Archive | November 2010

How much money do you get?

Writing is the only profession where no one considers you ridiculous if you earn no money.

~ Jules Renard

Much too true. :(

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Ten songs by which to plot

For many people, music and writing go together. I am not one of those, for reasons along the lines of I can’t listen to music with most headphones, so I never learned to write like that. However, some songs are very good for plotting, and these following songs are some of my favorites.

Note, I call these plotting songs, as they seem to have a story that just eludes the mind, and goes along with many characters and yet none of them. This is not my recommended writing playlist

Also, I’m trying to include songs without a video, so as not to influence your view of the song.

1)  This is your life by  Switchfoot

2) Boulevard of Broken Dreams by Greenday

3) Wake Me Up Inside by Evanescence

4) Sometimes by Skillet

5) Like a Lion by Reliant K (And no, I do not mean for this to be a Christmas song.)

6) Prodigal by Casting Crowns

7) My Last Breath by Evanescence

8) Dare you to Move by Switchfoot

9) Monster by Skillet

10) Let my Love Open the door by numerous people. I am familiar with the Audio Adrenaline version, but when trying to find a video, I found that Pete Townshend actually wrote it first. (Trust me, music is not my forte.) I can’t find any decent video for Audio Adrenaline so I’ll give both a Sondre Lerche version, which is pretty decent, and a Pete Townshend version. It’s your choice which to listen to.

Audio Adrenaline: which I apparently can’t put into the video either. :P

Pete Townshend:

 

Bonus Song! For all us writers out there.

Bonus: Paperback Writer by the Beatles

This is not a plotting song. It’s just a awesome song about writing. I hadn’t listened much to the Beatles until my dad began playing the Rock Hero version of it. Then I just almost laughed when I heard this song.

So, what are your favorite plotting songs? I’m always in the market for a few good ones.

Concerning living in space

The best one for me to know was about the space sickness, since I was having a character turn off the gravity in his ship. Wonder if he can still do that….?

10 facts about living in space

Ease of the Write.

Some things concerning the challenge of writing a good book.

What is written without effort is in general read without pleasure. ~ Samuel Johnson

When something can be read without effort, great effort has gone into its writing. ~ Enrique Jardiel Poncela

Easy reading is damn hard writing. ~ Nathaniel Hawthorne

If you want to get rich from writing, write the sort of thing that’s read by persons who move their lips when they’re reading to themselves. Don Marquis

“You say what?”

Very, very few stories can get by without any quotes of characters. Some can’t. Some famous books have no quote marks at all, although characters talk. However, especially for the newer writer, it is probably better to know how to write quotes and since I ran into a writer who didn’t know how to use them well, I will go over them with you. (And really, these are very easy.)

1) Each speaker gets a new paragraph.

So, you got on the captian’s bad side again?” Max said.

Daria turned as Max approuched her and shrugged. “You weren’t suppose to hear about that.”

“I keep finding that you, my dear little sister, are keeping things from me that I am suppose to know. How am I to protect you if you don’t even tell me what you need protection from?”

“I don’t need protection from the captain, Max.”

2) If a person is speaking something that requires or improves with the use of two paragraphs, place beginning quotes at the beginning of both paragraphs, but no ending quotes until the person has finished speaking.

Example:

Father stared at me with hard, cold eyes. “For the last five generations, the Retinal family has been the capstone of society, the pillar in our community. Whenever anyone needed help, we knew who to go to. Whenever someone needed advice, we knew who to go to. Whenever someone needed parenting advice, or job advice, they knew who to go to. Whenever anyone needed a boast in their venture, they knew who to go to to get the community on board.  That’s right; the Retinal family.

“And in the matter of two weeks, you, Samuel Markus Retinal, have ruined that reputation.”

“But–I didn’t do anything wrong!” I protested.

3) Punctuation goes inside the quote mark.

The punctuation mark, whether it be a period, question mark, or comma, always goes inside the quote marks. This is applicable even if it isn’t something a person says (in American English).

Correct:

“And have you sent in a requestion for this device here?”

“Yes, sir, I have. Twice now.”

