Words–Their Weft & Warp 32

Words. Unusual words. Forgotten words. Foreign words. And some whose authenticity one may question, but are fun anyway. In other words, not your average grade 4 spelling list. Enjoy!

(n) Beauty that is more than skin deep

(n) An unpredictable instance, a wandering journey; a whimsical, wild, or unusual idea, desire or action

(n) One who lives by the sea


Can Your Cat Fly?

Marie-Louise_Gay_1On the weekend I attended a book launch by Marie-Loise Gay, author and illustrator of the “Stella” books and more. This time she had a large book called “Any Questions?”

It. Was. Brilliant.

Marie has done a number of school visits and such over the years, and and her young readers and admirers have bucket loads of questions for her. She used all those questions, put them in a book about how a book is born and grows, and created a masterpiece, enhanced with her lovely, quirky artwork.

Some of the questions these kids asked are, “How did you learn to draw?” “Can your cat fly?” “How many books do you make in one day?” Kids want to know.

I’ve said before that I was always a nosey cat and an imaginative one. When I was younger I had just heard some adults talking about St Francis of Assissi and how he claimed he could speak to animals. Being the animal nut I was, I asked my mother, “Will I ever have that gift to talk to animals?” Children do not relate to impossiblity.

And how else do kids learn than by asking and doing? Kids learn: that crayons will melt in the sun. . .that worms can look just like twigs. . .that if you beg very very hard enough you might just win and get that ice-cream.1407951166061

Sometimes they don’t ask first, but they still learn. Learn that: plugging wrong things in outlets can give big black shocks. . . .that digging up a pretty dead bird a week after burial to show to someone is quite shocking . . . that frogs die kept under a bowl in the hot sun.

Kids are all about the “why” and “how” and especially the “what if?” All questions writers must keep in the fore front of their brains in order to turn out books people want to read, and not just children.

Here’s a quote I have always loved from George Bernard Shaw: “Some people see things as they are and say why? I dream things that never were and say, Why not?” 

Children are often born knowing how to do the latter. Some adults manage to retain these dreams. They make the best children’s authors and illustrators.3-caramba-esquisse-couleur


Words–Their Weft & Warp 31

Words. Unusual words. Forgotten words. Foreign words. And some whose authenticity one may question, but are fun anyway. In other words, not your average grade 4 spelling list. Enjoy!

Pericope (puh-rik-uh-pee)
(n) a selection or extract from a book

(n) a fingerprint

Quidditch in a Pub

0a6008bab20b8758d9e542309a1a5fcb JK had the right idea. Instead of crying, brooding, plotting revenge she harnessed the negative energy from that fight and redirected it as creative energy.

I’ve recently gone through a large loss. I can feel the inner energies alternately swirling in muddled eddies somewhere between my solar plexus and my hip bones, or being drained, the plug pulled. It’s a weird feeling, like when I was young, bored but energetic at the same time.

So what can I do with that? I think the best thing would be to lasso it all and take JK’s advice. I will write. And I will tackle those scenes in my novel that are tricky, the ones that need that extra angst and confusion and muddle. Perhaps it will even be cathartic.


Words–Their Weft & Warp 30

Words. Unusual words. Forgotten words. Foreign words. And some whose authenticity one may question, but are fun anyway. In other words, not your average grade 4 spelling list. Enjoy!

(adj) Just before dawn.

(n) a complete absence of anything annoying or emotionally overwhelming;taking pleasure from soothing things

I need more hygge in my life.

(adj) Unfamiliar, rare, strange, yet utterly marvelous


Trouble with Character Creation?

For me character creation has become not just easy, but one of my favourite parts of writing.  I know that some others struggle with it. How do writers create memorable, unique characters that their readers fall in love with and root for? Because let’s face it, the plot can be fantastic, but if the main character is observation-clipart-detective_clipart-2iko004  flat, we may never follow through to the end of their story.

Fortunately the answer is all around us. Whenever we’re in a public place, or at home with just a few people, all you need is the “O” word. “OBSERVE.”

People aren’t generic. We all have “qualities” and not just the physical sort, like moles, freckles, birthmarks, scars.

When you sit in a coffee shop, library, or work cafeteria–observe. People have a million different habits, speech patterns, ways of moving, gesticulating, making facial expressions. There are the slurpers, noisily drinking coffee while it’s still too hot. Tea drinkers with health bars to eat. There’s a lady daintily breaking off tiny pieces of a muffin because biting off it would smear her hot pink lipstick. A man who dabs off his mustache after every sip of his frothy latte. A child  stretching their gum out across the table longer and longer while the mother and grandmother are poring over a brides magazine.observe

When walking in the mall, notice how people walk, sluffing their feet, stepping high, toes out, toes in so far they tend to trip. See how they stop and look in shop windows, walking boldly by the sales personnel or skirting the edges of the store to avoid being greeted. Do they point to stuff or pick it up? Some people like me have to feel everything. Others touch seldom and then wipe their fingers off on their pants or a tissue when done. 10563066-child-with-binoculars

Out in the park or street, some people walk casually, others slouch, some strut. Someone will bob their head while walking, their earbuds in. Another has a dog on a line pulling them hither and yon. One has a pink poodle in a fancy rhinestone carrier bag. A young fellow constantly rubs his fingertips together while waiting for the bus. A girl in bohemian clothes rolls a cigarette in her lips, never lighting it.

Big family gatherings? Great fodder. Joe always pulls his pocket watch out at dinner and sets it three minutes behind the mantel clock. Once an hour Harold checks to make sure the cover hasn’t blown off his Mercedes. Aunt Pru asks mother everyday for a new bar of soap; she can’t be expected to use the one from the previous day–it’s all germy now. Carol and her twin dye a streak of their hair a different colour for each exam, or they will fail in school. Barney, however he fits in the family no one even knows, has worn a different tie every day for the last 34 years and always says “hiveway” instead of “highway.”

I really do know a “Barney.” People do have strange habits and also strange fears and capitalizing on these things creates characters that intrigue and interest your readers.

So whenever you’re in a public place, take time out from whatever you’re doing and note some observations on a notepad. Collect observations like gold. Then use them to draw from when you have as character that needs fleshing out. It becomes a productive and stimulating game of solitaire.11-Unwritten-Rules-of-Coffee-Shop-Roberto_Ventre-e1391150672343

Words–Their Weft & Warp 29

Words. Unusual words. Forgotten words. Foreign words. And some whose authenticity one may question, but are fun anyway. In other words, not your average grade 4 spelling list. Enjoy!

Rasasvada (Pr- Ruusaasvaad)
(n) The taste of bliss in the absence of all thought.

(n) The excessive desire to stay in bed.

(n) Buying books and not reading them: hoarding them.