Finding those cliches..

Well, I’m finding it’s not so easy to write about writing every single day.  I’m too busy writing on my novels and working on the critiques in the writer’s workshop, not to mention regular every day living that happens.

3/23/10 Cliches:  Did you find them?

A Lot of Hooey= complete nonsense, total rubbish.  The origin was lost but meaning dates back to 1900s.  Elmer Rice’s play, Street Scene (1928) and James M. Cain The Postman Always Rings Twice (1934).

and there was another cliche–

The Big Picture= overall or long-range view of situation.  Dates second half of 20th Cent., American.  Time Magazine 9/19/77. Used in Britain first half of 1900s to describe feature film in a movie presentation.

In my first chapter of my working novel Birthmark I referred to a cancer stick meaning a cigarette, and several thought it was a cliche.  I checked my cliche book and it was not in there, so it just goes to show you that the overuse of some words or phrases can be considered cliches.

Because several did not like the words, I might decide to edit it out of my chapter, but I’ll think about it first.

Not sure when I’ll get back to write.  T.G.I.F.

Until next time,

Keep Writing,

Julie

More about critiquing..

Well, I’m back.  Did you find the last cliche?

A Lost Cause: an undertaking doomed to fail. Early uses: from 1860s–New York Hearld July 2, 1868 referred to South’s civil war and in Essays in Criticism, 1865 description of Oxford Univ. as “the home of lost causes”.

Well, I finally got brave and submitted my first chapter to my working novel called Birthmark to my on-line critique group.  The responses I’ve received so far have been very helpful and I’m glad I joined this group again.  Not only do I get the “good’ from the group, but also what they don’t like, which is the most important part of the group.  I like hearing what’s good, but it’s what’s not working that is so important to get feedback on.  If it’s a lot of hooey I want to know about it.  They also let me know the big picture and what they think about it.

An example of my writing from Birthmark, Ch 1 is my opening paragraph:  The long, thin-bladed knife slipped into the soft white underbelly, ripping the stomach open.  Entrails exploded.  Most of the group thought this was a good opening paragraph.

Joining this critique group will be a great asset to my writing and am looking forward to more comments from them.  I’m also trying to critique most of their stuff, but not doing everyone as it is too much and I’d never get any writing done.

Check out their website on my link.  All writers need critiques of some sort.

Until next time, Keep Writing,

Julie

Blogging

Today’s Saturday and I’m still at this blog. Not sure who’s looking at it, but sure appreciated all those who’ve commented on it and taken a peak.  Hopefully, those that did will check in every now and again. I would hate to think that this is a lost cause of my writing and getting known.

As promised yesterday, I started putting in cliches somewhere into my blog and I’ll tell you what it was and its history.

Yesterday’s cliche: Finders, Keepers–several expressions of this all pertain to the law that if you find something, even if it’s someone else’s, you can keep it for them.  First appeared:  Roman playwright Plautus, approx. 200 B.C., check out D.M. Moir (Mansie Wauch), 1824 and Charles Reade (It is Never Too Late to Mend), 1856.     So did you find it yesterday?

I started this blog because that’s what “they” say you are to do if you want to get a fan base and get your name out there in the public to get published in the writing field some day.  So here I am, baring my writing soul. I’ve found that by writing about writing, it “duh” keeps me writing!  Yes, but it also gives me inspiration and gets rid of some of my frustrations.  If I have writer’s block, I’ll be able to come here and spout off.  Maybe this Blog will keep that from happening.

Where do I get ideas for the blog?  Whatever pops into my mind.  The other day I came up with the cliche idea and I’ll follow through on it in each blog.  But mainly, I’ll think of some writing topic or not, and just start typing.

It was real scary for me to start this, as I imagine it is for others.  However, the site made it easy to begin and get signed up.  It seems very easy to navigate and I can change the looks of, the name of it, and add and delete what I want.  Very user friendly.  There are several blog sites out there and you just have to do research and decide which one will work for you.

Will I write every day?  Like the other day, I forgot, so not sure about every day, but I will try.  Especially now that I’m including a cliche or two in my Blog and you have to find it.  Remember the book I have has over 3,500 terms and expressions.  Should be fun for me and I hope interesting for you.

But mainly, this Blog is for me to write and keep writing.  If I can pass on some information to you or entertain you, so much the better.

When I’m not blogging, I’m working on my novels, reading and critiquing submissions from the internet workshop and will submit to them also, as well as attending my writing groups, playing tennis, walking and reading novels and enjoying living.

Until next time,

Keep on Writing and Enjoying Life!

Julie

Cliche or not to cliche…

Do you use cliches?  I don’t see how we could not since I have a book called The Facts on File of Dictionary of Cliches and in it is over 3,500 terms and expressions!

Everyone points out the major cliches in our pieces, but I imagine from the book above, they miss a lot.  I try to find a new way of saying something, but sometimes those old cliches are so perfect.

When do I use them in my writing?  Mainly in dialogue.  And I’ll have the character say something to the effect that it is a cliche or an old saying.  Other than that I try to avoid, but I’m sure they slip in when I don’t even know it.

Since I have this wonderful book on cliches, I thought I’d slip them in to this blog.  From now on, I’ll slip in a cliche somewhere in the blog and you find it. The next blog will tell you the cliche, what it means, and the year it was first said.

These cliches will be finders, keepers, and you may do with them what you want–make sure you don’t put them in your writing, or use them in your dialogue, or just have fun trying to figure out what they are.

I’ll keep track of them somehow and maybe this way, we’ll learn how to avoid them, especially the ones we don’t even know are cliches.

