The 5 Worst Excuses for Not Writing

You heard me. The 5 worst excuses for not writing. And if you know my opinion of writer’s block, you may be wondering what qualifies as “worst.” (They’re all bad, right?) Well, let’s just say these are the laziest and most self-defeating that I can think of (right now).

5 Lame Excuses for Not Writing
(You heard me.)

 1. It’s Sunny.

5 worst excuses for not writing it's sunny

Writing called on account of sunshine. Said no one ever.

Really, people, a pretty day is not a reason to avoid writing. It’s not. You are using the sunshine as an excuse for being lazy and playing outside instead of working.

Oh, and if you doubt me, here are some obvious flaws to this “reason” for not working.

  • The sun will still be there after you spend an hour writing. You’re not going to spend the whole day outside even if you do go out to play. Make goofing off outside a reward.
  • Umm… the sun does set at some point. Work at 8 or 9 pm (whenever the sun sets where you are). Play in the sun and then write. Or get up at 6 and write before the sun comes up to tempt you.
  • Or, my personal favorite, take your writing outside. Enjoy the sunshine and write at the same time. [mic drop]

Uh-huh. That’s what I thought. Lame excuse.

2. I’m tired.

5 worst excuses for not writing I'm tired

Nap time!

You will always be tired. 10 times out of 9, you are going to be tired (Shut up, math people.). If you don’t write when you’re tired, you will never write. End of story.

(Which you’ll never get to because you’ll never start the story. Just saying.)

3. I need to edit first.

5 worst excuses for not writing I need to edit firstNo. No, you don’t.

Write. Finish the book. Then, go back and edit. Or set limits on how much editing you are allowed to do in a span of time – otherwise, you’ll never finish the first draft. You’ll just keep re-writing the first few chapters.

2. I don’t know what to write.

5 worst excuses for not writing I don't know what to write idk

*flat stare* Who does? Write anyway. Sure, the first few paragraphs may be crap, but after a little while, you’ll get fired up and get into a groove. You can always scrap or edit parts of it later.

Besides, if you’re writing a novel, you should have some idea of the storyline already – even if you’re not a meticulous plotter. So… start on a scene and see where it goes? Worse case, you’ll find out where it doesn’t need to go. And you’ll learn something about your characters in the process (assuming you’re paying attention).

 1. There’s no point.

5 worst excuses for not writing there's no point impossibleIt’ll never get published. No one will ever read it. I can’t write anything good.
| : Infinite variations of self-deprecating and self-defeating statements : |

*inarticulate scream of rage and frustration*

*cough* Sorry. I’ll try to contain myself, but this one drives me absolutely crazy. Before I get to the rant, however, let me say that it is not directed at anyone struggling with depression or self-esteem issues who seriously believes those statements. To those people, I will say only that I hope you learn to question and challenge those statements and that even when those feelings are overwhelming, I hope you still write.

For those who say this as a whiny prompt for attention and never actually had any real aspirations to write, I would just like to say, *thbbbt*.

First of all, it’s almost always the exact opposite of the truth. You have no chance of getting published? Really? A poorly written fanfic of a poorly written book got published and bought. So… what? Can you not write in sentences? Great! Your work will be the next abstract innovation in stuffy literary circles.

Second of all, don’t say you’ve always want to do something when it’s not true.

Yes, some people have always wanted to write a book. And if you ask those people about that book they’ve always wanted to write, they will tell you all about the plot and the characters – all the ideas they’ve ever had since they first thought of it. If someone shrugs and says, “I don’t know. Something fantasy maybe. Or a thriller,” then, no, they didn’t always want to write a book. They just think wanting to write a book will make them sound more cool or intellectual or whatever.

Cause, yeah, book writing – it’s what all the cool kids are doing.

Sorry, no. People like that get on my nerves because while they’re saying “There’s no point,” because they think it sounds right, by saying it in conversation, they give this excuse more weight. Like thinking that you have no talent or that your story is unpublishable is a legit reason not to write. And hearing it from other people like it’s a real road block makes potential writers more likely not only to use it but also to believe it.

And that would be a shame.

Don’t use any of these “worst” excuses for not writing. In fact, don’t use any excuses for not writing. Write. Make it happen however you can. I believe in you.

10 English Jokes to Lighten Your Thursday

Friday’s almost here, folks! I can’t make it move any faster, but I can share 10 English jokes to lighten your Thursday. Some of these I found, and some I wrote. I’ll let you guess which are which!

