Word of the Week: Valediction

Word: valediction

Pronunciation: va-lə-DIK-shən

Part of Speech: noun

Definition:

  1. the action of saying farewell
  2. a statement or address made at or as a farewell

Source: Oxford Dictionaries


This is an example of a word I learned by using a thesaurus, and I remember that I liked it as soon as I read it. I thought it had a nice ring to it, and I could certainly find a way to work it into my stories once in a while. Maybe the reason I like it is because I enjoy getting to think, “Oh, there’s a word for that!” I have fun learning words that sum up an act I would normally refer to using a whole phrase, for sometimes the fewer words we need to convey an idea, the better.

“Valediction” is the act of saying goodbye, or in more formal cases, an address of farewell. The word is comprised of two Latin roots: the verb vale “goodbye”, and the verb dicere “to say”. For an additional reference, the latter is also a root of the noun “benediction” (“the utterance of a blessing”), as the adverb bene means “well”.

I suppose I should have known about this word sooner, since I’ve long been familiar with the noun “valedictorian”. After all, it stands to reason that what they give at a graduation ceremony is a “valediction”, right? Still, I like to use this word in its more casual sense, referring to goodbyes exchanged between my characters. Of course, I think it works well in either context, so it’s really up to you to decide how you want to indicate the farewells in your stories. Now, in the spirit of the New Year, let’s all bid a hearty “valediction” to 2013!

What are your thoughts on this word? Any suggestions for future “Word of the Week” featured words?

A Year Gone By

As I think about
The year gone by,
I smile at the memories
Of 2013,
For I realize
There’s much to celebrate.

But what should I
Celebrate most?

Is it the blog I’ve started?
It’s a big step
Toward my dream.
I’m free to write about
My thoughts and feelings,
And I’m happy to know
Readers enjoy my words.

Is it the stories I’ve written?
I’m very proud
Of the tales I tell.
They’ve opened up
New doors for me,
And they show my voice
To the world.

Is it the people I’ve met?
They’ve been so supportive
Of my writing.
I’ve made some good friends
In the blogosphere,
And I’m glad we can share
In the journey of storytelling.

No, what I should celebrate most
Is the love I’ve always had in my life.
The people I love
Visit my blog,
Read my stories,
Support my writing,
And always make me
Feel special.

I’ll always celebrate
The people I love most,
Because they make
Every year wonderful.

So here’s to the end
Of a great 2013,
And may 2014
Be just as awesome!
Happy New Year!

The Year in Review: Writing in 2013

Merry Christmas! It’s the last Wednesday of the year, so to finish off my creative writing posts for 2013, here’s a brief review of what I’ve enjoyed most about my writing experience this past year. Enjoy!

2013 Fireworks

Learning about blogging (and more importantly, that I can do it)

Of course I had my doubts about blogging before I started. What blogger hasn’t? But being active in the online community has turned out to be an amazing learning experience. I figured out blogging pretty quickly (the basics, at least), and I’ve learned that I’m surprisingly capable of maintaining my own site. But the best thing I’ve leaned about blogging is that it’s a lot of fun, and I look forward to writing many more posts in the foreseeable future!

Developing discipline

Honestly, when I started this blog, I wasn’t sure I’d have the discipline to write consistently for a long time. I knew the passion of writing would keep me going strong in the beginning (and it did), but as with many of my hobbies, the fire tends to burn out after a while, leaving me with a choice to either continue with an activity that now feels like work or just give up altogether. More often than not, I simply bail, but blogging has turned out to be different. Having made a commitment to my writing publicly keeps me motivated to stay on course, and with that, I’ve been developing a stronger sense of discipline. To my surprise, I’ve found that this actually helps keep the fun in writing, and more importantly, it will certainly be useful when I write my novels!

Discovering new ideas

If there’s one thing the Internet is full of, it’s creativity. Being active online has been great for brainstorming, since there never seems to be an end to the interesting ideas I find. From reading blog posts to trading writing prompts to sharing opinions, being part of the blogosphere has kept my mind active and the new ideas flowing. Could I ask for anything more?

Meeting new writers

This is one of my favorite parts of my writing experience this year: meeting other writers on the same journey as me. Sure, we all may be at different stages, but the important thing is that we all understand what it means to be a writer. We know the joys of building worlds out of words, the sorrows and frustrations of writer’s block, and the satisfaction that comes with finally typing the last period in a story. We all know the ups and downs of writing, and for that, we find strength in supporting each other through the process. In a way, we’re all in this together.

And that concludes my creative writing topics for 2013! Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year! Here’s to more wonderful writing experiences in 2014!

Word of the Week: Omniscient

Word: omniscient

Pronunciation: ahm-NI-shənt

Part of Speech: adjective

Definition: knowing everything

Source: Oxford Dictionaries


Last Monday’s Word of the Week post was about a word used to define things that are present everywhere. Continuing on the same line, today’s vocabulary word also refers to what encompasses everything. The difference is that this time, the “everything” in question is knowledge.

