That was, of course, a literary reference. You recognized it as such because you have cultivated your cultural literacy. Writers must cultivate a bumper crop of cultural literacy, and apply it accordingly.
Sitting on Shrimp Until we put ourselves OUT THERE, there will be no results. As writers, we are our own bait, and our readers come when they see us waiting for them. We know they’re there when we feel them bite, and most of the time, it feels so good.
W hen I hear pompous people talk about the purity of the English language, I have to stifle a smirk. American English isn’t pure; it’s a veritable stewpot of thises and thats. It’s a multicolored patchwork crazy quilt of words, phrases, clauses, and expressions most of which were stolen from other languages. American English is a lot like American people in that way.
American English is not pure at all. It’s a fabulous blend of every language on the planet. It’s colorful and majestic and unique. American English rolls with the tides and changes with the seasons. It’s a patchwork quilt. James D. Nicoll put it this way: The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore.
James D. Nicoll owned a popular SF/game store in Canada. When his quotation “caught on,” he had this to say: If I had only known that was going to be my fifteen minutes of fame, I'd have run that sucker through a spell checker and taken more care while writing the surrounding material.
Stealing a lot of words from other languages has its advantages.
She had been forced into prudence in her youth; she learned romance as she grew older – the natural sequence of an unnatural beginning. -- Jane Austen
Don’t limit your writing to things you think other people might approve of. Keep in mind that the person to write for is yourself. Tell the story that you most desperately want to read. ~Susan Isaacs Write about what you know. Write about things you’ve experienced, and remember that we experience things in our heads, too.
Pace yourself. You don’t have to finish the whole thing in one sitting.
If the word you want is “condemn,” be sure to spell it right. Use “condom” only when you mean to. Or for safety’s sake. Actually, “condemn” is a very interesting word, too, if you know its point of origin.
Interjections. Use sparingly, dammit. Hmm…damn…condemn…Nah. Inconceivable. P.S. Profanity and obscenity are NOT the same thing.
Pronouns can be confusing when used in compounds. Just remember this: The pronoun that is correct alone, is still correct when used with another word. I like pizza. Bill and I like pizza. There was enough pizza for me. There was enough pizza for Bill and me. The rule doesn’t change just because Bill was mooching my pizza.
You don’t want to be this guy: " Lincoln was a tall man, much in the way that Andre the Giant was also tall, and with the same sideways heart and thick bones that made Andre the Giant look so much like a giant, and made Lincoln look like a guy who shouldn't have been photographed wearing that tall hat which made him look even taller, kinda like a chef only the wrong color, which for the times of his life, were taller even than if he lived today, in which case the hat wouldn't be a problem because it wouldn't exist, and some think and I might agree that he grew that beard because a little girl told him to because the more of that face that was covered up, the better, and you know it's bad if a little kid can't stand it, and we all know which one was took out by a southerner with three names, just like the guy who blew Teddy Kennedy's brain to pieces in the middle of the parade, and which one was killed by a crazy actor leaping from the stage onto the balcony to climax the scene with something not exactly in the script but which would read DEATH all in red caps if it was, and Andre the Giant has a small and dainty wife which must have made their personal lifes interesting to say the least, and Lincoln's wife was a spendthrift nutter, but at least Andrew the Giant got to drop dead naturally instead of be took out by ham actors with guns or book salesmen, but the Morphine Syndrome which made them both so tall and thickboned also caused their death before their old age began, and pretty much ended both the Civil War and any chance of a Princess Bride sequel."
…or this guy…. "After watching the movie sos I could really get it, and reading the book, although in all sincerness it was the Classic Junior Comic of my youth, which I cherish, not the novelle since I haven't got all day to bake a cake with you, (sorry, my parental rights come before a book because being a good example is more important than being seen reading or watching a non-barney substance for my own benefit or pleasure or a good grade) I have concluded that being a comic and thereofe much shorter than a book with hard covers still gives no rights for leaving out important people who have a part in the story, such as the girl with short hair who could shoot, and Moochie. I find follity logic in this paper version because it left out so much that was in the movie! I think in my opinion since the question begged me that the tree house was the best part of the story, and I would love to have one, for I would make my bed in the tower and paint the walls green but have real plumbing with shower and high speed internet in it. I find the book version lacking for it left out the treehouse and the girl and that Tarzan game they played by the waterfalls. Also, many of the words were long and hard to understand, since I was ever in a hurry that week and coulndt' stop to use the dictionary all the time like usual when I read the paper, for example, or the instructions on the back of No- Bake Cheesecake by Jello. I also wondered things like where the hell are all the pirates? To answer the question in only a few words I would have to say, the movie was better because it had them riding ostriches and rolling logs down a hill to crush people, where in the book there was nothing cool like that."
Writing about comparisons is often useful, though. Well, usually.
