I LOVED your golfing
story. Read every word. You're a wonderful writer.
(Peter Bowerman, the Well-Fed Writer)
Big Things rule! ... and the video
of the Airbus is great. (Jim McDonald,
Having enjoyed reading your
can't take that away from me... I
would love to post your article (for my) course for
seniors entitled Autobiography and Journaling ... and
let them read your article as a good example of what
I call the reader's writer, clearly expressed and easy
to read. (Howell)
The French language has
always appealed to me ... so I enjoyed Lavinia's
France! (Di Sullivan, Perth, Australia)
I am an American and an
expat here since 1990. I have been a subscriber to Writing
Tip for a few years now and look forward to the Friday
editions. I archive by creating topics of the tips
relevant to me and often refer. (Mary, Lagos, Nigeria)
Your Own Best Seller!
year, don't just read a best-seller ... Write
your own using the software program that works
in the same way J K Rowling writes her Harry
Who said Aussies would
bet on two flies crawling up a wall? Now I know
better! (Bill Denham, Chicago, USA)
I enjoy reading your page
every week, Jennifer, it's never boring and there's always
something to bring a smile to my face! (Kenny Dima,
Thanks for pitching in to
the English Language for and with us. (Paul, Portland,
Your story about the evil
glasses made my day :) (Edith, Derbyshire, UK)
I enjoy your
letter and use it in my advanced writing class here in
China. (Bugs, Shenzhen, CHINA)
I always look forward to
quote of the week. (Paul, Mexico City, Mexico)
Aah! Those evil
marionettes are everywhere! Thanks for another great
laugh! (Jim Fraser, Vancouver, Canada)
Your remarks regarding the alien
contact had me in stitches, figuratively speaking, of
course. (Dave Wagner, Sacramento, US)
The best part of the
missive is the introduction to Australian
humour and expressions. (Chaska, Prince Edward
site...very inspirational when you get writer's
block like me! (Peter, Seoul, South Korea)
Nice letter, I
was using google for once, twice, thrice
and quince, and found this page, great ;) (Marv, Zwolle,
One of the most
amusing and erudite newsletters that makes my day.
Keep going. (David Vasnaik, Bangalore, INDIA)
more testimonials ...
Great newsletter -
originally found this site after searching for
clarification on a contentious
point amongst work colleagues. Just had to look at old
issues and now look forward to Fridays (Juliet Wallace,
The Write Way
Aargh! I Can't
Think of Anything to Write!
When I was in primary school and we
were told to write a composition and then fold our arms to show we'd finished
(but we couldn't think of anything to write about), we used to have a little
rhyme that went like this:
"Head thick, brain numb,
Inspiration won't come.
Can't write, bad pen.
Best wishes, Amen."
And that just about covered all
bases in the Excuses Stakes as far as we were concerned.
Pity our teachers never accepted it
as a reason for not having covered our requisite two pages in spidery schoolgirl
Their answer was always, "Put
your head down and get on with it, girl! I expect two pages on my desk or you
can forget about being let out when the bell goes."
What we wouldn't have given to have
had a copy of Jenna Glatzer's book, Outwitting Writer's Block hidden
under the desk, instead of that half-eaten Vegemite sandwich and piece of orange
peel blanketed in soft penicillin fur from the last time it rained and we had to
stay in the classroom to eat lunch. (Why is it, do you suppose, that schools
always smell of orange peels?)
But I digress ... Jenna (and I know
she won't mind me being on a first-name basis like this) describes writer's
block as "a beady-eyed rodent hiding under the floorboards ... waiting to
rear its hideous head at the most inopportune times."
Fortunately for us, she also
provides some practical steps you can take to banish this particular demon. Mind
you, some of these suggestions are going to mean dipping into your Running Away
Fund. How much have you got in yours at the moment? Hmmm ... Sounds like mine!
D' you think you can spare $6?
Strangely enough, that's what Jenna's "$6 Solution" items will set you
back if you decide to follow her tip.
"Cheap at half the price!"
I hear you exclaim.
No, I'm not going to tell you what
they are ... that would spoil the surprise. What I can tell you is that for the
princely sum of $6 you'll have 6 little tools to help overcome the bane of all
The book contains much more than
just the Secret Six. (Does that remind you of the Famous Five ... and the Secret
Seven books you couldn't wait to read when you were a kid? Oh dear. This is
turning out to be a real stroll down Memory Lane!) Each of the 23 chapters in
Jenna's book is liberally sprinkled with writing prompts, so you'll never be
able to fall back on that lame excuse, "I can't think of anything to
You'll be surprised at how simple it
is to find ideas ... like our beady-eyed friend, they're lurking in the most
unexpected places. F'r instance, have you considered the inspirational golden
eggs hidden under the portly form of Mother Goose?
