Monday, August 31, 2009

Tools You Can Use: Rhyming Dictionaries

"Life is tons of discipline. Your first discipline is your vocabulary; then your grammar and your punctuation Then, in your exuberance and bounding energy you say you're going to add to that. Then you add rhyme and meter. And your delight is in that power."—Robert Frost


RhymeZone, an easy-to-use rhyming dictionary, helps you write poetry, song lyrics, greeting cards, term papers, and more. Use RhymeZone to explore relationships between words. You can use it as a springboard to find pictures, documents, and other multimedia items related to a particular concept that you're writing about. Discover how your word is used in the context of famous quotes, poems, and plays.

RhymeZone Features:

  • Find rhymes: This function will return words that rhyme with the word you typed in.
  • Find synonyms: This function will return words that are the same or similar in meaning to the word you typed in.
  • Find anonyms: This function will return words that can mean the opposite of what you typed in.
  • Find definition: This function will search for definitions of the word you typed in. It will also allow you to submit your query to other online dictionaries on the Web.
  • Find homophones: This function will return words that have exactly the same pronunciation as what you typed in but are spelled differently.
  • Find similar sounding words: This function will return words that have a pronunciation that's similar, but not necessarily the same, as what you typed in.
  • Match consonants: This option will return words that have the same pattern of consonant sounds. Phonetic, for example, will return fanatic.
  • Find related words: This option will return words that are related in some important way to what you typed in.
  • Find similar spellings: This option will return words in the dictionary that are spelled similarly to what you typed in. Use this feature to spell-check a word that you aren't sure of.
  • Match these letters: This option will return words and phrases that contain the letters you type in.
  • Search for pictures: This function will search for kids-friendly pictures on the Web related to the word you typed in.
  • Search in Shakespeare: This function will search all of Shakespeare's plays and poems for your word.

Online Rhyming Dictionary

Online Rhyming Dictionary lets you find five types of rhymes: end rhymes, beginning rhymes, double rhymes, first syllable rhymes and last syllable rhymes.

Online Rhyming Dictionary Features

  • Database contains 93,000 words.
  • Click on specific word and read its meaning on Merriam Webster dictionary

Friday, August 28, 2009

Take 5: A Daily Dose of Writing Quotes

”Everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.”Sylvia Plath, poet

“Writing is like hunting. There are brutally cold afternoons with nothing in sight, only the wind and your breaking heart. Then the moment when you bag something big. The entire process is beyond intoxicating.”—Kate Braverman, poet & experimental writer

“Genius might be the ability to say a profound thing in a simple way.”
Charles Bukowski, poet & novelist

“In my first writing class, I was given the most valuable advice that a young writer could receive. The professor said, 'Take a situation that intrigues you and ask yourself two questions: Suppose? and, What if? Then turn the situation into fiction.'”
Mary Higgins Clark, novelist

“Sit down, and put down everything that comes into your head and then you're a writer. But an author is one who can judge his own stuff's worth, without pity, and destroy most of it.”
Colette, author of Gigi

For a great Pearls Before Swine comic strip on editors, go here.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

My Book Therapy Storycrafters Retreat Blog Tour

In an opportunity only dreamed of by unpublished writers, Award-winning authors Susan May Warren and Rachel Hauck will mentor you in person. Now, they'll help you apply the ideas, secrets, and tips they've taught at My Book Therapy to your manuscript.

From Here to There –
Going from raw idea to a drawn-out plot

How do you take your ideas and turn them into a story?
How do you know if your idea will sell?
Where do you start?

This working storytellers retreat, set just outside of Minneapolis during the beautiful fall season is designed for a writer who has an idea…but needs help putting it together into a plot.

Come with your idea, leave with a game plan. We’ll teach you story structure, and then go step by step in the character creation and plotting process, explaining how to determine each step, and then show you how to apply it to
your story.

We’ll brainstorm your ideas with you, share essential secrets of storytelling, and finally, you'll take home a filled-out workbook that will act as a map as you write your novel.

For beginners to advanced writers who just want a guide along the way, the From Here to There Storycrafter's Retreat will jumpstart your novel further down the road to publication.

Storycrafting & Coaching Retreat for Writers
Friday, October 23, 2009 1:00 pm -
Sunday, October 25, 2009 11:00 am (Central Time)

Riverwood Inn & Conference Center
10990 95th St. NE
Otsego, MN 55362

For more information, visit here.

