This is a game my Sunday school class played a few years ago. We took the word Christmas and each of us drew a letter and bought a gift that started with that letter. Now, if you have more than nine members in your class, you could use Christmas time, or Christmas season, or any other combination of greetings.
But I’m going to make suggestions for doing this for a spouse, love interest, or family member. You could give them a gift a day for the nine days prior to Christmas. It’s romantic and special.
C could be a deck of Cards, that you’ve pasted messages on…52 reasons I love you. (That’s also a good idea for Valentine’s Day and works for man or woman.) Of course, you can always go with Candy or Cash….but what about a China serving dish, or a Charm bracelet? What about a Cell phone, Camera, Computer, Cookbook, or something Cashmere?
For the man in your life, it could be any Car accessory, Cooking tool for the grill, or that golf Club he’s been wanting.
Hotel reservations for a week-end get-away will work for H and both genders. What about a Hunting trip or if he or she has a certain Hobby, furnish supplies for that. I’ve always wanted a Brahmin Handbag…but I’m too cheap to buy one, so maybe someone on your list wishes for a certain brand, but won’t splurge for it. OR Hire Help for either doing the yard or cleaning the House. Man, I’d sure like a House cleaning service!!
R could be for any type of Reading material…a magazine subscription or a book by his favorite author. (Come on now…you knew I’d work books in here somehow) What about giving something Red…a Corvette would be nice. You could also do something Remote controlled, Roller skates, a Racquet for either Racquetball or tennis…or a membership to a Racquetball club.
I could be any of those i things…iPad, iPhone, ipod..or covers for them. Maybe a gift card to an Ice cream parlor, or tickets to an Island…or there’s always Intimate wear…that would please the giver as well as the receiver!!
Perhaps something Silk, Satin, Silver, or Sapphire for the letter S. One year my sister gave Silver letter openers she’d had made from the knives of our grandmother’s Silver…such a lovely keepsake! Maybe a Sled for the kids in your life..or practical Slippers..or an extravagant Shopping Spree…more for your money after the holidays! Something we gave two of our older grandkids was a bowling ball with carrying case. They loved them and at the time, bowling was one of their favorite Sports…so it would work for S.
T is a hard one…maybe something to do with Tennis, Trading cards, or Tunes.
Lots of possibilities for M. Merlot…Movies…MP3 player…Mug with asst. of tea, coffee, or chocolate. Anything Monogrammed and how about some of those cute personalized M&Ms?
Last on the list is the letter A. Consider some Artwork…either bought or done by a family member or child. Something Antique…and if it’s passed down from a family member, all the better. A handmade Afghan. And of course…another book by a favorite Author! Sorry, I couldn’t resist!!
I hope some of these suggestions have gotten you to thinking outside the box…and I hope you’ll soon be done with your shopping, if you’re not already.
Okay, I should be good at suggestions for teacher gifts. I was a school secretary, after all, so that should make me somewhat of an expert. NOT. I will tell you what teachers don’t like…anything with apples on it. Usually because they have a closet full of that stuff. If they’ve been teaching for very long, the apple/teacher connection has been overdone.
What they do love are…gift certificates for restaurants, spa treatments, manicure and pedicure gift certificates, even movie passes.
If your teacher happens to be a coach, how about giving him.her tickets to a professional sporting event. I’m sure he or she has a favorite team, so find out which one it is and send them to a game. If you don’t want to do a sporting event, why not find out who one of their favorite musical personalities and search when that star will be performing close enough you could furnish tickets for their concert or club appearance. If the price is more than you want to spend, then get a co-worker to go in with you.
For male or females, find out if they collect any particular item and add to their collection. Perhaps they like antiques or old books. You can find many inexpensive collectibles at local antique malls.
Maybe they’ve been wanting to take a pottery or art class. Giving one lesson might be just the thing to get them going. Sometimes all they need is a little push.
Oh, and let’s not forget food items. I had a teacher who gave me tamales at Christmas and since I couldn’t make them, that was a great gift for me. Who doesn’t like baked or home cooked gifts? Be sure and include a copy of the recipe if it is one you choose to share.