Examples of Puns & Wordplay for English-lovers
(AKA English Jokes)

It’s hard to explain puns to kleptomaniacs because they always take things literally.

Q: Why do writers have trouble sticking with one degree program?
A: They’re trained to change subjects.

Q: What does a homophone psychiatrist say?
A: There, they’re, their.

The future, the present, and the past walked into a bar. Things got a little tense.

I am the Ghost of Christmas Future Perfect Subjunctive: I will show you what would have happened were you not to have changed your ways!

Santa’s elves are just a bunch of subordinate Clauses.

Q: What foot problem makes you fall asleep?
A: Comma toes.

Q: Why do older women have trouble writing declarative sentences?
A: They don’t have any periods!

Q: What punctuation most disturbs doctors?
A: The semicolon.
English Jokes Punctuation

 

Happy Thursday! I hope the groans were interspersed with chuckles. 🙂

People Don’t Listen: 7 Dialogue Tropes to Give Them Away

people don't listen dialogue tropes ear plugs

“la la la la I’m not listening!”

People don’t listen. You know it. I know it. We’ve probably even heard it but didn’t realize because we weren’t listening. And since we’re so familiar with people who don’t listen, using that idea in our stories adds a lot of realism. That makes these 7 dialogue tropes really handy for giving them away. So handy, in fact, that I’m sure you’ll recognize them from books, movies, etc.

7 Signs for When People Don’t Listen

These signs or tropes are really reflections of why the people aren’t listening. It’s a sign of their motivation and relationship with the person who’s talking. And how much they care about the subject. Ergo, which one you use is all about characterization, setting, and plot.*

 1. The Clueless Question

A.K.A. “Sorry. What?” Best said with that vague, re-focusing air.

Stereotypical of husbands tuning out their wives, this technique is used when the person in question was unaware that someone was talking to them because they’re

  1. in a crowd when the question could’ve been directed to someone else,
  2. focused on something really intently (to the exclusion of other sounds and their surroundings), or
  3. really tired (it’s easy to tune out when you’re exhausted).

Granted, wives do the same thing. Husbands and teenagers just have a worse rap.

2. The Circular Credit

Used in every comedy ever, this trope occurs when a duo is plotting, especially if a dominant character has already been established. The situation goes something like this –

Strong Character: What should we do? Hmmm… What about – no.
Weak Character: We could always try Plan A.
Strong Character: No, that would never work. … I know! We’ll try Plan A! Genius!
Weak Character: [mutters] I’m so glad you thought of it.

Examples include everything from Once Upon a Mattress to Inside Out, etc.

3. The Talk-over Takeover

This one comes up when a person isn’t listening because he or she won’t stop talking. It could be from arrogance, nerves, or a garrulous nature.

Here are some situations where this might be familiar:

  • The talkative, nosy type who can’t resist “fixing” someone and telling someone what to do or what he/she is going to do to help that person (you know – those favors you don’t want?). Aaand doesn’t stop talking long enough for that person to really object. In fact, it’s the type who interrupts any objection and assumes what the poor “helped” soul was going to say…
  • The arrogant, narcissistic type who interrupts because whatever you’re saying can’t possibly be as important as what he/she is saying, so stop wasting time blathering and let him/her talk. (Grrr.)
  • The nervous date or job interview who talks so much that everyone else eventually gives up on getting a word in.
  • The focused person so intent on telling a story or talking about a favorite topic that he/she doesn’t realize the surrounding conversation has moved on (and left him/her behind – still talking).

So… great for annoying, enraging, or funny characters!

4. The Deceptive Dismissal

Here’s where a show of politeness mixes with a lack of caring. People do this all the time when they want to appear that they care about what the person is saying but actually don’t. It’s a two-step process:

  1. Start with a sympathetic phrase. A.K.A. a platitude: “I know what you mean.” “Oh, I’m sorry to hear that.” “How awful.” All said with a kind of tsk or a sigh.
  2. Segue into what you want to talk about. Generally, it’s something about you (“You” meaning whoever’s doing it. I know that you would never do such a thing.).
  3. Pretend that what you’re talking about is related to what the other person says. People who do this might even believe it’s related – after all, they weren’t listening!

Don’t have characters you want the reader to like do this unless there’s some excuse. Like being distracted by something really important. And they’d better apologize when called out on it.

