Training #376 – Hot Seats and Rhetoric

This Hot Seats and Ask us Anything session covered a lot of ground in about 90 minutes:

  • Nadine Refsell's hot seat for her her initial children's book illustrations and advice on whether to go forward with them or make changes.
  • Steven Cohen's question about how many words a book should ideally be after doing research for books aimed at 9 to 12 year olds.
  • Mellanie Narinesingh's question about how to size your illustrations properly for print.
  • Steven Cohen's question about whether to hire somebody to illustrate your book or do it yourself.
  • Suzanne McQueen's question about crucial aspects of her illustrations near the edges of the page.
  • Mellanie Narinesingh's hot seat for her Non-Fiction children's cat facts book.
  • Cindy Olsen's hot seat for her cook book cover and how to optimize a cover and choose the correct cover image and design.
  • Suzanne McQueen's hot seat for her children's book cover and question about advanced reader copies.
  • Joanna Trelawny's hot seat for brainstorming the title for her next book in a series.

An interesting book that I read a few years ago and was relevant to our discussion today was The Elements of Eloquence by Mark Forsyth, which covers many different areas of rhetoric in the English Language. Specifically, we discussed the order in which adjectives are used, as evidenced by this quote from the book:

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien wrote his first story aged seven. It was about a “green great dragon.” He showed it to his mother who told him that you absolutely couldn’t have a green great dragon, and that it had to be a great green one instead. Tolkien was so disheartened that he never wrote another story for years.

The reason for Tolkien’s mistake, since you ask, is that adjectives in English absolutely have to be in this order: opinion-size-age-shape-colour-origin-material-purpose Noun. So you can have a lovely little old rectangular green French silver whittling knife. But if you mess with that word order in the slightest you’ll sound like a maniac. It’s an odd thing that every English speaker uses that list, but almost none of us could write it out. And as size comes before colour, green great dragons can’t exist.

Check it out here:

Green Dragon image by brgfx / Freepik