Friday, November 14, 2008

Blog Chain - Writerly Gems...Share the Wealth

All right all…time again for the Blog Chain Gang. Our awesome Carolyn started and wrapped up the last chain, so head over there if you misssed it. This time (let me apologize in advance) it is my turn to pick the topic.

You know, when I am having a bad rejection streak, suffering from the ever-lurking writer’s block, or maybe just having a general bad day, I love to log onto RallyStorm or crack open one of my “writer” books and read the funny stories and quotes from other writers who have been, or are, exactly where I am. It is heartening to know that there are others like me in the world, and reading their often humorous words of wisdom always brightens my day.

I did actually have several other topics in mind, that were a little more deep, required a bit more thought….but I am at the tail end of a move, I’m sick, and the holidays are coming up – in other words…I am a tad on the stressed side. I want something fun :D Soooo, here is the topic….

Share a favorite poem, quote, joke, anecdote, or anything of the sort that deals with writing, writers, the publishing industry, or the other strange and unusual tidbits that belong to our little world.

Share one, share ten, whatever is your pleasure. Discuss them if you like, or simply post them. There are so many wonderful, funny, inspiring, encouraging, truthful and/or cheering little gems out there (many of which have been posted in previous chains), that I can’t wait to see what people come up with. It can be something as simple as Red Smith’s “Writing is easy. All you do is sit down at a [computer] and open a vein.” Or maybe a quick and funny line of advice like Mark Twain’s “When you catch an adjective, kill it.” Or maybe a funny picture like:

Or, as we querying writers are constantly checking our email....

This little blurb is a list of writing rules that are presented by example (and they always make me laugh) :D This is from William Safire’s “Fumblerules” – Mistakes That Call Attention to the Rule:

Avoid run-on sentences that are hard to read.
No sentence fragments.
It behooves us to avoid archaisms.
Also, avoid awkward or affected alliteration.
Don’t use no double negatives.
If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a thousand times, “Resist hyperbole.”
Avoid commas, that are not necessary.
Verbs has to agree with their subjects.
Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky.
Writing carefully, dangling participles should not be used.
Kill all exclamation points!!!
Never use a long word when a diminutive one will do.
Proofread carefully to see if you any words out.
Take the bull by the hand and don’t mix metaphors.
Don’t verb nouns.
Never, ever use repetitive redundancies.
Last but not least, avoid clichés like the plague.

And finally, I took a poetry class in grad school and came across this poem from Anne Bradstreet while writing a paper on heroic couplets. It is hilarious, very true, and I loved reading something that was written 400 years ago that is as true now as it was then.

The Author To Her Book

Thou ill-formed offspring of my feeble brain,
Who after birth did'st by my side remain,
Till snatcht from thence by friends, less wise than true,
Who thee abroad exposed to public view,
Made thee in rags, halting to th' press to trudge,
Where errors were not lessened (all may judge).
At thy return my blushing was not small,
My rambling brat (in print) should mother call.
I cast thee by as one unfit for light,
The visage was so irksome in my sight,
Yet being mine own, at length affection would
Thy blemishes amend, if so I could.
I washed thy face, but more defects I saw,
And rubbing off a spot, still made a flaw.
I stretcht thy joints to make thee even feet,
Yet still thou run'st more hobbling than is meet.
In better dress to trim thee was my mind,
But nought save home-spun cloth, i' th' house I find.
In this array, 'mongst vulgars may'st thou roam.
In critic's hands, beware thou dost not come,
And take thy way where yet thou art not known.
If for thy father askt, say, thou hadst none;
And for thy mother, she alas is poor,
Which caused her thus to send thee out of door.

Sandra is up next in the chain, so everyone head to her blog!


H. L. Dyer said...

You are both speedy and awesome!

We need a little lighthearted fun after all the recent angst. *snort*

bloggingexperiments said...

Oh, I like the idea of an easy going topic this turn. You have really found some gems. I love the list of writing rules and the poem is great.

I hope you get unpacked and settled soon and feel better too.

Nice post Elky!


Kate Karyus Quinn said...

Oh fun topic - I am excited to see all the different responses!

And good luck with the ongoing process of settling into your new home!

Sandra said...

You've got some gems in there! I've seen the rules and the poem before, but it's always good to see them again.

TerriRainer said...

Light hearted fun????????

How my mouth dropped open when I read this topic...I'm skeered.

This is going to be my WORST blog chain post to date!

:) Terri

celticqueen said...

Ahh, don't be scared!! Any woman who can tackle a haunted building and ENJOY IT can do this with her eyes shut :D I believe in you darlin!! ;-)

Mary Lindsey said...

Cute, cute, cute. This is a fun topic.

Archetype said...

Isn't it funny how so many of us have reached the point that we dread being the topic chooser? I think this is a great topic, and you've included some great tidbits. (And you know I'm always excited to see LOLcats >^..^<

Leah Clifford said...

LOVE LOVE LOVE this topic! I really liked the poem you posted lol.

Jessica Verday said...

Beautiful poem by Anne Bradstreet! I'm gonna have to steal it.