Saturday, May 27, 2006

Today's Vocabulary

Today's vocabulary words are taken from the book, The Runaway Princess by Christina Dodd. I use Merriam Webster's Dictionay for the definitions, but occasionally, if I need more clarification, I'll also use Roget's Thesaurus. Both can be found online, by clicking the title, here. I may also use and

cozen: to deceive, win over, or induce to do something by artful coaxing and wheedling or shrewd trickery; syn. CHEAT

prodigious: exciting amazement or wonder; extraordinary in bulk, quantity, or degree; enormous or monstrous

sybaritism: (comes from the word, sybarite), [from the notorious luxury of the Sybarites] : voluptuary (a person whose chief interests are luxury and the gratification of sensual appetites), sensualist (persistent or excessive pursuit of sensual pleasures and interests); if it's capitalized, then it means: a native or resident of the ancient city of Sybaris; from debauchery, self-indulgence; from A person devoted to pleasure and luxury; a voluptuary (Good word!)

termagant: an overbearing or nagging woman; a quarrelsome, scolding woman; a shrew

libertine: usually disparaging : a freethinker especially in religious matters; a person who is unrestrained by convention or morality; specifically : one leading a dissolute (or, unrestrained) life

dishabille: the state of being dressed in a casual or careless style

perfidious: (from perfidy) the quality or state of being faithless or disloyal; treachery; the act or instance of disloyalty; syn. faithless

bumptious: presumptuously, obtusely, and often noisily self-assertive; obtrusive

castigation: (from castigate), to subject to severe punishment, reproof, or criticism; to chasten

majordomo: a head steward of a large household; a butler; a person who speaks, makes arrangements, or takes charge for another

capon: a castrated male chicken

All of the books on writing a novel and even the publisher's guidelines and their editors say that you shouldn't use big words or unusual vocabulary in your writing. That it's a turn-off for readers. Well, I disagree. I love to learn new words and see how "big" words are used in a sentence. I love it when a book has words that I don't know and I have no problem underlining the words and looking them up at the end of a chapter or the book. Of course, if it bugs me enough, I'll even look it up immediately so I know what the author is talking about.

I think it would be a very sad day indeed when writers stop using "big" words to describe something and will only write for the third and fourth grade reading levels like the newspapers do. I think that if I were to only read books with language I could easily understand, my mind would become very lazy. I want to have lots of wrinkles in my brain by the time I pass away and I hope that my vocabulary will increase every day, or at least every week. There's nothing more exciting to me than learning something new and that includes something as simple as learning a new word.

What do you think about that? Do you agree that books should be written in plain and simple language? Or do you prefer to read a book where you'll learn a new word and have a chance to increase your vocabulary? Does it bug you when you come across a word you've never heard or seen before? Are you good about looking it up or do you just skip it and guess at its meaning by the context it's used in?

Quote of the Day

The fire that melts the candle also tempers the steel.
--Christina Dodd (The Runaway Princess)

A Grown-up Fairytale: The Runaway Princess

The Runaway Princess
by Christina Dodd

This was a wonderful book that made me wistful for the fairytales I read as a girl. If you liked fairytales when you were a child, you'll love the grown-up version that Christina Dodd writes in this book.

The theme is about honesty, complete and total honesty. It's also about being your authentic self and how it's the only way that you can truly fulfill your destiny, just like that Shakespearean line, "To thine own self be true". Dodd weaves this theme throughout the book as a counterfeit princess tries to convince everyone, especially the Prince, that she really isn't THE princess they're looking for. She's just a look-alike, a very intelligent, noble, brave and compassionate look alike. No-one, especially not the prince, believes her until the very end when it matters the most and by then she really wants to be the princess, because she's fallen so in love with the determined prince. Don't worry, I'm not going to give anything away, here, because I don't want to ruin any of this exquisite experience for you. I relished every moment that I read this book and will most definitely read it again.

An orphan from a small town at the end of the Regency period who's inherited a small fortune from her mentor, she's decided to go off and find an adventure of her own for once, before she settles down to run a bookstore and lead the dull and uneventful life of a grown-up orphan with few, if any, prospects. She's not the most likely candidate for a heroine, not physically anyway. She's described as Amazonian, very tall, large breasted, nothing dainty or even average about her. She's on vacation at a spa, feeling lonely and a little disappointed that she hasn't discovered love or even sex on her trip and resigned to leaving her vacation sooner than later as her funds were dwindling quicker than expected.

