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Contemporary Writing—Past the Thesaurus

I’ve been writing for publication for over 40 years and I’m aware of the importance of fresh writing. That is, using a variety of words and phrases in your descriptions, explanations, etc. But this has never been as challenging an issue for me until I started writing fiction.

Do you spend a lot of time making sure that your writing is fresh—that you’re not repeating the same old phrases and terms? Or does originality come naturally to you? I’m guessing that many fiction writers approach their stories much as I do. I write the story using many instances of filler words and phrases just to get the story down—place holders. Then the editing begins. If you’re like me, you edit numerous times before your manuscript goes to the proofreader or hired editor. You edit for clarity in the story events as well as for flow and readability. You make sure the storyline is pure—cohesive—consistent. Then you begin nitpicking words and phrases. Have I overused a term? How can I say the same thing in a more unique or creative way?

I’m on book 16 of my Klepto Cat Mystery series and I’ve decided to create a Key Phrase List to help with this phase of my editing. While it was rather time-consuming to create, I believe it will be a time-saver as I attempt to develop my stories in the future. What did I include in my Key Phrase List? Terms, phrases, expressions, descriptive words that I might use in my story descriptions and dialog. And I imagine I’ll continue adding to it with each story that I write.

Now how will I use this list? I don’t know about you, but my memory is only so long. I might get a sense, when reading through my manuscript for the umpteenth time, that I’ve overused a word or a term, but I don’t know to what extent until I do a word search—which I often do. With this alphabetized list, I’ll note each instance of certain phrases and terms as I read through the manuscript and I’ll be able to see which ones are overused and get ideas for replacing them.

Sure, I’ve thought about the potential dangers—that my writing will appear mechanical or stilted. I had concerns that the creativity would diminish once I began manipulating the portrayals and action. But this doesn’t seem to be the case. After all, the story is written by the time I start working with these important details. All I’m manipulating is some of the language and the way it’s presented.

Why go to the trouble to create your own list of phrases when others have done it for you? Because you have a different way of approaching a story and the dialog and description within it. There are readers who like your style—your way of approaching a story, developing your characters, etc. You may not know it, but you have a certain way of telling a story that is unique to you and you use certain words and phrases. So it makes sense that you create your own list, at least to start with. Because these are the terms you use most comfortably.

For additional help in making your stories read fresher, here are a few sites you might visit.

http://boostblogtraffic.com/power-words/

http://awritersguidetowords.com/

http://www.word-mart.com/html/glossary.html

Happy writing!

 

The post Fresh Writing—Beyond the Thesaurus first appeared on Writing and Publishing News.

Chipmunk Error Evaluation

Getting kids doing error analysis in math class has been hugely beneficial, this year.  I am beyond-words thrilled that I’ve stumbled across this way to get sixth graders analyzing, discussing, and writing multi-paragraph, thoughtful explanations (!!) of student mistakes and why they happen.

We did a second go-round of blog posts / error analyses using the same method as last time, but I offered up a different batch of errors. 

This time, Alvin, Simon, and Theodore (har, har…) were the students in need of help. Each chipmunk encountered a different, unique problem when attempting to do multiplication (of fractions and decimals) and long division (with two-digit divisors).

Alvin doesn’t change the mixed numbers to improper fractions:

Alvin's Work - Analyzing Student Errors

 

 

 

 

 

 

Simon is obsessed with lining up decimal points – as well as the standard algorithm for adding decimals:

Simon's Work - Analyzing Student Errors

 

 

 

 

 

 

Theodore forgets zeros in the quotient:

Theodore's Work - Analyzing Student Errors

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feel free to use these errors to drum up discussion in your classroom! Making kids write about the errors is not obligatory – but I think it had a huge impact on retention. Also, I’m seeing my kids get better and better at locating errors, thinking up reasons why students might make errors, and articulating their thought processes. Hurrah!

 

Objective Setting for Writers, Half 1: Imaginative and prescient

In this blog post series on goal setting for writers, I’ll go through a 4-step goal setting formula that will help writers achieve their writing dreams. In part 1, I’ll begin with the first and yet one of the most ignored steps of goal setting: Vision.

Do you have a hard time achieving your writing goals?

Are you tired of spending more time dreaming about achieving your writing dreams? Of dreaming about your writing career? Or are you tired of spending more time setting goals but not achieving them? It doesn’t have to be this hard.

Ready to set goals and create a detailed action plan so you know exactly what to work on to achieve your writing dreams?

In this blog post series on goal setting for writers, I’ll go through a 4-step goal setting formula that will help writers achieve their writing dreams.

In part 1, I’ll begin with the first and yet one of the most ignored steps of goal setting: Vision.

