National Dictionary Day

National Dictionary Day is observed annually on October 16.

National Dictionary Day was created in honor of Noah Webster’s birthday (October 16, 1758) and was set aside as a day to emphasize the importance of learning and using dictionary skills and increasing one’s vocabulary.  Webster is considered the “Father of the American Dictionary”. 

Source: National Day Calendar

Your Monster in Your Haunted House

happy-halloweenCreate your own haunted house.

Plan the layout, the type of rooms, the design and colours. Write about the street appeal and what people see, hear, smell and sense from out on the street.

Then, create the monster living in the house, the surprise in the centre of the maze of rooms and storytelling. What happened to create this monster and what will happen in the future? Do things get better or worse for your monster in your haunted house?

Art from: ASCII Artist.com

Be a Goal Digger

Goal digger – There’s something I wish I had thought of myself. I found it on an old blog post, on another site.

How can you be a better goal digger?

We make goals for ourselves and then we either meet them successfully or we don’t. Improve your success rate by actually digging in. Put work, hard work, into getting your goals but – make sure the goal is going to work for you. I don’t mean you should pick something easy or simple and give yourself loads of time. If the goal is too easy you won’t feel you really accomplished something to be happy and proud for yourself.

Are you putting in as much effort as if you were digging for gold, or a gold digger?

 

Book Clubs in Coffee Shops

I found a site asking Starbucks to add reading clubs/ books to their coffee shops. I think this is backwards. The book sellers need to bring in coffee, not the other way around. Coffee shops don’t have enough seating to really want a group of people hanging around and taking up space.

Smarter for a retail book seller to provide the coffee, books and space. Why don’t they evolve a room for public events? Make it cosy and enclose it (with glass doors to keep out sound but leave everyone a view). The store could promote the local book clubs. Offer members a discount on whatever the upcoming book is (and make sure they have it in stock ahead of time too).

The big chain book stores here (in Ontario) do have a coffee shop attached to them, a Starbucks. But, they don’t go the extra step of giving it a local group appeal. There isn’t enough seating and people are discouraged about shopping between the stores, due to theft, vandalism and accidents.

What do you think?

Sell Your Writing on Etsy

Self publishing lets writers choose what they want to publish and… the format they will use. Most often the format is digital now. But… consider going back to print. You can print publish your own content without a big name publisher, or a literary agent. Self publish your own zine and distribute it online through Etsy (or other online stores like it).

I was surprised at how many zines are being distributed through Etsy, in particular. Most are sent as do-it-yourself publications, on paper and mailed out to buyers. However, there is the option of selling a digital copy which people buy and then print themselves. There are pluses and minuses for both. A digital copy is easier to distribute, no mail service involved. But, the print copy gives the writer options. A print publication can be mailed out with extras. I’ve seen publishers make their own stickers and buttons. You could also create calendars for yearly subscribers. There are a lot of extras you could do with your own print publication.

It’s a new (retro) way of self publishing.

teamzineLink: Team Zine – Etsy Teams

Poetic Descriptions Save Space

I’ve noticed a lack of descriptions in print published fiction lately. Maybe they are already trying to write the screen/ script version of their story and expect descriptions of places and people will be covered by the set designers, costume designers and so on. The lack of descriptions is disappointing. Yet, it fits with the disposable, temporary and fast fry sort of culture we have these days.

I can remember reading descriptions I sank into, as a fiction reader. Descriptions which bloomed into an entire story, not just the background or setting for the events taking place. Characters who really had character rather than fast paced, smart-mouthed dialogue.

So, when I read this post about flash fiction I did not expect to see poetic descriptions encouraged. But, I was very glad to read it and pass along the advice.

A good, poetic description is not wordy. It’s wordful – think mindfulness for words.

Poetic Descriptions Save Space

Poetic skill is a great tool to have in your arsenal. With it, you can capture memorable moments in a few words, while simultaneously conveying deeper levels of meaning. The English language is filled with nuances and subtleties that even the best poet can’t get a handle on. Take a chance and write some poetry in your pieces.

Source: Flash Novels: The Future of Fantasy Fiction?

Write a great description. Pick something ordinary or fantastical and see if you can find the words, while avoiding long sentence length.

Donate Your Books to Prisons (in Canada)

Canadian resources/ organizations which send books (fiction and non-fiction in good condition, no hardcovers) to prisons/ inmates in Canada.

You can find out more from the post on PEN Canada – Prisoners’ Right to Read. There is also a mailing label you can print out to go along with any  books you send. Note – books can not be sent directly to an inmate, but publishers, libraries and organizations (see above) can do so.