This such a fabulous opportunity to be mentored by award-winning authors Susan May Warren and Rachel Hauck.

1) How can I make the most of the MBT Storycrafter Retreat?

Come with a story idea! And, if you can, ponder on the kind of person your characters are, as well as some of the key elements you want in your story. We’ll take it from there. ☺

2) How much of my story needs to be written before the MBT retreat? How well do I need to know the characters or the plot?

You should know the setting, the basic theme (although that might change) and a general idea of who your characters are. It would also help to know what genre you want to write in. If you come without an idea, then we can give you some brainstorm techniques to get you started. You know, we believe there is a novelist in everyone – so, come prepared to find your inner novelist!

3) I'm a "seat-of-the-pants" writer. How can the MBT retreat help writers like me?

I’m both a plotter and a SOTPer – meaning, I like to have the major points of my story fleshed out, and then discover each scene. Even if you are the most extreme SOTPer (meaning, you sit down without an idea and let the story flow), you still need to know WHO your character is, what is fears are, what his dreams are, and a bit about his spiritual journey. We’ll teach you how to gather up these elements, and how to put them together in a story, so at least you’ll know what you are shooting for! Even if you decide NOT to put it together in a plotting roadmap, you’ll have the major points figured out and therefore a target in which to aim.

4) What if my idea isn't sellable?

Oh….we’ll figure out how to make it sellable. ☺

5) What is the maximum number of writers the MBT retreat can accommodate?

We’re capped at 36 – we want to make it intimate and focused, so we’ve decided to keep it to a manageable size.

6) If I can't attend the retreat (even though I really, really want to!) will any of the material be available made afterward?

Nope, sorry. It’s a hands-on retreat, personalized, and it’ll look different every year, depending on the group. (and yes, we’re going to make it an annual event, in October, in Mpls!).

7) Why should I go to this retreat, over, say, a writer’s conference?

A writer’s conference, like ACFW or Write to Publish, or any conference that has a host of agents and editors there, is designed to PITCH your work. Yes, they have beginning writer’s classes, (which I often teach), as well as great networking opportunities, but for a writer who is still in the throes of their novel, they are better off going to a retreat (like the Storycrafter’s retreat) to really learn how to write their novel, so that they are ready to attend a writer’s conference and make the most out of it. That’s why we designed it to be focused, inexpensive and at a time of year where you can go home and hunker down to write your novel. The Storycrafter’s Retreat (as well as the MBT Deep Thinker’s weekend in February – come with 3 chapters and a synopsis – and the Beyond Book Therapy: Proposal, Promotion and Pitch conference in Seattle in May) is designed to prepare you for these major conferences, so you can sit down in front of an editor or agent and pitch your amazing story and have them go – Wow! Send it to me asap! ☺

In short – attend the three MBT retreats, and then you’ll be prepared to attend ACFW. (or any of the other amazing conferences around the nation!)

Be sure to visit the other blogs on tour for even more great information.

August 24 -- Visit Patricia at Reading N Writin
August 25 -- Visit Laura at Lighthouse-Academy
August 26 -- Visit Roxanne at The Writing Road
August 27 -- Visit Julie at The Surrendered Scribe
August 28 -- Visit Audra at Rugged Stories with Heart
August 29 -- Visit Pattie at Fresh-Brewed Writer
August 30 -- Visit Lisa at Musings

Monday, August 24, 2009

Funny Newspaper Headlines

"A person without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs. It's jolted by every pebble on the road."—Henry Ward Beecher

