Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Writers: Walking Thesaurus's

If you ask a writer for ways to say the same word differently, I wonder how many words with similar meanings they could give you?

One of our jobs as writers is to find that absolutely perfect word and plunk it down, a glowing jewel, amidst all the clutter of sentences. Not an "almost" perfect word. Not a "sort of" perfect word. THE perfect word.

For instance, you can't have a group of sentences with one redundant word occurring throughout the whole paragraph. It would get-- well, redundant. I mean, look at this sentence:

"The darkness lay like a bandage across my eyes. My groping hands reached through the dark, and my eyes tried to pierce through darkness' shield, but to no avail. The pressing dark was too much for me to penetrate. I lifted my foot and took a brave step forward, a blind man in the dark."

This might be a good sentence, but sheesh! Look at all those "dark"s! TOO many! You start getting hung up on how many darks are in that sentence. So, you have to be creative. What other words OTHER than dark can you substitute instead? Gloom. Black. Dim. Shadow. Murk. There's a bunch, isn't there? Let's rewrite that sentence again.

"The darkness lay like a bandage across my eyes. My groping hands reached through the shadows, and my eyes tried to pierce through the gloomy shield, but to no avail. The pressing dimness was too much for me to penetrate. I lifted my foot and took a brave step forward, a blind man in the murk."

Which one read better, one or two? See what I mean?

Writing isn't just about putting words together and hoping it's good enough. Writing is putting good words together inventively, and knowing that it's as perfect as you can make it.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Steampunk Jewelry!!

There are days when writing just doesn't do it for me.

I went to Borders today (where else, right?) and found this absolutely fantabulous book called "Steampunkery". It's the COOLEST book! It's a jewelry book, actually, that involves using polymer clays and odds-and-ends to create Steampunk jewelry. Cool, huh?

I spent quite a lot of the day reading how to make Steampunk creations, and just dying to form some clay in my hands. I don't know how many people have actually ever worked with clay, but it's one of the most SOOTHING feelings in the world to fashion that soft, malleable stuff into something lovely. Anyway, this book shows how to create little different things, like metal-looking hearts and jointed, metallic bugs, and to insert cogs and gears into them so that they look to be clockwork jewelry. It's SO COOL! You can make necklaces, brooches, interesting knick-knacks, "pocket protectors", all out of clay and some oddments that you have lying about.

I think, if I ever have oodles of time, I'm going to take up clay. Seriously, you need to check out this book, and the authors website (which I have linked below) and tell me if you are not inspired to create Steampunk jewelry. 

So, that's what I read tonight. I haven't been quite this inspired in a while. :-)

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Art of World Craft from Other Writers' Writings

How perfect does the world you craft for your story have to be? Do you read other writer's books in order to glean some little sparklet of genius from their words?

Some authors really do it for me. Patricia McKillip is one author who just delights in her words, and in her worlds. She weaves together the most remarkable terms in order to create a shockingly vivid picture. Her lands, her worlds, her sense of place is solid and firm and there. You can't visualize another land except the one she snares you in during the duration of her tale. You're there, in Hed, in Sealy Head, in Ombria, wherever she takes you.

Diana Wynne Jones, of course, is another writer that does it for me. She has a real talent for picking random words, combining them, and creating a word that is completely new, bizarre, and amazingly perfect. She also has a vivid sense of place. She writes, and her worlds come alive. In between the pages you can believe in magic, in a series of worlds numbered 1-12, in an askew sense of normality. She knows how to draw you in and keep you there, in Ingary, in Dalemark, wherever she takes you.

Tolkien is the one I go to for sheer inspiration. I read what he writes, and the poetry in his words refreshes me, makes me think, makes me wonder about my world, and my worldbuilding. His sense of place, his intricate attention to detail make him one of my fantasy heroes of all times. Plus, he has a great way with words.

Below is one of my favourite passages from his book, "The Silmarillion." The beauty of his language sings like poetry.

"Then the discord of Melkor spread ever wider, and the melodies which had been heard before foundered in a sea of turbulent sound. But Iluvatar sat and hearkened until it seemed that about his throne there was a raging storm, as of dark waters that made war one upon another in an endless wrath that would not be assuaged.

Then Iluvatar arose, and the Ainur perceived that he smiled; and he lifted up his left hand, and a new theme began amid the storm, like and yet unlike to the former theme, and it gathered power and had new beauty."

