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Unintentional Writing Insight

“My eyes sting from the smell of typing ink. My fingers are striped with paper cuts. Who know paper and ink could be so vicious.”

    Kathryn Stockett, The Help, p. 357

Who knew paper and ink could be so vicious. True Dat.

 
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Posted by on September 19, 2011 in Random

 

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“Wierd” words that trip me up “alot”

I think I’m a pretty good speller, and although my grammar isn’t always perfect, I do a pretty good job with it.  I know how to use to, two, and too, as well as you’re and your and their, there, and they’re (note the Oxford comma, TYVM).  But there are certain words and phrases that trip me up every time.  You would think that after spelling a word wrong 200 times, I would know how to spell it, but no.

“I before E, except after C, unless sounding like A, as in ‘neighbor’ and ‘weigh.’”  But, ‘weird’ is not pronounced ‘wayrd,’ so why the hell isn’t it ‘wierd’?

I refuse to ever write “Xmas” on anything.  If ‘Xing’ is “crossing,” wouldn’t ‘Xmas’ be “Crossmas?”

Chicken Xing

Image by 4nitsirk via Flickr

There are specific lessons that stick with you from school.  For me, one of those lessons came from Mrs. Nelson in 8th grade English:  It is not ‘alot,’ it’s ‘a lot.’  To this day, seeing one word instead of two drives me batty.

Separate.  Sep-ah-rut.  I have to distinctly say each syllable in my head, lest I use a second E instead of an A (seperate).

Commitment – one of one letter, two of another, but which is it?  Whichever way I don’t spell it.  And ‘disappointment’ – 2 S’s?  2 P’s?  Thank goodness for autocorrect.

I end sentences in prepositions often enough that I think that grammar rule is null and void.  And “Where y’at?” doesn’t actually mean “Where are you,” at least according to Remy McSwain, so it’s totally acceptable.

(And apparently, I can’t spell ‘sentence.’ I always want to throw in an A instead of the second E.  What kind of writer can’t spell that word?!)

What words do you have a hard time spelling correctly?  What grammar issues do you have, which ones drive you nuts when you see other people use them?

 
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Posted by on July 28, 2011 in Random, Thoughts

 

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Sand Art and Awesome Independent Booksellers – Weekend Roundup

Sand is just sand, right?  Not so!  Magnify it, and it becomes this:

magnified sand grains from http://www.sandgrains.com

Check out more artwork at www.sandgrains.com.

There are rumors floating around that bookstores may be dying.  Remember WaldenBooks, or B. Dalton?  They were bought by Borders and Barnes & Nobles, respectively, both of which offered books at a lower cost – or at least it seemed that way.  Now Amazon has come along, offering books (and more) at an even lower cost, and doing its share to make e-books a Big Thing.  So, is this the end to brick and mortar bookstores? 

Personally, I think it might be the end to the big, cold, impersonal bookstore,  but the winners of this are the cool, personal, independent bookstores.  The key is being different, to be about a love of books and not money, and, of course, to not have five such stores on a city block. 

Denver has Tattered Cover Bookstore.  Charlotte had  Park Road Books.  And check out these 10 Unconventional Bookstores.

Have you been to a wonderful independent bookstore lately?  Please share!

 
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Posted by on July 24, 2011 in Weekend Roundup

 

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55 word microfiction – Wednesday Writing

I found out about 55 Fiction from Metafilter.  “55 Fiction is a form or microfiction with a few rules, including a limitation to 55 words.”  There are a couple of websites with the name, although apparently unrelated to the original 55 word contest. 

I thought, what the heck, could be fun:

The frigid office is a shocking contrast to the jungle outside.  The hairs on my legs stand up and grow faster.

“Please, can we turn it up, just three degrees?”  68 sounded temperate.

“No can do, pretty lady.  We turn the temp up, the jungle comes inside.”

I look down at my legs.  “Too late.”

 
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Posted by on July 20, 2011 in Fiction, Wednesday Writings

 

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Unfinished Novels, Typewriter Art, Photographs in Photographs, and The Million Dollar Question – Weekend Roundup

I read a lot of blogs in Google Reader, and I’m horribly far behind right now on posting some things I’ve been wanting to post about.  Let’s see how many I can sneak in today, shall we?

Ah, that unfinished novel.  The one you’ve completely given up on, you’ve lost half of it to a bad hard drive and aren’t possible able to recreate it.  The one you wrote ten years ago and never got back to.  The one you’ve given up on finding a way out of.  Post it at myunfinishednovels.com.