Kids make nutritious snacks

Include your children when baking cookies


Plane too close to ground, crash probe told

Something went wrong in jet crash, experts say


Man fatally murdered

Haddock tried for murder

Gunman shot by 999 cops

Drug baron hides crack in pants

Couple slain; police suspect homicide

Two convicts evade noose, jury hung

Drunks get nine months in violin case

Juvenile court to try shooting defendant

Pot-smoking Whoopi says back off Phelps

Police begin campaign to run down jaywalkers

Body scan on drugs runner reveals $4000 in crack

Second man found shot dead in car in Riviera Beach

Man sentenced to death for second time in two years

Anyone who breaks the law is at risk of being arrested


Mad cow chases farmer with ax

Panda mating fails; veterinarian takes over

Munching Swedish beaver causes blackout


Iraqi head seeks arms

War dims hope for peace

British left waffles on Falkland Islands


Local schools eye cuts

Teacher strikes idle kids

Local high school dropouts cut in half

Mrs. Ryedeils bust revealed to a nearby school

If strike isn't settled quickly, it may last a while

Safety experts say school bus passengers should be belted


Miners refuse to work after death

Man found dead in city cemetery

Typhoon rips through cemetery; hundreds dead

Stiff opposition expected to casketless funeral plan


Farmer bill dies in house

Council to stamp on dog mess

William Kelly was Fed secretary

Clinton wins budget; more lies ahead

Roger Clemens arrives for hearing on steroids

Obama beats Hillary in Wisconsin. Hillary runs to Texas

Hillary wins Puerto Rico, race doesn't change


House passes gas tax onto senate

Astronaut takes blame for gas in space


Eye drops off shelf

Deaf mute gets new hearing in killing

Hospitals are sued by seven foot doctors

New study of obesity looks for large test group

Patient at death's door—doctor's pull him through

Blind people are seeing their way to the eye doctor


Shell found on beach

Stolen painting found by tree

Is there a ring of debris around Uranus?

Man struck by lightning faces battery charge

Sun blamed for warming of earth and other worlds


Milk drinkers are turning to powder

Royals to get a taste of angels' colon

Quarter of a million Chinese live on water


Family of 17 defects from North Korea

Would-be women priests appeal to pope

Two sisters reunited after 18 years in checkout line

Friday, August 21, 2009

Now for something completely different: A writing conference for physicians

Photo by lusi/StockXchange.com

My husband, who is a doctor, tossed a brochure on my desk a few weeks ago and said, "Thought you might like to see this."

I picked up the brochure promoting the 10th Annual Fiction Writing for Physicians Conference."Do you want to go to this?"

"No--I just thought you'd find it interesting. You're the writer, not me."

The course is taught by two New York Times best-selling physician-authors, Michael Palmer, MD and Tess Gerritsen, MD. Dates are October 23-25, 2009 at The Resort and Conference Center at Hyannis, Hyannis, Cape Cod, Massachussetts.

Preconference sessions, which are on Friday, the 23rd and cost $495 each, include:
~Writing a killer first chapter
~The art of storytelling
~How to write a medical memoir

Specifics of the seminar itself were a bit sketchy in the brochure, but included:

Learn to write from your peers who have made the transition from practicing physicians to international best-selling authors
Gain practical writing experience
Get written feedback from concise writing exercises dealing with conflict, premises, dialogue, and writing action scenes
Have a portion of your manuscript (if you have one) reviewed and critiqued by a faculty member at no extra charge
Soup to nuts fiction writing: from naming characters to getting an agent and getting published
Have your query letter reviewed and critiqued (with suggested improvements) by a faculty member at no extra charge
Have your query letter placed in the hands of numerous literary agents (if desired)
Motivation to write – Others have made the breakthrough and so can you!

I'm not sure how the weekend schedule is set up, but it looks like they have a plan. If you're a physician who dreams of writing a novel, you might want to check this out. Or you might want to let your doctor know about this opportunity. Who knows? Your doctor just might dream of writing a bestseller!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Getting Past Writer's Block

Watch this You Tube video of Bob Moresco of Crash on writer's block:

Monday, August 17, 2009

Tools You Can Use: Find Repeated Words and Key Words

Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.—Rabindranath Tagore

By Scoti Springfield Domeij

We all tend to overuse certain words. Identifying familiar word patterns can be difficult. Words add color and richness to your writing. The tools below can help you visually identify words you repeat too often.

Fun with Words

Wordle, a toy to generate "word clouds" from text, gives greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in your text. Wordle uses the number of times a word appears in a text to determine its relative size.

How to Use

  • Tweak your words with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes
  • Take a screenshot of your Wordle picture
  • Use the images created with Wordle to share with friends, post on your blog, or print T-Shirts, business cards, brochures, or whatever you imagine

Improve Your Key Word Google Searches

Search Cloudlet is an easy-to-use Firefox add-on that inserts context-aware tag clouds into a traditional Google, Yahoo and Twitter interface to help you navigate more efficiently through search results.

Why Use It?

