The real message from Angelina Jolie….

angelina jolie

Reading time: Less than 2 minutes Most of the news relating to Angelina Jolie and her recent surgery announcement focus, as they should, on Jolie's health and bravery. But I think there's another part to the story as well... A deep, murky well of cancer runs through my family. Both my grandmothers, who died well before I was born, faced breast cancer. Two maternal aunts also had the disea... Read More

The sun…a scoop of butter oozing…

hannah kent

Reading time: Less than 1 minute I like to share interesting pieces of figurative language I encounter in my reading. I write today about a metaphor from Hannah Kent.... The fine book Burial Rites by Hannah Kent (pictured above) is being turned into a movie starring Jennifer Lawrence. I hope this will bring the Icelandic historical novel the publicity it richly deserves. Based on the t... Read More

What’s a hurdy-gurdy?

hurdy gurdy

Reading time: Less than 1 minute Increase your vocabulary and you’ll make your writing much more precise. That's why I provide a word of the week. Today's word: hurdy gurdy.  Of course, I know what a hurdy-gurdy is. It's a stringed instrument (pictured above) that produces sound by a crank-turned wheel rubbing against strings. You can think of it as a bit like a cross between a violin a... Read More

How to write for a bad, hard-to-please boss

how to write for a bad boss

Reading time: Just over 3 minutes In the 25 years I spent as a wage slave (an employee, rather than a contractor) I had exactly ONE good supervisor. But I learned plenty about how to write for a bad boss.... I was standing in the middle of the newsroom — an open-area office with about 115 people — having a disagreement with my boss. He started to yell: “How dare you question my judg... Read More

Make reading a daily habit…

Melinda Osteen

Reading time: Less than 1 minute This is my weekly installment of "writing about writing," in which I scan the world to find websites, books and articles to help other writers. Today I discuss an article written by Melinda Osteen... A headline like How To Think and Write Creatively was bound to get my attention. And while the ideas listed in this piece — which appeared on Nick Thacker's W... Read More

Do you uptalk?

uptalk

Reading time: Less than 1 minute Some people call it high rising terminal. But I call it uptalk. And I avoid it.... I have an important question for you: Do you uptalk? What I mean is: do you end every statement sounding as though you've just asked a question? If you don't know what uptalk is, have a look at this very funny video with actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Jimmy Kimmel. Teens... Read More

The blade of this departure…

Joseph Kertes

Reading time: Less than 1 minute I like to share interesting pieces of figurative language I encounter in my reading. I write today about a metaphor from Joseph Kertes. I remember many departures in my life. My two best friends leaving for Europe after high school graduation, while I was off to university. A boyfriend leaving me. Visiting a close friend in Quebec City, where she'd moved, a... Read More

What’s a chimera?

chimera

Reading time: Less than 2 minutes Increase your vocabulary and you’ll make your writing much more precise. That's why I provide a word of the week. Today's word: chimera. I'd never read anything written by British novelist Sebastian Faulks (pictured above), despite multiple urgings from my husband to give the book Birdsong a try. I tend not to like war stories, so I haven't braved that o... Read More

How to write your book

how to write your book

Reading time: Just over 5 minutes You have a book in you. I know you do! Here’s how to get it out of your head and down on paper. Here's how to write your book… There are many ways to do anything and I don’t delude myself that I offer the only feasible plan for writing a book. Just as there are different ways to train for a marathon, plan for a new product release or cook a meal, there... Read More

Learning the origins of idioms…

idioms

Reading time: Less than 1 minute This is my weekly installment of "writing about writing," in which I scan the world to find websites, books and articles to help other writers. Today I discuss a post on idioms from the blog Grammarly.... An idiom is a phrase with a meaning not deducible from the individual words. Here are some examples: Does the cat have your tongue? It's raining cats and d... Read More