badges · brownies · challenge · words · write daily · writing group

I got the ‘stone carver’ badge!

At the start of the year, I joined the 365 Writing Club with the intention of developing a new habit: to write every day.

And …

You know what?

I did it!

Throughout January I wrote something – either on one of my WIPs or on my blog – every single day, bringing in a total word count of 19,919. It averaged out as 642 words a day, from lows of 180 to highs of over 1500, all recorded on a very cool spreadsheet. Got to love a spreadsheet ūüėȬ† That consistency¬† earned me the STONE CARVER’S badge.I know – little things please little minds!

But, it’s a start. Progress towards building that daily habit that, hopefully, will see me finish some of the stories I’ve started.

However, it wasn’t just about writing.

The group is super supportive, with weekly check-ins, goal-setting, online chats and everything necessary to keep us members on the right track.

Aside from writing almost 20,000 words, I also recorded over 25 hours of editing and more than 10 hours of critiquing. All of which means …

two more badges! Yay!

 

So, now it’s onwards and upwards into February. I’m determined to stick this out, so prepare for more badges in 28 days!

 

You can tell I was in the Brownies, can’t you?

An elf, no less, with badges all up my sleeves, too.

Except, I had a beret, not a bobble hat ūüėČ

Ah! Memories …

Anyway, must go now … words to write and all that.

 

Thank you for reading ūüôā

A to Z challenge · books · reading · review · words · writing

Z is for … Zebra Print!

ZYou might need to apply some¬†‘right side of the brain’ thinking to this one – it’s a little bizarre, but there is an element of logic to it.

Well, any topic starting with ‘Z’ was going to be challenging!

Here goes! Bear with me.

Just as a zebra would feel naked without its stripes, so would the page of a book without any words. (You see where I’m going now?)

Waving farewell to the A to Z challenge, albeit fondly, also compels me to return to the real world, where many clear-cut, tangible tasks await me.

Yes, it’s time to get back to normality, which means that I too have to put ‘black on white’, as it were.

It’s time to put pen to paper and get my writing projects in order.

If I am to meet my own goals of being a published author before the year is out, then I need to re-focus on my novel.

 Whilst doing this challenge, my own issues as a control freak have come to light (I want to write the book, edit it, design the cover and translate it) All of which might (only might though!) indicate why it is taking so long to get the project finished and also why I keep procrastinating.

If nothing else, I’ve learnt that that maybe I can find others with far greater expertise to take on some of these arduous tasks, thus leaving me to stick to writing the stories.

However, completing this challenge has also proved that I am able to commit to completing daily tasks, and so, if I were more organised, then all of the above is still achievable.

Also, I had a great thought last night – about starting my own publishing company!

Too much?

In need of therapy?

You might be right, but I couldn’t possibly comment ūüôā

A to Z challenge · fun · grammar · humour · words

M is for …Malapropisms & Mondegreens

MIf you’ve read any of my previous posts, you’ll know that I love words, languages and tongue-twisters.

As a bit of a grammar monster (although with no obvious expertise) I generally prefer to follow the rules, but I rate effective communication over perfect grammar any day.

You may think the two are inextricably linked, but I beg to differ. Our brains are able to understand words, even when they are incorrectly spelt or even confused for another similar sounding one.

As a result, these malapropisms have a real place in our conversations.

Malapropism:  The mistaken use of a word in place of a similar-sounding one, often with an amusing effect 

Besides, they are sometimes too funny to ignore, so please indulge me as I step tentatively into this absurd world.

In his 1775 Restoration comedy, The Rivals, Richard Sheridan introduced a humorous character by the name of Mrs. Malaprop. The name is derived from the French mal à propos, which means inappropriate, and describes the manner in which she used many words in her speech.
The self-educated Mrs. Malaprop was always substituting a similar-sounding word for the word that she actually intended, often with the consequence of a hilariously nonsensical sentence. The name Malaprop has been immortalised in the form of the malapropism, any sentence in which one word has been used incorrectly in place of another.

These slips are sometimes divided into two broad classes: classical malapropisms, in which the mistakes are due to ignorance (as in the case of Mrs. Malaprop), and temporary slips of the tongue, in which the intended word is known by the speaker, but has been inadvertently replaced by another.

Some examples:

Flying saucers are just an optical conclusion.
A rolling stone gathers no moths.
Let’s get down to brass roots.
Their father was some kind of civil serpent.
You can lead a horse to manure but you can’t make him drink.
The flood damage was so bad they had to evaporate the city.

Did you spot the deliberate mistakes?

Mondegreens: a sort of aural malapropism.

Instead of saying the wrong word, you hear the wrong word. The word mondegreen is generally used for misheard song lyrics, although technically it can apply to any speech.