  • Extends your browser
  • Shows all the keywords relevant to your search results
  • Narrows your search by clicking keywords on the cloud to add them to your search query
  • Finds tag-clouds, server-clouds, author-clouds, recipient-clouds and other powerful navigation tools smoothly integrated into your Google, Yahoo and Twitter searches

Analyze Words You Overuse

TagCrowd is a web application for visualizing word frequencies in any user-supplied text by creating a tag cloud or text cloud. Enter a webpage URL, upload a text document or paste a piece of text to discover key or overused words.

How to Use

  • as visual poetry
  • as one way to see words you tend to overuse
  • as topic summaries for speeches and written works
  • as brand clouds to see how you're perceived by the world
  • as blog tool or website analysis for search engine optimization (SEO)

Friday, August 14, 2009

Word Spy: The Word Lover's Guide to New Words

I found the Word Spy Web site while researching the meaning of of "helicopter parent." One of the things I liked about Word Spy is that, besides giving a word's definition, it also gives you how/where the word has been used. When I looked up "helicopter parent," it listed the first time the term was used.

If you click on today's Word Spy link, you'll find definitions for frequency illusion, hobby hobo, wallet neuropathy, intexicated--and more.

Word Spy includes Alpha Archives, Recent Posts, as well as Twitter Updates. You can subscribe to Word Spy too--either by RSS Feed or daily e-mail. What better way to insure you are up-to-date on the latest words?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Crazy week in an already crazy household. My two older sons are moving out, my middle sons are returning today from visiting relatives, and I'm still unpacking after attending a high school reunion. (Not telling which one!) My three-year-old is glued to me as I type this because I left him behind for five days. He's making sure I don't make the same "mistake" again.

The high school reunion was great fun. Time has been kind to some of my classmates. Others have not fared as well, every year marking its passage. I recognized the first man I saw on Friday night. Though his hair was beginning to gray and he towered over me--not hard since I'm 5'3"--I could easily see that boy I'd known in third grade. Others asked, "Remember me?" but they'd changed so much I couldn't notice a resemblance from high school days.

Some of the spouses were annoying. "Remember our English/biology/whatever class together?" they'd lie, trying to trick us. We'd scrunch our eyes and stare, trying to remember. I never said, "I remember you," though I heard others fell for their stories. Spouses should wear a warning on their name tags: "No, I didn't graduate with you."

The length and number of marriages varied from marriages lasting--oops almost told which reunion this was--let's just say, the number of years we'd been out of school to newlyweds of four months. Four was also the most number of marriages any of my classmates had contracted . . . so far. It was surprising to see who married who, who'd stayed married, and who'd divorced. Also unexpected, the beautiful homecoming queen didn't marry until many years after graduation.

The career choices were interesting. Some followed expected paths. The boy who dreamed of being a doctor is a family practice physician. The sports editor of the student newspaper writes for Fox Sports. Teacher's pets became teachers. Other classmates surprised me. The blonde cheerleader who became a bank executive, the football player who became a linguist, the rowdy teen who became a cop, the shy boy who became a P.I., and the girl voted most likely to be the first female president stayed home to raise seven children.

In real life, people make unpredictable choices. But in fiction, you're trying to make readers believe your characters are real, so your job as a writer is to provide proper motivation for the decisions your characters make. Have fun with your characters. Choose the unexpected. Just give a believable reason for your choices.

I learned about my classmates' hobbies, children, and marriages. I interviewed them about their careers. I sketched info about setting. If you have an opportunity to attend a class reunion, go for it!

Monday, August 10, 2009

100 Notable Quotables

"Our days are numbered. One of the primary goals in our lives should be to prepare for our last day. The legacy we leave is not just in our possessions, but in the quality of our lives. What preparations should we be making now? The greatest waste in all of our earth, which cannot be recycled or reclaimed, is our waste of the time that God has given us each day."—Billy Graham

By Scoti Springfield Domeij

Is Your Writing Quotable?

Jesus, famous authors and leaders make statements that stick. Like tape stuck on your finger, it's hard to shake the quote from your mind. When you write, do you ask?

  • "Is my writing quotable?"
  • "Are my characters or is my character memorable?"
  • "Does what I write make a difference in the lives and circumstances confronting others?"
  • "Could I write something with the potential to enter the national lexicon?"

