Monday, September 19, 2011

Word Choice or the Difference Between Flakey and Scatterbraininess.

Mark Twain once said the difference between words could be the difference between a bee and a bee sting. The Chinese know this because the word Ma in Chinese can mean mom or horse, depending on the inflection. Inflection, or intent, alters everything.

The same is true for flakiness and scatterbraininess. I completely understand why both are annoying, but the intent is different, not making one more acceptable than the other, but, perhaps, more forgivable.

I’ve heard it said that one of the differences between a female brain and a male’s brain is the connection between the right and left hemispheres. The male’s hemisphere connector is like a one lane bridge—only one thing can pass at a time, meaning that they think about one thing at a time. Think of the male brain as an office filled with cubicles and in each cubicle there’s a guy—a husband guy, a work guy, a dad guy, a church guy, and handyman guy, a golf guy--and when one of the guys has the floor, it’s like all the other guys are deaf and dumb.

In contrast, the female connector is like a six lane highway—we’re able to wash the dishes, talk to Aunt Lindy, watch the babies and mentally compose a grocery list all at once.

I’m not being sexist, but according to current biological studies, men are not simultaneous thinkers. They have higher levels of concentration and focus. Girls’ thoughts are all over the place. But what about Mark Twain, or Shakespeare, or any of the other literary greats? Writers are unique creatures. Male or female, we get ideas at any place and at any time, even when we’re doing other things—even important things.

For example, once when I was Relief Society president I was mentally in the thick of a story, but, as it often happened, people were hungry and needed food, meaning that I had to go to the bishop’s storehouse—a forty-five minute drive from my house. (A trip to the bishop’s storehouse, depending on traffic, usually took me about three hours.) One morning after doing the scores of things busy mothers do, I got in the car and headed for the bishop’s storehouse. Physically, I was in the car on Santa Margarita parkway, but mentally I was in an art gallery in Laguna contemplating a murder (my novel, Shell Charms.) I drove about two miles before I remembered that I’d forgotten to pick up the food order form from the bishop. When I arrived at his house, I stepped out of the car and onto the pavement and realized I wasn’t wearing shoes.

Flakiness would be not going to the bishop’s storehouse because something more interesting came along. Scatterbraininess is going improperly shod (or, in my case, having to return home for my shoes). Flakiness verses scatterbraininess—it’s all in the intent.

That being said, my decision to postpone my Inkredible Kindle Kontest is not a matter of flakiness or even scatterbraininess, it’s a matter of intent. I fully intend to have a contest and give away a kindle, although since this is the second delay, it may not seem like it. I postponed the kindle contest in August because I had the opportunity to participate in Tristi Pinkston’s Awesome August Blog Hop and I didn’t want to give away a kindle when the other bloggers were giving away smaller ticket items. I also had a host of personal things that needed my attention--a trip to Portland, my book launch and a dinner to prepare for a visiting general authority and stake leaders.

I’m postponing again because Tristi’s hosting another blog hop and because of Dr. Debra Holland. Debra belongs to my writer’s group and has made thousands of dollars self publishing her sweet romance novels. (In fact, she gives a dollar for dollar accounting on her blog—check her out. Not that she needs my advertising.) I compared Debra’s success and my own middling sales in the same niche market. There are actually many differences between my career and Debra’s, like her winning the Golden Heart competition, but only one that I can easily and quickly duplicate. Debra has four books out and she chapter swaps with other writers. This means that at the end of each of her western romances, she has a first chapter from another author’s western romance. The fellow romance writer reciprocates. This means that there are four other authors with the first chapter of one of her books in the back of their books.

I hope to chapter swap with another writer on my next book. (In fact, I’ve been reading other romaction authors looking for a good fit.) But, with STEALING MERCY I want to chapter swap with myself, meaning that I’ve included the first chapter of my new book A GHOST OF A CHANCE at the end of STEALING MERCY. This means revising. Revising takes time, but not too much time, because that would be flakey.

So, in this case, it’s not a matter of flakiness verses scatterbraininess, but of trying to maximize the marketing potential of the InKredible Kindle Kontest. A contest that will be Koming as soon as I Kan get STEALING MERCY reformatted with A GHOST OF A CHANCE at the end.

I know that in this post I’ve made up words and misspelled words, which brings me back to my original point of the importance of word choice. Sometimes you just have to go with what works, even if you have to delay, postpone, go barefoot or make it up as you go.

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