Monday, April 7, 2014

Dispatch #20: Wealth of Words

by Lupe Fernandez

When I drive, the front axle of my 2000 Mitsubishi Eclipse makes a grinding noise. The mechanic says the transmission is failing. A repair will require money that I don't have to spend. I could get a job. Wait...I already have a job, only I pay them. I'm a writer.

If words were wishes, then I'd buy a new car. What are words worth? Remember back in ye ole days when writers were paid by the word? I don't. I never sold anything. Based on that economical model, my 50,000 word manuscript would net me 50K and I'd add more words to up the paycheck.

But only in my dreams.

Best Selling books earn more money than Mid-List books. Does that make best sellers more valuable? What about the authors? Is their worth depending on profit? If it was me with the best seller, I sure as hell would agree. But it isn't, so I don't.

What are words worth? 

Are articles cheaper than propositions? Are verbs more expensive than nouns? What about the much maligned adverbs with their dangling LYs? Are there discount prices for adjectives?

Can I get more bang for my buck with a independent clause than a propositional phrase?

Here's a speculative breakdown:
"a" = 1 cent.
"the" = 5 cents.

"house" = 10 cents.
"The White House" = $10 dollars.

Verbs (pricing various with tense)
"running" = 90 cents.
"run" = $1 dollar.
"ran" = $2 dollars.

How about syllables?
"moose" = $1.50 dollars.
"astronaut" = $3.25 dollars.
"Pnuemonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis*" = $5000.00 for 19 syllables.

What about fonts? 

Are Times New Roman and Courier the English and Spanish of popular languages?

Is Adobe Garamond Pro Bold more valuable than Shruti?

I prefer Times New Roman for prose writing. Courier is too plain. Much more suited for screenwriting. Just call me a font snob.

So who decides?

We should take a vote. There are many parties.

The Noun and The Verb are the two main parties. There are splinter groups like Gerund, Elliptical Clauses and Infinite Relative Pronoun, and extremists like Stream of Consciousness.

Don't get me started on commas.

Volcanic Ash
So vote.

*"Pnuemonou..." is a respiratory diseased caused by the inhalation volcanic silicates particles.


  1. I vote for stream of consciousness. How bout beautiful words? Like lavender.
    Surely Cherry tree should be a couple of bucks.

    1. Dear Susan,
      I like saying strawberry. Sounds exotic.

  2. Hi Lupe, I think writers should be able to set their own word prices. And set their own book prices. We should be able to do what screenwriters do at a "pitch fest" or whatever it's called. We should all go to a conference hall with agents in one area, editors/buyers in another area and have 5 to 7 min. to pitch our ideas, books, stories and get immediate feedback/interest. Why have to wait weeks and months for a response? Isn't this the age of instant everything? Isn't there an app for that?

    1. Dear Penelope, have something there.
      Manuscript Critique

  3. I think we should charge for wellwritten, descriptive sentences, too!

    1. Dear Deb,
      Can I charge that on a Visa card?
      Debt Basement.

  4. If we charge for wellwritten, descriptive sentences, does that mean we don't have to kill our darlings?

    1. Dear Barbara,
      Clemency is profitable.
      I Was Framed


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