As I read the movie quotes below, not only did I remember the movie, my mind's ear heard the intonation and actor's voice. Some of the quotes made me laugh, because I recalled the scene.

Writing passes on a rich inheritance for future generations to remember or discover. The best legacy a writer can leave behind?

A trail of wisdom learned along the road of life.


"Wait a minute, wait a minute. You ain't heard nothin' yet! Wait a minute, I tell ya! You ain't heard nothin'!" Jakie Rabinowitz/Jack Robin/Al Jolson, The Jazz Singer, 1927


"One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas, I don't know." Capt. Geoffrey T. Spaulding/Groucho Marx, Animal Crackers, 1930

"Mother of mercy, is this the end of Rico?" Cesare Enrico "Rico" Bandello/Edward G. Robinson, Little Caesar, 1930

"It's alive! It's alive!" Henry Frankenstein/Colin Clive, Frankenstein, 1931

"Listen to them. Children of the night. What music they make." Count Dracula/Bela Lugosi, Dracula, 1931

"I want to be alone." Grusinskaya/Greta Garbo, Grand Hotel, 1932

"Sawyer, you're going out a youngster, but you've got to come back a star!" Julian Marsh/Warner Baxter, 42nd Street, 1933

"Well, here's another nice mess you've gotten me into!" Oliver/Oliver Hardy, Sons of the Desert, 1933

"Why don't you come up sometime and see me?" Lady Lou/Mae West, She Done Him Wrong, 1933

"Oh, no, it wasn't the airplanes. It was Beauty killed the Beast." Carl Denham/Robert Armstrong, King Kong, 1933

"Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn." Rhett Butler/Clark Gable, Gone with the Wind, 1939

"As God is my witness, I'll never be hungry again." Scarlett O'Hara/Vivien Leigh, Gone with the Wind, 1939

"Toto, I've got a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore."Dorothy Gale/Judy Garland, The Wizard of Oz, 1939

"There's no place like home." Dorothy Gale/Judy Garland, The Wizard of Oz, 1939

"I'll get you, my pretty, and your little dog too!" Wicked Witch of the West/Margaret Hamilton, The Wizard of Oz, 1939

"Elementary, my dear Watson." Sherlock Holmes/Basil Rathbone, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, 1939


"Tell 'em to go out there with all they got and win just one for the Gipper." Knute Rockne/Pat O'Brien, Knute Rockne, All American, 1940

"The stuff that dreams are made of." Sam Spade/Humphrey Bogart, The Maltese Falcon, 1941

"Rosebud." Charles Foster Kane/Orson Welles, Citizen Kane, 1941

"My mother thanks you. My father thanks you. My sister thanks you. And I thank you." George M. Cohan/James Cagney, Yankee Doodle Dandy, 1942

"Round up the usual suspects." Capt. Louis Renault/Claude Rains, Casablanca, 1942

"Here's looking at you, kid." Rick Blaine/Humphrey Bogart, Casablanca, 1942

"Play it, Sam. Play 'As Time Goes By.'" Ilsa Lund/Ingrid Bergman, Casablanca, 1942

"We'll always have Paris." Rick Blaine/Humphrey Bogart, Casablanca, 1942

"Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine." Rick Blaine/Humphrey Bogart, Casablanca, 1942

"Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship." Rick Blaine/Humphrey Bogart, Casablanca, 1942

"Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth." Lou Gehrig/Gary Cooper, The Pride of the Yankees, 1942

"Oh, Jerry, don't let's ask for the moon. We have the stars." Charlotte Vale/Bette Davis, Now, Voyager, 1942

"You know how to whistle, don't you, Steve? You just put your lips together and blow." Marie "Slim" Browning/Lauren Bacall, To Have and Have Not, 1944

"Who's on First?" Dexter/Bud Abbott, The Naughty Nineties, 1945

"Badges? We ain't got no badges! We don't need no badges! I don't have to show you any stinking badges!" "Gold Hat"/Alfonso Bedoya, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, 1948

"Made it, Ma! Top of the world!" Arthur "Cody" Jarrett/James Cagney, White Heat, 1949

"What a dump." Rosa Moline/Bette Davis, Beyond the Forest, 1949


"All right, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up." Norma Desmond/Gloria Swanson, Sunset Boulevard, 1950

"I am big! It's the pictures that got small." Norma Desmond/Gloria Swanson, Sunset Boulevard, 1950

