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November 2006 Musings Column


November 2006Musings Column

Verbivores and Logophiles



Call for submissions: I guess we could all contribute to an ocean of woe on the trials of being a writer – lousy pay, back strain, loneliness… In our December issue however, I’ll be looking at what’s positive about being a writer. If you’d like to share a little about what you celebrate as a writer and why, I’d love you to send me a paragraph or two. Be sure to include your name and a link to your website (optional) for publication. Email to before December 1, 2006.




Quote of the Month:

A man who uses a great many words to express his meaning is like a bad
marksman who, instead of aiming a single stone at an object, takes up
a handful and throws at it in hopes he may hit. -Samuel Johnson,
lexicographer (1709-1784)




Are you as in love with words as I am? Do you have a fondness for the “mot juste”, take delight in puns or defiantly state your pedantry? I’m a verbivore and proud of it. In this month’s Musings, I want to share that love of words and some of the places it’s led me.


When I was a primary/elementary school teacher, an oft-repeated activity was to have my students focus on words they enjoyed. David, 7, told me his favourite word was “kitten” because it made him “feel all furry on the inside”. Other memories include being told the date was the “tooth of spring”, that a piece of playground equipment was a “merry-ride-down” and having a balding gentleman described as a “man with the top of his head missing.”


I believe it’s important for us as writers to recapture our childhood ability to play with words. So much of writing is serious, particularly its editing and polishing, we tend to forget the sheer joy of having fun with language.


If your inner child needs a boost, try one of these activities to stimulate fun with writing.


 1. Brainstorm words you love, either alone or with friends.
Some of my favourites are “firkytoodle”
( ), quoz
( ), nutmeg, scintillate,
Brobdignagian ( ). Use three of your words in a drabble (a one hundred word story.)


2. Find yourself a nom-de-plume. Invent one or take the name
of your first pet as your first name and the name of your first street as your last name. Try writing from the perspective of that writer. What sort of writer are you?


3. Invent new words. Here are some of mine: dankle, plog, parlotty, heloking. Invent definitions for your words. Dankle may mean “to dangle someone upside down from a great height”. Plog could be “the amount of sole on a built-up shoe”. Perhaps parlotty means “world-weary”. Use some
of your new words in a short story.
There are many great internet sites for logophiles and verbivores. Here are several of my favourites:

Subscribe and have Anu Garg’s A.Word.A.Day delivered daily to your inbox free. Or you can check out what the site has to offer by visiting.

Worthless Word for the Day is a similar site and also deliverable to your inbox. Very tempting to indulge in reading and linking here.

Free Online Rhyming dictionary

Richard Lederer’s Verbivore site. As he says, “Ours is the only language in which you drive in a parkway and park in a driveway and your nose can run and your feet can smell.”

Here’s a quiz on easily confused words. Do you know the difference? eg "to wait with baited/bated breath", "champing/chomping at the bit"




Have you been to these sites?



New Fiction Market : Heliotrope Ezine


“Short fiction: Due to spacing issues, I simply can’t accept anything over 7,000 words, and we will pay 5 cents a word with a minimum payment set at $55. Again, I’m not going to limit what type of work we are looking for, I’m more interested in your voice than chosen format. If you send fan-fiction…I will kill you! I have received some questions about what I’m looking for, so let me just try to be clear. I like a little bit of everything, and I’m not going to narrow down what we accept because of that. If I don’t love it, it’s not getting bought - that’s it. I have interests in every corner and alley that encompasses Fantasy/Science Fiction/Horror. I’m looking to be amazed, haunted and/or moved! I’m looking for individuality both in style and concepts.”

Online resources for writers of historical fiction.

This is a pitch generator. Type in your novel’s details and it generates a pitch for you.

Ywriter – free novel-building software. It downloaded easily and seems to work fine. Worth a thought.

You’ll find character name generators here.




Don’t miss some great opportunities in our December issue of the Muse Marquee. I’ll be announcing a Musings writing contest with a cash prize that I know you’ll enjoy.


Until next time, write on!



Copyright 2006 by The Muse Marquee. All rights reserved. All authors hold individual ownership & copyrights of any material contributed. No unauthorized usage of any published material within the Muse Marquee unless permission is first granted by copyright owner of said material.