What do the words and phrases in the above columns have in common? They are “charged words”—words and phrases that, by their very sounds, definitions, connotations, or denotations, evoke a strong emotion in the reader or listener. Note the variety of emotions represented here—the horror you felt on 9/11, your anger at the racial epithet, your delight as you sang with Mary Poppins, the excitement you’ll feel when you win the lottery (even a dollar!). Continue reading The Shocking Truth about Charged Words
Happy 2015! Have you broken all your New Year’s resolutions yet?
Did you make any writing resolutions? Did you resolve to write more frequently? To send your moldering manuscript to publishers? To join a writer’s group? To take a writing course? To start that blog? Guess where I came up with those ideas? Heh heh.
Only 8% of people keep their New Year’s resolutions, says health and policy writer Dan Diamond. In Forbes, he cites research from the University of Scranton that suggests most of us fail because we make promises that are all-but-impossible to keep, like that of the mother of four who teaches school, but resolves to write for six hours a day. Continue reading How to Make a Writing Resolution You’ll Finally Keep
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.
Did you catch the I Love Lucy Christmas Specialon 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:
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.
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?
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
Metaphor—it’s not just for poems any more. Metaphor is one of those techniques all writers should grab from creative writers to add creative power to their writing.
At its most basic, metaphor is a comparison in image form, and how effective are comparison—and creating an image in your reader’s mind—in making any type of point? A description, an explanation, an argument—all are enriched through comparison and imagery. Continue reading Life is a Beach!