Monday, June 29, 2015

Announcing Logophilius Editorial

This is a big week for the Logophilius blog. Now, it’s more than a blog, it’s a business.
Today, I officially announce my new enterprise, Logophilius Editorial LLC, my venture into full-time freelance word work. It’s a step in my career that I take with hope, optimism, and no small amount of fear. 

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Writing prompt: Visualize Your Successful Future

Think for a moment about what you really want to do with your life — your dream job, your ultimate career, what you want to be remembered for when you're gone.

Now imagine that you have been living that life for a few years and, unexpectedly, you've been given a great award in recognition of your work. What reward is it — a Pulitzer or Nobel Prize? A Presidential Medal of Freedom? A Humanitarian Award from the Elie Wiesel Foundation? A dinner in your honor by the American Federation of Teachers?

With that picture in your mind, write your acceptance speech for the award.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Support Systems

Take some time this weekend to make some art. Not for money or recognition or (heavens!) work, but just for you. To add a little more life to your life. Everyone can make art, and everyone needs to.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

New Word Wednesday: toxology

Toxology is an old word that figures largely in some well-known, well-traveled stories. If you're thinking about Socrates, iocaine powder, or the Gom Jabbar, you're a bit off the mark — you're thinking of toxicology.

The stories of Robin Hood and William Tell are much more toxological.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Writing as a Constant Search

Writing and rewriting are a constant search for what it is one is saying.Writing about things happening to people isn't difficult. But a story — at least a good one — is so much more than just things happening to people. Behind every good story is some truth, some thing that the author wants to tell the world, or get off his chest, or convince herself of.

Unfortunately, that need to have something to say is also what can paralyze a writer, make writing word one a trial fit for Hercules.

Sometimes we stare at the blank page. Sometimes we just start writing and hope to find the meaning as we go.  And often, we fail.

But those few times when it all meshes just right — when the perfect story and its deeper meaning come together like a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup — it's all worth it.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Writing prompt: A Short Story Definition

Samuel: "You know, I tried reading the dictionary straight through once, but I just couldn't get a handle on the plot."
Daniel: "Of course you couldn't. A dictionary isn't a novel; it's a collection of short stories."

Friday, June 19, 2015

On Romanticizing the Writing Life

We are all guilty of romanticizing the writing life from time to time. It's so easy to do when you only look at finished products — works of beauty and truth and poetry that enrich the lives of everyone who reads them.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

New Word Wednesday: sequacious

The word sequacious might call to mind the mighty sequoia, or glittering sequins, or maybe even that sometime political buzzword sequestration. Though it does share an etymological base with the last one, that's where the relationships end.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Writing About Writing About Gender Identity

Last week over at, I gave a little guidance about writing about gender identity issues. If you aren't real confident about how to use  transgender and cisgender, you should go check out "Writing About Gender Issues."

Monday, June 15, 2015

The Nature of Writing

I can't write five words but that I change seven

"I can't write five words but that I change seven." —Dorothy Parker

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Writing Prompt: The Surprise Visitor

Write a story that begins with someone unexpected coming into a character's life — or back into it: A past paramour takes residence in the next cubicle. A long lost sibling moves into the house next door. A green-skinned man who speaks no known human language appears in the backyard. Take it from there.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Wandering Off with a Notebook

"The idea of just wandering off to a cafe with a notebook and writing and seeing where that takes me is just bliss." —J.K. Rowling

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Thanking Kurt Vonnegut

If you've read my posts after the deaths of Ray Bradbury and Terry Pratchett, you might understand a little bit of my frustration with posthumous shows of gratitude and admiration for great authors. The frustration comes from the fact that, the authors being dead, they never get to hear all the great things people say about them. Never get to see the larger picture of the effects they have had on the world.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

7 Misspelled Words that Aren't Misspelled

In this computer age, our word processing programs try to give us a hand by automatically correcting obvious typos. Occasionally, though, the program's autocorrection feature (or a careless or too-trusting writer using spell-check) will get it wrong, and a misspelling will be changed to the wrong (but correctly spelled) word, resulting in what's known as a cupertino.

Sometimes, though, an uncommon but correctly spelled word can be miscorrected to a more common but undeniably incorrect word. These seven words fall into that category. Because the words are uncommon, electronic and organic spell-checkers alike might not recognize them as being spelled correctly. So tread carefully.


I put this one first because it (and my miscorrection of it) inspired this post.

Don't squeeze the second e out of this word. Calendering is a technique to create different finishes on cloth, paper, and film. With cloth, layers are folded together and then run under rollers of different textures under high pressures and temperatures to give the cloth a particular finish or sheen.