Check out this¬†selection of misheard lyrics from popular songs (I bet you can’t resist singing along!):

“There’s a bathroom on the right.”
“There’s a bad moon on the rise.”
Bad Moon Rising, Creedence Clearwater

“Midnight after you’re wasted.”
“Midnight at the oasis.”
Midnight at the Oasis, Maria Muldaur

“The girl with colitis goes by.”
“The girl with kaleidoscope eyes.”
Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds, The Beatles

“Sleep in heavenly peas.”
“Sleep in heavenly peace.”
Silent Night, Christmas carol

“I blow bubbles when you are not here.”
“My world crumbles when you are not here.”
I Try, Macy Gray

“I got no towel, I hung it up again.”
“I get knocked down, but I get up again.”
Tubthumping, Chumbawumba

“She’s got a chicken to ride.”
“She’s got a ticket to ride.”
Ticket to Ride, The Beatles

“You and me and Leslie.”
“You and me endlessly…”
Groovin’, The Rascals

“Are you going to starve an old friend?”
“Are you going to Scarborough Fair?”
Scarborough Fair, Simon and Garfunkel

“Donuts make my brown eyes blue.”
“Don’t it make my brown eyes blue.”
Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue, Crystal Gale

“Got a lot of lucky peanuts.”
“Got a lot of love between us.”
Let’s Hang On. Frankie Vallee and the Four Seasons

“Hope the city voted for you.”
“Hopelessly devoted to you.”
Hopelessly Devoted to You, Grease

You are¬†singing along to these right now, aren’t you?

Go on, admit it – you are! ūüôā

books · horror · reading · review · thriller · words

‘Fraid so – it’s another book review!

book_review_2_4d46a267c2c37

Book: Small Things

Author: Joe DeRouen

Rating: 5

Summary:

Shawn Spencer is attending the funeral of his best friend, whose sister Jenny  swears he was killed by a monster. Feeling guilty for the loss of his friend, Shawn tries to help Jenny with her grief, but comes to see that maybe she is not imagining the monster in the lake. Strange voices in his head lead him to realise that there is something very strange happening in Carthage,  and he believes he may have triggered the whole messy business after breaking into an old derelict house with Tanner shortly before his death. Shawn and Jenny grow closer as more weird  incidents occur, people go missing, his cat is found dead and the voices in his head become more threatening and personal.  As the police are called to investigate, the local sheriff, while still suffering his own loss,  is mystified to explain the events and later becomes embroiled in the plot to catch and kill the monster.

Social context:

Set in a time when kids rode their bikes, went swimming in the lake and generally had the freedom to play by themselves, this story is beautifully reminiscent of the innocence of youth, first love and strong childhood friendships. It is a tale of high adventure, touching sentimentality and fast-paced horror, which defines the very personal quest of a young boy and girl, fighting off evil on their own, but with so much at stake.

Writing style:

This is a very quick-paced novel, the reader is thrown in at the deep end, desperate to learn more about this monster. At times the story is bloody and graphic, the monster’s actions are easily visualised, the danger is palpable and the tension is high. If this were a movie, I’d be hiding behind the sofa on several occasions!¬†There are, however, elements of real-life sadness, grief and pain all mixed in with the emergence of new relationships, recovery and hope for the future. The characters are so well drawn, you can picture them clearly as you fly through the pages, seeking answers and instead finding more unexpected twists.

My thoughts:

Although this is not my usual read, I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it. It was a real page-turner, leaving me totally engrossed and not able to put the book down. I will definitely be looking out for the next book in the series. Thank you Joe for bringing me back over to the dark side!

books · labels · words · writing

Identifying my genre…

Ever tried fitting a square peg into a round hole?

Well, that’s how I feel when I try to categorise my book into a particular genre.

Obviously, I have to choose one primary category, and I understand I can then mix things up a little as far as the sub-genres are concerned, but there has to be one dominant category to start with.

This  decision will then determine where my book is placed on those glorious shelves within the book store Рwhether on-line or in an actual store (yeah, I know, but I can dream!)

MysteryBook

The main thread of my story is one of vengeance, whereupon justice is delivered and good conquers evil.

However, this can be interpreted in many ways:

Mystery / Crime / Suspense / Thriller

At least that has reduced my choices down to just four, but this is where is gets more difficult. Time to concentrate!

These categories are also all closely linked, and there is an element of overlap in each of them (nobody said it would be easy!)

A good mystery novel will include an intellectual puzzle that needs to be resolved.

puzzle

This genre requires the perpetrator to be brought to justice.  

The reader must not know who the bad guy is until the end.

But if I violate this rule (and I do), does this mean I am not writing a mystery – does it now become a thriller?

suspense copy

The suspense needs to build, and the ending should be shocking and unexpected.

This category works for me, but is it a dominant category? Are there really bookshelves for ‘suspense’ tales or are they generally placed into the thriller or mystery section. Is ‘suspense’ ¬†a sub-genre or can it stand on its own?

Well, I hope so, because my story is not a thriller either.

thriller

The terms thriller and suspense novel are used interchangeably in the industry. They  come in many varieties, including action-adventure, technothriller, legal thriller, war novel, and spy novel.

No, sorry, but that’s not me!

Enough!

Decision time: SUSPENSE is a dominant category.

It is the most appropriate genre for my tale of revenge.

My sub-categories are MYSTERY and CRIME.

One other key factor in my decision making process is that  the thriller genre is very marketable and also  highly competitive. The bestseller lists are packed with books in this category,  so breaking in may not be easy for new novelists.

Whereas the mystery / crime genre, although also a strong choice,  gives a writer a lot of options, and an unknown novelist  still has a good shot at breaking into this category (or so I am told!)

That, definitely, works for me! 

Phew! – Glad that’s over…