Incorrect:

“And have you sent in a requestion for this device here”?

“Yes, sir, I have. Twice now”.

OR

“And have you sent in a requestion for this device here”

“Yes, sir, I have. Twice now”

4) If there is a dialog marker (such as he said), a comma goes where the period should be.

Correct:

“My life has just never been the same,” he said. “She was the world to me.”

Incorrect:

“My life has just never been the same.” He said. “She was the world to me.”

5) If there is a dialog marker, and the person is asking a question or using an exclamation, a question mark  or exclamation mark stays.

Correct:

“Is there something I can do for you, sir?”  he xaid.

Incorrect:

“Is there something I can do for you, sir.”  He xaid.

OR

“Is there something I can do for you, sir,”  he xaid.

6) You can put an action of the character at the beginning of the quotation to indicate who is speaking.

Example:

Captain Grant slammed his fist on the desk. “Stop trying to think, Holt! You’re worse at it than your brother.”

You don’t need….

Captain Grant slammed his fist on the desk and yelled. “Stop trying to think, Holt! You’re worse at it than your brother.”

7) Said is an invisible word.

When I first saw this, I almost couldn’t believe it. One of my books on writing told me to always use something stronger than said, such as yelled, shouted, whispered, whimpered, sighed. However, I look and other people are saying not to use any of those words, because said is one of the few invisible words in the English language. Our mind just skips over it, but tells us who is talking without us realizing it. (I have observed that myself.)

I’m not going to advocate one way or the other, but keep in mind when writing, that said is invisible. Once you add any adverbs or anything to it, it becomes visible.

That’s all I have now. Hope that helps point you in the right direction.

It’s always an uphill battle.

What is the hardest part for you in writing stories?

The Shadow Scholar

Today’s article is something more of interest I think in the relation that it has to writers and jobs that writers can get. After reading this article about how he writes papers for students, I find myself terribly wanting this job, if only for a year. Just think if all you’d be able to learn!

The Shadow Scholar — The man who writes your school papers.

The most interesting comment he makes:

After I’ve gathered my sources, I pull out usable quotes, cite them, and distribute them among the sections of the assignment. Over the years, I’ve refined ways of stretching papers. I can write a four-word sentence in 40 words. Just give me one phrase of quotable text, and I’ll produce two pages of ponderous explanation. I can say in 10 pages what most normal people could say in a paragraph.

How good is the product created by this process? That depends—on the day, my mood, how many other assignments I am working on. It also depends on the customer, his or her expectations, and the degree to which the completed work exceeds his or her abilities. I don’t ever edit my assignments. That way I get fewer customer requests to “dumb it down.” So some of my work is great. Some of it is not so great. Most of my clients do not have the wherewithal to tell the difference, which probably means that in most cases the work is better than what the student would have produced on his or her own. I’ve actually had customers thank me for being clever enough to insert typos. “Nice touch,” they’ll say.

Why else do you think that he doesn’t edit his assignments? Because he’d probably realize how much fluff he put into it, not to mention that he doesn’t want it to be too smart. But as legitimate  writers who want our name on our product, we should keep in mind that we don’t want fluff and we don’t want to seem too dumb.

Some random possibilities.

I’m just throwing out some random things that you may find useful when writing.

Excessive yawning can be a symptom of a brain tumor.

A side effect of hypothyroidism in babies is they become very small and mentally retarded. (I’m not sure why I thought that to be of note, but I wrote it down when I heard it.)

When a plant exploded, what happened was that the water erupted from wherever it was stored, flash-vaporized into steam, and then reacted with the metal to cause the whole building to come down.

People with Aspergers have problems with overstimulation.

People’s short term memory lasts about thirty seconds. After that, it goes into the long term memory. We don’t always remember it because some memories become little deer trails in words and others become superhighways, based on how often we’ve accessed the information. But, theoretically, if someone could speed up their short term memory, could they then have a better memory?

Cultural crossovers almost always start with food. And therefore, food is the backbone of cultural diversity.

Calcium is the means by which all muscles in the body contract, from the finger muscles for typing to the heart. So if someone removes all calcium from a body, or inhibits all the calcium, that person dies. (I know, morbid. Sorry.)