From: The Silmarillion, by J.R.R. Tolkien

Taken from the first chapter of The Silmarillion, with the creation of the world and the re-harmonizing of Melkor's first discord.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

St. Joseph: Feast day, March 19th.

I meant to get this topic posted yesterday, but I was having the devil of a time with the internet, so I gave up. So, I'm posting now.

This post is about St. Joseph. In my humble opinion, (IMHO for all you acronym-crazy writers) St. Joseph is the definition of the most perfect spouse ever.

In the bible he is described as a "just man." That term may not seem to adequately describe his utter holiness, his devotion to Mary the Mother of God, and his complete faithfulness to his guardianship over the Child Jesus. Inf fact, that term is defined as a person who lives by faith, prays through all things, and seeks to do good in every one of life's circumstances. St. Joseph did all this perfectly.

St. Joseph was a simple carpenter, specially chosen by God to be the foster father of Christ, the Son of God. He was of royal blood, descended of the house of David, the greatest king of Israel. He was remarkable for his complete obedience to the will of God. One of the most beautiful examples of his obedience is this:

After the birth of Jesus Christ, an angel came to Joseph in a dream and told his to rise, take his family, and flee to Egypt. Without question, Joseph did as the angel commanded. Can you imagine that kind of obedience? He left everything, his job, his home, his native land, to take his family to a completely foreign land in order to raise the Child in safety. There he remained, with Mary and Jesus, until another angel came to him and told him it was safe to return.

St. Joseph had the remarkable privilege of dying in the arms of Jesus and Mary. Not only was he allowed to die before Christ's death on the cross in order that he might be spared the agony of seeing his foster Son die the death of a common criminal, but he was allowed to die that he might not in any way hinder God's plan for our redemption. Really, could you imagine that, if Joseph had been alive at the time of Jesus' crucifixion, he would have stood aside and let the soldiers take him? Not he! I can visualize him throwing aside the guards, roaring into the courtyard to face off the Sanhedrin, protecting his Jesus with his carpenter hands, carpenter strength, with his very life. But Christ was born to die. So St. Joseph died first, in the arms of his Son. He is invoked as the Patron of a Holy, Happy Death.

Here is also the patron of:
  1. The Universal Church.
  2. Fathers
  3. Those in doubt
  4. Cabinetmakers
  5. Carpenters
  6. Travellers


To thee, O blessed Joseph, do we have recourse in our tribulation. And having implored the help of thy thrice holy spouse, we confidently invoke thy patronage, also. By that charity, wherewith thou wast united to the Immaculate Virgin, Mother of God, and by that fatherly affection with which thou didst embrace the Child Jesus, we beseech thee and we humbly pray that thou wouldst look down with gracious assistance upon the inheritance which Jesus Christ has purchased by His blood, and will assist us in our need by thy power and strength.

Most watchful guardian of the holy family, protect the chosen people of Jesus Christ. Keep far from us, most loving father, all blight of error and corruption. Aid us from on high, most valiant defender, in this our conflict with the powers of darkness. And even as of old thou didst rescue the Child Jesus from the supreme peril of His life, so now defend God's holy church from the snares of the enemy, and from all adversity. Keep us one and all under thy continual protection, that following thine example, and strengthened by thy help, we may be enabled to lead a holy life, die a happy death, and come at last to the possession of everlasting blessedness in heaven. Amen.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I don't have a ton of time tonight. I just wanted to wish youse all a very Happy St. Patrick's Day, and hope that you all wore green! If not, I'm reaching my cyber fingers across space to *pinch* you. So there.

If I could, I would give you a lovely biography about St. Patrick, and what he did for Ireland. However, since I DON'T have time, I shall simply give you a list of fascinating sites where I hope all of you will pop over and check out the history of this very amazing saint.

God bless! Tune in for Saturday, when we celebrate the feast of St. Joseph. Fun, fun, fun!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Keeping up with blogs

So, I was curious.

I know most of us writers follow blogs. Like, a lot of blogs. Like a lot a lot a LOT of blogs. Leastways, I know I've got a ridiculous number of blogs that I follow. Hold on...

Whoa. I follow like 65 blogs. I didn't know that until just now. Howesomever, that brings me back to this important question: how do you keep up with them?

