Obsolete Words in Need of a Revival

 

Earlier this year I came across a list entitled, 27 Obsolete Words It’s High Time We Revived. The entries looked a little something like this:

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Meaning: Tangled hair, as if matted by elves.
Origin: 1590s
As in: Jeez, dude, look at the state of those elflocks — have you not heard of a comb?

or

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Meaning: To act in a secretive manner.
Origin: 1530s
As in: I’m sick of all these sneaky types, creeping around and hugger-muggering the whole time.

and

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Meaning: A slovenly, slobbering person.
Origin: 1650s
As in: Look at that sluberdegullion, sprawled on the sofa with his tongue lolling out.

Aside from the warm fuzzies I get at seeing those perfectly suited adorable little owls, the list itself appeals to the word nerd in me. I’m a stickler for words that have long gone out of fashion. I croon over the Austens and Dickens long gone, at the polite ways of saying terribly impolite things and the words that once accompanied them.

I discussed the matter in a comparable light not two years ago. I mentioned words like skullduggery, discombobulate and alohamora as words I feel deserve a bit more attention in our contemporary language repertoire. Your responses suggested I wasn’t the only word nerd feeling a little word nostalgic. You mentioned gumption, tarradiddleabsquatulate and footle. Spectacular words! Too spectacular for the Words Gone Out of Fashion shelf.

And so, let me introduce you to your end of week challenge: Check out the owl list. If nothing else, it has cute owls in funny poses. Then pick a word that tickles your fancy and start using it. Make a sentence. Make a paragraph! Go wild.

Let’s stop hugger-muggering around this footle, get off our slubberdegullion butts, comb out those elflocks and get to work.

I’d like to hear what words, either from the list or not, you’d like to see more of and show me how you’d use it.

Go on. Talk to me fellow word nerds!

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Nick Earls on how to start writing

So, I’ve been lucky enough to attend a few sessions at the Melbourne Writers Festival in the last few days.  I’ve heard authors, editors, publishers, mentors and aspiring writers alike talk about their creative processes, their shared love of reading and the tough journey towards being published.

In every session that I’ve attended, it has closed with a Q & A, where the audience has been given the opportunity to participate in the discussion and ask their idols any questions they like.  In every session the same question has arisen; “How do you start writing?”.

Up until today, I’ve noticed a stealthy evasion of actually answering this question.  The writers on stage have quite eloquently clarified that writing a novel doesn’t necessarily begin with the first sentence.  That they don’t have to have an idea fully formed to begin.  That each time they write they might begin in a different place.  That they have no particular method to collating their ideas.

And so on and so on.  Essentially, they have quashed all the myths about how one might assume you’d start writing a novel, without ever clarifying or giving an example of how they have gone about it.

Now, I realise that everybody writes differently, and that writers often don’t have a plan or method by which their novel comes to be.  I also realise that the same author might write by a different process for every novel they publish.  But is it too much to ask that they give just a small indication as to where they began and how their ideas progressed?  Us aspiring writers, we’re not stupid.  We know that it’s not a case of ‘my way or the highway’, that your method might not work for me, or that where you started is not where all writers should assume to begin.  But it would be nice to know at what point they felt ready to write and how their ideas progressed, so that we might better recognise that time too.

It would also be great to hear some first-hand proof that one sunny day they didn’t just give birth to a perfectly formed novel.

Nick Earls

Today I had the pleasure of sitting in on a session called “Meet Nick Earls”.  An Australian author of young adult fiction, Nick has written twelve books, all highly acclaimed and one, 48 Shades of Brown, which was awarded the Book of the Year by the Children’s Book Council in 2000.

The audience was made up of primarily High School students, which I can safely say is customarily a good indication that there will be a lot of fidgeting, yawning and whispering in the back rows.  Remarkably, Nick had their undivided attention from start to finish as he discussed the characters and ideas within his novels and how they came to fruition.

He caused a great deal of laughter amongst the audience when he recounted a memory from his childhood where he used to shut himself in his bedroom to study chemistry.  His mother, to his misfortune, had been informed that when teenagers shut themselves in their rooms, they were most likely masturbating.

The ‘m’ word caused great amusement amongst the crowd.

He went on to tell us how his mother had gone on to reveal this discovery to him, resulting in him studying with his door open from that point forward, so that his mother would not think her son was in his room doing otherwise.  This was to his disadvantage, of course, when she kept interrupting him whilst he was hard at work, but at the time saw no other solution to save his reputation.

It was all highly entertaining, and so of course by the end of the session the kids were keen to ask some questions.

And then it came.

“So, how do you start writing?”

I momentarily zoned out.  Here we go again, I thought, another lecture on how you need to find what works for you.

But hark! What’s this?