5. The Fuzzy Faker

This person actually does care about what the other person thinks. Maybe, not enough to actually pay attention (for this moment) but enough to try to hide that he/she wasn’t paying attention. Inevitably, however, vital details get crossed or overlooked and out the person’s lack of listening skills.

This dialogue trope is useful for

  • employees trying to impress/pacify a boss who’s especially boring and tends to monologue
  • spouses who want to avoid getting in trouble for not listening
  • students caught not paying attention in class

Sounds familiar, right?

6. The Redundant Reveal

To me, this one is an everyday kind of accidental slip that busy people make. You’re doing something, you’re moving fast, and you end up saying something before your brain catches up with what you heard. You know, when the brain assumes someone is going to say one thing and responds before you realize, nope, that’s not it (like a variation of the talk-over takeover but on a smaller scale).

Here’s an example from one of my favorite websites, Not Always Right.

(My mom is offering my little brother a snack, but she’s in the other room and he doesn’t quite hear her.)

Mom: Do you want any popcorn?
Brother: No, just popcorn.

How many times have you said, “You’re welcome,” when the other person said, “Have a nice day.” It’s that kind of brain glitch. Also known as autopilot.

7. The Taciturn Tune-out

So… back to conceit (Conceit and not listening go well together, yeah?).

In this situation, one person is giving instructions, and the other person is ignoring every word. Usually, it’s a case of arrogantly assuming that he/she knows better and doesn’t need to listen. This person may not even bother to respond or says, “Yes,” “right,” and “uh-huh,” at appropriate intervals.

Unfortunately, this is extremely common with customers and business. Businesses will pay lots of money for consultants, It departments, trainers, etc. And do people listen? Sometimes. Sometimes, they just do their own thing, break stuff, and then blame someone else. (Read not always right if you don’t believe me.)

Even thinking about it is frustrating.

Of course, that’s the point. Frustrating, funny, enraging – when people don’t listen, it causes an emotional response. I’m sure you have stories you could share for all of these dialogue tropes.

So why don’t you? Change the characters and put them in your stories. Believe me, your readers will empathize.

*Something about the word, “ergo,” feels pretentious. But it fit the sentence. I’m so conflicted…

A Comedy of Thoughts (AKA In Lieu of an Article)

What is a comedy of thoughts? I don’t know. As far as I know, I just made it up. In this case, it’s like a comedy of manners but in your head. Sounds awful, right?

Responsibility: Weren’t we supposed to do a post today?

Panic: You mean, we didn’t do it? We-

Memory: Relax. We did one.

Responsibility: We did? I don’t see it?

Memory: We scheduled it.

Responsibility: Are you sure? When did we do it?

Memory: Last weekend, we did both posts – you remember.

Wit: No. You remember.

Memory: Right.

Responsibility: And you’re sure we did this week’s? Because I don’t see any listed.

Logic: If they’re not in the list of posts, we didn’t schedule them.

Memory: Doesn’t matter. We did them.

Logic: Then, they should be in the drafts.

Memory: This is a private conversation.

Responsibility: They’re not in drafts.

Logic: He must be remembering last week.

Memory: I am not!

Responsibility: We still have to do today’s post then.

Panic: But it’s already today! It’s afternoon! We can’t-

Creativity: -Oooh! More to write? Can we do something crazy? Something out there! Or, I know, we could draw a picture – or paint one! Painting’s even-

Panic: -We don’t have time to paint! We don’t have time to do anything!

Logic: We could do it on our lunch break.

Wit: Could we? Are you sure?

Responsibility: Yes. That’s fine. We’ll do it on our lunch break.

Memory: We already did it.

Panic: But what will we write about? How can we even think of an idea that fast?

Creativity: Are you kidding? We have lists of ideas! Have you been-

Memory: We already did it!

Creativity: -listening?

Logic: If you two keep arguing, we will run out of time.

Panic: See? I told you we didn’t have enough time!

Wit: That helped.

Panic: We’ll never get it done!

Memory: We. Already. Did. It.

Responsibility: Guys, put it aside. We need to work on other things. Today’s article can wait until-

Memory: WE ALREADY DID IT!!! [Storms off.]

Logic: …he’s going to spend the whole afternoon nagging us that we already did it, isn’t he?

Wit: Nope. Absolutely not.

