Archive for the ‘About Writing’ Category

Getting Your Book Translated Into Other Languages

March 21, 2018

Many writers have thought about getting their books translated, but are worried about the expense. This is certainly an issue, as it is both good for visibility (‘platform’) and adjunct sales.

 

I have tried to use BabelCube, with no success. I had a couple of offers to translate one of my books, but the deal never got done. I think most of the people they connect you with are amateurs looking for something easy. Furthermore, you sacrifice a lot in using that service. If I remember correctly, the translator gets something like 85% of the profits, which leaves you more like you would from a publishing company. Fair enough, I suppose, but you also lose some control over the product, as you only get a short period to approve the translation. If you have only one book and are not concerned with money, but simply in getting your book out there in different languages, that’s probably a reasonable way to go. All in all, I chose not to pursue that route any longer.

 

As an alternative to employing both a professional translator and then an editor, I have devised a less expensive way, especially as I currently have half a dozen books. First, use a translating software. Then employ a good editor for quality and accuracy.

 

If you want to use a professional software, I found several. For example, there is Systran Professional Translator – Spanish Language $249. I don’t know how good it is, but it is more oriented to business documents.  If you have several books, it might be worth the cost.

 

However, there are several pretty good free versions you can download. They include Google Translator, Microsoft Translate, and the one I tried, Babylon. I tested it on the prologue of “The Grindstone”. I’m not fluent in Spanish, but good enough to know it was a very good translation. On the positive side, it kept the paragraph formatting and phrases I had in Italics, and punctuated the sentences well. On the downside, it did not translate colloquialisms (e.g., ain’t) and some contractions, as well as words it did not have in its dictionary, such as ‘bastard’. Some of those I could correct, others could just be left for the editor. You can probably increase the dictionary, although I did not check.

 

With the free software, you have to do the manuscript in chunks (such as chapters), and spend your own time checking for the non-translated portions. But then you get to hand a pretty close translation to a professional editor of that language who would be charged with making those corrections anyhow, as well as ensuring the quality of the translation. This gives you complete control of the final product, and gets that first big step done at little or no monetary cost.

 

If you are a serious writer, having translations of your work is a powerful tool. If you spend the time, you can greatly reduce the costs while maintaining control of your work. Good luck!

 

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“Fools and Mortals” by Bernard Cornwell

November 8, 2017

via Book Corner: Fools and Mortals by Bernard Cornwell

I’m a huge fan of Cornwell (currently reading his “Last Kingdom” series), and my WIP (work in progress) is called “The Shakespeares and the Crown”, so I am very excited to read his version of Will’s story. Cornwell’s a great storyteller, and I hope to glean a couple of lessons from his work.

John Shakspear’s (Shakespeare) Contribution to Art (and Catholicism)

February 6, 2017

http://hyperallergic.com/344523/saved-by-shakespeares-father-a-series-of-medieval-murals-is-finally-restored/

The above article proves that John Shakspear (as he spelled his name), then an official in the borough of Statford upon Avon, was a dedicated Catholic who defied the dictates of the new Protestant regime in England. Rather than destroy the artwork in the church, he had whitewash painted over. This evidence helps to prove my contentions about John, and then William, in my upcoming novel “The Shakespeares and the Crown”.

Essay ‘beta readers’ Wanted!

December 17, 2016

I have written an essay for Notting Hill Editions, a prestigious British essay publishing company. I would really love a couple of beta readers to give me feedback.
shakespeareThe title is “Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’: A Warning to Elizabeth?” The thesis is that the play was much more of a political message than a simple love story. Including the bibliography (which you can ignore!), it’s 7,000 words, or about 15 pages. Please let me know if you might be interested. Thanks!

You can email me at donmakerauthor@gmail.com

Tribute to Tolstoy

September 9, 2016

I read “War and Peace” a few centuries ago (it seems), but I had no idea Tolstoy wrote essays on pacifism and philosophy that greatly influenced Ghandi and King, Jr.! Always interesting to learn more about great writers. Thanks to Abbie Lu for blogging this.tolstoy

(Click on the link, then on the ensuing link for her blog.)

“We can know only that we know nothing.”

Source: Tribute to Tolstoy

Plot Arcs

September 8, 2016

I’m not a great fan of ‘formulaic writing’, but this is a very good analysis of the basic structure of all fiction.

STORY STRUCTURE: The 5 Key Turning Points of All Successful Screenplays

A Great Article on Promoting Science to Children!

July 29, 2016

This article, from the Indiana Writers’ Conference, was near and dear to my heart! I tried to use the same techniques, especially humor and research to make certain the science was accurate, in my YA novel “Miranda’s Magic”. I think it’s great that other writers are using fiction to promote an understanding and love of science in children.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

To Instill Love of Earth Sciences in Younger Minds

by Hardarshan S. Valia

From my nascent days of schooling in the small town of Chindwara, India, I’ve marveled at the colorful canvas of rocks displaying flow of highly colored minerals. I was lucky enough to follow my passion of the Earth’s history through schooling into my work place at Inland Steel (now Arcelor Mittal) R&D Laboratories, East Chicago, Indiana. My professional life was dedicated to studying carbon usage in the steel industry. There, I studied with amazement the magical formation of colorful carbon forms during the coal-to-coke carbonization process. To an untrained eye, coal and coke are dirty-looking materials. But looking under an optical microscope, seeing how the organic entities in coal melt into nematic liquid crystals that come closer and seem to talk to each other as they coalesce into a beautiful entity called coke, one falls in love with nature’s wonder. It is this intoxicating interaction with science that I wanted to share with others.

