Christmas Gift for any Content Creator: Help from Charles Dickens

Writing favours for people like you – who create quality content – is easy. It can be boosted by one author (today), Charles Dickens.

Read on … it’s not too high-brow!

Charles Dickens
Charles Dickens, a writer and friend for creators

  Let me explain before you click me. I am on your side.

Since the 1960s – about when the Beatles were stumbling out, towards their world fame, I have used quotes from literature (and journalism) to boost my business and non-fiction writing. Looking around in what, for me, is newish territory, after ten +  years away from it – the internet world I mean – I find that I was wrong to think that the idea of remix was widespread. It’s re-mix after all! (Lessig uses it a lot.) Take an idea, a piece of prose for example. and put it in a new context.

With a very slight twist. it can spur you to come out with a new way of saying even the mundane. This is ‘remix’, as US  information and content  law expert, Lawrence Lessig, has been saying for years:  Remix and Thinking Sideways lie at the bedrock of creativity.

Google seems not to have heard of such a thing. And that is a headache, when people like the web
GURUS ram the importance of key words down one’s throat.

I have welcomed Charles Dickens to help me out – to demonstrate how books and plays, ads and designs … cartoons, comics … anything called arts can generate the fresh ideas for effective copy – the kind that you must produce day in day out, for effective business communication.

So …  A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Remember it?

A reformed Scrooge with Bob Cratchit
A reformed Scrooge with Bob Cratchit

Perhaps you skimmed over that  man Dickens at school  in your rush to get to something more contemporary.

This mini-refresher could boost your everyday work in communicating your ideas.  Rinse your taste buds and taste anew what you had forgotten in the grind of the year’s toil! Take a fresh look and inject some of the Christmas Carol spirit into your work.

Replace the stale taste with toothsome new recipes for the words that demand market attention. See Christmas through the wide eyes of a child as Matisse put it.

An idea older than Dickens can boost your copy

  • This is the approach to communication brings art into the business realm or business into the arts realm.
  • It’s easy enough and absolutely free. It’s just what Mr. Scrooge would have  cheered about before Charles D. had finished his Chapter 5.

Ready then?

Continue reading “Christmas Gift for any Content Creator: Help from Charles Dickens”

Lonewordsmith Selects 2012 Back List : The Metaphysical Club

Lonewordsmith concentrates on books that fire up your content: fiction or non-fiction.

Like the magazine writer that he is and the academician he is, Louis Menand springs, not strolls, into his passionate account of American ideas in the 201th Century.

ISBN 0-374-52849-7 ( pbk)                                          Published in 2001 by Farrar, Straus & Giroux won Pulitzer Prize

Published in 2001 by Farrar, Straus & Giroux won Pulitzer Prize
Louis Menand author
Professor of English, The New Yorker article contributor, Louis Menand

The Metaphysical Club pursues a witch hunt that paces through a tale of happenstance, mental groping and personality sleuthing. It looks down on the accidental collision of a small group of great American minds.

The book is based on evidence and a large amount of analyzing. It displays traces of modern crime fiction and an identical, evidential piling of questions, answers and the blaming.

So what was his theme?

The Civil War swept away the slave civilization of the South, but it swept away almost the whole intellectual culture of the North along with it. It took nearly half a century for the United States to develop a clear culture, and a way of thinking, that would help people to cope with the conditions of modern life. That struggle is the subject of this book.

There it is.

A blogging specialist might now call the driving force of its site: the theme, or the ‘creative arc’.

But whatever you call it, all effective writing: sets out on a journey for its reader, unravels its details and draws the threads together in the end (or promises to in the next episode).

The take-away?

If you look back at Menand says above, you notice that it gives the impression of being somewhat of an elevator pitch. Theme, arc or elevator pitch, is often the shape of a strong piece of ‘content’.  


