Author Archives: Meredith Hinds
Words for Word People, Week 2 – “Antiphon”
I should probably write one of these for myself that defines the word “week.”
The word of the week is “antiphon.”
An antiphon is a line of a psalm that is repeated between each of the stanzas, kind of like a single-line chorus. In traditional services, psalms are sung together this way. The cantor, up at the front, sings the antiphon, then extends their arm, inviting everyone else to repeat it. After each of the cantor’s stanzas, all gathered repeat the antiphon.
This is an efficient way to get people to sing together without much rehearsal. Psalms and antiphons. The same line, over and over. The meaning of “The Lord hears the cry of the poor,” evolves throughout the psalm, as each new stanza contributes to and builds upon that original idea. To understand something, we need to hear it repeated in different contexts.
Too many books (and book concepts) lack antiphons. The ideas are lined up neatly, each in their own chapter “box.” But starting another chapter is like starting a new book. The best books say just one thing – there’s only one antiphon, and it’s repeated after every stanza. Every idea hearkens back to the antiphon, every example supports the antiphon, and, as the reader sees the same antiphon again and again, she finally comes to understand what it means.
If you want to write a great book, don’t try to say the right things. Say just one thing.
Words for Word People, Week 1 – “Jesus”
The word of the week is “Jesus,” which is kind of an ambitious place to start.
I type the word “Jesus” on a regular basis – I work with many manuscripts that revolve around him (or Him?). Recently, I was doing a round of quick edits on something and I accidentally edited the “u” out of one of the many instances of “Jesus.”
I paused my editing whirlwind to laugh. One exempt vowel, and “Jess” is being baptized in the Jordan, which is still great, but certainly lacks same significance.
I don’t think anyone needs to be obsessive about “getting it right” the first time, especially when it comes to words. I am decidedly on the side of just getting out of the way and WRITING, of allowing the many others in the chain of publication to take care of things like a missing “u.”
But when I do catch things like that, I am grateful for the reminder that combing through a manuscript for little oddities matters because words matter. And, evidently, one “u” can change everything.
That is the goal for this afternoon. But what I’m learning is that most good work is done in the morning, and I only have half an hour left to get rejected 10 times. Off the start line at 3:04 p.m. sharp.
One down. I asked for coffee AND rejection in that email. I had to rearrange my sentences a few times.
Two down. I am not sure if I had already sent the same email to that contact or not…
And as it turns out, that contact has an auto-reply for medical leave (say short prayer for contact…). Not sure if I should still count that rejection.
I’m counting it.
Three and Four down. I shamelessly asked to be on that contact’s podcast, so that should be two rejections with one email.
Seven down. I included the URL of this website in that email, which might have been a little risky…
Well, one affirmative reply for the coffee. And another out of the office email.
Does it count as a rejection if I can’t find the email I’m looking for?
And the toddlers are back, so I am out with nine at 3:43 p.m. Looking forward to tomorrow’s rejection.
Thoughts on Platform
To the authors I know:
I’m not envious of many of your tasks. Especially not the task of creating a platform. I don’t know if this is true, but I get the sense that authors in ye olden days (like the 80s) were vigorously promoted by their publishing houses. Please comment if I’m mistaken, I would really like to know. My impression is that in the here and now, to sell even a single piece paper, you need at least six social media platforms with significant numbers (we’re talking thousands) of followers.
Dad and I own a URL because it’s part of being a business, any kind of business, in 2020. But we’re not trying to attract traffic to the site necessarily. Hello, Russian bots! Actually we’ve only managed to attract ONE Russian bot. That is how little I understand about attracting traffic to a site. I guess this is my way of defining my job – I am only helpful when it comes to Word documents – email me one of those, and I’m all in. Your twitter account, though? You know much more than I do. Dad and I just need the site listed on our business cards to be a valid link, not an Error 404 kind of situation.
All that to say – I know that platform can be a difficult part of your job. But don’t give up. The world (or a select portion of the people in the world) need your words. Good luck out there.