Writing is like playing sports?

Hi everyone,

Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving.   Being with family is wonderful most of the time and hope none were stressed out.

Last Cliches: (I always include cliches in my writing and you find them.  Next writing I explain which ones I used and what they mean)

Run Like Clockwork–operate with extreme regularity.  Dates from Late 17th cent.  Hugh Walpole (Reminiscences, 1789): “The king’s last year passed as regularly as clockwork.”

Get One’s Feet Wet–venture into new territory.  Compared to timid swimmer wary of getting into the water at all.  This expression dates only from early 20th cent., similar idea expressed more than 400 years earlier by John Lyly in Euphues and his England (1580): “I resemble those than hauing once wet their feete, care not hoe deepe they wade”.  OR once you get up the nerve to try something new, more willling to plunge in all the way.

Let’s Face It–accept reality; see things as they are.  The title of a 1941 Cole Porter musical–term took hold for next 2 decades and became a cliche.

Why is writing like playing sports?  I watched football this week and realized that writing and sports are similar.  Both writers and sports persons have to be on the ball.  There’s a goal at the end for both.  A writer wants to publish her work; in football, make a touchdown; baseball, get across home plate; basketball, make a basket, and win the game.  To achieve these goals, both have to work their tails off.  Practice makes the writer or the athlete better at his/her craft.

And at the end, you can’t win ’em all.  One football game I watched, they were down to one second and all they needed to do was kick a field goal to win the game.  The kicker missed!  They went into overtime, the kicker had another chance to kick a field goal and missed again.  The other team won by a field goal.  But both teams played a great game.  A writer can hone her craft, write the piece, send it in, and still be rejected.

However, the writer writes another story, and the athlete plays another game. Because they love what they are doing.

Keep Writing,

Yours truly,

Julie A. Winrich
Helping Readers Enjoy Sleuthing and Solve Puzzles



Writing the novel in one month….

Is everyone writing like crazy out there?  Doing the Nano writing?  Wish I was, but working hard on my Redwood Writers website trying to get over 211 members listed with their genres and links to their blogs/websites and getting out a master roster for members.

Last Cliches:
Grin and Bear It – Put up with adversity with good humor.  Originated as grin and abide in Erasmus Darwin’s Zoonomia (1974).  Used in 1775 in W. Hickey’s Memoirs: “I recommend you to grin and bear it (used by sailors of much bad weather).”  Also see poet Sam Walter Foss (1858-1911) pun on it in his The Firm of Grain and Barrett.

To Palm Off – Pass off fraudulently.  Term comes from practice of hiding in one’s palm what one pretends to dispose of in some other way.  Used 17th Cent. used as palm on or upon.  Charles Lamb used in one of his Elia essays (1822): “Have you not tried to palm off a yesterday’s pun?

Rub the Wrong Way – Annoy.  Expression transfers rubbing a cat’s fur in wrong direction to irritating a human. British = rub someone up the wrong way, dates from mid-19th Cent.

Back to the Salt Mines – Time to return to work with reluctance.  Refers to Russian practice of sending prisoners to work in the salt mines of Siberia.  Eric Patridge cited an authority who believes it came from a play called Siberia, popular in 1890s.


Well, like clockwork most all writers are trying to write many words this November.  Not all of us, but a good many of you out there are writing every day to finish your first draft in one month!  I believe this is good for writers.  Gets our creative minds working and flowing, and hopefully, we’ll get in the habit of writing every day.  Does it work?  I’m not sure, since I’ve not participated in it.  Every year, members in my writer’s group get together and write thousands of words in this one month.  What about the rest of the year?  If they can write that many words in this one month, do they continue doing so each month?

I suppose for new writers they would get their feet wet and maybe continue on.  But do they?  That’s the big question.  I’ve heard this works.  Why haven’t I tried it?  Unfortunately for me, life gets in the way.  November seems to creep up on me and passes me by.

Of course, that’s not to say I’m not writing.  I am.  I’m editing my completed novels, doing “technical” writing for my Redwood Writers’, mulling over my uncompleted novels, and critiquing for the on-line critique group.

Let’s face it, we don’t always do what we should, when we should.  As writers, we should have a set schedule of writing, get words on paper, and write every day.  This does not always happen as we have lives to attend to.  But when I don’t write, my soul gets sad and when I do write, I’m much happier.

So all of you out there, let me know, is this November working for you?

Keep Writing and Enjoy the process!

Until next time,

Julie A. Winrich – Helping Readers Enjoy Sleuthing and Solve Puzzles.



