Z for Zeugma

And….we made it. Today is Z day. It has been fun. Hope you have enjoyed and learned something. I have.

I want to talk about zeugma.

I hadn’t heard of the word till I dictionary hunted for a Z word. It fits beautifully in with my theme of ABCs for writing.

A zeugma is word used to modify two or more words when it really only makes sense for some of them.

Example: You are free to execute your laws, and your citizens as you see fit. This is from Star Trek the Next Generation.

I have seen these at various times and didn’t know there was a name for it. Now I do.

Another one is ‘ she dug for potatoes and praise.’ It kind of makes sense, but I would have said the punctuation was wrong. However, it is a zeugma.

In this final A to Z post let us learn what a zeugma is and how not to use it.

Here is to zeugmaless writing.

 

 

Just Say Yes

When you feel the urge to write, just say yes. If you have no paper use whatever is at hand, napkin, kleenex, receipt whatever. If you don’t act on the idea, it will vanish into thin air or somewhere, never to be heard from again.

Sometimes you can remember, but you may not have that same aha feeling you had in the first place, so when it strikes: say YES and capture it.

Yes is a word we can say sometimes when we should say no, but when the muse is in your corner, you should say yes.

We have covered a lot of things on writing this month and I hope I helped some.

You should write every chance you get and then edit as much time as you write. Editing is something

Editing is something we all want to say no to, but it needs to be done to put out the best work we can.

You need to say yes to doing things, too. Where you will you get your next idea, if you don’t do things. When someone says,  “let’s go for a drive” say yes. You never know where it will lead. You may wind up on top of the mountain or in the coolest valleys seeing great mountain tops and lush, green valleys.

If you never said yes, you might never be married, or a parent or a teacher.

Here is to saying YES.

 

Xenia

Trying to find an X word for my X day took a bit. Getting it to fit into the theme of ABCs for writing took a bit more, but here we go.

Xenia means the direct influence of pollen upon the seed in the cross-pollination fo certain plants.

Xenia in writing is when you are reading or researching something and you look in another category and it fits what you want to say in your piece. If you are researching about dogs and how they relate to their masters you may want to check out other master/subject relationships to see how they relate from animals to humans. You come across a story where the master/slave has the same encounters and responses. You can use this to show that relationships are similar across the animal kingdom.

Thus you have cross-pollinated with animals and humans.

It could work in other instances, also, and maybe it is a stretch of cross-pollinating a plant to cross-pollinating a story, but that is what we do as writers…make connections that you may not come across anywhere else.

Go write and see what hybrids you can come up with in your story.

W for Wend

“Wend: to go in a specified direction, typically slowly or in an indirect route.”

That pretty much is how I write: specified direction (finish) slowly or indirectly.

I know where I want to go, just not how to get there.

When you start to write, you know you want to say something. Maybe it is to say how to make biscuits or what your purpose in life is. You have to start somewhere and end somewhere else. You don’t want to end where you started unless the journey is what you are trying to sell.

Let’s say you want to talk about biscuits. Your specified direction is the recipe. Now, you are wending your way to the end. Moving slowly, or indirectly.

Moving slowly, you could tell the story of how you made your first biscuits and the results. Then you could list the recipe.

Story done.

You could do it indirectly by talking about your grandmother. You could tell how you spent time with her and what you did.

One of those things you did could be the biscuits. You made them one morning for the family with grandma, but you did all the work. They don’t know that and tell grandma that those are the best they ever ate.

Which could easily move in to the next story.

When you write you could picture wending your way through a garden as you try to put together your story, whether it is biscuits or flowers.

Here is to wending your way to a great story and great career of writing.

 

 

Variety

Variety is the spice of life and writing. We all choose a certain genre, usually, to write in. It may be as general as fiction or non-fiction, but usually we break out into specific genres, like historical, science fiction or science fact, biography, you see what I mean.

Within your story you need variety in your characters. You can make them mirror image of each other meaning they can act alike, but their reasons are opposite. When one is acting from the right the other is from the left. Or you can make them quite alike and present them with different situations and see what they do to handle the action.

You will want to use variety in the scene settings. Move the characters from the city to the country. Or from room to room, whatever fits the action and here, you can also set the scene in an unusual setting. Maybe a love scene in a garage or a dinner in a canoe.

That may all sound a bit far-fetched, but if you put your characters in unusual situations, they will act in unusual manners.

Remember, variety is the spice of life and writing.

Unique

The thing that most of us want to be in our writing is unique. It doesn’t have to be out in left field or pie in the sky to be unique.

