Spanish Indie Authors – Gorka E Argul – La llave de la eternidad

Is it hard to find novels to read in Spanish? Many students of Spanish want to read novels in Spanish, but don’t have a clue about which one to choose. The classics are always there, but let’s face it, sometimes are not the most engaging for the general public.

Shakespeare is a great author, but when it comes to enjoying the story, many people would prefer reading Ken Follet.

So today I bring you a review about a novel by a Spanish indie author that you may consider reading:

Review of La llave de la eternidad

cover of la llave de la eternidadThe Key of Eternity is a fantasy novel written by  Gorka E Argul. It is a fast-paced novel, which will make you overcome the limits of Physics.

The Key of Eternity is a thriller book, at the border between fantasy and science fiction. In this novel, Gorka E Argul takes the historical figure of Nikola Tesla as a starting point in order to develop a fantastic story in which the time travel journeys are not only for the characters of the novel, but also for the reader.

The novel is a modern one, in which the characters continually cross each other and in which the narrative line plays with the different perspectives of the characters themselves. It is a fast-paced novel, in which the events happen in a thrilling way, with the added interest of the fact that the narrative is not linear, but there are various gaps in the timeline, which contribute to keeping the suspense.

The gaps in the timeline and skipping from one period to another help embellish this fantastic story. This raises the question of whether the advances in science make it possible for people to teleport themselves or even travel back in time.

In The Key of  Eternity time travel and teleportation are not only possible, but also they have existed for a long period of time. Even though it is, of course, a highly kept secret from there and that is why, the protagonist of the story, a journalist from New York Times, called Patrick Stevens finds himself involved in a mysterious and dangerous plot, which could become one of the major revolutions of the history of humanity.

The story begins with Patrick taking part in a scientific demonstration. He soon goes from being a spectator to a protagonist, which happens immediately after he helps the injured after an accident. That is how, in a short period of time, Patrick makes contact with various important characters, in what is no more than a small example of the pace of the events.

An especially interesting aspect of the book are the events that happened in the past, where the author takes important figures such as the above mentioned Nikola Tesla and Albert Einstein as characters, along with a two American solders whose friendship will remain in question.

It is a perfect novel to take on vacation or for the days in which you have some free time to read, because it requires you to pay close attention in order not to miss part of the main plot, given the different time ‘hops´ and the constant change of the characters from the perspective of whom the narrative is presented. The difficult part of this novel is that it must be read in one sitting, or else important details could be forgotten.

It is important to take into account that the publisher is not as important as the ones that you are accustomed to if you only read books from important publishers. It is a detail that could attract your attention, but which does not make the lecture more difficult.

In the same manner that an independent publisher could have his problems, this also has its advantages, which means that we are presented a story which has a fresh vibe to it along with originality, which is quite rare today and frankly, we see it lacking from the majority of the bestsellers that we can find nowadays in the bookshops of  any given city.

Besides what one may enjoy from reading it, The Key of Eternity gives us something to reflect upon: What scientific progress could have been stuck in the process of innovation? How many times were investigations that could have had a major impact or even a change in history abandoned?

I recommend you to read this novel.

Spanish level to enjoy the reeading: Advanced C1-C2

The difference between language learning and language acquisition

Taking up a new language brings uneasiness to most of the learners. We often speak about learning a language though this is a process that does not only involve learning by itself. There is a difference between how we learn a language and how we acquire it. As we chose to adopt a new language, we need to consider the process just like any other skills aimed to provide us with the ability to do something well. Particularly if we need to reach a more advanced level.

Then, what do we basically mean when we say ‘to learn and’ to ‘acquire’?

Learning is connected with memorizing, studying and being informed. We learn our school subjects in that way trying to remember various facts and details in a given field of study. On the other hand, the meaning of `acquire` refers to a process when something comes into possession, something is gained through efforts or a natural flow.  For example, you can learn a poem and recite it by heart but acquiring a deeper knowledge of poetry may lead you towards the mastery of writing your own.

How we learn a language?

Things are similar with languages. Learning does not mean you will be able to communicate properly with people who speak that language.

We often learn plain grammatical rules and bunch of words we are unable to use in real situations. You may know how to compose sentences, you may even create complex construction but you may still have difficulties in applying them smoothly whether in speaking or writing. This means you have memorized partially the language but not in all language skills.

