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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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
and throws at it in hopes he may hit. -Samuel Johnson,
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
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.
Brainstorm words you love, either alone or with friends.
Some of my favourites are “firkytoodle”
(http://www.answers.com/topic/firkytoodle ), quoz
(http://www.answers.com/topic/quoz ), nutmeg, scintillate,
Brobdignagian (http://dict.die.net/brobdignagian/ ). Use three of your words in a drabble (a one hundred word story.)
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?
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 There are many great internet sites for logophiles and verbivores. Here are several of
of your new words in a short story.
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
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
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
Until next time, write on!
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unless permission is first granted by copyright owner of said material.