Monday, October 29, 2012

T is For Thesaurus

What do you use when you need a synonym or antonym?

The thesaurus?

The synonym feature in Word?
I had the privilege of writing a review for another excellent resource, The Emotion Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi. It's up now at the Coffeehouse for Writers' blog. If you have a moment, I invite you to check it out.

When searching for words and inspiration, where do you look? What tools do you use for brainstorming?

Happy writing,

Karen  :)

Image credit: Stock Exchange

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Great Goals!

The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short, 

but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.

Michelangelo Buonarroti 

Ever have a quote snag your attention? This one grabbed me. With 2012 drawing to a close, I'm thinking about goals - ones I've met and others that fell by the wayside. For 2013, I'm determined to make changes, sow more self discipline, and press forward to make certain projects a priority. In other words, I'm aiming higher.

This Renegade Writer's post, Anti-Schedules for the Freelancer Who Hates Scheduling landed in my inbox yesterday, and wouldn't you know, writer Dianna L. Gunn addressed a few issues that hinder my goals. Talk about timely encouragement. :)

I'm curious, do you set goals? Are they short term? Long term? Both?

What do you do to make your goals a reality?

Do your goals hover above sea level or soar amongst the stars?

I've a few articles to finish, and of course, goals to review, so I'll be taking a break till 10/29. See you then. :)

Have a great weekend!


Monday, October 15, 2012

The Tone Dilemma

One issue I have with email is that you can't always interpret the sender's tone. It's often difficult to judge inflection and emotion, is it not? I received an email this week that came off as aloof and impatient. I'm not acquainted with the sender, so that might not be their intent at all.

I wasn't upset, just thoughtful. How do my missives sound to others? Those who know me know I wouldn't purposely be brusque or set out to offend. 

How does tone relate to writing? I've heard tone defined as how it feels or sounds and is interpreted. Tone can take shape through word choice, sentence structure, and a writer's attitude and style. A writer’s tone can be sarcastic, serious, funny, sad, or a combination, don't you think? I believe that tone plays a role in a writer’s voice.

To illustrate tone, I encourage my teen writing students to consider the following exercise.

Imagine two actors trying out for a part. Each actor’s only line is to say the other actor’s name several times. 





What would they sound like if they were afraid? Surprised? Angry? Confused? Happy? How did they communicate the meaning for each emotion?  

Years ago, I adopted an informal email policy. You might call it "tone insurance".

1) With few exceptions, I don't answer an email in haste. If it's an issue that stirs my emotions, I wait and pray until I'm sure to respond rationally. 

2) I read my response aloud before sending. This slows things down as I consider my reply. I employ this method with my writing too; the ear is a great editor, catching things missed otherwise. The extra bonus - it helps prevent typos. Not always, but often.

3) I get a second opinion. My in house editor, aka my 20-something daughter, often acts as a second set of eyes. If she's not available, I'll ask a friend

Simple points? Yes, but they act as great speed bumps to avoid mishaps.  :)

How do you handle the tone dilemma? How do you think others perceive your writing tone and style?

Happy writing,


Photo credit: Stock Exchange 

Text content copyright Karen Lange. No part shall be used without prior written permission.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Thursday's This and That

Spending time with the little mister, aka my 4 year old grandson. We're headed over to the local farm to climb the giant hay pyramid, so thought I'd share some links. We'll wave to you from the top! :)

Everyone who likes chocolate raise your hand! Check this out - in honor of National Chocolate Week Jennifer Brown Banks is hosting a contest on her blog, Pen and Prosper. Hurry, deadline to enter is October 22, 2012.

Do you write for children? A member of my local writing group shared info on this No Fee Short Children's Story Contest. First prize is $5000, entry deadline is November 30, 2012. Details can be found here.

Would Hemingway Blog? Kristen Lamb shares her answer in this post. She makes an interesting point, how blogging prepares us for other writing. Whether you think Hemingway would blog, or not, it's good food for thought.

Another round of classes begin October 29 at the Coffeehouse for Writers. Workshops suit writers of every level and genre, and are affordable too. Hop on over!

Blog topic inspiration lacking? Top 10 Tips for Developing Blog Article Ideas might help get the creative juices flowing again. You never know. :)

Come across any good links lately? What are you up to this weekend?

Happy weekend,


Photo credit: Stock Exchange