Posts Tagged ‘Writing’


Acronyms and Clichés

Keep it Simple Stupid-KISS-is an acronym I learned a long time ago. Don’t ask me where or when. Probably when I joined the Navy and began my self-educational program over a half-century ago and which I have not yet completed. Anyway, I’m going to give you my opinion on how to KISS when writing, if I am not sidetracked along the way.

This morning I began surfing the internet to find the latest on clichés (a phrase or word that has lost its original effectiveness or power from overuse) and acronyms (a word formed from the initials or other parts of several words, e.g. “NATO,” from the initial letters of “North Atlantic Treaty Organization). If this habit of me giving definitions of words irritates you, please accept my apologies. I like to make sure we are on the same page.

First off, what is simple to one is not so simple to another. The first site I landed on did not have much to say about acronyms or clichés. It was a group of professors discussing someone’s review of an essay on the fifth edition of the American Heritage Dictionary. More specifically about rules and how they change from time to time and person to person.

Here is one person’s post.

If a student so badly misunderstood simple ideas expressed in clearly-written texts, the usual response would be to bemoan the decline of critical reading skills in kids today.

I would actually would like to test the idea that the essays are clearly written. I haven’t read them (I don’t own the latest AHD), so I don’t have an opinion one way or the other. But I think it would be interesting to get 100 college educated adults who speak english fluently to read both essays and see if their interpretation matches the author’s intention, more closely follows Acocella’s, or something else.

Come again. Is it just me or is this person being facetious? I read this a dozen times before a spark of understanding began to glow. I copied and pasted the above. It doesn’t appear this gentleman proofed his post. But then it’s just a blog. anything goes on blogs.

See there, I got off on a tangent before I got started.

So, what did I find on my long search session? Nothing I did not already know. Well, one of those professors said that the “who”/“whom” distinction may be on its way out. Doesn’t that tickly your fancy? Why, I’m tickled pink.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when you KISS and don’t get too involved in what you are writing.

Remember to who/whom you are writing. This is something I seldom do. I make an a$$ of myself pretty much to everyone.

Whenever you write an acronym the first time, spell it out. This is something that irritates me to hell and gone. This is something we are going to have to become use to. Is that too many tos? With this new age of texting, we old fogies need to learn a new language. I’m sorry, but I haven’t got the old one down pat yet. BTW-(by the way)-All these phrases in italics are clichés. Know what I mean?

Well, that’s it. They ain’t much one can say about the two subjects. However, I found some long-winded bloggers out there. Them just didn’t know how to KISS. Lastly, like just about everything else in writing, if it feels good, do it. Do it the way that feels right for you. Who knows, you may come up with a novel way of doing it. Until next we meet, have a pleasant day. KISS KISS. Thanks, it’s been fun Ray


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Writing a story, book or novel?

How does one do this? You may ask. There are many different ways to go about it. Good bad or indifferent, some are even successful while others, like me, are not. What’s the old saying? Those who can, do. Those who can’t, instruct. Well I’m not much at giving instructions either, but I can write about how writing works for me. Should I even be saying this? I’m supposed to exude confidence. I have written three novels and hundreds of short stories and articles and even published some. My problem is when I’m done, I’m done. I write about what I want to write about and move on. I have this misconception that writers should be writing not selling. I hate sales, even though I have been successful in several businesses and was even a salesman a couple times; that’s where I learned I wasn’t adapt at selling, i.e., I tend to tell the truth.

Sorry I got off the subject. Let me go back and see what I was writing about.  Oh yeah, writing about writing. Well it’s easy and yet it is complicated. Basically, you pretty much write as you would speak. I think that might not be true either. If I wrote how I speak, this would be listed as porn. But, take away the cussing and sexual inferences this is pretty much how I speak, I think. It’s called voice, and everyone has a unique voice, so I’m told.

Okay, let’s get serious. This too is is hard for me. I’m a clown and poke fun at everything. So, if you haven’t stopped reading yet and you are looking for a serious article you might want to move on to your next selection.

Where do you start?

Well, the obvious place is at the beginning, silly. The way I do it is, I start writing what’s in my head. Whether it’s the beginning, middle or the end, you can rearrange everything later, nothing is final until you’re finished. Get down what you want to say first. A few hundred stories or books later you’ll have a method down pat and will know where to start and end, the middle goes between them. I have one suggestion for stories and books. Identify the moment of change, whether it’s a character or a happening, and you will know where or when your story must open. I have this on a note taped to the edge of a shelf above my computer. It’s kind of irritating sometimes and I want to rip it off and throw it in the trash. Sometimes you just don’t know right off where your story is to start. And too, I’m getting a little forgetful in my old age.

Write in scenes

What’s a scene? It’s a mini story sort of. It too has a beginning, middle and end, or an introduction, a buildup and a conclusion. That’s the same thing using different words. You need to get inside your character’s head, see what he sees, feel what he feels and write it all down, spew it all out. Pretend you are watching a movie. The character is the camera, or if it is the narrator, he she or it is the camera. You do this the same way as you do a story or a novel. This is how I like to write. Write it straight through to the end. Later you can decide whether to stop the scene or chapter at a high point near the end and before it concludes. This is a cliff hanger, a technique to keep the reader interested and reading. Writing scenes of about a thousand or fifteen hundred is a comfortable writing period, for me anyway.  You may elect another shorter or longer. Make it pleasant for yourself. Short stories may have one scene or a few scenes while a book may have one scene to a chapter or a few scenes to a chapter. You’re the composer; write how you like to read. You can’t be the only weirdo out there.

Editing your work

Don’t start screaming you’re not an editor. Neither am I, and unless you have lots of money, in which case you wouldn’t be in writing for the money, so let go of some of that moldy stuff and hire an editor. Otherwise you will have to learn how to edit yourself. I tend to edit my work as I go, one sentence or phrase at a time. This is not recommended by most, not even by me. I got I a habit I can’t get out of. The idea is to write what’s in your head now. Get it out anyway you can. Editing, you do last when you have written you guts out and have no more to say. That’s not how I do it. Every time I reread what I’ve written, I find something new to add and I end up with a monster I have to cut down, but it works for me because I find many unnecessary words to cut out.

If I find a mistake I have to correct it right now or I might not catch it later. Sometimes I am punished for this. I forget something vital I had in my mind, and by the time I make the correction, it had gone out into la la land never more to be thought of again. It’s a miserable feeling, but I am a little hard headed and set in my ways. Besides, I must get some pleasure out of slapping myself around. Do as I say, not as I do, is an oft repeated phrase of mine. I just never follow my own advice. Do it however it makes you feel comfortable. Who knows, you may invent a novel and successful way of writing.

What’s next?

Well that’s about all for the writing part. The rest is all editing, you know the fun part. This is where you rip apart all your loving prose. It’s about writing, and rewriting, taking out and putting in, correcting and punctuating and all that good stuff, all the things I missed in school and didn’t learn until I was an old man too thick headed for it to be pounded in. What would I do without my spelling and grammar checker?

Always put you work aside for a few hours, days or weeks and make one more slow-read; for me, everything I read is a slow read. I set my text to speech reader to fast and listen intently. Let someone else read it, a trusted friend who is an established writer or someone off the street, never your mom or a family member. Read it aloud or do as I do, get a text to speech program and listen to what you wrote. You’ll be surprised how many mistakes it will bring to your attention. I tell you, this dyslexic writer makes lots of them. But, I still have fun and that’s what it’s all about. If you don’t enjoy writing stop and apply your energy to something you enjoy.

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