Monday, August 30, 2010

Editorial Tip of the Week: The DL on POV

Point of view: an essential building block for any work of writing. But how much time do you spend thinking about it? Your choice of point of view can be an important tool for engaging your reader and revealing your characters. Let's reviews the choices:

First Person
Utilizes "I," as in: I went to the store today. I felt uneasy around the shoppers. First person is sometimes considered the easiest point of view, but it requires a great amount of understanding to work with. Because the entirety of your story must be conveyed through the one character, your perspective is limited. You are in danger of telling more often than showing. First person point of view provides a greater intimacy and is quite reader friendly, just be careful you are wielding it well.

Third Person
Relies on he, she, or they to tell the story (usually in past tense) and is quite common across all genres. Example: She wanted to go out last night to support her friends and felt guilty for feigning an illness to stay in instead. The story is told through one character and as with first person perspective, you are limited to what that character sees, hears, feels, experiences, or knows.

Allows for an all seeing, God-like perspective on the story, with the perspective jumping from character to character (remaining in one character's head one at a time). This perspective can be very revealing for readers, but is a handful to manage as the author. Omniscient perspective requires diligent attention to keep characters straight and reveal information through the right characters at the right time.

Second Person
Look for second person point of view in "Choose Your Own Adventure" books. This is the least commonly used point of view. Nobody wants to be told what they are feeling or what to do, and this is precisely what second person point of view hinges on: you. Most often executed in present tense, second person relies on the "you are..." perspective. Example: You are walking through the park and feel a sense of euphoria. The sun warms your face and you smile.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Spotlighted Literary Events

Saturday, August 28th
Locally grown poetry at the Hollywood Farmers Market, final reading for summer 2010: Frances Payne Adler (10:30 am) and Judith Barrington (11:30 am). The two poets go on when musicians take breaks. Come on over while you shop for heirloom tomatoes, purple potatoes, sweet berries, and extremely lovely lettuce; eat breakfast burritos, crepes, and cookies while good words come beaming out at you.
Where: Hollywood Farmers Market, NE Hancock at 44th
When: 10:30 am and 11:30 am
Cost: Free

Saturday and Sunday, August 28th & 29th
Portland Zine Symposium! A conference and zine social exploring facets of independent publishing and DIY culture. The PZS aims to promote greater community between diverse creators of independent publications and art.
Where: Peter W. Stott Main Gym, Portland State University
When: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Cost: Free

Tuesday, August 31st
Please join us to hear two terrific authors, Matt Love and Willy Vlautin, read from their latest works and be generally entertaining. Matt's latest book, is Gimme Refuge: The Education of a Caretaker. The book tells the passionate story of his teaching career, his experience as a caretaker of the 600-acre Nestucca Bay National Wildlife Refuge, and his awakening as an Oregonian.
Where: Broadway Books, 1714 NE Broadway
When: 7:00 pm
Cost: Free

Friday, September 3rd
Reading and signing with William Upski Wimsatt in celebration of his third book, Please Don't Bomb the Suburbs. Wimsatt weaves a first-person tour of America's cultural and political movements from 1985–2010. It's a story about love, growing up, a generation coming of age, and a vision for the movement young people will create in the new decade. Wimsatt was honored as a "Visionary" by Utne Reader, and included in The Source's "Power 30" list.
Where: Reading Frenzy, 921 SW Oak
When: 7:00 pm
Cost: Free

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Photo Story Prompt: A Place Called Banda Café

Write whatever comes to you! Post it as a comment or email it to us at

Monday, August 23, 2010

Editorial Tip of the Week: Hyphen and the Dashes

Mistaking a hyphen for an en dash is an easy thing to do. Singular hyphens are even frequently used in place of em dashes, either by mistake or through lack of understanding. It is generally known that two hyphens are representative of an em dash, like this: --. Before we go on, let's clarify what the three look like:

hyphen -
en dash –
em dash

Though readers may not easily recognize the difference between these, especially the hyphen and en dash, proper use is necessary for editorial precision. Conversion errors from one software to another, through email, or from print to digital form are common with hyphens and dashes, so careful proofreading is important to ensuring you have all your dashes and hyphens where they should be.

But what if you don't know which is which just by sight? Here's a quick refresher:

Em dash: the dash. An em dash is a dramatic punctuation mark; it interrupts the flow of the sentence and introduces extra material. It is called "em" because, traditionally, the dash is as long as the width of a typeset capital letter M.

En dash: the least frequently used of all three. Most commonly it is used to indicate a range of inclusive numbers. For example: Charlie will be out of the office from December 9
–January 17th. It is called "en" because, traditionally, the dash is as long as the width of a typeset capital letter N.

