Friday, April 15, 2022

Pen Names, Pseudonyms, Nom de Plumes

Hi everyone,

We're reading submissions for the 42 Stories Anthology this month and will hopefully reach our goal by May or December this year. No guarantee.

Let's chat about names.

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The whole pen name schtick came from the theme of the book having 1,764 names in it, sure. However, that's only half of the story.


I've had many pen names. 

My dad named me after his favorite uncle. Bertram was a lawyer by day and trumpet player by night. He had an accident, which led to him being bedridden.

Dad always looked to him for guidance when he was young. Then, one day, probably a rainy one, Bertram died tragically.

Mom got to name my sister and brother. Then, when I was born, Dad named me after the lawyer/trumpet player. 

The only problem with the name was that he shortened it to Bert, and I was a child in the '80s being called "Bert."

So, naturally, the first question kids asked, "Where's Erine?"

Just imagine, being circled by 30+ kids laughing "Where's Erine?" Some of them threw things at me. Saying "bullied" would be a light way to put it. Teachers laughed with the kids. One day, I punched a few of them and the teacher and the laughter turned to screams of horror.

I was probably one of the first 5-year-olds kicked out of that kindergarten for punching a teacher. (Now, I'm a teacher 😅).

There were other problems with being called "Bert."

In short, I hated the name.

My parents were divorced, and I went to live with Mom at 8. 

She asked if I wanted to change my name to "Allan." 

"My middle name?" 

It so happened that a story I liked called The Raven was by a writer who had the middle name, Allan, too. Plus, we shared the same birthday and eyebags problem. So, I was down for the shift. 

 



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As it turns out, Bertram means Bright, Famous, Raven.

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Something changed when I was 23. I had started getting published and needed a writer's name. I went with "B. A. Mullin," thinking it was kind of funny sounding: "Be a Mullin." 

At the same time, I blogged on MySpace.com. The blog, Ten Things That You Should Know, had 133 posts and over 50k readers. Sometimes the blog hit the #1 spot on the site. My username: "Devilsthrill." 

The username actually goes back to when I was 19. There's a song that inspired me to write my series, Demon Blade Bearer, called Devil's Trill. I was listening to Vanessa Mae's version at the time and wrote and wrote and wrote. 

Suddenly, I had ten books written within three to fives years. As an ode to the song, I used "Devilsthrill" as an online name. It was also a typo that stuck. I wanted the name to be DevilsTrill. 





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At 31 my dad got sick, and we were friends. I decided to use the name "Bertram" with the stipulation that no one called me "Bert" unless they wanted to get punched in the face. 

That year, I moved to Japan with a dream: Find a manga artist and make Demon Blade Bearer a manga and maybe an anime in Japan and America. I'd introduce myself as "Bertram."

AND NO ONE COULD SAY IT! 





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At my first job, without asking, the trainer introduced me as "Bert." He didn't get punched, but it was one example of the disrespect I went through until quitting. 

Got a job as a foreign teacher at public schools and while searching for an artist, continued teaching. 


Because students had issues saying "Bertram," I just went with my initials: "BAM." 



For the past seven years, everyone has either called me Bertram, or BAM.

I don't dislike being called "Allan," but it feels like a childhood name that I no longer use. 


Subsequently, I applied to a private school last month. The director kept calling me "Bert" even after I said my name was Bertram or BAM. You should never nickname someone unless they're okay with it. That's called respect. I didn't take that job and am still teaching at public schools instead. 

If you thought this covered all of my pen names, you were wrong. I've got a Hebrew name, "Abraham." There's also Eval Jaeger, Scott Allan Terrier, and Shelly Macaroy. Those are characters from stories of mine, and I've used their names as pen names. Shelly has about 4 horror publications. The other two have one each.

In case you're wondering, I found an illustrator two years ago. She's working on Demon Blade Bearer. Here's her Instagram: Kou Hirose (@kou_hk_yk) • Instagram photos and videos
Here's a sketch she drew of me:


Thank you for reading until the end. Looking forward to seeing the submissions everyone sent. 

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

42 Stories Anthology: Down to the final 99

One major difference between Project 42 Stories Anthology and other anthologies is that no other ones have so many stories in one book. 

