Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Is LOL a word?

No, it's not. Stop using it in writing where you want to be taken seriously! Save it for messaging and your social network of choice.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

"Altogether" vs "all together"

"Altogether" is when you are referring to something in its entirety or completeness. Such as if you are considering the sum of all parts of something.

Altogether, the trip was worth every penny.
My computer was $499 and monitor was $149, or $648 altogether.

"All together" means everyone or everything together.

Put the clothes all together in the hamper.
The dogs started barking all together.
When the starting pistol goes off, we will begin the race all together.

I often find the term "all together" being awkward. If you can split the term the sentence usually makes more sense and validates the use of all together in the first place.

Put all the clothes together in the hamper.
All the dogs started barking together.
When the starting pistol goes off, we will all begin the race together.

"Sometime" vs "Some Time"

Kudos to Tristi Pinkston for this one and her explanation. I hope she doesn't mind when she noticed I'm stealing this from her.

Sometime is a vague and unspecified time at which you do something. It's use would be the same as saying, "When I get around to it." I like how Tristi explains "some time" so I'll just quote from her writing tip: "The words "some time" mean, "I need a quantity of time." "Some" is used to refer to a quantity." So, it is like needing some salt or some proof. You are asking for an unspecified quantity of time.

Also, if you can put a word like "spare" in the middle of it, then "some time" should be the option to go with.

I need to update my blog sometime.
When I have some time I need to start outlining my story.

I need to update my blog somesparetime.
When I have some spare time I need to start outlining my story.

"Nevermind" vs "never mind"

Nevermind is a word, but it is very outdated. Don't believe me? Type it in word and you'll see the red squigglies appear underneath it (coincidentally, it does the same with the word "squigglies").

 In common (everyday) speech you are using the two-word version, "never mind," which means to disregard or ignore. Don't use the outdated "nevermind" because, I promise you, you will use it wrong. In its correct usage, it doesn't sound like correct English.

Never mind what Tom says, he is crazy! 
Never mind the manager, he is upset with everybody every day. 

 For what it is worth, "nvm" is NOT a word.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Everyday vs Every Day

I've got good news, these are both correct, English words. However, they are not synonyms or interchangeable with each other.

As one word, "everyday" is a adjective. It describes something you see often or commonplace. Since adjectives modify nouns, you'll usually see it in front of the noun it is describing.

I avoided my everyday route to school.
I got another everyday tie for Father's Day.
I enjoy hearing the British accent over the everyday, American accent I grew up with.

 Notice in that last example that I threw in two adjectives. I'll save this for another lesson, but two or more adjectives modifying a noun have commas between them.

 "Every day" on the other hand is a phrase which means "each day." "Every" is an adjective, and it modifies the word "day."

I want to hug my kids every day.
I try to whistle every day as I work to help the time go by faster.
I see that broken down car every day I drive in this neighborhood.

Jordan McCollum offered this extra bit of information from Annette Lyon:

Annette Lyon gave a great guideline for figuring out if you need "everyday" or "every day": if you can put "single" between "every" and "day," they're separate words. "It was an everyday thing." vs. "It happened every [single] day."

So to test my examples:

I want to hug my kids every single day.
I try to whistle every single day as I work to help the time go by faster.
I see that broken down car every single day I drive in this neighborhood.

Hey, it worked! I passed! *Whew*

Alright vs All Right

This is similar to the "alot" vs "a lot" argument. Technically, alright is not a word. It is a lazy way of writing "all right" to the point that it has actually become accepted. Go ahead, open up Microsoft Word and type it in. See, no red squiggly line under it (Now do it with alot just to test your sanity). It has even been accepted into the dictionary.

To be on the safe side, always write it out as two words. While it may be acceptable, it is still not taken seriously by the intellectual elite. But then again, who cares about them, go ahead and use either form without abandon!

Seriously, it really is two words.

Alot is NOT a Word, A Lot is Two Words

I'm relatively laid back when I witness spelling errors, misused word, and bad punctuation. Even when they are found in professional writings I can usually laugh it off. After all, what is important is that meaning is communicated so I don't usually get too uptight about it. But there is one exception, and I see it a lot.

"A lot" is two words. "Alot" is not a word at all.

This might have to be a rule you just memorize with no tricks. Chant to yourself the phrase, "A lot is two words. A lot is two words," until you get it. Say it until you believe it! Say it until you know it! Say it until it bugs you just like it bugs me! If you need to, say it a lot!

