I first "met" Jordan McCollum in bloggy land. I learned a lot about blogging and her philosophy on motherhood (one close to my heart) from her personal blog, MamaBlogga (see the link below).
Not long after, I got to be the guest-judge for Scribbit's monthly Write Away contest. The judging was totally blind; I was sent the entries without any author names on them. As I read through them and marked them up, putting them in various stacks (maybe, definitely no, etc.), one entry stood out from all the rest. I deemed it the winner.
I found out later that the winning entry was Jordan's. Dude, the girl can write.
Shortly thereafter, she came to one of my book signings and kept me company for a good half hour. (So did Wonder Woman . . . thanks for that! It was so fun!).
I discovered during our chat that Jordan was an actual linguistics major (Hello!!! One of my favorite subjects ever . . . even though I'm an amateur and don't have a degree in it).
Then I about passed out when she mentioned knowing about the Kalevala (a book near and dear to my heart, the collection of Finnish mythology/folktales). Who in the world knows about the Kalevala (besides J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis and other folks who are into Norse mythology . . . like Jessica Day George? Oh, and Burt Wilson, who began the entire BYU folklore program because of the Kalevala, but I digress).
At BYU, Jordan had even heard my dad lecture about the Kalevala. (When I was a freshman, Dad was the Linguistics chair and had a nice, big office with a couch. I took a few naps there when I was wiped, since most of my classes were in the humanities building anyway.) Dad retired as Associate Dean of Humanities. So I think I went up a coolness point or two when Jordan realized I'm his daughter. (And that was a really cool lecture, Dad.)
Jordan herself went up a few coolness points for me when I found out her dad also went on a mission to Finland like mine did, which was part of the reason she became interested in linguistics, and that she can pronounce Finnish words almost perfectly.
In addition to being a great blogger (check out MamaBlogga when you need a boost as a mom), she's also a writer, professionally and otherwise. She's working on some novels right now, so at that book signing, I convinced her to come to the LDStorymakers conference in April.
While at the conference, she asked me to guest post on her new writing blog, specifically on her May theme: verbs. I said sure! I'd love to!
But then my brain froze, taking a post-conference vacation somewhere along the way, because it took me three weeks (or so) to come up with something interesting to say about verbs that would be Jordan-worthy. (She'd already covered passive versus active and modals and all kinds of good stuff. Not that I was intimidated or anything. Not at all . . . nope . . .)
Today my guest post is up! It is about verbs, but specifically about verbs in dialogue tags, so I think it's a good refresher for all fiction writers out there.
Check it out here!
(In it, I refer to a horrid, self-published book, but not by name, because I'm not cruel. I still have the book more than a decade later. It's like a train-wreck I can't stop looking at. I flip through it when I need a good laugh or when I need to remind myself that yes, I do know a few things about this craft.)
I'm sure it's wonderful. I will check it out!
Oooh, I'm researching a bit of Norse mythology myself right now for a novel I'm endeavoring to write. (Btw, have you ever read any of Diana Wynn Jones or N. Gaimans' books -- J and adult fantasy -- relating to Norse Mythology? Fascinating stuff.
I'm running over to Jordan's blog right now to read your article. Thanks for the tip!
PS: Did you graduate from BYU in English lit? I did, in 1994. Just curious, we might have had a few classes together! ;)
I haven't read those books--but I'm hereby putting them on my to-read list.
And yep--I did graduate in English lit from BYU--1995. I bet we did have some classes together!
PS: I think I took an American Folklore class from Burt Wilson in 1994 or so...could it be? After taking his class, I seriously considered doing graduate work in Folklore, but continued on with my lifelong dream of MLIS. Still, folklore is fascinating stuff!!
Sorry for hijacking your comments today...one more question: did you ever take Creative Writing from Louis Plummer? She was great -- I loved her!
I'm sure it was the same Burt Wilson. I knew him when I was just a kid because he served a mission in Finland and married a Finn, just like my dad, so we often had family events together.
I never did take a class from Louise Plummer, but my sister did--and I'm still jealous. My one creative writing class was with Douglas Thayer, who's a bit of a legend in his own right.
I read the post. I had really never thought about dialogue tags before. I thought they would be intuitive. Maybe the person writing that book wasn't a native English speaker? Maybe? Anyway. I enjoyed this post too. For being so large, the world is often very small. In this case, the things you have in common with your friend are really fantastic and uncanny!
Okay, thanks. Another blog for me to get hooked on. 'Preciate it.
Um . . . WOW. I'm still floored over here. . . . I feel like I'm on Queen for a Day or This is Your Life or What's Your Line or some other 1950s game show!
Thanks so much, Annette—for the guest post and for my feature-length bio over here. Man. I'm beyond blushing.
Oh, and while I gather my wits, may I just second Terresa's Diana Wynne Jones recommendation. I assume Terresa's referring to the Dalemark series, but I haven't read any of those to attest to that (I've read four of her other books, though—the woman's prolific! And good!).
(And I took American Folklore and creative writing at the Y, too—secretly I'm starting to think I should have been an English major. Want to trade degrees? We're practically the same person anyway, what difference could it make? ;)
But you forgot that we're both knitters! ;)
It sounds like you and Jordan are sistahs from another mistah!! Or kindred spirits.....something of the like.
WV: fuleduck. What I feel like amongest the learned, Norse-mythology-versed, Finnish-speaking women commenting here.....
How fun! Who is your friend on MHA?
My friend is Jenny Reeder. We go way back--like to high school and sleepovers and the like. I even lost being English Sterling scholar to her. She's awesome.
is it not so totally cool how we meet so many totally cool people through blogs and such? Kindred spirits! I'm off to check out your blog.
I checked her out. Yep, she's brilliant.
How very fun. I'm off to read over there.
I read a translated copy of the Kalevala when I was in Grade Seven. I was on a mythology binge at the time as I recall . . . I need to do that again soon.
So neat the many connections between the two of you. Sometimes it's like you're just meant to know someone, isn't it?
I need to read Kalevala just so I can fit into your cool crowd! Thanks for the new blog link :)
I regularly read Jordan's mom blog, but I now need to add her writing blog to my feed reader.
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