Nick began detailing the time he was given a three week deadline to submit a specifically themed story for an anthology.  He spent the first week panicking and researching the other writers who were contributing so that he might follow their style and understand better what was expected of him and his story.  He spent the second week trying to come up with an idea, and at last decided he wanted a boy to meet a girl, and that the boy would be wearing a dress and the girl a beard when they met (there is no rhyme of reason to the things us writers come up with!).

He then explained how he started asking questions of himself.  Why were they dressed so?  He got stuck on this point for some days until he happened across a street which was adorned with Christmas lights, festive decorations and nativity scenes in every window.  Light bulb moment, he decided they would be dressed like that because they were in a Christmas play.  He then asked himself why they were in the play.  Why the boy wanted to meet the girl.  Why they hadn’t met before.  And so on and so on.  He broke down his creative process for the students and they responded exceptionally well to it.  And so did I.

Without having to say so, he explained that ideas can manifest by chance, from your environment and through experiences, but also by actively working at and seizing those ideas, which I’m sure is what the other writers were getting at anyway, but in (what I believe was) a less helpful manner.  Kids, in particular, want to know how things work and Nick described what he did, with no suggestion that that was how everyone worked, but with plenty of enthusiasm and encouragement to inspire the audience through the tiny steps that led him from a small idea to a completed novel.

I found myself totally inspired by his honest approach to answering this sought after question.  Writers are often buried under a mountain of self doubt, never knowing if they’re good enough, if they will succeed or if they have anything worth saying.  For someone as successful and talented as Nick Earls to offer his step by step process to aspiring writers, I thought it was an excellent way to show kids that writing is about being creative, being curious and asking questions.

He also demonstrated that writing was hard work, but radiated nothing but the fun of discovering your characters and fleshing out a plot.  This, I believe, is how you get people motivated.  Show them what is involved, but communicate the enjoyment that can be had from that process.  Get people excited about writing!

Afterwards I was asked to escort Nick to his book signing, and took the opportunity to tell him what a great job I thought he’d done in the session.  He was just as personable and interesting one to one, and I’m so glad I had the opportunity to hear him speak today.

Follow @nickearls on Twitter or check out his website http://www.nickearls.com/.

~storytelling nomad~

Humour, flirting, and education at the coffee table

30 Day Book Challenge – Day 30

Favorite coffee table book

Well here we are.  The final day of the 30 Day Book Challenge.  Who would have thought we’d make it this far?  I certainly had my doubts.  There were good times, bad times, an extended deadline, and a few unexpected intermissions, but 30 books and 57 days later we reached the finish line.  Woo!

I’m mildly disappointed that Day 30 has to end with my ‘favourite coffee table book’, seeing as I don’t actually own a coffee table.  I would’ve liked to end with a BANG! Like, the most expensive book you ever bought.  Or the best book EVER created in the entire universe!  But alas, what am I if I cannot improvise in the face of a challenge?

So let’s see.  If I had a coffee table, what book would I like to live permanently upon it?  I’m going to go with the Lonely Planet Italian Phrasebook.  I purchased this book when I was 16 before heading to Italy for the very first time.  It was truly invaluable, but also highly entertaining.

My friends, English and Italian alike, would always find great pleasure in reading certain sections of this book, particularly that relating to dating, romance and sex.  Subtitles such as “Breaking the Ice”, “Classic Rejections”, “Making Love” and “Afterwards”, may give you some idea as to the sort of ‘phrases’ they included for a traveller’s convenience.

The best included:

‘Do you come here often?’ – Vieni spesso qui?

‘You’re not my type.’ – Non sei il mio tipo.

‘You turn me on.’ – Mi ecciti.

‘Was it good for you?’ – Ti è piacuto?

‘Faster!’ – Più veloce!

I can only imagine being in the sort of situations that require these phrases and asking the other person to “just hold on a moment while I consult my phrasebook.  Ah yes, Più veloce!”

Ha.

In any case, I think it would keep people interested and entertained when they come over for coffee.  Don’t you?

~storytelling nomad~

Potential Energy (via The Bailey Daily)

Enjoying this blog.  The post on how to get yourself writing by lying to yourself is also worth checking out.

Potential Energy “You have a lot of potential.” Anyone ever said that to you?  A lot of my high school teachers told me this.  At the time, it kind of sounded ok, I mean, compared to what other people were saying about me.  Then I got older.  Not all at once, but rather slowly.  And I started to realize that this wasn’t a very helpful comment. I tried to define the comment.  That’s what older people do.  They like to define things, to draw a nice, little mental b … Read More

via The Bailey Daily

 

~storytelling nomad~

Assholes, masterminds, and funny people in cyberspace

30 Day Book Challenge – Day 28

Last book you read

Well, I’m not going to mention the She-God of writing again, because that would just make me sound like a crazy stalker person…which I’m not, by the way.  If you want to check out the *actual* last book I read you can go to Day 24 of the book challenge, where I talked about my favourite scene in a book (watch out for the spoiler!).