The right word.

I might have posted this one before, but Mark Twain said a lot of very wise things, and it fits into the theme I’ve had this month in quotes involving  editing, deleting, and the right word.

The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug. ~ Mark Twain

Commonly confused words

Words, either through typos or through not understand actual meanings, can often be mistake through spell check. Now, oftentimes we don’t know that we made a mistake, and usually it is easier to look it up in the dictionary. However, just in case you were wondering, this is my non-comprehensive  list of all similar words and homophones that I could find.

Just in case you were wondering, I have a total of 452 words.

As a note, for those using safari or firefox, you can press either cmd+down arrow or spacebar to get to the bottom and tell me how impressed you are with me. :)

That being said, here is my list of commonly confused words.

  1. a lot / allot
  2. accent / ascent / assent
  3. accept / except
  4. acts / ax
  5. ad / add
  6. ado/adieu
  7. ads / adds / adz
  8. adverse / averse
  9. advice / advise
  10. affect / effect
  11. aide / aid
  12. ail / ale
  13. air / heir / err
  14. aisle / isle / I’ll
  15. all / awl
  16. all ready / already
  17. all together / altogether
  18. allowed / aloud
  19. allude / elude
  20. allusion / illusion
  21. already / all ready
  22. altar / alter
  23. angel / angle
  24. ant / aunt
  25. arc / ark
  26. are / our
  27. assay / essay
  28. assent / ascent
  29. assistance / assistants
  30. ate / eight
  31. aural / oral
  32. away / aweigh
  33. axil / axle
  34. aye / eye
  35. bail / bale
  36. bait / bate
  37. ball / bawl
  38. band / banned
  39. bard / barred
  40. bare / bear
  41. baron / barren
  42. base / bass
  43. bases / basis
  44. bazaar / bizarre
  45. be / bee
  46. beach / beech
  47. beat / beet
  48. beau / bow
  49. bell / belle
  50. berry / bury
  51. berth / birth
  52. billed / build
  53. bit / bite
  54. bite / byte
  55. blew / blue
  56. bloc / block
  57. boar / bore
  58. board / bored
  59. boarder / border
  60. bode / bowed
  61. bolder / boulder
  62. born / borne
  63. bough / bow
  64. bouillon / bullion
  65. boy / buoy
  66. braid/brayed
  67. braise/brays
  68. brake / break
  69. bread / bred
  70. breath / breathe / breadth
  71. brewed / brood
  72. brews / bruise
  73. bridle / bridal
  74. broach / brooch
  75. browse / brows
  76. bus/buss
  77. bussed/bust
  78. but / butt
  79. buy / by / bye
  80. cache / cash
  81. callous / callus
  82. cannon / canon
  83. canvas / canvass
  84. capital / capitol
  85. carat / carrot / caret / karat
  86. carol / carrel
  87. cast / caste
  88. cede / seed
  89. ceiling / sealing
  90. cell / sell
  91. cellar / seller
  92. censor / sensor
  93. cent / scent / sent
  94. cents / scents / sense
  95. cereal / serial
  96. cession / session
  97. chance / chants
  98. chased / chaste
  99. cheap / cheep
  100. chews / choose
  101. chic / sheik
  102. chilly / chili
  103. choir / quire
  104. choose / chose / choice
  105. choral / coral
  106. chord / cord
  107. chute / shoot
  108. cite / sight / site
  109. clause / claws
  110. click / clique
  111. close / clothes / cloze
  112. clothes / cloths
  113. coal / cole
  114. coarse / course
  115. colonel / kernel
  116. complement / compliment
  117. conscience / conscious
  118. coo / coup
  119. coop / coupe
  120. core / corps
  121. corps / corpse
  122. correspondence / correspondents
  123. council / counsel
  124. creak / creek
  125. crews / cruise
  126. cruel / crewel
  127. cue / queue
  128. currant / current