The goal started with a simple aim: 1,764 stories and an equal number of authors in one book of 42-word stories within 42 chapters. By simple, I meant ambitious. 
("Clark on the hill," Made by Tando Saka, 1920-1998, built in 1976).

After realizing that it would take too long to get so many unique writers in one book, I let current authors send up to 4 stories each with the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th, stories being under unique nom de plumes, and kept posting a call in submissions from July 2018 to now. 

Currently, we only need about 99 stories out of 1,764. It really hasn't been that long of a wait either. 

Categories still opened:

Hitchhiker's Guide to History: Both historical nonfiction or fiction are fine.

Indigenous

Mystery

Steampunk
Sword & Sorcery
And the Craft of Writing. Click the link for details.
Hope you send something soon.

Thursday, September 23, 2021

42 Stories Anthology Book Cover front/back Needed

 A book cover (front/back) is needed for the 42 Stories Anthology


Estimated dimensions:
Mass market paperback: 4.25 x 6.87. Trade Paperbacks: 5.5 x 8.5 to 6 x 9. Hardcover books: 6 x 9 to 8.5 x 11


Send your submission to anthology (42anthologysubs@gmail.com) with the subject "42Art Submission_Name."

The artist can be creative with how the name of the chapter appears on the piece.

The book cover (front/back) can be in color.
Here is an example of what we're looking for:

Artists are paid $42

Friday, September 10, 2021

Hyphens, Em-dashes, and Ellipses

 

(From ESL Grammar: Link)

Some writers have emailed asking if we had a rule at 42 Stories Anthology that hyphens counted as words. 


This is not a case of "rules." Hyphens change your word count. 

You can send a story that you counted by hand that's 42 words with a 42-character title and 42 word 3rd-person bio, but you didn't use wordcounter.net as we recommend and your numbers come out off. 

Explanation below.

Simple solution: Use wordcounter.net as recommended and don't count by hand. 

Maybe you're wondering "Why?"

No one wants to count 42 words out of thousands of stories by hand, so we use wordcounter.net. 

For the title, wordcounter.net counts spaces between, after, and before as characters. Please keep that in mind with titles.

Why are some hand-counted word counts and the generators sometimes counting differently? 

Look at this sentence written three ways:

"Hello, he said"
"Hello - he said"
"Hello-he said"


The sentence without hyphens should be three words. Microsoft Word Docs shows three words at the bottom to your left.



When you connect two words, they become one word as shown in the Microsoft Word Doc counter.



Below is a hyphen used to be an em-dash. You should not use a hyphen like an em-dash. Some counters read your hyphen like an extra word as shown in the Microsoft Word Doc


Wordcounter.net recognizes the dash is not a word, so if you used Microsoft Word instead, our counts will not match. Wordcounter.net is more accurate, so we use this site instead of Microsoft Word



Below is a separated em-dash for a pause, which is what writers should use for pauses. Notice the counter on Microsoft Word recognizes that the em-dash is not a word. Microsoft Word counts the hyphen as a word and not an em-dash, because the hyphen is placed in the sentence incorrectly and the software doesn't recognize it.

Em-dash example



If you are using hyphens like em-dashes, I recommend that you stop doing it in all of your writing. Hyphens are generally used to connect two words into one and similar situations. Hyphens are not for pauses between words. 

I won't get into whether em-dashes should technically be separated or connected to words. For the anthology, either way is fine. Be creative. In both circumstances, wordcounter.net and Microsoft Word Docs displays the correct number as shown below:


However, convertcase.net doesn't get the correct wordcount when you connect two words with an em-dash. 

Here's wordcounter.net ignoring the em-dash


Here's convertcase.net counting the same sentence as two words with an em-dash connecting words


Both counters are good for different purposes. When checking numbers, the staff at 42 Stories Anthology uses wordcounter.net because it's more accurate. 

When putting a title in all CAPS, we use convertcase.net.

Ellipses
Microsoft Word and convertcase.net count . . . as 3 words. Wordcounter.net does not, which is why I use it and not Microsoft Word when checking numbers. This could be another reason numbers don't always match. Wordcounter.net is accurate and updated frequently.
 
Also, ". . ." with spaces is a correct ellipsis and ... without spaces isn't correct. 

