Literary Intentions 
 
After having problems with this blog I switched to blogspot, but Google Friend connect is still leading people here.  If you like to check out my more updated blog, I'd love to have you come over.  Thanks.

http://dstracywrites.blogspot.com
 
 
Picture
Taken from a previous post from my other blog My Life in Writing


Last night my little family crowded in our bed and watched an episode of Star Trek (original series). Yeah, we’re dorks. It’s the one show we watch together with minimal grumbling. So, we’re watching Spock struggling through “pon farr,” which I think means he was in heat or something—I dunno—when a funky smell wafted through the room. 

I glanced over to my husband, who immediately said, “Don’t look at me.”

We’ve played this game many times before so I continued to glare, hoping to discourage any further nastiness from invading my nostrils. Then a little giggle turned my attention to my daughter, who stared back at me with her big chocolate eyes. She may have looked as innocent as Winona Ryder with an armful of clothes, but her guilty giggles said otherwise.

“Are you kidding me?” my husband said. “That was impressive!”

“I got gas,” she answered, rubbing her tummy.

“Flaggulence?” my husband said. He’s been teaching her bigger words lately, so he couldn’t resist popping in a good one, and I couldn’t resist correcting him.

“Flatulence, you mean. The word is flatulence.”

We debated for a bit as another funk permeated the air. When he finally conceded to me, I started thinking about all the words I’ve heard people say incorrectly.

In my critique group, we’ve all had a few doosers. My sunshine and roses friend (she’s the happiest person I know) corrected my ’script when I wrote, “twitter patted.” Her chicken scrapes in the margin suggested I change it to “twitter painted.” She swore on a stack of bibbles that Thumper coined the term in Bambi and that I was wrong.

Another writer friend wrote “making in front of” instead of “making fun of.” I couldn’t help but make in front of him on that one—come on now. Was this a joke? A pigment of my imagination, or did this well educated man not know this simple phrase?

So, I popped in my ear buds and started listening to “Secret Asian Man” and thought of some more malapropisms (verbal slips and gaffes) and some of the more common ones writers face every day as we plug away on our stories. I mean we want to be taken seriously, right? We have to send in our work with as little errors as we can. How are we ever going to rise above the plush pile if we don't?

Accept/except

Affect/effect

Lay/Lie

Too/to/two

Further/Farther

Its/It’s

Desert/dessert

And many more…

Not sure the difference, check out this helpful grammar site here.




What are your favorite malapropisms? Share your favorites.

 
 
Photo by Cliff Bryce
Picture
An old friend of mine is a talented photographer. He posted a photo on Facebook the other day and it had me thinking about where a writer’s inspiration comes from. So, I decided to challenge myself and write a quick story for a random photo. These stories are not edited and rough, so keep that in mind. My goal is to get my brain working, not produce perfection. Thanks for looking.


I ain’t much of a sneak. I tend to mind my own business most of the time. But something about that old man provoked me. Maybe it was the way he glared at me through those gnarly eyebrows like he knew better. I ain’t dumb. I know lots of stuff. Just ask Miss Johnson. I bust through a whole mess of fractions before snobby Lexi Carter had a chance to draw that stupid little heart over the “i” in her name.

My mama works at the nursing home down the block from my house. I don’t get to see her much on account of my old man being in jail and all. So, when I can, I walk down and share a Coke with her. That’s where I first laid eyes on the old coot.

His name was Clyde Sullivan Jr. What the hell kinda name was Clyde anyway and what possessed Clyde Sr. to pass his misfortunes onto his lemon-faced son? Anyway, I was waitin’ for my mama’s shift to get over and popped a squat in the hall, when he came wanderin’ by with a wooden box tucked under his arm. He peered at me sideways and curled his upper lip, looking meaner than a rattler. Ol’ Clyde mumbled something under his breath, no doubt thinking he was clever. What he don’t know was that I got 20/20 hearing. That fool called me a ragamuffin and shook his head.

My smarts probably weren’t with me when I decided to follow the old bear, but I couldn’t help it; my feet started walking. For being a lopsided fart, that man walked faster than any other old person I knew, and I know plenty.

He didn’t seem to notice me truckin’ on behind him. Of course, grownups don’t tend to pay me no mind, anyhow. Boys like me just sort of blend in, I s’pose. My uncle calls me puny and even though I’m smaller than other twelve-year-olds, I sure as hell ain’t puny.

Clyde disappeared into the last room on the right, which stopped me cold. I didn’t much like going into patient’s rooms. That’s where most of ’em pass on. I learned a lot about death since my mama started workin’ here. The first week she’d come home with puffy eyes and a red face. She never said nothin’, but I knew she’d been cryin’. Nowadays, she just pours herself a bit more whisky and calls ’er good. No more tears. I guess whisky ain’t so bad.

I slid against the wall so’s Clyde couldn’t see me listening at the door.

“How ya doing, Earl?” Clyde said. “You’re looking pretty with that new haircut.”

I didn’t want to admit it, but I kinda liked ol’ Clyde’s voice.

“Whaddya say . . . how ’bout a game to get yer heart a pumpin’.”

