Tuesday 31 August 2010

10 Writing Resources You Cannot Live (i.e. Write) Without

The Internet is a wonderful thing. It has more crap than any library multiplied by ten could even begin to imagine having. Over the years I've collected a great deal of this crap and will share some of my favourites with you. These are all relating to fictional writing (I have a whole other list for essays, which I will post at a later point). I hope you can find use in them, either to improve, help or enable your writing.

Saturday 28 August 2010

Word of the Week #4

Forlorn (adj)
Originates from before 1150, from the Old and Middle English word for to lose. Forlorn means that something is lonely, sad, forsaken due to isolation. It can also express hopeless and despair or something that is in poor condition.

"I observed her small, forlorn figure in the distance."
"The buildings seemed forlorn, moss growing along the walls and all the way up to the rooftops."

Thursday 26 August 2010

Beware of the Semicolon!

There are few errors I see more often when reading people's texts than the incorrect use of a semicolon (;). I physically begin to hurt when I see some of the uses people have for it. I want to scream, rant, eat chocolate and cry - all at once. However, I've decided to educate those in need instead. Even if you are 100% sure that you know how to use the semicolon, please read this anyway. You might be duped.

First of all, the semicolon is not (I repeat: not) the same thing as a colon (:). It cannot be used to introduce a list, e.g. "I saw three things through the window: a bird, a plane and a flying pig." Using a semicolon in this case is wrong. This is the most common error I see. So please, please, just... don't do it. It's bad for my blood pressure!

Saturday 21 August 2010

Word of the Week #3

Lurid (adj)
Originates in the 1650 - 60's. Lurid means that something is gruesome, horrific, meant to chock or repulse people. It can also mean that something is pale or shining very brightly red.


Wednesday 18 August 2010

5 Great Novels That Are Also Great Movies

I'm a firm believer that books are always better than movies and that movies based on great novels can never live up to the original. However, once in a while there comes along a movie that turns out to be just as good - or even better - than the book it is based on. The following a just some examples.

Tuesday 17 August 2010

Writing Exercise #1 - Living Dialogue

In order to improve one's writing, one has to practice, right? Well, here is a writing exercise that will help do just that. I will start with an exercise relating to one of my weaknesses - dialogue. I find it very hard to write dialogue in a smooth, believable way. My problem isn't so much with using the right words as with the format in general, but that we will deal with another time. This is just something to get going, write however much you choose but spend at least 20 minutes on the exercise. Personally, I don't plan what I'm going to write when doing an assignment like this, but if you want to make it a part of a longer story, feel free to plan as much as you like.

Saturday 14 August 2010

Word of the Week #2

Smithereens (noun)

Originates from the 1820 - 30's. Meaning: small/splintered pieces, fragments, bits. Is often used in combination with the words smash to or blow to, i.e. "The vase was smashed to smithereens" or "My dreams were blown to smithereens".

Tuesday 10 August 2010

My Name Is... Eh...

For me, naming a character is always a long, difficult process. I need the name to be just right or I lose the character when I try to make their personality fit the name (or vice versa). The name of a character represents not only who they are but also where they belong and who they will become.

When you choose names for your character the most important thing is that you are happy with the name. If it doesn't work for you, abandon the name immediately. Using it will only hurt your story.

After you've found a name you like, think about the following things:
  • Do your characters that come from the same place have similar names? It's probably not a good idea to have two characters from the same village named Ch'chnuck and John.
  • Think about the meaning of the name you've chosen. Sure, you like it, but does your strong, evil overlord have a name that means "little, pink flower"?

Friday 6 August 2010

Word of the Week #1

Being a non-native English speaker I always feel inferior to all the lucky people who have grown up speaking it. In my opinion, English is the best language in the world. So, in celebration of this wonderful language I will try to write a post with some interesting word I have come across each week. In case you don't feel like waiting an entire week for a new word (if only I had the time to make this a daily thing!), here are some web pages where you can find new words each day:

Wednesday 4 August 2010

This Blog or What You Will Be Reading About If You Come Back

I have a post-it note with thirteen items on it that I want to write about on this blog. I just added two of those items today. I expect there to be even more in a week. In fact, I just added one, so now there are fourteen things on the list. Six of those things are about writing. Thus, I draw the conclusion that this blog will be mainly concerned with that. Five things are about reading, so I will be writing about books a lot as well. I am convinced that those two go hand in hand, because you have to know literature in order to create it. (There are now sixteen things on my list - two more about writing.) There are also two things on my post-it about photography, which is simply another way of telling a story.

If you have been paying attention you know that there is only one thing left on my list. In fact, that item was about writing this introduction. I had to write it down so I wouldn't forget. My memory really is that bad, yes. If you're disappointed that the last item was a bust I can promise that I will have doubled the amount of items in a week, so there is no need to worry.

I suppose I should introduce myself. I am a woman from Sweden who loves English but will never be as proficient in using it as native speakers. I want to write for a living but insist on writing in English and thus will have to rival all the amazing published writers with a much better grasp on the English language. I am at Uni, studying a subject I have lost all interest in, just because I need to make a living. I talk about becoming an author but almost never write anymore. That is why I've started this blog. I am going to write, and I am going to write about writing. I am going to improve my vocabulary, and I am going to do what I love doing. This blog is just as much about me learning as it is about sharing what I already know. I am going to be juggling school, work, responsibilities, writing, photography and this blog because one can never have too many things to do in life.