This kind of learning is typical for passing standard testing with filing in gaps or multiple choice questions because it only needs passive, conscious knowledge usually gained in a classroom.  Saying that you have learned a language does not necessarily make you good at speaking or listening-skills which require communicative approach.

How we acquire a language?

Language acquisition has a different approach. Firstly, there is an environment with an adequate context that will enable to acquire the language in the most efficient way. The best example for this is the way children learn to speak and communicate.

A child learns in a subconscious way without thinking of grammatical rules as he/ she needs to communicate in the family. They may say ‘childrens’ instead of ‘children’ and they may be entirely understood because the importance is on the text of communication not on the form. This is how all of us acquire our first language.

When it comes to a foreign language, there is a similar situation. Why do we learn a foreign language? We need to communicate with it, speak, listen, read and write. Acquisition stretches beyond classroom and involves real situations. A very good example of language acquisition is how young people adopt slag words and colloquial expression from movies or while staying abroad. In a traditional classroom they are expected to say I`m going to do but in an appropriate environment I’m gonna do becomes their natural language. Language acquisition means that you aim towards achieving a native command of the language both spoken and written as well as in communication.

Having in mind the difference between learning and acquiring a language, it is important to think of the methods when taking up foreign language courses. Few of us are fortunate enough to afford spending time among native speakers in a country where the language is spoken. When you pick up a course, make sure that the methodology of teaching is focused on multiple structures responsible for oral understanding and the capacity for creative communication besides the standard teaching techniques.

How a copywriter uses analytical writing

One of the most asked tasks for copywriters are reviews about products, services or websites. In this kind of text, the writer has to give an opinion, but only after showing the reader the objective facts about the thing reviewed.

Let’s take a look to this kind of writing

Analytical paper requires skills to deal with ideas related to a particular topic by carefully using evidence. Even within analytical writing we can differentiate several sub-types of writing.

  • Analysis based on close reading: When analyzing literary works or a rhetorical speech, you need to analyze through writing the style or the tone of the author. This is how the purpose and the idea is achieved and understood.
  • Compare and contrast: Sometimes you may need to compare and contrast two passages or two different texts in order to understand the nature of something. What you might be looking for here is the different styles of writing, the tone and the purpose of each piece so that you can create a well-established contrasting analytical writing.
  • Theoretical writing: This type of writing is particularly useful for students writing literary essays as it relates to analysis based on literary theories, culture and history.

Analytical writing therefore, calls for detailed evaluation of something in order to understand its core and essential features. For example, analyzing William B. Yeats’s poem “Byzantium”, it’s not enough to say that it`s a powerful poem and then go on interpreting the lines. You need to know in what way the poem is powerful. This is where good syntax is essential as you will have to analyze the language component parts and how they coordinate to create the idea. Similarly to the management essay, if you are asked to analyze a particular theory applied to modern organisations, you need to outline the most important features of the theory and relate them to the specific organization.

This type of writing makes a detailed examination of something in order to understand its nature and its essential features

Argumentative writing

Argumentative writing is similar to the persuasive although there is a difference in terms of the strength of the claim presented. The initial step in this type of writing is to collect sufficient evidence and give a reasonable argument on the issue. Also, you should define some answers prior staring writing considering the following questions: How large is the audience and what am I expecting as their opinion? Shall I provide a general yes/no answer to what I am debating about? Do I have to do some quality research and how would I make the argument more specific?  Speaking of which, you need to establish a balanced attitude towards a debatable issue. In an argumentative writing you should not try to balance between two opposite sides but choose one and strongly debate on it. Use clear language with quoted cites from scholars to support your ideas. Provide facts and reasons to strengthen your claims. Instead of negating use refuting to prove opposite claims are wrong. You must be prepared to address the opposite views in a way that you address them reasonably. Most importantly you need the following to be able to confront opponents:

  • Ability to understand the topic you are writing about
  • Avoidance of preconceptions and biases
  • Instilling trust in you readers

No matter which writing style you chose, you need to bear in mind that any writing style is an individual reflection of their personal ability, unique voice and the way of approaching their audience and readers.