Before we dive into the goodies, let’s check out the overview of the 4-step goal setting formula.

 

Download the FREE 4-Step Goal Setting Formula for Writers Workbook (thewritingkylie.com)

Do you want a workbook to write down your goals?

Download the FREE 4-Step Goal Setting Formula for Writers Workbook by signing up below.

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    An Overview of the 4-Step Goal Setting Formula

    This 4-step goal setting formula is really simple and easy to remember. It contains:

    1. Vision (a 3- and a 1-year vision)

    2. Mission (your why)

    3. A clearly formulated goal (a SMART goal)

    4. A plan of action

    Now, let’s dive right into this week’s topic, the Vision.

    Vision

    Before you focus on any type of goal, you need to establish your direction. You do this by writing down your 3- and 1-year visions.

    They don’t have to be perfectly figured out, overly detailed, or too complicated. They are not set in stone, either. Just dream for a moment and write down what comes up.

    Consider this a brainstorming session for all of your biggest writing hopes and dreams. Don’t edit or censor yourself during this exercise.

    Grab a notebook (or do it on your computer) and answer the following questions:

    1. Where do you want to be in 3 years? Where do you see yourself in 3 years? What writing goals have you achieved?

    2. Where do you want to be in 1 year? Where do you see yourself in 1 year? What writing goals have you achieved?

    I find that starting with the 3-year vision works best for me. However, if you want to start with your 1-year vision, or if you want to write a 3- and a 5-year vision, that’s totally fine. Just dream for a moment.

    There you have the first step in the 4-step goal setting formula. I hope you found this useful.

     

    Download the FREE 4-Step Goal Setting Formula for Writers Workbook (thewritingkylie.com)

    Do you want a workbook to write down your goals?

    Download the FREE 4-Step Goal Setting Formula for Writers Workbook by signing up below.

      Powered By ConvertKit

      (When you sign up here, you will also receive monthly educational emails right into your inbox.)

       

      In this blog post series on goal setting for writers, I’ll go through a 4-step goal setting formula that will help writers achieve their writing dreams.  In part 1, I’ll begin with the first and yet one of the most ignored steps of goal setting: Vision.

      In this blog post series on goal setting for writers, I’ll go through a 4-step goal setting formula that will help writers achieve their writing dreams.  In part 1, I’ll begin with the first and yet one of the most ignored steps of goal setting: Vision.


      Do you want to learn more about, and dig deeper into, goal setting?

      Check out the Goal Setting Workshop for Writers and learn how to set intentional, effective, and exciting goals to achieve your writing dreams.

      Learn more

       

      116. Chasing Orion

      Chasing Orion. Kathryn Lasky. 2010. 368 pages. [Source: Review copy]

      First sentence:  Silver glinting behind leafy trees–that is the first thing I noticed as I stood in the backyard of our new house that summer day.

      Premise/plot: Chasing Orion is a coming of age story set in 1952/1953. Our heroine, Georgie, loves building small world dioramas. Her latest will tell the myth of Orion. A previous diorama was inspired by Ray Bradbury’s Martian Chronicles. (Bradbury’s short story collection was released in 1950). But when she’s not hard at work building and creating, she spends a lot of time cooped up because her parents–and rightly so–are concerned about the polio epidemic. There is no vaccine, and polio can be quite dangerous and deadly. Something Georgie realizes even more once she meets her neighbor, Phyllis, who is living–or should that be “living” in an iron lung next door. Georgie certainly doesn’t want to end up in an iron lung! But she does miss swimming and going to the movies.

      As Georgie becomes closer to Phyllis–so does her brother, Emmett. But is this a good thing or a bad thing? What does Phyllis want from her new friends?

      My thoughts: I really did not like this one. It’s a personal thing, I think. It was an uncomfortable read that I think rightly reflects the uncomfortable-ness of the times. One of the big questions asked throughout the book is this: Is Phyllis better off “living” in an iron lung? Or would it have been better for her parents to let her die? Are polio victims better off dead than living if they have to live in an iron lung? Or perhaps a rocking bed? At what point does life not become worth living anymore? Most coming-of-age novels aren’t really exploring the idea of euthanasia or mercy killing. So can you see why it was a bit uncomfortable? I’m not saying the question isn’t a valid one–I’m just not sure it’s one I would have EVER wanted to read about in middle school.

      Another question it seemed to come back to again and again was belief in God. Georgie decides at one point that if God actually existed there wouldn’t be polio. Phyllis would not be stuck in an iron lung if God was real. Deep stuff–I’m not saying it’s not valid for Georgie to question what she’s been taught as she comes face to face with suffering. But. Again it made for an uncomfortable read.