I leaned over some, just so’s I could catch me a better look. I thought it was a good idea, at the time, but I lost my balance and fell flat on my face. Clyde’s head whipped in my direction so fast; his face scrunched and wrinkled with them hairy ol’ brows drawn together. I thought for sure I was going to get a lickin’ from mama for bothering the patients, but that old man did something I never imagined.

“Can you play chess, son?” he said.

I stood to my feet and slapped my hands up and down on my worn blue jeans, not that I cared so much about a bit of dirt, but I didn’t want any bad luck sticking to my body—death germs and such.

“Well, do ya?” Clyde asked.

“No, sir.” 

“What’s yer name?”

“Denny. Denny Warren, sir.”

“Grab yourself a chair, Denny Warren. Me and Earl are going to teach you the only game worth playin’?”

I looked over to Earl, propped up like a rag doll in his wheelchair. He stared straight ahead, wordless and unmoving. Death didn’t seem too far behind. I paused for a minute; I didn’t want to feel death that close. But as the sun shone through the window and cast shadows on Clyde’s wooden chess set, I knew I wanted to be nowhere else.   



 
 
I'm new to blogging. Not sure what I think about it right now. First, it is a lot of work. Trying to figure out what to say, how to say it, where to post it, is overwhelming. Second, there are a ton of bloggers out there already, figuring out a way to be unique is difficult. 

Another problem I've had is finding a home for my blog. I started here on weebly, which couldn't be simpler for a novice like me. My blog was ready to go in a matter of minutes, and I loved the look of it. But I noticed most of the people I knew had Blogspot or Wordpress with all kinds of gadgets on the sides of their blog. I wanted gadgets too. 
There are other features I like from the other sites too, traffic building features. So, I started another blog at blogspot, just to see where I belong.  If anyone has any advice on blogging please share. I could use all the help I can get.
This is my other site if you want to check 'er out.  dstracywrites.blogspot.com


 
 
Picture
Since I’ve become a mother, I don’t have the time  I once had for reading. I love to abandon my day in a wonderful adventure. And, if I want to succeed as a writer, it is crucial I study others. But it seems like each time I grab a book and snuggle into the sofa pillows, one of my little rugrats starts screaming, needs his boogers wiped, or must tell me the coolest thing ever right that very minute. Who can say no to ‘the coolest thing ever’? Not this girl. So, I inevitably toss the book aside and take care of my kids or my husband, who thankfully wipes his own boogers.

I started listening to audio books several years ago to help me sleep, because just like all the above daytime distractions, nighttime is not immune to drama. Both my children talk in their sleep, and my oldest and most sensitive child seems to have more bad dreams than she should.

After jumping full time into writing and critiquing, I’ve noticed a lack of attention to the sound of a novel—the rhythms and beats our words create. I don’t have a lot of time, plus I’m an impatient reader. If the novel sounds bumpy, I struggle. If it feels like a play by play, my mind wanders. But if the novel flows, has a rhythm to it, even if there are plot problems I will stick to it, hoping the writer comes through for me.

We’re told as writers to avoid using dialogue tags as much as possible except for “said.” The theory is that the eye simply passes it by; readers are immune to it. I have a problem with that theory because if you listen to audio books, you definitely hear it—like a thud. Passive voice also carries a heavy sound as well as the overuse of adverbs. (Some adverbs can enhance the sound with the right placement, but I’m on the side of deleting as many as you can.)

When I start revising my work in progress, I spend a great deal of time making sure I avoid the thud. Do I have too many coordinating conjunctions? Do I vary my sentence length? Have I placed my speech tags appropriately or avoided them all together?

A reader’s eye may pass by an annoying speech tag, passive voice, or see the artfulness of a stack of sentence fragments, but will a listener’s ear be as forgiving?

It’s important we not only give our writing a visual run through, but we need to take the time to read it aloud, imagining how it would sound as an audio book. Then, like a good steak, a manuscript needs rest.

After a period of time (I suggest no less than a few weeks), go back to it, but switch the font. I write my first draft in Arial and then switch to Times New Roman; it’s amazing what that does. The time away and different visual look will help our eyes see simple problems we missed before and our mind to turn off its autocorrect button.

One of my critique partners has developed a wonderful rhythm to her work. I liken it to a rolling hill. She gently pulls me along and just when I think I’m at the bottom, she guides me up for more. Granted, a rolling hill doesn’t necessarily make a sound, but when paired with narrative and dialogue, it most certainly does. She pays attention to sentence structure and the voices of her characters. Not every scene has a rolling hill feel, but the manuscript is drenched in sound and rhythm.

Does your writing have a cadence? A thunderstorm? A wave? Do you read your work aloud as you’re revising?

 

    RSS Feed

    Picture

    Author

    My name is Diana (a.k.a DS Tracy) I am a wife, mother,  and wannabe writer. One day, I hope to delete the wannabe part--no one likes a poser!  
     

    Click to set custom HTML

    Archives

    February 2011
    January 2011
    December 2010
    November 2010

    Click to set custom HTML



    ________________
    Add this to your site
    Click to set custom HTML
    Blogs I'm following:
    Whimsywritingandreading
    The Crazy Life of A Writing Mom
    Writing Delights
    Nathan Bransford