Save the Words! Make Your Own Idioms!

save the words make your own idioms to fossilize them

I tried to find a Word fossil, but they were too floppy…

Join the latest conservationist movement: Save the Words! It’s too late for the letter Ethel. It doesn’t have to be too late for literally and nauseous. And you can help these poor words with one simple action – and it’s free. All you have to do is make your own idioms!

That and 212 easy payments of $0.99, and you can adopt a word!

Ooops! Sorry – I mixed my emotional appeals. What I meant to say was that, if you make an idiom for a word and help that saying become popularized, then you could be saving a word. Because of you, that word could be safe from the evil evolution of language (*Grammarians everywhere hiss*).

As hard as it is to believe, I’m actually serious. -_-

According to the latest Mental_Floss article that’s floating around Facebook (which I, of course, believe implicitly without doing further research) suggests that at least 10 archaic words were saved using precisely this method: “10 Old Words That Survived by Getting Fossilized in Idioms.”

I know. Now, you’re asking yourself, “Why didn’t I know about this sooner? How do I make idioms that will be popular enough to save important words?” Just remember: we’re here to help. Or, as I like to say, “get 4 succors a day.”

It’ll catch on any minute. Just watch.

As a serious writer, of course, I know nothing about appealing to the common man or pop culture (whichever comes first), so I’ve compiled some resources for you starting with the most obvious and reliable source:

  1. Wikihow: “Make a Meme
  2. Digital Trendes: “How to Make Your Own Meme
  3. Memegenerator

Now, you, too, can write idioms and popularize them with pictures of cats, awkward moments, or historic-looking drawings on colored rectangles. More importantly, you can save the words. The power is yours – don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise.

Remember: A flipped bird on each hand, is worth some booboos that will hurt.*

*No one said you had to save real words!

A Great Tone Example That’s Funny, Too

great tone example what is tone

Those thousands of shades of green? That’s like all the different tones you could write the same story in.

From middle schoolers to adults, people have trouble with tone. Especially telling tone from mood. Well, here is a great tone example that’ll not only help you better understand tone but also make you laugh (what a deal!).

But, first off, a bit about tone.

What Is Tone?

Tone – the attitude of a piece (usually the author or narrator’s attitude towards what is happening)

Ever get in trouble for your tone as a kid? (Or as an adult?) You know, when it wasn’t what you said but how you said it? (tone of voice and body language?) Tone is like that, but since writing isn’t spoken and doesn’t have nonverbals, that attitude is taken from the word choice instead. How  you word something dictates the tone.

It’s like paraphrasing using close synonyms: the denotation shouldn’t change, but the connotation might.

You look really thin!
You look awfully skinny!

They’re the same thing but not. The switched words are close synonyms (same detonation), but the connotation is definitely different. People who want to appear polite but insult someone at the same time are really good at distinctions like this. And so are satire writers. *cough* I mean hospital workers.

A Great Tone Example

This is an article from a medical satire blog called Gomer Blog. IMHO, one of the keys to successful satire is a believably sincere tone. In this case, they took it a step further with an overly sincere, understanding, and even sympathetic tone. The article is called “Hospital Publishes 6 Patient Guidelines: ‘Please Try Not to Confuse Us with a Hotel.”

Here’s a sample:

Here at Outside Hospital (OSH), we are 100% committed to your satisfaction as a patient.  To this end, we have created this pamphlet, which contains some tips and advice to guide you in your hospital stay, and we will be providing this to each and every patient immediately upon your arrival to the hospital.  Even if you have slurred speech secondary to a stroke, been shot multiple times, or don’t even know your own name, don’t worry, we won’t bother you with pesky ECGs or mental status exams until we have gone over this information, in detail.

  1. Please try not to confuse us with a hotel.

I know, I know, the free cable, hot breakfasts, and lumpy mattresses all create an atmosphere that is incredibly confusing since it resembles your favorite Holiday Inn.  However, we actually are a hospital, not just a bunch of beds filled with some sick people.  So, that means that your breakfast may not be the equivalent to IHOP’s, we might not have Comedy Central as a choice of channels and sometimes, when your doctors come into your room, they might have to turn off the television so they can discuss your health.  Although I know these lack of conveniences might lead you to believe that you are in a third-world country, they probably don’t deserve a one-page written complaint…

Hooked? Read the rest of “Hospital Publishes 6 Patient Guidelines: ‘Please Try Not to Confuse Us with a Hotel” now. I’ll wait.