      © 2020 Becky Laney of Becky’s Book Reviews

      Most cancers just isn’t canceled

      This morning I looked at my “calendar” for June. (So much for the Storm season.) Pretty much the only thing on there that’s actually going to happen is the mammogram I scheduled back in February.

      I schedule mammograms months in advance because the imaging center has limited appointments with same-day results. I watched my mom die of breast cancer in 2007, so, I have a teensy bit of anxiety about mammograms.

      I’m also still recovering from that time a few years ago when a front desk person from the imaging place called two days after my mammogram—on a Friday—to schedule me for “additional images,” with no explanation about why those images were needed. I spent that entire weekend in hell.

      I digress.

      The point is, in the midst of this complete upending of “normal” life, in the midst of this horror that is consuming all of our attention, people are still getting diagnosed with cancer—and experiencing other disasters unrelated to coronavirus.

      My friend C is is middle school teacher. One of her students—a 7th grade girl—was reported missing over the weekend. One of my other close girlfriends is separating from her partner.

      People are still experiencing abuse. People are still (actually, more than ever) losing their jobs. People are still dying in car crashes and of illnesses other than COVID-19.

      But recitals, and weddings, and graduations, and birthday parties, and religious services—those are canceled. No bus adventures. No dance rehearsals. No visits to Husky Deli or Colman Pool. No Sunday dinners. No sleepovers. No formal dances or music shows. No girls’ nights. No potlucks with the neighbors.

      All of the gatherings that help us celebrate our milestones and accomplishments and relationships and connections (in other words, LIFE) are canceled completely or “virtual.” It feels like we are suspended in time, like we are not really living.

      But there’s absolutely no doubt that we’re really dying.

      トレヴァー・ヨーク著『図説イングランドのお屋敷』発売中

      cover.jpg

      タイトル:図説イングランドのお屋敷 ~カントリー・ハウス~
      著:トレヴァー・ヨーク Trevor Yorke
      訳:村上リコ
      体裁:A5判/並製/128ページ/オールカラー
      ISBNコード:ISBN978-4-8373-0905-5 C3071
      定価:本体1580円(税別)

       新しい翻訳書が10月下旬に刊行になり、おかげさまで好評発売中です。
       
       イングランドのカントリー・ハウスの歴史、様式、ディテールについて、中世後期から第一次世界大戦後あたりまでを網羅して解説した本です。

       著者のトレヴァー・ヨークさんは、若いころから歴史的建造物めぐりが大好きで、あちこちをめぐり歩いたといいます。そんな著者自身による写真と、温かみのある手描きのイラストが添えられ、非常にわかりやすい内容になっています。建物だけではなく、歴史と世相による住人の暮らしぶりの変化や、インテリアのディテールや、家事使用人が仕事をしていたキッチンなどの部屋の構造も、かなり詳しく図解してあります。興味のある方にはたいへんおすすめです。出版社の公式サイトamazonの画像見本でページのサンプルを確認できますので、よろしければご利用ください。

       発売前後の時期に、英国政府観光庁のブログとツイッターでプレゼントキャンペーンをしていただきました(告知が遅くなってしまい、また募集期間も短めだったので、すでに締め切られています。すみません)。

       このキャンペーンにともない、「カントリー・ハウス訪問のすすめ」というエッセイを寄稿しました。

       http://ameblo.jp/britain-park/entry-12085266006.html
       
       結論としてはこの本の紹介ですが、単独でも楽しめるように力を入れて書いてます。本には載っていない、村上の撮ってきた写真も紹介していますので、よろしければリンク先で見ていただけると幸いです。
       
       ヨーク氏の著書は、英国では30種類以上も刊行されており、この本が好評であれば、順次ほかの本も続けて出していけると思います。別の訳者の方により『イングランドの教会堂』が今月出る予定で、わたしのほうでももう1冊翻訳するというところまでは決まっています。

       どうぞよろしくお願いします。

      楽天ブックスで購入 / amazonで購入 / 紀伊國屋書店で購入

      Another!

       
      I received a contract for another story on Thursday afternoon.  This makes 41 short stories I’ve sold.
       
       
       
       
      The working title for the story is “Dreidels for Christmas.”  It’s scheduled for the December issue of True Confessions.
       
      Mazel Tov!

      Skilled Accountability

      Code of ethics and professional conduct Cost Estimating• Cost Budgeting• Human Resource Planning• Communication – Basic Model• Purpose of Communication Planning– Who / When / How / What• Characteristics of Effective Communication• Communications Planning• Develop Project Management PlanDirect and Manage Project Execution• Acquire Project Team• Develop Project Team• Bottlenecks in Communication•