Meanwhile, I’d like to mention the last book I read from today.  Fair?  I thought so.

Today, in a moment of sheer insanity and after several months of giving the WNIP (Work Not In Progress) the cold shoulder, I spent roughly half an hour writing up a plot summary with, believe it or not, actual plots (note: plural!). Hoorah! I’ve mentioned before that I had an idea for a novel but was struggling to begin without knowing where the story was heading and what the protagonist’s purpose was.  Some suggested to just start writing anyway, others insisted that some idea of the plot was necessary, others just told me to stop procrastinating and get on with it (hello again unfriendly but straightforward voice in my head!).

Try as I may, I could not face writing it without the plot to guide me and so, in frustration and disappointment at being unsuccessful in my plot making endeavors, I paralysed myself into a novel hating lull.  I didn’t want to think about it, look at it or talk about it with anyone.  Something just wasn’t working, and I didn’t know how to fix it.

Today, like a sign from the heavens, I received a well needed shove to get the motors going again (thank you She-God!).  I opened up Scrivener and started to write.  Half an hour and approximately 1000 words later I had an idea that I was excited about, with plot twists, drama and conflict! All the things I had been struggling to establish with my original idea, finally coming to life!

So what changed, you ask?  What changed, my friends, was the story.  Like, the whole thing.  About the only thing I kept was my character’s name.  I still love the original idea, but have come to the conclusion that it’s just not ready to be written yet.

So, back to the purpose of this post, that being the last book I read, or in this case, the last book I picked up.  In my plot writing frenzy, I started getting curious about how the big boys of epic fantasy built their worlds and created their creatures.  Who to look to in such a moment of need?  The master of fantasy himself, of course:  J R R Tolkien.

During my teenage years when I was obsessed with the LOTRs, my parents bought me Tolkien: The Illustrated Encyclopedia by David Day; a comprehensive guide to everything you’d ever want to know about Middle Earth, the Undying Lands, the creatures, the characters, the geography, the history.  This book is pretty spectacular.

Now, it has to be said that when I began flicking through the pages today, I started to panic.  That little voice in my head started having a go with his usual taunts; “Don’t be an idiot Katy.  You could never create anything as comprehensive as the world of Tolkien.  Look at all the research!  It’s far beyond your inferior intellect.”

That little voice is a real asshole sometimes.  As has happened many a time before, my confidence in my abilities started waning and I could almost see that small spark of creativity threatening to die a slow death in the depths of my brain.  Bummer, right?

Well, it would have been if I hadn’t come across what I can only guess was intended to be a funny look on how to write fantasy fiction.  It read:

Researching mythologies, legends, and history on your own is a complete waste of time — real authors don’t worry about that kind of thing. It’s fantasy; they just make stuff up off the tops of their heads!

Now, I realise research can be more than important when writing.  I for one can’t write without a fast internet connection for all the Googling I do while I’m ‘in the mode’.  And yet despite this, it sort of reminded me that my greatest tool is my imagination.  If I want to, I really can just ‘make it up off the top of my head’.  For some time I have been crippling myself with the idea that I simply don’t know enough to start, or continue, especially with world building.  But really I don’t need to ‘know’ anything.  I just need to create it.

Ideally, of course, I would like to have my world reflect a reality readers can relate to.  Power structures, heirarchy, economy and commerce are all things that make a world run, for better or worse.  They may not need to be identified, but the reader needs to know they’re there.

But I digress.  The point of the story is that today was a good day.  Tolkien both helped and scared me out of inertia and some funny person on the internet reminded me not to take it all so seriously, because my mind is quite capable of filling in the gaps.

As for the asshole in my head?  He’s still there, but he’s unlikely to resurface again today.

Katy 1 – Asshole 0

~storytelling nomad~

I want my potty!

Favorite picture book from childhood

30 Day Book Challenge – Day 21

This one sticks in mind by far as my most memorable picture book from childhood.  I Want My Potty by Tony Ross is the story of a little princess who decides that nappies are, in her words, “YUUECH!” and  resolves to go cold turkey and start her potty training.

Of course, she learns the hard way that needing to use the potty and actually making it to the potty in time, are two entirely different matters.  As such, she spends the whole book running around her princess palace screaming I WANT MY POTTY!

The pictures of her red-faced screaming and sitting on her potty with her L plates are spectacular.

And yes, as an adult, I’m still partial to a bit of toilet humour.

~storytelling nomad~

Snape. Snape. Severus Snape.

Book you’ve read the most number of times

30 Day Book Challenge – Day 20

I have read the Harry Potter books A LOT of times in more than one language.  And I’m okay with that.  However, in light of the fact that I’ve already discussed my love of these books already within this challenge, I feel inclined to instead share with you this ridiculous Harry Potter related video, which recently had me in stitches for the greater part of the day.  Be warned, you might have the words “Snape, Snape, Severus Snape” circling around your head for a few days after watching this.

