Pinterest and Instagram

Not everyone likes being sociable on social media. Despite their popularity as “social media platforms,” Pinterest and Instagram are not known for encouraging deep and engaging conversations. I imagine that’s a good bit of their appeal; whereas Facebook and Twitter success depend on building relationships, this is somewhat less important on Pinterest and Instagram. It would, however, be a mistake Read More …

Octopuses? Octopi?

It’s a story that rivals any escape from Alcatraz. Inky, the Octopus, “squeezed through a slight gap at the top of his tank, flopped to the floor, then slithered about eight feet overland to slide down a drainpipe more than 160 feet long, and finally to plop into the bay.” That would be Hawke’s Bay, on Read More …

Never Heard Such Nonsense!

I flunked my first “reading readiness” test, despite being the only kid in class who could read well. I missed a statistically improbable 29 out of 30 questions on the test–probably because the title of the test was “Reading Readiness Test” and I could not figure out what triangles, squares, spheres, and pattern matching had to do Read More …

Metaphor and Simile

Metaphor and simile are two of the most common rhetorical devices we use in writing. They are similar: metaphor makes an implicit comparison, by referring to one thing as if it were another thing; simile likens one thing to another, making the comparison explicitly with words such as “like” or “as.” Metaphor: She is a butterfly, flitting Read More …

Lutefisk: Fishy Lye

I have ancestral roots in the land of pickled herring and potatis korv, both of which I have tasted and enjoy. I like sardines, kippers, anchovies, and caviar, too. But my Norwegian cousins have some seriously fishy fish dishes and I have to violate my rule: “You can’t say ‘Ewww, yuck, gross!’ till you’ve tasted Read More …

Litotes

“‘ell, Guv’nor, she’s really scrabbling around the bottom of the dictionary for it today, isn’t she?” “For what?” “For an ‘L word,’ that’s what. Litotes. What tha ‘ell is that?” “Well, it ain’t your everyday, commonplace little English word, that’s for sure.” And there you go: litotes – an ironic understatement that confirms an idea Read More …

You May Be Bigger Than I Am, But I’ve Got Klout!

Some time between fourth and seventh grades, I grew taller than my mother. One morning, as I was heading off to school, she climbed up and stood on top of the bed, bent over, kissed the top of my head, and said, “You just remember, you may be bigger than I am, but I still have Read More …

Jabberwocky

Jabberwocky, for anyone unfamiliar with Lewis Carroll’s poem, has come to mean “a playful imitation of language consisting of invented, meaningless words; nonsense; gibberish” or speech or writing consisting of such words.  Have you ever coined a term? Made up a word out of thin air? Carroll certainly did! As you slowly, carefully read his poem, Jabberwocky, Read More …

Images Motivate Readers to Share

“Great images” don’t have to be slick, magazine-quality, professional photos. But if you want people to share your posts, learn to make or find illustrations that increase the odds by 50% or more. Read More …

Posts Not Turning Heads? Try On 25 Headlines to Find Your Best Fit, Every Time

Kevan Lee gave us 30+ Ultimate Headline Formulas for Tweets, Posts, Articles, and Emails. Or 30+ templates for headlines that make us click, even as we roll our eyes… Click-baity, Upworthy-style, BuzzFeed-type headlines work, because they have the backing of human psychology. These headlines whet the reader’s appetite and tug at the brain until we’re compelled to Read More …

Glow

“It’s remarkable,” said Anne, turning the glass float over in her hand. Holding it up in front of her nose, Anne squinted at the textured glass. Unlike most of the Japanese fishing floats she’d seen, this one was made of a wavy, ruby-red glass that was nearly opaque. It contained a tiny swirl of phosphorescence that Read More …

Facebook Presence Needed for Authors?

Do you really need to be on Facebook? Yes and no. I recommend concentrating first and foremost on your own website/blog. This is the web presence you have the most control over; it is the most predictable place to establish as a hub or base of online operations. As Facebook continues to “tweak” their algorithms, Read More …