Hyphen: used in compound modifiers (long-term relationship), to write out numbers (sixty-four), or within words (T-shirt, re-press). A dictionary is often helpful when you can't decide whether or not a hyphen is necessary in a word.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Spotlighted Literary Events

Monday, August 23rd
Julia Holmes at Powell's on Hawthorne. In her dystopian debut, a hapless bachelor must quickly find a wife--and a nice suit--or lose his freedom forever. Meeks (Small Beer Press) is a dark satire rendered with the slapstick humor of a Buster Keaton film.
Where: Powell's Books, 3723 SE Hawthorne
When: 7:30 pm
Cost: Free

Thursday, August 26th
Zines on Toast tour! Alex Wrekk will be joined by UK zinesters Isy Morgenmuffel, Edd Baldry, Steve Larder, Tom Fiction, and Natalie who will regale you with an evening of entertainment and information about UK zine culture.
Where: Reading Frenzy, 921 SW Oak
When: 7 pm
Cost: Free

Friday, August 27th
Come celebrate the release of Northwest Passage: 50 Years and Independent Music from the Rose City, a book and audio CD highlighting the history of Portland's burgeoning music scene, with short talk by Marc Moscato and Erin Yanke from the Dill Pickle Club. Feature contributors include the Oregon Historical Society, Mississippi Records, PDX Pop Now, Calvin Johnson, Vanessa Renwick, and more.
Where: Reading Frenzy, 921 SW Oak
When: 7 pm
Cost: Free

Friday, August 27th
Write Around Portland is releasing their 33rd anthology--titled Follow Me, Move the World--of community writing by adult and youth summer 2010 writing workshop participants. We invite the public to attend this reading of the writers' powerful work.
Where: First United Methodist Church (Collins Hall), 1838 SW Jefferson
When: 6:30-8:30 pm
Cost: Free, donations are accepted

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Photo Story Prompt: A Few Bikes

Write what comes to you! Post it below or email it to us at

Monday, August 16, 2010

Editorial Tip of the Week: What's the Point?

1. Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.

-- Rule number one of eight in Kurt Vonnegut's rules for writing a short story, from Bagombo Snuff Box: Uncollected Short Fiction.

A common problem with short stories (or any fiction, really) is a dreadful one: a story with no point. As much as your reader wants to see well-developed characters and engaging action, they also want to be able to pinpoint why they are reading and why you were writing. This isn't to say that every work of fiction should be one of Aesop's fables or conquer some sort of grandiose theme, but your reader should be able to come away with as much of a sense of importance as you had when writing.

In Jack Bickman's book, The 38 Most Common Fiction Writing Mistakes, he discusses logic in relation to fiction and the importance of the whys of each part of your story: "Because fiction is make-believe, it has to be more logical than real life if it is to be believed. In real life, things may occur for no apparent reason. But in fiction you the writer simply cannot ever afford to lose sight of logic and let things happen for no apparent reason."

As a general rule, you want your reader to be able to easily grasp the point of your story. Be sure you answer all of the "why" of your story. Write about things that matter to you; if you really don't care, the reader will be able to tell. Write with passion. Spice up your characters, make them human, even throw a hardship or two at them. Develop a new take on a subject, or whatever you need to do to give your story a reason to be.

Without that, you have nothing that lingers after the reader finishes your story. The second the last page is turned, your reader could be thinking about when the laundry will be finished, what they will have for lunch tomorrow, etc. With all of the things we invest our time in, make your story one that the reader will not regret. And if you're lucky, it just might be the new topic over coffee or at the dinner table.

Volunteer for Wordstock!

Calling all Wordstock Volunteers Past, Present, and Future

Wordstock 2010 is right around the corner, and we need you! Current volunteer opportunities include escorting authors to their readings, assisting with book signings, managing stages, staffing information booths, selling merchandise, and much more.

If you would like to help up put on a great festival, click here to sign up. You can also access the form through the Wordstock website. Click on "Get Involved" at the top of the homepage, and then click on "Volunteer." Feel free to sign up for more than one shift, a whole day, or the entire weekend.

Without volunteers, Wordstock would not be possible. We hope to see you this year. If you have any questions, email the volunteer coordinators at The festival is October 9-10 at the Oregon Convention Center.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Spotlighted Literary Events

Saturday, August 14th
The 3rd annual Letterpress Printers Fair is an outdoor event celebrating letterpress, printers, and appreciators. Featuring demos, print shops, suppliers, resources, cards, ephemera, and more.
Where: 323 SE Division Place
When: 11 am - 5 pm
Cost: $2 before 2 pm, free after 2 pm

Saturday, August 14th
The Market Day Poetry series, a collaboration with the St. Johns Farmers Market, will be featuring readings by Jesse Lichtenstein and Ericka Recordon.
Where: St. Johns Booksellers, 8622 N. Lombard
When: 12-1 pm
Cost: Free

Tuesday, August 17th
Benefit to help raise funds to demolish the church that housed Phil Wikelund's Great Northwest Bookstore, which burned down this past May. Featuring live music, poetry, comedy, and a silent auction.
Where: Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W. Burnside
When: doors at 5 pm, show at 5:30 pm
Cost: $15 advance, $18 day of (21+)