Isn’t it great? Especially if you’ve ever stayed or worked in a hospital. Or know anyone who does. When you hear the stories about the ridiculous complaints people get (or overheard those people in the waiting room, etc.), then it’s even funnier (Or more painful. Whatever).

If you haven’t heard any of those stories, read some of the customer is not always right. You’ll lose faith in humanity, but you’ll develop new empathy for people in customer service – and not only in hospitals (and you can get some of that faith back by reading the not always hopeless tab at the end).

But back to tone.

Do you see how the tone makes the humor work? It’s that overly-solicitous attitude. Like a parent saying, “Oh, I can’t believe they assigned you twenty problems of math! How can they expect you to do that when your thumbs are completely paralyzed from texting your friends?” Heh. Lol. So, yeah, it’s like sarcasm. Sometimes, the best way to make fun of something is to act like you seriously agree with it.

Sure, that’s not the only tone you could write. Any kind of emotion or attitude can be a tone – snippy, humorous, condescending, confused, etc. Any emotion you can put into your voice, you can put into your words.

Any questions?

10 Fun Made-up Words from Movies, Books, and Musicals

fun made-up words from movies books and musicals

That’s what fun made-up words make you do. Admit it.

Hurray for neologisms! (and neologists!) These fun made-up words from movies, books, and musicals will keep you smiling – especially when you start throwing them around in conversation!

10 Neologisms (Fun Made-up Words)

 1. Thneed

Picking a single neologism from Dr. Seuss books is quite a challenge. His amusing, rhythmic stories rely on fun made-up words more than perhaps any other author’s works (AKA nonsense words). I finally settled on a thneed by deciding that people and places wouldn’t be included in this article (This would be a lot longer list if I included every made-up name of a person, country, or language!).

And like many of Dr. Seuss’ made-up words, “thneed” is fun to say, which is always a plus with neologisms. English just doesn’t combine “th” with “n” very often without using something in between like, I don’t know, a vowel.

Besides, “a thneed is a thing that everyone needs.”

2. Psammead

Ever read Five Children and It by E. Nesbit? If you haven’t, I highly recommend it, especially for kids who enjoy imaginative stories and dryly humorous British narrators (You know what I mean.). This particular story (and several others about the same children) features the Psammead, a sand fairy.

I’ll be honest: I have no idea how to pronounce Psammead. I guess I could watch the movie (AKA cheat and learn someone’s idea of how to pronounce it), but that would take all the fun out of trying!

3. Hooficure

Yes, even the new My Little Ponies has neologisms. This one seems decently self-explanatory. In fact, it makes more sense than a manicure at first glance (that is, until you find out that the Latin root “man” means “hand”).

4. Snicker-snack

You know what it’s from. In fact, you’ve probably listened to celebrities read “The Jabberwocky” recently. Like Dr. Seuss’ work, “The Jabberwocky” is full of fun made-up words. I like this one because it’s not only a neologism – it’s also a fun example of onomatopoeia.

Granted, I have no specific definition for it. But that’s part of the appeal of the poem, isn’t it? And neologisms, too, come to think of it.

5. Foodimals

These creatures from Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 are named from an obvious combination of words. Other than adding an appropriate suffix, it’s one of the oldest techniques of making up new words. It’s also one of the best for getting the point across in a hurry while still using a fun made-up word.

Go ahead, take a wild swing and guess what a foodimal is. Did you guess an animal made out of food? Some sort of food animal? (Really, what else would you guess?) Then, you’ve pretty much got the idea.

6. Pensieve

$10 says you recognize this one!

Not really. I can’t afford to make bets and start a new business at the same time. Still, I would expect that you’ve at least heard this word from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. Like many of these authors, Rowling made up quite a few fun words in her books. She also did a lot of word play and re-defining existing words.

Pensieve holds a special place in my heart 1. because I want one (seriously, my mind is kind of turning into a stereotypical wizard’s tower room: so full of randomly interesting stuff that it’s hard to find what you were looking for – whatever the word for that was), and 2. because it’s a pun. And who doesn’t like a good pun? (If you can find one!)

7. Snarfblat

Aren’t you glad we don’t live back in the days when all people had to do was stare at each other? Now, instead, we don’t have to look at each other at all except through little screens! Awesome, am I right?

