Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The English Language and Other Such Nonsense -- Guest Post

The English Language and Other Such Nonsense

Hello again!  So I haven’t actually written my 500 word story yet.  My life is busy.  

I have, however, been questioning the English language and wondering who thought of these crazy spelling rules.  I’m no expert, but I’m pretty sure that while there are rules that go across the board for most languages, English has never heard of such an idea, and really likes to mess with people's heads.  I have a few questions for English majors and grammar nerds that I’ve thought up over time, and will now post here:

  1. Why do we say “insufficient” and “unsuitable”, if their prefixes both mean “not”?  Why don’t we just use one prefix instead of two?
  2. Will someone please explain “cough”, “through”, and “dough”?
  3. Why do we still insist on calling “i before e except after c” a law, even though the feisty heist on our weird beige foreign neighbor proved we never actually use it?
  4. If “disapproving” means “not approving”, does “dissenting” mean “not senting”?  
  5. This isn’t a question, but “regardless” means “not considering”, which means “irregardless” means “not not considering”, which means “considering”.  

There you have the questions that I’ve come up with so far.  Maybe I’ll have more later, but right now, I just want the answers to those three.  Does anyone else have any questions about the English language that they’d like answered?  I can’t do it, but maybe there is someone out there who can.

Now that’s out of the way, I can talk about....Camp Nanowrimo!  Yes, some of us like to torture ourselves and rack our brains to think of 20,000, or 30,000, or 50,000 words.  Right at the end of the school year.  I am failing epically.  I was waaaay ahead in the beginning, and now I’m waaaay behind.  It’s pretty sad.  I’ve been working on other things, and ignoring the story that I’m supposed to be writing.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with this event, go ahead and look it up.  If you’re brave enough.  Believe me, there is nothing better for sorting the weak from the strong.

You might be wondering if I’m actually going to write anything about this month’s subject besides the fact that I haven’t started.  Well, technically speaking I’ve already done this month way back in January, because I wrote a 500 word story to begin this whole thing.  I’m going to say that it counts, and ignore the thousands of dissenting voices.  I’m also going to attempt to give some advice.  

  1. Have a clear idea of your story.  
It is very hard to condense something if you don’t know what you’re condensing.  Make an outline, draw a comic strip, anything to really make sure you know what you’re writing about.  
  1. Show, don’t tell.  
This is something I have problems with.  Use more describing words.  Lots of describing words.  Find words that describe the events using more than their meaning.  Use the sound of the word, and the image that it evokes.  
  1. Cut characters.  
You don’t have time for them.  You just don’t.  This is a minimalist story.  If you don’t need them, you don’t need them.  Take them out.  

So there you have it.  My advice.  If you want any more, I will be in my hobbit-hole, and tea is at four.  

~ Grace Weiser

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