Off Topic
Please wait 6 months after submitting your story before inquiring on its status. 

On the Release
Many writers are in a hurry for the anthology to come out, so is the staff. We are trying hard to find great works and get the book out and will respond to submissions within approximately 6 months.

Update as of September 10, 2021
Stories accepted: 1,479
Stories needed: 285 to complete the anthology

Note: If you accidently used a hyphen as a pause between words in a story we accepted, you can email the anthology (42anthologysubs@gmail.com) a revised version of your story. Please check your numbers in wordcounter.net. 

Related note: Let's all combine our efforts to end the double hyphen. Below is the face most editors make when they see -- in a story. 

Have a safe and happy month.

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Project 42 Stories Anthology Guidelines

 


The theme of this anthology is to have 1,764 stories by 1,764 writers of different names, which is 42 x 42 by 42 x 42 writers. Multi-subs are okay as long as you use a pen name for each story (max of 4 stories per writer). If you have to ask why the need of a pen name, kindly reread the first sentence again.

 

Story rules:

Each story needs a title with approximately 42 characters (between 40 and 44).

All stories need to be exactly 42 words.

All bios are in 3rd person and exactly 42 words long.

Use this site: https://convertcase.net/

Note: Hyphens count as a word as do ellipsis so be careful.

 

The subject line of an email should include 42subs, the category, and your initials. Examples:

42subs_mystery_bam

42SUB_mys_BM

Your middle initial will help differentiate you from others. There are 42 categories, and the subject line helps us know which category’s readers to send your work to, so please remember this part.

 

Each chapter has a cover. All of the covers have been selected except for the Crime, Fight, and

book cover. If you are interested in drawing one, email me: 42anthologysubs@gmail.com

 

The publication date is TBA, but once published, a token amount will be donated to United Through Reading. Also, the 42 chapters have a Story of Excellence Award. Award winners receive:

 

$0.42, which can be added to the anthology charity.

Story podcasts and read on YouTube by the author or possibly an actor

A 42 Anthology Story of Excellence certificate

Writing the introduction to their chapter

Possibly more

 

We need about 300 stories to reach our goal. Please send us something for consideration. Keep the guidelines in mind.

 

Pay: This anthology will come out in all possible formats. Unfortunately, payment for all authors cannot be guaranteed. At this time, we have no plan to pay authors aside from award winners mentioned and authors of the Craft of Writing category. We will, however, consider paying authors if it is possible.

 

When you send us a story, you agree to the terms of the anthology and to your work being published in the Project 42 Stories Anthology. The terms and submission link are here:

https://bamwrites.blogspot.com/2018/07/42-stories-anthology.html

Or just go through Submittable:

https://42storiessubs.submittable.com/submit/202427/400-stories-of-42-words-each-needed-for-anthology

42 Stories Anthology: Craft of Writing




You cannot have a story in the anthology and enter this chapter.


Send: Exactly 42 words answering, "If you could inspire and encourage thousands of other writers and readers with 42 words, what would you write?"


Include a 42-word 3rd person bio (highlighting why you were selected for this category) Email: 42anthologysubs@gmail.com with the subject

Craft of Writing and your last name (this doesn't have to be exact).

Rules
No stories currently accepted in the 42 Stories Anthology (unless you withdraw them)
You have won a writing contest or award such as:
The Bridport Prize
Bristol Short Story Prize
Pushcart Prize
National Poetry Competition
The First Novel Prize
Flash 500 prize
Bath Novel Writing Prize
Emily Dickinson First Book Award
PEN/Faulkner Award For Fiction
Writers of the Future Contest
Or a related prize


Almost any writing award is okay. Or your story was a best seller anywhere excluding Amazon.


What do you get?
- Special guest judge for one of the other 41 categories. The guest judge reads 42 stories of 42 words and selects the piece for the Story of Excellence Award and runner up (roughly 10 pages).
- Highlighted as a special guest writer in the anthology.
- Your interview in the Craft of Writing chapter.
- If it fits, your name will be on the back cover of the book.
- Payment of $42 USD

In the email:
CL should mention what contest you won and a link to your story (so we can become your newest fan).
The answer to the prompt.

Your 42-word 3rd person bio highlighting your achievements. This way you can inspire others through your successes.