Me, I have this handy dandy tool called the Google Reader. Peeps, that thing is awesome! All the blogs that I love and follow, or subscribe to, I can have them all load in the Google Reader, and I can browse the new, updated blog posts and see which ones intrigue me. Isn't that cool?

Honestly, there's just so many good blogs out there, I know there's not a way in the world that I can't keep up with them, unless I get them all arranged in one good spot. Google Reader's my spot.

How do you follow blogs? Where do you put all your links? Out of curiosity, how many blogs do you think you follow? You are more than welcome to post, "70 blogs... and still subscribing!" if you so desire. And of course, the 70 was merely a random number. :-)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Inspired poetry

I have decided that the times I seem to be the most lyrical are while I am standing in the confession line.

I'm not sure why that is. Perhaps it's because I've examined my conscience and written down all the terrible things I've done during the past week or two, and I know that in a few moments I get to confess my sins to the priest and be absolved. Perhaps it's because I get to relieve my soul of the burden of my sins that my gratitude just burbles forth in random stanzas of poetry.

Whatever the reason, the confession line is where a lot of my inspired poetry happens to occur. These were a couple stanzas that I came up with:

From Crib came Christ, the Crucified.
Received the world, Redeemer.

I think I liked the alliteration that occurred in those lines. Here was another sort of poem prayer:

If I find no delight in prayer,
and find great dryness in its stead,
I kiss Thy Left, Just-worthy Hand,
and meekly bow my stubborn head.

As you can see, that bit was a before-I'd-gone-too-far-examining-my-conscience poem.

Here's one right before I went into the confessional:

Enclosed in cold and human flesh,
a warmer spirit flames with heat.
The flesh, at war, yields to the soul:
the body lays at Jesus' feet.

Insensible, this human being,
shows to the world a heart of stone,
quite statue-like, yet animate.
Unworthy to be Heaven's throne!

Creator, carve away the stone,
enable me to come alive!
Allow the flesh to burn away,
and help my spirit to revive.

Here's the one that was after I came out of confession:

Glory be to Thee, Oh Christ!
Aflame am I! Love pierces through.
Absolved am I, refreshed, renewed,
once more I live for only You.

Enjoy! I think these are all random acts of poetry. Oh well. I might as well share them with everyone who wants to read them, right?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

A Poem

Here's just a little poem I want to share with all my readers, a little hint into the depths of my soul. Enjoy!

A Girl's Life

She goes to work each morning,
She comes home late each night.
She makes believe she's happy,
that everything's all right.
She laughs away her sorrow,
her loneliness she hides.
When evening comes and she's alone,
to God, she then confides:

"Lord, I want to do Your Will,
though it's so hard to do.
I want to do what's best for me,
accept what comes from You.
But Lord, is it all right to ask
if You can let me see,
that though I'm so alone right now,
I will not always be?
Lord, I want to do Your Will,
and not put up a fight.
But oh! I'm so forlorn and sad,
and so alone tonight."

Sometimes she sees a family,
a mother, son, and dad.
Sometimes she sees a newborn babe-
a child she hasn't had.
Sometimes she's quite contented.
Sometimes she wants to cry.
When morning comes she folds her hands,
and looks beyond the sky:

"Christ, I want to do Your Will,
though it's so hard to do.
I want to do Your best for me,
by doing all for You.
Just promise me, my God, my Christ,
Whose love is whole and true:
One day not far, you'll give to me,
a man reflecting You.
A godly man, a kindred soul,
my chosen spouse and love.
The one who's love will bring forth fruit,
and honour You, above.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

One Lovely Blog Award

Celebrate with me, people! Today I found out that I was nominated for my second blog award! It is the One Lovely Blog Award, and I'm very appreciative that I was one chosen to receive it.

Thank you Allyn Stotz for the nomination. You can check out her blog here: she posts some handy-dandy tidbits of fun and information over at her little cyber home.

Here's how the award works:

  1. Accept the award, and post it on your blog with the name of the person who has granted the award and their blog link.
  2. Pass the award on to 15 other blogs that you've newly discovered.
  3. Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they've been chosen for this award.
Here are my lucky winners:

Anna Staniszewski at
Marie Elena Good and Walt Wojtanik at

Congratulations, bloggers!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

I had a craaaazy busy week this week!
Photo courtesy of

First off, my sisters and I had to go online and book tickets to Scotland. I decided, then and there during the whole purchasing process, that I love the thought of traveling, and being in the place where I want to travel to, but I hate booking tickets and I hate the airport.

