It’s back to school time and I was feeling left out. You see, I’m one of those nerds who loved school. I’m missing the first day excitement. But, most of all I miss the smells. Remember how the building itself smelled after three months of cleaning and refinishing and no one throwing up? How about the perfumed ambrosia of a newly opened box of crayons, or the woodsy aroma of those Ticonderoga number twos, or even a fresh jar of paste.
All of this came back to me as I was catching up on my periodical reading. Back to back in my to-be-read stack were the October edition of Writer’s Digest with a special section on “Language and Grammar” and the August edition of the Mystery Writers of America’s newsletter, The 3rd Degree with 12 articles on writing.
Writer’s Digest offered three lessons on essential topics for any writer’s tool kit. “3 Common Structure & Syntax Problems” discussed: 1. Agreement Between Subject and Verb, 2. Positioning of Modifiers, and 3. Active Versus Passive Voice. “18 No-Nos to Purge From Your Manuscript” dealt with word choice and misconstrued phrases. The third article, “Using Figurative Language Effectively” covered Simile, Metaphor, and Analogy; Hyperbole; Metonymy (using part of something to stand for the whole); Personification; and Allusion.
The 3rd Degree’s articles were previews of the sessions at the upcoming MWA University to be held in San Diego in October. The topics included planning, plotting, setting, dialogue, editing, and experience. The experience section is Hank Phillippi Ryan’s “What I Wish Someone Had Told Me” which appears to share much with her speech at the Midwest Writers’ Workshop.
All in all, it was a great start to the first semester. I still miss the smell of crayons, but it was pretty good to be back in school, on my couch while sipping an adult beverage.