. You want to do the same for your story.
  • Also, these stories have another vital component-all four plotlines have what Martha Alderson, author of Blockbuster Plots, Pure and Simple, calls “Cause and Effect” linked scenes.  Another must-read blog:  http://plotwhisperer.blogspot.com/search?q=first+quarter
  • When you’re writing non-fiction and do not have the luxury of rearranging the sequence of events to create a page-turning plotline, you can engage the reader by using concise expositions to leap over blocks of time in order to focus on the core themes and fast-forward the story. A helpful website: http://www.memoriesandmemoirs.com
  • You the author must show the reader what the protagonist wants, even if the protagonist doesn’t know at first.
  • We don’t have to “like” a protagonist, but, we do need to connect with him/her on an emotional level.

In the fiercely competitive arena of the publishing world, how does one stand out in a crowd?  Building relationships is one key to success in this business. Another key is to know how to translate the themes from your life to your writing and articulate those themes as community concerns.  I want to see all hardworking writers realize their dreams. My best wishes to you!

Do you know a writer who wants to go to a writers’ conference but can’t afford it? Encourage her/him to ask family and friends to chip in (what better Christmas gift or birthday gift!).

For non-fiction authors: Writing for Change Conference http://www.sfwritingforchange.org/

For both fiction and non-fiction authors:  San Francisco Writers Conference http://sfwriters.org

Sincerely,

Teresa LeYung Ryan

Book Doctor/Manuscript Consultant, Career Coach, Author, Publisher

Coach Teresa edits manuscripts for authors who want to attract agents  & publishers  OR  want to be their own publishers. She specializes in contemporary novels, thrillers, children’s & YA novels, memoirs, short stories, and anthologies. She likes spunky protagonists.

Love Made of Heart is:
• recommended by the California School Library Association and the California Reading Association

• read by students at Stanford University, U.C. Berkeley, CCSF, and many other colleges and high schools.

• used in Advanced Composition English-as-a-Second-Language classes
• archived at the San Francisco History Center

GraceArt Publishing is the publisher of Build My Name, Beat the Game: 22 Days to Identify & Develop My Writer’s Platform to Attract Agents, Acquisition Editors, Publishers, Readers, and Media Attention.

Teresa says: “Reach out, not stress out, when building your writer’s name/platform.”  

To comment on any of my columns (blog posts), just click on the blue title bar of the post, fill in the boxes and press “submit.”  Please click here for my blog http://lovemadeofheart.com/blog/

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