This little gem from The Little Mermaid is a fun made-up word and definition for a real thing. Which only goes to show how important it is to have a reliable resource when looking for information. In other words, don’t ask a seagull.

8. Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious

I absolutely love that spell check knows how to spell this! There are dotted red lines under half of these words – not this one! Heh. Maybe, I typed loudly enough to sound precocious, so the spellcheck assumed I knew what I was doing.

For those of us who grew up with Mary Poppins as children, this word (and its song) have a special place in our hearts. Those who didn’t probably just rolled their eyes and said, “Don’t expect me to try to say that!”

Well, it is one of the most ambitious of our fun made-up words…

9. Yabba dabba doo!

Is this a fun made-up word or a fun made-up phrase? (Depends on who’s spelling it)

I like to think that this neologism came from animators and screenwriters sitting around and making caveman noises. Either that, or a voice actor getting so caught up in the character that he starts spouting nonsense. (It may be closer to the second one if you believe this article about its origin.)

Wherever it came from, if you know the Flintstones, you know this word!

10. Cowabunga!

Last, but certainly not least, comes the catchphrase of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I hate to say that it actually came from The Howdy Doody Show and was used in circumstances that would probably be considered offensive today. But if you’re like me and want to pretend you never heard that, hit play, close your eyes, and listen to the Master.

That’s it folks! Until next neologisms (Wouldn’t that make a great holiday?), happy word making!

Spelling as a Frame Story: The Alphabet of Death

Spelling as a Frame Story the Alphabet of Death ABC booksSpelling as a frame story? The alphabet of death? What on Earth is this twytte talking about?*

Frame stories. Sort of. A little. Maybe.

Tbh, this article is focused more on a particular type of frame story, which may not even totally qualify as a frame story (I don’t know. You tell me.). But before we get to that, I guess I better define the frame story.

I haven’t really talked about frame stories yet (at least, I don’t think I have), so here’s a simple metaphor: a family portrait gallery. The hallway (or, more precisely, the hallway wall) is the frame story, and the family portraits are the series of stories bound together by it. Along with the idea that they’re all related by blood or marriage. That’s more or less what a frame story does: it links seemingly unrelated stories (not talk about family. Sorry.).

If you want to learn more about traditional frame stories, click on the wikipedia article (“Frame Stories“) – at least, until I feel like writing about them. For now, I want to discuss spelling as a frame story even though I’ve never heard of it being formally taught as a frame story.

Why isn’t it taught?  I don’t know. It could be because it’s not a strong frame story – it’s more frame than story. Or popsicle stick frame rather than a professional one. On the other hand, I suppose it could be because the alphabet frame is primarily used for ABC books for early readers, and that doesn’t lend a lot of gravitas to the classroom. Or a novel.

But I’m here to prove that it’s not just for kids (Ok. I’m here to amuse, entertain, and, possibly, educate. I admit it.).

The Alphabet Or Spelling As a Frame Story

There are two basic frames in this category. The simplest and most common is the entire alphabet in alphabetical order. The second frame story method is more or less an acrostic put into book form.

The Alphabet Frame Story

This is where the ABC book comes in. If you’re a parent, or if you were a child (*cough*), then you’ve probably seen these. They go from A to Z, and each page features a word, phrase, poem, or sentence that starts with the letter featured on the page.

But it doesn’t have to be for kids, and it doesn’t have to be a book.

The Alphabet of Death

Yeah, honestly, this article was just an excuse to post that video…

The Spelling Frame Story

Or frame whatever. Like I said, this is an acrostic poem turned into a story, song, etc. The most famous one I can think of comes from  an old Vaudeville number followed by a parody gag by Jack Benny, Bing Crosby, and Bob Hope on the Jack Benny Show.

Yeah, I’ve really only seen it used for humor. That doesn’t mean it couldn’t be used for something serious. I’m open to suggestions…

Enough Frame Story for a Novel?

It sure doesn’t seem like it, does it? Even if you did, there are so many words in a novel, who would notice if the beginning of each chapter started with a different letter? Nobody. Not even if the first letter was as ornate as the ones in the Book of Kells.

Of course, then I started thinking about emphasizing the letter and how the letter could relate to each story… It would be a very silly novel, but it would be possible.

But what about serious novels? Impossible, right?

