Logolepsy: an obsession with words

I’m a bit of a logophile. A word nerd, you might say. I have a long, long, very long list of both English and foreign words I’ve been collecting,  whether for their interesting definitions, their lovely sounds, or simply their usefulness in my lexicon. Here are some of my favorites. 🙂

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To finish a bad book, or not to finish a bad book…

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Allow me to set the scene: You’re on page 98, about a quarter of the way in. The story started well  – intriguing premise, characters with potential, even a few snappy one-liners. But as the pages went on, that intriguing premise got left behind, the characters now have more marshmallows in their heads than brains, and those one-liners have gone from snappy to crappy.

It’s not alllll bad… There are a few parts you like. Maybe you’re just in a slow spot. But slogging through is such a chore…

So what do you do? Read or flee? Finish or banish?

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Show up, have faith, let go – writing wisdom from Julia Cameron

Two years ago I read an amazing book called “The Right to Write” by Julia Cameron, full of warm-hearted wisdom about the creative process, self-doubt, self-criticism, and motivation. I’ve recommended this book to a number of writers since then, and decided today I would share the notes I took while reading, in hopes that you find them as encouraging as I did.

(These are part quotes, part summaries, typed here exactly as I penned them in my notebook. I’ve made bold the ones that most resonated with me.)

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Don’t just write stories. LIVE stories.

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Today’s post comes to you from French Polynesia! Well, sorta – I wrote it while we were there, but I’m publishing after we’ve returned. Does that count? When I wrote this, I was surfing on the back of a wild dolphin, and the dolphin was wearing sunglasses, and was probably TOTALLY my new best friend. Yes, that sounds factual. *nods*

Craig and I are relentless wanderers, ever thirsty for the faraway. So we decided to celebrate our five-year anniversary on the Polynesian island of Mo’orea. Travel not only nourishes my soul, it betters me as a writer by providing my mind a rest as well as material.

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Tacka tacka tacka tacka tacka tacka

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That’s the sound of one writer editing furiously.

You may recall this kaPOWerful post from early July, declaring my mission to finish my bulky edits by the time we leave for French Polynesia. By “bulky” I meant the rewrites, the new scenes, the untangling of plot-snarls, chunky stuff like that. Scary stuff like that… Before setting my goal, I had my list of must-edits locked in a cupboard while I cowered under a table.

What was I so scared of? I thought the scope of my revisions would be too daunting to summit, that I’d realize the book was one giant mess that I could never fix. But I reminded myself that big tasks are completed one small step at a time. I also realized that by stewing in my anxiety, I was making my anxiety last longer, so if I wanted to remove that anxiety I’d have to start editing.

I’m happy to say it’s been much less painful that expected!! I’m still in the midst of it, but here was my process:

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Let me explain! – a post on defensiveness

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“You don’t like this plot point? Let me explain why it’s good…”

“Well it’s not confusing if you remember that obscure hint from 10 chapters ago…”

“Actually, it IS funny, YOU just don’t get the joke!”

“LALALA I CAN’T HEAR YOU.”

Ahh, defensiveness. All writers do it. Hearing critique can be tough, and sometimes it’s hard to resist rallying to our story’s side.

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Tips on writing REAL real good! (Repost)

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Okay, writers. Grab your electrolytes-infused sports drink, because we’re about to karate chop some GREATNESS into your manuscript! Right now your “story” may feel more like a BORE-y, am I right? But with these ten simple tips, your book can become the belle of the bookshop, guaranteed.

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Next time, muse, I’ll need to see a doctor’s note. (Repost)

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It’s one of those days again. You’ve sat down at your desk, all set to work, but… Groan. Your muse has called in sick. Last time it was a dead car battery, and before that, the dog ate its homework. Whatever the reason, your muse is gone and you’re left high and dry.

Yup, it’s that infamous writer’s block. Here is a list of handy solutions for the next time it happens to you.

You can…

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How to frustrate a writer: “Where’s the hook?”

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Writers talk a lot about hooks-the thing in a story’s opening that grabs the reader and makes them want to continue. It’s a popular question among writing groups when critiquing a first page or scene: “Where’s the hook?”

This can be… frustrating.

The problem is that critiquers often don’t treat the term like the broad, vague thing that it is, which makes their critiques broad, vague, and unhelpful. First I’m going to explain how hooks are subjective, and then how to make your critique more beneficial to the writer.

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