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Archive for the category “A to Z Challenge 2014”

#AtoZ Reflections and Five More Writers

 

A-to-Z Reflection [2014]

This is my third year of posting a duly earned A to Z Survivor’s Badge on my blog.

AttoZ survivor, 2014

As I writer, I am now faster at completing posts and more focused on my writing theme. I enjoy reading other blogs and seeing the variety of writing styles other writers use. I “liked” a lot of posts and commented on a number of them as well, although I find it hard to comment as much as I would like to. Finally, I have seen my own growth as a writer because of the enforced march to post completion. The team pressure to complete the challenge and win that little green badge is strong! And that’s good.

This is my second post on reflections on the A to Z. My first, A to Z Bonus Wrap-Up: Writers I Met on the A to Z Highway, focused on a major benefit of this challenge for me: meeting new (to me) writer/bloggers. Here are my first five:

1. Amos Carpenter. From writing software and websites to just writing
2. Miss Alister, The Essence of a Thing: Another construction site pumping out noise and dust
3. Tom Benson – Creative A ‘watering hole’ for readers and fellow writers
4. Julie Jordan Scott, Julie Unplugged: Giving You Permission to Be Purely You: Unerased, Raw, Absolutely Right…
5. Jennifer Marshburn, Writings On Writing

I promised to add five more to my original five in my post for this Wednesday. Here they are:

6. Linda May Adams: Soldier, Storyteller

Linda gives us the lowdown on the military adventures (and misadventures) of women soldiers. Linda’s humor had me chuckling on a number of occasions. The military meals she describes seem, well, indigestible. Read about her resourceful alternatives, and be thankful for your home-cooked meals.

7. John Mark Miller, The Artistic Christian: Discussing Modern Art and Culture from a Christian Perspective.

John Mark Miller’s log line says it all. I enjoyed his writing style and his commentary. Here is my favorite post: Vision: The Foundation for Artistic Voice. And here are his Reflections on the A to Z Challenge.

8. Chris White Writes: Just another author writing short stories instead of his novel…

Chris White, to his wife’s dismay, decided to join the A to Z as they were heading out on vacation. 26 posts in April? No problem, especially when you have monsters on your mind. If you need a monster or two for your novel (for the AtoZ, Chris featured 26 under-represented world monsters) hop on over to Chris’ place and snag a couple. Today’s monster, Kakotomirai (May 6), was an easy take-down. But wait, here comes Kakotomirai’s mom! Revenge! You’ll enjoy this blog.

9. Damyanti, Daily (w)rite: A Daily Ritual of Writing

Self-described “compulsive lurker” (always reading blog posts but never commenting), Damyanti changed her ways and discovered the community of bloggers when she started commenting on posts. She is a free-lance writer and an encourager of writers. See her A to Z Reflections post and you will see what I mean. I especially enjoyed her How Do You Make Blogging Friends post from February.

10. Chuck Douros, runwritedig: Run Hard. Dig Deep. Tell the World.

This blog combines three worlds: runners, writers, and gardeners. For the A to Z, Chuck focused on garden pests, common problems, and ridiculous garden myths. For a rusty green thumb-er like me, Chuck’s advice is both usable and valuable. Here’s his post on yellow jackets. It might be helpful for your family this summer.

Click here to see reflections of other A to Zers who have survived the drill of writing 26 posts in 30 days. It is an accomplishment to be noted!

Thanks to all the A to Z organizers for this exceptional annual challenge.  See you in 2015.

A to Z Team [2014]

Arlee Bird: Tossing it Out
Alex J. Cavanaugh: Alex J. Cavanaugh
Stephen Tremp: Author Stephen Tremp
Tina Downey:Life is Good
Damyanti Biswas: Amlokiblogs
Jeremy Hawkins: [Being Retro]
Nicole Ayers: The Madlab Post
M. J. Joachim: M. J. Joachim’s Writing Tips
Heather M. Gardner: The Waiting is the Hardest Part
AJ Lauer: Naturally Sweet
Pam Margolis: An Unconventional Librarian

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Janice Hall Heck, retired educator, blogger, and nitpicky editor of On the Horizon, a bi-monthly community newsletter for Horizons at Woods Landing, Mays Landing, NJ, is quite possibly a grammar geek.

logo 2.2Oh Heck! Another Writing Quirk,  theme for the amazing 2014 A to Z Challenge, suggests ways to improve our writing by avoiding and/or eliminating troublesome bug-a-boos that cramp our writing style.

