|November is National Novel Writing Month!
Here's a twist on marathons, 10K races, and three-day walks
for charities. The "distance?" 50,000 words. The beneficiary? YOU.
If you've always wanted to write a novel, but lacked the time and
motivation, here's your chance. All you have to do is "commit" to
the challenge by signing up on NaNoWriMo (www.nanowrimo.org).
Starting November 1st, you write your heart out for 30 days. The key
is quantity, not quality. In 50,000 unedited words, I guarantee
you'll have a lot of sh#t. But within that excrement you'll also
have some wonderful prose, the foundation for a novel, and possibly
the desire to continue.
NaNoWriMo is in its sixth year. It had 21 participants in year
one, and the NaNoWriMo people expect 40,000 this year. For those of
you who don't know me, I've been working on a "novel" idea for
several years. It's taken various shapes with the exception of one:
a manuscript. I'm a deadline-oriented person, and I'm hoping
NaNoWriMo's strict deadline works for me. I'll give you a full
report in December.
NaNoWriMo's site: www.nanowrimo.org.
It's easy to look at a long list of commonly confused words
and go, "Oh yeah, NOW I understand." But how many of us end up
making the same mistakes since our minds can't remember every
word on the list? Trust me -- you're not alone. Because of
this, I'll occasionally devote a newsletter to five commonly
confused or misused words -- just enough for our brains to
handle. Diana Hacker's "A Writer's Reference" is a good source
for commonly misused words (some of them are below).
1. Affect and Effect|
||Affect is usually a verb meaning "to influence." For
example, "His mood swings affect our marriage." Effect is
usually a noun meaning "result." For example, "His mood swings
have a negative effect on our marriage." Effect can also be a
verb meaning, "to bring about or accomplish." For example,
"His mood swings can effect a dramatic change in our
2. Your and You're / Its and It's|
||The word "your" is a possessive pronoun. The word
"you're" is a contraction for "you are." You're the sunshine
of my life. Your face is like sunshine to my soul. Same
concept for "its" and "it's." It's getting colder. The weather
has its own plans.
3. "A variety of" versus "myriad"|
||Clear writing often involves concise writing. If you
can lose words without losing meaning, do it. The word
"myriad" can replace "a variety of" -- they both mean "many."
The difference is one uses three words while the other
accomplishes the same task using one word. For example, "We
have a variety of honeymoon options." Or, "We have myriad
honeymoon options." Do NOT say, "We have a myriad of honeymoon
4. "Utilize" versus "Use"|
||Why make your writers' brains work so hard? Utilize is
three syllables. Use is one. They both mean the same thing.
Use "use," not "utilize." Remember the rule of KISS: Keep It
5. "A lot" is two words.|
||Don't write them as one word, even casually.