I don’t know. What if the frame is for a book series rather than a single story? Like Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone Alphabet Series. Each book features a different letter: A is for AlibiB is for Burglar, C is for Corpse, etc. They’re murder mysteries, and the alphabet idea and main character link them together. Does that count?

What do you think? Is it a frame story or what?

*See what I did there?

8 Nose Quotes from Page, Stage, & Screen

fake glasses nose quotes

Sometimes a nose is just a nose

Why I am I writing about nose quotes? To be honest, I was listening to a show, heard a funny quote about noses, and thought, “Hey! That could be an article.” But noses really are an often-overlooked-yet-persistent part of stories. To help inspire you to use the overlooked or unexpected, here are 8 nose quotes from page, stage, & screen.

A Sampling of Nose Quotes for Writers

1. Cyrano de Bergerac

When talking about famous noses, really, where else could you start but with Cyrano?

As tragedies go, this one has a plethora of wit as well as a plethora of nose (poor Cyrano), and said nose has a central role in the plot. Of course, that wouldn’t be the case if Cyrano had only believed his own words:

“… a big nose is indicative
Of a soul affable, and kind, and courteous,
Liberal, brave, just like myself, and such
As you can never dare to dream yourself…”
— Cyrano from Cyrano de Bergerac

2. Pinocchio

Another obvious choice. The quote, however, is not from the movie’s namesake.

“A lie keeps growing and growing until it’s as plain as the nose on your face.”
— The Blue Fairy

That’s definitely true of Pinocchio who has a harder time lying than most. Even in his guest appearance in Shrek 2.

3. Court Jester with Danny Kaye

One of my favorite movies growing up, Court Jester is a mix of parody, comedy, and musical with a script that is wonderfully witty and actors who deliver it with a fast-paced rhythm that will leave you giggling as you catch up. This particular quote comes from the opening credits.

“Why be gloomy – cut thy nose off to spite thy face? Listen to me: a nose is hard to replace.” — Hawkins from Court Jester

Maybe, it’s not your first reaction when you’re gloomy (I know it’s not mine), but when taken into context with the saying, it actually has a surprisingly deep meaning…

4. The Complete Works of Shakespeare Abridged

This quote is an example of how something small combined with parody can equal hilarity:

“A nose by any other name could still smell.”
— Adam as Juliet in The Complete Works of Shakespeare Abridged

Seriously, folks, if you haven’t watched it yet, what are you waiting for?

5. William Shakespeare

And just to prove that it doesn’t have to be parody to be a Shakespearian nose quote…

“O jest unseen, inscrutable, invisible,
As a nose on a man’s face, or a weathercock on a steeple!”
— Speed from Two Gentleman of Verona

I like how he contrasts the ideas to change the meaning. You know, like most of us sarcastic types do.

6. M*A*S*H

As many seasons as this television show ran, there’s probably a quote in it from about any topic you can think of. The nose, however, has its own episode.

“Major, all a nose is is a nose. It takes in air, and it breaks up the space between your eyes and your mouth. It has nothing to do with a person’s value or quality. It’s there to catch a cold through or that which to look down on people from. Enjoy it! You’ve been given a good, strong, aquiline nose.” — Captain Benjamin Franklin Pierce from “Operation Noselift

Dammit, Pierce! Where were you when Cyrano needed you?

7. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Not to leave out poetry, here’s a little couplet by Longfellow called “The Best Medicines.”

“Joy and Temperance and Repose
Slam the door on the doctor’s nose.”

8. Terry Pratchett

It seems appropriate to end with a bit of good advice. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “stick your nose into other people’s business/affairs.” Well, with his usual skill at surprise endings to traditional lines, Mr. Pratchett added a valuable twist:

“Don’t stick your nose where someone can pull it off and eat it.”
— Terry Pratchett’s Men at Arms

Who knew a nose could be quoted from so many different angles? Even now, I feel like I’m forgetting some.

Know any great nose quotes that I missed?

If you thought, “Yes!” when you read that, please, please, share it/them because that’s kind of hilarious.

Fill in Your Own Fable: More Malopropisms

Here’s one of Aesop’s fables adjusted for your entertainment. Use parts of speech to fill in your own fable. Then, read it and laugh yourselves silly.

Fill in Your Own Fable Aesop's fables More MalopropismsWant to see how your fable compares to the original? Check it out at the Library of Congress.

And if you had fun, check out more malapropisms from the classics!

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