"Fasten your seatbelts. It's going to be a bumpy night." Margo Channing/Bette Davis, All About Eve, 1950

"Stella! Hey, Stella!" Stanley Kowalski/Marlon Brando, A Streetcar Named Desire, 1951

"I have always depended on the kindness of strangers." Blanche DuBois/Vivien Leigh, A Streetcar Named Desire, 1951

"Shane. Shane. Come back!" Joey Starrett/Brandon De Wilde, Shane, 1953

"You don't understand! I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I could've been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am." Terry Malloy/Marlon Brando, On the Waterfront, 1954

"Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death!" Mame Dennis/Rosalind Russell, Auntie Mame, 1958

"Well, nobody's perfect." Osgood Fielding III/Joe E. Brown, Some Like It Hot, 1959


"A boy's best friend is his mother." Norman Bates/Anthony Perkins, Psycho, 1960

"Bond. James Bond." James Bond/Sean Connery, Dr. No, 1962

"Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!" President Merkin Muffley/Peter Sellers, Dr. Strangelove, 1964

"Shaken, not stirred." James Bond/Sean Connery, Goldfinger, 1964

"What we've got here is failure to communicate." Captain/Strother Martin, Cool Hand Luke, 1967

"They call me Mister Tibbs!" Virgil Tibbs/Sidney Poitier, In the Heat of the Night, 1967

"We rob banks." Clyde Barrow/Warren Beatty, Bonnie and Clyde, 1967

"Plastics." Mr. Maguire/Walter Brooke, The Graduate, 1967

"Mrs. Robinson, you're trying to seduce me. Aren't you?" Benjamin Braddock/Dustin Hoffman, The Graduate, 1967

"Take your stinking paws off me, you damned dirty ape!" George Taylor/Charlton Heston, Planet of the Apes, 1968

"Open the pod bay doors, HAL." Dave Bowman/Keir Dullea, 2001: A Space Odyssey, 1968

"Hello gorgeous." Fanny Brice/Barbra Streisand, Funny Girl, 1968

"I'm walking here! I'm walking here!" "Ratso" Rizzo/Dustin Hoffman, Midnight Cowboy, 1969


"Love means never having to say you're sorry." Jennifer Cavilleri Barrett/Ali MacGraw, Love Story, 1970

"You've got to ask yourself one question: 'Do I feel lucky?' Well, do ya, punk?" Harry Callahan/Clint Eastwood, Dirty Harry, 1971

"I'm gonna make him an offer he can't refuse." Vito Corleone/Marlon Brando, The Godfather, 1972

"Soylent Green is people!" Det. Robert Thorn/Charlton Heston, Soylent Green, 1973

"Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer." Michael Corleone/Al Pacino, The Godfather Part II, 1974

"Forget it, Jake, it's Chinatown." Duffy/Joe Mantell, Chinatown, 1974

"You're gonna need a bigger boat." Martin Brody/Roy Scheider, Jaws, 1975

"Attica! Attica!" Sonny Wortzik/Al Pacino, Dog Day Afternoon, 1975

"You talkin' to me?" Travis Bickle/Robert De Niro, Taxi Driver, 1976

"Is it safe?" Dr. Christian Szell/Laurence Olivier, Marathon Man, 1976

"Yo, Adrian!" Rocky Balboa/Sylvester Stallone, Rocky, 1976

"I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!" Howard Beale/Peter Finch, Network, 1976

"May the Force be with you." Han Solo/Harrison Ford, Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, 1977

"La-dee-da, la-dee-da." Annie Hall/Diane Keaton, Annie Hall, 1977

"Toga! Toga!" John "Bluto" Blutarsky/John Belushi, National Lampoon's Animal House, 1978

"I love the smell of napalm in the morning!" Lt. Col. Bill Kilgore/Robert Duvall, Apocalypse Now, 1979


"Here's Johnny!" Jack Torrance/Jack Nicholson, The Shining, 1980

"Cinderella story. Outta nowhere. A former greenskeeper, now, about to become the Masters champion. It looks like a miracle…It's in the hole! It's in the hole! It's in the hole!"Carl Spackler/Bill Murray, Caddyshack, 1980

Striker: "Surely you can't be serious!" Rumack: "I am serious... and don't call me Shirley." Ted Striker and Dr. Rumack/Robert Hays and Leslie Nielsen, Airplane!, 1980

