Looking for the Best Word? Tip #43

ambiguous
Word cloud created via Prowritingaid.com

Some changes from today. Still offering help for writers and language learners, but adding some variety to the topics covered. This series of posts will remain a resource for word lovers but will expand its scope.

So, to this week’s words: Ambiguous 

Ambiguous – Roget lists these headers: unconformable, double, countervailing, uncertain, semantic, puzzling, equivocal, false, and unclear. Under the sub-heading ‘equivocal’ are a further 18 alternatives including ambivalent, double, two-edged, prevaricating, vague, evasive, and anagrammatic.

Let’s look at usage for ambiguous:

‘We wondered whether the wording of the statement was accidentally ambiguous or simply a way of obscuring the speaker’s true meaning.’

‘Joe thought Janet’s dress sent an ambiguous message; the short length inviting his attention but the high neckline suggesting a wish to be concealed.’

‘Janet considered Joe’s concentration on her legs ambiguous; was he admiring her shapely pins or was lust uppermost?’

Books of words
Books of words I have on my shelf, and sometimes use!

Redundancies:

Redundancies are words that serve no semantic purpose. In speech, they act as spacers, giving the speaker time to think. But in writing, except when representing natural conversation, they impede the reader’s progress.

This week’s example: ‘actually’

‘Actually, I don’t need to use “actually” to express the meaning of this sentence.’

‘Jason actually walked all the way home.’

‘Jennifer was actually sick of being treated like a fool.’

Figure of speech:

Anadiplosis; beginning a sentence or clause with the last, or any other significant, word from the preceding sentence or clause.

‘Off you go to school. School is where you will learn most.’

‘Rose slipped the gown over her skin, skin so soft and pale.’

Language learners will find a great group page on Facebook.

Resources:

The Writer’s Lexicon.  Wordweb software.  Oxford Dictionaries.

I welcome observations and suggestions here. Please use the comments section below for your ideas and thoughts.

Looking for the Best Word? Tip #42

blatant
Word cloud generated via Prowritingaid.com

Here’s some help for writers who want to make their work more interesting, varied, accurate and effective by using the most appropriate words. There are also insights into some peculiarities of English for language students.

A good thesaurus will provide substitutes for the idea of a word, but not all these are true synonyms: context is vital. Check suitability by putting synonyms into a sentence to test if they make sense. This isn’t foolproof, however, so a good dictionary is also essential.

My dictionary of choice is the two-volume Shorter Oxford English Dictionary. And I prefer the 1987 edition of Roget’s Thesaurus for word selection, though my copy is showing signs of wear. I’ve installed WordWeb on my Mac for when I’m in a hurry and the appropriate word escapes me. And I’ve downloaded the Kindle edition of Kathy Steinemann’s ‘The Writer’s Lexicon’ to consult whilst editing my fiction, so I can inject more variety.

However, I attempt to dig the best word from my overloaded memory first: it’s good mental exercise, which I need on a regular basis! Many other books of words, which I occasionally consult when a word evades me, live on reference shelves behind me.

So, to this week’s word: Blatant

Blatant – Roget lists these headers: flagrant, well-known, vulgar, vain, showy, and insolent. Under the sub-heading ‘flagrant’ are a further 9 alternatives including glaring, stark, staring, shocking, and discreditable.

And the SOED defines ‘blatant’ as: Orig., noisy, clamorous, noticeably loud. Now usu., obtrusive, lacking in subtlety, obvious; (of bad behaviour) openly and unashamed.

Let’s look at usage for blatant:

‘In condemning terrorists whilst engaging in the weapons trade with supporters of terrorism, the Prime Minister displayed blatant hypocrisy.’

‘Terry strode confidently into the party, helped himself to food and drink, and chatted up the girls, showing blatant disregard for his lack of an invitation.’

‘In blatant disobedience of the “No swimming” sign, Emerald stripped off her clothes and plunged into the lake.’

‘Blatant’ is a word of power, suggestive of a rebellious spirit, but also a condemnatory adjective when applied to attitudes and behaviour that cause offence.

Language learners will find a great group page on Facebook.

I welcome observations and suggestions here. Please use the comments section below for your ideas and thoughts.

Progress on the WIP: #SciFi in the Making.