Also, I feel I must add that I have not yet seen the new movie, which devastates me so, but unfortunately work hours won’t permit it for another week.  In any case, although yes, I have read the books a thousand times (not an accurate calculation), and yes I know what happens, I must say that I am insanely jealous of all of you who have had the pleasure of seeing the movie.  So feel free to boast and tell me how spectacularly awesome it is, but please don’t tell me what happens, or what they missed or what they added or what they did or didn’t do right.  I’m in a Harry Potter bliss bubble at the moment and I simply can’t have you popping it.  Deal? DEAL?

I will return this act of charity with many cyber love hugs.

~storytelling nomad~

The dangers of ebook world domination

Although it seems to have maintained a persistent online presence in recent months, today I felt as if the stars aligned to bring to head the ebook/self publishing debate.  Everywhere I looked, it was bam! bam! bam! with pro ebooks, boo ebooks, pro publishers, boo publishers.  My brain had to switch to autopilot just to get through the day without having a nervous breakdown from opposing information overload.

I wrote an article last year on the traditional vs new forms of publishing debate, but back then most of the talk seemed to centre around whether or not traditional books would survive this new age of online publishing.  Apparently we’re over that now, with many, myself included, agreeing that ebooks are here to stay but also that books are not likely to become obsolete any time soon.  There are too many of us bibliophiles out there to allow such a travesty to take place.

The debate no longer doubts the obsolescence of books, but the bypassing of and questionable necessity of the publisher.  Not only that, but there seems to be some concern over exactly how beneficial this new age of self publishing is to the reader.  Let’s not forget about him, he’s pretty important.

So what seems to be the problem, officer?

Well, first of all I bring to your attention this article published on the online Guardian newspaper today; Now anyone can ‘write’ a book. First, find some words…

I suspect the reaction to the title of this article went something like this:

  • YES! I have words! Now I can finally get published! (99% of readers)

or

  • Great….now my carefully written, scrupulously edited, well developed ebook will be lost in the masses of crap published by any Tom, Dick or Harry. (1% of readers)

Herein lies the crux of the problem.  Where although it might be argued that publishers have in the past held an unseemly amount of authority over what does and doesn’t get published, publishing what a few well-paid people deem to be a ‘bestseller’, and claiming a contentious amount of what some would claim to be the author’s earnings, they have nonetheless provided a benchmark for the quality of writing being released on the bookshelves.  Although many excellent writers suffer from this system (the downside), whether it be from seeing their publisher’s pockets grow heavier than their own, or from not even being able to break into the publishing scene, it has nonetheless been of benefit to the readers (the upside), who could purchase a published book with the assurance that it had been proofread, edited, proofread again, and above all, selected by a group of ‘professionals’ as being worthy of their hard-earned cash.

Now, I’ve never been one to overlook both sides of the argument, and I realise the publishing gods have not always done us proud.  I, for one, can count on more fingers than I actually own, the number of books that a big respectable publisher has deemed deserving not only of publication, but of at least $25 out of my wallet, only to find that I had paid said amount for a bound collection of paper better employed as kindling for the fire.  Undoubtedly, it’s at times like these that aspiring writers such as myself scream at the heavens “Why! Why do you torment me publishing Gods?! My writing is a kajillion times better than this piece of crap!” Followed by a few angry stamps of the foot and an angry punch to the air.

Cue the invention of ebooks and online book sellers such as Amazon, who, like the aforementioned article claims, allow for anyone with words to publish a book, within a matter of minutes.  MINUTES?!  Yes, minutes.

With my recent purchase of the Scrivener word processor, I soon discovered it had a function which gave me the opportunity to publish something I had written, in a number of ebook formats.  Me? Publish an ebook? Pfft! I scoffed at my machine.  But the curious girl that I am, I Googled ‘Scrivener tutorials’ and watched a brief video on how I could transform a story into an ebook.  Within 20 minutes (Shock! Gasp!) I had a short story on iBooks and was reading it on my iPhone.

Now, for those of us who like to think our writing is worthy of publication, this is fantastic news.  We bypass all the middlemen, do all the marketing ourselves (which, let’s face it, we probably would’ve had to do anyway), set our own price for our baby and watch the profits roll in.  If this is you, writers, then read the following excellent article/interview with bestselling author Michael Levin, and jump with joy at this publishing revolution, because now you have not only the resources, but the power to become a published author.

Are Publishers Stupid? Interview with Bestselling Author Michael Levin-Part 1 What do YOU think? Are publishers stupid? Send this link to writers you know and come back tomorrow for Part 2 of Michael Levin’s interview! … Read More

via Bo’s Cafe Life

Readers, cower with mercy, since it is ye who shall suffer.

