That was, of course, a literary reference.You recognized it as such because you have cultivated your cultural literacy. Writers must cultivate a bumpercrop of cultural literacy, and apply it accordingly.
It’s all about making connections. The more youalready know, the more you continually learn.
Your audience is your context. Be sure your readers understandwhere you’re coming from. And vice versa. State your genre. Write about what you know, or imagine.
Be sure you are addressing the right audience. Context. It all boils down to context.
Sitting on ShrimpUntil we put ourselves OUT THERE, there will beno results.As writers, we are our own bait, and our readerscome when they see us waiting for them.We know they’re there when we feel them bite,and most of the time, it feels so good.
When I hear pompous people talk about the purity of the English language, I have to stifle a smirk. American English isn’t pure; it’s averitable stewpot of thises and thats. It’s a multicolored patchwork crazyquilt of words, phrases, clauses, and expressions most of which were stolen from other languages. American English is a lot like American people in that way.
American English is not pure at all. It’s a fabulous blend of every languageon the planet. It’s colorful and majestic and unique. American Englishrolls with the tides and changes with the seasons. It’s a patchwork quilt. James D. Nicoll put it this way: The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore.
James D. Nicoll owned a popular SF/game store in Canada. When his quotation “caught on,” he had this to say:If I had only known that was going to be my fifteen minutes of fame, Idhave run that sucker through a spell checker and taken more care while writing the surrounding material.
Stealing a lot of words from other languages has its advantages.
Don’t let anyone tell you that it can’t be done. It can, and you can do it.
Why do writers write?Because it isn’t there. --- Thomas Berger
She had been forced into prudence in her youth; she learned romance as she grew older – the natural sequence of an unnatural beginning. -- Jane Austen
Don’t limit your • Keep in mind writing to things you think other that the person people might to write for is approve of. yourself. TellWrite about what you the story thatknow. Write aboutthings you’ve you mostexperienced, andremember that we desperatelyexperience things inour heads, too. want to read. ~Susan Isaacs
Pace yourself. You don’t have to finish the whole thing in one sitting.
Parents love to write about theirchildren, and, as Art Linkletter used to say, “Kids say the darndest things!” This is one reason why Mommy and Daddy bloggers are so widespread and popular.
We write to taste life twice, in the moment and inretrospection.Anais Nin
Knowing the rules of grammar will help you develop STYLE.Rules can be taught and learned.Style is up to you, the writer, butif you know the rules, your style will be all the better for it.
Do you know what the mostcommonly used opening sentence is? It’s common. Don’t use it. It’s already been used. Here it is:
If the word you want is “condemn,” be sure to spell it right. Use “condom” only when you mean to. Or for safety’s sake. Actually, “condemn” is a very interesting word, too, if you know its point of origin.
Interjections. Use sparingly, dammit. Hmm…damn…condemn…Nah. Inconceivable. P.S. Profanity and obscenity are NOT the same thing.
Pronouns can be confusing when used in compounds. Just remember this:The pronoun that is correct alone, is still correct when used with another word. I like pizza. Bill and I like pizza. There was enough pizza for me. There was enough pizza for Bill and me. The rule doesn’t change just because Bill was mooching my pizza.
“Just between you and me” Is always correct. It is NEVER “Just between you and I.” Never. Ever. Carved in stone.It’s a prepositional phrase. They use objective forms.
Those who say it cant be done are usually interrupted by others doing it. James A. Baldwin
You don’t want to be this guy:"Lincoln was a tall man, much in the way that Andre the Giant was also tall, and with the same sideways heart and thick bones that made Andre the Giant look so much like a giant, and made Lincoln look like a guy who shouldnt have been photographed wearing that tall hat which made him look even taller, kinda like a chef only the wrong color, which for the times of his life, were taller even than if he lived today, in which case the hat wouldnt be a problem because it wouldnt exist, and some think and I might agree that he grew that beard because a little girl told him to because the more of that face that was covered up, the better, and you know its bad if a little kid cant stand it, and we all know which one was took out by a southerner with three names, just like the guy who blew Teddy Kennedys brain to pieces in the middle of the parade, and which one was killed by a crazy actor leaping from the stage onto the balcony to climax the scene with something not exactly in the script but which would read DEATH all in red caps if it was, and Andre the Giant has a small and dainty wife which must have made their personal lifes interesting to say the least, and Lincolns wife was a spendthrift nutter, but at least Andrew the Giant got to drop dead naturally instead of be took out by ham actors with guns or book salesmen, but the Morphine Syndrome which made them both so tall and thickboned also caused their death before their old age began, and pretty much ended both the Civil War and any chance of a Princess Bride sequel."
