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Writing as an Act of Rebellion

┬ęThe Eloquent Word
┬ęThe Eloquent Word

Have you ever asked yourself why you’re compelled to write? What is it that makes you string words together into sentences, paragraphs, pages, whether it’s fiction, newspaper copy or a blog? I’d argue that you (and I) do it because, despite the popularity of video, writing is the dominant method of communication today.

But, writing is also intensely personal. Prior to the invention of the printing press and widespread literacy, information spread by word of mouth. And it was information that was meant for everyone, like edicts, announcements or religious instruction. Imagine trying to keep a diary in the age of oral tradition: Continue reading → Writing as an Act of Rebellion

My Summer Reading List

Given that summer has finally arrived (and because you might need a little rest after those Canada Day celebrations), I thought I’d put together a short list of some of my favourite books (in my first-ever attempt at stop-motion photography!). I admit, these are not your typical summer reads. Instead, they’re intriguing, funny, heartbreaking and worth every minute you spend with them. If you like books that ask you to work a bit, to analyze themes and connect with literary devices, like irony, metafiction, satire or magic realism, then I think you’ll really appreciate these suggestions. Continue reading → My Summer Reading List

How To Write About Food And Drink

_FRY8808 Canada Day is almost here, and like me, you’re probably planning to indulge in some celebratory food and drink. For most of us, simply enjoying whatever happens to be in front of us doesn’t seem to be enough anymore. Instead, we all have to whip out our phones and start snapping pics. And why not? Documenting that awesome fare will ensure that it lives forever beyond the boundaries of memory.

Let’s be honest. Many (maybe even most) food and drink photos or descriptions do not exactly leave one’s mouth watering. Quite the opposite, actually. There are even some chefs who have gone so far as to ban photography in their restaurants altogether! But, don’t worry. It really doesn’t matter whether you’re describing your meal in a Facebook post, on Instagram, in a blog or in a magazine article. If you keep these four tips in mind, you will always leave your followers hungry for more. Continue reading → How To Write About Food And Drink

This Might Be the Hardest Part of the Writing Process

 

What part of the writing process is the hardest?

Fleshing out the original idea with enough detail is no easy task. Then again, writing draft after draft until said idea is clear and concise can also send a writer scurrying to find that happy place. Putting your pride and joy into the hands of an editor who might change this or that for whatever reason is pretty nerve-racking, too. Make it through all that, though, and you’re ready for a cool drink and an afternoon in the hammock.

Wait. What? Left something out, didn’t I? Continue reading → This Might Be the Hardest Part of the Writing Process

Words Like Art

S cookies-cAs writers, we’re focused on finding the right words that accurately convey the meaning and intent of our thoughts. We check for correct spelling and appropriate sentence and paragraph structure to ensure that there’s nothing on the page that might put the reader off. We try our best to draw readers into the story – whether fiction or nonfiction – until it plays like a movie in their heads.

Now take a step back. Continue reading → Words Like Art

5 Favourite Websites on Writing for the Magazine Industry

no-68481_1920Last week, I happened to be scrolling through my collection of “query letter responses” from the last few months. I don’t do that too often. Actually, I prefer not to do that too often. Staring at those rejection letters isn’t exactly my idea of a good time. Not yours either, I’d bet. So, let’s not discuss it, ok?

Instead, let’s put our heads together and come up with ways to minimize the chances of receiving them.

The Truth: There is no magic potion that will make an editor publish your work if s/he doesn’t already want to. Sorry.

You do have power, though. You are the idea-maker. Despite appearances to the contrary, you can break into the magazine industry as long as you follow through with these three keys to success. Continue reading → 5 Favourite Websites on Writing for the Magazine Industry

Folkstories in the Digital Age

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“I have a Master’s Degree in Folklore and Mythology.”

Comic Book Guy, The Simpsons. “Three Men and a Comic Book” Image courtesy of Simpson Crazy

I nearly choked when I heard Comic Book Guy utter that gem to Bart. My husband had a good laugh at my expense, too. You see, I have very similar degrees: BA & MA Humanities (focus on cultural anthropology, especially folklore). I think, though, that in this digital age, Comic Book Guy may have the last laugh. Folklore is alive and well and providing a way to connect with the people and world around us. Continue reading → Folkstories in the Digital Age

Newsletters – Keeping In Touch

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A couple of months ago, I was speaking with an employee who works for a large corporation that shall remain nameless. She was looking for someone willing to take over writing the company’s internal newsletter. “It’s really boring,” she told me. Apparently, the latest issue focused on telling employees where they should be parking their cars. “I really believe,” I began, “that with the right approach, pretty much any topic can be made to be interesting.” Silence. When she spoke again, she said, “They tried humour. It didn’t work.” Continue reading → Newsletters – Keeping In Touch

Grab A Book And Eat It!

blank-book-illustration

Ambrosia salad, gumbo, fruit pizza and mimosa. Not your typical dinner party fare. But, this isn’t your typical dinner party. This party is actually a book club gathering.

Book clubs show no signs of being a passing fad. Even years after Oprah encouraged her followers to band together, read and discuss, libraries continue to host clubs and recommend books. And why not? As a friend of mind (and avid book clubber) once told me, “It’s like being part of a community.” The key to these micro communities is the book, of course. But, you can’t deny (at least, I can’t) that food is also a vital part. Continue reading → Grab A Book And Eat It!

Hey, Is This Really Real?

14761322891_2e558546ed_hThere’s a very popular magazine on the shelves of all the cooking sections I’ve seen lately. You’ve no doubt heard of it, given that they also produce a tv cooking show. The magazine is called Real Simple. There are, I have to say, great recipes within the pages of this mag. It’s the cover that gets to me. Well, the name of the magazine (and show) actually. Real Simple. What in the name of all things grammatical are they trying to say? Do they mean that the recipes within those pages are real (as in not fake) and simple? If so, the title should read: Real, Simple. Do they mean that the recipes therein are easy to pull together (as in Really Simple)? Am I over thinking this? Probably. But, the magazine’s name does point toward a very common grammatical error. When do we use real vs really or bad vs badly? Continue reading → Hey, Is This Really Real?