And when in doubt…always remember, everyone loves cash!!
***SPECIAL NOTICE: I’ve been working on my website, so I hope you notice I have a new subscribe form in the left column. I’d sure love it if you subscribed. That way, when I add a new post, you’ll receive notice. AND, for all those who do subscribe between now and January 1, 2014, one lucky winner will receive a free copy of LAID OUT AND CANDLE LIT and YOU’RE BUSTING MY NUPTIALS…either in ebook format or trade paperback.
Just today I was watching Hallmark Channel’s Home and Family show and they offered a great gift idea I’d never heard of. There is a website where you can go give an animal depicted in the manger scene…goat, sheep, donkey to families in need. One goat provides milk, yogurt, cheese, etc. You can give one animal or one of each. I think prices range from $75 up to $548, depending on the number of animals you give.
This would be a great way to honor someone on your gift list. You can give the animal/animals in honor or in memory of someone. AND, I understand the recipients can be in the United States as well as other countries.
On a much smaller scale, but still meaningful, is to consider giving a memory book. Have family members write special memories which involved the recipient and make them into a booklet. We did this for my parents on their 60th wedding anniversary. It was just as special to those of us who read the stories told by other relatives, as it was to add our own. It’s also a great way to preserve some family history.
I hope one of these gift ideas hits home with you.
I hope everyone had a great Turkey Day! I did. I gained the average three pounds articles claimed I should. Now, I just have to lose it in time to gain it back during Christmas!
Now for the December Observances. Other than Christmas, it’s a slim month in the awareness business. But, I did find at least one that I thought was pretty dang funny…Awareness Month of Awareness Months Month! How crazy is that?
Along with being aware of the months, it’s also National Tie Month and Write a Business Plan Month.
In the food department, it’s Quince and Watermelon Month. Gee, I thought watermelons would be celebrated in the summer. Add to those, Root Vegetables, Exotic Fruits, Tomato, and Winter Squash Month.
Moving to another subject, if I can make myself do it, I’m going to post some gift ideas you may want to consider for Christmas. I’m certainly not as good as Pinterest…and if you haven’t tried that site, you should…but be prepared to spend some time there. It’s addictive. Once you start looking at everything, you can’t stop! Anyway, here are my first suggestions:
For the hard to buy for child…why not buy tickets to the Children’s Theater in Dallas or your area. I did this for my daughter when she was about ten. I bought season tickets and we got to spend a Saturday mom and daughter day each month for several months…plus, we saw some great productions. The tickets aren’t as expensive as you think.
For a hard to buy for friend: If you have a friend who has lost a parent or loved one, why not give a gift of remembrance. I know every church I’ve ever been a member of, displays poinsettias at Christmas, where members can purchase one in honor of memory of someone. Remembering or honoring a loved one is such a special thing.
I hope you’ll check back for more gift ideas. If you have one you’d like to share, I’d be happy to hear from you.
November is the month for writers to take part in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) which is an annual internet-based creative writing project challenging participants to write 50,000 words of a new novel between Nov. 1-30. I’ve never taken part in the exercise, but I admire authors who do…and succeed. I’m too slow to write that much in that amount of time.
It seems fitting since Thanksgiving takes place this month, we’d celebrate a lot of different foods. It’s Plum and Pomegranate Month, Spinach and Squash Month, Sweet Potato Awareness Month and Banana Pudding Lovers Month.
But, did you know November is also the month we celebrate Adopt a Senior Pet Month? Keep in mind, old dogs need homes too…even if you can’t teach them new tricks. Let’s not forget cats…however, there isn’t much difference in an adult cat and a senior cat. They pretty much just lie around all the time anyway.
It’s also Manatee Awareness Month, which is good, because I rarely give Manatees much thought. I guess that’s why they gave them a month for awareness. If you want to check out information about the Manatee, go to http://www.savethemanatee.org
Other things I seldom think about are sponges, so…November is World Sponge Month. Believe it or not, they have sponge conferences! Wow! I did not know that. The Ninth World Sponge Conference was held in Fremantle, Western Australia from November 4-8. Sorry I didn’t get this info out sooner. There might have been some of you who wanted soak up all that information. Oh well, there’s always next year.