Keira Rathbone makes art with a typewriter – visual art.  “One of Keira’s mediums is the use of vintage typewriters to create her art. Typing out letters, numbers and symbols in place of brush strokes and pixels results in beautiful enigmatic images.”  Very cool:

Keira Rathbone - Typewriter Art

Loving this site:  Dear Photograph.  Old pictures in new pictures are nifty:

dearphotograph.com

Rachelle Gardner posed an intriguing question over on her blog:  Would you rather receive a million dollars for a book that no one will ever read, or have one million people read your book but never make a dime?  I have to say, reading through only some of the comments, I’m in the minority.  Yes, I write not because of the money, but because I have to – if I didn’t write, I would go crazy.  But for exactly that reason, I would be perfectly okay with no one ever reading a specific book I write – because there will be another.  And I’ll have a million dollars.  I don’t know, that’s how I feel – what about you?

How do you keep track of  the books you’ve read (or want to read)?  I started using WeRead through Facebook, but I’ve also heard of GoodReads.  Is one better than the other?  Is it worth trying to bring everything over from one site to the other?  Thoughts, anyone?

 
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Posted by on July 17, 2011 in Random, Weekend Roundup

 

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5 things I’m excited about this weekend

  1. Riding The Intimidator again.  The first time I rode it, it took my breath away – literally.  The second time (the same night as the first time) I was able to enjoy it more, knowing what to expect.  I wonder, since it’s been a while, if I’ll need to ride it a second time.  Wait…why wouldn’t I ride it a second time?
  2. Riding the Borg (I still call it that, even though the name changed).  I love this one because at one point, you really feel like you’re flying – face down, the wind whooshing around you, and no machinery in your line of sight.  If I could take a video, I would, but it’s not advisable.
  3. Riding Ricochet, the East Coast’s version of California Adventure’s Mulholland Drive.  This is the stupidest ride, ever, a cramped 4 person car, knees to your chest (and I’m short), going down a twisty-turny road.  But I enjoy the hell out of it, and it may be my favorite ride of all time.  I want to do it again, and again, and again.
  4. Riding the rapids, because it’s sure to be hot tomorrow.
  5. Doing all of the above with wonderful company.  🙂

 

 
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Posted by on June 17, 2011 in Five Things Friday

 

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How to write a book, Typewriter keyboards, Short stories, and Philosophy – Weekend Roundup June 5

If you write, and you haven’t heard of Scrivener, go look it up.  Right now.

I found out about Scrivener during NaNoWriMo last year.  It’s a Mac program, but they have been working on a release for Windows, and it’s been in beta for over 7 months now.  I’m anxiously awaiting the full release, which will hopefully be in July.  I admit, I haven’t fully explored Scrivener and all it can do, but I can say, even with my limited use of it, it has changed my writing life.  You can break up your book into moveable pieces, make notes, do outlines.  You can easily find a scene you want to look at, without having to scroll through pages and pages (and pages) as you would in Word.  I can’t wait to explore it more.

Someone on BoingBoing posted a link to a list of tips from writers, and wrote that the most valuable thing she took away from the list is Scrivener.  Yep, it’s that awesome.

What I took away from the list:

Writing on the Wall

Image by Indiana Public Media via Flickr

  • I would love a huge wall to write on.  Whiteboard, chalkboard, or maybe just a wall I paint over every so often.  A big place to write down ideas, storyboard, timeline events, etc.
  • I need to write every day.  I’ve known this for…ever, of course, but I really need to do it.  Even if it’s only five minutes, I must write every day.
  • I need to get my characters in trouble.  I know this, but I love them, so I don’t want to hurt them.  But pain is a key component of survival.  I need to remember that.
  • I need to find a way to deal with distractions.  I read that Jonathan Franzen has an old laptop stripped of all distractions, including the internet, and has pretty much nothing but that laptop, a desk, and a chair in a room.  I don’t know that I can do that, but it’s probably exactly what I need.
  • I really need to get into a writing group.
  • Maybe I’ll look into a residency program next summer…hmmmm.

I love sticky, noisy keyboard keys.  I know, I’m a weirdo, I don’t care.  I’ve wanted an old-fashioned typewriter for years, but I realize it’s not practical – you know, since it’s not in an editable format.  I wondered if there was a typewriter-like keyboard somewhere out there in the world, and discovered you can make your own!  It’s well beyond my technical expertise, but maybe I can get one of my technologically inclined friends to give it a go.  Or, maybe I can buy one online...for $800…

Yeah, I’ll add that to my Christmas list…

One Story Blog made a list of the best short stories.  I’m embarrassed to say I think I’ve only read one of those on the short list, and only a couple more from the long list.  But it got me thinking about some of my favorite short stories:

How’s this for random fun?  “Wikipedia trivia: if you take any article, click on the first link in the article text not in parentheses or italics, and then repeat, you will eventually end up at ‘Philosophy.’”  No, really, try it!

 

 
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Posted by on June 5, 2011 in Weekend Roundup

 

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