Showing posts from April, 2011

WNW: When "Right" Is Twitchy

Our local recreation center has a sign on the track that reads, in part, something like:
If you swam, Dry off before going on the track
A good friend e-mailed me about it after twitching all through her three times-a-week runs around that track. She asked if the sign was wrong, because it sounded awkward (especially with "swam"), but she couldn't think of a better way to say it.
If you set aside the fact that dry shouldn't be capitalized here, the sign is grammatically correct.
The tenses of swim go like this:
Present tense: swim (This morning, I will swim for thirty minutes.) Past tense: swam (Last week, I swam ten laps.) Past participle: had swum (I thought back to the time I had swum with a team.)
So swam is the right form of the word, plain old past tense.
And yet. That sign makes me twitch too.
It's a great case of when smooth writing and clarity trump "right." In other words, just because it's correct doesn't mean it's the best way of saying…

Getting Kids Psyched About Books

Today I'm making good on my promise (from, ahem, more than two months ago) to talk about some of the things I've done to help my kids love reading. So here goes:
I got lucky with my first child. When he started reading aloud billboards as we drove along the freeway, I had no idea that doing such things at age three wasn't normal. I'd like to take credit for his insane reading skillz (and I can take credit for the things I did to expose him to reading and words and books), but truly, he just came wired ready to soak it up.
He didn't learn much in kindergarten, as he was already reading at a fourth-grade level. Comprehension, inference, and some other accompanying reading skills weren't quite that high, but he could decode like a pro.
While I was pregnant with him, I was finishing my English degree, and I spent literally hours reading aloud as I paced our apartment so I could finish the assignments and not fall asleep from pregnancy fatigue. He literally heard volum…

WNW: The Appendix Podcast

Cheating, sort of, for Word Nerd Wednesday.
How about Writer Wednesday?

For the next few weeks, I get to be a guest on The Appendix podcast. The regular hosts are some great friends: Robison Wells, Sarah M. Eden, and Marion Jensen.
The first episode is up today, with fellow guests:
Howard Tayler Josi Kilpack Krista Jensen
Listen to us playing a bunch of goofy writer/storytelling games.
(I add cross-dressing to a bad romance story.)
Lots o' fun.
Listen to this week's episode HERE.

WNW: A Higher Brow Alphabet Song

I can't remember where I first saw this clip, but most recently, fellow writer Braden Bell pointed me to it, knowing it was right up my alley.
I'm a huge fan of A Capella groups, which I was introduced to through my cousin John Luthy, the founder and amazing vocal percussionist for Voice Male. (If you go to the site right now, he's the one in the purple shirt on the right.)
BYU's famous Vocal Point group took the alphabet song and gave it a word-nerd twist. In addition to the clip being laugh-out-loud funny, it's a great example of just how wonky and weird English really is.

LDS Writers Blogfest: "Desire"

Last April, I participated in a blogfest that involved several LDS writers, each blogging for a day about one element of our beliefs. (My post is HERE.)
We're doing it again, this time with a slightly different focus; we're blogging about our favorite talks from the recent general conference. With such a great conference this year, picking one favorite was pretty much impossible. I finally had to settle on one of many that made an impact on me.
My choice: "Desire," by Dallin H. Oaks.
(I'll be quoting Elder Oaks a lot, because he says it all so much better than I could.)
To start off, I have to admit that at times I struggle with one vital and important part of mortality and my hopes for eternal life: enduring to the end. At times I get discouraged, wondering if my devoted efforts from ten years ago really mattered. In the end, it's what I'm doing today and tomorrow that will determine my destiny.
That may sound silly, but without going into details, enduring,…

No Excuses

Back in the dark ages when I started writing and seeking publication, writers had to rely on low-tech options like the postal service for submissions and rejections (even getting writers guidelines). Research almost certainly meant hoofing it to a library or bookstore or both.
To figure out the ropes on the whole writing/publishing gig, I subscribed to Writer's Digest. I still do, as it keeps up-to-date on trends and is a great resource for both the beginning and established writer.
I also bought a copy ofWriter's Market, a giant tome that was the Bible of publishing at the time.
Then I learned about The League of Utah Writers and began attending chapter meetings, entering contests, and attending the annual conferences.
That was pretty much it for resources back then.
Fast forward to the age of Dr. Google and the Internet. No longer do you have to spend money on postage to mail a letter (or an entire manuscript) when you can use e-mail. No longer do you have to dig up resources …

WNW: I Want This Book

If you're a true word nerd and already know grammar and punctuation rules, you'll get a huge kick out this book (which I'm dying to buy):

This "Absolutely Phony Guide" is by the folks behind one of my favorite Twitter streams: FakeAPStylebook. If you're on Twitter, follow them. Now. They're brilliantly funny.
The book is filled with fake "rules" and suggestions. One example: “Weapons and the Military: Shoot first, then ask questions about shooting.”
Not so sure about the rules? No problem; just go in with the knowledge that chances are, everything you read is bogus (even if you aren't getting the joke).
Note that the misspellings and typos are totally on purpose. This is my kind of humor book!
Read more about it in The New Yorker. And then buy it HERE from Amazon.