A Quick and Dirty Resource for Writers

A Quick and Dirty Resource for Writers explores how writers may be able to utilize quickanddirtytips.com for their writing projects and author platforms.

I thought I’d share an interesting site I’ve found and tell you how as writers you may be able to make use of it.

The site is Quick and Dirty Tips and it’s hosted by individuals deemed to be experts in their fields. The topics they cover include:

Productivity

  • Email
  • Learning
  • Meetings
  • Organization
  • Project Management
  • Time Management

Relationships

  • Etiquette & Manners
  • Dining & Travel
  • Professional
  • Friendships
  • Romance
  • Social Media
  • Pets
    • Cats
    • Dogs
    • Dog Training
    • Dog Behavior
    • Dog Care
    • Puppies

    Tech

    • Web
    • Tech News
    • Software & Apps
    • Mobile
    • Home Theater
    • Gadgets
    • Computers

    Health & Fitness

    • Exercise
    • Healthy Eating
    • Medical Conditions
    • Mental Health
    • Men’s Health
    • Women’s Health
    • Prevention
    • Trends & Fads
    • Weight Loss

    Education

    • Math
    • Science
    • Writing
    • Grammar

    Business & Career

    • Careers
    • Legal
    • Communication
    • Networking
    • Public Speaking
    • Small Business

    Money & Finance

    • Taxes
    • Investing
    • Insurance
    • Credit
    • Loans
    • Real Estate
    • Saving & Spending
    • Retirement

    House & Home

    • Budgeting
    • DIY
    • Entertaining
    • Food
    • Organization
    • Interior Design
    • Housekeeping
    • Holidays

    Parenting

    • Back to School
    • Pregnancy
    • Babies & Infants
    • Toddlers
    • School Age
    • Tweens & Teens
    • Family Time
    • Behavior

    If you have a question, you can contact the appropriate host for the topic through their host page on the Quick and Dirty Tips site. Archived tips also appear on the topic pages.

    This site is potentially valuable for anyone, not just writers, but writers often deal productivity issues, and have grammar and writing questions for starters. And, if you’re writing fiction, many of the tips found here may be helpful as you research and develop your characters and storyline.

    So, take a look and let me know what you think. Will QuickandDirtyTips.com be helpful to you?

    Photo credit: Mop via photopin (license)

  • Writers: Is Life Throwing Good Material at You?

    Writers: Is Life Throwing Good Material at You? discusses how our novels can benefit from experiences in our lives even if it takes a bit longer to write them.

    I’ve wanted to write for as long as I can remember. Hmm… I might want to rephrase that as my memory is getting pretty bad these days and some days it’s tough to remember what I had for breakfast!

    So, let’s put it this way: I wrote my first “long” story in sixth grade. It was about 10 pages long scribbled in an exercise book and the teacher was so excited by my efforts that she made me read it to the rest of the class. That was the start of my writing ambitions.

    But, life happens, doesn’t it? Other priorities ranked higher in my never ending to-do list: marriage, work, kids, even laundry and housework seemed to come first. Over the years, there’ve been brief spurts of writing, but I haven’t accomplished the great things I dreamt of accomplishing back in sixth grade.

    But, you know what? That’s okay because my novel has been brewing in the back of my mind all this time and I think it will ultimately be better because of it.

    Life throws us curves for sure, but if you’re a writer and you’re paying attention, you might just notice that life throws you a few great examples and ideas along the way, too.

    In my case:

    • I’ve had a few unexplained and potentially supernatural experiences and I can use those and write about them with conviction because I experienced them firsthand.
    • I’ve done a lot of genealogy research over the years so I can write about family histories (and will) in my novel and know what I’m talking about.
    • There’s a policeman in my family now whose brain I can pick about proper police procedures so that I don’t look like a total dope when I write about such things – hopefully!
    • I’ve got some amazing clients who are experts in self-publishing, writing, and using social media to develop your author platform and I’m continually learning from them.
    • I’ve read about many many very odd but true murder mysteries with lots of twists and turns that have fired up my imagination.

    Sometimes I think that I wasn’t meant to finish my book until now because there were so many pieces that needed to come together in my mind first.

    I’d be a liar if I didn’t admit that I do get frustrated sometimes because things haven’t happened yet as I’d envisioned they would so many years ago, but I do believe things happen for a reason and when I remind myself of that and think back to how much of what I’ve experienced and learned since sixth grade, I know that I’m still on the right track.

    Has life thrown any good material at you for your books?

    Photo credit: Pixabay

    Brit Speak

    A couple of mornings over the holidays we decided to be lazy and we had a lie-in.

    Now if you’re from the UK, you know exactly what I mean, but if you’re from North America, you’re probably scratching your head and wondering if we’ve just invited a lot of friends over to sit around with big cups of coffee in the sunshine and share tall tales.

    A lie-in, according to one online English dictionary, means a long stay in bed. Here in North America we call it sleeping in.