On a more local level, I’ll segue into a book event I’m doing this Saturday, November 30th. I hope if you’re in the area, you’ll drop by for a visit!
THE BEN WHEELER BOOK FAIR
There will be 28 Texas authors — mostly from the Upper East Side of Texas — with children’s books, Christian humor, fantasy, literary fiction, historical fiction, horror, mystery, poetry, romance, and young adult fiction. Nonfiction authors include biography, children’s advocacy, memoir, music and culture, photography, and self-help.
A representative of Black Beauty Ranch will also be present to talk about and sell books about the nation’s largest animal sanctuary.
The book fair will be from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. in the restored Elwood Schoolhouse, 5475 FM 858 in downtown Ben Wheeler, which shares space with the Ben Wheeler Children’s Library.
It’s the same days as the 279 Artisans Trail which supports local artists. Organizers expect a good walk-in crowd to enjoy the restaurants, music venues, galleries, and retail shops along with special events in both Ben Wheeler and Edom. For more information, go to the book fair’s Facebook page, “Ben Wheeler Book Fair,” and check out www.benwheelertx.com.
~~~~~~~~~~~ HAVE A BLESSED THANKSGIVING ~~~~~~~~~~
We all know October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It’s also Domestic Violence Awareness Month and National AIDS Awareness Month, along with National Crime Prevention Month, all worthy causes for attention. And although the month is almost over, I thought readers might be interested in some of the lesser known subjects we celebrate during October.
Since this is the month of Halloween, it’s only fitting for this to be Bat Appreciation Month, because All Hallows Eve is probably the only time Bat’s get some of the spotlight. Unfortunately, they have to share it with Feral Hogs and squirrels, because it’s also Feral Hog Month and Squirrel Awareness Month…not to be confused with Squirrel Appreciation Day which occurs in January. What’s up with Squirrels that they get a month AND a day? Even the groundhog doesn’t get that and he determines how long a season will last!
Some of my favorite October celebrations include food. Eat Country Ham Month, National Chili Month, National Popcorn Poppin’ Month, and Rhizomes and Persimmons Month. Call me Redneck Stupid. I had to look up rhizome to find out what I should be celebrating. Turns out, according to http://www.staceyreid.com/news/?m=201310, it’s a root. An example would be ginger root. Of course if you live in Texas, you know Persimmon is a fruit. Why someone decided to call attention to these two unrelated things is beyond me, other than the fact they rhyme. Root and Fruit. With that observation, it’s a good time to mention, it’s also National Sarcastic Awareness Month.
One of my favorites is National Toilet Tank Repair Month. So, if you’ve been putting that job off, you only have a few days left to repair and celebrate at the same time.
I’ll end with Self-Promotion Month. Hey, I’m all for that. I have two books published. LAID OUT AND CANDLE LIT and YOU’RE BUSTING MY NUPTIALS. The links are below. Please buy my books and make me rich…there, I self-promoted and celebrated being sarcastic.
http://amzn.to/RnxiDS LAID OUT AND CANDLE LIT
http://amzn.to/V4RNdP YOU’RE BUSTING MY NUPTIALS
Feel free to leave a comment about something you celebrate in October
Welcome to the Meet the Characters Blogfest!
Readers, get ready for a whole month of some of the most interesting, hottest, attention grabbing characters in today’s YA, NA, Romance, Horror, and Paranormal fiction!
All month long DelSheree will be introducing readers to amazing characters through character bios, artwork, interviews, and contests.
Here’s what’s happening today. Please check out these character interviews. First one goes live at 6 am Texas time. Others follow in two hour intervals. Mine posts at 8am.