  129. curser / cursor
  130. cymbal / symbol
  131. dairy / diary
  132. dam / damn
  133. days / daze
  134. dear / deer
  135. definitely / defiantly
  136. defused / diffused
  137. descent / dissent
  138. dessert / desert
  139. device / devise
  140. dew / do / due
  141. die / dye
  142. disburse / disperse
  143. discreet / discrete
  144. do / dew / due
  145. doe / dough
  146. dominant / dominate
  147. done / dun
  148. draft / draught
  149. dual / duel
  150. dyeing / dying
  151. earn / urn
  152. eight / ate
  153. elicit / illicit
  154. eminent / imminent
  155. envelop / envelope
  156. everyday / every day
  157. ewe / you / yew
  158. eye / I
  159. facts / fax
  160. faint / feint
  161. fair / fare
  162. farther / further
  163. faun / fawn
  164. faze / phase
  165. feat / feet
  166. find / fined
  167. fir / fur
  168. fist / first
  169. flair / flare
  170. flair / flare
  171. flea / flee
  172. flex/flecks
  173. flew / flu / flue
  174. flocks / phlox
  175. flour / flower
  176. for / four / fore
  177. foreword / forward
  178. formally / formerly
  179. fort / forte
  180. forth / fourth
  181. foul / fowl
  182. friar / fryer
  183. fur / fir
  184. gait / gate
  185. gene / jean
  186. gild / guild
  187. gilt / guilt
  188. gnu / knew / new
  189. gored / gourd
  190. gorilla / guerrilla
  191. grayed/grade
  192. grease / Greece
  193. great / grate
  194. groan / grown
  195. guessed / guest
  196. hail / hale
  197. hair / hare
  198. hall / haul
  199. halve / have
  200. half / have
  201. hangar / hanger
  202. hart / heart
  203. hay / hey
  204. heal / heel / he’ll
  205. hear / here
  206. heard / herd
  207. heed / he’d
  208. hertz / hurts
  209. hew / hue / Hugh
  210. hi / high
  211. higher / hire
  212. him / hymn
  213. hoar / whore
  214. hoard / horde
  215. hoarse / horse
  216. hoes / hose
  217. hold / holed
  218. hole / whole
  219. holey / holy / wholly
  220. hostel / hostile
  221. hour / our
  222. human / humane
  223. idle / idol
  224. illicit / elicit
  225. in / inn
  226. insight / incite
  227. instance / instants
  228. intense / intents
  229. iron / ion
  230. its / it’s
  231. jail / gel / jell
  232. jam / jamb
  233. jeans / genes
  234. knap / nap
  235. knead / kneed / need
  236. knew / new
  237. knight / night
  238. knit / nit
  239. knot / not
  240. know / no
  241. know / now
  242. knows / nose
  243. laid / lade
  244. lain / lane
  245. later / latter
  246. lay / lei
  247. leach / leech
  248. lead / led
  249. leak / leek
  250. lean / lien
  251. leased / least
  252. lee / lea
  253. lessen / lesson
  254. levee / levy
  255. liar / lier / lyre
  256. lichen / liken
  257. lie / lye
  258. lieu / Lou
  259. lightning / lightening
  260. links / lynx
  261. load / lode
  262. loan / lone
  263. locks / lox
  264. loins / lions
  265. loop/loupe
  266. loose / lose
  267. loot / lute
  268. low / lo
  269. made / maid
  270. mail / male
  271. main / mane / Maine
  272. maize / maze
  273. male / mail
  274. mall / maul
  275. manner / manor
  276. mantel / mantle
  277. marry / merry / Mary
  278. marshal / martial
  279. massed / mast
  280. material / materiel
  281. maybe / may be
  282. meat / meet / mete
  283. medal / metal / mettle / meddle
  284. might / mite
  285. mince / mints
  286. mind / mined
  287. miner / minor
  288. missed / mist
  289. moan / mown
  290. mode / mowed
  291. moose / mousse
  292. moral / morale
  293. morn / mourn
  294. mourning / morning
  295. muscle / mussel
  296. must/mussed
  297. mustard / mustered
  298. naval / navel
  299. nay / neigh
  300. nix/nicks
  301. none / nun