Why? Because it is two words. It really is! See if you notice the pattern here:

Incorrect: I ran afew laps today. Correct: I ran a few laps today.
Incorrect: I did aton of work today. Correct: I did a ton of work today.
Incorrect: I ate abit of dessert. Correct: I ate a bit of dessert.
Incorrect: I am alittle afraid of snakes. Correct: I am a little afraid of snakes.
Incorrect: I have alot of homework to day. Correct: You're an idiot and you are going to burn if you keep spelling a lot wrong, plus today is one word!

(I'm breathing, I'm breathing)

Okay, that is my soap box. These other cases don't put me in the mental house but I do see them from time to time.

Do it, breaking this rule will instantly and forever brand you as somebody who doesn't know what they are writing about

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Robison Wells Book Bomb

A few days ago Larry Correia announced here:

Larry's Blog Post

that he was going to do a Book Bomb for Robison Wells' book Variant. The idea being that if enough people purchase this book on November 10th it will elevate the book higher in the Amazon rankings and open the possibility of more book sales due to increased exposure.

So if Larry is doing it, you must be wondering why I am as well. After all, Larry is an established author with krundles more credibility and followers. But my reasoning is three-fold:

1) As somebody who hopes to some day be elevated to the rank of Published Author (not if I keep splitting infinitives like that, right?), I consider those who are already there brothers and sisters I care for. If you follow my twitter feed I do a lot of promoting their friends because, quite frankly, I have nothing of mine to promote as of yet. But I love promoting others and I saw this a perfect opportunity to do so again.

2) I have a lot of respect for Robison Wells. No, I have NOT read Variant. It is on my reading list, I promise, as I've heard NOTHING but good things about it. As he announced on his blog: "Publishers Weekly has named Variant as one of the Best Books of 2011!" A few times Rob appeared as a guest on my favorite Podcast, Writing Excuses, and they were some of my favorite episodes. He is very insightful on the writing process and this is just my way of giving back.

3) Academic interest! As of this writing, Variant is ranked #6,077 in books. I'll be getting this on Kindle, and it is ranked #9,181 on paid Kindle books. I would really love to see how successful a Book Bomb can be.

So, on November 10th make sure you pick up Robison's book. I will! The link is here:

Oh, and if you want to get to know Robison Wells more his blog is here:

Robison Wells' Blog

And, LDS Writer's Blogck also blogged on it. Check that out here, if you are interested.

Good luck, Rob!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

NaNoWriMo Day #3

Day two sucked!

There, I said it. Things got too busy. Work was nothing but meetings. The second I got home I was in the car to attend parent teacher conference, and then every Wednesday I host a movie night for the neighborhood so by the time I finished yelling at my son's school counselor for putting him in retarded classes (two P.E. classes and a class he got straight A's in the year prior) I prepped for that. By then, my night was done. So no writing time.

Today got better. After work I went to a local dining area, ordered some food, and went to town on my story. Afterwards I went to my writing group and discussed writing in general. All-in-all, it was a good day for writing and for NaNoWriMo. I'm still a little behind on my word count, but I'm  making progress so I'm a happy camper.

In the meantime, feel free to play this music video in the background to keep you inspired while you do NaNoWriMo!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

NaNoWriMo Day 1

Okay, I've signed up for NaNoWriMo (for more info, see the previous post). And why? you might ask.

 I need to push myself, that is why. I'm not anticipating writing a best seller here, but it is better than what I've been doing lately when it comes to writing. I'll need to sacrifice some of the things I'm doing now but with most things in life, when you sacrifice something you can get dividends elsewhere.

 I've found a quiet place where I can get away from everything and really work. And I slammed out over 1,000 words when I ran out of water and my nose started running. But by the time I got in to take care of both those things real life caught up and I wasn't able to get back out.

 Lesson learned: Bring more water and Kleenexes next time I venture out so I can work longer undisturbed. So, 3% of the month is gone and I'm 2% towards my goal. At least it is 2% closer than nothing at all (wait, doing the math on that, and it really doesn't work that way... but I digress).

The thing I'm concentrating on with this story is conflict. It started off small (a wife arguing with her husband and her feelings of being neglected) and I was getting it escalated when I got pulled away and didn't return. Hopefully I can finish it tomorrow.

 So, with each story, I hope to focus on a specific aspect of writing. Today conflict. Next, I don't know. Dialogue? Humor? Wonder? I'll keep this updated as I make progress.

I hope everybody else is rocking their NaNoWriMo.