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English Conversations with Cliff LMA004, BARBARA w CLIFF #10.1

BARBARA w CLIFF #10.1

Today sped by in a blur. It seems like we hit the end of our session almost before we began. Some of that, I think, is because we spent a good amount of that time talking about reading and writing, and as the expression goes, time flies when you're having fun. I have a lot of fun talking about books and about writing books. You asked me about the process of writing and I told you that for my first book I followed the advice of one of my favorite authors. His advice was to not plan anything out. He felt like planning things out ahead of time stifled creativity and took the magic out of the story. So what he does is he sits down and he writes five pages every day and has no idea what's going to happen until he writes them. I tried doing the same thing, except that it took me several years to finish the story and when I did finish it, it was something in the realm of 250,000 words. That's entirely too long for a book. So when it came time to write the second one, I decided that I was going to do something very different, and so I planned it all out. I wrote an outline and then I wrote a chapter by chapter synopsis of what I was going to do. That meant that I had a lot more work to do before even starting the book proper, but once I did do it, it was easier to write and I was able to go much faster. It took me a year to do the entire thing as opposed to the better part of a decade the first time around. We also talked about how being a writer changes how I read and how it involves not just taking in the story, but being aware of the craft. The word choice, the character development, the pacing, all of this is it part of the reading process. I'm aware of all of these things instead of just taking it in as a member of the audience. However that doesn't take away from my enjoyment of the book. In fact, I would argue that it adds to it because I am aware of many more things that I might not otherwise have to appreciate. Then we moved on to talking about three things we have in common and you immediately jumped on the first one, which is we both love to read, and that turned into a discussion. You said that while you're not particularly tied to any one genre you do like a fictional crime books, novels, because like you said if you want true crime you can just watch the news. You read a book not too long ago based on real events called The American Soil, in which a woman flees Mexico after some people in her family are killed by members of the drug cartel. But what the book really focused on was the the migration from Mexico to America and all of the dangers that that travel is fraught with, especially the the dangers of shady coyotes. You said it was sad to think about the danger of the travel. I asked you if you ever read books in English and you said you could but mostly you read in Slovenia, or Slovenian. Then we talked about print size. You said that a lot of the American paperbacks are in such small print that it's difficult to read. That brought me back down memory lane when I worked at a book publisher and they would use the, I cannot remember what it's called now, it had a specific name, but it was a pricing matrix based on projected sales where they can figure out how much money they could make on a book based on what they charged for it. Sometimes they would opt to print a more expensive book, knowing you would sell less, but the unit price would more than make up for that. And the size of the book impacts printing size, which then impacts cost. So a lot of the books that you are seeing with small print were deliberately designed that way because they wanted to keep the price low.. For the second thing we have in common, you pegged us both as animal lovers. You have your cat. I have my dog. Absolutely true. And then finally, you hazarded a guess that we would both be traveling more if the circumstances were more forgiving. And that sounds absolutely right to me. Though, as I pointed out, you have already been to the Maldives, which is a place high on my list of go. And my girlfriend's as well, which works out well because if I go somewhere it would be nice if she came with me. So I really should pick a place where we both want to go.



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BARBARA w CLIFF #10.1

Today sped by in a blur. It seems like we hit the end of our session almost before we began. Some of that, I think, is because we spent a good amount of that time talking about reading and writing, and as the expression goes, time flies when you're having fun. I have a lot of fun talking about books and about writing books. You asked me about the process of writing and I told you that for my first book I followed the advice of one of my favorite authors. His advice was to not plan anything out. He felt like planning things out ahead of time stifled creativity and took the magic out of the story. So what he does is he sits down and he writes five pages every day and has no idea what's going to happen until he writes them. I tried doing the same thing, except that it took me several years to finish the story and when I did finish it, it was something in the realm of 250,000 words. That's entirely too long for a book. So when it came time to write the second one, I decided that I was going to do something very different, and so I planned it all out. I wrote an outline and then I wrote a chapter by chapter synopsis of what I was going to do. That meant that I had a lot more work to do before even starting the book proper, but once I did do it, it was easier to write and I was able to go much faster. It took me a year to do the entire thing as opposed to the better part of a decade the first time around. We also talked about how being a writer changes how I read and how it involves not just taking in the story, but being aware of the craft. The word choice, the character development, the pacing, all of this is it part of the reading process. I'm aware of all of these things instead of just taking it in as a member of the audience. However that doesn't take away from my enjoyment of the book. In fact, I would argue that it adds to it because I am aware of many more things that I might not otherwise have to appreciate. Then we moved on to talking about three things we have in common and you immediately jumped on the first one, which is we both love to read, and that turned into a discussion. You said that while you're not particularly tied to any one genre you do like a fictional crime books, novels, because like you said if you want true crime you can just watch the news. You read a book not too long ago based on real events called The American Soil, in which a woman flees Mexico after some people in her family are killed by members of the drug cartel. But what the book really focused on was the the migration from Mexico to America and all of the dangers that that travel is fraught with, especially the the dangers of shady coyotes. You said it was sad to think about the danger of the travel. I asked you if you ever read books in English and you said you could but mostly you read in Slovenia, or Slovenian. Then we talked about print size. You said that a lot of the American paperbacks are in such small print that it's difficult to read. That brought me back down memory lane when I worked at a book publisher and they would use the, I cannot remember what it's called now, it had a specific name, but it was a pricing matrix based on projected sales where they can figure out how much money they could make on a book based on what they charged for it. Sometimes they would opt to print a more expensive book, knowing you would sell less, but the unit price would more than make up for that. And the size of the book impacts printing size, which then impacts cost. So a lot of the books that you are seeing with small print were deliberately designed that way because they wanted to keep the price low..  For the second thing we have in common, you pegged us both as animal lovers. You have your cat. I have my dog. Absolutely true. And then finally, you hazarded a guess that we would both be traveling more if the circumstances were more forgiving. And that sounds absolutely right to me. Though, as I pointed out, you have already been to the Maldives, which is a place high on my list of go. And my girlfriend's as well, which works out well because if I go somewhere it would be nice if she came with me. So I really should pick a place where we both want to go.

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