Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Summer Days Driftin' Away












By Ronda Simmons










I recently attended a performance of the musical Grease at the Midtown Arts Center. If you don't know the story, it's about two teenagers who had a sweet summer romance at the beach only to find that their lives don't mesh so well once school starts.

It sort of reminds me of my writing career.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

The Importance of Being “Earnest”


Photo credit: Ben Russell
by Laura Mahal


Writers intuitively understand that words are not just important, but absolutely critical. 


We compose multiple drafts to get our work where it ought to be. Yet this isn’t a philosophy everyone shares. Some people prefer to “speak from the heart” with a raw earnestness that’s appealing to certain individuals and offensive to others. 

We generally think of “earnest” as an adjective:










But it can also be used as a noun:








I like studying language and tend to pay attention to both what's said and what's implied. Upon a recent visit to England and Ireland, I had the opportunity to learn several new words, along with amended interpretations of familiar terms. 

I'll confess: I'm as likely to make inadvertent mistakes as the next person, because I'm outgoing and engage total strangers in conversation. Generally, this goes well. Occasionally, it doesn't. 

I made a Londoner laugh, though he was kind enough to restrain a full guffaw, when I mentioned I would change into dressier pants before dinner.  What I meant, of course, were my trousers, but in England, “pants” refers to underpants. 

In Ireland, a young man taught me that when something is “grand,” it’s okay. Not bad. Not great. If I want to say: “I’ve had a grand [=great] time,” I should substitute in “craic” [pronounced crack].



A typical Irish phrase: “Having the craic” = having a good time. 


The Oxford English Dictionary includes roughly 300 words that originated in Ireland. One of these is grá, or love. This noun takes an object, so a love of something. Writers have a grá of language. We hold words close, like lovers.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Learning to create compelling characters at summer camp

By Eleanor Shelton

Recently, I read an article by Heather Abel about how summer camp gave her permission to lie.

Summer camp is often the first place where we children go where we’re with other kids who don’t know us, don’t know our parents, our friends, our reputations. I was sent to camp -- to a far away, eight-week, fairly exclusive, music camp where my parents were able to get me accepted by telling the admin people that I had great musical potential. 


It may have been that or the big check my grandmother wrote.

Better Writing Through Blackmail



By David E. Sharp














Toward the end of my Sophomore year in high school, I had a breakthrough in my writing pursuits.


It was the same year I completed one of the most challenging math classes I'd ever known. (Or ever would know!) The course was honors level Algebra II. My classmates and I were Guinea pigs for an experimental initiative that was supposed to make the math easier to grasp.




Thursday, July 19, 2018

Don't Annoy a Writer in the Airport



By Ronda Simmons



One of the greatest things about being a writer is revenge. You know what I’m talking about. That annoying in-law, that crabby neighbor, those mean girls from junior high. They tremble in fear that they may have angered The Writer and may someday find themselves dead. In a story. As a thinly or thickly disguised character.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

What Are You Reading?




By The Writing Bug Staff




JC



At a recent gathering of writers, our TBR piles popped up in conversation. Of course, it did, we're all addicts. Some of the titles bandied about were unfamiliar to me. Approximately, 400 thousand books were published in the U.S. last year. Yes, that's the U.S. only. 

Holy Kittenbritches!

I know many of us, okay, maybe only me, set some time aside in the summer to read. It is a thing we should be doing as writers. Everyone says so.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Writing IS Work







By Jason Meadors 












Work involves tools. Carpenters have hammers, truck drivers have big Macks. Field athletes have balls. Writers? Our tools are words.

Tools aren’t used most effectively the first time up. A master carpenter swinging that hammer so effortlessly and effectively wasn’t like that on the first day. Mastery of the craft came about through constant repetition, by building muscle memory, until driving nails became as natural as breathing or eating or – well, let’s leave it there.



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