…or this guy….• "After watching the movie sos I could really get it, and reading the book, although in all sincerness it was the Classic Junior Comic of my youth, which I cherish, not the novelle since I havent got all day to bake a cake with you, (sorry, my parental rights come before a book because being a good example is more important than being seen reading or watching a non-barney substance for my own benefit or pleasure or a good grade) I have concluded that being a comic and thereofe much shorter than a book with hard covers still gives no rights for leaving out important people who have a part in the story, such as the girl with short hair who could shoot, and Moochie. I find follity logic in this paper version because it left out so much that was in the movie! I think in my opinion since the question begged me that the tree house was the best part of the story, and I would love to have one, for I would make my bed in the tower and paint the walls green but have real plumbing with shower and high speed internet in it. I find the book version lacking for it left out the treehouse and the girl and that Tarzan game they played by the waterfalls. Also, many of the words were long and hard to understand, since I was ever in a hurry that week and coulndt stop to use the dictionary all the time like usual when I read the paper, for example, or the instructions on the back of No- Bake Cheesecake by Jello. I also wondered things like where the hell are all the pirates? To answer the question in only a few words I would have to say, the movie was better because it had them riding ostriches and rolling logs down a hill to crush people, where in the book there was nothing cool like that."
Writing about comparisons is often useful, though. Well, usually.
Do not be surprised when thosewho ignore the rules of grammaralso ignore the law. After all, the law is just so much grammar. ~Robert Brault
“20 items or less,” indeed.• “Less” is used when the items cannot be easily counted. If the items can be easily counted, the proper word is “fewer.”• Sally ate less at breakfast than at lunch.• Sally ate fewer meals with her new diet.• Please alert your local WalMart, as their sign really annoys people who know how to use the English language. Then again, it also shows the local population who can read & count and who can’t – a little IQ test, if you will.
Use “I” if the pronoun is the subject, or if it follows a linking verb.When in doubt, use the pronoun alone. The rule doesn’t change just because you might be dealing with a compound.
The most essential gift fora good writer is a built-in,shock-proof shit detector. ---Ernest Hemingway
Things you write can come back to haunt you. Think before you post.
If you’re going to worry, worry about the right things. Change the wrong things.
Some critics will write “Maya Angelou is a naturalwriter” - which is right after being a natural heartsurgeon. -- Maya Angelou
There is no greateragony than bearing an untold story inside you. ~ Maya Angelou
Write about funny things. Write about sad things. Write aboutthings that have happened to you, or to someone you know. Write about deadly serious things. Write about things soother people will know what to do in similar circumstances. Tell us. Tell.
The beautiful part of writing is thatyou don’t have to get it right the first time, unlike, say, a brain surgeon. ~Robert Cormier
The power of the harasser, the abuser, the rapist depends above all on the silence of women.—Ursula LeGuin Speak out. Act. Write it up.
Be the brave one, not the needy one. Write your own story.
Authors who never give yousomething to disagree withnever give you anything tothink about. -- Michael LaRoccaDon’t be afraid to make a reader angry.You’re doing him a favor if you do. Never fearcontroversy. Embrace it. It makes us think.
Be careful what you write down. Be sure you really want to write it.You are carving in stone. Is this how you want people to perceive you?
All creative people are a little crazy. Nurture it. It’s whatmakes us unique. It’s also what gives us blog fodder.
Do you do ordinary things in an unusual way? TELL US ABOUT IT.
What immeasurable wonders areexperienced and understood by a reader that a non-reader can’t even imagine, for if he couldimagine it, he’d be a reader, too.