Slide4

Some weeks are a country walk, others a trek across mountainous desert. This one has been a touch demanding. But, the book itself is now done. It lacks a title, of which I have a brainstorming session’s worth of around 50 at present. And the blurb demands to be done. I usually try for three of those; 50 words, 100 words and 150 words. Condensing the essence of 113,900 words to such tiny proportions is never easy, especially when the story combines a number of threads. But it will be done. I’m committing myself to having the package with the publisher by the weekend.

As for the past seven days, these have been hard work interrupted by a two-day break to attend the funeral of a beloved old aunt. At 103, she’d had an active life in which all who knew her loved her. Vera was the older sister of my dad, Ken, who died before I was born. We met late in life and she was able to fill in many gaps in my knowledge about the man who fathered me. It was a sad occasion, as any death always is, but also a celebration of a life well-lived.

We travelled to Southampton for the service, stayed overnight, and then spent the following day in relaxation on the coast before arriving home late last night.

Today, I discovered that the charity AGM I was unable to attend due to my trip away has elected me back on the board as a trustee. And would I please produce an advert for the Hall along with photographs to illustrate its advantages as a venue. If possible, could I do this by the end of today, as the publication concerned is due to be printed almost immediately!

For weeks I’ve been carrying my camera to catch the front of the building in the sun. But it’s location means it sees sunshine only for an hour or so each day and only during the months of June and July. Every time I caught it at the right time, there were cars parked outside. Today, on my way to collect the keys so I could photograph the interior, not only was the sun shining as required, but the cars were absent. Back home from the trip, I set about putting words and pictures together, only to discover the software I’d downloaded wouldn’t produce the desired size of image, unless I upgraded. I did that, and, finally, the piece of copy with its accompanying pictures is done.

And now, after a 06:15 start, and at the time of 20:30, I think I’ve earned a rest. Retirement, what’s that? A glass of red awaits my descent to the sitting room, so I’ll wish you all a good night and bring you up to date with the rest of the book facts next week.

Looking for the Best Word? Tip #41

Alliteration
Word cloud created via Prowritingaid.com

Here’s a bit of help for writers who want to make their work more interesting, varied, accurate and effective by using the most appropriate words. There are also insights into some peculiarities of English for those learning the language.

A good thesaurus gives substitutes for the idea of a word, but not all are true synonyms: context is vital. Check suitability by placing synonyms into a sentence to test if they make sense. But this isn’t foolproof, so a good dictionary is also essential.

My dictionary of choice is the two-volume Shorter Oxford English Dictionary. And I prefer the 1987 edition of Roget’s Thesaurus for word selection. Though my copy is now showing signs of wear. I’ve installed WordWeb on my Mac for when I’m in a hurry and the apposite word evades me. And I’ve downloaded the Kindle edition of Kathy Steinemann’s ‘The Writer’s Lexicon’ to consult whilst editing my fiction, so I can inject more variety.

However, I attempt to dig the best word from my overloaded memory first: it’s good mental exercise, which I need on a regular basis! Many other books of words, which I occasionally consult when a word escapes me, live on reference shelves behind me.

So, to this week’s word: Alliteration

Alliteration is a figure of speech in which closely connected words begin with the same letter of the alphabet. It’s a device commonly used in poetry, but its use in prose can be effective in creating mood or tone, and may emphasise the subject of the sentence.

Alliteration – Roget lists these headers: assimilation, recurrence, ornament, and prosody. Under the sub-heading ‘recurrence’ are a further 41 alternatives including repetitiveness, succession, atavism, rhythm, assonance, monotony and routine.

Examples of alliteration:

‘Doggedly, David donated dollars to Doris despite her denial of devotion to him.’

‘Sylvie’s silken skin sent shivers of sensuality snaking over Sydney.’

‘Clive’s crass chorus of chanting cowboys created a cacophony of coarse chords clattering across the chamber.’

Hopefully, no one would actually use such examples. But I’m deep into editing a novel at present, and my poor creative mind is embedded in the story I’m creating, so my capacity for creating competent content here is currently confined. Sorry!

Language learners will find a great group page on Facebook.

I welcome observations and suggestions here. Please use the comments section below for your ideas and thoughts.

Progress on the WIP: #SciFi in the Making.

