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Welcome to Prairie Gal Cookin’! Whether you’re new here or you’ve been visiting us for years, I’m so glad you could drop by. So far, you’ve probably noticed that most of the things on PGC are either related to food, blogging, or agriculture. But, we’re going to add another topic to PGC as well; Writing.
I haven’t really shared much in the way of writing or stories on here before, but there’s always a first! Today, we’re starting a new link-up for writers, aspiring writers, lovers of words, and readers alike. I’ll be sharing several things in this link-up, so it’ll be more like a reference/motivational series with a link-up tacked onto the bottom of it!
Several of the things we’ll be covering in this series will include:
- A few new words, along with their definitions and anything else about them I find to share
- An inspirational/motivational quote to help kick-start your writing
- A new playlist or loop track that works well for background music
- An exciting snippet from a story (which could be your story! Read below for more info on how to submit your snippet.)
- Editing and writing tips
- Websites for writers
- Books to read (fiction, non-fiction, etc.) as well as great new reference works or books for writers
- And so much more!
The post content will vary between each one, but it’ll always be full of helpful info and things to inspire you to sit down and pound out words on the keyboard! Each post will (hopefully) go live on the first Monday of each month. It’ll be a good way to start off your month!
Also, at the bottom of every post, you’ll find a place where you can go “link-up” and share your latest accomplishment. Whether it’s the latest chapter in your story, a new book review, some tips you’ve learned, or anything else related to writing, link to your blog posts below!
I can’t wait to see what all you have to share with us and please leave a comment below if you have anything you’d like to see featured in the next posts, a snippet you’d like to send me from one of your stories, or anything else.
When I’m sitting at my computer with a major case of writer’s block, I usually head over to Pinterest and start looking at my favorite quotes. Sometimes it’s a perfect statement made in a movie (Pride and Prejudice – Mr. Darcy has so many!) or at other times, it’s just looking up a new chart for synonyms. (I’ll be sharing some of my favorites below in the “Tips” section of this post.)
For today, I want to share with you a couple of my favorite quotes that I’ve found. Some of these are actually taped on the wall right in front of my desk. I have about 20 sticky note lists, along with several different quotes that I’ve printed off. I call it my “inspiration wall”!
Here we go!
I was walking through the hallway in a school one day, right after we finished up choir practice, when I saw this poster pinned onto a bulletin board. I had to stop and take a picture of it, just so I could go home and look it up.
It struck me so profoundly, partly because I hadn’t realized that in order to succeed in some areas, I needed to take a big step and put myself out there! Since then, I look at this poster almost daily as it sits right behind my computer.
I recently started writing a couple of different stories that I have absolutely fallen in love with. The characters, the places they’re going and the things they have the opportunity to do.. As well as just about everything else about them!
While I was typing furiously to get a story from my head onto paper (Pages!), I realized that these people are living out my dreams. The things that I want to do so badly, but have no intentions of actually doing are being played out right before my very eyes. Writing gives you the power to live out your dreams, explore places and do things you never had the chance to do before (Paris, anyone?) without ever leaving your pajamas and laptop.
How much fun is it to get to read snippets from other people’s stories and be able to share your own? I recently found out (thanks to the promoting of a friend) that it can be most addictive to share little bits and pieces of your writing with others and get their feedback on it. Although, I have to admit, I was terrified when I hit send for the first time!
Here today, I’m sharing a little bit from one of my current projects, but I would love to see what all you are writing! Send your snippets (under 300 words) to firstname.lastname@example.org with story snippet as the subject, for the chance to be featured in the next link-up!
“Painfully clenched teeth and hot flesh underneath him were all that Travis could remember from that evening.
The flashbacks were happening more and more often now. He’d wake up the next morning soaked with sweat, he knew that, but there wasn’t much he could do about it right now except try to survive through the dream again.
As he tossed and turned in bed, he could see the gate slamming back and forth from the pressure of the two-ton beast inside tossing his head. From that head throw and the rolling action the bull was making, Travis knew what it could only be like as soon as Steamer was let out.
Just as the gate swung open, Travis’s eyes rolled wide and he sat straight up in bed, gasping, while the sweat rolled down over his t-shirt.”
So, what did you think? I’d love if you could leave your feedback in the comments below!
Have you ever sat down and wrote about 30 words (with about 300 ready to come spilling out behind them) and you can’t figure out what that next word is that you’re missing? The perfect one would pull your whole paragraph together, and it’s on the tip of your tongue, but you just can’t pop it out.
I can’t tell you how many times it’s happened to me! But, I have figured out a good way to conquer that feeling now. Learning to read reference and “word” books will work wonders and help you to always pop out a variety of phrases and words to fit any situation.
While reading through one such book, I found a list of “exuberant talk” that is now considered “tall-talk” and no longer carries much currency. It was humorous to see that several of the things that I’ve grown up hearing my grandpa and family say (and I’ll say myself) are on that list.
