Tag Archives: rewriting


Corpse of the Corpus

Jon and Juliet discuss some of the fantastic on-line tools for researching slang through time (among other things): Historical Dictionaries and—cue the dramatic music—The Corpus.


Links from the show:

Urban Dictionary (http://www.urbandictionary.com)

On-line Slang Dictionary ( http://onlineslangdictionary.com)

Historical Dictionary of American Slang (http://www.alphadictionary.com/slang/)

What is a Corpus? Slides by linguist Jonathan Owen (http://allthingslinguistic.com/post/144161398933/interesting-slides-about-copyediting-and-corpus)

The Google Corpus or Ngram Viewer (https://books.google.com/ngrams)


Italic—Good or Evil?

Italic? What’s the matter with italic? I use it everywhere!

Juliet and Jon discuss italic’s use in novels and YA novels. We have a little anecdote, a little history, a little caution, and a little advice. And none of those words should have been in italic. Including italic.


Profanity or Amateurfanity?

We cover all the letter-bombs…
from F to N.

Juliet and Jon discuss the use of profanity in novels and its use for specific characters. We also consider the four types of profanity, strengths, weakness, and the cultural trends.

During the show, Jon mentioned Benjamin Bergen’s book:

31FtFM59l8L._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_What the F: What Swearing Reveals About Our Language, Our Brains, and Ourselves by Benjamin K. Bergen
(Amazon link.)

Smart as hell and funny as fuck, this book explains why we can’t stop swearing and what it tells us about our language and brains.

Everyone swears. Only the rare individual can avoid ever letting slip an expletive. And yet, we ban the words from television and insist that polite people excise them from their vocabularies. That’s a fucking shame. Not only is swearing colorful, fun, and often powerfully apt, as linguist and cognitive scientist Benjamin K. Bergen shows us, the study of it can provide a new window onto how our brains process language. How can patients left otherwise speechless after a stroke still shout out “Goddamn!”? Why did Pope Francis say “fuck” in the middle of a speech? When did a cock cease to be a rooster? Why is “crap” vulgar when “poo” is just childish? And what are we shooting when we give someone the bird?

What the F? Let me effing tell you.

Jon also mentioned that Benjamin Bergen appeared on a recent podcast. The show was Why Are So Many Swear Words Monosyllabic? on Slate’s Lexicon Valley.



The Next Chapter—Length and Title

Novels are made from them.
How long should they be?
What to call them?

Juliet and Jon discuss chapters. How long should they be? What about chapter titles?

It turns out Jon had considered—at least for a time—the worst chapter name in the history of the multi-verse for one of the books he’s working on.


Bonus images. After Juliet’s help, here’s the before and after from Jon’s murder mystery:


Screen Shot 2016-05-31 at 1.14.49 PM





Screen Shot 2016-05-31 at 1.15.15 PM


Your Favorite Sentence Structure

You’re over doing it.
Aren’t you?
You’re repeating yourself.
Aren’t you?

Every writer has a couple of favorite sentence structures that they use and use and use. Juliet and Jon explore the hazy, instinctive, and uncharted land of the favorite sentence structure of authors.

What are they? What do they mean?
We endeavor to over-explain.


Writer’s Tics

Writers tend to repeat things.
We discuss what and why.

Jon and Juliet start with their own verbal tics: Juliet’s awesome and Jon’s to da loo. We talk about Gillian Lynn’s Gone Girl an the number of literally. In Jon’s novel Loom, he discusses removing the world moment seventy-five or so times.

Mentioned on the show:

Gone Girl by Gillian Lynn.

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer? (Link and Text From Amazon.)


How Do You Spell Phonetic?

Wat are the barriors to becomming a writter?
Their are manny.
Butt one might just get you the most riddicule.

Jon and Juliet share stories of spelling, misspelling, and what it really means to be a writer. As a bonus, Jon shares a story from Miss Jones’ class in the sixth grade.



It’s Time We Stopped Killing Our Darlings

Who first said Kill Your Darlings?
Was it William Faulkner? Allen Ginsberg? Eudora Welty?
No! And who cares?
The idea stinks.

Jon and Juliet break down the meanings and modern interpretations of Kill Your Darlings. Then they draw out some possible reasons not just when to go easy on your darlings, but when to show them the Love McGuffin.



That Wonderful Writing Resource: eBay

You’re working on a scene…
you need a detail to fill out…
your character’s car, shirt, mug…
Surf on over to the staple of writer’s everywhere… eBay.

Jon describes how eBay can be a great detail resource not just for details by research.

For a divorce scene, Jon researched a late model Subaru and found this auction:








And for that same vehicle, farther down in the listing was this interior shot:








While searching for a minor fashion designer, Jon searched for 70’s Dress and found this lovely number:

Huk-A-Poo Dress









And a detail shot of the tag:










eBay can be found at eBay.com.


Character… Don’t Do That!

Despite all the shrieks and cries, your character has gone and done something stupid!
Jon and Juliet discuss Harlan Coben’s Six Years and what it can mean when characters treat very old or very new romances with enormous (and maybe crazy) passion to power a story.
Six Years (Amazon Link and Copy)

A masterpiece of modern suspense from #1 New York Timesbestselling author Harlan Coben.

Six years have passed since Jake Fisher watched Natalie, the love of his life, marry another man. Six years of keeping his promise to leave Natalie alone, and six years of tortured dreams of her life with her new husband, Todd. So when Jake comes across Todd’s obituary, he can’t keep himself away from the funeral. There he gets the glimpse of Todd’s wife he’s hoping for….

But she is not Natalie.

Soon Jake’s search for the woman who broke his heart puts his very life at risk, as he uncovers the secrets and lies that love can hide….

Photo Credit: epsos