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Weekly Musing: Whack Slang

Language is ever changing. New words form while others fade away into obscurity. Definitions also change over time and are dependent on context. All of us have different language we use at work vs. how we talk to family and friends. With constant change in language it’s difficult at times to keep up and that’s before slang is thrown into the mix.

Slang is defined as very informal usage of vocabulary and idioms that are more metaphorical, playful, and ephemeral than ordinary language. It also means jargon used by a class or profession.

Every one of us uses slang daily even if we don’t realize it. Some terms have been around so long many of us forget they are slang terms. For example, we say something costs a buck which means we are saying something costs one dollar rather than a male deer. Or we refer to someone as a couch potato rather than saying someone spent all day on the couch watching TV or playing video games.

While there are many slang terms I use, or think are clever, below are a few of the words I wish would just disappear.

Cray cray – Somehow this replaces crazy. Not sure how repeating the same word twice replaces one word. It’s not even saving syllables as crazy is two and cray cray is also two syllables. It also sounds utterly juvenile. Any grown up who uses it, and not in a sarcastic, funny way, I automatically cannot take seriously.

cray-cray

 Lit – I’ll admit this one confuses me depending upon its usage. I get when people say a party was lit to mean the party was awesome. Confusion sets in when it’s used to describe a person. Context isn’t helpful. Are they saying the person is awesome? Or are they saying the person was intoxicated? Urbandictionary.com has a couple of entries claiming saying something or someone is lit dates back to the early days of jazz and refers to a state where a person is just drunk enough to be relaxed enough to play their instrument well. Etymonline.com also seems to back up the definition of lit as referring to a state of intoxication.

itslit

Spill the tea – This one is relatively new to me as I only started hearing it the past year and I think it’s a really stupid one. Spill the tea apparently means to gossip. I have no idea what spilling tea has to do with gossiping unless it’s a reference to a group of women gathered together to talk over tea? Considering it means to gossip then I suppose this makes sense. Still a silly phrase.

spill the tea

 Clapback – Initially, I thought the term clapback had something to do with STDs as the word clap is a slang term for gonorrhea. Apparently, this has nothing to do with the transmission of STDs. Clapback means to insult someone who first insulted you. Or as it more commonly known as a comeback. How did we get from comeback to clapback I have no idea. Again, it’s not anymore efficient to say clapback over comeback.

 clapback

Throwing shade – This is another word I’m a bit confused as to its proper usage. I’ve heard it used to describe someone insulting another person without using their name. I’ve also heard it used to describe a person with a bad attitude. Either way it makes no sense. I have no idea what the verb throw and the noun shade have to do with insulting someone or walking around with an attitude. Even when I think about it in a metaphorical sense I just can’t see how throwing shade became a slang term.

 throwing shade

Bish – Bish is the shortened version of bitch because that one extra letter is too much? Because the tc sound needed to be changed to a s sound? I don’t know and hadn’t heard it until last year when Katy Perry used it in a song. As much as I’d like to blame her this word has been around for over a decade according to urbandictionary.com. The website claims bish is the nicer, work place friendly version of bitch. Um, huh? If you don’t want to cuss, then don’t, but don’t walk around saying stuff like bish. Makes you sound like a cray cray child.

 bish

On fleek – Again, I find myself trying to figure out how a slang term that means “on point” is any different from just saying on point. What does fleek itself even mean? As far as I could find, no one knows.

 dogs_on_fleek_gray

Totes – Much like cray cray, totes is used to shorten totally. Because totally is such a difficult word to say. Totes idiotic.

 totes

Bae – Oh god, another word which shortened an already short word for reasons? Heaven forbid people say babe or baby when referring to their significant other. Another definition I saw was it makes it an acronym for “before anyone else”. If people are using it as an acronym then it makes their sentence even more non-sensical.

bae-bacon-eggs-women-s-t-shirts-women-s-t-shirt

 

I know there is other slang I don’t like but some are just so common I can’t remember them all. Let’s see if we can put all these together in a sentence, shall we? My bae was on fleek throwing shade on some lit, cray cray bish spilling tea on how she totes clapbacked when we know she didn’t. There. One of the dumbest sentences I’ve ever intentionally written. Please, if you’re going to use slang, and you will because you are human, use it responsibly.

