The Punster

old-books-candle

A few puns to brighten up your day:

  1. The fattest knight at King Arthur’s round table was Sir Cumference. He acquired his size from too much pi.
  2. I thought I saw an eye doctor on an Alaskan island, but it turned out to be an optical Aleutian.
  3. She was only a whiskey maker, but he loved her still.
  4. A rubber band pistol was confiscated from algebra class, because it was a weapon of math disruption.
  5. No matter how much you push the envelope, it’ll still be stationery.
  6. A dog gave birth to puppies near the road and was cited for littering.
  7. Two silk worms had a race. They ended up in a tie.
  8. A hole has been found in the nudist camp wall. It’s being looked into.
  9. Atheism is a non-prophet organization.
  10. Two hats were hanging on a hat rack in the hallway. One hat said to the other: ‘You stay here; I’ll go on a head.’
  11. I wondered why the baseball kept getting bigger. Then it hit me.
  12. A sign on the lawn at a drug rehab center said: ‘Keep off the Grass.’
  13. The soldier who survived mustard gas and pepper spray is now a seasoned veteran.
  14. A backward poet writes inverse.
  15. In a democracy it’s your vote that counts. In feudalism it’s your count that votes.
  16. If you jumped off the bridge in Paris, you’d be in Seine.
  17. A vulture boards an airplane carrying two dead raccoons. The stewardess looks at him and says, ‘I’m sorry, sir, only one carrion allowed per passenger.’
  18. Two fish swim into a concrete wall. One turns to the other and says ‘Dam!’
  19. Two people sitting in a kayak were chilly, so they lit a fire in the craft. Unsurprisingly it sank, proving once again that you can’t have your kayak and heat it too.
  20. Two hydrogen atoms meet. One says, ‘I’ve lost my electron.’ The other says ‘Are you sure?’ The first replies, ‘Yes, I’m positive.’

 

Advertisements

Yes and No…Mostly eh

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Writer’s Mentor by Ian Jackman, Editor

Scene and Structure by Jack M. Bickham

Summary  Both books purport to offer advice and insights to help you improve your writing.

Review
While neither of these books was worth keeping, at least “The Writer’s Mentor” lived up to its title. It’s quotes and anecdotes made me realize that even well-known authors can sometimes struggle with a story, maintain a regular 9-to-5 job despite being published and lauded, and don’t always consider writing as less than a full-time, underpaid vocation.

After reading this book, I felt mentored. I truly felt as if someone with more experience and a different perspective took my hand and said, “Look, others have felt like you feel, and others have gone through what you’re experiencing.”

However, if what you’re looking for is step-by-step instruction on how to write, “The Writer’s Mentor” is not the book for you. But then, neither is “Scene and Structure.”

Jack M. Bickham, author of “Scene and Structure,” is (supposedly) a well-known author. I, however, have never heard of him or his books. Despite that, I went through this book hoping for some nuggets of insight that might help me improve my own manuscripts. Unfortunately, I failed to find anything useful.

As a technical writer, I expect a certain amount of usefulness and help in a how-to book. (It’s why they’re called how-to books or self-help manuals.) What I found was dense passages of rhetoric and mind-numbing paragraphs that had to be read several times before I could glean his point. These were combined with self-promoting examples from his books, which did little more than shout, “See what a great writer I am?”

I don’t normally disparage the use of one’s own works when giving examples or helpful tips (heck, I do it myself), but in this case, I think it was greatly overdone. In addtion, the examples were not always applicable to the point he was striving to make.

So, if you’re seeking wisdom and instructions on how to improve your writing, skip both of these books. If, however, you need a morale boost, then at least try “The Writer’s Mentor.”

 

Moving from Ordinary Writing, to Extraordinary Writing

pexels-photo-921716.jpegEveryone always says, “Write what you know.” Unfortunately, that always left me thinking that perhaps I wasn’t cut out for writing. Because the only thing I’m an expert at is writing. It’s what I’ve done all my life (when I’m not reading). I’ve written how-to manuals, white papers, poems, test scripts, short stories, reports, analytical summaries, and, yes, books.

Then, the other day, I attended a presentation on creative writing and the presenter said, “Write what you’re passionate about. You can always learn what you don’t know.”

That statement not only made more sense to me, it freed me.

So, I made a list of the things I’m passionate about. I then made another list of the topics I’d love to learn more about. Mixing those two lists helps me build my stories. For instance, I’m passionate about alternate healing methods (I don’t claim to be an expert, but I’ve been dabbling all my life, so I do have extensive knowledge regarding herbs, crystals, and techniques like Reiki). If I combine that with my desire to learn more about sailing ships of the 1700’s and 1800’s, I can build a story around a healer at sea. It could be a fantasy, a romance with historical flashbacks, or an historical romance. No matter what genre I select, using this method would allow me to easily combine my passion and my desire to learn more, while creating something interesting and compelling for my readers.

