Jottings About The Opposite Of Purple Prose + A Question About Endings

THE JOTTINGS PART

Purple prose is writing that is too elaborate or ornate. It detracts from the narrative instead of moving the story forward. [More here]

My way of describing purple prose is that it is fussy, unfocused, and old-fashioned. I don’t write like that.

I’m a straightforward writer. I tend to have a point, get to it, and make it snappy in the process. Photos and images help me make my point. I like pretty.

I edit mercilessly because while I can be chatty I shall not dither, possibly wasting someone’s time. That’d never do.

And when possible, depending on the topic I’m discussing, I prefer to come to a conclusion, whether it be my reasoned opinion and/or a specific question.

Thus I give you, my gentle readers, the following. It’s something I’ve been thinking about of late, for a reason you’ll understand.

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THE QUESTION PART

The longer I write this blog the more I wonder how much longer I’ll be writing this blog.

As many of you know I had blogs before this one, starter blogs as I think of them, but when I created this blog in 2011 I told myself that if I hit 1,000 posts I’d call it quits.

Welp, after hitting publish on this post I’m 15 posts away from 1,000. Meaning that if I’m true to my original plan, I’ll soon be faced with a decision about what to do with this blog.

Which brings me to my question to you:

HOW WILL YOU KNOW WHEN IT’S TIME TO END YOUR BLOG?

A Dilemma: To Cliché Or Not To Cliché, That Is The Question

I think that this resource, Cliché Finder, could be useful for writers. 

A cliché, as defined by the New Oxford American Dictionary, is: “a phrase or opinion that is overused and betrays a lack of original thought.” More information about clichés here: 50+ Examples of Cliches: Meaning and Origin & Definition and Examples of Cliches.

I’ve nothing against most clichés I suppose. I’m too easygoing to run around snarking about the use of them, BUT when writing something it’s good to learn/confirm that you’re using a cliché. And that is precisely what the free online Cliché Finder does for you.

For instance, even though I’m mellow yellow about most trite overused phrases I vehemently dislike one particular cliché: “thinking outside the box.” It’s so old I’m sure Moses used it. Adam probably used it before him just to annoy Eve. 

That’s how old it is. Quite rightly.

But thanks to Cliché Finder, I know for sure not to use my disliked cliché so that my writing is fresh and original, not stale and antiquated– because that would not do.

Anyhow, as a way of showing you how the Cliché Finder works, I wrote the following scintillating little flash fiction story, popped it into the Cliché Finder that told me I’d used SIX* overworked phrases.

Bad me. 😁

• • •

QUESTION OF THE DAY

What’s your least favorite cliché? You know, the one that makes you stop listening to what someone is saying or to stop reading what is in front of you. We all have one, don’t we?

[Extra credit to anyone who gets the Donovan reference.]

• • •

* The six clichés are: old as the hills, think outside the box, read between the lines, matter of time, busy as a bee, writing on the wall.

In Which I Explain How I Created My Own Unique 2021 Reading Challenge

I’ve been meaning to write about how I arrived at my personalized 2021 reading challenge, but somehow got off track. I was probably reading a book…

For those of you who enjoy numbers: this is a 12″ high stack of 12 books with a total of 4,248 pages that I plan on reading in 2021. 🤓

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I barely read any books in 2020. My focus was too scattered, my anxiety was high, and I couldn’t stick with it.

I forgive myself for slip sliding away from reading for pleasure last year because I am still here in one piece, healthy, relatively sane– and with a renewed sense of purpose when it comes to reading.

Allow me to explain.

As some of you know I’m a fan of Modern Mrs. Darcy’s blog and get her newsletter. When I saw that she had created a questionnaire that I could use to make my own CHOOSE-YOUR-OWN-ADVENTURE-STYLE reading challenge I downloaded the worksheets.

By answering her simple questions, I set my 2021 intention, evaluated my reading needs, and then made a list of twelve prompts that resonated with me based on the concepts of variety and escapism. As Modern Mrs. Darcy says: “Remember, your goal isn’t just to get through this challenge. This challenge is a tool to develop the reading life you want.”

Hallelujah!

But then after further contemplating the reading life I wanted, I had a brainstorm, one in which I devised a way to make this reading challenge more personal– and a bit less costly. Please keep in mind that just because I didn’t read much in 2020 doesn’t mean that I didn’t buy books in 2020.

Thus I found myself thinking back to a decade ago when I read a wonderful memoir, Howards End is on the Landing by Susan Hill.

In this book Hill writes about her decision that for one year she would only re-read books already in the house. That is, she read what she had on hand, then mused upon what her life was like the first time she read the book. This practical approach to deciding what to read next made an impression on me.