Readingenhances the soul, the mind, the body, the emotions. . . .
Nonreaders have only one world in which to dwell; readers live inthe universe - not just ours, but all of them. And, living there, they have much to say to each other which a nonreader can’t begin to comprehend.
Readers appreciate the world morebecause they have seen what it is, what it has been, and what it could be.
Readers have more wordsand more experiences to connect to the world.
Who among us does NOT work for the circus? Really? Liar.
I think that in order to write really well andconvincingly, one must be somewhat poisoned by emotion. --Edna Ferber
Remove those I want you to like me stickers from yourforehead and, instead, placethem where they truly will do the most good -- on your mirror! ~ Susan Jeffers
Possessives: If the word does not endin “s,” add ‘s. If the word already ends in “s,” add an apostrophe after it.
Excellent writing can be found in unexpected places.
Inexcusable mistakes can be found in unexpected places, too.
People want to know why I do this, why I write such gross stuff. I like to tell them I have the heart of a small boy... and I keep it in a jar on my desk. -- Stephen King
Put your ear down close to your soul and listen hard. --Anne Sexton
It makes little difference howmany university degrees orcourses a person may own.If he cannot use words tomove an idea from one pointto another, his education isincomplete. --- Norman Cousins
The gentleman below (with my daughters) is Barrett Hansen,but you probably know him better by another name. Becauseof him, hundreds of writers have found success. There are all kinds of writers, and to encourage them is a noble, if occasionally “demented,” profession.
Laugh. Cry. Sing. Dance. Love. Hate. And tell the world about it all.
If your dog LOOSES its collar, it will probably LOSE it. You don’t loose your keys. You lose your keys.This little spelling glitch makes you look like a tool. Just to let you know.
Never put an “s” at the end of “anyway.” Never spell it “neway.” Never. Never. Never.
If the sign says “No checksexcepted,” they have to take your check.
The rewrite is often far superior to the original.
You don’t dot your i’s with little hearts any more. (I hope.) Don’t use cutesycode when you write; it’s hard to takean adult seriously if she is still writing as a pre-teen would write.(OMG, the old broad’s not serious, LOL!) She’s serious.
In math, two negatives equal a positive.The same is true in English grammar.“I don’t want nothing” actually means “I do wantsomething.”“I don’t hardly see your point” actually means “I seeyour point, plain as day.”Use one negative at a time or you’ll find yourselfsaying the opposite of what you meant to say.
Our worst experiences can be our best experiences. When we’vebeen through hell, writing about it can help others avoid it. Tempered steel and vulcanized rubber are tough – strong, and capable of withstanding tremendous pressure. They get that way by going through fire.
Apollo and the MusesIn ancient times, women were in charge of all things artistic and creative. Without women, we would have no “music,” “museums,” or “amusements.” Or any more men.
P.S. Now you know where a really cool band got its name: from creative women.
We are a species that needs andwants to understand who we are.Sheep lice do not seem to sharethis longing, which is one reason why they write so little. --Anne Lamott
Writing is only boring to the people who are, themselves, boring.
Its tougher than Himalayan yakjerky in January. But, as any creative person will tell you, there are days when theres absolutely nothing sweeter than creating something from nothing. -- Richard Krzemien
The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug. -- Mark Twain
I saved this one for last. It’s an interrobang. The interrobang is the punctuationalequivalent of awesome, glorious, holy cow, fantastic, and WTFOMG.
One more time: Let’s groove onthe weirdo punctuation marks!
Writing is not a genteel profession. Itsquite nasty and tough and kind of dirty. -- Rosemary Mahoney
There is nothing to writing. All you dois sit down at a typewriter and open a vein. --- Red Smith
Write about yourlife. Tell us how it was. And is.
So, you don’t think you can write? I beg to differ.I’ve seen pigs fly before.
When we were children, we used to thinkthat when we were grown-up we wouldno longer be vulnerable. But to grow upis to accept vulnerability.... To be alive isto be vulnerable. -- Madeline L’Engle Write on. An Interlude, by William Sergeant Kendall, 1907
P.S.Beware of advice-- even this. ~Carl Sandburg