Back to querying…

Well, I’m still working on that all important query letter.  A never-ending project for me.

But first:

Last cliches:

All-time High– A record achievement , never before surpassed.  This is an Americanism, early 20th Cent.  This term has been applied to economic matters ie production, recreational example golf scores and lots of other areas.

Have a Finger In Every Pie — Be involved in numerous activities, usually in the sense of meddling.  Dates from 16th Cent.  Shakespeare used it in Henry the VIII (1:1) where Duke of Buckingham complains of Cardinal Wolsey, “No man’s pie is freed from his abitious finger.”

Gift of Gab — Fluency of Speech, tendency to boast.  Gab-both verb and noun-believed to come from Gaelic dialect word gob=”mouth.”  Appeared in Samuel Colvil’s Whiggs Supplication (1695): “There was a man called Job…He had a good gift of the Gob.”  Next century it became gab=William Godwin’s Caleb Williams (1794): “He knew well enough that he had the gift of the gab.”  In later years, “the” was dropped.

Well, I guess I have to grin and bear it and continue working with trying to write the perfect query letter.  I read one before my Calistoga critique group.  They gave me some pointers, then rewrote it and submitted it to my on-line critique group.  They gave me more ideas and one even rewrote it for me.  His sounds great.  My dilema–do I palm his off to some agent?  I mean I can change it a bit, but wouldn’t that be cheating?  Can one send in a query about one’s own book if someone else writes it?  I’m not sure about that.  I’m horrible at trying to “sell myself.”

And isn’t that what a query is?  Sell you and your book to someone?  I wouldn’t want to rub the agent in the wrong way.  Any of you have any advice on the subject?  Write my own, or use someone else’s great query written for you?

Well, either way, I should get back to the salt mines and Keep Writing, Reading, and doing what I love.

Until next time,

Julie A. Winrich
Helping Readers Enjoy Sleuthing and Solve Puzzles!



I just went to the Redwood Writers Conference this weekend and it was so inspiring.  Talking with other writers, going to workshops, and enjoying camaraderie was uplifting and my mission statement for my writing is helping readers enjoy sleuthing and solving puzzles; keep writing!

Last post cliches:

All to the Good: Largely an advantage.  Dates from when good was an accounting term=profit or worth-all to good meant net profit.  Late 19th Cent. meaning more general and became a cliche.

Off the Beaten Track:  well-worn path; not usual route or method.  Origin obvious – a much-used path would be flattened by the tramp of many feet.  Used in 17th Cent. Sam Johnson spelled it out in 1751 when he wrote, “The imitator treads a beaten walk.”

Batten Down the Hatches:  Get ready for trouble.  Nautical term dates from early 19th Cent.; meant prepare for bad weather by fastening down the battens, strips of wood nailed to various parts of masts and spars, and fastening tarps over hatchways (doors).  Used figuratively as prepare for emergencies by late 19th Century.

Full Steam or Speed Ahead:  Proceed with power and be rapid.  Both refer to steam engines in ships and trains.  “Full Steam” = boiler that developed maximum pressure.  Popular when David Glasgow Farragut at the Battle of Mobile Bay (Aug. 5, 1864) – “Damn the torpedoes! Full steam ahead!”  referred to nonmilitary soon after, but resurfaced literally in 1989 with Greenpeace when order o day was the same as Farragut’s and the Navy collided with the Greenpeace vessel.

Back to my wonderful all-time high experience at the conference.  Redwood Writers had good workshops, but the ones I attended featured Teresa LeYung Ryan whereby she taught me my mission statement.  She’s very vivacious and her website Writing CoachTeresa.com is a wonderful place to get information.

Elisa Southard seems to have a finger in every pie and showed us all how to market our ideas and books and succeed when she gave her keynote morning speech.

Sheldon Segal has the gift of gab when he gave a talk in his workshop on dialogue and in his keynote luntime speech.  He writes legal thrillers and hopes you finish his book on the airplane from SF to NYC!

Terri Thayer gave a great workshop on Mystery Writing.

Patricia V. Davis taught us how to be more creative with our verbs.  Use words out of context like – “Her face looked like it had been dragged across the floor.”  What a visual you get from dragged in this sentence.

I’m going to try and keep up with what I learned and write here on a regular basis and promote my writing.

Until Next Time,

Julie A. Winrich
Helping readers to Enjoy Sleuthing and Solving Puzzles; Keep Writing!

There were lots of other