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Sitting on Scheiss Weekly:

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1 Sitting on Shrimp

2 @Mamacita Scheiss Weekly: http://janegoodwin.net


4 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.


6 It’s all about making connections. The more you already know, the more you continually learn.

7 Your audience is your context. Be sure your readers understand where you’re coming from. And vice versa. State your genre. Write about what you know, or imagine.

8 Be sure you are addressing the right audience. Context. It all boils down to context.


10 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.


12 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.

13 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.

14 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.

15 Stealing a lot of words from other languages has its advantages.

16 We have all THEIR words to use, too!

17 The more words you know, the better you can communicate with others.

18 Keep books in your bathroom. Learn a new word with each twosie.

19 Writers need schema. Lots and lots of schema. The Most Dangerous Game, by Richard Connell. Unless you’ve read it, you won’t get it. Schema. Writers need schema. SCHEMA.

20 You have a story to tell that nobody else in the universe knows. Don’t die with your story untold.

21 Tell your story as YOU see it.




25 Laura Ingalls Wilder didn’t start writing her “Little House” books until she was in her sixties.

26 Grammar and spelling are important! Don’t allow your message to the world to be lost because your mechanics aren’t good!






32 Their There They’re NOT THE SAME.

33 To Too Two NOT THE SAME



36 A single simple punctuation mark can change your message completely.



39 I bet you thought you knew all the punctuation marks. This one means “because.” Raise your hand if you knew that.

40 I’m angry with Bob he drank the last Diet Coke.



43 This is an exclamation comma. Just because you’re excited, or shouting, doesn’t mean your sentence is finished. Necessarily.

44 You told your mother what I said about her and now her feelings are hurt.

45 This is a question comma. Sometimes we pause and ask a question in the middle of a statement.

46 Are you insane and now we have yet another bill to pay each month.

47 Editors use the pilcrow, or paragraph break, all the time.

48 SNARK This is the snark mark – not to be confused with the Dark Mark. It is also called the percontation mark, or irony mark. It indicates that one needs to read between the lines.

49 Lewis Carroll’s fiction is full of snark.

50 This is a hedera. The hedera, like the pilcrow, indicates a paragraph break.




54 Pronouns need antecedents. Be sure yours match.

55 Count your change.

56 Egg’s That’s a lot of eggs.



59 Your mind will expand. Your worlds will collide. Your connections will astound you. The more you write, the more you discover about yourself and everything else.


61 Every part of your life is a story. Tell us.


63 Don’t let anyone tell you that it can’t be done. It can, and you can do it.


65 Why do writers write? Because it isn’t there. --- Thomas Berger


67 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

68 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.

69 Pace yourself. You don’t have to finish the whole thing in one sitting.

70 Learn lots of cool words.

71 And at last you'll know with surpassing certainty that only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth. And that is not speaking. - Audre Lorde Speak.

72 These are my children. Tell us about yours.

73 Parents love to write about their children, and, as Art Linkletter used to say, “Kids say the darndest things!” This is one reason why Mommy and Daddy bloggers are so widespread and popular.

74 We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospection. Anais Nin

75 Knowing the rules of grammar will help you develop STYLE. Rules can be taught and learned. Style is up to you, the writer, but if you know the rules, your style will be all the better for it.




79 Do you know what the most commonly used opening sentence is? It’s common. Don’t use it. It’s already been used. Here it is:


81 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.

82 Interjections. Use sparingly, dammit. Hmm…damn…condemn…Nah. Inconceivable. P.S. Profanity and obscenity are NOT the same thing.

83 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.


85 “Just between you and me” Is always correct. It is NEVER “Just between you and I.” Never. Ever. Carved in stone. It’s a prepositional phrase. They use objective forms.

86 Those who say it can't be done are usually interrupted by others doing it. James A. Baldwin James A. Baldwin

87 Don’t be scared. You can do it.


89 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."

90 …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."

91 Writing about comparisons is often useful, though. Well, usually.

92 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

93 “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.

94 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.

95 The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shock-proof shit detector. ---Ernest Hemingway

96 Things you write can come back to haunt you. Think before you post.

97 If you’re going to worry, worry about the right things. Change the wrong things.

98 Some critics will write “Maya Angelou is a natural writer” - which is right after being a natural heart surgeon. -- Maya Angelou

99 There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you. ~ Maya Angelou

100 Yes. Yes, we can.

101 Marie Antoinette never said “Let them eat cake.” She was misquoted. Be careful with your citations; you don’t want to be misquoted, either. Of course, there’s no sense losing your head over it.



104 Be sure your graphics match your message. The wrong graphic might invalidate your argument.


106 Duckface was stupid at the turn of the 20 th century, too.

107 Write about your pleasures.

108 Write about your job.

109 Write about other people’s children.

110 Write about funny signs you see in your area.

111 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.

112 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

113 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.

114 Be the brave one, not the needy one. Write your own story.

115 Choose your words wisely.


117 Let the secret of your success be YOU.

118 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.


120 Be careful what you write down. Be sure you really want to write it. You are carving in stone. Is this how you want people to perceive you?

121 All creative people are a little crazy. Nurture it. It’s what makes us unique. It’s also what gives us blog fodder.

122 TELL US ABOUT IT. Do you do ordinary things in an unusual way?

123 ... and write about both.

124 Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body. ~Joseph Addison

125 Readers will always be better writers.

126 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.

127 Reading enhances the soul, the mind, the body, the emotions....

128 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.

129 Readers appreciate the world more because they have seen what it is, what it has been, and what it could be.

130 Readers have more words and more experiences to connect to the world.

131 Readers understand the world more clearly.



134 A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song. -- Maya Angelou

135 You have a song, too. Sing.




139 Who among us does NOT work for the circus? Really? Liar.

140 I think that in order to write really well and convincingly, one must be somewhat poisoned by emotion. -- Edna Ferber

141 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

142 Possessives: If the word does not end in “s,” add ‘s. If the word already ends in “s,” add an apostrophe after it.

143 Excellent writing can be found in unexpected places.

144 Inexcusable mistakes can be found in unexpected places, too.

145 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

146 Put your ear down close to your soul and listen hard. --Anne Sexton

147 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

148 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.

149 Laugh. Cry. Sing. Dance. Love. Hate. And tell the world about it all.

150 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.

151 Never put an “s” at the end of “anyway.” Never spell it “neway.” Never. Never. Never.

152 If the sign says “No checks excepted,” they have to take your check.

153 The rewrite is often far superior to the original.

154 Cell phone: OK ANYWHERE ELSE: Verboten


156 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.

157 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.

158 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.


160 Apollo and the Muses In ancient times, women were in charge of all things artistic and creative. Without women, we would have no “music,” “museums,” or “amusements.” Or any more men.

161 P.S. Now you know where a really cool band got its name: from creative women.

162 We are a species that needs and wants to understand who we are. Sheep lice do not seem to share this longing, which is one reason why they write so little. --Anne Lamott


164 Writing is only boring to the people who are, themselves, boring.

165 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


167 The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug. -- Mark Twain

168 I saved this one for last. It’s an interrobang. The interrobang is the punctuational equivalent of awesome, glorious, holy cow, fantastic, and WTFOMG.

169 One more time: Let’s groove on the weirdo punctuation marks!

170 Writing is not a genteel profession. It's quite nasty and tough and kind of dirty. -- Rosemary Mahoney

171 There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein. --- Red Smith

172 Write about your life. Tell us how it was. And is.

173 So, you don’t think you can write? I beg to differ. I’ve seen pigs fly before.



176 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




180 P.S. Beware of advice -- even this. ~Carl Sandburg

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