A “Novel” Approach to This Post

By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The PRDude)

Poetry. Drama. Short stories. Non-fiction works.

As I humbly learned, writing a novel can prove fleeting at times. Image courtesy of Academic Help.

All these forms of the written word challenge the writer of literature, commentary and criticism. But it’s the novel — that extended extended genre of fiction — that truly provides the examination and demonstration of the writer’s skill, dedication, drive and passion.

It’s with first-hand experience that I make this assertion.

Last week, I completed the “Novel Writing Workshop” course, another educational step toward earning a master’s degree in English.  Completing the course, however, did not equate to completing my novel.

Ah, the sound and connotation of those words, “my novel.” Yes, I am underway with an extended work of fiction, and I plan to complete a draft by August.

Hold me to that.

In my class, I was one of six fledgling novelists. Some already had works published, others were well into stories that spanned genres (a young woman growing up in a foreign brothel, a surreal account of spirits interacting with people), topics (detective tales, a search for a missing child) and continents (from North America to Asia.)  Me, I created a protagonist who to my knowledge has not been used before: A building engineer. From Chicago, as you’d expect.

More on my story soon.

Every class I’ve taken these past six semesters has culminated in gaining knowledge and understanding of the written word. And, all have improved my cognitive skills.

To summarize, here’s what I learned over the past 14 weeks:

  • First Person.  Writing in first person is harder than anticipated. I launched my work taking the narrator’s point of view, but the instructor and classmates wholeheartedly suggested I move to the third person omniscient. I did, and it really made a difference in the narrative.
  • Accepting Criticism.  At first I was somewhat stunned by critical comments, leading to defensive replies: “What do you mean there’s not enough conflict? Why do you find the dialogue too dense at times? So, what the heck does understanding temporal distance and free-indirect discourse have to do with writing a novel?” Every writer receives criticism; I learned to accept feedback and move on.
  • Map Out the Complete Storyline.  Before class started in early September, I drafted a two-page synopsis of sorts, but I really didn’t craft a solid plot or a conclusion. That led to a roadblock, one I’ve since overcome.
  • Point of View Characters. There can only be so many “POV” characters in a work for it to be intriguing and make sense. I learned to restrict this perspective to my protagonist and the guy who’s the villain.
  • Trust Your Instincts.  In light of the aforementioned, it will be my name below the title of the work. When the manuscript is completed, the results will be based on what I think is right.

And now, a sample. Here’s the first paragraph of the work:

“For Myron Jezmanski, here’s how it goes when everything is right, when nothing unexpected gets in the way, when he can count on the day being like the day before, and the day before that, and there’s no crap or nonsense that he has to deal with and he can close his eyes and just be thankful for what he’s built, what he has, and what he’s earned. First, the dog is still asleep when he awakes at 5:30 a.m., which means Myron doesn’t have to let him in the yard until he’s had a shower, coffee – one-half teaspoon of sugar only — and a bowl of Cheerios with fruit – dried fruit in the wintertime, fresh fruit when it’s in season. Hell, if he’s going to pay $4.99 for a pint of strawberries in January. If they’re out of Cheerios, he will eat his wife’s granola, even though he really doesn’t see the big deal in granola.”

What do you gain from these 157 words about my protagonist? Stay tuned for more.

By the way, the title of my novel is “The Way It’s Supposed to Be.”

 

 

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A Question Posed in a Song Written a Long Time Ago

By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The PRDude)

For decades, music has been a big part of my life.

I’ve played guitar and sung (arguably with relative competence) for some 50 years, at home, with the band Love House and during music classes.

For more than a dozen years, I contributed articles and reviews to music-based publications, most notably the Illinois Entertainer.

And, I’ve composed my own music.

Starting in the 1980s, I’ve written lots of rock, pop and blues songs, some 70 that I still have lyrics to and can remember the melody line.

The lyrics to the song within this post is especially poignant today.

Yes, I still love rock and roll and all that goes with it — the freedom, the expression, the emotions. But over the years, my personal musical pallet has embraced bluegrass, Western swing, jazz and even classical.  (Still can’t grasp opera, but can appreciate the work and talent involved.)

“Will I Still Be Rockin’ at 63” was written in 1985 or thereabouts.  I probably recorded this composition with my now-gone but well-used Tascam Portastudio, a marvel in audio engineering at the time, as it allowed unschooled enthusiasts like me a platform to record voice, guitar, drums and keyboards on a multiple track cassette tape machine, then mix the sounds to two-track.

In those days, arranging and recording songs in my apartment on Chicago’s northwest side, I felt akin to Todd Rundgren. It was just me, my instruments and gear, and my music.

Back in day, I first scribbled the lyrics to a song on a yellow legal pad or sheet of paper, then typed out the final version on my then trusty Smith Corona manual. These days, I still initially scribble lyrics to songs on paper. For some reason, I kept both the original handwritten and printed versions of this song.

 

Copyright, Edward M. Bury, August 2018.

As for the melody to this composition, perhaps I’ll record it the modern way — digitally of course — and post on my YouTube channel.

As for the question posed in the song, I guess I have 364 more days to determine the answer.

Who Are These New PRDude “Followers?”

By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The PRDude)

Let’s face it, the PRDude blog I’ve published since September 4 of 2009 is the epitome of a labor of love, along with an equal amount of blood, sweat and sometimes tears.

Hello Word Press! Can you shed any light on these new “followers” to my blog and personal website?

Like many who write about public relations and other topics that certainly lack appeal to the vast masses of readers today, there are no financial remunerations through subscriptions, sponsored content or tile ads.

Well, not yet at least; as I noted in this 2013 post, the blog is for sale for the right price.

The impetus behind this site is the freedom to share my thoughts on public relations, politics, popular culture and more; hopefully readers find value, and hopefully some even subscribe.

Which brings me to the subject of this post. Over the past several days, I’ve received email notices from the nice folks at WordPress about new followers.  Yea!  Someone out there appreciates my prose and ideas.

But upon an examination of the email addresses for the handful of new recent followers, I became suspicious.  Here are two examples, one for the PRDude blog, one for my personal website:

sancheznuzricardoof@outlook.com just started following you at https://prdude.wordpress.com. They will receive an email every time you publish a post. Congratulations.

guillenqsmjacquelineuf@outlook.com just started following you at http://edwardmbury.com. They will receive an email every time you publish a post. Congratulations.

Note the “name” before the @ symbol in both addresses.

Who or what the hell are these “followers?” Why the hell do they want to follow my blog and site? Should I be concerned?  Should I try to remove them?

I attempted to bring this to the attention of WordPress but am not sure if my message to the help desk was received.

So, I leave it up to you, kind readers: What should I do?

A shout out to — sancheznuzricardoof@outlook.com — and other new “followers” who will get this post: Take note of the questions above.