That’s Not All…
We’ll be having some fabulous contests, each of which has it’s own giveaway. Readers will get to vote on the characters, and one lucky voter in each contest will win a copy of the book the Winning Character comes from. The character giveaways will include:
Hottest Guy Contest (10/4)
Feistiest Girl Contest (10/11)****Be sure and vote for my entry, Synola Harper, from YOU’RE BUSTING MY NUPTIALS
Cutest Couple Contest (10/18)
Steamiest Couple Contest (10/25)
There will also be one MAIN GIVEAWAY starting today where 1 LUCKY WINNER will win a prize pack of 40 books from some of today’s hottest new authors. Additional winners will be chosen to receive runner-up prize packs as well.
*************GO TO SITE BELOW TO ENTER AND VOTE***************
SO, WHAT CAN YOU FIND EACH DAY?
10/2 — Character interviews with Zadie Stonebrook (My Sister’s Reaper – Dorothy Dryer), Tizzy Donovan (Laid out and Candle Lit – Ann Everett), Kristi Becker (A Plain Wish – Cyndi Lord), Zander Roth (Wicked Hunger – DelSheree Gladden)
10/3 — Character Bios from Kristi Becker (A Plain Wish – Cyndi Lord), Bryan Sullivan (Arcadia’s Gift – Jesi Lea Ryan), Brandon James (Love and Other Games – Aria Kane
10/4 — Hottest Guy Contest (Stop by and vote for your favorite!)
10/7 — Character Surprise Posts from authors RH Ramsey and DelSheree Gladden
10/8 — Character Artwork from The Other F Word (Susan Stec) and Wicked Hunger (DelSheree Gladden)
10/9 — Character interviews with Kate Everett (A Slight Change of Plan – Dee Ernst), Jean (In Polester Pajamas – Catherine Dougherty), Ben (Twenty-Five – Rachel Hamm), Vanessa Roth (Wicked Hunger – DelSheree Gladden)
10/10 — Character Bios from Kassia (Ice Magic), Maze (The Ballerina and the Fighter – Ursula Sinclair), Lucien (Smoke, Wings, and Stone – Marijon Bradley)
10/11 — Feistiest Girl Contest (Stop by and vote for your favorite!)
10/14 — Character Surprise Posts from authors Kara Leigh Miller, Sharon Kleve, Linda Budzinski
10/15 — Character Artwork from On a Wing and a Dare (Linda Ulleseit), Invisible (DelSheree Gladden)
10/16 — Character interviews with David Corbin and Jon Reyes (Sign of the Throne – Melissa Eskue Ousley), Rosie (In Polyester Pajamas – Catherine Dougherty), Ketchup (Wicked Hunger – DelSheree Gladden)
10/17 — Character Bios from Nadia (love and Other Games – Melinda Dozier), (Karen Gastreich), (HL Carpenter)
10/18 — Cutest Couple Contest (Stop by and vote for your favorite!)
10/21 — Character Surprise Posts from authors Stephanie Wardrop, Lucy Crowe, Ana Blaze
10/22 — Character Artwork from Haunting Joy (Lena Goldfinch) and The Destroyer Trilogy (DelSheree Gladden)
10/23 — Character interviews with Rachel Blackstone (The Relcutant Medium – GG Collins), Nell (The King Series – Tawdra Kandle), Arcadia ( Arcadia’s Gift – Jesi Lea Ryan), Olivia & Mason (Invisible – DelSheree Gladden)
10/24 — Character Bios from (Karin Gastreich), Sam and Cole (Fate War: Alliance – EM Havens)
10/25 — Steamiest Couple Contest (Stop by and vote for your favorite!)
10/28 — Character Surprise Posts from authors Susan Stec, Shauna Roberts, Lisa Cresswell
10/29 — Character Artwork from My Sister’s Reaper (Doroth Dryer), Twin Souls (DelSheree Gladden)
10/30 — Character interviews with Nathan Shaw (Reflection – Kim Cresswell), Nia (In the Winds of Danger – Linda Ulleseit), Jayden or Merch (dark Night of the Soul – EM Havens)
10/31 — Winner’s Announcements!!!
These will make you laugh out loud!!