According to the presenter, that’s exactly what happens when you write about your passions. That excitement and enthusiasm that you have for your story comes through in your writing. It ignites something in your readers helping them relate to and feel the emotion you embedded in the tale. And capturing the readers and drawing them into the story world is really what we all want as authors.

Now, this way of writing isn’t for everyone—it’s especially not for those who are more keen on producing quantity rather than quality. That’s because the learning part can sometimes take months. It all depends on just how much knowledge you need to make your story convincing. If the character’s shipboard travel only spans one or two chapters, then you don’t need much knowledge. If, however, it spans the entire book, then the more knowledge you obtain, the easier it is to sprinkle in those tiny details that make your story world believable.

And that’s why most writing teachers or mentors will say, “Write what you know.” Because it’s the little details that can make or break the story world for your readers. If, for instance, you know nothing of sailing ships, it will often come through in the details (or lack thereof). For instance, if you state that your character came on deck to help with the lines or sheets, and then you have him or her fussing with the sails, immediately shows your lack of knowledge. (The terms ‘lines’ and ‘sheets’ refer to the ropes used on a ship.)

Usually, what you’re passionate about is also something you know a lot about. If you’re passionate about horse racing, you usually know a lot about race courses, race horses, and the betting process. This allows you to include the necessary (and correct) terms and details throughout your story. It also lets you infuse your story with all the enthusiasm you have for the sport. This in turn ignites a passion in your reader for your characters and story.

Therefore, if you’re willing to take some extra time when writing your novel, combining your passion with what you want to learn about can help you create an extraordinary book for your readers.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Ascending Spiral Book Review

AsccendingspiralimageAscending Spiral by Bob Rich

Summary: Dr. Pip Lipkin has lived for 12,000 years, incarnated many times as man, woman, and even as species beyond our world and senses. But he’s here for a reason: to pay restitution for an ancient crime by working to save humanity from certain destruction. “Ascending Spiral” is a book that will take the reader to many different places and times, showing, ultimately, that our differences and divisions, even at their most devastating, are less important than our similarities.

Recommendation: Yes

Review: “Ascending Spiral” by Bob Rich is the book “Cloud Atlas” aspired to be but, unfortunately, never was.

“Ascending Spiral” takes you on a journey through the past and present of Dr. Pip Lipkin, a psychologist and counselor. In so doing, it gives you a view of the experiences and ways in which each of us develop and grow through our different lifetimes on Earth.

In each life we interact with many of the same souls repeatedly as we learn what the expression “an eye for an eye” really means. Throughout the book, Pip experiences love, hate, war, depression, incarceration, and slavery, all while searching for that one moment when enlightenment sparks an awareness in his soul. Each moment of awareness brings his soul more light and a greater ability in making love-filled choices instead of fear-based ones.

Once I stepped beyond the prologue and into the actual story, I was hooked. The characters were vibrant and as alive as you and me. With every choice made, and every battle fought, I was on the edge of my seat wanting to know what would happen next.

Even if you don’t believe in reincarnation or past lives, you can enjoy this book by simply looking at it as an historical adventure novel. I found that the historical accuracy combined with the great pacing made for an entertaining read. The only time the pacing bogged down (for me) was toward the end when the story popped back into (almost) current time. What I mean by that is, we joined with Pip as young adult in university. However, soon after we jumped back to Pip as a child. I became a little confused with the story here, because of the age hopping, but once we got back to Pip as a young man, the story smoothed out again.

Overall, this is an excellent adventure for those who just want a good story; an extremely thought-provoking book for those contemplating the bigger question of “why are we here;” or a wonderful book for those wishing to explore the idea of past lives and reincarnation.

Mastering Meditation–Now in Paperback

I’m proud to announce that my Mastering Meditation book is now available in paperback. Because the images included in the book are (to me, anyway) important, the book will be printed in color. While this does push the price a bit higher, I believe it is worth it.

Take a look, just go to Amazon.com for your copy.

 

Our Crazy Language

letters-flying-into-dictionary-pagesDid you ever wonder about the derivations of some of our words and why they’re spelled the way they are? This article explains the reasoning behind the spelling of some of our words, such as light, bright, and neighbor.

What’s with the ‘gh’ ?

Marketing With Book Trailers

Past Rekindled Book Trailer
Sample of book trailer slide

Book trailers are a wonderful way to help you market yourself and your books. They are great for those who do speaking tours, as you can run them before and after the speech, which helps to get the audience into the spirit of your topic. And when it comes to book fairs or conventions, they are especially useful. Running one or more book trailers at your booth or table, attracts people’s attention and makes them come over to see what’s happening.

[To read more…]