Here is someone else’s description and opinion on this book:

A riveting, original book about the creation of the modern American mind. The Metaphysical Club was an informal group that met in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1872, to talk about ideas. Its members included Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., founder of modern jurisprudence; William James, the father of modern American psychology; and Charles Sanders Peirce, logician, scientist, and the founder of semiotics. The Club was probably in existence for about nine months. No records were kept. The one thing we know that came out of it was an idea – an idea about ideas.    by the anon Amazon Com bot

“What is enthralling and illuminating about The Metaphysical Club is its portraits of individuals and their milieus. Menand is wonderfully deft at evoking a climate of ideas or a cultural sensibility, embodying it in a character, and moving his characters into and out of one another’s lives. What might have been a jumble of intellectual movements and colorful minor figures (…) is instead a subtle weave of entertaining narrative and astute interpretation.” – George Scialabba , The American Prospect

And one snippet of a review that skids close to (or fends off) the negative, but escapes the fall:

“(A) story of almost ludicrous breadth and depth, winding around handwriting analysis, birds, racism, railroads, universities, and God. The threat of philosophical textbookism hovers in the margins, but Menand’s determination to “see ideas as always soaked through by the personal and social situations in which we find them” fends off that danger with sometimes dazzling effect.” – Ron Charles, Christian Science Monitor

Astute, entertaining narrative, enthralling and illuminating, a subtle weave (?). dazzling effect, philosophical textbookism (wow).

All this comment about an excursion among ideas?  Could be a rich source of the way to write, anything   All you must do is some thinking sideways as Alan Fletcher suggested.

Alan Fletcher's Design for his own book
Alan Fletcher’s Design for his own book

If you would like to check up on this suggestion for a book you will come back to again, you might try looking at or your regular supkier of boks of quality.

Neil McPherson is a former broadcaster and journalist who now lives in Germany and writes novels and short pieces for publication. Information about his coming projects is described  by clicking here.

Love to have your comments on this post and of course the book from my backlist: The Metaphysical Club by Louis Menand

Share 4 Ways to Step into e-Publishing Your Book Now

The Situation In Book Publishing, Book Selling Industries … and you


Author, successful business-woman, Valerie Khoo of Sydney, Australia  with her new book Power Stories

Who knows more about the book ‘changes’ and what to do about them?

You are a writer, published or unpublished. Or you have an idea for a new book,  that spins around in your skull.  Sounds like you?

There is good news: a simpler, less stressful, personal way to break out of the book-draft-pile has arrived. It costs you less and it looks like this: write your book for e-publishing and e-selling.

                                                                  You control the process – if you want.

My historical novel, The Bitter Creek was stalled by a major Australian publisher for over 12 months. The publisher, ‘liked the contents’ of my book but they couldn’t “find a place in their publishing schedule”. Is that too a familiar refrain for you?

Last week (in October 2012) my regular Google summary of the publishing industry, seven out of the ten top rating stories were focused on two, worldwide (household) names: Random House and Penguin Books were surrounded by rumors about merging to battle ‘the book storm’.

You want to get published, right?

A mammoth un-climbable wall has grown between writers and their creation being released to the waiting world: the ‘wall’ appears to be the book publishing industry itself, how it operates and how costly it is.

Summing up the torrent of ‘Breaking News’ about two aspects of the book caper looks like this:

  • Books can now be sold in new ways. Local and chain book stores must regroup, and retool.
  • Publishing a book is now easier and cheaper to handle. Traditional (costly) publishing is under pressure.

Who knows more about these book ‘changes’? Who can help us do something about them?

Of course, many people on the Internet and especially those swarming through the ‘social media’ are flinging themselves into the hubbub of a market place).

My manuscript and I sit in the middle of all that chaos.  A writer and communicator in teaching, broadcasting, journalism, publication, information outlets and entertainment venues … over four decades, I now have two writing projects ‘on my plate’. I am uncertain: publish on demand?

Continue reading “Share 4 Ways to Step into e-Publishing Your Book Now”