33 Of The Most Hilariously Terrible First Sentences In Literature History
By Nico Lang/Thought Magazine*****
Every year, the announcement of Bulwer-Lytton Prize is a gift from bad writing heaven. Inspired by novelist and playwright Edward George Bulwer-Lytton’s famous “it was a dark and stormy night” opener, the contest asks writers to submit an opening sentence for the “worst of all possible novels” — although Fifty Shades of Grey has already been written. The results are perennially astounding, with entries in every genre from Children’s Literature to Spy Novels, and one sentence awarded the dubious honor of the worst sentence of the year. It’s like the Razzies, but better.
Here are some of the best entries from the past decade of the contest, each of them just as wonderfully atrocious as the next.
1. Sue Fondrie
Cheryl’s mind turned like the vanes of a wind-powered turbine, chopping her sparrow-like thoughts into bloody pieces that fell onto a growing pile of forgotten memories.
2. Ali Kawashima
As the dark and mysterious stranger approached, Angela bit her lip anxiously, hoping with every nerve, cell, and fiber of her being that this would be the one man who would understand – who would take her away from all this – and who would not just squeeze her boob and make a loud honking noise, as all the others had.
3. Chris Wieloch
She strutted into my office wearing a dress that clung to her like Saran Wrap to a sloppily butchered pork knuckle, bone and sinew jutting and lurching asymmetrically beneath its folds, the tightness exaggerating the granularity of the suet and causing what little palatable meat there was to sweat, its transparency the thief of imagination.
4. Janine Beacham
The fairies of Minglewood, which is near Dingly Pool, were having a grand revel with flower-cakes, and butterfly dances, looking ever so pretty, while Queen Bellaflora swept her wand o’er the waterfall’s foam, making it pop like the snot-bubbles on your baby sister’s face.
5. Molly Ringle
For the first month of Ricardo and Felicity’s affair, they greeted one another at every stolen rendezvous with a kiss — a lengthy, ravenous kiss, Ricardo lapping and sucking at Felicity’s mouth as if she were a giant cage-mounted water bottle and he were the world’s thirstiest gerbil.
6. Jordan Kaderli
Betty had eyes that said come here, lips that said kiss me, arms and torso that said hold me all night long, but the rest of her body said, “Fillet me, cover me in cornmeal, and fry me in peanut oil”; romance wasn’t easy for a mermaid.
7. Rephah Berg
On reflection, Angela perceived that her relationship with Tom had always been rocky, not quite a roller-coaster ride but more like when the toilet-paper roll gets a little squashed so it hangs crooked and every time you pull some off you can hear the rest going bumpity-bumpity in its holder until you go nuts and push it back into shape, a degree of annoyance that Angela had now almost attained.
8. Cathy Bryant
As he told her that he loved her she gazed into his eyes, wondering, as she noted the infestation of eyelash mites, the tiny deodicids burrowing into his follicles to eat the greasy sebum therein, each female laying up to 25 eggs in a single follicle, causing inflammation, whether the eyes are truly the windows of the soul; and, if so, his soul needed regrouting.
9. David S. Nelson
The Mushroom Men of Knarf were silently advancing on the unsuspecting earthlings, and their thin milky blood ran colder when they smelled spores from fungal toenail infections rising from many of the invaders’ feet, for to them it was a wondrous and shocking scent of kinship, homeland, and asexual reproduction.
10. Tonya Lavel
It was such a beautiful night; the bright moonlight illuminated the sky, the thick clouds floated leisurely by just above the silhouette of tall, majestic trees, and I was viewing it all from the front row seat of the bullet hole in my car trunk.
11. David Pepper
As an ornithologist, George was fascinated by the fact that urine and feces mix in birds’ rectums to form a unified, homogeneous slurry that is expelled through defecation, although eying Greta’s face, and sensing the reaction of the congregation, he immediately realized he should have used a different analogy to describe their relationship in his wedding vows.
12. Ron D. Smith
As the sun dropped below the horizon, the safari guide confirmed the approaching cape buffaloes were herbivores, which calmed everyone in the group, except for Herb, of course.
