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Are Book Dedications Really Necessary?

Book dedications are a time-honoured tradition. But is your book really incomplete without one?

At a book signing one time, a girl was perusing my novel, when a man sidled up to her and said, “You can tell how good a book is going to be by its dedication.”
This, I have to admit, was something I was quite unaware of.

The man then smirked at me, picked up my book, and read its dedication aloud:

“To the Bearded One in the Sky

Or in the Ground

Or Wherever You Call Home These Days”

He looked a little astonished. I have a feeling that it wasn’t what he was expecting.

Book dedications bestow a high honour on those who have inspired us. Whether it be that certain teacher, a close family member, or anyone else who pushed us on with unwavering support, thanking them in permanent ink is our way of giving back.

The dedication tradition is so cemented in publishing that, although it’s usually completely disconnected to anything else in the book, it has its own page, and is often times considered a standard part of a book’s front matter, along with the table of contents, foreword, etc.

Some famous authors have had fun with dedications, or created ones designed to get back at people.

Yet author each felt the need to include a dedication, again, because of tradition.

But what if you chose not to include a dedication in your book? Are readers so used to them that they might feel something is missing?

As a reader, I believe that the dedication is a quick way to get to know the author better. There’s always the “About the Author” page, but dedications always seem more personal than a biography. In many cases, we learn what’s important to the author: their spouse, their cat, their editor, etc. We see who else really played a role in creating this work of art.

[tweetthis]Because, as we authors and editors know, creating a book is a team effort.[/tweetthis]

Even if you dedicate your work to the wind and trees, there’s always something to inspire us. So, as a writer, I will always include a dedication.

As you may have gleaned, I like to have a little fun and be lyrically ambiguous with my dedications. Here’s the one from my second novel:

“To the Pain I Feel

Whenever You Dance Across my Heart”

So who or what am I talking about? Not to be coy, but I think it would ruin the fun if I confessed its meaning. Rather, I prefer the reader take those dedications and apply their own feelings to them.

In other words, who or what has danced across your heart, and left such an indelible mark that it bled?

Richard Todd,Editor's Desk,About Us,About The Editor's DeskRichard S. Todd is President at The Editor’s Desk, providing professional business copywriting services, as well as comprehensive manuscript editing and proofreading.

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repetitive strain injury

4 Moves to Avoid Repetitive Strain Injury!

For writers (or anyone spending several hours a day on the keyboard), there is a risk of incurring Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI). The wrist, elbows and shoulders are areas commonly affected.

So how can you avoid the pain, inconvenience, and loss of productivity that’s associated with this condition?

Alex Teixeira, Owner and Head Trainer at Golden Fusion Fitness, has been generous enough to offer our readers some easy exercises to promote good health, balanced with a productive lifestyle.

Previously, he’s provided sound advice about neck and back stretches and working your core at your desk. This week, Alex offers four steps to help you avoid repetitive strain injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, elbow tendonitis and frozen shoulder, all while staying productive at your computer!

Read this first: Perform the following exercises either as a warm up before working on the computer, or during a midday break. When you first try them, find a space near your desk that allows a three-foot radius.

Once you are comfortable with the moves, you can bring the exercises to your desk space. I suggest standing, however, as not only do you have the advantage of space to work with, but you should also notice your core becoming engaged as it compensates for those fluctuations in your hand.

1) Flying FingersIn this exercise, you simply open your hands, fully extending your fingers, and then close them into a loose fist.

First, perform this exercise quite slowly, holding your hands in front of you at shoulder height. Do 10 repetitions. Shake out your hands.

Repeat the exercise three more times, now opening and closing as rapidly as you can for about 30 seconds. Don’t cheat! Make sure your fingers are fully extended and flexed on each repetition.

You can also try these different positions: out in front of you, above your head, or out to your sides, with your palms either up or down.

2) Waving In and OutThis is another opening and closing exercise. This time, the fingers will move independently of each other, one flowing into the next.

To get the motion, think about finger tapping on a desk in which the pinky-tip strikes the surface first, followed by the ring, middle and index fingers. Begin with your hands extended in front with your palms turned up. Wave the fingers in while simultaneously flexing at the wrist and elbow, bringing the hands toward you.

Once you are fully flexed, allow your elbows to wing outwards to allow your hands to continue their circle down, and then away from you as the fingers wave back out to a fully extended position. Repeat 10 times.

3) Shoulder FliesIf you are familiar with the shoulder press, this movement is quite similar, except that you provide your own resistance!

Raise your hands above your head, with your fingers together and your thumbs out, creating an “L” shape. Bring the hands together at head height with your hands locked at the webbing between your thumbs.

Now, press your hands together as you extend them in an upward direction. Release at the top, allowing your hands to drop back to head height.

Repeat and alternate between locking positions (left hand in front, right hand in front). Start with 30 reps, and work up to 100.

4) Front & back-strokeReady to hit the pool?

Well, if you don’t have time to really go for a swim, we can pretend by finishing with this relaxing move.

As the name suggests, this is exactly the motion of a front and back stroke. Maintain a straight elbow, and reach to your utmost extreme positions to the front, above, and behind.

Try 20 front strokes and 20 back strokes with each hand. You can do one hand at a time, or alternate as if you were actually swimming!

Have fun and live well!

Alex Teixeira is the owner and head trainer at Golden Fusion Fitness.

Richard Todd,Editor's Desk,About Us,About The Editor's DeskRichard S. Todd is President at The Editor’s Desk, providing professional business copywriting services, as well as comprehensive manuscript editing and proofreading.