One of Jenna's prompts is to rewrite
a nursery rhyme. She suggests "a parody, a modernized version, or a
Go on; try it now.
Pick a nursery rhyme.
Can't think of any? That's no
excuse. Here's a site with more nursery rhymes than you can poke a stick at: http://www-personal.umich.edu/~pfa/dreamhouse/nursery/rhymesABC.html
... You can't wriggle out of writing that easily, my friend!
OK. Now, you just pick up your pen
or place your dainty digit to the keyboard and write an extended version ...
fill in some of the details conveniently omitted over the years. We all know
about that Baa Baa black sheep, but is there any truth in the rumour that the
little boy who lives down the lane is somehow connected to a bit of a fling the
master had with one of the seven wives of that chap he met while he was going to
Perhaps you could write an etiquette
article for a teen magazine on just why all the girls cry when Georgie Porgie
kisses them ...
Or a philosophical treatise on
whether the Hokey Pokey really is what it's all about ...
Well, you get the idea.
Another of Jenna's tips is to try
writing in a different genre - if you see yourself as a romance writer, try your
hand at sci-fi or horror; if you normally write screenplays, try an historical
novel and so on. This site has links to dozens of helpful resources for writing
in different genre: http://www.logicalcreativity.com/jon/genre.html
Get your very own copy of Jenna's
book (or buy one for a writing friend) and toss a few cents into my Running Away
Fund by clicking here.
This week's quiz:
Match the words with their meanings:
quixotic, gourmet, loquacious,
hereditary, anachronous, insomnia, gregarious, polytheism, philatelist,
1. loves company
2. inability to sleep
3. determining cause
4. extravagantly chivalrous
5. a stamp collector
6. talks a lot
7. belief in many gods
8. received from parents
9. out of time
10. likes good food
Now because it's fast approaching
that gift-giving time of year, here are some suggestions for the not-so-tiny
tots on your shopping list. Albert found these and, overcome by the spirit of
goodwill, decided to share with us. And here's another great prompt for writing
when you're stuck ... Invent some variations-on-a-theme toys! (While some of the
locales may be a mystery to those of us who don't live in the neighbourhood, the
characters are instantly recognisable!)
announced the release of Limited-Edition "So-Cal" dolls for the
Southern California market:
This princess Barbie is only sold at The Irvine Spectrum. She comes with
an assortment of Kate Spade handbags, a Lexus SUV, a longhaired foreign dog
named Honey, and a cookie-cutter house. Available with or without tummy tuck and
face-lift. Workaholic Ken sold only in conjunction with "augmented"
This modern-day homemaker Barbie is available with Ford Windstar minivan
and matching gym outfit. She gets lost easily and has no full time occupation or
secondary education. Traffic-jamming cell phone sold separately.
In addition to perfect English, this Barbie also speaks fluent Japanese,
Chinese, and Mandarin. She earned a full scholarship to Princeton, even though
she didn't need one. Comes with her own street-racing import car, complete with
Japanese animation decals. Large collection of video games sold separately.
Careers or homes for this Barbie are not available, because she will stay with
her parents until they die. If you purchase a Ken doll, he must move into her
family's home and wait for their inheritance.
Van Nuys Barbie
This recently paroled former "Porn Actress" Barbie comes with a
9mm handgun, a Ray Lewis knife, a Chevy with dark tinted windows, and a methlab
kit. This model is only available after dark and can only be paid for in cash.
Preferably small, untraceable bills. Unless you are a cop, then we don't know
what you are talking about.
Santa Monica Barbie
This yuppie Barbie comes with your choice of BMW convertible or Hummer H2.
Included are her own Starbucks cup, credit card, and country club membership.
Also available for this set are Shallow Ken and Private School Skipper. You
won't be able to afford any of them.
This pale model comes dressed in her own Wrangler jeans two sizes too
small, a NASCAR shirt, and a Tweety Bird tattoo on her shoulder. She has a
six-pack of Coors Light and a Hank Williams, Jr. CD set. She can spit over 5
feet and kick mullet-haired Ken's ass when she is drunk. Purchase her pickup
truck separately and get a confederate flag bumper sticker absolutely free.
