Nov 08 2012

Word of the Day – Catawampus and Argufy

Posted by Mathias

cat·a·wam·pus
[kat-uh-wom-puhs] Show IPA Chiefly Midland and Southern U.S.

adjective
1. askew; awry.

2. positioned diagonally; cater-cornered. (more…)

Nov 05 2012

The TARDIS Principle for Writing

Posted by Mathias

One thing that I dislike, but that seems to be rampant in the genres of fantasy and science-fiction, is over description.  Unless it is necessary, don’t tell me what color the tiles of the castle’s roof is.  If it’s Autumn, a short description of the color of the leaves is good, but a long, multi-paragraph description of all sorts of minutia that tells me it is Autumn is overkill.  Yes, occasional delving into literary prose is fine.  But fantasy and science-fiction authors do way, way, way too much of it at times in my humble opinion.

Those of us who read these sorts of stories do have imaginations after all.  Let us use them.  We can easily envision what the countryside our heroic knight is traveling through might look like.  So, again, unless it is necessary to the story, there is no need to go into great detail.  Besides, as I have already learned, great detail can lead to great problems with continuity.  The more detail you put in, the more you had better make sure that you remember it later on when you write the next scene where that detail comes up. (more…)

Oct 19 2012

Today’s Words Of The Day: Motte and Bailey & Quay

Posted by Mathias

motte and bailey
noun
: a medieval Norman castle consisting of two connecting ditched stockaded mounds with the higher mound surmounted by the keep and the lower one containing barracks and other buildings (more…)

Oct 14 2012

Warning: Readers Have Comfort Zones

Posted by Mathias

Writers sometimes get a little too crazy.  One thing we often do is try to show how smart we are by using what are known as ten dollar words.  I call it the Plethora Rule.  What is the Plethora Rule?  It is best described from the scene that made me realize long ago that fancy words are not always good.  Here is that scene from ¡Three Amigos! that introduced 90% of people who know what plethora means to the word:

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Oct 12 2012

Today’s Words Of The Day – Asperse and Kerf

Posted by Mathias

as·perse
transitive verb \ə-ˈspərs, a-\
as·persedas·pers·ing

1: sprinkle; especially: to sprinkle with holy water

2: to attack with evil reports or false or injurious charges (more…)

Oct 08 2012

Words of the day – Ullage and Edacity

Posted by Mathias

ullage
noun \ˈə-lij\

the amount that a container (as a tank or cask) lacks of being full (more…)

Oct 04 2012

The Price Of The Unnecessary Character

Posted by Mathias

I learned an important lesson the other day. Unimportant characters equals lots of unneeded words.

During live read edits for Under the Darkened Moon, I felt as though one character, introduced for just one scene, was unnecessary. Sure, he served a purpose. Sure he furthered the plot. Sure he got my main character from point A to point B. (more…)

Sep 24 2012

Why I Post “Words Of The Day”

Posted by Mathias

Some people have asked me why I post “words of the day” entries on this site. Especially words that seem to give your spellchecker fits as it marks them with annoying red underlines.

Examples:
Words of the day: sclaff & lassitude
Words of the Day: kishke & hawse (more…)

Sep 19 2012

Words Of The Day – Sclaff & Lassitude

Posted by Mathias

sclaff intransitive verb \ˈsklaf\

Definition of SCLAFF

: to scrape the ground instead of hitting the ball cleanly on a golf stroke

— sclaff noun

— sclaff·er noun
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Sep 17 2012

Misconceptions About Action

Posted by Mathias

Writers know about the concept of “rising action”. At least, they better. It’s one of the fundimental building blocks of stroy telling. You build from your opening scene to a climax and then wind down with a resolution in the end. The problem is that too many people seem to not understand what action actually is. If you don’t, you can get into a lot of trouble.

A while back, I wrote an ariticle titled X + Y *C Does Not Equal A Good Story. I talked about a very unsuccessful author friend of mine who claimed to have the secret formula to writing hit novels. The fact that his two published novels have sold a grand total of just over 200 copies should tell you how surefire this formula is.

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