 

SWOT analysis of working from home: Weaknesses

freelance Spanish writer for original texts
creative commons licensed ( BY-ND ) flickr photo shared by a.drian

Today we will continue our SWOT analysis of freelancing from home with a special focus on content writing. This article is designed for writers who are about to start their careers and will likely be working through freelance platforms. Let’s take a look at the weaknesses:

  1. Finding Clients   

The biggest draw back in freelance writing is that there are already a large number of writers out there vying for the same jobs. It’s entirely possible that you are a good writer, meet all your clients’ requirements and are still having problems finding someone to hire your because of the large amount of writers in the market. This is why many freelance writers specialize in niche writing. If there’s something you’re passionate about put together a portfolio on that subject, and that subject alone, and sell yourself as a specialist. Many better-paying clients are looking for writers who actually know what they’re talking about.

  1. Will They Really Pay?

Unlike other fields like programming or web development, clients do not pay you part of your fee early. They receive your articles, analyze them, and then pay you if your work meets their requirements. Some clients may go AWOL after you’ve sent them a huge amount of work. If they were your main client for the week or month, this can be a huge loss for you. However, working through freelance platforms can provide some amount of security from this.

  1. Rejection

Sometimes your article may get rejected for whatever reason. You will have to learn to deal with things like this. Instead of getting upset, learn from your mistakes and make sure that your writing reflects what you’ve learned. On the other hand, there will be clients who reject your articles so that they do not have to pay you, but then turn around and use them anyway. This is, unfortunately, an occupational hazard.

Likewise, if you write directly to your audience, say through your own blog or series of eBooks, it may be that your work isn’t reaching the right people and, therefore, isn’t making any money. This risk is one of the reasons why freelance writers often choose to write for clients instead of for themselves. That way, even if the work doesn’t do as well as planned, you still get paid your flat fee – if you have a trustworthy client, that is.

  1. Writing Styles

There are various styles of writings and it’s important to have some knowledge of all of them. While you may specialize in a particular subject, you might have to write about it in a variety of tones, whether for a blog post, or an online newspaper article, etc. And then there’s SEO writing which is different yet again. All of this requires a lot of time, research, and, above all, practice.

  1. Loneliness

Because you will be working from home, you will often find yourself on your own. There won’t be any other co-workers to help you solve your issues and it will take a lot of self-discipline to sit down and get to work. To combat loneliness, try working in a co-working space or getting together with other freelancing friends for a work date at someone’s house or a local café. Just remember to stay focused!

  1. Processing Fees

If you use freelance job portals to find jobs and get hired then that site will charge a specific percentage per job as a processing fee. While this is annoying when you are completely dependent on that money for your livelihood, these sites also help to find work and provide some amount of pay protection. Once you have steady clients whom you trust, you can always leave the platform and get paid directly.

  1. You Get Paid for What You Write

You will only get paid if you work. If you need to take off a day due to sickness, or other personal reasons, then you will lose your income for that day. Even more importantly, you will often not be able to get weekends and holidays off, especially if you’re writing for someone from another country who celebrates on different days. If you want to pay for health insurance, or you need to save for an upcoming trip or holiday, then you will need to work extra.

  1. Keeping Clients

Like any job, online writing needs regular updates. If you take a week off it may mean that you lose a client forever. If that happens, you will have start the search for a reliable client all over again after coming back from your holiday or after recovering from your illness, which will mean hours spent working that you will not be getting paid for. One way to avoid this is, when you have a long-term relationship with a client, set up pre-arranged holiday time in advance so that the client knows you will be gone.

 

SWOT analysis of working from home: Threats

work from home has its own threats
Scary Pumpkin!creative commons licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by peddhapati

Going from an office job to working from home as a freelance writer can sometimes threaten your already established career.

Content writing is a very cool profession that will let you work from home. At the same time, establishing yourself as a freelance entrepreneur can change your approach to writing entirely. Therefore, it’s important to analyze the threats this shift can bring to your career and your writing. The more you know about the threats of a freelance writing career, the better able you will be to protect yourself against them.

  1. The Internet and Its Many Distractions

If you can just get down to business without getting distracted by the technical side of things then this isn’t a threat for people like you. But if you’re easily distracted by new information (which leads to more new information, which leads to still more new information…) working as a freelancer can be a bit tricky. Since there will be no one hounding you to get back to work, you’re free to follow links all day – and then scramble to meet your deadline at the very end. To avoid this, make sure you come up with a method to keep yourself focused and on track.