Slide3

Reading each chapter, making amendments, additions, deletions, corrections, and then feeding them through grammar checker, Prowritingaid.com. It removes unintended repetitions, weak verbs, and many other small errors you can miss when reading from the screen. It’s pretty intense. But I’m up to page 329 of 411. Twelve chapters to go; mostly in the denouement now, so building more tension as I move along.

I’m printing off each chapter and passing it to my independent reader, to look for inconsistencies, confusions, occasional homophonic substitutions, the odd grammatical fail and anything else she feels worth mentioning. So far, these have been few. I then put right those things she points out that I agree with.

Final stage is reading the whole book, aloud, from print. That identifies awkward sentences and tonal inconsistencies.

I still need to come up with a good title: ironically, the working title doesn’t work. Brainstorming might sort that! Maybe a visit to the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations for an apposite quote. TBA.

Then my publisher, currently gnashing teeth with impatience, can have the MS. We’re hoping to launch at Fantasticon 2017. This annual celebration of science fiction, fantasy and gaming is held in Hull, this year’s UK City of Culture, and takes place on September 2nd and 3rd.

I’ll be there. Perhaps we’ll meet there!

Looking for the Best Word? Tip #40

peer
Word cloud via Prowritingaid.com

There’s help here for writers who like to make their work more interesting, varied, accurate and effective by using the most appropriate words. And there are insights into some peculiarities of English for those learning the language.

A good thesaurus gives substitutes for the idea of a word, but not all are true synonyms: context is vital. Check suitability by placing synonyms into a sentence to test if they make sense. But this isn’t foolproof, so a good dictionary is also essential.

My dictionary of choice is the two-volume Shorter Oxford English Dictionary. And I use prefer the 1987 edition of Roget’s Thesaurus for word selection. Though my copy is now starting to show signs of wear. I’ve installed WordWeb on my Mac for when I’m in a hurry and the apposite word evades me. And I’ve downloaded the Kindle edition of Kathy Steinemann’s ‘The Writer’s Lexicon’ to consult whilst editing my fiction, so I can inject more variety.

However, I attempt to dig the best word from my overloaded memory first: it’s good mental exercise, which I need on a regular basis! Many other books of words, which I occasionally consult when a word escapes me, live on reference shelves behind me.

So, to this week’s word: Peer

‘Peer’ belongs to that odd category of words known as contronyms. A contronym is a word that is its own antonym; a word that can have two opposing meanings! This one can mean one of a group with equal status, or a member of the nobility. However, the word also has other meanings (English can be so confusing!)

Peer – Roget lists these headers: compeer, gaze, scan, be dim-sighted, enquire, councillor, person of repute, person of rank. Under the sub-heading ‘compeer’ are a further 20 alternatives including peer, equal, fellow, equivalent, counterpart and contender.

Examples of usage for Peer:

‘Shirley was at her happiest when surrounded by her peers; her classmates always gave her confidence and companionship.’

‘The British Parliament is a two-tier democratic system of government marred by the inclusion of Peers, who represent nobody but the landed upper classes and distort decisions made by this upper house.’

And for the other common meaning of the word, relating to looking:

‘Teresa peered through the mist, searching the grey landscape for signs of the fox that had escaped the hounds.’

For language learners, here’s a great group page on Facebook.

I welcome observations and suggestions here. Please use the comments section below for your ideas and thoughts.

Creative #Writing #Contests Table Updated

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The pic is just for inspiration.

Here’s your monthly reminder that the writing contest table has been updated. I update frequently; in fact, whenever I come across new contests. I also subscribe to a few sources for information to pass on to you here.

Make sure you get your entries submitted in plenty of time, there are some spectacular prizes to be had. Some are FREE to enter. And think of the kudos!

The table updates every time I save to it, so whenever you visit the page, it’ll be as up to date as it is on my Mac. You can access it by clicking here.

I’ve been a bit busy editing prior to sending the next book off to my publisher. I should be finished with that in a few days and I’ll catch up with some contest details I know are waiting then.

Have fun and get some cash for your writing.

If you want to receive this monthly reminder, please add your email address to the small form at top of the column on the right. Neither I, nor WordPress, will spam you, but you’ll receive an informative email each time I post on the blog.