13. Elizabeth Muenster
Sterben counted calcium bars in the storage chamber, wondering why women back on Earth paid him little attention, but up here they seem to adore him, in fact, six fraichemaidens had already shown him their blinka.
14. Andrew Bowers
“Hmm …” thought Abigail as she gazed languidly from the veranda past the bright white patio to the cerulean sea beyond, where dolphins played and seagulls sang, where splashing surf sounded like the tintinnabulation of a thousand tiny bells, where great gray whales bellowed and the sunlight sparkled off the myriad of sequins on the flyfish’s bow ties, “time to get my meds checked.”
15. Pamela Patchet
The notion that they would no longer be a couple dashed Helen’s hopes and scrambled her thoughts not unlike the time her sleeve caught the edge of the open egg carton and the contents hit the floor like fragile things hitting cold tiles, more pitiable because they were the expensive organic brown eggs from free-range chickens, and one of them clearly had double yolks entwined in one sac just the way Helen and Richard used to be.
16. David S. Nelson
He swaggered into the room (in which he was now the “smartest guy”) with a certain Wikipedic insouciance, and without skipping a beat made a beeline towards Dorothy, busting right through her knot of admirers, and she threw her arms around him and gave him a passionate though slightly tickly kiss, moaning softly, “Oooohh, Scarecrow!”
17. Jeanne Villa
She sipped her latte gracefully, unaware of the milk foam droplets building on her mustache, which was not the peachy-fine baby fuzz that Nordic girls might have, but a really dense, dark, hirsute lip-lining row of fur common to southern Mediterranean ladies nearing menopause, and winked at the obviously charmed Spaniard at the next table.
18. Jessica Sasishara
On their first date he’d asked how much she thought Edgar Allan Poe’s toe nails would sell for on eBay, and on their second he paid for subway fair with nickels he fished out of a fountain, but he was otherwise charming and she thought that they could have a perfectly tolerable life together.
19. Beth Fand Incollingo
Like a mechanic who forgets to wipe his hands on a shop rag and then goes home, hugs his wife, and gets a grease stain on her favorite sweater – love touches you, and marks you forever.
20. Shannon Wedge
Leopold looked up at the arrow piercing the skin of the dirigible with a sort of wondrous dismay – the wheezy shriek was just the sort of sound he always imagined a baby moose being beaten with a pair of accordions might make.
21. Charles Howland
The professor looked down at his new young lover, who rested fitfully, lashed as she was with duct tape to the side of his stolen hovercraft, her head lolling gently in the breeze, and as they soared over the buildings of downtown St. Paul to his secret lair he mused that she was much like a sweet ripe juicy peach, except for her not being a fuzzy three-inch sphere produced by a tree with pink blossoms and that she had internal organs and could talk.
22. Kathryn Minicozzi
As she slowly drove up the long, winding driveway, Lady Alicia peeked out the window of her shiny blue Mercedes and spied Rodrigo the new gardener standing on a grassy mound with his long black hair flowing in the wind, his brown eyes piercing into her very soul, and his white shirt open to the waist, revealing his beautifully rippling muscular chest, and she thought to herself, “I must tell that lazy idiot to trim the hedges by the gate.”
23. Jim Gleeson
Gerald began – but was interrupted by a piercing whistle which cost him ten percent of his hearing permanently, as it did everyone else in a ten-mile radius of the eruption, not that it mattered much because for them “permanently” meant the next ten minutes or so until buried by searing lava or suffocated by choking ash – to pee.
24. Dennis Barry
Despite the vast differences it their ages, ethnicity, and religious upbringing, the sexual chemistry between Roberto and Heather was the most amazing he had ever experienced; and for the entirety of the Labor Day weekend they had sex like monkeys on espresso, not those monkeys in the zoo that fling their feces at you, but more like the monkeys in the wild that have those giant red butts, and access to an espresso machine.
