Tag Archives: Young Adult

Things All Trini’s Should Know – Folklore

Corruption by Jason Jarvis. www.jarvisarttt.com

Corruption by Jason Jarvis. http://www.jarvisarttt.com

Diary Post 26: The Struggle Is Real

The Struggle Is RealHave you ever felt like your flag is flying at half-mast? I swear that has been me for the past few months. True, I have and have had a lot going on but who doesn’t? I wake okay (late); once I have my coffee I’m good for a couple of hours. Then comes 1 pm. You see that dog in the picture? throw some long black hair on her and that’s pretty much me for the rest of the day. Don’t get me wrong, give me a remote and a comfy couch and I’m in heaven. Lazing around is one of my favourite pastimes. However, when you have a life and a busy one at that, chilaxin‘ all the time is a big no no. Actually, it’s not chilaxin because all I do is worry about all the things I am not doing or not doing well enough. Never mind other people’s standards; I like to be fabulous at whatever I do.

In my efforts to ‘pull myself together’, I had a long talk with my maker. One of the things I wanted to revive was my diary posts. Writing is something I love to do but I’m always too tired or I can’t concentrate or  I’ll use the most common phrase used by all my fellow procrastinators – ‘I’ll do it just now’.

I had a slight improvement this week, nothing to talk about because I still have a lot of outstanding work. It is Friday night as I write (I’ll most likely edit this tomorrow). I’ve done my laundry, tidied my house and now, I’m writing my diary post which I’ll be posting every Saturday. Not bad. I’ve also been reading a hilarious book, The Duppy by Anthony C. Winkler. I literally laugh as I read. My mission is to finish it on Saturday while I’m under the dryer. Maybe I’ll pick it up tonight again if my eyes stay open past 10 pm. Slowly but surely I’ll be the ole Vanessa again. It will take some repetition and scheduling but a girl’s gotta to do what a girl’s gotta do.

Bocas Lit Fest 2015

Yesterday was the last day of the Bocas Lit Fest. I didn’t attend as many events as I wanted to, but I thoroughly enjoyed the ones that I did. Friends and family came out to support, and I even sold a few books, so all is well in Vanessa land.
Being that Selima and the Merfolk is my first novel, it was quite an honour to be featured on a panel (DIY Lit Panel). It was a great experience, and I am very encouraged to work on my second book.

These are a few photos from my Bocas experience.

DIARY POST 21: FRONT ROW SEAT TO WHAT LOVE IS

NyokaToday I went to the airport to drop off my wonderful cousin, Nyoka. She has gone back home to America, after extending her stay in Trinidad for an extra week. She was here to help our 94 year old grandmother who has hip surgery.

The month of May has been all about granny. I don’t live close to her, so I have made quite a few trips. No problem though because I know she would do the same for me. I hope I never know what it is to be bedridden or have any sickness. If I were ever sick, I hope that I have Nyoka or someone very similar to her to take care of me. She is patient, gentile and very attentive. The things she has done in these past three weeks will last her in blessings for the rest of her life, even if she never does one more good thing. It takes a special kind of person to care for someone, especially when they are immobile. Nyoka has always been kind and thoughtful, and her relationship with granny is unconditional, but I felt like if the dictionary had video the way she cared for granny would be the visual definition of love. It was extraordinary to witness.

Yes, I helped and so did other family member, still it cannot be denied that Nyoka was on a different level. I realized early on that she wanted to take the lead; I allowed her because I knew her visit was short, and she would not be comfortable unless she had the opportunity to care for granny herself. She was the doctor, and I was the nurse.

Now that Nyoka is gone, and I have to go back to work the process of granny’s care is going to change. Granny has started therapy, and she will have a Home-Care Attendant. Everything will be managed by her very willing son, who can give Nyoka a run for her money. I will, of course, continue to visit and overnight when I can though I will be haunted with the feeling that I need to do everything just as Nyoka did.

What is most important is that granny is improving. She is like a bedridden superman. However, the thing about Superman is that he only stays down for so long and then he is back on his feet saving the world, and that is just want Frances Joseph will do.

Take every opportunity you get to show the people you love that you love them.

