Deck the Hall with Action Verbs

In action...
In action…

With the Polar Express bearing down, there is someone who will look beautiful and calm (she finished her shopping in October) with a box of homemade, decorated cookies; presents in paper with lots of of ribbon and bows; handsome sons and pretty daughters all dressed up; and no money worries.

Then there is that woman who will trudge through Toys ’R’ Us sans makeup to find that last Frozen gift; burn her one and only batch of chocolate chip cookies; stab the air with the scissors, Psycho-style, as the gift bags run out before the pile of presents, threaten to take back the kids’ gifts when they peek in the closet, and beg the post office to lose the bills in January.

Why am I always that second woman?  Continue reading Deck the Hall with Action Verbs

Some ‘Splainin’ About Colons (the Punctuation Kind)

I Love Lucy

Did you catch the I Love Lucy Christmas Special on December 7? The one-hour show comprised “The Christmas Episode” and “Job Switching.” In the latter, Lucy and Ethel tried, but ultimately—and hilariously—failed to keep up with the chocolate factory’s conveyor belt. A poll by the Paley Center for Media named the scene the “funniest TV moment of all time.” Indeed, one of the funniest shows of all time.

One of the unfunniest things writers deal with is punctuation. No one wants to interrupt a good idea wondering whether to insert a comma. But punctuation isn’t meant to make life miserable. It’s meant to clarify meaning. Consider the following:

  • “Let’s eat, Grandma!”
  • “Let’s eat Grandma!”

For lack of a comma, the second Grandma succumbs to a cannibal cabal of grandkids.  Continue reading Some ‘Splainin’ About Colons (the Punctuation Kind)

10 Tips on Writing a Holiday Letter People Might Actually Want to Read

Reindeer Kids
Hey, Rudolph!

Happy Holidays!

How many December holidays can you name? Christmas and Chanukah, for sure. I found a page on the Internet that lists 23 monthly, 16 weekly, and 127 daily December holidays and observances. Just a few—

  • Colorectal Cancer Education and Awareness Month
  • Human Rights Week (10-17)
  • Chanukah (16-24)
  • Kwanzaa (26-1/1)
  • Day of the Ninja (5)
  • Microwave Oven Day (6)
  • International Children’s Day (14)
  • National Chocolate-Covered Anything Day (16)
  • Winter Solstice! (21)
  • Christmas (25)
  • Make Cutout Snowflakes Day (27)
  • No Interruptions Day (31)

So are you sending cards? There’s an app (or 50) for that.  Continue reading 10 Tips on Writing a Holiday Letter People Might Actually Want to Read

A Blog Means Having to Say You’re Sorry: The Synergy of Creative Power Writing

Sorry
Sorry

No blog post last week.

WowPow blog is still a baby, and I haven’t developed a routine about when to write it. One week I wrote it early, on Thursday. Another week, I wrote it last minute, late Sunday night. Last week, I just forgot.

I thought about how to tell you, dear readers. Should I apologize profusely? Or act like it’s no big deal, like I don’t have to write on a particular schedule? I don’t have to keep a schedule, but I should, if I want to keep you following WowPow. And I did intend to write every week.  Continue reading A Blog Means Having to Say You’re Sorry: The Synergy of Creative Power Writing

“Where’s he at?”…and Other Sentence Clutter

Man with Binoculars
“I can’t see him. Where is he at?”
photo credit: Boston Public Library via photopin cc

Have you agreed to stop hoarding and clean up your writing? In my previous post, I told you what to get rid of (These are actually just a start!):

  1. redundancy
  2. wordiness
  3. pretension
  4. circumlocution
  5. modifiers
  6. empty openers and phrases
  7. clichés
  8. passive verbs
  9. vague nouns
  10. noun forms of verbs

I had you look for redundancies such as “woke up out of sleep.” The George Carlin piece suggested “Duh!”s like “honest truth.” My all-time favorite duh! “Where’s he at?”  Continue reading “Where’s he at?”…and Other Sentence Clutter

Call 1-800-GOT-JUNK?

A hoarder's apartment
A hoarder’s apartment
By Grap (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)
Are you a hoarder? Maybe not in your home, but what about in your writing? Is it so cluttered with verbiage—wordiness, circumlocution, redundancy, modifiers, empty openers and phrases, pretension, clichés—that your readers stumble and rummage through it?

It’s time to purge. Even if you’re a creative writer.

If your writing is non-fiction or business, of course you want it to be clear and direct. But flowery embellishments and long, tangled descriptions don’t work now in creative writing, either. Maybe during the Victorian era that was the style, but today’s creative writing is clear and direct. All writers, then, need to use the “power” skill of writing concisely.  Continue reading Call 1-800-GOT-JUNK?

Real-life Non-fiction Metaphors

Kinky Boots
Cyndi Lauper’s Kinky Boots wins 2013 Best Musical Tony award

In my last post, I encouraged you to incorporate metaphor into your writing. In case you’re still not convinced how it will work in non-fiction writing, here are some examples. Note in each case how the metaphor immediately created a visual image for the reader, bringing the concept into focus and making further explanation unnecessary. You may recognize a couple of the metaphors as similes, a specific type of metaphor that compares two items using “like” or “as.”  Continue reading Real-life Non-fiction Metaphors