Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! May your holiday be filled with food, family, and love!
Happy November, y’all! You know what that means, right? It’s NANOWRIMO time!
National Novel Writing Month is your chance to write that novel you’ve always dreamed of. The organization behind the event gives you support and helps you track progress. If you’re the kind of writer who needs a bit of structure and accountability, this is for you!
So get out your notebooks and pens, or your keyboard and fingers as the case may have it, and get to writing! Who’s in?
Here are some prompts from the depths of the Internet to get you started.
- Your mind still works when you’re dead!
- A mysterious city discovered by drones.
- Portraits made from discarded DNA. Think twice about spitting out that gum next time.
- Ah, the things you’ll find in glacier melt.
- Oranges to the rescue. Do you think this would work in my yard?
- Apparently fish can’t recognize upside down faces.
- What a squirrelly diagnosis!
Keep us updated on your progress using hashtag #IEWriteNow!
The devastation across our country from natural disasters has been unimaginable. Right now, we at Inkblot are particularly concerned for our 3.4 million US brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico, where the destruction is nearly absolute. They are without food, potable water, power, or the ability to communicate with the rest of the world.
Fortunately there are organizations on the ground in Puerto Rico ready to help. One of those is GlobalGiving, which connects donors with local nonprofits to provide relief. They have a nearly perfect score on Charity Navigator and a vetted fund for Puerto Rico and Caribbean Hurricane Relief, meaning all donations to this fund exclusively support relief and recovery efforts.
When we started Inkblot, one goal was to give back to our amazing community. Each quarter, we usually donate to a local organization, but this quarter, we haven’t been able to get the devastation in Puerto Rico out of our heads. Thus, we are donating to GlobalGiving. They do such important work, and we’re honored to be able to help their cause.
If you find yourself in the position to give, consider GlobalGiving or the many other worthy organizations helping with disaster relief across the United States.
To the author and editor, final files for books generally get handed off to a magician in the production department, and then the finished, printed books appear a few weeks later. But what happens in between? We’ve covered how books are bound, but what fairy dust is sprinkled to put words on pages?
There are three methods for printing that publishers can use: letterpress, offset, and digital.
Letterpress is the OG of printing methods. You can read more about literal typesetting here. A letterpress uses metal or plastic plates of type or images; the user rolls sheets of paper over the inked plates to transfer the image to the paper. It’s like super fancy stamping.
These days, letterpress is used for art, very limited edition books, and places where no power is needed. (See this post from Oh So Beautiful Paper for an inside look at artistic letterpress printing.)
After letterpress came offset. Offset printing began with “the accidental discovery that an image transferred to paper by a rubber covered cylinder was actually sharper than the image from the original type. This offset image gave rise to the name offset printing” (Self-Publisher’s 5-Minute Guide to Book Printing Processes). So, differing from letterpress, in which paper touches inked plates, offset printing has a rubber roller in between, so the ink goes from the plates, to the roller, and then to the paper. This gives the plates a longer life.
Offset printing allows way more pages to be printed at once, especially when using signatures (as mentioned in our bookbinding post). Offset can also do full-color books and has cutting and binding machines at the end of the printing process, like an assembly line that spits out whole books.
Digital printing is technology’s answer to offset. While with offset you have to print the number of books you think you’ll sell up front, with digital, you can print only the number of copies you’ve already sold. They are made-to-order and come out glued, trimmed, and with a color cover. Digital printers are essentially like super-fancy home printers. Also, you don’t have to work within the constraints of signatures, so you can have exactly the number of pages you need without blanks in the back.
Unfortunately, digital printing has yet to overtake offset when it comes to clean color images that are affordable. Thus, publishers today often use digital printing unless they have a book that needs color throughout or has an odd trim size.
Around 3 pm, I usually eat a snack because when I get hungry, I get cranky. Imagine how hard concentrating would be if I hadn’t had a square meal in a while and no chance for one in the foreseeable future? That’s where Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard, a food pantry here in Bloomington, steps in for people of all ages. They “envision a community where everyone has equal access to nutritious food, waste is minimized, and all members are healthy, self-sufficient, and empowered to reach their full potential.”
Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard believes that access to healthy food is a basic human right. In addition to housing a food pantry, they also offer two community gardens, nutrition education programs, and recipes. They constantly work to address the root causes of hunger and poverty in our community, including lunches where people can learn about building food self-reliance, registering to vote, and doubling SNAP benefits at our local farmer’s market. You can even rent gardening tools from them!
When we started Inkblot, one goal was to give back to our amazing community. Each quarter, we donate to a local organization, and this past quarter, we have chosen to thank Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard. They do such important work in our community, and we’re honored to be able to donate to their cause.
If you find yourself in the position to give, consider Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard or the many other worthy organizations in your community.
It just got humid here in Indiana, friends! To help distract you in this summer heat, here are some writing prompts, curated just for you!
- Did you know the Declaration of Independence was printed by a woman? What an amazing historical novel that would make!
- Language is tied so closely to identity. Here is one woman’s drive to save the Mayan language with graphic design.
- In South Africa, orcas are removing the livers of great white sharks with frightening accuracy. This would make for a great essay or even short story.
- It’s summer! How about a polluted-water popsicle? How will humanity’s story continue in the wake of polluted water?
Keep writing, friends!
Happy 4th of July from Inkblot Editing! We hope you use your holiday to relax and maybe even write a little!
The bit of punctuation that trips up the most people seems to be the ellipsis, the series of dots that indicate either a long pause or that text is missing. The use of ellipses depends on a few contingencies, first of which is the genre.
In fiction or more creative work, ellipses are used to indicate speech trailing off:
She looked appalled. “I can’t believe it. He just . . .”
In nonfiction work, ellipses are used to show that text has been removed to shorten quotes.
The second contingency is whether to use three dots or four. Really, it’s the same method, but the fourth dot is simply the closing period of a sentence before the ellipsis.
In his speech, Martin Luther King Jr. states, “We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. . . . Now is the time to rise . . . to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood.”
In the first instance of ellipsis, we deleted text after a completed sentence, thus using four dots: a period and an ellipsis. In the second instance, we cut text from the middle of a sentence, thus using just the ellipsis.
Note that in nonfiction, ellipses should not begin or end a quote. The reader will assume that the quoted text is taken from a larger work.
When using ellipses with other punctuation, be sure to leave a space:
. . . ?
, . . .
. . . :
and so on.
The placement of the ellipsis in regard to the other punctuation is based on where you are cutting text. For instance, if the text is before the question mark, the ellipsis also comes before the question mark.
Enjoy the pause this punctuation brings!
Last Monday, I was fortunate enough to see part of the children’s literature collection at the Lilly Library here in Bloomington. The Lilly has an amazing collection of rare books, and it’s always fun to see the treasures they bring out for various events. This particular session was all about the evolution of literature for children who were seen as tiny adults needing life instruction to children who wanted to be entertained.
The earliest examples laid out for us were horn books with the alphabet on one side and key words like dog, house, horse on the other. One mother even made instructional flash cards about the dangers of life.
As we got into the later examples of the literature—moving from straight instruction to entertainment—we were shown books like this Newberry edition of Mother Goose and this tiny boxed library set of stories.
My favorites, however, were seeing items like Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit.
And the absolute best was seeing the original manuscript for Peter Pan. What a treat!
If you ever find yourself in Bloomington, Indiana, definitely stop by the Lilly! Not only will they be able to show you amazing gems from their collection, but you’ll learn a lot too.
Y’all, I have been struggling with a stomach virus that is no joke. But in between my groans on the couch, I found these lovely gems for you. Yes, even when ill, I am thinking about writing.
When Skin Can See via Deep Look
- How do the objects in your writing affect the world you’ve built? Using props from well-known films, Jordan Bolton creates posters that capture the feel of these films without any actors. As Bolton says:
“By focusing purely on the objects and colour palette of the film, I see the posters as providing an interesting and fresh perspective on the film’s themes and characters even for someone who has seen the film many times.”
- Imagine the stories these bog bodies could tell! With advancements in science, we are able to piece together more and more of their secrets.
- In need of some settings? Check out National Geographic’s list of 17 of the world’s most wild and beautiful places.
- If you’re interested in the hows of my trip to Patagonia, here’s a rundown!
- Curious about the stories of immigrants? Check out how they have positively impacted the world.
- How many of you have ever wanted to build a spite house? Come on, be honest.
Let us know what this inspires for you by using #inkblotprompt.
Happy Friday, friends! Have a great weekend!