Look for a list of posts for the #AtoZ, 2014 Challenge (Writing Quirks) here:  #AtoZ: Q is for Quirky Index and a Q Post Round-Up

Meow for now.  =<^!^>=

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#AtoZ: Bonus Wrap-up: Writers I Met on The #AtoZ Highway

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AttoZ survivor, 2014

One of the great benefits of participating in the #AtoZ Blog Challenge, besides getting this survivor’s badge, is meeting new (to me) writers. I will mention a few of these writers each week in occasional “Wednesday Writers” posts. Since I am now in the habit of daily regular posting, this first release on Wednesday Writers will be today, Thursday. (Just pretend that I posted it before midnight last night. Okay?)

Go visit these writers and tell ’em that Jan sent you. Maybe they’ll give you some tea and crumpets.

1. Amos Carpenter. From writing software and websites to just writing

Amos is a new blogger (his Y post was #50), and he has a natural writing style with a bit of humor tossed in to keep you smiling. He comments on good reads to put on your TBR list. Remember to stretch your genre reading. Amos has great suggestions for you.

2. Miss Alister, The Essence of a Thing: Another construction site pumping out noise and dust

Miss Alister writes 26 Magic Days of A to Z in 200 words (+/-) about a randomly chosen word for the letter of the day: the Inanity of E, the Audacity of C, the Difficulty of S, just to mention a few.  These posts are all “witty bits about crazy people” as one other follower commented. Miss Alister says it’s all because she likes to explore the correlation between madness and genius. Miss Alister just has a way with words!

3. Tom Benson – Creative A ‘watering hole’ for readers and fellow writers

Tom’s watering hole is filled with tips and commentary for writers. From capital letters to book jacket design to killing your darlings to publishing e-books, he has some great ideas for you. Stop by and say HI.

4. Julie Jordan Scott, Julie Unplugged: Giving You Permission to Be Purely You: Unerased, Raw, Absolutely Right…

Julie’s #Ato Z runs the gamut from Audacious and Begin to Xes, Yearning, and Zealous. Each word comes with a picture, a definition, a quote, questions, lists, and writing prompts, a year’s worth of writing inspiration in each post, all designed to encourage you to immerse yourself in writing.

5. Jennifer Marshburn, Writings On Writing

From Autobiograph vs. Memoir to Zzzzz….Sleep and Writing, Jennifer shares her wise, practical, and encouraging comments on both writing genre and the writing process. She also suggests a website that I found interesting: Meetup.com where like-minded individuals gather for a wide variety of activities. I’m thinking about joining the Standup Paddleboarding or the Pug Playtime in South Jersey group. After all, these groups are close by. Well, the paddleboarding may be a bit out of my comfort level, but the pugs sound cute.

Look for another edition of Wednesday Writers on, ta dah, Wednesday, May 7.

***
Janice Hall Heck, retired educator, blogger, and nitpicky editor of On the Horizon, a bi-monthly community newsletter for Horizons at Woods Landing, Mays Landing, NJ, is quite possibly a grammar geek.

logo 2.2Oh Heck! Another Writing Quirk,  theme for the amazing 2014 A to Z Challenge, suggests ways to improve our writing by avoiding and/or eliminating troublesome bug-a-boos that cramp our writing style.

Look for a list of posts for the #AtoZ, 2014 Challenge (Writing Quirks) here:  #AtoZ: Q is for Quirky Index and a Q Post Round-Up

Meow for now.  =<^!^>=

#AtoZ, 2014: Z is for Zero the Hero in a Repeat Performance

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*Drum roll* *Bugles* *Wild applause* Ta dah: Introducing Zero the Hero.

Zero the Hero by Joan Holub, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld

Zero the Hero by Joan Holub, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld

Zero the Hero is a favorite character in kindergarten classes even though he is a bit mysterious and doesn’t like to show himself. He sneaks into classrooms on the eves of the 10th, 20th, 30th, 40th, 50th, 60th, 70th, 80th, 90th days of school and leaves poems, cartoons, games, arts and crafts projects (related to  himself, of course), and even some treats. Like Santa Claus, though, he does finally appear: on Day 100 in full Zero the Hero regalia bringing even more sweet treats and number projects.