Another submission method:
https://42storiessubs.submittable.com/submit/202426/42-stories-anthology-craft-of-writing


Q&A

For writers: What would you classify as a "prestigious award in writing"? Would the award be limited to stories, or would awards for plays be acceptable? 


Answer: It's fine to send a submission and see if we accept it for the Craft of Writing, but the list we use of "prestigious award in writing" is above. However, we realize that "prestigious writing" is subjective, and this part is flexible to us.

 

For editors: Would editors who work for publications that do not pay pro rates be acceptable?


Answer: It's fine to send something and see if we decide to use the submission for the Craft of Writing, but for editors we're looking for people you can search online and see a Wikipedia page on such as David Remnick, and if Mr. Remnick is reading this, we hope you'll send something. The chapter is to inspire authors, and who better to do that than editors (and agents) writers have heard of.

 

For publishers: Would publishers who are involved in vanity press and/or press that does not play pro rates be acceptable?


Answer: We are looking for publishers who actively help writers and will highlight that in their 42-word bio. This isn't just including publishers, but writers as well who will highlight how they help other authors in their 42-word bios. 

Saturday, June 5, 2021

Types of Editors and Professional Readers: Described through Smurfs

 


All kids have heroes. 

My Avengers were always editors and professional readers of books: 

Individuals who could take something unreadable and turn it into something great. 

However, they're more like Smurfs than Avengers. 

[Click the images to see credited sources. All were listed as fair use]

There are many types of readers and editors to help mold writing into readable work. 

I have not listed all of them below, but have focused on some I have used and worked with over the years. 

Note: I’m not a copyeditor. 

My first (career) job was teaching second language learners at a university the craft of writing and helping them edit their stories and academic papers. 

Since then, I have acted as what is listed below on writing projects and academic papers for over twelve years and have had my own work looked at by these types of people. Currently, I edit stories that are submitted to my 42 Stories Anthology, but there are also many editors who work on the anthology with me and they do more detailed editing than I do. The staff on the team fit all of the titles below, so I am somewhat familiar with this topic.

That said, I’d like to help others identify editors and specialized readers, because there is a lot of confusion. 

If you believe anything is inaccurate, I encourage you to let me know. 

BETA

 READER


A beta reader does a general read through and gives a few comments here and there about a book. Doesn't edit in a professional way. 

Usually, this process is done for free or by agreement such as, “I’ll read your book if you read mine.” 

Some people charge for beta reading books, but it's generally not a lot. 

The beta reader also might suggest a little to help with the book, but it’s very general help. 

If you notice a few comments throughout your story that touch on misspellings or small suggestions on 30 of 200 pages, you’ve experienced a beta read. 

Personally, when I've beta read, I've written up a summary of suggestions on a page for authors after beta reading using a sandwich effect: 

Mention something strong about the story or characters,

what needs work the most, 

and end with encouragement such as pointing to editors who might help get the work published.

The reason Vanity Smurf would best represent the beta reader is that often beta reading simply consists of two writers saying "THIS STORY IS SO LOVELY" to each, trying not to hurt the other’s feelings in the process. Don't feel this is negative. In fact, having a book beta read is a great first step after you complete a few drafts and a solid way to build your confidence in writing. 


If you want to go negative, look to the next title:


CRITIQUE PARTNER


A critique partner is a professional reader who makes thorough comments on almost every page, which can be general comments regarding changes needed. Alternately, this reader can be very brutal and mean. 

Helpful examples from one:

"This sentence doesn't make any sense. Delete or reword." 

"You wrote mythologically instead of methodology. Haha. Dummy!" 

This person is usually paid money and the amount is up to them. Paid ones don't call you dummy, but they'll be really critical and for good reason. Hearing what doesn't work about your story or writing will help more than hearing what works. 

Grumpy Smurf is a good fit for this title as the person usually has blunt comments about a story that the writer might not be happy with, but the comments are honest and from experience usually.


Sensitivity READER

A sensitivity reader is something I've only noticed recently. Often, I find myself putting on this "sensitive" cap when reading through submissions for my anthology, and thinking: 

Would this and that word offend this and that person? 

How could this sentence be reworded? As is, it will offend someone in XY group.

