Betty's Tips

Hello, dear readers,

After a few false starts in this part of the world, it looks like Spring is finally here. That last snowstorm in March brought the Bethlehem, PA area over a foot of snow, and I felt all hopes for my writing, like my garden, were buried under it. But now it is the time for renewal, and I have renewed my enthusiasm for my writing. 

The theme of this issue of Roundtable is "Hope Springs Eternal," and what better theme for a writer? So, while I try to ignore the spring cleaning beckoning, I have gathered a number of links that might help give my writing a jump start. I hope they help you, too.

The first task is finding what I want to write about. I found a good link on How to Decide What to Write on the bewriting blog. After using these tips, I think I'll take a detour from my usual writing about Dreams of the Eggplant, and write about something from my real life--maybe about the time one of the little Wryte-Goodes broke her arm playing sports at school. Hmm. Yes, that will do nicely. Lots of action and angst. Enough for a short story, at least.

Maybe I can punch that nugget of an idea into something more if I add fantasy elements. But I don't know much about writing fantasy. I've read some with my book group, and always enjoyed it. In fact, there's even a blog post about How a Book Club Helped My Writing. It makes some good points.

So now I have to create a fantasy world. How to go about it? I found help at Shortcut Your Fantasy World Building, and at I Wanted to Ask About Fantasy World Building. Maybe I'll even be Writing Creepy Scenes with help from this link. I'll also keep in mind these tips on How to Write a Plot and avoid the same site's Show Stoppers in Writing.

The last "show stopper" listed is that "my characters are boring." We can't have that, can we? After all, there's a study that says that Fictional Characters Find Their Way Into Real Life for our readers. We must make them worthy of that honor. I must avoid, as this site suggests, Dead End Relationships between characters in my writing. That means I need to know Choosing Your Main Character and His/Her Essential Counterpart. It's not always as clear as you might think.

Dialogue can go a long way toward making your characters interesting. I found some good tips at Writing Dialogue in Fiction. And I learned Epic Jargon Solutions for Better Writing here.

I want to make sure I convey my characters' emotions well. Did you know there's a distinction between emotion and feeling? I found out more about it on Emotion vs. Feeling. Even armed with that knowledge, I need to remember to Choose Words That Convey Meaning to stand out as a writer.

Then, of course, there are all those pesky mechanics of writing that I need to watch out for. I think, after reading this, I finally get the difference between Colons and Semi-Colons. And while I don't consider myself a Ludite (since I spend much of my day online), I'm always interested in new ways to use technology to help my writing. There are lots of options out there, but I like I also found instructions for Setting Up a Macro in Microsoft Word to Target Weak Words.

I've learned that if there's anything better than a good beta reader, it's a few good beta readers. That's why I was happy to find: Beta readers; Your Complete Guide

But none of this is of use unless I find the time to write. Unfortunately, I am a world-class procrastinator. That's why I found Declare War to Procrastination so helpful. It helped even more when I found 5 Sneaky Ways to Steal More Time as a Writer. And to make the most of my time, I was also intrigued by The Benefits of Writing Rituals. So, I'm making the most of the Springtime and starting a new project. Wish me luck--just as I wish the best for you to meet your writing goals.

Happy Spring--and happy writing, everyone!

Betty Wryte-Goode 

Betty Wryte-Goode is a writer and mother who lives in the Lehigh Valley. Her passions include writing, reading, shopping, gardening, and exploring the internet. Betty is always looking for writing tips, so if you have any you would like to share, please send them to her through our Submissions/Contacts page.

Mixed Up Words . . .


Only two of the above hyphenated words are accepted in formal English. Can you tell which is the non-standard choice?

These words cause a lot of confusion because they not only sound alike, but they also have similar meanings.

Jury-rig is a verb that means to  put something together from materials at hand to temporarily serve a specific purpose. The popular television show MacGyver  featured many items that were jury-rigged (the adjective form of the word). Example: The Apollo 13 astronauts would not have survived had they not been able to jury-rig a carbon dioxide scrubber to give them sufficient breathable air.

Jerry-built is an adjective meaning shoddy, appliied to anything poorly built and/or made of inferior materials. Example: The jerry-built book shelf tumbled apart as soon as the set of encyclopedias was in place.

Jerry-rig is a misspelling of jury-rig, which both adds to and comes from the confusion of the two generally accepted words. But, as in any living language, what starts as an error can eventually gain acceptance. Jerry-rig is beginning to receive acceptance by some sources, but is still considered incorrect by most.