Zero teaches the children about counting to 100, counting by tens, and using zeros as place holders. He adds to the fun of kindergarten and builds student interest in numbers and math.

I wrote about Zero once before when I had reached my 200th post: Zero the Hero Helps Celebrate My 200th Post. (Now I am at post #332.)

Here he is again:

Zeros can be fun, but they can also be tricky. Sometimes they don’t like to follow rules.

Zero: noun, adjective, or verb?

First of all, sometimes zeros pretend to nouns, and at other times they pretend to be adjectives or verbs. It all seems to depend on their mood and what they ate for breakfast. (Donuts=good day. Plain old oatmeal=bad day. That’s how you operate, too, isn’t it? Admit it.)

Zero as a noun:  zero, zeros* (plural)

Although plural nouns that end in o usually have the -es ending, zero doesn’t follow this rule.  *Zeros is Webster’s preferred spelling for more than one zero,  but Webster does accept zeroes as the inferior second cousin: okay to use if you really must. (Webster rolls his eyes when you do spell the plural noun as zeroes.)

Is zero a number?
The prospect of Garfunkel getting a job paying $1 million is zero.
The score of the Phillies vs. the Dodgers was zero to zer0.

Zero can combine with other nouns to make compound nouns.

zero gravity
zero hour
zero population growth

Zero as a verb:  zero, zeroes*, zeroed, zeroing.
Compound verb: zero in, zero in on, zero out

(Aha. See how quirky this Zero fellow is. When Zero is a noun, he doesn’t want the -es ending, but when he a verb, he does. Go figure.)

The CEO zeroes in on every item in the budget.
Every month my teenager zeroes out his allowance.
My English teacher zeroes in on every spelling and grammar mistake that I make.

Zero as an adjective:

When zero combines with another word to form an adjective, use a hyphen before the noun.

The company promises a zero-defect product.
The weather man reported zero-zero conditions: zero visibility and zero ceiling
Zero-based budgeting requires that budget makers to justify every expenditure they make.
The CEO zeroes in on every item in the zero-based budget.

Zeros and hyphens: look it up.

Some compound words with zero use a hyphen, while others do not.  To be safe on which is which, check your dictionary.

So, zeros break the rules, but they are handy fellows to have around. Anyway, the more zeros after the other big numbers on my paycheck, the better I like them!

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And now how about Zero-based Thinking?  Read this article for writers by Matthew Eaton, posted on C.S. Lakin’s blog, Live. Write. Thrive.   You’ll find some good advice on what to do with those unpublished manuscripts stashed in drawers, hidden from all eyes. There is hope!

***
Janice Hall Heck, retired educator, blogger, and nitpicky editor of On the Horizon, a bi-monthly community newsletter for Horizons at Woods Landing, Mays Landing, NJ, is quite possibly a grammar geek.

logo 2.2Oh Heck! Another Writing Quirk,  theme for the amazing 2014 A to Z Challenge, suggests ways to improve our writing by avoiding and/or eliminating troublesome bug-a-boos that cramp our writing style.

Look for a list of posts for the #AtoZ, 2014 Challenge (Writing Quirks) here:  #AtoZ: Q is for Quirky Index and a Q Post Round-Up

Meow for now.  =<^!^>=

#AtoZ, 2014: Y is for Yadda, Yadda, Yadda and Yakety Yak.

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And the beat goes on… Y day in the #AtoZ. Yadda, yadda, yadda. It’s all been said before.

Yadda, yadda, yadda as a term doesn’t make it into print resources like the American Heritage Dictionary or Garner’s Modern American Usage, but you can find it on the Internet in the Urban Dictionary  and English Daily:

A phrase that means “and so forth” or “on and on;” it usually refers to something that is a minor detail or boring and repetitive. English Daily

When telling about a happening in your life, you might not want to give all the details because that would make your story too long and too boring. Instead, substitute “yadda, yadda, yadda” for the boring and repetitive parts and get to the most important, more interesting parts.

