Archive for June, 2010

I just read Neil Gaiman’s 8 writing tips. The second tip (the first one is: write) is – Put one word after another. Find the right word, put it down. This is the one I’m going to write about.

Sometimes I get to a point in the story where it’s hard to find the word, right or wrong. I’m sitting there on the couch, t.v. on (the news) and hope something, anything will inspire me. Sometimes I give up and leave it for the next writing time. Other times I tell myself: write something, anything, it doesn’t matter, you’ll change it later if you have to. So there I am, writing anything and it turns into something. And I amaze myself.

The second part of this tip is sometimes harder – finding the right word. When I’m on the couch, I don’t want to heave myself up, drag myself to my reference shelf and haul up the thesaurus. I’ve got a thick one which came originally from Reader’s Digest. It has a bright yellow cover and may have been something I found at a yard sale. Once I get on my couch, I have a hard time leaving it. Not that I am a couch potato. I walk at least three miles a day; I’m just to darn lazy when my rear hits the padded cushions.  My solution for this is write down the word I have in my head and when I edit, use the thesaurus.

Sometimes the word is in my head, on the tip of my tongue (or fingers in this case) and it. just. won’t. come. out.  I stare at the page for a minute, two minutes, knowing I know the right word and it just won’t come.   My solution – write a definition and move on.  At least I’m writing. 

The right word is important though.  It’s worth the time to find the right word.  The right word makes the story go from ordinary to extraordinary.  It really is better to find it right away, but later is okay with me as long as I do change it.


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If I hear anymore about that world cup, I’m going to disconnect the television.  Honestly.  But really, I do think Angus is a soccer hooligan.  Excuse me, a football hooligan.  I can’t even say the world soccer around him.  Which usually doesn’t bother me, but now it does.  I expect everything about the World Cup will bother me.  He says he will watch everything he can, but he forgot about our trips.  He said he was going to come with me to Mississippi.  I will protest if he doesn’t.  Greatly.  It’ll be much more fun having someone my size with me and he can help me persuade The Person to see things my way.  Although that hasn’t been working out so well yet, but I have hope.  He’s been fainting less lately.

And his wool still hadn’t grown back sufficiently enough for me to hug him. 

I am very upset.

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World Cup!  World Cup!  Footie, footie, footie!

It’s finally here, Hamish!  World Cup time!  One day we’ll see it live together wherever it is.  Now that I know more about traveling, it’s doable.

I’ve got all my World Cup activities planned.  I know how to use the telly.  I have me official shirts and football and know where to go on the Internet.  Pawnee Kitty found a free Wi-Fi place where I can go and get updates, see youtube videos, and play World Cup related games.  I shall live and breathe World Cup 11 June to 11 July.  It will be brilliant!

I hear you’ll be at the pub.  Me Da sent a letter.  The twins again.  Apparently I wrote them they should use the shortcut above the thistles to go to school.  I send all me letters care of the farmer and how me Ma and Da figure the twins got a letter without Da fetching it, I don’t know.  Serves those naughty lambs right to get boo-boos all over their just shorn bodies.  And, you’re right, it is unfair the shearer managed to get them shorn with no trouble and you have the cuts and bruises.  Pawnee Kitty insists you should protest.  She says you need to wear a label saying who sheared you.

I will write more later.  We will have lots to write about, but it will not be as much fun to watch the World Cup without you.  Pawnee Kitty is no fun to watch telly with.  She falls asleep or wants to do other things and she is not very interested in football.  She prefers a game called patball where you climb trees and swing over objects and kick or hit the ball with whatever part of your body you can.  It is not for timid sheep like meself.

Your friend,

Angus.  McSheep

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I’ve been thinking about maybe (big maybe) getting a netbook/laptop for my writing.  Being inherently cheap frugal keeps me from shelling out the $300.  A big part of the NetBook is its Wi-Fi capability, but I ask myself why do I need Internet access if I really want to just type on it.  I already have a computer, but it’s a desktop.   My laptop in the past (and hopefully near future) is a fuzzy feline and they don’t take too kindly sharing space particularly with an inanimate object.  I can just see my dear Mietze glaring at the Netbook and plotting revenge.  Talbot would squeeze between it and me, settling nicely on the keyboard and wonder why I’m getting all upset.

I thought again about the Netbook as I wrote this morning.  I try to write neat, but when the words start flowing, my handwriting gets worse and words grow smaller and smaller.  Trying to type out what I’ve written months or even years later can be a tad awkward.  I have to peer close and squint and sometimes I still can’t decipher the word.  Not even the words around it give me a clue. 

Typing the story would make things easier.  No more squinting.  It’ll be quicker to edit.  Quicker to disappear when the hard drive goes.  With paper all I have to worry about is fire or losing the notebook, but I’m pretty good at keeping them all in their proper place.  I’ve only lost one story that I know of and perhaps that’s a good thing.  It’s a story written during my western, western/science fiction phase.  I wrote a time travel piece (and I don’t even like time-travel stories) about a woman who travels back in time to late 1800’s Wyoming. 

But I’ve also lost stories I’ve written on the computer.  Back in the day when every computers had 5” floppies, I dutifully saved my stories on those.  And then those floppies were replaced by smaller floppy disks.  I transferred what I could, but then those smaller disks got replaced by flash drives.  In all my transferring, stories got lost.  With luck, I won’t remember which ones they were.  The better stories were all written in notebooks so I only have to re-type (groan) a few. Luckily I printed the stories out.

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Dear Hamish,

Well, I’ve done it. I made a deal for Pawnee Kitty to shear me. She shears me and I get minimum damage and I owe her a hug. She thinks that’s a good bargain. I am hoping to come out better then you. The twins sent a picture. I have torn it up in little pieces so small not even Pawnee Kitty can tape it back together. I am so sorry to hear (and see) the results of your shearing. Tell me Gran-da about the picture. He’s the best one to get it deleted.

I’ve been shorn. There’s not a nick or a bruise. Pawnee Kitty is good at shearing and I’ll recommend her to anyone, but keep an eye on the wool. She pinched some and I need every bit for me waistcoat Mum has promised to knit me. She, Pawnee Kitty, also pokes. She finds our skin horrible and eventually she forced the shirt over me head and told me not to take it off until I’ve grown wool. She won’t even hug me. I figure I’ll be safe for a few months.

Your friend,
Angus. McSheep.

P.S. Snap a picture of the twins after they’ve been shorn. With luck they’ll be sheared by the same one who sheared you. Me Uncle Ian will know when the shearer comes.

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