Here are some that you might recognize:
- Bodacious (remarkable)
- Cattywampus (askew or awry)
- Conbobberation (commotion or confusion)
- Explaterate (to explain or talk)
- Flambergast (flabbergast or astonish)
- Rambunctious (wild or uncontrolled)
Also in that book (I’ll share which one it was below!), there was a list of expressions that were considered the “language of the frontier” and left in our American English by the Wild West.
Some of my favorites include:
- Ace or Something up one’s sleeve (Means of cheating, an advantage kept in reserve..)
- Break even (To make gains and losses that balance exactly)
- Deal (Any transaction or arrangement)
- Finesse (To proceed with tact and cleverness)
- Follow suit (To do what someone else has done)
- Hit the jackpot (To have a stroke of good luck)
- Shoestring (A barely adequate amount of capital)
- Stack the deck (To arrange a situation secretly for cheating)
- String along (.. to fool or deceive..)
Success With Words. (1983). Reader’s Digest.
I love going to our local thrift store, and the book section is where I always zoom back to as soon my feet are through the front doors. This past week, I stumbled upon several new books, but my favorite out of the pile was an older one from Reader’s Digest. Success with Words it was called. You can see up above in the New Words section where I shared several things from it.
This book isn’t a dictionary or thesaurus, but yet better than both. A Guide To The American Language is more of an alphabetical list of words, with definitions and explanations on their current usage, along with other words or prepositions used with them. I have barely been able to crack it open, and yet make it only a couple of pages before I’m hooked and have to sit down and read through an entire list on something!
You can find it here on Amazon, starting at only $5!
Another book recommendation that I’d like to make is for Lori Copeland’s first book in the Men of the Saddle series, “The Peacemaker“. A beautifully written story of a bull-headed young woman who’s goal is to track down the fiancé that left her at the alter, and shoot him dead. But when his older brother shows up, things take an unexpected turn and who knows what will happen.. Or who will live.
There’s a fun layer of suspense throughout the book, as you’re rooting for Cole and Wynne, but also hoping that she doesn’t make it to Cass with a gun in hand. It’s one the very best books that I’ve ever read, as well as one of those stories that will stick with you for a lifetime!
You can pick up your own copy here on Amazon, starting at about $4!
One of the last topics that I want to share with you about this week (don’t worry, we’ll cover more next time!) is on subject of writing tips. In this section, we’ll talk about a variety of ideas for brain-storming, writing, editing, and such. But, for today, we’re going to kick it off with one of the first things you do when you are composing a story; brainstorming.
I have a bad habit of waiting to write until I have a great idea in my head. I don’t write everyday, sometimes not even for several days, but one thing that is always constant when I finally sit down and start typing is that I’ve had a great idea. I’ve been brainstorming and forming a storyline in my head for a few days, and now it’s complete enough that I want to type it down before I lose any of it.
Do you ever do this? Some people do, while others prefer to sit down and write as they come up with things. I’ve read that there are right ways and wrong ways to write stories or content, but for this section, let’s just focus on how we can get to the point where we have something to put down on paper!
Brainstorming is a great way to help you focus and clean up your “mental desk” when you have too few or too many ideas. Here are some of the ways that I focus best and can clear my cache and come up with new ideas:
- Mind Mapping – This one might sound a little “out-there” or difficult, but it’s really very simple. You simply start in the middle of a piece of paper and write down your overall topic or idea. Then you work out from there, getting a little more specific with each new branch. It will look something like a network of tree branches when you’re done!
- Journaling – I’ve gotten to the point where I carry a small notebook around with me where ever I go. If I see something that really strikes a chord and gives me an idea, I’ll jot it down or make a note of it on my phone. Likewise, you can also do the same with sketches in a small sketchbook. I would, but I’m not that talented!
- Word Banks, Lists, or Charts – As I mentioned above (in Inspiration), I like to browse Pinterest when I’m feeling stumped and needing to break through a case of writer’s block. On there, I’ll often find lists or charts of words. Synonyms are my favorite, but here are some examples of ones that I have hanging on the wall behind my desk:
Now if you’ve read through all of that, I’m impressed! This has taken me hours to write up and research, but the culmination of it all is right here. The Writer’s Corner Link-Up! Please feel free to share links to three or four of your best stories, helps or tips, or about anything else related to writing.
A few rules:
– This link-up opens on the first Monday of each month and lasts the entire month, or until the next link-up is posted!
– Please keep all content here family friendly – Be nice! We ask that you link to content that would be pleasing to the Lord and has nothing vulgar, crude, or explicit in it. Like I said, family friendly! (Or you might be deleted without warning.)
– The limit for links per person is four. But please spread them out and don’t link them all at once!
– We’d love for you to go visit and read some of what others are sharing. So if you drop a link, go read one!