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Weekly Musing: 2018 Goals

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Happy New Year, everyone! We’ve entered the time of year when everyone sits down to write out resolutions. While I dislike the term resolution, I prefer goal, I am not immune to the desire to reflect upon who I am currently and who I want to be as I go forward. As I ponder what kind of person I’d like to be, I have also been reflecting upon what kind of writer I’d like to be. A theme which emerged both in my personal and professional goals is a desire to heal myself and be kinder to myself. It is my hope that as I become more comfortable with myself I will become more comfortable as a writer.

Once again, I feel my goals are rather modest and achievable. I’m sure like last year’s goals priorities could change.

Finish rough draft of current manuscript and do at least one rewrite: I am hopeful I can finish a rough draft of my WIP either by the end of this month or early February. It’s been a struggle to get the words down. It always is and more so when my research wasn’t complete before I started the rough draft. But, that was a conscious decision because I wanted to focus more on the story rather than the historical background. Before I can tackle a rewrite, though, I will need to do more research. I’ve been writing notes to myself about specific things I’ll need to look up. Again, this is all in an effort to not overdo the research and torpedo myself in irrelevant details.

Rethinking my blog: In addition to changing the visual look of my blog, which I hope you are enjoying, I am looking to cut back on the number of blog posts. I started doing this about midway through last year and found it was something which freed up my time to concentrate more on novel writing. It can be taxing to come up with an idea for each week and while I do have a list of possible blog topics, some topics require research. I also want the flexibility to post when I have the time and inclination. At a minimum I think I’ll have at least 2 posts each month and they’ll still come out on Saturdays.

I am also officially eliminating my monthly book review. I don’t know how value added it was.

Another thing I’m hoping to do is experiment more with adding in pictures, probably a combination of stock photos and my own, that have some kind of connection with content.

New writers group: Very recently I discovered there is finally a writers group which meets at my local library. Before I used to attend a group located in the city I live next to which at times was a bit of a drive.

I haven’t attended any meetings yet as all December meetings were cancelled due to the holiday. I am interested to see how it goes. The biggest factor to me for how comfortable I am in a group is the combination of people. Is there a variety of skill level or is everyone about equal? What are the personality types? Do people give constructive feedback? Will the group prove to be useful for my development?

Letting myself go on the page: This goes back to my overall desire to be more comfortable with myself. I don’t want to be afraid anymore of having characters go to dark places or light places. I don’t want to worry about if what I’m writing fits a trend or will make people 100% comfortable and unoffended. Writing is an expression of thoughts and feelings. Honestly, I feel like when I was writing more for myself and writing something I wanted to personally read, the muse was present, and the writing was more relaxed. I’d like to get back to that.

Having an organized book reading list: This one is also a personal goal. In addition to having a target number of books I’d like to read, I decided to look at my bookshelves and pick out books I’ve had for years, but have never read. I also wrote down a few books I’ve being wanting to read, but keep forgetting to pick up.

Below is the list of books I absolutely want to read in 2018. I tried to give myself a mixture of classics in addition to genre books.

The Works of Oscar Wilde

1984 by George Orwell (this is a re-read)

The Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger (this is a re-read)

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

The Man in the High Castle by Phillip K. Dicks

House of Cards by Michael Dobson

City of Blades by Robert Jackson Bennett

Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel

The Tchaikovsky Finale by Darin Kennedy

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

Winter World by Ken Follett

Column of Fire by Ken Follett

Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon

Artemis by Andy Weir

The Iron King by Maurice Druon

The Works of H.P. Lovecraft

 

It’ll be interesting to see how many of these goals I’ll accomplish. Like everyone else who makes a list, I’m hopeful I can meet them. Good luck to every writer out there in achieving your goals this year!

 

 

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Weekly Musing: 2017 Reflections

While 2017 was a better year than 2016 in many respects, when it came to my writing it was a rather stagnant year. In looking over my goals for this year, I see I did not meet a lot of them. None of the goals were lofty and unachievable. In fact, I believed these all to be reasonable and something any writer would put on their own list. As the year went along, I determined some weren’t really a goal I wanted to work on after all as my own philosophy began to change.