No, no, I did not run like Archimedes shouting, “Eureka!” because the coal-to-coke carbonization phenomenon had been observed for years, but I started to go to nearby schools to help children see the beauty of earth materials that I saw and continue to see. My work travels had taken me to many parts of the world where I would take every opportunity to amass my collection of rocks, minerals, and fossils. Like a folk storyteller, armed with my earth wares and wealth of stories, I would sing the Song of Earth and tell stories of Earth’s Evolution to children who, in my biased opinion, loved it very much. After the end of class, they were allowed to handle the specimens and make their own observations. Those years of telling tales finally ended up in my taking on a project of writing a book where my protagonist describes the evolution of life through various geologic times.

There are four points I consider in writing for children to make Geology/Earth Science attractive to them.

1) Make it scientifically correct.

Stories/films are frequently endowed with creative licenses; the brain evolves and knowledge-hungry children are able to sort out facts from fiction. This means, yes, there is a role for Science Fiction for children in an effort to ignite the “What If” moment. However, misconception should not be created when writing science genre for children. Presentation of scientific facts must be based on what we currently understand as valid science. In my story, some characters are fantastical but the science of Earth’s history is accurate.

2) Show large scale geologic phenomenon in simple form.

Example:

To show that Mountains are formed when rocks are folded or uplifted, I show them an actual slab of Marble from China where a layer of Iron-rich brown/black mineral is folded into mini-mountains amidst the backdrop of white marble.

3) Connect the unknown to the known

Example:

To show that two organisms probably evolved from a common ancestor, I show them a large rock slab that contains two straight shelled Orthoceras and three coiled shelled Ammonite fossil types of Cephalopod fossils from the Atlas Mountain Range of Southern Morocco (See Figure 2).

The fossils are from the Devonian age (359-416 million years ago). I connect them to the current relatives of Cephalopod as follows:

4) Anthropomorphism and humor are effective techniques

Example:

To make it interesting in my story, I portray how my protagonist is drowning due to turbulence in the ocean and is rescued by a cephalopod who grabs the protagonist and provides shelter in its chamber. To give interest to my fossil character, I make them talk and exhibit all ranges of anthropomorphism.

Here is a scene in my story when the protagonist first meets a Mastodon before the start of the ice age.

“Sunny, why do you carry that trunk?” I wanted to know.

“I was the Sheppard for the Pigsty family. I used my trunk as a rope to encircle smaller pigsty.” He spoke as a stand-up comedian with a serious look on his face.

“Come on, that’s not the real reason.” I knew that he was kidding around.

“I was a circus acrobat. I used my trunk to swing from the high rope,” he said seriously.

“Oh, really!” I wanted to tease him. “Show us your great swings on this tree!” I pointed to a large tree trunk before me.

“That tree won’t take my weight. I need a big tree.” He knew fully well there was no tree in sight that would support his weight.

“Come on! I need to know now. Why do you carry that trunk?” I was getting impatient.

“O.K., O.K., Small Doodle!” That is the name he used for me whenever he showed affection. Then he continued, “A big body needs big hands, a big mouth, and a big stomach so our noses and upper lips became elongated, resembling a hand-like feature, allowing us to pick up food from the ground or pluck leaves from the trees.” He said the entire thing in one breath.

“Very interesting!” I exclaimed. His explanation made perfect sense. I marveled at nature’s evolutionary processes.

This approach is how I disseminate the beauty and the science of Earth through story telling and writing to those well on their passageway from childhood to adulthood.

__________

Hardarshan S. Valia has published stories, essays, and poems in magazines such as: Huffington Post, NWI Times, Urthona, Hub, Bitterroot, Iron & Steel Technology, Sikhnet, Sikhchic, and Sikh Review. A story entitled “India…ana” will be published in a book entitled “Undeniably Indiana” by Indiana University Press in August 2016. During his tenure as Staff Scientist at Inland Steel (now Arcelor Mittal) R&D Laboratories, East Chicago, he contributed mostly to science journals and science books. He is married and has two children. He is a member of Indiana Writers’ Consortium, Magic Hour Writers Group, Write on Hoosiers and SCBWI.

Posted by Indiana Writers’ Consortium at 12:00 AM No comments:

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Labels: Hardarshan S. Valia, writing for children

A New Interview of Me and My Work

July 24, 2016

My latest interview, as posted by Maria Grace on her blogsite. Please give it a read, and see some of her other interviews of interesting writers. Cheers!

Writing Superheroes: Don Maker

Some Very Different Writing for Me

June 19, 2016

I have published four novels now, most of them historical fiction. So this is something very different for me.

In high school and throughout college, I acted in many school and community theater plays. I also minored in psychology in college. So I decided to combine those two disciplines. SIGI AND CARL explores the questions that plague most of us: Have we done something truly meaningful with our life? Will we leave a legacy? This surrealistic play responds through the life and relationships of Sigmund Freud, with Carl Jung as his major counter-point. Guest figures include Hamlet, Albert Einstein, Anna Freud, and Melanie Klein.

SCHOOLS AND TEACHERS, please note: I am happy to provide text copies at no charge if you would like to read in class or produce any or all of this play. As an educator, I wish to promote knowledge as well as creative thinking.

If you have time, please give this a look.

https://www.amazon.com/Sigi-Carl-Play-Three-Acts-ebook/dp/B01GT3Q5YQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1466304510&sr=8-1&keywords=sigi+and+carl

I’ve Been Interviewed!

June 5, 2016

Annie Whitehead, an award-winning historical fiction writer and a member of the Historical Fiction Society, was kind enough to interview me for her blog.

http://anniewhitehead2.blogspot.co.uk/2016/06/from-charlemagne-to-shakespeare-and.html