The Aftermath: Ask the Pro with Robert Lee Brewer

Network with other poets, including fans of Robert Lee Brewer's Poetic Asides blog.
robinamelia
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Re: capitalization

Postby robinamelia » Thu May 22, 2008 11:43 am

The only one who insists on first line capitalization is Mr. Microsoft Word. It capitalizes words after paragraph breaks. Then you have to go back and uncapitalize them. Most tedious.

Robert Lee Brewer
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Re: TODAY: Ask the Pro with Robert Lee Brewer

Postby Robert Lee Brewer » Thu May 22, 2008 12:26 pm

You can fix that setting in Word by:

1. Click on Tools
2. Click on AutoCorrect (or something similar)
3. Uncheck the "Capitalize first letter of sentences" checkbox
4. Click OK

And voila! No more annoying auto capitalizations!

yogachic
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Re: TODAY: Ask the Pro with Robert Lee Brewer

Postby yogachic » Thu May 22, 2008 1:39 pm

Hi Robert.

Not sure if you will come back into this post since the time is over but I thought I'd give it a try. Today was a holiday in Germany and I planned on taking part, but an invitation came up and we never made it back home in time...even with the 6 hour time difference to help me out.

Anyway, I was wondering what advice you could offer for writers situated outside the US. It is terribly difficult to attend writing conferences or join a writing group here. I have one friend who is a published author (in German) who speaks wonderful English and Spanish as well. She is a God-send. But it'S not easy.

Also, since I am just beginning, what advice can you offer to newcomers other than write, write, write.

Any comments would be appreciated.

I am surprised there weren't more questions posted. When I realized I'd be too late,I thought I'd just read the many questions and answers and perhaps my own questions would be answered. I'm a bit disappointed by the meager turn-out. (Although perhaps it is better. You had so much extra during the PAD Challenge.....tell your boss you deserve an extra vacation day this year or better yet, hit him up for a raise. :) If only it were that easy, eh?

yogachic
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Re: TODAY: Ask the Pro with Robert Lee Brewer

Postby yogachic » Thu May 22, 2008 1:54 pm

Hello again.

When I wrote a while ago, I only saw one page of questions. Now after posting it, three pages are listed. Either it is the late hour playing tricks on me or I am just plain losing it! There really were some good questions here, so disregard the statement from earlier.

Linda

Robert Lee Brewer
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Re: TODAY: Ask the Pro with Robert Lee Brewer

Postby Robert Lee Brewer » Thu May 22, 2008 2:06 pm

Yes, there were a lot of great questions! Thanks, all!

As far as conferences from Germany, I'm not sure how best to answer that one. I assume that there may be a few in the UK?!? (All you UK writers can help me out, right?)

In regards to the learning the craft, I find the best method is reading a lot of great poets--especially entire collections by individual poets, because that allows you to enter a poet's entire worldview, which can be tremendously inspiring.

Best,

Robert

AC Leming
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Re: TODAY: Ask the Pro with Robert Lee Brewer

Postby AC Leming » Thu May 22, 2008 4:20 pm

Linda, (yogachic)

I'm involved with a couple of critique groups locally, both face to face and online. You may want to see if anyone (here) wants to start an online group with you. That way you have a deadline to meet (1x a month, 1x a week, whatever you decide to do) which forces you to write, or revise older stuff to get it to those other people. You can email me if you have questions about starting one, and I can send you some information, or tell you what we do. My email is: fackorf@hotmail.com BTW, Wie ghets?

yogachic
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Re: TODAY: Ask the Pro with Robert Lee Brewer

Postby yogachic » Fri May 23, 2008 3:19 am

Hi Alessa, (AC Leming)

Thanks for the offer. I wish I had a face-to-face group, but an online group might be okay. Never tried it before (I just started writing in February).

I also looked online and found that there is a SCBWI group in Germany run by a woman in Munich. That might be an option as well. Perhaps they have conferences or get-togethers or provide other services for writers here.

I want to write nonfiction and fiction for children and nonfiction articles for adults. I will email you and you can tell me more about your online group.

Thanks.

Linda

nposey
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RE: May 22: Ask the Pro with Robert Lee Brewer

Postby nposey » Tue May 27, 2008 5:42 am

I'm late weighing in on the punctuation/capitalization question, particularly in regard to teen writers. Have you considered that Microsoft Word's default, which capitalizes the first word after a return, may be the culprit. Sometimes just showing students how to turn off the default will also make them conscious of decisions they make about capitalizing.

I also find that helping student writers to focus on audience is helpful. They face the same challenge sometimes when they try to read and interpret someone else's poem. I suggest reading a poem as if it is a forwarded email whose justifications are all messed up. (Haven't we all gotten those messages that we need to clean up to read?) Take someone else's poem and remove punctuation, capitalization, even line breaks, and have students (or proteges) try to make decisions about where they need punctuation to make sense. Compare their choices to the original finished product.

There are even sources that show poems in progress along with the final published poem. Perhaps by having writers see what others have done (while acknowledging that the decisions are personal and individual) you can at least show them that even the small decisions matter in shaping a poem.
Nancy Posey

Iain
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Re: TODAY: Ask the Pro with Robert Lee Brewer

Postby Iain » Wed May 28, 2008 4:12 am

I also am a bit late chiming in on this one... Sometimes I want the lines capitalized as it makes the reading different. Sometimes I want a poem to have a more even flow and so do not capitalize. But that's just me... Commas are the bane of my life! Most revisions comprise hours of putting them in & taking them out again. On the whole I prefer to punctuate as I would in prose but sometimes because of the style and desired pace of the piece I want the reader to be breathless at the end and so leave it nude (as it were!). If a poem is not in rhyme or form I think line breaks should serve like a paragraph in prose; indicating a change in direction or theme in the following stanza. Again one piece poems are great if you want to create a helter-skelter effect and a high speed read. I often like poems that appear that way right up to the end when suddenly, breathless you find a line break and a two line stanza with effectively the punch line. I don't think capitalization would neccesarily influence my judgement as to whether a poem was good or bad although I might think it would be better one way or the other...

Anyway... just me thinking aloud!

pwilliamswriter
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Re: The Aftermath: Ask the Pro with Robert Lee Brewer

Postby pwilliamswriter » Thu May 29, 2008 4:36 pm

Iain - you keep on thinking aloud or silently - either way - you're doing good!

I didn't log in when all of this was going on - busy with other stuff, imagine that - but there were good questions here.

Robert - go poolside a while. It makes the skin tingle which is nice sometimes. Helps us relax and you deserve it.

Poet friends - I still think it was a damn good run.

Patti Williams

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