In paper and film, calendering involves running the paper or film between high-pressure calender rolls. (Imagine an old-timey clothes wringer; then add 200 years and a computerized paper-making machine and you've got the idea.) Each pass through the calender rolls makes the paper or film smoother, making it more or less receptive to pencil, ink, paint or toner.
One squeezes water from your clothes; the other squeezes water from your clothes and makes sure the clothes don't fit right anymore.
One squeezes water from your clothes. The other squeezes water from your clothes and makes sure those clothes never fit right again.


A bettor, simply put, is someone who bets, and the word is easier to say than wagerer. The better bettors can actually make a living at gambling, which can make bad bettors bitter.


Because everything seems political these days, this might look like a misspelling of politically. It isn't, of course; it's the adverbial form of the adjective politic, meaning "shrewd or tactful." Being a politician is not a requirement for being politic. In fact, the two might be mutually exclusive.

The distinction becomes clear when you consider the opposites of politically and politicly, namely apolitically (or nonpolitically) and impoliticly.


According to Merriam-Webster's, precisian first appeared in print 170 years before its more popular cousin precision (in 1571, to be precise). Though they are both nouns and they share the same idea of "being precise," precisian is something you could call a person, namely one who stresses and practices strict adherence to a particular standard, especially a religious one.

Depending on your point of view, a precisian might be a saint or a dictator. A role model or a prude. An authority or a martinet. A bless-the-beasts-and-the-children type, or a how-can-you-have-any-pudding-if-you-don't-eat-your-meat type.


They say a quitter never wins, and if you're a horse with quittor, that is doubly true. Quittor, also called graveling, is a leg infection in equines that causes lower leg cartilage to become inflamed. Historically, it's more common in draft horses than race horses, and since draft horses aren't used that much anymore, quittor isn't seen as often as it used to be.

Still, the word can help you land a nice Q-based bingo in your next game of Scrabble.


There's nothing radical about radicle, which has been around since the late 17th century. The radicle, a botanical term, is the embryonic root of a seed. When a seed is planted, the radicle is the first visible growth, the first tendril to reach beyond the confines of the seed. It protrudes into the soil and eventually becomes the plant's root system.


This is a toughy because its meaning so closely relates to the terrain that we all know. Terrane is a term used in geology and paleontology that means "the area or surface over which a particular rock or group of rocks is prevalent."

Similar to examining the history of a tree by examining its rings, Earth's geological history is discovered by examining its layers of rock. A terrane of a certain type of rock can reveal localized prehistoric events such as volcanic eruptions, glacial movements, meteor strikes, and zombie apocalypses.

Or so I gather from a bit of research. Geology isn't really my terrain.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Throw up every morning

"Throw up into your typewriter every morning. Clean up every noon."

"Throw up into Your typewriter every morning. Clean up every noon." —Raymond Chandler

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Writing prompt: Every End a New Beginning

Grab one of your favorite novels off the shelf and flip to the end of it. Make the last sentence or last paragraph of that novel the beginning of your new story. Don't continue the story you pulled the text from. Instead, use that text as a jumping-off point for something new.

Friday, June 5, 2015

The Greatest Pleasure of Writing

"To me, the greatest pleasure of writing is not what it's about, but the music the words make." --Truman Capote

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Breaking the Funk: What I Love about Writing Fiction

I have lost my mojo. My groove has filled in. The thrill is gone.

I'm in a funk.

Some of you writers understand (at least I hope you do). Somehow, for some reason I will never completely understand, I haven't been able to feel the joy that writing used to grant me. I think longingly about writing during the day, but when I finally sit down in front of the computer or open up my little black notebook, the only thing my mind seems to conjure is a silent scream.

I fear I have fallen out of love of with writing.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

New Word Wednesday: Is That a Lardon in Your Meal . . .

. . . or are you just happy to see me?

If you're at all like me, the first time you saw the word lardon your mind immediately conjured a politically incorrect definition involving obesity and sexual arousal.

We should be ashamed of ourselves.

The first time (the only time so far) I saw lardon, it was on a menu as an ingredient in a fancy mac and cheese dish. (Make your off-color creams/cheeses jokes now.) Even though I didn't know what lardon was, I was pretty sure I didn't want to put it in my mouth.

I ordered the blackened salmon sandwich.

Lardon — or lardoon — is a piece of bacon or salt pork used for larding.

Larding (I didn't know lard was also a verb, did you?) is the act of coating or smothering a food with lard or other fat or stuffing meat with strips of fat or bacon before cooking. I think my heart appreciates that I didn't order the meal that included lardon.

English: Danish bacon being cooked.
Lardy, lardy, lardy get your clogged veins here!
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
But wait — the dish in question was mac and cheese! Not exactly something you can stuff with bacon. Does that mean it was covered with lard?

Or, really, was this just a hoity-toity way of saying they put a little bacon in it?

All things considered, I don't regret ordering the blackened salmon sandwich at all.*

*Except that I accidentally ordered blacked chicken. Still better than putting lardon in my mouth.

Monday, June 1, 2015