If you’ve read the article, you might have already read some of the comments, or should I say concerns, below the text.  Correspondingly, the earlier Guardian article touched on the same unease, pointing out the following statistics:

…Nearly 2.8 million non-traditional books, including ebooks, were published in the United States in 2010, while just more than 316,000 traditional books came out.  That compares with 1.33 million ebooks and 302,000 printed books in 2009.

With such an extraordinary number of ebooks being released at an increasingly rapid rate, how exactly are the poor readers supposed to navigate this tsunami of books to get to the good stuff?

Although I’m sure that a great deal of new publications are from writers who probably deserved to be published a long time ago by the publishing gods (here I have to mention Angela Wallace, whose ebook Phoenix Feather I read recently and is an example of how exactly the ebook revolution can benefit magnificent writers with remarkable stories. Check it out here), I’m just as sure that a great deal of these new publications are absolute rubbish, or worse, plagiarised.  Without the middlemen, where lies the quality control?

Again, from the Guardian article:

It’s only when one peruses the cornucopia of literary productions available on the Kindle store that one detects the first scent of rodent. One of the most prolific self-publishers on the site is Manuel Ortiz Braschi. When I last checked he had edited, authored or co-authored no fewer than 3,255 ebooks. Mr Braschi is clearly a man of Herculean energy and wide learning, who ranges effortlessly from How to Become a Lethal Weapon in Two Weeks (£1.40) to Herbs 101: How to Plant, Grow & Cook with Natural Herbs (£0.70) while taking in Potty Training! The Ultimate Potty Training Guide!(£0.69).

Having inspected Mr Braschi’s The Miracle of Vinegar: 65 Tried and Tested Uses For Health and Home! (which, at £0.69, works out at about 30p per screenful of text), I can testify that he is no Delia Smith. But at least he appears to write – or at any rate compile – his own stuff. In that respect, he represents the quality end of the Kindle self-publishing business.

I’m sorry, what? The man has authored/co-authored 3,255 ebooks?! I’m doubtful at the quality, but as the article states, at least the writing appears to be his own.

Ultimately, how are the readers expected to have confidence in anything that sits in the midst of such questionable standards?  I feel that I am considerably immersed in the world of readers, writers and books, and yet still I struggle to determine what in the ebook world is worth reading.  Word of mouth is clearly a well-founded prerequisite to marketing your ebook, but I wonder, just as the works of great writers are lost amongst the less-worthy publications, won’t such be the case also for self promotion of the same.  With everybody shouting the loudest, how can we possibly determine the Rowlings from the Manuel Ortiz Braschis and his 3,255 books?

Sooner or later somebody is going to realise that no matter how high those ebook figures rise, no matter how many outstanding writers self publish their bestsellers, if the readers can’t navigate the market, if they don’t actually make a purchase, or rather, spend their money where it is least merited, then readers, publishers, writers alike…everybody loses.

What are your thoughts on the ebook/self publishing debate?  Please, add to my brain hemorrhage and discuss.

~storytelling nomad~

A public announcement from your spellchecker

I have a spelling chequer,
It came with my pea sea,
It plainly marques four my revue
Miss steaks eye cannot sea.

When eye strike a quay, right a word,
I weight four it two say
Weather eye am wrong oar wright
It shows me strait aweigh.

As soon as a mist ache is maid
I nose bee fore two late
And eye can put the error rite
Its rarely, rarely grate.

I’ve run this poem threw it
I’m shore your pleased two no,
Its letter perfect in it’s weigh
My chequer tolled me sew.

-anon

I discovered this while going through my latest editing course readings today, and I thought it was worth sharing.  It really is so important to NOT rely solely on your spellchecker.  He’s a sneaky bastard with a cruel agenda to make you look like a thickheaded illiterate on crack.  Why risk leaving your intellectual capacity in the hands of something that doesn’t even have EYES?  I can assure you your brain is far more intelligent than his (despite his claims otherwise).  So for goodness sakes people, use and abuse that spell checking scoundrel where you must, but proofread, proofread, proofread!

~storytelling nomad~

Me, Harry Potter, and an FUI (Flying Under the Influence)

30 Day Book Challenge
Day 5: Book you wish you could live in

This is so easy, for the simple reason that I have so often dreamed of living in this particular book.  I cannot count the number of times I’ve read the series, but I do know I’ve done so not only in English, but also in the Italian and French translations.  In fact, I account my knowing words such as ‘owls’ and ‘wands’ in languages other than English to these books.

Since its debut in 1997 when I was a wee 12 year old, the Harry Potter books have captured hearts around the world, uniting children and adults alike in a world where pictures move, magic is real and every flavour beans really are every flavour.  I’m certain I’m not the only one who held a glimmer of hope that one day I, too, would receive a letter of acceptance to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Sadly, it never came (I blame Australia Post).