Of course you can’t send any book, on any topic or anything which describes criminal activity. However, you can send books which will help inmates learn (or improve) their reading skills. You can also send non-fiction. Think about all those gardening, cooking, history and science books which you haven’t looked at in years.

Catalogue Your Books

This doesn’t really help me because I know I am not going to spend all that time digitally scanning my books or listing them on a web site (especially a secondary site which could disappear without notice).

I do agree with most of the reasons for cataloguing your books. I get annoyed with myself each time I realize I have two (three even in a couple of cases) copies of the same book.

Also, I did have a water tank burst and ruin a lot of books I had kept in the basement. Luckily the water left enough behind for me to estimate a value for the insurance. (But it doesn’t really replace the books and I spent the money on something else rather than looking to replace the damaged/ ruined books I had to throw out).

For me the smartest thing  would really be eliminating a lot of the books I am keeping (hoarding) on my shelves.

I don’t keep non-fiction books once I have read them. That small decision, several years ago, helped me lose a lot of clutter.

Having your library accessible in an app or doc means never forgetting what you already own and never purchasing unwanted duplicates.

If you ever lose the library due to fire, flood, or other disaster you can use the list to rebuild your collection and (depending on your insurance) possibly recuperate some of the money lost.

Share the list with your family/friends and they’ll never buy you a book you already own.

Track where/when you bought the book, and help preserve memories associated with the purchase.

STATS. Do you own more books by men or women; more sci-fi or historical; short story collections or novels; Americans or Brits? Inventory your entire library and find out.

Source: 8 Reasons to Catalog Your Books (and How to Do It)

Words You Didn’t Know Had Opposites

A chance to learn some new words. I like the opposite of deja vu, jamais vu. When would you ever use it in conversation? But, it is interesting to know.

What’s the opposite of disgruntled? Chances are you’re thinking the answer should rightly be gruntled—but is that really a word you recognize? The problem here is that disgruntled, alongside the likes of uncouth, disheveled, distraught, inert, and intrepid, is an example of an unpaired word, namely one that looks like it should have an apparently straightforward opposite, but in practice really doesn’t.
Words like these tend to come about either when a prefixed or suffixed form of a word is adopted into the language while its root is not, or when the inflected or affixed form of a word survives, while its uninflected root form falls out of use. This was the case with disgruntled, which derives from an ancient Middle English word, gruntel, meaning “to grumble” or “complain,” which has long since fallen from use—although the gap left by disgruntled has led some dictionaries to list gruntled as a modern-day back-formation.

2. ANONYMOUS
Anonymous literally means “without a name.” Its opposite is onymous, which is typically used to refer to books, legal papers, artworks, musical compositions, and similar documents the authorship of which is known without doubt.
3. AUTOMATON
If an automaton is a machine capable of moving itself, then the opposite is called a heteromaton—a device that relies solely on external forces for movement.
4. CATASTROPHE
If a catastrophe is a sudden, unpredictable, and devastating event, then an equally sudden or unexpected event of sheer joy or good fortune is a eucatastrophe. This term was coined by Lord of the Rings author JRR Tolkien in 1944, who originally used it to describe a sudden or fortuitous event in the plot of a story that turns around the protagonist’s chances or prospects, and brings about the resolution of the narrative.
5. DÉJÀ VU
Over the years, psychologists have identified a number of different phenomena similar to déjà vu (literally “already seen” in French). Among them is presque vu (“almost seen”), the tip-of-the-tongue feeling that you’re about to remember something you’ve forgotten; déjà vécu (“already experienced”), a particularly intense form of déjà vu that makes it almost impossible to discern the present from the past; and déjà visité (“already visited”), which describes a person’s surprising foreknowledge of a place they’ve never actually been to before—like unthinkingly knowing your way around a foreign town or city while on holiday. The opposite of déjà vu, however, is usually said to be jamais vu (“never seen”): so if déjà vu describes the eerie sensation that something new has actually taken place before, in the case of jamais vu a person believes that a situation that is actually very familiar and has happened before is entirely new.
7. EUPHEMISM
If a euphemism involves the use of a politer word or phrase in place of a more distasteful or objectionable one, a dysphemism is the deliberate use of an impolite or unpleasant term in place of a perfectly inoffensive one. Dysphemism is often used for rhetorical effect, in order to shock or shake up an audience, or simply for comic effect.
10. POSTPONE
To bring a date forward in time rather than postponing it is to prepone it.

See the full list at the source: 11 Words and Phrases You Didn’t Know Had Opposites | Mental Floss