Although the phrase yadda, yadda, yadda was coined by Lenny Bruce in the 1960, Seinfeld later made this phrase popular in this clip: Yadda, yadda, yadda.

Synonyms for yadda, yadda, yadda:

yakety yak  The Coasters sang this popular song, Yakety Yak, when I was in high school college a while ago.

et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.  Yul Brynner, in the popular Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, The King and I, tells Deborah Kerr this:

When I sit, you sit.
When I kneel, you kneel.
Et cetera. Et cetera. Et cetera.

The Last Meow

yadda cat 2 cheezburger.c omyadda cat  Cheezburgr

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Janice Hall Heck, retired educator, blogger, and nitpicky editor of On the Horizon, a bi-monthly community newsletter for Horizons at Woods Landing, Mays Landing, NJ, is quite possibly a grammar geek.

logo 2.2Oh Heck! Another Writing Quirk,  theme for the amazing 2014 A to Z Challenge, suggests ways to improve our writing by avoiding and/or eliminating troublesome bug-a-boos that cramp our writing style.

Look for a list of posts for the #AtoZ, 2014 Challenge (Writing Quirks) here:  #AtoZ: Q is for Quirky Index and a Q Post Round-Up

Meow for now.  =<^!^>=

Here’s another Y post for you (2013)   Y is for…Your, You’re, Y’all, Ya’ll, Yall, You All, You Guys, and Yakety-Yak

 

#AtoZ, 2014: X is for X. Is it Better to Be Safe or Sorry?

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X is a jack-of-all-trades.  It can be an abbreviation, a noun, a verb, or the first letter of some adjectives.

Xing, pronounced crossing,  is a commonly used abbreviation to alert pedestrians about where to cross the street safely at busy intersections.ped xing

But I do think this next fellow has clearly taken advantage of the intended purpose of the pedestrian crossing sign.

Granny and Little Red Riding Hood safely cross the street with a very hungry Mr. Wolf.

Granny and Little Red Riding Hood safely cross the street with a very cunning and ravenous Mr. Wolf.

Other functions of X

X (eks) can be a noun (a letter or symbol)

X marks the spot on a treasure map; the place to dig to find buried treasure
Put an X in the box to indicate your choice for President.

X (eks) can be a verb. verb forms: x’s (plural), x-ed  (past tense)  x-ing (present participle)

X out all those extra adjectives and adverbs!
The editor is x-ing out all my favorite bits of dialogue.

Bob, the typesetting boy for the Alexander-the-Great-o-nopolis Gazette, in Edgar Allan Poe’s story, “X-ing a Paragrab,” had fun x-ing out all the o’s in editor John Smith’s editorial. PoeCalendar.com reviews that story here: “Txld yxu sx. yxu knxw.” This story is definitely good for a laugh!

X can be on adjective: words that start with xanth, xen, xer, and xyl

xanth-yellow. xanthous, xantric
xen- foreign. xenophobic, fear of foreigners or strangers
xer-dry. Xeroxing is a dry copying process, not a wet chemical bath process.
xyl-to do with wood.  Xylophagous bees are wood-boring bees.

You can find more X adjectives here: Grammar.YourDictionary.com

***

Your Turn: What do you think? Should Granny and Little Red cross the street with Mr. Wolf?

***
Janice Hall Heck, retired educator, blogger, and nitpicky editor of On the Horizon, a bi-monthly community newsletter for Horizons at Woods Landing, Mays Landing, NJ, is quite possibly a grammar geek.

logo 2.2Oh Heck! Another Writing Quirk,  theme for the amazing 2014 A to Z Challenge, suggests ways to improve our writing by avoiding and/or eliminating troublesome bug-a-boos that cramp our writing style.

Look for a list of posts for the #AtoZ, 2014 Challenge (Writing Quirks) here:  #AtoZ: Q is for Quirky Index and a Q Post Round-Up

Meow for now.  =<^ !^>=

cat x ing

 

 

 

#AtoZ, 2014: W is for Weekly Photo Challenge: Letters

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How handy. The letter W just fell into my lap with the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Letters.

Here are a few pictures I took on Mount Nebo, Jordan in December, 2012.