So what are your thoughts on cliches?  Do you avoid them altogether?  Think up new sayings?  I’d like to hear.

Keep on Writing and Enjoying the process.

Until next time,

Julie

Critiquing

Well, I went to bed last night and realized I’d forgotten to write here! I’m sure that might happen now and again.

I decided to join the on-line critique group I used to belong to a few years back.  So I went to the website (I put a link up) and joined their novels list and young adult/children’s list.  I read all the information they sent me on their rules and how to format.  Then their critiques and submissions started pouring into my email.  I read some crits and dove into a submission.  I hit reply in my email account and told them my comments and then line by line I added my comments between // //.

Now keep in mind, I used to belong to this group and I haven’t changed my settings on my computer.  I have my email set for plain text and my word set for plain text with no smart quotes, etc. like they suggested.    So after rereading several times I hit “send”.

In this group you get your critiques back through their list server.  It came back with strange markings like ==A20.

So the next submission, I copy and paste into my word file, do my critiquing and copy and paste into my email account, that says I’m sending in plain text like they want.  It too comes back with the strange markings which  says it’s unformatted.

So I ask for help with the formatting.  They tell me I have to be in plain text.

I look through my email account, which I have never changed, but with a thorough search I find a place that says messages in plain text.  It is unmarked, so I mark it and save it.  Maybe that will make a difference.  The staff also told me to go to a “cleaner site” that will clean my stuff up for me before I send it.  That sounds scary, but not wanting to have all the problems, I’ll give it a try.

I got a thank you from one of the submissions that I’d critiqued, and he said it was unformatted, but he thought he could read it.  I had to apologize to him, but I’m working on the problem.  Never had it before and didn’t change a thing on my computer, but there ya go–always something!

However, this on-line critique site is great.  You get to be teacher and student and will learn so much by reading and giving your comments.  If you give a comment like “I like your writing” that doesn’t count.  You have to do two submissions or critiques per month to stay on the list, failure to do that two consecutive months in a row,  you will be removed from the list.   I have pages of greetings, welcoming and rules for the group and I read every one.  A very helpful and friendly group with good moderators.

Anyway, hopefully today I will figure out how to get everything formatted correctly and have no more problems, so that I can submit one of my chapters.  Looking forward to having people critique my work.  I’ve read some of the critiques and they are very in-depth and helpful.  Some of the people on this site are teachers, professional writers, etc.

I will try not to get caught up in critiquing only and continue to write on my own stuff.  This morning I had 38 emails.  I remember in the past I’d have up to 50 or more, just from the on-line critique group and at that time I was only on the novels list.  It will definitely keep me busy.

But I will remember to write something here too!

Keep on writing and enjoying the process.

more about writing groups-critiquing

Hello,

Well, thank you all for your comments.  I did forget to mention that I also belong to Lake County Writers Group which is a critique group that meets once a month.  The group is growing and we meet from 11-4.

Like I said before, belonging to a group is so important for writers.  They give you inspiration as well as some frustration, but what’s a writer without frustration.  Getting that right word is so important.  Also, the write sentence, paragraph and chapter!

Well critique groups can help with this.  Since most of us won’t make a fortune at our writing, we can’t afford to pay someone just yet to edit.  So that’s where critique groups come in.

They are a way of getting some input into your work, whether it be a first draft or what you think is your final draft (which of course turns out not to be the case).

I started my arson novel back in 1989.  No, it’s not published yet.  I’m still editing it!  It’s my first adult novel and I refuse to give up on it.  I changed it a bit, so this latest “version” is more with a heroine, instead of her arson investigator husband being the hero.

I belonged to an on-line critique group through the Univ. of Penn. while in Baja, and until I lost my internet, was a great group.  However, you must be careful that you don’t start critiquing more than writing, which was happening to me.  I felt the more I critiqued someone’s work, the more they would critique mine.  That turned out not to be totally true.  Therefore I spent more time critiquing others, than actually writing on my own. I did learn a lot through that group and am thinking about joining it again, but will definitely limit my critiquing.

I feel the saying for critiquing is so true:  If one person doesn’t like something of your work, ok, their opinion; if two people don’t like it, take a hard look at it; and if 3 people don’t like it, it’s out of there.

So how do you feel about critique group?

Keep on Writing and above all, Enjoy

Hello world!

Hello.

I’ve decided to start a blog.  What will this blog be about?  I’m a writer, so I write.  I’ll write about writing, sites that are of interest, books, clubs, etc.

I belong to the Redwood Writers branch of the California Writers Club.  Yesterday I attended the meeting in Santa Rosa, California at the Flamingo Hotel in the Courtyard Room.  The meetings are from 3-5 p.m.  The first hour is Redwood Writers announcements and business.  The second hour is a guest speaker.  Yesterday  Hal Zina Bennett who is the author of more than 30 successful books was our guest speaker.  His newest book, Write Starts: Prompts, Quotes & Exercises to Jumpstart Your Creativity will be released by New World Library in 2010.  He was very informative and after the session, signed some of his works.

Writers need to be a part of a writing community.  Joining this club was important to me as I’ve been away from the “writing community” for awhile. I lived in Baja Sur Califiornia, Mexico for the last 25 winters and have only had contact via internet.  Before that, I belonged to the Idaho Writers Group and by joining clubs, find it helpful, informative and inspiring.

I find I write more, when I belong to groups that can help get you motivated and critique.

Besides the Redwood Writers, I also belong to Sisters in Crime  and Mystery Writers of America.

So what groups do you belong too?