We all have our own voice and our own way of putting sentences together. You need to develop that in your characters. Each one has their own voice, their own phraseology.

Under it all there is also your voice as a writer.

That is the uniqueness you need to develop as you write more and more. The only way to develop that is to write. A lot.

When you pick a story to write or it picks you, try different ways of expressing that story. Maybe set it in the future or the past where the language might be slightly different that today.

Take one of the characters and make them talk or act in the manner of a time past. We have all met people who use words from other languages to get their point across or just do it all the time.

Do you know how you catch a unique rabbit?

 

Unique up on him.

And that is also how you become unique. U niique up on it.

Traipsing Through Writing

Traipsing is moving wearily or reluctantly through grounds or anything else. Here we are talking about traipsing through your writing to edit.

You really don’t want to do it, but do it you must.

You need to take out unnecessary words and phrases, even though you may thing they are necessary.

When you see adjectives, you need to weed through them and keep the ones you need, which is none.

Show don’t tell and adjectives tell.

You need to check your repetitions. Your repetitions. Some are as obvious as this and some hide. Read your work aloud to find the ones who hide. Hearing what you have written is essential. It helps with the flow and with the unnecessary.

Where I live we usually think of traipsing as slow as well as reluctantly. So do it slowly and reluctantly as you don’t want to kill too many of your darlings. Some of them are pure gold.

So, traipse away.

Setting the Scene

Setting the scene is also part of the reeling the reader into your story.

If you are writing about vampires, you need to decide how you will introduce said vamp to the reader.

It can be in the process of finding his prey or it can be when he has found and pounced on his prey.

Either way, you need to decide the timeframe you will use for the story: will it be past, present or future? There is always fantasy or science fiction as well.

When you set it will tell you how to set it. If you are setting it in the past, you will probably choose to put the attack scene in a forest. When in the past can help you decide what kind of forest it is.

If you set it in the present you might choose to set it in a war torn section of the world.

In the future you can choose which world to use and that will set time and place.

If you are writing an article your setting is already chosen for you.

Each scene will need its own setting. And if you are writing a romance the more details the better. If you are writing a police procedural the fewer details and more dialog is my preference.

With a romance you can get to describing the room you are in down to the drapes and the drapery rods. With the procedural one saying there is a window would be sufficient.

Remember, setting is what keeps them grounded in where this takes place.

 

Reeling Them In

You want to reel your readers into the story or article that you are writing. We have talked about the hook and how you need to bait it. Now that it is baited and wiggled in front of your reader, you want to reel them into what you want to say.

You can do it gently or you can do it quickly and hard.

Let’s say you are writing a story about a vampire. Your hook may have been him skulking around looking for prey. You describe the area, you describe the prey, and then you have him strike. That would be my gentle reel.

Or you have him take the prey down in the first page. That would be quick and hard.

To reel them in you tell the story of the vampire’s descent into being a vampire.

Or you could start with the prey.

You could tell about the prey’s background and how they got to be in that place and time.

Reeling them in you will use mini climaxes or string them along until the major climax of how the vampire is killed or gets away to prey another day.

Or perhaps the final climax would be the prey and the vamp getting together either as lovers or cohorts. In all of this you will decide if the prey at the beginning is just dinner or will become another vamp.

Here is to reeling in the big one.

 

R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

Respect is not earned it is given, just like love. Once it is given it can grow or be broken and then has to be earned back.

When it comes to writing you have to respect what you do. You should not ashamedly say I am a writer. We need to be bolder about it.

Say, I AM A WRITER.

It is hard to do.

And respecting what we do is harder, especially if you are the only writer in your family or group of friends. Writing to some is a five word thank you card and how hard can that be? Even my 5-year-old can do it if forced.

Loving to write is something few understand. We aren’t forced by our parents or peers. We do it because we love doing it. We also hate it. That happens when the picture in your head will not put itself on the paper. When all the letters do this: eirrgonoeorhhoeo and there isn’t a single word in there without rearranging.

And rearrange we do. We take this word from here and put it there. Then we take a sentence and then a paragraph and move them. Or delete them. And, eventually, we find an arrangement that resembles what we saw in our mind’s eye.

And we do all this alone. And without exercise, except the fingers and the eyes. It just doesn’t seem right.

For us who do it, it is fabulous. When it is done.

Then we show it to others. You have to be bold and respect what you have done as the best you have ever done. And it is. Each time. Some of our pieces are liked by more people than others, but that’s okay.

Respect what you do and others will too.