Sunday, October 31, 2010

Is Your Character Really Nauseous?

The above picture is from

Today, boys and girls, we're going to take a lesson from the grammar book. Today I'm going to discuss the difference between the words nauseous and nauseated. I've seen these two words used incorrectly more times than I can say, mostly in published books. So, for your enlightenment and to make people like me a little happier, here is the difference.

Nauseated means to feel queazy, like you want to vomit. Example: Susan felt nauseated after spinning in circles for ten minutes.

Nauseous means to cause one to feel nauseated. In other words, if you say you or your character is nauseous, you're actually saying that you or your character make other people feel nauseated. Say it isn't so! Example of correct usage: Susan recoiled from the nauseous smell emanating from the garbage can on the curb.

So, let's clean up our speaking and our writing and use these two words correctly, shall we? I think we'll all feel a little less queazy.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Writing Non-Fiction Online Articles

I have recently been accepted as a free-lance writer for Demand Studios, who recruit articles on many different topics for several online information sites. Calling upon my experience as a Utah master gardener, and doing a ton of research, I spent many hours working on a pretty short article about appropriate shrubs for zone 9 areas. It was a whole lot of work for a small amount of money. I wondered if it was a worthwhile use of my time.

However, I have learned a lot. I have learned the strict structure for the type of article I wrote, and I learned do's and don't's of the tone of writing for this company.

Hopefully, subsequent articles will be easier and progress faster than this first one. I've signed up for a couple more articles already, and am getting started on them. Wish me luck!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

50th Wedding Anniversary

Today is my parents' Golden Wedding anniversary. They are wonderful people who have managed to hold their marriage together through all the normal ups and downs of life. They have always made their marriage more important than either of their individual needs or wants. Many of today's marriages could take a lesson from their devotion to one another and their determination to work together.

Mom and Dad raised 8 children, plus dozens of foster children over the years. They have touched many lives for good. They have 30-some grand children and one great-grandchild. We are lucky enough to live just four blocks away from them now, after living in different states for many years.

They taught their children correct principles like honesty and obedience. They complemented one another well as parents. Now that Dad's retired, they spend much of their time researching their family history.

Here's to you, Mom & Dad. May you have many more happy years together!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

My Review of Taken by Storm & Unbroken Connection

I recently read Angela Morrison's Taken by Storm, and the sequel, Unbroken Connection. You can read my review of the books on the right side of this blog. Scroll down a bit.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Dare to Be a Writer

I had the privilege of attending the American Fork Arts Council's Semi-annual Writers' Conference yesterday. Loved it. One of the presenters was Caleb Warnock. His opening speech was called "Dare to Be a Writer." Here are my notes from the talk:

Caleb asked for audience volunteers to come and play a concert on the piano and draw a masterpiece on paper that would sell for thousands of dollars. Of course, neither of these untrained participants could do it. After dismissing his helpers, Caleb explained the difference between liberty and freedom. He said those volunteers were at liberty to try and play a concert or create a masterpiece, but neither of them was free to do it because they were not trained. Freedom, he said, comes from hours of work. In terms of writing that means hours of work learning the craft of writing. He said (and I love this) that talent is naturally immature. He gave the following three steps to mature our talent as writers:

1. Learn to respect your talent. Acknowledge it. Call yourself a writer. Don't apologize.

2. Realize writers have a voice and a culture. You will have an influence over your readers and you cannot control how they will respond to your work. Some will love it. Some will hate it. They both will tell you.

3. Refuse to compare yourself to anyone else. Only compare yourself to yourself.

He went on to say write the book that only you can write. Train your talent. Stand your ground in the face of mounting pressures. Talent sticks around. Find a safe place to learn how to write. Surround yourself with people who are better than you and will tell you the truth. Invest in your talent. Don't be afraid. Send your work out and then immediately start a new project.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Loved General Conference

As always, I loved listening to General Conference. At our house, the Saturday sessions are attended to just as much as the Sunday sessions.

I always watch for recurring themes, figuring that the messages that are repeated are most likely what the Lord really wants us to pay attention to. I heard the following topics covered several times: faith, following the prophet, the Holy Ghost and battling Satan's influences in today's world. Those sound like pretty good topics for our time, don't they.

We had an area conference a couple of weeks ago. It was a broadcast from the BYU Marriott Center. President Packer was one of the speakers. He spoke about the pioneers and some of the trials and difficulties they faced in their time. Then he made the statement that, while the pioneers faced some really difficult times, the worst is yet to come. Oh, that made my heart sink. What are we in for?

Once, when I lived in Salt Lake City, we had a drive-by shooting near our house. When the police arrived they found bullet casings in the driveway of the house next door to where we lived. For a couple of days, I felt very vulnerable and traumatized by the event. It was as if I lived in a house made of paper. I had several small children at that time and I realized that we could not prevent horrible things from happening to our family. The police were no good, having gotten there too late to do anything useful.

A few days later, after much prayer, I finally felt peace through a scripture quoted at a high priest meeting. It is John 14:27, "peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." I realized that, although we cannot control what evil may come to us, as long as we are doing our best to live the gospel and keep the commandments, it doesn't matter what happens to us, we will be okay. I was given a great feeling of peace through the Spirit. That concept still brings me peace and comfort.

So, whatever lies ahead of us, we can take comfort in the promise contained in John 14:27. We can go forth with courage, knowing that all will be well if we do our best to live righteous lives.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Does the World Need Another Book?

Sometimes, when I'm at the local library, bookstore or even thrift store, I look around me at the thousands of books and I ask myself, "Does the world need another book?" I see so many books on the shelves, some good, some bad, some well-written and some poorly written. There are more books than anyone can read in a lifetime. No one would even want to read them all. So, it begs the question--does the world need another book?

It's a rather negative question, but one I think every aspiring author ought to ask him or herself. Is the book I'm writing going to contribute to society? Is it going to end up being the kind of library book folks wait in line for? What about when pretty much everyone who is going to read your book has read it? It will sit on a shelf in a thrift shop or in the library, gathering dust and everyone will forget about it. Is it enough that you've made your money from it? Will you still care about it? Will anyone else?

My biggest question related to this is: "What does my book contribute to the good of society?" Am I writing a book just to tell an engaging story or is there some other reason people should read my book? Will they come away from their reading with some greater understanding? Will it make them think, analyze their lives? Maybe even make changes?

For me, it is not enough just to write a book. There are so many books out there that do little more than entertain. For me, with such a glut of books already out there, there ought to be a good, compelling reason to write mine.

Lest I leave you depressed and questioning why you should continue the difficult task of writing your book, here are what I would consider good reasons to write a book:

The book will be of value if it not only entertains, but educates in a clean, uplifting way. It tells of good triumphing over evil. It is of value if it helps people learn to deal with their struggles in a healthy way. A worthwhile book will speak of real love, the kind that is selfless and causes one to want to become better for another person. We have so many examples in not only literature, but real life of how to do things the wrong way. There are plenty of sources showing Satan's influence over people. We need to read about people overcoming Satin's influence. That would be uplifting.

If you think about the classics, they do this. They speak of good overcoming evil--after a struggle, of course. They speak of love that seeks the well-being of another before self. That's why they are classics.

So what do you think? Does the world need another book? Aren't there enough already? What is your book going to contribute to society? What unique perspective do you have to offer that will make people's lives better? Or, are you only interested in what sells?