Wednesday, August 18th
Christopher Luna and Toni Partington will be here for the Figures of Speech reading. As always, open mic, a writing prompt, cookies, and other fun. Toni Partington lives and works as a poet, editor, visual artist, and life/career coach in Vancouver, Washington. She is co-founder and editor, with Christopher Luna, of Printed Matter Vancouver, an editing and small press service. Christopher Luna is a poet, visual artist, and performer with an MFA from the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado.
Where: 100th Monkey, 110 SE 16th Ave
When: 7 pm
Cost: Free

Thursday, August 19th
In her candid memoir Composed, acclaimed singer and songwriter Rosanne Cash writes about her upbringing in Southern Carolina as the child of country legend Johnny Cash, and of her relationships with her mother and her famous stepmother, June Carter Cash.
Where: Bagdad Theater, 3702 SE Hawthorne
When: 7 pm
Cost: $26.95 (includes admission and a copy of Composed)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Photo Story Prompt: Shulman's Market

Shulman's Market, at the southeast corner of N Street and Union Street, Washington, D.C., between 1941 and 1942. Louise Rosskam.

Write whatever comes to you, fiction or otherwise. Tell us what you come up with! Post your story in a comment below, or email it to

Monday, August 09, 2010

Editorial Tip of the Week: Splice It Up

The comma splice is a common mistake, I've been guilty of it myself plenty of times. Did you catch that one? With so many ways to use commas, things can get a bit tricky. A comma splice is the joining together of two main clauses with a comma (incorrect), instead of a conjunction, semicolon, or period. Luckily, the answer to correcting your comma splices is right there in the definition. So let's take it one by one:

1. Coordinating Conjunctions

Most commonly, commas are used to separate two main clauses connected by a coordinating conjunction. In other words, if you're joining two things that could function as independent sentences, you need to be using something like "and," "but," or "or." Example:

Charlie ran into the backyard, and Maggie searched for the bones.

Both work on their own as complete sentences. To combine them with a comma, simply add in a coordinating conjunction. Without the coordinating conjunction, you have a comma splice: Charlie ran into the backyard, Maggie searched for the bones.

2. Semicolons

If the two clauses are closely related, a semicolon can be used to splice them:

Charlie ran into the backyard; he was looking for bones.

These two things can exist as individual sentences: Charlie ran into the backyard. He was looking for bones. Because the two are related, they can be joined with a semicolon.

3. Periods

When you are aware of a comma splice, it's very easy to fix them. Because the splice joins together two main clauses, those two can be separated into individual sentences. Simply use a period where the comma was:

Charlie ran into the backyard. Maggie searched for the bones.

Give it a try yourself. Each comma splice has it's own personality, so one way to fix it may be better than another. Some instances will lend themselves more to coordinating conjunctions, while others may not make sense with a conjunction.

There is always the question of stylistic writing: should writers be allowed to use comma splices and other mistakes for the sake of their art? Every once in a while, someone skirts the rules and is still a successful author, but it's much more common that your punctuation and grammatical mistakes are unintentional. For the sake of your readers (and editors!), stick by the rules.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Summer 2010 Release

We are honored to showcase these talented authors and their unique works in the Summer 2010 issue of Ink-Filled Page. These pieces stood out for their innovative methods of expression, creating a varied landscape of thoughts and ideas. Though they are vastly different in form and content, it happens that, by subconscious choice or mere coincidence, each work examines the relationship between identity and the conditions which build it. Join these authors as they explore the roads that lead to who we are. Featured authors include Lisa Marie Basile, Sandra Argüello Borbón, Rebecca Bornstein, Terra Chapek, Lesley Kimball, and Gretchen Van Lente. Art contributions by Claudia Martin, Cassandra Marie Hrapchak and Ericsson San Pablo Chu, and Christopher Woods.

Read the free preview here.

Spotlighted Literary Events

Saturday, August 7th
2nd Annual NW Book Festival. Over 50 Northwest authors gather in Pioneer Courthouse Square today to sign books, sell books, and chat about their books, many of which are self-published. Information about some of the individual authors is listed here.
Where: Pioneer Courthouse Square, 701 SW 6th
When: 11 am - 7 pm
Cost: Free

Sunday, August 8th
Kids Comic Jam! Open to the public (youth 10-17 years old only). Come and hang out with other comic artists, play comics games and go home with a sample zine of comics. Drop in, no registration needed. Snacks are provided.
When: 2-4 pm
Cost: Free

Monday, August 9th
The former editor of the Portland Review put together this promising collection of work from established and up-and-coming Portland writers. Tonight features readings from BT Shaw, Emily Kendall Frey, Justin Hocking, Zachary Schomburg, and more.
Where: The Press Club, 2621 SE Clinton
When: 7 pm
Cost: Free

Wednesday, August 11th

Esther K. Smith, author and co-designer of How to Make Books, Magic Books & Paper Toys, and The Paper Bride will discuss her books, her art press, and show us how to make origami-based snake books! Please bring a few magazines to re-use or other paper you'd like to incorporate into your book, a bone folder if you have it, scissors, and something to draw or stamp with, we'll provide the rest!
Where: Reading Frenzy, 921 SW Oak
When: 7 pm
Cost: Free