The prince shall embrace his greatest fear and make it his own.

That's when the Prince arrives on the scene, mistakes her for the princess he's been searching for since they were about twelve years old or so and now that he's found her, he's not about to lose her. As a matter of fact, if he can't convince her to come away with him, he's perfectly comfortable with kidnapping her and forcibly bringing her home with him to wed. You'll love this wild romp through fairytale kingdoms while they're hunted by rebels, face natural dangers and intrigue and one of the most unique romances I've read.

There's plenty of adventure, humor, spirituality (in a mild and peaceful sense, not out-there or new agey at all, very nice and practical imho and enjoyable), and true love as they face their fears and vulnerabilities and in the end the orphan-Princess not only finds herself, but finds out that she doesn't have to lose her true self to fulfill her destiny, rather she needs to be completely honest with herself and must be her complete self to become the woman she is destined to be.

The hero is to die for as well, and I imagined him to look like Rock Hudson as I read it, which made it all the more enjoyable, since Rock was such a dish. The hero learns that in order to have the life he desires the most he must not only embrace his greatest fear, but be humble enough to make it his own. It was the most difficult thing he ever had to do, yet it was the one thing that brought him the greatest reward. One of the things I loved the most about this Prince was that he was so completely forthright and honest, never lied to anyone about anything. He was confident and really went after what he wanted with gusto, yet his vulnerability, which was thoroughly explained and believable, gave him his most human quality.

The only thing that I thought some people might have a problem with was that Dodd's main characters in this book were more like super-heros than people. At least, that's a complaint that I'd read a few places about these characters. Here's what I have to say about that: In any romance book, or any fiction book for that matter, the main characters are always larger than life. That's what heros are. They're supposed to be people we can look up to and aspire to be like-honest, brave or fearless, kind and gracious, romantic. This being a fairytale, of course, there has to be some magic involved or it's not really a fairytale, is it?

However, although I found the Prince's character to be a bit super-hero-ish, I really liked him that way and found it perfectly acceptable in this story. As a matter of fact, I think it would've been dissappointing if he'd been any less heroic than Dodd made him to be. So, I personally didn't have a problem with that and don't think you will either, because it fits the story and era that he's in. I didn't feel that any of the other characters had that super-hero quality to them, but were very convincing as heros. And that's really the main point: they have to be believable, convincing and their motives need to make sense and the way Dodd writes these characters, they absolutely do make sense and are certainly believable. It was a wonderful fairytale and I'm just about to go purchase the sequel to this book, Someday My Prince.

You can find this book as an e-book through or purchase it at any bookstore, including Barnes & Noble online and Amazon.

To go to Christina Dodd's website, simply click on her name.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Chapter 1--Finished

I wrote Chapter 2 yesterday. It feels so good! I never thought I'd do it, because I've been dry as a dessert the past month, or maybe even longer! But, it's like all of a sudden, "the feeling" overwhelmed me and I just knew I had to get to the keyboard fast and write. So, I wrote and wrote until it was almost the way I wanted it to come out and now I have to do a little more research to make sure that what I want to do is in fact possible, if not probable.

The weird thing about fiction is that everything you write has to make sense, unlike real life where things rarely, if ever, make sense.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Quote of the Day

"There's such a fine line between stupid and clever."

---line from Spinal Tap

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Writing Tips Thursday

Here are some good articles. A long list of them to pick and choose from of writing tips, like:

Creating a Worthy Villain
Essay writing Resources
Tips for the Beginning Horror Writer
Openings that Hook
Five Sure-Fire Suspense Building Techniques, etc.

My New Blog

I'm going to use this blog to record my progress as a writer. I'll post things like, how I feel about my writing; concerns I have; articles and sites that are valuable for me as a writer; reviews; news; creative writings; notes, and more. I may post from a character's pov, or post things that have to do with my writing, so don't take it too personally if I post something and it seems weird or shocking or whatever. Well, you'll see what I mean, eventually.

Everything is copyrighted to me as of the date it's written. Nothing here may be reprinted without my permission. To contact me, post on the section you're interested and I will go to your blog and leave my contact info for you. Please, no ads or spams. Hope you enjoy, but remember, the whole point of this blog is for my own personal organization and enjoyment. I'm writing, here, for me.