November: A Great Month for (Would-Be) Authors!

William Shakespeare

November is always a special month for me because it is National Novel Writing Month, without which I might never have become a novelist and achieved my lifelong ambition.

But it’s also National Authors Day on November 1st. So what does it mean to be an author and what can YOU do on National Authors day?

Well, an author is somebody who creates using words with which to move or inspire their followers/readers. From Homer, who told his stories orally (eventually written down by others), Shakespeare, who may or may not have been several different people and who is probably seen as the world’s greatest writer, to little old me, we are all creators of different worlds and we write to entertain, educate and make you think!

So what can you do to celebrate National Authors Day? Here are a few ideas:

  1. Follow/Like your favorite author (me?) today. Thanks to social media, readers can have much more interaction with their favourite authors. Send them a quick message telling them what you thought of their latest book or if their stories made a difference for you! (And don’t forget to hashtag with #NationalAuthorsDay.) Here is my Facebook page (just in case!): Facebook And you can ‘Follow’ me here: Joanne R Larner – Amazon page
  2. Buy a book for a friend. Share a work by your favorite author (me??!) with a friend. Don’t forget to leave a positive review on Amazon at the same time! Did you know you can now ‘gift’ a Kindle book on Amazon UK (but only within the UK). Go to the book page (Kindle Edition) and on the right is a link that says ‘Buy for others’. If you would like to ‘gift’ one of my books, here is a link to my latest book: Distant Echoes – Amazon page
  3. Release the hidden author inside you! Why don’t you put aside an hour or two to write a story, a recent experience, or a poem? Possibly the best compliment you can show an author is allowing them inspire you to write.

You can read more about National Authors Day here

Which brings me back to National Novel Writing Month! What is it? Well, if you have always wanted to write a novel, but never managed? No disclipline? Procrastinator? Lack of inspiration? Never fear. You can sign up to National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo to its friends) here. It’s free and they challenge you to write 50,000 words in the month of November – that’s about 1,667 words a day (I aim for 2,000 so you can get ahead). They have lots of resources to help you – here is part of the resources page for me.

There are badges you win for every achievement, you can ask for buddies to help encourage you and keep you on track, you can (COVID permitting) join local groups and write together. There are also offers for you and even more if you ‘win’ – if you achieve 50,000 words.

Here is a part of the page for my first project, Richard Liveth Yet, which I began in 2014:

As you can see they track your progress and you have a target each day. All this helps you achieve your goal: 50,000 words, which is enough for a short novel. I had already written 35,000 words, which I added to the 50,000, so I was well above the target, as you can see!

They give you some interesting stats such as when you are at your most productive and your daily, average and total word count.

Do not think that is all there is to it, though – this will be your first edit, so you should just aim to get the words down, without worrying too much about grammar, continuity, spelling, etc. And if 50,000 words seems too ambitious, there are also CampNaNo months in April and July, where you can set your own target. Find out more about it here: NaNoWriMo

Image credit (Shakespeare): BatyrAshirbayev98, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0,
via Wikimedia Commons

‘Mispronounciations’!

There are certain words in the English language which are always mispronounced; ironically, one of them is ‘mispronunciation’! Yes, I know the verb is to pronounce/mispronounce but the appropriate nouns do not have the second ‘o’ – they should be pronounced as ‘pronunciation’ and ‘mispronunciation’.

There are others which are also almost universally mispronounced.

As an osteopath, I often hear medical words mispronounced. For example, emphysema has no ‘i’, it’s not ’emphysemia’. Similarly, ‘prostate’ for the male gland has no ‘r’ – ‘prostrate’ means to be stretched out on the ground with your face downwards. I also had a delightful patient who told me she was taking ‘frolic acid’.

Yes, I’m being a bit mischievous (not mischievious) but it does drive me crazy. Grievous also has no ‘i’ before the ‘ous’ – there are many words that do, which is perhaps why the mistake is made (devious, envious, previous, etc).

I know it’s not a native English word, but please realise that ‘Chaise Longue’ has nothing to do with the word ‘lounge’ – it is the French for ‘long chair’ and should be pronounced ‘Shezz long’ with a hard ‘g’.

While we are on foreign words, ‘espresso’ has no ‘x’ and is not from the word ‘express’ but is from Italian, after the Latin prefix ex- had developed into es-.

A phrase that does come from Latin is ‘etcetera’, meaning literally ‘and the others’ – it has no ‘x’ so don’t pronounce it ‘excetera’. (And while we’re at it, if you abbrieviate it, it is etc, not ect!)

This is one I used to get wrong – the leaves on a tree are ‘foliage’, not ‘foilage’. Another of my mistakes was in thinking that ‘thoroughfare’ was ‘throughfare’ – it sounds as if it should be the latter, but it isn’t.

‘Jewellery’ is often mispronounced as ‘jewlery’. And many people confuse the two words ‘bought’ and ‘brought’ – the first is the past tense of ‘buy’ and the second of ‘bring’.

And if you are waiting in suspense for something, you are on ‘tenterhooks’, not ‘tenderhooks’! If you want to be clear about something you are being specific, not ‘Pacific’ – the first ‘s’ is not silent!

So please, do your utmost (not ‘upmost’) to pronounce these words correctly!

Image credit: Alex E. Proimos / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)