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Silhouette view of the full monument on Mt. Nebo. Faces, figures, and letters embedded in the monument present a message from the ages. Moses and the Israelites arrived at Mt. Nebo in Jordan, not far from the Dead Sea, after wandering for 40 years in the desert on the Sinai Peninsula. (Deuteronomy 32: 49-52). Moses viewed the Promised Land from this mountaintop before he died… “and to this day no one knows where his grave is.” (Deut. 34:6) After Moses died at 120 years old, Joshua led the Israelites into the Promised Land. (Deut. 34:1-7)

 

Close-up view of lower part of monument on Mt. Nebo.

Close-up view of lower part of monument on Mt. Nebo.

Middle view of monument on Mt. Nebo.

Middle view of monument on Mt. Nebo.

 

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Mt. Nebo Memorial of Moses

 

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View of the Promised Land from Mt. Nebo.

 

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Chart showing distances from Mt. Nebo to various important biblical sites.

Video clip: HeidiTravels8:
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Janice Hall Heck, retired educator, blogger, traveler, and nitpicky editor of On the Horizon, a bi-monthly community newsletter for Horizons at Woods Landing, Mays Landing, NJ, is quite possibly a grammar geek.

logo 2.2Oh Heck! Another Writing Quirk,  theme for the amazing 2014 A to Z Challenge, suggests ways to improve our writing by avoiding and/or eliminating troublesome bug-a-boos that cramp our writing style.

Look for a list of posts for the #AtoZ, 2014 Challenge (Writing Quirks) here:  #AtoZ: Q is for Quirky Index and a Q Post Round-Up

tWITTER CATMeow for now.  =<^ !^>=

#AtoZ, 2014: V is for Verb-less Sentences

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FR, Frag. Fragment, INC, Incomplete.logo 2.2

Remember sitting in English class in high school and the teacher returning your essay all marked up in red, with FR, INC, AWK, WW written in the margins? As a teacher, I wrote these symbols on student papers myself, and later when I worked for an editor of a small journal, he used these symbols on draft manuscripts submitted for publication.

(Okay, I laugh when I see AWK,  the symbol for an awkward sentence, because it conjures up this image in my demented imagination: a brightly colored parrot swinging on its perch in my office and yelling, “AWK, AWK, AWK.”)

Teachers follow the rules. Whether short or long, sentences must have two parts: a subject and a predicate. Writing gurus still argue about the definition of “sentence” (see Garner’s Modern American Usage, “Incomplete Sentences,”  for a discussion on this topic), but the most-commonly accepted definition of a sentence is similar to Webster’s: A sentence is…

a.  a word or group of words stating, asking, commanding, or exclaiming something;
b.  conventional unit of connected speech or writing, usually containing a subject and predicate;
c.  in writing, a sentence begins with a capital letter and ends with an end mark: period, question mark exclamation mark, etc.

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Of course, not everyone agrees on the need to use complete sentences all the time. Bill Walsh, well-known commentator on writing and author of Lapsing into a Comma (2000) makes this comment about sentence fragments:

Only the most tin-eared, fuddy-duddy excuses for copy editors routinely convert every single fragment they see into a complete sentence.

Generally, teachers hold to the subject/predicate definition of sentences and hold students to it for good reason: student writing maturity hasn’t develop enough to know when and how to use fragments effectively.

But anyone who does a lot of reading soon discovers that writers use sentence fragments in their writing. Of course, they use fragments, not by accident as immature writers might, but deliberately to create impact.

Israeli writer Shammai Golan uses short, choppy sentences and fragments to convey the fear, shock, and disbelief of this mortally wounded young soldier

The Uzi’s a good weapon. Effective. For defense. For attack. In face-to-face-fighting. But today’s Friday. And SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESthere’s peace at the borders. And I’m only on watch over their road. They fired. Suddenly. Why’d they fire, suddenly? In war one fires. People get wounded. Killed. In the War of Independence. . . .

I’m breathing. With difficulty though. That’s because of the blood. I’m all wet. Maybe it suddenly rained. Sometimes it rains in September. Even before Yom Kippur. And I’m already damp. And flowing. All is flowing. And all is vanity. And you can never enter the same river twice. The Philosopher teacher. A great sage. . . .

