Monday, December 28, 2009

Grammar-licious: Making Grammar Fun - December

Good/well confuses the best of us, even though the word choice is about usage. All we need to know is that good is an adjective and well is an adverb. There, that was simple. We just plug in ‘good’ when we need an adjective (to describe a noun or pronoun) and ‘well’ when in need of an adverb (to describe a verb). Easy, right? No? How about some examples?

Spot is a good dog. (adjective describing subject ‘dog’)
Break down the sentence: Spot is a dog. What kind of dog? (adjective) dog.

She trained Spot well. (adverb describing the verb ‘trained’)
Break down the sentence: She trained Spot. How (adverb) did she train him?

This is a good sandwich. (adjective describing subject ‘sandwich’)
Break down the sentence: This is a sandwich. What kind of sandwich? (adjective) sandwich.

I can’t taste the sandwich well because I have a cold. (adverb describing verb ‘taste’)
Break down the sentence: I can taste the sandwich. How (adverb) can I taste the sandwich?
[less confusing to make it into a positive statement]

If it’s still confusing, try substituting “healthy” or “in a good manner” and if either fits, then so will “well.”

Follow these examples.

The coffee tasted well/good this morning.
The word supports the subject, ‘the coffee’s taste’, therefore, an adjective.
Correct: The coffee tasted good this morning.
(Maybe the coffee can taste ‘healthy’, but that isn’t what is meant.)

The batter is looking well/good.
The word supports the subject ‘batter’, therefore, an adjective.
Correct: The batter is looking good.
(Sure the better can look ‘healthy’, but that isn’t what is meant.)

She skates well/good.
The word supports the verb ‘skates’, therefore, an adverb;“in a good manner” also works.
Correct: She skates well.

I don’t feel very good/well.
The word supports the verb ‘feel’, therefore, an adverb; “healthy” also works.
I don’t feel very well.

He did a good/well job.
The word supports the noun ‘job’, therefore, an adjective.
He did a good job.

She did the job good/well.
The word supports the verb ‘did’, therefore, an adverb; “in a good manner” also works.
She did the job well.

This month’s recommended grammar book is: English Grammar for Dummies by Geraldine Woods.

I like finding ways to remember the ‘rules’ and hope you can find something helpful. It’s my hope the monthly grammar techniques and usage examples will make grammar a lot less frightening and potentially enjoyable (can you imagine?) for you.

If you have grammar topics you’d like to see covered, please leave a comment or contact me!

(originally published in TWC Spotlight for September, 2008)

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009


If you missed the goal setting chat the other night, I hope you'll drop in tonight. It exploded into a discussion on the forum so we're continuing with more. Here's the direct link to the forum. Check it out

I know it's hard to think about goals and getting work done when what's on our minds right now are school parties and pagents, decorating, relaxation, visiting friends and family, getting the house or ourselves ready for company. Those are different than work goals, but are still goals nonetheless. We set down a date for them, plan for them, and implement them in the same way. We need diversionary goals like this from time to time to refresh our spirit and our minds.

I'd like to propose that we attack our work goals, our writing goals, with the same attitude we do the holiday goals: with excitement, serious preparation and enjoying every moment of the process. Just like when we're gift shopping and we secretly buy that little something for ourselves, do the same with your writing/work goals. That little something can be a nice new pen, an ergonomic keyboard, a webinar on something you've been meaning to learn. It can even be an extra fifteen minutes to write. Anything to spoil yourself and want to be working on those goals. Now...get to it!


Wednesday, December 09, 2009

What's a cat got to do with writing?

At my house we have a new kitten. Essla is about thirteen weeks old. We decided to get her as a companion to my older cat, Isis. In true writerly fashion, we named her after a character in one of my books. But her name isn't the only thing she has in common with writing. She's become an inspiration in her own little way, when she's not chasing the mouse pointer on the screen or trying to sleep on my chest while I'm typing. Yep, that's where she is now.

There's just something about her fearlessness with the world. She's not afraid to take risks and to stretch her skills. Scary things like the burning fire popping and crackling in the fireplace are interesting. She may approach them slowly but she never fails to draw near. I watch her and wonder where I've learned to be fearful? Why does committing to a story project of 80,000 words or more seem so daunting? When did I begin to dread sumitting my work? Why does the idea of revision keep me awake at night? Like Essla jumping up on the bed, I must dig in my claws and pull myself up until I reach my goal.

She has that child-like wonder of everything. Even specks of dirt on the carpet are worth examining. Pillar candles become trees to hide behind and pounce out at Isis from. I find myself recognizing her pretending as she plays. I can't help notice the ordinary in new way and realize I've become blind to the little things which can enrich a viewpoint or scene--how things taste, what they look like upside down, the sounds they make or whether they're snuggly enough to sleep on. I have to thank Essla for reminding me.

Is it because I am a writer that I find renewed inspiration in a kitten? I'd like to think so.

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Wednesday, December 02, 2009

What's a writer to do for the holidays?

December is here! It's time to relax, right? No way! Sure all the holiday preparations need your time and attention but don't let your pitiful writing time vanish completely. It'll be harder to start back up "the habit" in the new year. What I'm suggesting is to cut back but not completely. Better yet, redirect your energies.

Use the atmosphere and nostalgia of the holidays to write holiday stories, craft articles (and give away your samples as gifts), winter themed-scenes. Hey, want to know what it feels like to be out in the cold in your shorts? Just step out the back door for a minute. Sure it's too late to submit those pieces but there's always next year's holiday season. Take advantage of the time trapped indoors to work up stories and articles you can sell in the summertime. It makes sense, right? What a great gift to give yourself!

Speaking of gifts. As writers, we have the ability to do something special for our friends and family. It's perfect for the writer who is slim on money right now. Give the gift of your gifts. Yes, give them writing. A personalized poem, a memory written in story form or a big ole' sappy love letter. Heck even a recording or video of you reading it adds a special touch. You know this person: their habits, favorites, dislikes. You can craft something to touch their hearts like no other writer can. Print it up on some fancy holiday paper and there you go!

Use family gatherings to tape record members. Interview them, or ask them to tell a favorite memory. Guess what? It's great stuff for your own memory book or to use next year.
On the surface all these things seem too easy and very obvious but they're the little things we forget to make use of in our lives. Perhaps they're too easy and ovious that our minds skip over them in the search for something perfect to give.

So, attention. Santa's helper, Kim says to sit down and start writing.

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