    When we first moved to England, it took me a long time to figure out that when everyone kept saying to me “Are you all right?” or “All right?” it didn’t necessarily mean that I looked ill. I’d look in the mirror and check to see if I looked particularly tired or pale. Just to be sure I’d sometimes put on a bit more rouge or lipstick. Finally, it clicked! “Are you all right?” was just their way of saying “How are you?”

    If you refer to someone as homely, you might want to check which side of the pond you’re on. In North America, homely is no compliment! It means unattractive or ugly. In Britain however, to be told that you’re homely means that you’re considered warm and friendly.

    As you can imagine, we had quite a learning curve to be fluent in UK English and we were often gently teased by friends and acquaintances over our perceived misuse of their language.

    Remember fanny packs? They were all the rage here in North America in the 1980’s. People used them to carry keys, wallets, cameras, snacks, and just about everything else that would fit into the small zippered bags that strapped on to our waists. Well to North Americans, a fanny is a person’s backside. In England it’s, well, uhm… a person’s frontside? Would that be a sufficiently tactful way to describe it?

    Anyone who knows me knows that I frequently use the word “trousers” since living in England. Across the pond, pants = underwear. And, “sod?” Well, in North America we have Murphy’s Law and they have Sod’s Law. If someone calls you a sod, it isn’t a compliment, trust me on this. It also isn’t a brilliant thing to call up a store and ask them if they sell sod – as in grass! I did and there was this very uncomfortable silence until finally someone, stifling their amusement, said “Do you mean turf?”

    Same thing with panty hose. Shortly after moving to the UK, I needed to buy panty hose. We went to a John Lewis’ (a very posh department store in the UK) and I asked one of the salespersons where I could find panty hose. Eventually, between us, we realized I meant “tights!”

    And, I will never forget my hairdresser’s reaction when I asked for a shag. A shag was a hairstyle that was very common during the 1970’s here in North America. The hair was cut, almost chopped, into obvious layers. Shag was also a type of carpeting popular during the same time period. In the UK however, a shag is something considerably more up-close and personal! I did know about the UK meaning of shag, however, I thought that being a hairdresser he would be familiar with the hairstyle and know what I meant. He didn’t. Poor Nic! I nearly had to resuscitate him!

    Potato, patotto, tomato, tamotto… English is the same language worldwide – but it’s a crazy old world, isn’t it?

    If you’re writing dialogue for a British character in your novel, knowing these bits of slang and the differences in the meanings of some words might make the difference between credible dialogue and reaching your audience, or missing the mark and giving them a good giggle.

    For More Information

    Americans Are Barmy Over Britishisms

    What Brits say v what they mean – handy de-coding device

    (British) English Translated For Americans

    Slang…

    Differences between British, Canadian and American Spelling

    Photo credit: Pixabay

    Acronyms: A Big Part of Our Language and How to Use Them in Writing

    Acronyms: A Big Part of Our Language and How to Use Them in Writing defines acronyms and how to use them in writing.

    I used to spend a lot of time rolling my eyes at social events with my husband’s co-workers many moons ago when we were first married. Their conversations were filled with works like PDP11, DOS, DEC, COBOL, FORTRAN, RSX, ELN, VAX and APL.

    To me these words were like secret handshakes and if you didn’t know the meaning of the acronyms, it meant you didn’t belong to the club. It frustrated me!

    I’m not sure if it’s part of our quest to be efficient and save time in an increasingly busy world, or if it’s an attempt to simplify things, but acronyms have become more and more a part of our daily lives.

    Add to this character limits for Twitter and text messaging, etc., and the need to communicate quickly when typing on instant messaging programs like Skype, Facebook or Google Chat, and we’ve developed a strange phonetic language that is likely to impact our formal language skills if it hasn’t already. It will be interesting to see how recognizable the English language is in another generation or so.

    What Exactly is an Acronym?

    Wikipedia defines an acronym as:

    An acronym is an abbreviation formed from the initial components in a phrase or a word.

    Common Acronyms

    Did you know that these words, now a part of our English language dictionaries, are actually acronyms?

    • Taser – Stands for “Tom A Swift’s Electric Rifle”
    • Radar – Stands for “radio detection and ranging”
    • Scuba – Stands for “self-contained underwater breathing apparatus”
    • Laser – Stands for “light amplification by the stimulated emission of radiation”
    • Cop – Stands for “constable on patrol”

    Using Acronyms in Writing

    Acronyms are usually written in uppercase but there are exceptions to this (see the examples above).

    To avoid confusion (and keep your readers from rolling their eyes!) when you’re using acronyms in your writing, you should write the acronym out in full with the acronym in brackets immediately after that and then use the acronym after that.

    Like this:

    I’m writing this on my personal computer (PC). I prefer writing on my PC than using my laptop because the keyboard is bigger.

    Some of our acronyms have become so much a part of our language that this is unnecessary. We wouldn’t write these acronyms out in full for example:

    I got up at 7 ante meridiem (AM) this morning but usually get up at 6:30 AM.

    For More Information About Acronyms

    Wikipedia List of Acronyms

    Acronyms List

    Photo credit: Pixaby