And the leaves fall over my body.  Soft. Purple. Like the water under my belly. Soft. Warm. How long can one flow like this. An hour. Two. Three. . . .

—Shammai Golan, “Ten Centimeters of Dust” in Children of Israel, Children of Palestine: Our Own True Stories (Holliday, 1998

Golan stream of consciousness writing style effectively portrays the desperateness of this soldier’s situation. It is an example of how the mind might be thinking in this particular situation. Definitely not in complete sentences.

So, yes, there are rules for writing complete sentences, but good writers ignore these rules at times in order to develop their own style.

Verb-less and noun-less sentences (incomplete sentences) have other reasons for being, but most often they add bits and pieces of information to a previous sentence. Almost as an afterthought.

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Miss Alister, of The Essence of a Thing, writes effective incomplete sentences reflecting an active mind thinking in true, not-always-linear fashion: The deciphering of V. The V Paragraph: Vernacular, 4/24/14.

Here’s more on kernel sentences from yours truly:

Janice Heck: K is for Kernel Sentences. Nouns and verbs control the world. 04/12/2013 (2013 AtoZ)

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Your Turn: How do you use sentence fragments in your writing? Got an example?

***
Janice Hall Heck, retired educator, blogger, and nitpicky editor of On the Horizon, a bi-monthly community newsletter for Horizons at Woods Landing, Mays Landing, NJ, is quite possibly a grammar geek.

logo 2.2Oh Heck! Another Writing Quirk,  theme for the amazing 2014 A to Z Challenge, suggests ways to improve our writing by avoiding and/or eliminating troublesome bug-a-boos that cramp our writing style.

Look for a list of posts for the #AtoZ, 2014 Challenge (Writing Quirks) here:  #AtoZ: Q is for Quirky Index and a Q Post Round-Up

tWITTER CATMeow for now.  =<^ !^>=

 

 

 

 

 

#AtoZ, 2014: V and Cee’s Very Small Things

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Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Very Small Things

While walking with my daughters around the Fred Lake at Stockton College, we saw this little critter. Amazing. He’s smaller than a fingernail.

Smart phone pics 6-2013 018

#AtoZ, 2014: U is for Unfinished, Underdeveloped, Unprintable Posts

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When I started my blog in January of 2012, I worried that I would not have enough ideas to keep a blog going. Turns out, I have too many ideas. As ideas pop in my head at random moments, I try to make note of them by starting a new post with a half-baked title and a few notes tossed in the body of the post. Sometimes I go back and work on a particular post, but sometimes it stays in that skeleton form for a while.

I started yesterday’s post about Twitter Followers quite a few months ago, but the #AtoZ Challenge prompted me to finish it for “T” day.

WordPress says that I have published 321 posts, but I have another 313 drafts percolating in the queue.

Now come the hard days in the #AtoZ Challenge: V, W, X, Y, and Z.

What writing quirks will I come up for those letters? Hmmm. Maybe I will have to scout my Garners’ Modern American Usage. I should be able to find some juicy tidbits there.

But first, I’ll scroll through those 313 unfinished, underdeveloped, and unprintable posts that I haven’t looked at in a while. Maybe I’ll find some other treasures there.

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Wish me luck.

Your Turn: How many unfinished blog posts do you have waiting in the queue?

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Janice Hall Heck, retired educator, blogger, and nitpicky editor of On the Horizon, a bi-monthly community newsletter for Horizons at Woods Landing, Mays Landing, NJ, is quite possibly a grammar geek.

logo 2.2Oh Heck! Another Writing Quirk,  theme for the amazing 2014 A to Z Challenge, suggests ways to improve our writing by avoiding and/or eliminating troublesome bug-a-boos that cramp our writing style.

Look for a list of posts for the #AtoZ, 2014 Challenge (Writing Quirks) here:  #AtoZ: Q is for Quirky Index and a Q Post Round-Up

tWITTER CATMeow for now.  =<^ !^>=

 

#AtoZ, 2014: Totally Twitter: Follow, Autofollow, or Not

atoz [2014] - BANNER - 910 Who’s on your list of Twitter Followers? Look carefully and you might find a few surprises (shocks?):

Twitter Fight

Twitter Fight

a porno queen or two
a foul-mouthed jock
a beggar (asking you to follow, pleeeeease)
a person boasting about how many followers they can get for you
people with very strange names
a person who may be calling you or your mother names in another language
other surprises.