HOWEVER, if it had, here are some of the things that would have transpired:

I would have been in Gryffindor house, naturally.  It’s where all the cool kids are at, especially our resident celebrity ‘The Boy Who Lived’ Harry Potter.

Ron and I would have had a lasting love, hindered by a brief estrangement caused by Ron’s jealousy. This was due to the time Harry tried his luck with me at the Yule Ball after a few too many Butterbeers.  We all made up of course and Ron got over it when Harry started making goo goo eyes at Ginny. Now that, he had a harder time getting over.

Ginny wouldn’t have liked me because of aforementioned incident with Harry.  Also, I’m prettier than her.

My best friend would have been Luna.  We would have spent hours observing the Crumple-Horned Snorkack and skipping classes to fly the Thestrals.  Together we would have had shared a belief in the existence of: Moon Frogs, Blibbering Humdingers, Heliopaths, Umgubular Slashkilters, Wrackspurts and Nargles, despite no-one else believing us.  I would, however, shake my head at her when she yakked on about Aquavirius Maggots.  A creature that resembles a brain? Now that’s just ridiculous.

I would have been an astute student of Flying, Transfiguration and Care of Magical Creatures, but absolutely rubbish at History of Magic, much to the dismay of Professor Binns.  I would have had two muggle parents you see, like Hermione, and so knew nothing of magic (or the history of same) before starting at Hogwarts.  That said, Hermione would have been a life saver with her abnormally sized brain, letting me copy her parchment on many occasions in exchange for a few vials of Amortentia, a love potion.  You see, at first I think Hermione was a bit jealous when I started dating Ron, but she got over it when I offered to help her find a boyfriend of her own.  That being, of course, an impossible task seeing as she is so bloody stuck up and a bit of a know-it-all, after many months of failed attempts I would have asked the Weasley brothers if they had any love potions to spare. They would’ve happily obliged, free of charge no less! This was partly because they thought I was totally awesome, but mostly because they thought I was way too good for their little brother.  Hermione would have had her share of loved up wizards, and I would have gotten my homework done.  Result.

My Patronus would have been a Lion.  Take that Dementors! Peow peow!

As Harry had Hedwig, Hermione Crookshanks and Ron Scabbers, my Magical Familiar would have been a Cornish Pixie named Sly.  We would get up to a lot of mischief together, including taunting the Fat Lady with lots of fat mumma jokes, such as “Your mumma so fat, she sat on a rainbow and skittles popped out.” Looking back, I suppose we were quite cruel, but Sly and I enjoyed our antics immensely.  And the Fat Lady got her own back that time we snuck out late and she refused to let us back in, only to be discovered by Snape a short time later, who gave us the arduous task of polishing all the trophies in the trophy cabinet on the evening of the Gryffindor vs Slytherin Quidditch Finals. That bastard.

My wand would be a 12 inch Holly with a Dragon heartstring core.  Apparently this makes it very effective for hexes.

For the end of year exams during my first year at Hogwarts, I would have successfully devised a potion to source and trap all of Voldemort’s Horcruxes.  After doing so, the Ministry of Magic would have been able to destroy said Horcruxes on the advice of Professor Dumbledore.  This would have in turn led to the true death of Voldemort, who apparently was still hanging around like a bad smell after his last rendezvous with the Potters all those years ago.  I would have been commended for my achievements, awarded a medal by the Minister of Magic himself and become something of a celebrity for a brief time.  That was probably the most exciting thing that would have happened during my seven years at Hogwarts.  The rest of my time there would have been pretty boring, with nothing of particular interest happening. 

Oh, wait a sec, Harry Potter did get kind of fat and there was that time he got an FUI for flying under the influence.  He really did enjoy his butterbeers.  Yeah, that was pretty exciting at the time I suppose…

Harry flying under the influence (Courtesy of Izimile which has many other funny images like this one. Click on the photo to be taken to them)

Yep, I sure would’ve liked to live in the Harry Potter books…

~storytelling nomad~

What brings you here, dearest bloggers?

I came across this great blog post yesterday, discussing the bizarre and wonderful search terms that had led readers to that particular blog.  Needless to say, it was not long before I was investigating the search engine referrals on my own blog and having a good old giggle and raising a few eyebrows at the search terms that were bringing people to storytelling nomad.

So, what brings you here, dearest bloggers?  Apparently Google logos are as interesting to you as they are to me, because that search comes in at number one, generating a number of hits every day.  Wallpaper background is another top hit, although I think I only mentioned it once and I don’t think I was very interesting about it.  Sorry about that.  A few people have actually searched for storytelling nomad which just brings a smile to my face.  I love you, anonymous internet fans!