Obviously, I guess.

Anyhow, to be clear, I won’t be re-reading anything this coming year, but I will be reading what is here in the house, pre-purchased in good faith you might say– and meant to be read by me, dammit.

~ ~ • ~ ~

MY 2021 CHOOSE-YOUR-OWN-ADVENTURE-STYLE READ-WHAT-YOU-HAVE-IN-THE-HOUSE-ALREADY READING CHALLENGE

a thriller

a memoir

a fantasy novel

a cozy mystery

a book of short stories

a recent NYT bestseller

a novel previously abandoned

a NYT bestseller from a while ago

a novel based on something literary

a non-fiction book set where I live now

a non-fiction book set somewhere I’ve never visited

a book I’d never heard of yet is on many required reading lists

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Do you do any reading challenges? Have you ever made your own? Inquiring minds wanna know.

Words Do Not Fail Me: A Study Of Wordiness In My Blog Posts & Your Comments, Forsooth

I got curious.

I got to a’wondering about two things about this blog’s word counts. I realize that what follows is a somewhat meta post, but it’s winter and I have time to think about word counts.

My two questions are:

  1. How many words have I written in the 962 posts I’ve published here; and
  2. How many words are in the average comment here.

• Answering the first question was easy.

WordPress provides information on word count by post and by year. Looking at the chart featured at the bottom of this post you can see that I’ve written & published a total of 962 posts with a total word count of 282,612 words.

This averages overall to 294 words per post, although last year I got wordier averaging 360 words per post.

A digression… according to this article, A Word Count Guide for 18 Book Genres, Including Novels and Non-Fiction, 80,000 words is the ideal length for a novel. “If you’re working on a novel-length book, aim for 50,000 words at the very least — but it’s better to aim for 90,000. Editorial trimming is inevitable.”

Ergo, keeping the above rule of thumb in mind while applying it to my blog word count [282,612 divided by 90,000] you can see that in essence

I’VE WRITTEN THREE BOOKS.

• Answering the second question took more effort and required a few assumptions.

Because there’s no stinking way I’m going through all the comments on this blog to find the total comment word count, I made a few, shall we say, educated guesses.

Thus I decided that I’d only look at the comment word count on my 2021 blog posts AND that I’d only look at the comments made by the top recent commenters [according to WordPress] because I figure those people are a good representation of all commenters.

The top recent commenters are: Linda, LA, Dan, Nancy, Tara, and Kari. Go visit them and say “hi!”

To wit, there are 38 comments from these individuals with a total of 1616 words. This means that the average comment word count is 43 words.

Do what you will with this statistic; I was unable to find any articles written on the topic of comment word counts, so I don’t know how to interpret this number. Other than to say

THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO COMMENTS HERE.

Curiosity satisfied. The end.

Questions Of The Day

When you write do you keep track of your word count as you go along? Are you aiming for a specific number?

Did you know that the word *forsooth* is an archaic or humorous word meaning “indeed”?

Do you have any idea how I made the pretty text box featured near the top of this post? I hit some buttons and it happened, but I’ve no idea what I did.

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Planning To Be Kind AND Kindly Planning My Future

PLANNING TO BE KIND

Tomorrow, November 13th, is World Kindness Day. It’s based on another one of those core values that I think is important. The value being [obviously]: KINDNESS.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines KINDNESS as: the quality of being kind as in treating people with kindness and respect. The dictionary goes on to say that synonyms for KINDNESS are words like: benevolence, courtesy, favor, grace, service.

Musing on these words while thinking about my childhood and the way my WASP parents reared me, I suspect I never had a chance to not be kind. I just didn’t, but that’s only me. 😇

DO YOU CONSIDER YOURSELF TO BE KIND?

So what do you think, a good idea?

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KINDLY PLANNING MY FUTURE

Opening a Franklin Planner catalogue that came in the snail mail a card fell out onto the counter top. The card, featured in the photo below, clearly states the raison d’être of the company.

I started laughing because, well– hell to the yes, this company wants me to plan. Thanks for reminding me, just in case I didn’t notice the name of your company.

But the more I looked at the card the more I realized that I adhere to a slacker philosophy that is more geared toward doing good enough. This is because I realize that plans change, often– and that I can live contentedly not planning every stinking detail of my best life.

Yes, I’d say that I’m being kind to myself by allowing for things to not be best. 🙄

HOW ABOUT YOU, DO YOU PLAN FOR YOUR BEST LIFE OR FOR YOUR GOOD ENOUGH LIFE?

Perhaps I’m being ornery, but isn’t *good enough* good enough?

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