Do not be surprised when those who ignore the rules of grammar also ignore the law. After all, the law is just so much grammar. ~Robert Brault
“20 items or less,” indeed. “Less” is used when the items cannot be easily counted. If the items can be easily counted, the proper word is “fewer.” Sally ate less at breakfast than at lunch. Sally ate fewer meals with her new diet. Please alert your local WalMart, as their sign really annoys people who know how to use the English language. Then again, it also shows the local population who can read & count and who can’t – a little IQ test, if you will.
Use “I” if the pronoun is the subject, or if it follows a linking verb. When in doubt, use the pronoun alone. The rule doesn’t change just because you might be dealing with a compound.
The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shock-proof shit detector. ---Ernest Hemingway
Things you write can come back to haunt you. Think before you post.
If you’re going to worry, worry about the right things. Change the wrong things.
Some critics will write “Maya Angelou is a natural writer” - which is right after being a natural heart surgeon. -- Maya Angelou
There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you. ~ Maya Angelou
Write about funny things. Write about sad things. Write about things that have happened to you, or to someone you know. Write about deadly serious things. Write about things so other people will know what to do in similar circumstances. Tell us. Tell.
The beautiful part of writing is that you don’t have to get it right the first time, unlike, say, a brain surgeon. ~Robert Cormier
The power of the harasser, the abuser, the rapist depends above all on the silence of women.—Ursula LeGuin Speak out. Act. Write it up.
Be the brave one, not the needy one. Write your own story.
Authors who never give you something to disagree with never give you anything to think about. -- Michael LaRocca Don’t be afraid to make a reader angry. You’re doing him a favor if you do. Never fear controversy. Embrace it. It makes us think.
What immeasurable wonders are experienced and understood by a reader that a non-reader can’t even imagine, for if he could imagine it, he’d be a reader, too.
Reading enhances the soul, the mind, the body, the emotions....
Nonreaders have only one world in which to dwell; readers live in the universe - not just ours, but all of them. And, living there, they have much to say to each other which a nonreader can’t begin to comprehend.
Readers appreciate the world more because they have seen what it is, what it has been, and what it could be.
Readers have more words and more experiences to connect to the world.
Who among us does NOT work for the circus? Really? Liar.
I think that in order to write really well and convincingly, one must be somewhat poisoned by emotion. -- Edna Ferber
Remove those ' I want you to like me ' stickers from your forehead and, instead, place them where they truly will do the most good -- on your mirror ! ~ Susan Jeffers
Possessives: If the word does not end in “s,” add ‘s. If the word already ends in “s,” add an apostrophe after it.
Excellent writing can be found in unexpected places.
Inexcusable mistakes can be found in unexpected places, too.
People want to know why I do this, why I write such gross stuff. I like to tell them I have the heart of a small boy... and I keep it in a jar on my desk. -- Stephen King
Put your ear down close to your soul and listen hard. --Anne Sexton
It makes little difference how many university degrees or courses a person may own. If he cannot use words to move an idea from one point to another, his education is incomplete. --- Norman Cousins
The gentleman below (with my daughters) is Barrett Hansen, but you probably know him better by another name. Because of him, hundreds of writers have found success. There are all kinds of writers, and to encourage them is a noble, if occasionally “demented,” profession.
Laugh. Cry. Sing. Dance. Love. Hate. And tell the world about it all.
If your dog LOOSES its collar, it will probably LOSE it. You don’t loose your keys. You lose your keys. This little spelling glitch makes you look like a tool. Just to let you know.
Never put an “s” at the end of “anyway.” Never spell it “neway.” Never. Never. Never.
If the sign says “No checks excepted,” they have to take your check.
The rewrite is often far superior to the original.
You don’t dot your i’s with little hearts any more. (I hope.) Don’t use cutesy code when you write; it’s hard to take an adult seriously if she is still writing as a pre-teen would write. ( OMG, the old broad’s not serious, LOL!) She’s serious.
In math, two negatives equal a positive. The same is true in English grammar. “I don’t want nothing” actually means “I do want something.” “I don’t hardly see your point” actually means “I see your point, plain as day.” Use one negative at a time or you’ll find yourself saying the opposite of what you meant to say.
Our worst experiences can be our best experiences. When we’ve been through hell, writing about it can help others avoid it. Tempered steel and vulcanized rubber are tough – strong, and capable of withstanding tremendous pressure. They get that way by going through fire.
Writing is only boring to the people who are, themselves, boring.
It ' s tougher than Himalayan yak jerky in January. But, as any creative person will tell you, there are days when there ' s absolutely nothing sweeter than creating something from nothing. -- Richard Krzemien
When we were children, we used to think that when we were grown-up we would no longer be vulnerable. But to grow up is to accept vulnerability.... To be alive is to be vulnerable. -- Madeline L’Engle Write on. An Interlude, by William Sergeant Kendall, 1907