25. Randy Groom
Colin grabbed the switchgear and slammed the spritely Vauxhall Vixen into a lower gear as he screamed through the roundabout heading toward the familiar pink rowhouse in Puking-On-The-Wold, his mind filled with the image of his comely Olive, dressed in some lacy underthing, waiting on the couch with only a smile and a cucumber sandwich, hoping that his lunch hour would provide sufficient time for both a naughty little romp and a digestive biscuit.
26. Leslie Muir
He was a dark and stormy knight, and this excited Gwendolyn, but admittedly not as much as last night when he was Antonio Banderas in drag, or the night before that when he was a French Legionnaire who blindfolded her and fed her pommes frites from his kepi.
27. Linda Boatright
Corinne considered the colors (palest green, gray and lavender) and texture (downy as the finest velvet) and wondered, “How long have these cold cuts been in my refrigerator?”
28. Emma DeZordi
Chain-smoking as he stood in the amber glow of the street lamp, he gazed up at the brownstone wherein resided Bunny Morgan, and thought how like a bunny Bunny was, though he had read somewhere that rabbits were coprophages, which meant that they ate their own feces, which was really disgusting now that he thought about it, and nothing like Bunny, at least he hoped not, so on second thought Bunny wasn’t like a bunny after all, but she still was pretty hot.
29. Dan Winters
Sex with Rachel after she turned fifty was like driving the last-place team on the last day of the Iditarod Dog Sled Race, the point no longer the ride but the finish, the difficulty not the speed but keeping all the parts moving in the right direction, not to mention all that irritating barking.
30. James Pokines
“Bring a bottle of wine and wear something uncomplicated – I’m in no mood for a struggle tonight,” rolled from Jean-Pierre’s lips like a bowling ball shooting up the return ramp, only to slow itself abruptly at the top before ka-whonking! into the balls already lined up there like all the lines she had heard before, and Sylvia knew at last that all the good ones were not married, gay, or in Mexican prisons.
31. Stephen Farnsworth
When Mr Bilbo Baggins of Bag End announced that he would shortly be celebrating his eleventy-first birthday, his children packed his bags and drove him to Golden Pastures retirement complex just off Interstate 95.
32. Howie McLennon
Before they met, his heart was a frozen block of ice, scarred by the skate blades of broken relationships, then she came along and like a beautiful Zamboni flooded his heart with warmth, scraped away the ugly slushy bits, and dumped them in the empty parking lot of his soul.
33. Mary E. Patrick
As I gardened, gazing towards the autumnal sky, I longed to run my finger through the trail of mucus left by a single speckled slug – innocuously thrusting past my rhododendrons – and in feeling that warm slime, be swept back to planet Alderon, back into the tentacles of the alien who loved me.
*****Nico Lang is a Producer at Thought Catalog, as well as the former correspondent and blogger for WBEZ (Chicago’s local NPR affiliate), the Co-Creator of In Our Words and a graduate student in DePaul University’s Media & Cinema Studies program. Lang is the Co-Founder of Chicago’s Queer Intercollegiate Alliance and a columnist for HEAVEMedia. At HEAVE, Nico writes film reviews and talks about nerd stuff on a weekly podcast called Pod People. Elsewhere in podcasting, Lang is the former host of Broad Shoulders, a monthly podcast for Chicago’s Live Lit community. Nico is also a contributor at the Huffington Post and has been featured in the Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, The L.A. Times, The Guardian, XOJane, IndieWire, The New Gay, on NPR and their mother’s refrigerator. Follow Nico on Twitter @Nico_Lang or on the Facebook.
Recently, someone asked what I considered my strongest talent in writing to be and it got me to thinking about my weakest. Like my character, Tizzy, I tend to think my cup is always half-empty, so it was natural for me to focus on my weakest.
Narrowing it down to one, proved to be more difficult than I thought, so I came up with my top five. I’m not alone. These are all mistakes new writers make, but even seasoned writers, now and then, fall victim to old habits. If we didn’t, editing wouldn’t be such a big job.
So, here I go, in no particular order.