Historical Fiction Book: Honestly, this has been a story which has often been the bane of my existence. I love it, then dislike it. I’ve certainly banged by head against the wall more than once while I’ve worked on it on and off over the years. I have re-written and changed it so many times it barely resembles my original idea. For example, it was going to be multiple POVs. Then I cut it down to two before cutting to one POV. This was due in large part because over the years I have realized I am most comfortable with writing one POV.

While I am once again back to feeling this may be a project to put on the shelf semi-permanently, it did teach me a lot. It taught me just how contradictory research can be and how at the end of the day errors will be made no matter how diligent my research is. I also learned there is such a thing as too much research which crowds out my ability to focus on the fiction aspect of historical fiction.

In terms of actual storytelling, I learned I need to really rein in my ideas. I suspect this will always be an area which will be a work in progress. The more I write the better I should get at recognizing what does and doesn’t make sense.

I also learned I need to trust myself when it comes to the characters. I found myself backing off having characters do things which would make them to unlikeable at times. This is a silly way of thinking. People aren’t always one way or another.

Submitting More: I thought after taking some time off due to personal reasons from submitting due I would want to get back to it. It’s been awesome getting those acceptance emails and seeing my work in both print and online. Those published works make up for the dozens of rejections and the hours spent cleaning up work to make it suitable for submission.

But I have learned this year my heart does not lie in short stories and spending hours writing them. I’ve enjoyed the new ideas and research done. However, since my primary goal has always been to write and publish novels, I need to devote as many hours as I can to that. I’ve always been a novel reader and still am. Novels take plenty of work and with my deliberate pace and lack of desire to write short stories, something had to give.

I don’t know if this will ultimately backfire for me career wise. One of the big things I heard over and over when I began writing more seriously is it is important for beginning writers to try and get as many short stories published as possible in order to help them to get a novel published. The more I write and the more I think about this the more I question if it ultimately matters. Writers should seek publication because they believe in their story. Not to build a resume.

Going forward the only kind of submitting I want to focus on is sending out book manuscripts. I’d also want to consider self-publishing and the work involved with that.

Advice: One of my resolutions was to scale back the amount of writing advice I read. This took some time, but I decided to unsubscribe to many of my favorite blogs. I know I’ve had a couple of posts of blog recommendations. I still stand by those people and believe they produce a lot of helpful content. For me personally, I need to stay away from noise. Also, things always change. Information which was fresh a couple of years ago may very well be outdated.

I realized, too, I should only go after information as it applies to a particular stage in my career. For example, it makes no sense to learn about query letters or approaching an agent when I’m not at that point. As I get to those stages between my Writers Digests, countless writing books, and blogs, I’m confident I can find information on any subject I want when I want it.

Writing Conference: This goal was made before I determined it was a good idea to move because my husband and I wanted to be closer to our friends. It was also made before we decided to go on a couple of vacations.

But not fulfilling this goal did not bother me. Much like the advice thing, I realized I should only attend conferences and workshops which I feel apply to me. When I look around and see the programs, I see a lot of the same topics pop up, none of which excite me or are applicable. Why should I potentially waste time and money to not learn much?

2017 NaNoWriMo: This is one goal I am truly proud of achieving. For the longest time I wasn’t sure I would participate. Then a new idea came to me and November was a great time to get a good start on it. It felt good and I even found a possible new writers group because of participating. I got what I wanted out of it and for that I am extremely glad I participated.

Letting Myself Go on the Page: This is one of those goals which I think will always be a work in progress. In 2017 I still found myself holding back on the page. Actually, I was holding the characters back on the page something which goes against my own philosophy. Once again, I will definitely be putting this goal on my list in the hopes I will figure out a way to relax and let go.

 

2017 was a mixed bag for my goals. That’s okay as sometimes we don’t achieve want we want. Oddly enough I have not beaten myself up for it. Not yet, anyway. I do wonder if this year will wind up being one of those years I reflect upon and realize it was a transition year into becoming the writer I’d like to be.