Jun 082016

I found another graphic for lay vs. lie that is a little clearer. The last one I posted was blurry. I’m not sure where it came from, but I posted it in case someone finds it useful.

I still have to look at it myself to make sure that I’m using the correct form. Second guessing, but I’d rather be sure.

This one also includes present participle which was missing from the first one I posted.


Jun 012016

Words fall out of use all the time for a variety of reasons. Sometimes those dead, unused or obsolete words explained something in one word that we now use several to express. Some of those words I’d love to see resurrected. Other obsolete words are just fun to say!

I think I’d like to add a few words to the list below and maybe even adjust a few of the meanings. Like…

Jargogle – to confuse
A jarring confusion maybe?

Elflock – hair tangled by elves
It happens! Or maybe it’s Gremlins. Gremlock?
Apparently, gremlock is already a word with several meanings. Save yourself and don’t look up the urban meaning. I’m giving up on this one.

Twitter-light – twilight
I think twitter-light should have a new meaning. Maybe “the flickering light cast by your computer while on Twitter” or something. I’m reaching, I know.

Frigorific – producing or causing cold
It’s fun to say!

Resistentialism – inanimate objects that exhibit malevolent behavior

Curmuring – rumbling sound from the bowels
I think we need a word for this. It sounds better than spelling it out.

Gorgonize – to have a paralyzing effect
Makes me wonder how many people know what a gorgon is these days.

Gramercy – expression of gratitude or surprise
How about “a reprieve from the grammar nazis?”

Twattle – gossip
I’ve heard this word used meaning “nonsense.”

Apricity – Warming sun on a cold, winter day

obsolete words

I don’t know about blatteroon. It causes a mental image of a person’s bladder blowing up like a balloon. For me anyway. Probably for you too now. You’re welcome.

I think there should be a new word to replace potvaliant. Potvaliant sounds like bravery as the result of… something else. I can’t think of anything that would cover drink as a whole. What do you think?

Satisdiction sounds more like “satisfied with the choice of words in a speech or piece of writing.”

Wouldn’t yestreen be great to use when you’re limited to a certain number of characters? Like on Twitter.

Any words you’d like to see make a comeback or change the meaning of? Let me know in the comments!

Apr 132016

Whatever you do, please don’t over-animate your characters. Some writers have a bad habit of making their characters move and use body language every time they speak or sometimes every time they are mentioned in a scene. If your character is distressed, they might do one or two of the movements listed below, but they don’t tend to go through the whole list in a few pages.

This sheet could be much longer. For instance, I’d add “looking down and to the left” under lying and “gripping something so hard knuckles turn white” to anger, but this list can help you think of another body language you’ve seen people display under certain situations. As always, this is only a tool to make you think, not a comprehensive list…

body language

Apr 062016

Award winning screenwriter (Little Miss Sunshine, Toy Story 3) Michael Arndt talks about the 5 steps he learned at Pixar to write a good beginning and set your character off

Source: Michael Arndt About The 5 Steps He Learned at Pixar to Write a Good Beginning – mentorless

Like everything in writing, this isn’t the only way, but I think it’s worth a page in the mental Big Book of Writing Advice.

You can check out the article, but the video is full of examples from Pixar movies and well worth the watch. While I can’t say I adhere to a formula like this, I can see the benefit. It would be especially helpful when you have a character in mind, but not a clear cut story.

Feb 082016

I tried to imitate Mister Underfoot’s pose, but I hurt my neck waiting for him to figure out how to work the camera.

This is the “Phhtt! I refuse to wake up and move” position. While utilizing this superpower, Underfoot somehow gains fifty pounds, turns the cuteness factor up a hundred and is nigh immovable.

This is a valid excuse for not getting anything accomplished today, right?

Mister Underfoot Raspberry

Feb 032016

This wheel of emotions comes in handy more often than I’d like to admit. This is one of the writing graphics I snagged off the net that sometimes inspires, sometimes leads my character in a new direction or does exactly what it was meant to do and helps me find a more specific word for an emotion.

When I’m stuck, this is one of the graphics I take a look at to see if it sparks something I hadn’t thought of for my character. For instance, I had a character that was frustrated and I was stuck on what she would do next. After looking at the wheel, I realized that she could easily become hostile, which made the scene much more exciting. Well, exciting to write at least.


Jan 272016

I used to have this hanging near my desk before we moved everything into a different room. I still haven’t managed to hang everything on the walls in the new location. In fact, I accidently printed over my 2014 NaNo winners certificate, but that’s another story.

I know to some it seems puerile need such affirmations, but sometimes a simple phrase can help me through the slog. I think my favorite is “embrace the ecstasy of writing.” It makes writing feel comforting yet exciting and a little dirty. Sometimes I wonder if there’s a romance novelist buried in here somewhere.

you're a writer

Jan 202016

I posted a video for Weird Al’s Word Crimes video about two weeks ago and blathered on about the Oxford comma. Here’s a simple explanation of what the Oxford comma is, but not why I believe it’s sometimes useful.

When I ran across this image on Facebook, I died laughing because sometimes I write like Walken is speaking, adding commas for the speech pauses in my head. I hate editing them out, but I don’t stop myself. Sometimes it causes me to restructure a sentence based on natural pauses in a certain character’s speech patterns.


Jan 132016

Since I decided to make such a vague resolution, I thought I’d share the resolutions of another writer. She posted a well thought out list of ten resolutions for the new year. I’m not as ambitious this year, but I plan on taking a few tips from her for next year.

So, take a look and maybe add a few more to your own list. Most of them are making it on my list for next year, but this year I’m going to stick with being all lazy and chill about it.

A new year, a fresh start. Get 2016 off on the right foot with this list of ten resolutions for the writing life.

Source: 10 Resolutions for the Writing Life

Jan 062016

You really need a full-time proofreader.

I really do. My grammar and punctuation skills are sorely lacking.

This is brilliant, but I’m still on the “there are times we need the Oxford comma” side. Sometimes restructuring the sentence isn’t the best answer.

The Oxford comma is the comma before the and in a list. For example; I need milk, eggs, and butter to make cookies. This is the way I was taught to write a list in school and it has taken me a long time to break this habit. Much like the double space after a period, it’s engrained in my head.

There are times that the Oxford comma is useful in clearing up a sentence. For example; I invited my family, Mary and Steve. Now let’s say that Mary and Steve are friends, not family. Reading the sentence, it is assumed that Mary and Steve are family and the only people invited when I actually invited my entire family along with Mary and Steve. If you add the Oxford comma the sentence becomes clearer. I invited my family, Mary, and Steve. 

This sentence can be rewritten for clarity. I invited Mary, Steve and my family. While I agree in this case, I believe there are cases when rewriting the sentence changes the impact. For example; I love my kids, Dan and Steve. Here, it looks like both Dan and Steve are my kids. Let’s say Dan and Steve are my brothers. I could rewrite it, I love Dan, Steve and my kids, but I wanted my kids listed first because emphasis needs to be placed on the love for my kids. Maybe I love my kids above all else. Without separating it into multiple sentences, I can solve the problem with the Oxford Comma. I love my kids, Dan, and Steve. 

It could be rewritten another way. Maybe; I love my kids more than anything, but I also love Dan and Steve. To me, that makes Dan and Steve more of an afterthought or of lesser importance than I meant for them to be. 

Either way, I’m sure the debate will continue for a long time to come. I just try to avoid the Oxford comma whenever I can.

Enough about the Oxford comma… on to Word Crimes!

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