1. Over use of the word “that”
To avoid using “that” too much, I do a word search, find each one, and read the sentence, and then read it again, without it. If omitting it doesn’t change the meaning of the sentence, I edit it out.
2. Over writing or over explaining
Here’s an example: He was accepted unconditionally at each university where he’d applied. In fact, he couldn’t remember applying to any school where he’d not been accepted… Because both of those sentences say the same thing, only one is needed.
3. Use of too many proper names or pronouns
This is a biggie for me. I find myself using my character’s names each time I refer to them, when a pronoun would work better. But then, a new problem. I have to be careful not to use pronouns too much in one sentence….She leaned forward and rested her head in her hand…she, her, her…oops.
4. Use of too many adverbs
This is one mistake I’ve overcome. Thank goodness. Now that I have, it drives me nuts to read authors who do this, especially if they use them with tags. She said, quietly. He said, wearily. She said, happily. He said, sternly.
As one editor pointed out, verbs drive a story, not adverbs.
5. The dreaded info dump
This happens when the author includes a long stretch of backstory such as a character’s childhood into the middle of an action scene. Even though the information may be important, it will stop the forward pace of the story. Exposition/backstory should be written in bits and pieces as the story progresses. Dialogue is an excellent way to do this.
I could go on with a much longer list. Show, don’t tell. Point of View (POV) switches. Punctuation. Passive voice. Avoid clichés. Too many metaphors or similes. Description. and on and on.
Successful writers make writing look easy, but not one will claim it is. This writing stuff is hard and like my grandma always said: Good, Better, best. Never let it rest, until the good is better and the better is best…thus…edit, edit, edit!
Oh, if I have a strong point, it’s dialogue…or so I’m told.
What’s your strongest writing talent?
Have you visited the site http://iwl.me/? It’s a fun thing to do. You copy and paste a sample of your writing into their box, then click analyze and in a few seconds, you’ll get a message telling you what author your style most resembles.
Okay, so I did it and here are my results. First, I entered the romance story I’m currently working on, TELL ME A SECRET. My style came up as a match to Dan Brown.
According to: http://nickmomrik.com/2004/06/11/dan-brown-writing-style/
Dan’s style is short chapters…check. Bits of history blended into the plot. Check.
Story takes place in a short amount of time. Check. Good character development. Hopefully check. Suspense. Check.
Then, I entered my first published novel, LAID OUT AND CANDLE LIT. Seems the writing style in it matched Isaac Asimov.
Asimov’s novels are pleasant reading. You won’t need to cuddle up with a dictionary to get through an Asimov book. His characters are usually well defined and his storylines are well thought out. Asimov was a perfectionist and would try to correct any discrepancies that he created in his previous works.**Well, seems like Isaac and I do have something in common. I just finished RE-editing my second novel, because I found too many things I wanted to re-do!! Asimov writing style source: http://www.futurefiction.com/Isaac%20Asimov.htm#style
Okay, two entries, two different authors, so I decided to go for a third try to get a match. I entered text from my second published novel, YOU’RE BUSTING MY NUPTIALS. Surprise! Now my style proved to be like H.G. Wells.
The writing style of H.G. Wells in some of his novels called scientific romances tended to minimize the role of individual heroes, took an evolutionary perspective, and held a bleak view of the future. – See more at: http://www.chacha.com/question/what-writing-style-did-h.g.-wells-use#sthash.x5r3Krlv.dpuf
I guess the opening scene in YBMN, has a bleak view of the future because the groom doesn’t show up for the wedding!!
Why not try a short story? My award winning THE FIVE SENSES, seemed a good choice. Guess what? That style is most like Margaret Mitchell.
Mitchell had a very set idea on what her style of writing should and should not be, as she said, “I sweat blood to make my style simple and stripped bare.” http://www.researchhistory.org/2012/06/30/the-writer-margaret-mitchell/
So, my conclusion…Ann Everett’s writing style is like, Ann Everett! I’ll bet if you put in several samples of your work, you’ll come up with the same results. There’s a little bit of a lot of different authors in all of us!!