Life in a Senior Residence Community is challenging and cherished.

Archive for the ‘Writing tips’ Category

Gran and her Grammar!

Now that you are using LIE and LAY properly,  let’s discuss the uses of THAT and WHO…. And while we’re at it, maybe WHOM. In this age of communication, clarity is enhanced by proper grammar. Not to be stuffy, just clear.

For instance:

Beyond the parking lot in Capitola Village is a stairway up to Depot Hill THAT has 86 stairs. The view from the top is one THAT stuns everyone WHO has managed the climb. Those steps are a challenge to me WHO used to be proud of her walking/climbing abilities. My granddaughter is one WHO jogs up and down those steps several times to my one ascent. She is the one on WHOM I would bet to win almost any race.

Here’s another:

Over 50 years ago, our infant sons were guarded by Duffer who was our cocker spaniel. He kept strangers who were too curious away as he sat by the baby buggy parked out beneath a tree full of fluttering, fascinating leaves. Then, as the boys grew and played in the front yard, Duffer chased cars THAT were coming too fast down our hill. (more…)

Go Lay an Egg!

I feel like a voice out of the past…. Or maybe a voice with a past.

My concern is about proper grammar. Some usage is so wrong and so in use that I fuss that it will be accepted as correct. Recently a bright, young, sophisticated, university graduate emailed me that on Saturday she will lay on the beach. I immediately had a vision of turtles laying eggs in the sand. My mother used to ask, “Will you please lay out the dinner napkins, Donna?” You see, lay is a transitive verb, meaning someone or something will put something somewhere. I guess if you are going to lay your body on the beach, that could make sense, but I see you taking your body out of a bag and patting it into  place above the tide-line.  It is easier and more direct to lay the towel on the beach and lie down. Of course, if you are talking about last Saturday, then you lay on the beach. Past tense. See the difference? (more…)

Arranging Things: My Book Tour and My Personality

Occasionally, a small bright insight illuminates our lives and helps to make sense of what is happening. That happened to me last week as I was juggling dates for the Northwest Book Tour I’m planning for May. To sort the dates was, for a while, like eating noodles with chopsticks. Just as I set one date, the rest slipped and needed to be picked up again. Now, I’ve just confirmed one appearance on May 10 in Eugene with my former daughter-in-law and forever-friend, Jane. (more…)

What Writing Questions Do You Have?

I often write posts on issues that I come across, share feedback that I learn.. However, I would like to open up the floor to my readers. What do you want to learn about when it comes to writing? For those of you who haven’t attended any of my memoir writing workshops, is there something that you want me to write a post on?

I’ll do my best to accommodate your suggestions and questions in additional posts, if not in the comments below.

Thanks for the feedback!

From Laura Davis: How to Write Summary

From November 4-6, I retreated to the redwood forest in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Only 20 minutes from my front porch and I was in another world called Land of the Medicine Buddha, a conference center where 30 of  us participated in a Memoir Writing class conducted by local leader, Laura Davis.

She read to us, gave us prompts; we wrote, we read our work to each other. A circle of strangers became, in a brief time, a circle of intimates.


Set the Scene or Drop It

I recently returned from a 12-day trip to the Hudson River Valley. Our group visited Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt’s home, the Frederick and Louise Vanderbilt estate, learned about slavery in the area and toured the 18th century Gomez sawmill site. It was an excellent Road Scholar trip, AND, along the way,  I sold copies of Walking for our Lives.

While discussing the book with a friend, I randomly opened to page 91 and read, “On Friday, May 30, Congresswoman Pat Shroeder came out to our muddy campsite at 7:30 in the morning to speak to us. Then The Great Peace filed into downtown Denver and brought traffic to a standstill.”


Memoir Writing Tip: Know Your Audience

When writing your memoir, who will you choose to be your audience?

It’s important to choose your audience wisely, and then consider how you will address them. I believe that effective story telling is best told in a writer’s natural voice, so just talk. Tell the story. Don’t worry if you have to go back and fill in details later because you can always go back to edit. In the beginning, just tell the story – naturally – to your audience. (more…)

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