Earlier this week, I had a Facebook conversation with Ruth McNally-Barshaw that reminded me of my favorite palindrome, REVILE LIVER. It comes from a book by Jon Agee. His books on wordplay are terrific for reluctant readers. Not only do they have few words and wonderful cartoons, they demonstrate the fun of fooling around with language.
Biochemists and molecular biologists are fond of palindromes because short palindromic DNA sequences are the targets for restriction enzymes (the proteins that cut DNA), and long palindromic sequences determine RNA structure. If you’re really interested, click here.
I googled palindromes and learned that the longest palindromic word in common usage is saippuakivikauppias which means "soapstone vendor" in Finnish. (How else could I possibly use that word in this blog?)
The first recorded palindrome is the Latin word square "Sator Arepo Tenet Opera Rotas" from 79 AD, but my husband says everyone in the Garden of Eden spoke in palindromes:
Start by taking the spaces out between chapters, single space and reduce the font to 8-point. My 40,000 word manuscript shrunk to 32 pages. Then I assigned each character a color and marked sections according to their emotional impact.
The quantity of description versus dialog becomes immediately obvious. The amount of play time each character gets is also clear in my color-coded scheme. The tension (or its lack) can also be tracked by the amount of vertical and diagonal cross-hatching.
Hint: Treat yourself to a new package of markers before you start.
On Monday I changed my blog header and asked if anyone could tell what it is. I enjoyed reading everybody’s guesses. Beth came the closest. Perhaps mystery photos will be an occasional feature in this blog.
So what are the blue and green stripes?
In my parents’ house, the wall over the kitchen table was covered with framed 5x7 photos of kids and grandkids. When my mom moved to assisted living, we shipped the photos to Michigan and recreated the photo wall in her apartment. My mother passed away over a year ago, and the photos have been sitting in a box in my basement. Last weekend I finally took these photos out of their frames and put them in an album. The frames have seen better days, but the glass covering the photos can be recycled, so I stacked them on the dining room table. When I saw the morning light coming through the edges of the glass plates, I photographed it.
No one ever said writing a novel was easy. Even choosing the right words can be tough. But it could be worse.
In 1969, a French writer named Georges Perec wrote La Disparition, a 200-page novel that does not contain words spelled with the letter E. Then Gilbert Adair translated La Disparition into English, also refraining from words containing the letter E.
This post has 340 characters. 39 are E. That is 11%.
Doubleday, 1999 (The cover design is from the updated 2001 edition which was not available from my library.)
I discovered this book on the recommended reading list in Mysterious Messages. Simon Singh knows how to tell a good story and provides fascinating accounts of the people who made encryption history. Code making and breaking are fundamental to diplomacy and warfare, so the story of secrecy explains history, provides insight to the present, and hints at the future. Who would enjoy this book? Anyone who is interested in WWI and WWII Anyone who is curious about ancient Egyptian and Minoan cultures Anyone who has wondered how Internet transactions can be secure Anyone who likes puzzles
Do you have to be a math geek to like this book? Serious math geeks would hardly count me among their numbers, yet I managed to keep neck and neck with the calculations. The amount of math required to understand this book depends on whether the reader is willing to accept concepts as written, or feels compelled to check the work. (I belong to the second group.)
Mary Kole, an associate agent at the Andrea Brown Literary Agency, is holding another contest. This one is for the first 500 words of a MG or YA novel. The winner gets a 15 page critique. Click here for details.
When I started writing TAoCBS, I thought it was a middle grade novel.
When I brought the first chapter to my critique group, they said, “Oh no. This is too sexy for a midgrade. It has to be young adult.”
When I had a first page analyzed at the SCBWI-MI fall conference, the panel members were aghast that I called it a YA. “This voice is obviously midgrade.” They spoke at length about this designation, implying that the author didn’t know what she was doing. (Thanks.)
When I entered this novel in a query contest, I referred to it as “upper midgrade.” (hedging my bets)
When I got the rejection letter, it said, “30k is really not long enough for today's YA market.” (Yes, of course, but I thought it was a MG.)
Currently, I am revising TAoCBS in hopes that someday it will be bigger and better. But when I resubmit, I don’t know how I’m going to classify it.