Category Archives: Wordy Websites

“It Writes the Words or It Gets the Hose” -OR- Why Kristin Lamb is Awesome

So, you know Kristin Lamb? I was just looking at…

No? No, seriously? Kristin Lamb? #MyWANA?

Oh, honey, you gotta get out more. Or stay in more. Or something.


Anyway, I was just  looking at a recent post, “Ten ways for an ADD writer to be… OOH! SHINY!… Productive.” Now, first of all, this is a great post. GREAT post. Something for everyone (at least everyone who doesn’t have iron clad focus, which is most of us to one degree or another.)  My favorite tip is her “Swiss Cheese Approach,” which is the same general idea as “Knock a Hole In It” — everything looks easier after you hack some chunks out of it. The really important point is this: once you have a solid sense of all the parts of a project, you do not have to start at the beginning. Unless you’re in construction — in which case yes, please, start with the foundation. But otherwise, if the very first part holds no appeal, by all means, knock a hole somewhere else. 

Then, somewhat by the way as a sort of We Are Not Alone inspiration, Kristin Lamb wrote:

“It writes the words or it gets the hose.”

OH MY GOD. See, this probably seemed like just a quippety quip to her, something the muses flang her way in a moment of schmabulosity, but you don’t understand.

This is a line from “The Silence of the Lambs”. It is said to a character named Catherine Martin (played by Brooke Smith).

Catherine Martin is my HERO.

Now, the movie is not for everyone — what with the kidnapping and murder and eating of body parts with fava beans and a nice chianti — but Catherine Martin is, and here’s why:

In a nutshell, Catherine Martin is every straight-up awesome friend you have, driving back to her apartment complex one night, singing along to Tom Petty: “Oh yeah, all right, take it easy baby, make it last (make it last all night), she was an American girl…”.

She is, in fact, an American girl. Thus, when she arrives home, she is a) helpful enough and b) strong enough to take one end of the couch for the guy with the full arm cast who is trying (and failing) to heft it into his truck.

But she is an American girl. So if the bad guy is clever enough to get her into his truck and slam the door and take her to his spooky-a$$ lair and drop her down a dry well, he ought to be clever enough to know that you really shouldn’t kidnap an American girl and drop her down a dry well because she will lure your fluffy little one-stomp dog down there and she will kill it if you don’t let her out.

Oughtn’t he? He ought.

Catherine Martin is why “it writes the words or it gets the hose” is so brilliant as a motivator. Because when Catherine Martin hears those infuriating words (which, in the film, are actually “it uses the lotion or it gets the hose” but that’s a whole other story) she does not cringe or cower. (Much.) For the most part, she’s just mad as hell. And she’s using all that anger as fuel while she plots her escape. Which involves a healthy dose of revenge, because guess what?

She keeps the bad guy’s dog.


So “it writes the words or it gets the hose” works for me. Not because of the hose. Because screw you, that’s why.

Oh, and, P.S.?

I’m keeping the novel.

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Filed under Wordy Awesomeness of the Day, Wordy Websites, Writing and Writers

World Wide Words Newsletter: 13 Apr 2013

Michael Quinlon on the word “Scrumptious”:

We commonly use this to refer to some especially appetising item of food or a very attractive person. Roald Dahl, who wrote the script for the film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, felt it was appropriate for the character Truly Scrumptious, which must be in contention with Pussy Galore for the worst-ever* invented female movie name.

Critics have not been kind to scrumptious. In 1921, H L Mencken described it as an “artificial word”, lumping it with sockdolager, hunky-dory, spondulix, slumgullion and similar creations of American linguistic ingenuity. In his Dictionary of Modern English Usage in 1926, H W Fowler classed it as a “facetious formation”.

Many dictionaries just say “origin unknown” or “origin uncertain”, not wanting to engage in complicated but ultimately unsatisfying discussions about etymology. This writer has no such qualms.

via World Wide Words Newsletter: 13 Apr 2013.

*or BEST-ever, depending on your perspective.

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Filed under Etymology, Fancy Words, Nerd Candy, Wordy Websites

Because That’s How the Word Nerds Roll (World Wide Words Newsletter: 30 Mar 2013

De-extinction Several readers pointed out that, strictly speaking, it’s not possible to de-extinct the California condor, since it is not yet extinct, though despite a captive breeding programme it remains endangered.

via World Wide Words Newsletter: 30 Mar 2013.

PS. — if you don’t receive this newsletter there is a vast, aching hole in your life that can never be filled. Um, except by this newsletter. Or something.


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Filed under Nerd Candy, Wordnerds, Wordy Websites

Generating Social Media Content (even when you have no clue what to write)

A fantastic idea sheet from one of my favorite blogs, Copyblogger.

One addition: all of this stuff should be filtered through a professional editorial service before it goes online for all the world to see. Just sayin’.
22 Ways to Create Compelling Content - Infographic
Like this infographic? Get more content marketing tips from Copyblogger.

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Filed under Content Producers, Social Media, Wordy Websites, Writing and Writers

Write like you’ve got a slow-mo bullet tumbling toward your head and you can’t get out of the way.

Okaaay… seriously?

Yes. YES! If you have never seen Ze Frank’s An Invocation for Beginnings, go watch that. We’ll wait.

(Jeopardy theme…)

OK, got it? Now go read Chuck Wendig’s 25 Of My Personal Rules For Writing And Telling Stories. And I will NOT wait. Because you won’t be coming back here, you’ll be racing to your writer’s bolthole to get all weird and writer-y and FINISH THAT STORY ALREADY.

After that, read everything Chuck Wendig has ever written because it’s awesome.

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Filed under Wordy Awesomeness of the Day, Wordy Websites, Writing and Writers

11 Ways to Bore the Boots Off Your Readers | Copyblogger

This is dead on.

Some of the advice — for example, “be charming” and “don’t be too original” — is a bit nuanced for writers just trying to get it done already– I’d say they’re Level II. Level I is solid: Use short sentences, and omit every word you can.

I would, however, like to point out that SOME bloggers use convoluted sentences and sesquipedalian vocabulary NOT in the vain hope of being perceived as more intelligent than they really are, but because, as Dr. Seuss would have it, “These things are fun. And fun is good.”

image of bored man

11 Ways to Bore the Boots Off Your Readers

The 11 most common mistakes bloggers make that bore the hell out of their readers. And of course, if you prefer to engage, entertain, and entice your readers … just turn these around, and make your content really work.

via 11 Ways to Bore the Boots Off Your Readers | Copyblogger.



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Filed under Extra! Extra!, Fancy Words, Nerd Candy, Wordy Websites

World Wide Words

Greatness to which I can only aspire!

About World Wide Words

“The English language is forever changing. New words appear; old ones fall out of use or change their meanings. World Wide Words tries to record at least some part of this shifting wordscape by featuring new words, word histories, the background to words in the news, and the curiosities of native English speech.”

Michael Quinion, via World Wide Words

I know what you’re thinking. “That sounds too good to be true, Deb. There’s no way it can be as magnificent as it sounds.”

Well if you’re unsure, why not divine the answer via Catoptromancy?

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Filed under Extra! Extra!, Fancy Words, Wordy Websites