"No wire hangers, ever!" Joan Crawford/Faye Dunaway, Mommie Dearest, 1981

"Listen to me, mister. You're my knight in shining armor. Don't you forget it. You're going to get back on that horse, and I'm going to be right behind you, holding on tight, and away we're gonna go, go, go!" Ethel Thayer/Katharine Hepburn, On Golden Pond, 1981

"E.T. phone home." E.T./Pat Welsh, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, 1982

"They're here!" Carol Anne Freeling/Heather O'Rourke, Poltergeist, 1982

"Go ahead, make my day." Harry Callahan/Clint Eastwood, Sudden Impact, 1983

"Say hello to my little friend!" Tony Montana/Al Pacino, Scarface, 1983

"I'll be back." The Terminator/Arnold Schwarzenegger, The Terminator, 1984

"I feel the need—the need for speed!" Lt. Pete "Maverick" Mitchell and Lt. Nick "Goose" Bradshaw/Tom Cruise and Anthony Edwards, Top Gun, 1986

"Greed, for lack of a better word, is good." Gordon Gekko/Michael Douglas, Wall Street, 1987

"Nobody puts 'Baby' in a corner." Johnny Castle/Patrick Swayze, Dirty Dancing, 1987

"Snap out of it!" Loretta Castorini/Cher, Moonstruck, 1987

"I'll have what she's having." Customer/Estelle Reiner, When Harry Met Sally, 1989

"If you build it, he will come." Shoeless Joe Jackson/Ray Liotta, Field of Dreams, 1989

"Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary." John Keating/Robin Williams, Dead Poets Society, 1989


"A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti." Hannibal Lecter/Anthony Hopkins, The Silence of the Lambs, 1991

"Hasta la vista, baby." The Terminator/Arnold Schwarzenegger, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, 1991

"You can't handle the truth!" Col. Nathan Jessup/Jack Nicholson, A Few Good Men, 1992

"There's no crying in baseball!" Jimmy Dugan/Tom Hanks, A League of Their Own, 1992

"Mama always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get." Forrest Gump/Tom Hanks, Forrest Gump, 1994

"Houston, we have a problem." Jim Lovell/Tom Hanks, Apollo 13, 1995

"Show me the money!" Rod Tidwell/Cuba Gooding, Jr., Jerry Maguire, 1996

"You had me at 'hello'." Dorothy Boyd/Renée Zellweger, Jerry Maguire, 1996

"I'm the king of the world!" Jack Dawson/Leonardo DiCaprio, Titanic, 1997

"I see dead people." Cole Sear/Haley Joel Osment, The Sixth Sense, 1999


"My precious." Gollum/Andy Serkis, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, 2002

Friday, August 7, 2009

Slang dictionary

Writing is all about words.

I know. I'm stating the obvious.

But when you sift through words, you discover there are everday words like "run" or "eat" or "look" or "dog" or "boy" or "house," to name a few.

And then there is slang.

And sometimes as writers, we need slang. To make our fiction characters more believable. More interesting. Or to make our non-fiction punchier.

Enter u.c.l.a. 6, a definitive slang dictionary published every four years since 1998 in conjunction with a University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) undergraduate linguistics course.

The 20th edition has more than 1,000 entries. Words must be used on campus and be unlikely to appear in basic ol' Webster's dictionary.

Here's some of the latest slang. Can you use any in your work in progress?

Schwa— a synonym for "wow" — exemplifies the rarest approach to slang creation: pulling new words out of thin air

Destroy— to do well on something like a test

Napster— to interrupt

Epic fail
— What a mistake!

Obama— cool or rad, as in: You just aced that exam — you are so Obama!

Mija— Spanish for "my daughter", but is slang for female friend

Clipping — cutting a syllable or two from a commonly accepted word — produces words like the verb "presh," short for precious, and the adjective "bellig," which rhymes with fridge and is short for belligerent and drunk.

Or just take the first initials of common phrases and you come up with I. D. K. (I Don't Know) or FOMO, which rhymes whith majordomo, and means Fear of Missing Out.

That's your dose of slang for the day!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Your Most Important Writing

Your Last Will and Testament may be the most important manuscript you'll ever write.