I like Twitter, but the speed of its message flow disrupts idea continuity. Still I check Twitter fairly regularly, and I always find something interesting or funny. Kristen Lamb is one of my favorites. She gives lots of advice on writing, blogging, and jumping into the social network. She always has something amusing to say.

Lamb_2011_1__biggerKristen Lamb@KristenLambTX Apr 14
Been working since 7 this morning. Can I have back all those naps I didn’t want when I was a kid?       Best-Selling Author. Social Media Jedi. Newest best-selling book, Rise of the Machines–Human Authors in a Digital World.

But given the fun, Twitter does have it annoyances: love-hate relationships with followers, for one. I have found it necessary to develop my own guidelines for accepting followers. (Yes, that sounds snobbish. Others may have their own personal guidelines.)

Here are a few guidelines I use for managing my own wannabe followers:

1.  I do not use an autofollow program.

Early on in my Twitter lifetime, I tried out an autofollow program, that is, until I realized there are some Twits that I absolutely do not want in my followers list. Since that time, I look at each new follower to see if I want to follow them back or not. This takes only a few minutes every few days. I like to know who follows me, not how high my follower number gets.

2. I choose those I want to have as followers.

I follow those people who have somewhat related interests: reading, writing, blogging, publishing, education, travel, religion, child safety and welfare, food, technology, and perhaps some organizations and businesses related to these topics. Of course, I follow family and friends. You find out some interesting things that way! Most often, but not always, those with the similar interests follow back.

I like inspiring quotes, so I follow Denny Coates along with 24.7K followers. Alas, he doesn’t follow me back. Oh well.

coatesDenny Coates@DennyCoates 5m
 “Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” – Confucius

3.  Every few days, I check my list of followers to see who they are.

I do this by looking at the following three words on my Twitter homepage:

Tweets                Following                  Followers

Followers: Click on Followers and a list of your followers and wannabe followers comes up.

Wannabe followers (waiting to be approved) have a white box.
Click on the new followers’ names and see if they are fairly active tweeters. A very low number of tweets may mean this is a new Tweeter. If this person has similar interests, I usually follow back. People who use faceless avatars and have only a few tweets may be nameless persona who fish for people using automatic follow-back programs. These clickers really are only after numbers, not friends. I automatically skip over this second group of tweeters.

Click on the white box so the wanabees of your choice can forever be your devoted followers (BFF).
Or leave the white boxes alone if you don’t want to follow back.

I do not follow:

1. Empty heads (avatars). I do click on these to see if more information is available about them, but generally I do not follow, andimagesTWC4023L avatar after a few days or weeks, I find they disappear from my follower list. (Qwitter tells me when I lose followers, but I don’t worry about that because these qwitters are probably the empty-headed avatars.)

2. People who do not have bios. I like to read the brief bios that Tweeters put out, and I generally follow anyone who has put a little thought into their teaser. Ten words or so is not much, but you can say a lot about yourself in those limited characters.

3. Beggars. “Follow me, and I will follow you back. Pleeeeeese.”  Sorry.

4. Language abusers and foul language. Using the word that got Paula Deen in trouble (and other words of the same ilk) is also a no-no for me. It’s disrespectful. Really, we have all heard all these words before. They do not impress. Give it a rest.

5. Erotic language, suggestive language, or bare-chested (male or female) poses. Not necessary.

6. Tweeters with unusual names who offer followers: Astuty Astika? Menda Wahyungtas?  Dinda?  Wai Routt? Anggun? Solikha?  Really? These names sound phony to me. (Honest, I did not make these examples up.) Click on their names, and you will usually see only a few tweets. Of course, they do have followers: those people who use autofollow to build up their numbers. These Twits love to count their “Gotchas.” A few of them do have lots of followers, but do you really want to have an infusion of people who have no common interests?

Of course, some of those with phony-sounding names may have something going for them. Some can have hilarious, off-the-cuff commentary.

Barracks O’Bama     ‏@P0TUS19h       BREAKING SCANDAL–Fox News: Photos prove that President Obama and Hillary Clinton were masticating together.