After that, since my fav'rite singer is going on tour and will be in my area in the summer time, I bought tickets to his concert. Hoot hoot! That was the most thrilling moment of the evening! **sigh**

Then, I am in the process of moving into a wee small house with my sister, and so there's a lot of packing up being done. That being said, I'm surprised I have time to post anything!! :-)

However, there is still time to have fun. For one thing, as a consolation prize, I purchased the most adorable monkey that also substitutes as a neck warmer. See, this little animal has some sort of warmth-retaining beads in it, so when you microwave it (or bake at 150 degrees for about twenty minutes, if you don't have a microwave), it radiates heat for quite a long time. Makes you feel fuzzy all over while you're writing and listening to music. Next, I bought a Writer's Tool Box by Jamie Cat Callan, which contains "first sentences", "non sequitors", and "sixth sense" cards that are all made expressly for the purpose of stimulating the right and left side of one's brain.  Last, I bought a book I've been hankering after for quite a while. It's called "The Art of War For Writers" by James Scott Bell, and it is fanTAStic! I love love love books on "How to Write". I always learn so much from those "How to" books! :-)

There was one section from "The Art of War for Writers" that I loved. It depicts a hero and a fool, emphasizing their differences. Here's the section:

"If you want to be a writer, know this:

   A hero knows it takes hard work and a long time to get published; a fool thinks it 
should happen immediately, because he thinks he's a hero already.

   A hero learns the craft; a fool doesn't think there's much to learn.

   A hero keeps growing all his writing life; a fool thinks he's fully grown already.

   A hero fights to make his writing worthy, even when no one's noticing; a fool demands 
to be noticed all the time, even if his writing stinks.

   A hero is persistent and professional; a fool is insistent and annoying.

   A hero gets knocked down and quietly regroups to write again; a fool gets knocked down 
and whines about it ever after.

   A hero makes his luck; a fool cries about how unlucky he is.

   A hero recognizes the worth in others; a fool can't believe others are worth more than 

   A hero keeps writing, no matter what, knowing effort is its own reward; a fool 
eventually quite and complains that the world is unfair.

       Be a hero."
James Scott Bell

Hopefully, that thought will leave you with a little sparkle of inspiration.

Tonight, I'm writing this blog, watching an Avonlea, and leafing through "The Art of War for Writers." Aaah, I live for weekends!

Don't forget the fuzzy monkey. **winky**

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Wednesday: On Reading

So, today is all about what I'm reading.

Well, I have to tell you. I just finished "The Hunger Games", and I know all youse all, or at least most of you out there, have read this book. What was your initial response to it?

This was mine. It was disturbing. Really, really disturbing. You know what disturbed me most? I couldn't put the book down!

I mean, it took me a little while to get my head wrapped around the idea of a gladiator-type future where the children are forced to compete in this "Game" against each other, in a fight to the death. Suzanne Collins does such a good job of portraying her world, however, that you can almost reconcile yourself to the idea. As the book goes on, and you're drawn deeper into Katniss's mind and mentality, you almost get detached from the deaths that occur. In fact, you almost root for some of them. Then, all of a sudden, the author jerks you back into the present, and to the shocking mentality of her world. As I said, disturbing.

However, her style was amazingly gripping. I could not put the book down. I started her book on Sunday morning, and by the afternoon I'd finished it. Afterward, I immediately put her other two books on hold. She had a way of putting her words together that held my attention. That's the kind of writing I want to learn, that taut and relentless string of words that makes me want to turn the next page... and the next page... and the next page.

I give "The Hunger Games" probably a four-and-a-half star rating. I'd prolly give it a five-star rating, 'cept it disturbed me so much! :)

On a lighter note, and totally not in keeping with the topic, this is a note to all you Josh Groban fans out there: HE'S GOING ON TOUR! I just finished purchasing eight tickets, for me and my family members and friends who are going to see him LIVE! I'm thrilled, excited, jazzed... he's my fav'rite singer. Here's the reason why. I'll share with you one of my most favourite songs on his new Illuminations CD. It's called "Hidden Away", and it's absolutely beautiful. Enjoy! God bless.
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