Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category
Thank you, everyone, for following me on 500 Words on Words!
As you might have noticed, I haven’t been exactly cranking out the new posts here for quite some time. This is because of a number of different reasons, none of which I’ll bore you with.
But what IS important is that I’ve returned from the darkness and am again posting and writing things online at my new site:
(I know I don’t need the Ws, but it just looks more symmetrical that way.)
That’s where I’ll be posting about my new writing that’s coming out and generally remarking on oddities that catch my interest, including the types of things I’d write about here plus more about writing, maybe some cool photography, and crazy historical facts I’m learning through researching the French & Indian War for a historical fiction I’m writing with author Evan Ronan.
So, if you wouldn’t mind, please check out my new site and feel free to follow along via RSS or email.
You had such a great time with my last NGEP contest that I couldn’t in good conscience postpone this one another day.
(Yes. You did have lots of fun. Don’t argue with me.)
Last time, I pretty broadly asked you to recommend your favorite writers. I got everything from Richard Brautigan (whom I’ve since read) to Christopher McDougall (whom I’m reading right now) to Lev Grossman (whose The Magicians is sitting on my to-be-read shelf at home).
Good show, folks, but this time around, I’m looking for something more specific:
Recommend your favorite short stories to win more
Nathanael Green Endorsement Points!
I felt a twinge, something along the lines of angry defiance the first time I noticed the link on a literary journal’s website:
Later, I figured out that this was the link I needed to click to get my fiction published. It had nothing to do with domination of any sort.
“How do you get a story published?”
I’ve been asked that a few times lately, and there are entire libraries written on craft and storytelling and selling your novel. So I’m going to skip all that for now. Instead, here’s a quick explanation the submission process and how writers’ creative brain-dribbling ends up on public display.
What’s Trailers for Friday you ask? It’s where I give you a few movie trailers to check out.
Wait, movies about language and linguistics and writing and fiction and all that?
Oh yeah. I’m excited, too.
Here’s one that’s specifically about writing. I just happened on the trailer for Bad Writing and thought it looked pretty interesting. Not only that, but as added bonuses, it features footage of one of my favorite bookstores, The Strand, and includes the phrase “Hemingway boner” … I couldn’t keep all the fun to myself.
This next one isn’t specifically about language, but I’m sharing it because it’s about fiction. About some of my favorite fiction. George R.R. Martin is kind of enormous in the fantasy genre right now, and I remember being just floored when I read the first book in his A Song of Ice and Fire series.
A Game of Thrones has political intrigue, very real and complex characters, battle, monsters, romance, murder … everything a boy could want. It’s a great example of literate, well-done fantasy fiction that still satisfies with plot and action and I can’t recommend it highly enough to anyone who can read.
So yeah. They’re making an HBO series based on that.
Or how about something a little more historical that does have to do with speaking and language:
And here, dear friends, is yet more of Game of Thrones. This is a more in-depth making-of video that talks a little bit about what makes this such a great fantasy series (see above). And I agree with all of it.
As a side note, the casting in this looks fantastic, including Sean Bean as Eddard Stark and Lena Heady as Cersei Lannister.
Looks like I’ll be adding HBO to my cable subscription soon.
How do you feel about American English being adopted as the standard for the English-speaking world?
Well, The Economist often hosts online debates with two well-known experts arguing for and against a motion proposed by the magazine. Right now, (or rather, beginning yesterday) the editors put forward this motion: “This house believes that the English-speaking world should adopt American English.”
Interesting, right? So check it out for yourself:
Opening statements are good place to get the gist of the arguments.
I suggest you be fair, and give both the Pro and the Con an honest chance to win your opinion … then come back here and comment to let us know what you think.
A Timely Update from the Times
According to the piece from the Times, an organization named the Queen’s English Society plans to form an Academy of English and hopes to earn a Royal Charter for their efforts to “keep [English] safe from declining standards.”
“Eh,” say I with a shrug. I’m the first to admit to my word-nerdery and love of grammar. Still, though I understand and even feel the urge to protect our own ways of doing things, language prescription committees just seem futile and elitist to me.
Just thought you might like to know that some people are pushing for something similar to l’Académie for English.
Reading without Reading
For me, audiobooks are amazing tools for dulling the pain of long commutes. Listening to a book in the car almost makes it seem like there’s no traffic jam, and on occasion, I’ve ended up sitting in my driveway with the engine shut off thinking, just to the end of the chapter …
I have found, though, that a good reader is absolutely necessary. If the narrator has an annoying voice or just doesn’t feel like he’s in the story, I can’t get past CD One.
On the other hand, I’d follow a good reader into the mists of Avalon. Like James Marsters. His reading of Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files is nigh on perfect. Or Patrick Stewart – I’d listen to that man read a bus schedule. Now if only he’d record some more books.
So now you’re looking for some audiobooks to try, right?
- LibriVox offers free downloadable auidobooks in the public domain, as well as the opportunity to volunteer as a reader to help them out
- Audible.com is probably the biggest name in downloadable audiobooks and offers monthly or annual subscriptions
- Public libraries often offer free downloads with a pretty good selection
So how about you? Any audiobook listeners out there? Particular favorites or pet peeves about the medium?
Here’s an interesting article from The New York Times about slang.
We all know that when our moms started saying “rad,” it was time to find the next cool word. And we got a few good years out of rad before that happened. But now, the internet is spreading slang to more people faster than ever, which is making the cool words’ life cycles much shorter.
Basically, once slang is identified by outsiders as the cool new words, they’re not cool anymore. So as a warning, please remember that if you learn a new slang word from a dictionary, be careful using it. Chances are good that if it’s defined as a cool new word, it really isn’t.