I've noticed other professional readers do this, too. Sensitivity readers are becoming more popular for PC generations. Do I recommend one? 

Depends. 

It might be better to simply ask someone you pay to read or edit to add this to what they look for when they read your material. Specific knacks like this one don't tend to last in my experience. I could be wrong. 

Poet Smurf would best fit this title because he's very careful with his words. 

 

DEVELOPMENTAL Editor



Story/character development partner (or developmental editor):

This person looks at the story and or character and can be separately billed depending on the agreement. They suggest, in great detail, specifically how a story or character(s) can be improved upon or states what could be added to the story or character to help with a story or character. 

They usually ignore details that a critique partner might pay attention to and instead they focus on story and or character specifically

This person is paid based on rates they set. Some developmental readers even work on grammar and do minimal copy or line editing. 

Handy Smurf best represents this person as they are good at working out the kinks of characters, fixing problems such as plot holes. 

LINE  

EDITOR

This editor, as the title suggests, goes through every line of a story and makes each line either shorter and or more coherent for the reader. 

Original writing: She slowly shuttered upon the edges of her cackling lashes whilst they batted thereupon the quivers of her baited hairsmomentarily binding her lustful dark aqua eyes.

Line edited: She blinked. 

Unlike a developmental editor, the line editor will focus on how to make the sentence, line by line, readable regardless of the story or character. To make this even more confusing, some line editors also do developmental edits. 

Smurfette best represents this editor as they make the story arguably beautiful, but they don't always focus on grammar or syntactic rules. That's a copyeditor's job.


COPYEDITOR



This editor is familiar with grammar, syntax, and style rules and will often refer to rule books such as APA or MLA, knows comma rules by heart (probably), and might be kind enough to suggest style guide books. Here are a few of my favorites:

Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynne Truss

Sin and Syntax: How to Craft Wickedly Effective Prose by Constance Hale

The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr.

The Elephants of Style by Bill Walsh

The Chicago Manual of Style: The Essential Guide for Writers, Editors, and Publishers

This editor knows the difference between 

effect, affect, and aeffect, 

there, their, they’re, and theiy’re,

and all that jazz. 

In short, this editor makes your book more grammatical sound and follows the rules from composition class that most of us forgot. 

Definitely the Brainy Smurf of editors. You might find them annoying at times, but they save you from embarrassing mistakes. 

Copyeditor: "Erm, you wrote 'your welcome in that sentence, but you meant you're welcome.' Remember, it's your turn vs. you're mistaken as in you are."

You: "Whatever! Freaking brainy know-it-all."

Copyeditor: "You're welcome."




PROOFREADER

Aside from proofing and checking the final draft of a book, proofreaders find technical issues and mark them thoroughly throughout a manuscript on the final draft. Also, proofreaders sometimes work and manage groups (including looking for misses from a copyeditor). 

Their focus is on production errors (thank you, EAE members for pointing this out). 

This editor is often the last person to read a book before it's published. 

They can lead, or work on their own. 

A big difference between a copyeditor and proofreader is that a proofreader might also critique, do developmental editing, line edit, and all of the above. Some of them, however, do this to a lesser extent than the above persons, which is partly why they often read a book after a copyeditor. 

The proofreader also charges for what they do, so keep that in mind. Some proofreaders, in addition, specialize in specific tasks, so it’s good to make sure you have the sort of proofreader you’re looking for before hiring one. 

Proofreaders would be the equivalent of Papa Smurf. They follow the rules they learned from experience, guide like teachers or mentors, and make your story beautiful at the same time if you find the right one.


Are you searching for an editor or reader for your book? 

I hope that this blog helped you think of which one to hire, and strongly recommend real editor organizations to find one rather than searching the Internet. 

Below is a list of where you can find editors, created by mostly the Princess of Oz:

ACES, or EFA for the US, IPEd for Oz and NZ, CIEP for the UK, South African GA, Editors Canada, The Society of Writers, Editors, and Translators in Japan, India has a guild, too.


Thank you to all of the Editors Association of Earth members for helping me catch mistakes in this blog. 


[Copyright information: All images were found at Fandom.com where they state that images fall under the fair use act found here and at Pixabay.com where images are all fair use]


Remember to remember . . .