Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all! I'm taking a break from blogging but I'll be back after the holidays on January 6, 2014.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Are You Addicted to Books?

Are you ready for Christmas yet? I'm not, so here's another article from the archives that originally appeared September 15, 2010.

"I cannot think of a greater blessing than to die in one's own bed, without warning or discomfort, on the last page of a new book that we most wanted to read."  Lord John Russell

Are you addicted to books?  If you are, at least it's a harmless addiction.  And thanks to libraries, thrift stores and used book stores, it can be inexpensive, too.

Tell Tale Signs of Book Addiction:
  • Is your nightstand overflowing with books (purchased, borrowed or given to you)?
  • When you walk into a store, are you immediately drawn to the book section?
  • Are your bookshelves filled to capacity?  Do you have a stash in the closet that won't fit on the shelves?
  • When you visit someone's house, do you start paging through what they're reading?
  • Does your librarian know you by name (and reserve books for you she knows you'll like)?
  • Do you have a book in your purse, the glove compartment and the bathroom, so you'll never be trapped anywhere without access to a fix?
  • When you read, does time stop?
On my last vacation, I left home with three books, but returned with six.  I purchased one at Goodwill for .75, my mother-in-law said I was welcome to take one from the rec center library at her housing complex, plus she gave me one she'd just finished.  At a recent writers meeting someone brought books to give away.  I took two!  The stash in my closet is growing bigger!   Too bad I'm such a slow reader!

Are you addicted to books?  If so, can you describe any other signs?

Thanks for visiting and have a great week!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Writing Tip: Arrive Late, Leave Early

With Christmas quickly approaching and all that comes with it (house cleaning, decorating, company, etc.), I'll be re-posting quite a bit this month.  This article originally appeared here on April 18, 2011. Great advice from bestselling author Robert Masello!

"Too many words..."
"Figure out what the action of the scene is going to be, or what its thrust is, and then start writing just a fraction before the action begins." Robert Masello, Robert's Rules of Writing, Rule 42: Make an Entrance

If you haven't guessed, Masello's Robert's Rules of Writing is one of my favorite craft books.  It's a small work jam packed with excellent advice!

I'm currently revising a WIP, and this rule reminds me that I don't need to fill up scenes with lots of superfluous information.

Masello uses the example of a scene that takes place in a lecture hall.  Is it really necessary to show the students filing in, the professor straightening his notes at the podium, then clearing his throat and beginning the lecture?

Absolutely not!  If the oncoming conflict is an argument that takes place between the protagonist and the professor, that results in the protagonist getting kicked out of school, focus on that.

Masello says, "If that's what the scene is about, if that's what moves the action of your story forward, then come in just before the argument flares up and out of control.  And once the expulsion is given, end the scene...Lingering in that lecture hall will only dilute the power of the confrontation."

In closing, get to the point, and know when to quit.  Rambling and meandering is okay in a first draft, but while revising, cut what's possible so the reader won't be bored!

Have you ever struggled with your characters' arrivals and departures into and out of scenes?  Thanks for visiting and have a great week!

Monday, December 2, 2013

The New Slang

Being the mother of two boys, twelve and fourteen, I'm constantly confronted by new slang words, the meanings of which I have no clue.  Even when I think I understand something, I don't, such as the term skep. It's not short for skeptical, as I'd assumed.  

Today I thought I'd share a few words I've heard recently from the mouths of my babes. I've included definitions from The Urban Dictionary. If you do visit that link, be forewarned: Language-wise, it's not the cleanest place.

Only a chosen few can look this cool...

beast: UK Slang: a person who is very good at something.

boss: Incrediably awesome; miraculous; great.

epic: Being unusually large, powerful or wonderful. On a grander scale than the modified word would otherwise imply.

fail: The glorious lack of success.

lame: Just plain stupid, un-original, or lifeless.

owned, pwned, 0wn3d, pwn3d, own3d: To be made a fool of. To make a fool of. To confound or prove wrong. Embarrassing someone. Being embarrassed.

skep: A term used to describe a situation that is to one's disliking. Also used to describe a situation that is uncomfortable... Not used as an abbreviation of skeptical, because you do not necessarily have to be skeptical of the situation.

twerk: The rhythmic gyrating of the lower extremities in a lascivious manner with the intent to elicit sexual arousal or laughter in one's intended audience.

yolo: Abbreviation for you only live once. 

If you're middle-aged and above, what are some new slang words you've heard from the young people around you? And if you are young, what are some of the coolest new slang words? 

By the way, I'm happy to report that according to The Urban Dictionary, the term cool (the best way to say something is neat-o, awesome, or swell) never goes out of style!

Thanks for visiting and have a great week!