Monthly Archives: June 2010

A Musical Note: Gordon Lightfoot – Approaching Lavender

As promised a few days ago, something special from Gordon Lightfoot.  This song got very little air-play, at least in my neck of the woods for one short, and suggestive bit of lyric. 


Music marks itself in our minds—and helps to form our writing skills—when a melody or a lyric insinuates itself into our lives.  The concept of “our song”, or that bit of music from our past that causes the breath to catch, the heart to “skip a beat” comes from an adjoining of emotion and intellect at just the right moment. 

Approaching Lavender  is just such a song for me.  It brings back sweet memories of youth, of wonder, and of high emotion.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

As always… turn it up!


Blogosphere: 10 Questions to Ask Yourself

Continued from Part Two

New to the Series?  Start with Part One

Blogosphere: A series
Part Three: 10 Questions

Over the next several posts we will discuss some possible answers and solutions to the questions asked below

For now, just ask yourself these 10 complex  and important questions before starting your own Blog:

1.  What will be the purpose of your Blog?

2.  What are your expectations for the Blog?

3.  What is your Blog Budget?

4.  How dedicated are you to the idea of Blogging? 

5. How often do you intend to update your Blog? 


6. Where will you get the content you intend to publish?

7. Will yoyu be the only writer for your Blog?

8. How will you let people know about your Blog?

9. What design and feel do you have in mind for your Blog?

10. How will you keep track of your successes and failures?

While you’re at it, consider… Do you find any of these questions disturbing?  Are you excited by the idea of starting your own Blog?

In future postings we will take a closer look at these questions, and more.  We will go step by step in the process of starting and managing a Blog.

Make no mistake, there is a lot to do, but it can all be fun.

Ready?  Let’s go!

Continued in Part Four

Catatonic: Word of the Day

Catatonic, adj.

A muscular rigidity and mental stupor, sometimes alternating with great excitement and confusion.

The shock of seeing the daughter she had long considered dead left her in a catatonic state.

Alternate usage:

“Dang!  Cat threw up on the floor again.”

“Guess we better get him a catatonic.”

How will you use catatonic in a sentence today?

How Long Should You Write? – Document Lengths

Ever wonder how long a particular type of writing should be?  One author I know says, “It is as long as it needs to be”. 

 While this is no doubt true, there is an accepted “official” length for various types of writing.   When I went looking for a list I had seen some years ago, I couldn’t find it.  I was, however, able to find the one below. 


It is especially true for new writers, that “knowing when to quit” or “how far to go” gets a bit hazy.  Padding your work to fit a suggested word length is never a good idea.  Padding always shows up for what it is.

Gloria T. Delamar created this chart 11 years ago.  While I was unable to contact her, I was able to copy her wonderfully useful chart.

Document Lengths
  Average #
Approx. pages,
Short-short story 500-2500 2-10
Short story 2500-5000 10-20
Novelette 7000-25,000 28-100
Novel–paperback 35,000-80,000 140-320
Novel–hard cover 25,000-150,000 100-600
Humor feature 300-800 2-4
Oped 500-1000 2-5
Book review 400-1000 2-5
Newspaper feature 800-3000 4-12
Magazine article 2000-5000 8-20
Nonfiction book 20,000-200,000 80-800
Cookbook 10,000-200,000 40-800
Juvenile picture book 500-1500 (varies)
Juvenile book–mid 3000-25,000 12-100
Young adult book 15,000-80,000 60-320
Poem 2-100 lines
(4-16 lines preferred)
Play: one act 20-30 minutes 20-30 playing time
Play: three act 1 1/2 – 2 hours 90-120 playing time
TV script 1/2 hour 25-40
TV script 1 hour 55-70
Movie scenario 1 1/2 – 2 hours 120-250 playing time
Radio feature copy 15 ds lines = 1 minute
3 min = 2 pages
Public Service Announcement 45 wds = 20 sec
90 wds = 40 sec
one page; all caps
Speech 250 words = 2 minutes
12-15 pages = 1/2 hour
Book Proposal outline/summary; (varies) sample chapter(s)
Query Letter 200-500 1-2 full pages; single-spaced

You may also find usefulHow Long is a Paragraph?

A Musical Note: Buffy Saint-Marie – God is Alive, Magic is Afoot

 In 1969 Buffy Saint-Marie released the album “Illuminations”.  It was a resounding failure at that time.  The recording artist went so far as to disavow the album, deleting it from her discography.  But over the years the album has begun to regain favor in the hearts of those who take the time to listen. 

The song, “God is Alive, Magic is Afoot“, is, I believe a bit like Red Wine.  It is an acquired taste—for most, at least.  The singer took a poem by Leonard Cohen and added her music and a powerful arrangement.  Whether you are religious, or like me, agnostic, I hope you will agree that this is a very powerful song.  Especially the final line of Cohen’s poem. 

If you do not care for this piece, you are in wide company.

The Native American artwork that accompanies this song is as captivating as the song itself.

In any event, give it a try.

Blogosphere: What Are The Reasons To Start a Blog?

Continued from Part One

Blogosphere: A series
Part Two: Reasons to Blog

In our first segment we took a look at the reason not to blog.  If that hasn’t run you off, and you’re not nervous about the competition, perhaps blogging and you are a match after all.  But, let’s be sure, shall we?

What are the reasons to start a blog?

Does this seem like a no-brainer? 

Let’s list some:

  • You’ve got something you think is important to say 


  • You’re ready to push yourself further and faster
  • You want to help people or clarify an issue
  • You want to contribute to the pool of information you feel knowledgeable about
  • Because you want just one more reason to roll up your sleeves and learn something new
  • Because you’ve written a book and you need to build an audience for it
  • You want to experience a life-changing event
  • You want to establish yourself as an authority, an expert in your field
  • You want to make money
  • You want to connect with others who are interested in your favorite topics

Unlike the list of reasons not to blog, this list can grow and grow.  Doubtless you’ll have your own solid reasons for blogging.

Come to think of it, I’d like to hear them.

Your thoughts?

Continued in Part Three

Guttersnipe: Word of the Day

Guttersnipe, n.

A homeless vagabond and especially an outcast boy or girl in the streets of a city.

It broke my heart to see the children who had been turned out of the orphanage become guttersnipes.

Alternate usage:

I hadn’t known that there was a homeless military until the day I found someone laying in the street and taking aim with a long rifle.  Clearly, here was a guttersnipe(r).

How will you use guttersnipe in a sentence today?