  1. Society as a Threat to the Entrepreneurial Content Writer

One major fear people have about becoming a freelance content writer is the fear of society and its lack of respect for the profession. Because this kind of work is usually done from home, many people think of it as more of a hobby than a respectable career. For many of us, working in a field that lacks “respectability” can be very hard, as there’s a lot of pressure from society to have a “normal” career. It can make Christmas dinner with you relatives or parties full of strangers pretty awkward if they don’t think of your work as a real job.

  1. Almost Everybody Wants to Work from Home

And this means that if you’re scrolling through an online freelance platform looking at jobs, then there are countless people eager to get exactly the same job. Of course, there are lots of people who are just bunglers hitting a keyboard, but there are also great writers out there, and you will need to stand out among them.

  1. SEO Writing is Constantly Changing

Keeping yourself up to date is crucial and will help you stay ahead of the game. Failing to do so, on the other hand, can be very detrimental to your feelance writing career. Many clients want content with SEO to make their websites stand out. If you can’t provide this, you will be passed over for someone who can. Luckily, the internet is awash with guides for SEO writing. Schedule yourself some time to familiarize yourself with the concept and its implementation.

  1. Some Clients Don’t Believe Content Writing is a Real Job

Like I mentioned when talking about society as a whole, you will find that some clients also think that online writing is just a hobby – and not worth paying much for. If you ask me, you just need to avoid this type of client. If they don’t respect you or your work and don’t pay you what you deserve for it, then do yourself a favour and find someone with whom you can build a lasting working relationship.

  1. Currency exchange

You always need to be aware of changes to currency rates. Because you work online, you will have clients from all over the world and it is better if you can charge them in their own currency, if that’s what they want. On the other hand, many clients and contractors use American dollars or Euros as for simplicity’s sake. If you’re charging in dollars or Euros, make sure you know what that translates to in your own currency and in your client’s.

Liven Up Your Spanish Study Routine!

We all know about language classes and programs like Rosetta Stone. But, for some people, classes can be too expensive or inconvenient, and self-directed study can get lonely. Even worse, when you study alone, it’s hard to measure success and you can forget why you’re trying to learn the language in the first place. Luckily, there are plenty of learning options out there, especially for Spanish. Remember, the most important thing is to have fun – learning a new language should be a challenge, but not a nightmare.

  1. Skype lessons

Obviously, I’m a fan of this method. Not only do you get one-on-one lessons, you can do it from the comfort of your own home. Not to mention, you can learn from native speakers from around the world. Language is all about communication and studies show that we retain the words we use in conversation more quickly and more easily than those we just memorise. Use personal Skype lessons or tandem partners to get speaking right away. Getting comfortable speaking a foreign language will also give you more confidence in your language abilities.

  1. Tandem partners

Having a tandem partner is like having a coffee-date that also helps you practice Spanish. Usually, a tandem partner is someone who is fluent in the language you want to learn but needs help improving their abilities in your language. In this case, half the conversation would be spent in English and half in Spanish. Put up wanted flyers at your local college or university, or check out on-line language exchanges such as Itaki, Speaky, or The Mixxer.

  1. Telenovelas

One of the best resources for Spanish-learners is telenovelas. These over-the-top soap operas come in all kinds of scandalous subgenres and can be found on YouTube or, more recently, on Netflix. Telenovelas are a great way to learn conversational Spanish and get used to hearing several people talk at once. If you’re unsure where to start, Betty la fea is a funny, warm-hearted telenovela from Columbia, Maria la del barria is a classic Mexican telenovela featuring everything from vicious gossip to staged deaths, and, for something steamier, Mujeres de Lujo is a Chilean telenovela following the lives of upscale escorts.

  1. Language-learning apps

If all you want is to build basic grammar and vocabulary, there are a ton of apps out there that offer fun games aimed at strengthening your vocabulary. Download one you like to your phone and play it on the bus, waiting in the doctor’s office – wherever you have a few spare minutes. Duolingo is probably the most well-known and is great for starting out, but Memrise offers a wider variety of “courses” and you can choose your level and even your dialect.

The most important thing is to keep yourself interested and motivated. If you make the process as fun as possible and involve other people such as online tutors or tandem partners, you will make your language learning experience more rewarding and ensure that you stick with it, even when the going gets tough.