Alas, on my latest check, Barracks O’Bama seems to have gotten lost in the dust of all those others with spelling variations of Barack Obama. (By the way, can you spell our President’s name?)

7. Tweeters who promise thousands of followers for $. Nope. Watch and you will see that these follower promises crop up in batches. Five or six unusual names, no bios, no picture.  Click on their names, and you see that they have only a few followers themselves and have only put out a few tweets. If they can promise you followers, why don’t they have all that many followers themselves? Don’t click on the URL they give out.

8. Tweeters who tweet in another language. Sorry, If I can’t interpret what you say, I don’t follow. And you probably can’t read what I say either. I do follow a few French or Spanish Tweeters. It gives me practice in reading those languages that I studied many years a little while ago in high school. Most of those who tweet in another language are probably pretty nice people, but how can I tell if I can’t read what they write? Better to just leave these alone.

9. Tweeters who go by one name. Really, if you are Hillary (followers: 1.99m, following: 9, Tweets: 94) or a Monica copycat (followers: 952, following: 171, Tweets: 419K) you can get away with that. Even Justin Bieber uses both names. Of course, made-up names are okay. Just use the same cautions when following. I like the comments by

10. Tweeters (and Facebookers, for that matter) who ONLY tweet their new book repeatedly. That alone will keep the Tweeter off my follower list AND my BUY list. I admit that I do tweet about my WordPress posts, but I usually do that only a time or two for each post.

Even with fairly careful adherence to these personal follow guidelines, I get surprises in my follower list. No problem. I can remove them.

Twitter Limits

Now how about when you add people to follow, and Twitter interrupts and announces that you have reached your limit? What is that secret limit? How can you follow more people when you get to this stopping point.

After the first thousand or so followers, Twitter allows you to follow about 10% more people than follow you. So what do you do? Some people will never follow you. They just won’t. Take Dennis Coates, mentioned above. He has a following of 24.K Tweeters,  yet he follows only 8,841 people. He will likely not follow you or me. Still, I like his positive attitude and his quotes, so I will continue to follow him until he discovers what he is missing by not following me back.

At this point, in order to add followers, you must first delete people on your follow list who do not follow you back. (You will find some big-timers who do manage to get around that Twitter count practice.)

ManageFlitter will give you a list of your non-followers in the order from when you joined Twitter, and with a few clicks, you can delete those non-followers either en masse or one by one. Generally, when you invite someone to follow you, they follow you in a relatively short time or not at all.

Of course, I follow some people who will never follow me, because I want to hear what they have to say.

Here’s what a few other bloggers have to say about Twitter:

Cynthia Hartwig, “How Susan Orlean Built a Posse of 260,000+ Twitter Followers,” August 21, 2013.
Terry Whalin   “How to Improve Your Twitter Followers,” June 28, 2013.
Bridget Whelan, “8 Reasons Why a Writer Should Join Twitter on the Shortest Day of the Year”
Janice Heck, “They Laughed When I Sat Down to Twitter
Janice Heck, “Twitter Bio in Ten Words”
Two Writing Teachers, “Connecting with Other Writers,” 4/12/2014
Anita Ferreri, Sharing TCRWP: Getting Started With Twitter, 4/12/2012
TCRWP: Getting Started with Twitter

Here’s one more…about unfollowing a blog…

Don Charisma, “Please unfollow my blog”

A note from Twitter: https://support.twitter.com/articles/66885-i-can-t-follow-people-follow-limits#

The Last Meow
Janice Hall Heck, retired educator, blogger, and nitpicky editor of On the Horizon, a bi-monthly community newsletter for Horizons at Woods Landing, Mays Landing, NJ, is quite possibly a grammar geek.

logo 2.2Oh Heck! Another Writing Quirk,  theme for the amazing 2014 A to Z Challenge, suggests ways to improve our writing by avoiding and/or eliminating troublesome bug-a-boos that cramp our writing style.

Look for a list of posts for the #AtoZ, 2014 Challenge (Writing Quirks) here:  #AtoZ: Q is for Quirky Index and a Q Post Round-Up

tWITTER CATMeow for now.  =<^ !^>=

 

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