Isn’t it lovely when you find loose sheets of paper with your words written all over it? Words you’ve written a long time ago when your thoughts wandered off, had left reality, and ventured out into an imaginary world. Your words sometimes amaze you, other times intrigue you, maybe even baffle you. But they’re perfect nonetheless. You wrote them down because at that moment in time, you were inspired and driven to express how you felt, what you thought, and it meant something to you. You had to do it, or else you would forget. And so you did, and now that you’ve found them again—days later, weeks later, or years later—you’re glad you had written them down.

Most of the time they are dialogues, or descriptions of places, or people, or feelings. Sometimes all you’ll find is a scribble of a word, or a phrase, or a sentence, or a paragraph. Whatever they may be, they make up an incomplete story. A story that reminds you that this was something you once wanted to write, and said you would write, and possibly will write someday.

If picked up by a stranger, these sheets of paper would mean nothing at all. But to you, they are precious little things.

They are your treasures.

By the way, excuse the chicken scratches on the image above. Thanks to the computer, my penmanship has suffered through the years. 😉

Writing Tip #6: Watch Out for Misused Words

I see it happen all the time. Nope, they’re not typos. They’re misused words. They may sound alike, but they are nothing alike.

Here are the most common ones I’ve seen:
farther and further: Farther refers to distance; further refers to extent or degree
lie and lay: In the present tense, lie means to rest; lay means to put or to place
foreword and forward: Foreword is a noun that means an introductory note or preface; Forward is an adjective or adverb that means toward the front:
it’s and its: It’s is a contraction for it is; its is the possessive form of it
past and passed: Passed functions as a verb; past functions as a noun, adjective, or preposition
than and then: Than is a conjunction used in making comparisons; then is an adverb indicating time
their, they’re and there: Their is the possessive form of they; there refers to place; and they’re is the contraction of they are.
your and you’re: Your is the possessive form of you; you’re is the contraction you are

There are also misused words that don’t sound alike:
each other and one another: Each other is used to refer to two people; one another is used to refer to more than two people.
number and amount: Use number to things that can be counted; use amount for things that cannot be counted.

Don’t forget to check your emails and manuscripts for misused words before sending them out.

To see a longer list of misused words, check out my resources:
Easily Confused or Misused Words
The Little Red Writing Book

Writing Tip #3: Want a stronger manuscript? Watch out for overused words.

A few days ago, I posted a tip about not overusing the word “suddenly”.

But aside from “suddenly”, we all know that there are plenty of other words we can overuse and not even notice.

So out of curiosity, I googled “overused words”, hoping to get a list I can look at, instead I got links to websites with editing tools that can help you search for overused words and also catch other mistakes. Woohooh!

If you’re in the middle of editing your manuscript, I suggest you check out the links below.

Note: I’ve only tried Pro Writing Aid, and so far, it’s pretty helpful.

If you want more tips on overused words, here is a link to author, Terry Odell’s blog:

Yes, I know I’ve overused the words overuse/overused/overusing on this post. But I’m trying to make a point. 😉

National Book Week

It’s National Book Week and I only remembered because I went on Facebook (my commercial break from writing) and my “friends” have posted random sentences from random books. The rule is to grab the closest book to you and turn to page 56 and use the 5th sentence as your FB status, without mentioning what book it came from.

So I flipped through the book closest to me and turned to page 56, checked out the 5th sentence and thought it was too vague, so I grabbed another book and then another and another. Whew. Okay, I didn’t really follow the rules of using the closest book to me, but I felt better using the sentence from the one I finally chose. So I thought I’d post it here too.

This was what I picked:

“‎He said he’ll come back,” adds Lisa, vanishing toward the stairwell.

There’s actually something pretty amazing about reading random sentences from random books and not knowing where they came from.

From one sentence alone, a new world opens up. It intrigues us and leaves us wanting to read more. From one sentence alone, an emotion is revealed. A writer is introduced. And words made it all possible.

This is why books are so amazing and this is why I write.

What’s your sentence?

Day 1b – Writing my next novel in 100 days…

Day 1 is about to end and I’m still trying to write as much as I can. Before it goes into day 2, I wanted to blog about what I have so far.

While making lunch today, I had all these thoughts about how I wanted the first chapter to begin. I didn’t jot anything down, so by the time I started writing, which was not until 6 pm, things were a bit scattered. I was able to squeeze in about 700 words right before dinner. I haven’t had a chance to edit anything yet, but I really need to. There are quite a few things I need to revisit.

Today felt a bit like rushed writing. Hope to squeeze in more time tomorrow so I can carefully craft the story.

Despite the mess, I’m glad I started writing.