But what have been some of the more peculiar searches.  Here I list the top 10, in no particular order:

  1. what does it take to make people go on quotes
    You would think this is pretty self explanatory.  A good quote makes people go on quotes.  Also, there are none on my blog so I’m sorry to have disappointed you.
  2. happy cowgirl
    I hope you, erm, found what you were looking for Woody.
  3. very old positive lady; my nanna; creepy old women; attractive old lady photo
    There are soooo many search terms about old women, presumably leading to my inner nanna post.  I picked out a few of the best.  Firstly, I’m glad that someone searched for a ‘positive’ old lady, as opposed to the negative, grouchy ones that so often plague us?  No, I’m pretty sure your nanna won’t turn up if you Google ‘my nanna’.  Creepy old women…plural?? And an attractive old lady photo.  Look mister, you need to get out more.  Seriously.
  4. if you came to 2 doors ,one is good other is bad and they look the same what question will you ask
    I would ask which one would lead you to better grammar and punctuation.  Or, depending on your preference towards good or evil, you could just ask which one is, you know, good or evil? Or for better signage?  Come on man, you Googled this?
  5. do u love me wallpaper
    No, wallpaper doesn’t love you.  Also, wallpaper is inanimate and incapable of love.
  6. ‘inception’ was masterpiece
    *Giggles*.  This person was probably unimpressed with my stance on this commonly thrown around statement.  Find out more here. #itreallywasnt
  7. spiritually connected to animals
    I’m sure you are, no really.
  8. hell of my own making text
    Please don’t hurt me.
  9. if i am a tree in autumn
    Then I am the sky in summer. Hippie love.
  10. if you tell the truth you don’t need a good memory
    I think you might be on to something here…  Those of us with bad memories, there is hope for us yet!

Okay, so your turn.  What’s the best/craziest/creepiest/weirdest most unrelated term that someone has searched for to get to your blog?

~storytelling nomad~

30 Day Book Challenge – Day 3

Book that makes you laugh out loud

A friend of mine who knows me quite well bought me this children’s book by award winning Australian author Jackie French, for my birthday a couple of years ago.  It absolutely cracks me up.  Why?  Because this is an accurate depiction of what my own diary would look like if I had one.  My friend realised this also, ergo children’s book for my adult birthday.

Okay, so to be fair, I’m not quite as bad as Mister Wombat, but by golly do I like my sleep…rephrase, I NEED my sleep.

Mister Wombat and I share a typical Monday routine...

~storytelling nomad~

How to become an author in 5 incredibly difficult steps

An insightful and mildly hysterical look at the 5 painstaking steps it takes to become an author.  I literally el oh elled reading this one.  Thanks to Kate who found and shared this post on her wonderful blog Klebenleiben.

 

How to Become an Author in 5 Incredibly Difficult Steps

By Robert Brockway
June 22, 2011 389,653 views

A while back, I wrote a non-fiction book about the apocalypse. Since publishing the book, the question I get asked the most has to be: “What are you doing in my toolshed?” Second place goes to “Is that my wife’s cocktail dress?” The third is- well, let’s skip ahead to questions not relating to a highly illegal fetish revolving around forbidden sheds and stolen evening wear. People usually ask me: “How did you get your book published?” Everybody wants to know how the process works, because they think that if they can just get the steps for this secret dance memorized, it’s all plaid jackets and grad-student-blowjobs from that point forward. There are a lot of questions and answers for new authors out there on the Internet, but they always seem to skirt the subject in the name of preserving some sort of artistic mystique. As is the case with all nice things, I would like to ruin that tradition. I’ll talk to you about the publishing process honestly and unflinchingly, even when it makes the whole thing (and by extension, me) look kind of shitty.

~storytelling nomad~

20 ways in which I channel my inner nanna

This is an accurate representation of my inner nanna

I may be in my mid 20s but I’m under the firm belief that deep down I’m channelling my inner nanna.  These are the top 20 reasons why:

  1. Nanna naps – My friends will attest to this one.  If I don’t get at least a solid 7 hours of decent sleep then I will need a nanna nap.  If I don’t get my nanna nap then I usually go very quiet and wear a sour look on my face.  It’s most unbecoming.
  2. Knitting and lawn bowls – Both sound like very reasonable extra curricular activities worth pursuing.
  3. I have many senior moments – Oft mistaken for ‘blonde’ moments.
  4. I would rather spend a night at the theatre than a night at the pub – I’m just cultured that way, you know?
  5. My eyesight – Is pretty bad.
  6. I have an unreasonable fondness for cardigans – [intentionally left blank]
  7. I don’t do fast mode – I don’t exactly dawdle, but I won’t run to the crossing to catch the flashing green man.  Honestly, I don’t think the red man gets enough credit.
  8. I look down on those who use too many acronyms when texting – Shakespeare wouldn’t approve either.
  9. I like receiving actual letters by actual mail – Preferably with a wax seal.
  10. Handwriting – I appreciate good penmanship.  This stems from my Primary School days when I spent much time and effort working towards getting my pen license and refining my cursive.  It was an exciting time in my life.
  11. My memory – My long term memory, heck my short term memory, is pretty unreliable.
  12. I have friends with seniors cards – They’re my entourage, my possy, my crew…my kindred spirits!
  13. I refer to close friends as kindred spirits – see above.
  14. I get nostalgic – A lot.
  15. My vocabulary – I regularly say things like “good grief!” “Oh dear!” and “knickers”
  16. I enjoy classical music – Bach, Tchaikovsky, Mozart.  They knew their shit.
  17. Fashion – I would like to see a return of the top hat.  And the dresses from Pride and Prejudice, the BBC version, naturally.  In fact, send me back in time to Jane Austen’s day and surround me by soldiers in uniform, men in top hats and lots of ladylike activities such as reading and knitting (see point #2) and I will be most content.
  18. Comfort – I take my pillow EVERYWHERE.  This is sometimes awkward and leads to concerned stares, but I’m the one having the last laugh after a terrific night’s sleep.
  19. The Queen – I think she’s pretty hip.
  20. Technology – I have a pretty clued-on inner nanna when it comes to technology, but she comes on quite aggressive when it comes to remote controls.  There are simply far too many buttons on that thing.  See here for further evidence of abuse against the elderly via the remote control.

Overcoming a fear of writers’ groups

Last night, with some trepidation, I attended my very first EVER writers’ group.  I’d say it has been nearly two years since I started flirting with the idea of joining such a group, knowing that deep down it would be greatly beneficial to my writing.  But rather than having high ideas of sipping tea with my pinky in the air, smiling coyly as this fictitious group of intellectuals throw their heads back in laughter at my quick witted genius as a writer, I kept terrorising myself with the following hypothetical scenarios:

a) Enter scene.  Group of teenage emos stare back at me (as best as they can considering the matted down hair that covers the majority of their central and peripheral vision), growl slightly under their breath and shift in their tight jeans before continuing their discussion over their latest compilation of pain induced narcissistic poetry.  I spend the meeting acutely aware of not making any sudden movements in fear I might be stabbed with a black biro.

b) Enter scene.  Group of young hip creatives welcome me to their spiritual endeavour to enhance their writing through intense meditation and prayer.  They smile a lot more than could be considered humanly reasonable and offer only encouragement, love and positive energy to every piece of overindulged prose that enters the room.  My short story on death is less than well received and I am assured by said group that as I read, the room became darker and negativity sparked across the walls.  I sit quietly amidst suspicious stares wondering if I’m a diabolical sinner.  I also frown a lot at the lights, cheeky buggers.

c)  Enter scene.  Group of high end novelists, script writers and multi-published authors look me up and down over the rims of their D&G glasses, before resuming talk over their latest book release parties and the celebrity guests that were rude enough not to rsvp.  They scoff impertinently at my lack of writing credentials and squint their eyes at me when I tell them I have not been paid for anything I’ve had published, as if they distrust me and the low end scum I’ve obviously been associating with.  I go home and burn everything I’ve ever written.

As you can see, I was fairly tormented by these visions.  Essentially it came down to wanting to fit into a group of like minded people.  I wanted feedback on my writing, but only positive feedback when it was warranted.  I wanted constructive criticism, but not so much as to be discouraged to never write again.  And I wanted to benefit from a group of people with more experience than me, but also be able to help those with less experience, and share hardships and success with those at a similar stage in their writing endeavours.

So terrorised and all, I grew some proverbial balls and decided that if I was serious about all this writing business, it was time to stop dipping my toes in the water and just dive in.  So I did.  And boy am I lucky I did.  Last night I met some of the most interesting, intelligent and varied group of people/writers I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.  As we all introduced ourselves I was inspired by their experiences and their success, their sincerity and their enthusiasm.  Everyone was there for a different reason, but all were there to improve their writing, share their experience and be a part of a group of like minded people.  Jess, Ralph, Fiona, Peter, Marjorie, Josie, Penny, Chris, Liz and Ian, thank you for welcoming me to your group with open arms, for the support you offer each other in your writing aspirations, and for firmly squashing my comical fear of joining a writers’ group.  I can’t wait for the next meeting.

If any one is considering joining a writers group I would recommend just giving it a go.  Some of the larger towns have many to choose from, but you can usually (at least in Australia) track them down by joining your state or local Writers’ Centre.  The Tasmanian Writers’ Centre was where I found this little gem of a group listed, and they also send out a valuable fortnightly ecalendar with the various writing activities, workshops, news, competitions and awards happening across the nation.

Tasmanians aren't so scary after all

~storytelling nomad~