My husband was one of the most thorough men to walk the planet. He drafted a will within a month of discovering I was pregnant with our first child. At his insistence, we chose guardians before we'd become parents. He bought life insurance to provide for his growing family, just in case. I was so thankful for his wise provisions when he was taken from us much too soon.

Now, I'm in charge, so I followed his lead and quickly drafted a new will. I've collected documents, written down computer passwords--some (including my husband) may call this a "no-no." Just try settling affairs without them--assigned guardians, drafted a medical power of attorney, and taken care of as much business as possible.

It's your turn. Are your affairs in order? Or are you so overwhelmed you don't know where to begin? If so, don't stop reading; this blog's for you.

1. Start a notebook with the following information:

--Your general information: name, address, social security number, occupation, education, and contact person.

--Military Service: branch of service, serial number, date entered, type of separation or discharge and date, location of discharge papers (DD214), highest grade or rank, wars/conflicts served, medals/honors/citations, and any additional information.

--Date and Location of your Will. Executor/Executrix, and contact information for attorney who prepared the will.

--Banking Information: Name of bank, account number. Safe deposit box location, box number and key location.

--Credit Cards: Name, account number, expiration date, and contact number.

--Life Insurance: Name of company, policy number, and beneficiary.

--Real Estate Holdings: Description, address, and deed location.

--Financial Assets: mutual funds, stocks, bonds, vehicles. Type/description, location.

--Personal Requests: List all family heirlooms and items of sentimental value. Name beneficiary of each.

Having this kind of information available to your next of kin is invaluable. Just be sure to store your notebook in a safe location.

2. Consider pre-planning funeral arrangements. No one wants to think about dying. Making those kinds of plans never make it to the top of your to-do list. But planning a funeral after a sudden death condenses all the stress associated with wedding arrangements into a single morning, only instead of a happy occasion to look forward to, you're making expensive and permanent decisions, while somehow living out your worst nightmare. I do hope to spare my children this ordeal, but pre-planning hasn't yet reached the top of my to-do list either. I suppose I should cross off other, less important, items and move this one up.

~Roxanne Sherwood

Monday, August 3, 2009

Tools You Can Use: Europeana

"As the soil, however rich it may be, cannot be productive without cultivation, so the mind without culture can never produce good fruit."—Seneca

Search the Cultural Creations of Europe

Looking to write the next Da Vinci Code thriller, but don't have the funds to travel to Europe to research their cultural heritage? Use Europeana as your online muse to find ideas and inspiration. Europeana focuses on collections about Europe held in European libraries, archives, and museums.

Europeana Features

Links to 4 million digital items including

  • images: paintings, drawings, maps, photos and pictures of museum objects
  • texts: books, newspapers, letters, diaries and archival papers
  • sounds: music and spoken word from cylinders, tapes, discs and radio broadcasts
  • videos: films, newsreels and TV broadcasts

Includes data from the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, the Musée du Louvre in Paris, and the Netherlands Institute for Art History in The Hague. Check out the world famous and hidden treasures from Europe's

  • museums and galleries
  • archives
  • libraries
  • audio-visual collections

Refine your search by language, country, date, provider: university, museum, etc., and type. Ask who, what, where or when:

  • Who: Names of actors, authors, architects, artists, choreographers, composers, conductors, dancers, film directors, musicians, or photographers.
  • What: Words from titles of books, poems, newspapers, paintings, photographs, films or television programs
  • Where: Names of towns, cities or countries within Europe or around the world.
  • When: Dates (e.g. 1945) such as the year you were born in or a famous date in history or a period (e.g. Roman or Medieval)

Groups search results by type of digital item: text, images, video and sound:

  • Text includes: books, letters, archival papers, dissertations, poems, newspapers, articles, facsimiles, manuscripts and music scores
  • Images includes: paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, pictures of museum objects, maps, graphic designs, plans and musical notation
  • Video includes: films, news broadcasts and television programmes
  • Sound includes: music and spoken word from cylinders, tapes, discs and radio broadcasts

Displays your search results as a list or as a table

Browse through time via the timeline

Advantages of Free Registration

  • Registered Europeana users can:
  • Save this search: To keep up to date on a particular specific topic in Europeana.
  • Add a tag: To add your own tags to your favourite items in Europeana.
  • Save to My Europeana: To save your favourite items for viewing later.
  • Share with a friend: To share interesting items with your friends.