Do good even when you don’t have to.

THE TROUBLE WITH COMMAS

comma.png

Does any of my fellow writers frustrate themselves about the placement of commas as much as I do?

As a soon to be self-published author, I am undecided about which punctuation standard to use: US, UK or Caribbean. I am an Island Girl, but most of the books I have read use the US standard. My books will be available online to anyone, anywhere in the world, and since I expect an audience from the US and UK as well, I wonder:

How much of a difference does punctuation style make, especially to the readers?

Today, punctuation is a clash between rules and style. I never underestimate the importance of rules because a comma in the wrong place can change the meaning or readability of a sentence.

It is a good practice to stick to the rules of one country. If a writer is fortunate to have their work published in a subsequent country (e.g. US author also published in the UK), the UK publisher may change the punctuation to suit their rules. This brings me to another question:

How should a self-published author choose a standard if they market mainly online?

In the Caribbean, we do not put commas before conjunctions, even if they separate two clauses. We follow the general rule of separating words in lists with commas. However, we do not put commas after the second-to-last item on a list, if a conjunction follows it. E.g. basketball, football, tennis and swimming.

Examples of other rules for commas

– Commas after sentence introductions. YES
E.g. As you are well aware,
On a beach in the Caribbean,

– Commas after transitional phrases. YES
E.g. Therefore,
Consequently,

– Commas before speech marks. YES
E.g. He told her, “Please leave me alone.”
Annie asked, “Could you be quiet?”

Good Writing

One attribute of good writing is that it should be easily understandable. A reader should not have to reread a sentence to understand what the writer meant. For this to happen, it is important to follow rules. On the other hand, a writer’s style is distinct by the words they choose, the length of their sentences and how they punctuate and structure their sentences. Their style is usually influenced by the genre or the purpose of their works.

Please comment on this post. I would greatly appreciate some advice.

DIARY POST 20: RECONNECTING

connectingIt’s been six weeks since I have written a diary post. I’ve been working feverishly editing my novel, and I felt that I did not want to write another post if it was not an announcement of a release date. Well, I don’t have that announcement today.

Editing is one hundred times more work than I expected. Selima and the Merfolk is my first novel, and I have someone helping me edit, who has been an asset to the project. It has been an experience that has thought me that I have to take a different approach to editing, the next time around. Though I have been seriously editing for almost four months, I still stand by my promise that I will not publish until I am satisfied with my product, and right now I am not. The good news is that my book has improved tremendously, and I have learned lessons that would probably make the next project shorter.

Things I have learned along the way:

1. You have to be the hardest working person on your project.

2. If you are not meticulous by nature, learn to be.

3. Be open to advice. Listen to a different point of view but be true to the story you want to tell and how you want to tell it.

4. Learn the business as much as you learn the craft.

5. Read, read, read and read some more.

6. Don’t neglect your platform.

7. For those of us who cannot afford professional ‘novel’ editors, compare the recommendations of two persons who have a combination of these characteristics:
• Proficient in English
• Avid reader
• Have some editing experience

8. Don’t have your work proofread until you are absolutely sure that you are finished editing and are satisfied with your product.

9. Most people don’t speak proper English. Sometimes trying to achieve that standard makes your dialogue sound unrealistic.

10. Set deadlines for yourself or you might be writing one book forever.

One of my favorite Joel Osteen messages is CONNECTING WITH THE RIGHT PEOPLE (see video below). I’ve watched it maybe twenty times. In my life experience, I feel like I have been shielded from making some mistakes and have been rescued by what I call faith and some call coincidence; all because of crossing paths with the right people at the right time.

Five years ago I would have been frustrated with this project, even though I will fulfill a dream by publishing this book, I would have long got tired of the back-and-forth that comes with editing. Thank God I don’t think that way anymore. Every time there is a change to be made or an error is found I am grateful – Grateful that my self-published novel is going to be to the standard of one that was published by a big publishing house, grateful that I am willing to do the work and work with people who have the same work ethic, grateful that the discovery of one misspelling or grammatical error is like someone stopping you from skidding on a banana peel – it won’t kill you but who wants to fall if it can be avoided.

 

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