Newport Beach Barbie
This collagen injected, rhino plastic Barbie wears a leopard print
designer bikini outfit and drinks cosmopolitans while entertaining friends at
the beach house. Percocet prescription and monthly alimony checks are included.
This tobacco chewing, brassy-haired Barbie has a pair of her own
high-heeled sandals with one broken heel from the time she chased Beer-Gut Ken
out of Fontana Barbie's house. Her ensemble includes low-rise acid-washed jeans,
fake fingernails, and a see-through halter-top. Also available with a mobile
Laguna Beach Barbie
This doll is made of actual tofu. She has long straight brown hair,
arch-less feet, hairy armpits, no makeup, and Birkenstocks with white socks. She
prefers that you call her "Willow". She does not want or need a Ken
doll, but if you purchase two Laguna Beach Barbie's and the optional Subaru
wagon, you get a rainbow flag sticker for free.
Long Beach Barbie
This Barbie now comes with a stroller and infant doll. Optional
accessories include a GED and a bus pass. Gangsta Ken and his '79 Caddy were
available, but are now very difficult to find since the addition of the infant.
Rancho Santa Margarita Barbie
She's perfect in every way. Her home is perfect. Her family is perfect.
Comes with a part time job to earn her own spending money and a bible for church
on Sundays. Also has a pre-assigned carpool day. We don't know who Ken is
because he's always away hunting or biking or something....
City of Industry Barbie
This Barbie comes with a 1984 Toyota with expired temporary plates and
three baby Barbies in the back seat, but no car seats. The optional Ken doll
comes with a meat-packer's uniform and is missing three fingers on his left
hand. Green cards are not available for City of Industry Barbie or Ken.
West Hollywood Barbie/Ken
This versatile doll can be easily converted from Barbie to Ken by simply
adding or subtracting the multiple "snap-on" parts.
Chuckle ... I just love meat-packer
Ken with his missing fingers.
Last week's quiz:
Match the short words with their
top, mean, dare, talk, low, explain,
direct, dumb, peril, give
1. categorical - DIRECT
2. inarticulate - DUMB
3. decumbent - LOW
4. jeopardy - PERIL
5. elucidate - EXPLAIN
6. zenith - TOP
7. interlocution - TALK
8. pusillanimous - MEAN
9. subscribe - GIVE
10.speculate - DARE
With so many people flitting all
over the globe to visit family and friends in the next few weeks, here's an
option for next time you fly: http://www.skyhighairlines.com/main.asp
And you can stop worrying about lost
luggage because they have an excellent baggage tracking system: "At
SkyHigh, we don't like to think of your missing luggage as being
"lost." Rather, that it has embarked on an exciting journey all its
own. But rest assured, we're fairly confident your bags do still exist in some
form and could be back at home with you relatively soon. With that in mind,
let's see where your valued personal belongings are today!"
(Click on the Global Baggage Tracker
link to find your luggage ...)
Thank you to everyone who's made a
comment on the Map of the World - it's never too late to make your mark: http://pub37.bravenet.com/guestmap/view.php?usernum=3170114826
If you received this newsletter from
a friend and you'd like to have your very own copy delivered to you on Friday,
just click here: mailto:WritingTipsfirstname.lastname@example.org
and why not spread the word? Send your friends a
copy and invite them to join our merry band - we number over 8,000 now.
A Little Something Extra
Have you ever wondered whatever
happened to ... somebody? This site settles a lot of arguments: http://www.findagrave.com
It sounds a bit macabre but is
fascinating ... I spent far too much time on the Posthumous Reunions page!
Dave Wagner found this one on his
travels and knew we'd all be interested.
And don't forget to try this easy
way you can edit your work like a professional: http://www.write101.com/editorsoftware/affiliate_index.html
Word of the
week: Mabble (vb)
to wrap up.
"That just about mabbles things
for this week, folks!"
Mmmm - definitely has a nice ring to
it, don't you think?
Oxymoron of the week: on a packet of snack food ... "nutrition
Ask a question about grammar, punctuation or any
other language matter; suggest an answer or post a comment on the all-NEW,
all-electric, all tap-dancing forum: http://forum.write101.com
A Latin phrase I hope you won't be needing to use
with your plumber, electrician or mechanic over the holiday period:
Quantum in ura hora imputas? (You charge how
much an hour?)
[KWAHN-toom IN OO-rah HOH-rah im-POO-tahs?]
P.S. Want to donate to the upkeep of this
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