  302. ode / owed
  303. oh / owe
  304. one / won
  305. or / ore / oar
  306. overdo / overdue
  307. overseas / oversees
  308. pail / pale
  309. pain / pane
  310. pair / pare / pear
  311. palate / palette / pallet
  312. passed / past
  313. patience / patients
  314. pause / paws
  315. pea / pee
  316. peace / piece
  317. peak / peek / pique
  318. peal / peel
  319. pear / pair
  320. pearl / purl
  321. pedal / peddle / petal
  322. peer / pier
  323. per / purr
  324. personal / personnel
  325. phrase/frays
  326. pie / pi
  327. pier / peer
  328. place/ plaice
  329. plain / plane
  330. plait / plate
  331. pleas / please
  332. plum / plumb
  333. pole / poll
  334. poor / pour / paw / pore
  335. praise/prays/preys
  336. pray / prey
  337. precede / proceed
  338. presence / presents
  339. prince / prints
  340. principal / principle
  341. profit / prophet
  342. quiet / quite
  343. rack / wrack
  344. rain / reign / rein
  345. raise / rays / raze
  346. rap / wrap
  347. rapped / rapt / wrapped
  348. rational / rationale
  349. raw / roar
  350. read / red
  351. read / reed
  352. real / reel
  353. reek / wreak
  354. respectfully / respectively
  355. rest / wrest
  356. retch / wretch
  357. reverend / reverent
  358. review / revue
  359. right / rite / write
  360. ring / wring
  361. road / rode / rowed
  362. roam / Rome
  363. roe / row
  364. role / roll
  365. root / route / rout
  366. rose / rows
  367. rote / wrote
  368. rough / ruff
  369. rung / wrung
  370. rye / wry
  371. sail / sale
  372. scared / scarred
  373. scene / seen
  374. scull / skull
  375. sea / see
  376. seam / seem
  377. seas / sees / seize
  378. sense / since
  379. serf / surf
  380. sew / so / sow
  381. shear / sheer
  382. shoe / shoo
  383. shone / shown
  384. shore / sure
  385. side / sighed
  386. sighs / size
  387. sight / site / cite
  388. slay / sleigh
  389. sleight / slight
  390. slew / slue / slough
  391. soar / sore
  392. soared / sword
  393. sole / soul
  394. some / sum
  395. son / sun
  396. staid / stayed
  397. stair / stare
  398. stake / steak
  399. stationary / stationery
  400. steal / steel
  401. step / steppe
  402. stile / style
  403. straight / strait
  404. suite / sweet
  405. summary / summery
  406. surge / serge
  407. tacks / tax
  408. tail / tale
  409. taught / taut
  410. tea / tee
  411. team / teem
  412. tear / tier
  413. tern / turn
  414. than / then
  415. their / there / they’re
  416. theirs / there’s
  417. therefore / therefor
  418. threw / through
  419. through / thorough / thought
  420. thrown / throne
  421. thyme / time
  422. tic / tick
  423. tide / tied
  424. to / too / two
  425. toad / towed
  426. toe / tow
  427. told / tolled
  428. track / tract
  429. trail / trial
  430. trussed / trust
  431. vain / vane / vein
  432. vale / veil
  433. vary / very
  434. vial / vile
  435. vice / vise
  436. wade / weighed
  437. wail / whale
  438. waist / waste
  439. wait / weight
  440. waive / wave
  441. wale / whale / wail
  442. want / wont
  443. ware / wear / where
  444. way / weigh / whey
  445. ways / weighs
  446. we / wee
  447. we’d / weed
  448. we’ll / wheel
  449. we’ve / weave
  450. weak / week
  451. weal / wheel
  452. wear / where
  453. weather / whether / wether
  454. wet / whet
  455. where / were
  456. which / witch
  457. while / wile
  458. whine / wine
  459. whirled/world
  460. whirred/word
  461. whose / who’s
  462. won / wan
  463. wood / would
  464. worn/warn
  465. write / right
  466. yoke / yolk
  467. yore / your / you’re
  468. you’ll / yole / yule

So there you have it. Hope you enjoyed.