An “omniscient” person is someone who knows everything. The word itself is Latin and means “all-knowing” (probably stemming from omnisciens). Originating in the early 17th century, the adjective is made up of two roots: the adjective omnis “all” and the verb scire “to know”.

There are a couple of reasons I like the word “omniscient”. For one, I’m fascinated with knowledge, so any being with an infinite supply of it is one I’d be interested to read about. At the same time, “omniscient” is a significant word in the non-fiction aspect of writing, as it refers to a type of narrative voice where the narrator is fully aware of every detail in the story, and thus can relate the perspective of any character. It can refer to an all-seeing character or just a writing technique, but either way, “omniscient” is an important word for any writer to know!

What are your thoughts on this word? Any suggestions for future “Word of the Week” featured words?

Takedown

Sawyer sat on the edge of the shelf, staring at the mysterious box with narrowed hazel eyes. Soon, he thought, the time would come again. Every time the spinning stick pointed straight up, his enemy would appear. And every time, she got the best of him. But not this time. No, this time, victory would go to him. He would make sure of that.

The sound of ticking was the only noise filling the air. Sawyer’s tail flicked for the umpteenth time, and his whiskers twitched. The tension was almost palpable. Just a little more, he thought, flexing his legs and digging his claws into the wood. The stick was nearly vertical now. Just a tiny bit left, and at last he would catch her…

Sawyer and his enemy had been at war for a year. He knew this because she had entered his life the last time his owners had set up the lighted tree in the living room, the same way they did every year, the same way they had last week. The year before, one of the boxes under the tree contained this strangely shaped object, with two spinning sticks and a little flap behind which lived…

The cat shuddered. He didn’t even like to think about it. Oh, how he loathed her. She was awful! From the moment they’d met, all she ever did was annoy him. And what was worse, she did it all day, every day! No, it wasn’t enough to make irritating noises just once in a while; she had to pop out and mock him from her high perch every time the larger spinning stick made a full turn. Why every time? Didn’t she ever get tired? Didn’t she have anything better to do than wait for the stick to spin all the way around yet again? Sawyer couldn’t imagine she did… but it didn’t matter. Soon he would catch her, and his family would surely thank him for ridding them of this terrible nuisance. That was, after all, why they had recently built the shelf right next to her, right? Right? Yes, he’d be treated like a hero, but in all honesty, he would just be glad she was gone.

A loud chime suddenly rang through the room. That was the signal. In the blink of an eye, Sawyer screeched and pounced at the box the exact moment he knew the flap would open. Yes, there she was! Halfway through the air, he could already hear her horrible high-pitched tweet.

Cuckoo!”

The feline unsheathed his claws, a split second from the box now. He was so close, he could already taste victory. But wait, what was she doing? She was already retreating? No, he couldn’t have miscalculated! Yet by the time he was close enough to swipe at the bird, she was halfway back into her nest. Unbelievable, he missed her by an inch!

Sawyer cried out in frustration, flailing his paws wildly in a flash of orange fur. He wasn’t about to admit defeat. He could still catch her; there were a few chimes left before she settled into her nest for another hour. His claws still unsheathed, he just managed to grab the swinging weight under the box before he fell to the floor. This wasn’t over yet.

The cat pressed his back paws against the wall to steady himself. Startled by a loud splintering noise, he looked up at the flap to see the bird emerging again.

Cuckoo!” she cried a second time. Surely she was laughing at him. Infuriated, Sawyer cried out again and swiped his free paw up at his enemy… but before he could touch her, the wooden box collapsed from his weight, and the next thing they knew, cat and bird were plummeting to the hard floor together.

CRASH!

A dazed Sawyer scrambled to his feet and looked around. Strewn about the ground were dozens of pieces of wood and metal. Lying amid the shattered remains of the box was the little brown bird, finally off her perch and, more importantly, silent.

Satisfied to finally see his enemy immobilized, the orange feline was brought abruptly back to his senses when a group of humans came rushing into the room. Looking up at his family, Sawyer took a seat beside the fallen bird and started to purr with pride. The job was done; all he had to do now was wait for the praise…

“SAWYER!”

The woman at the head of the group started toward the cat. Sawyer had seen that look in her eyes enough times to know he didn’t like what was coming. Quick as a flash, the confused feline turned and fled from the humans hurrying to see the remains of the shattered box. Leaping up the couch to the top of the armoire, he looked down and watched his family pick up the scattered pieces of wood.

The girl kneeling by the box lifted the fallen bird and showed it to her mother, who shook her head at the sight of it. Sawyer tilted his head. How odd… Weren’t they glad to be rid of that pest? Of course; they were just surprised. Yes, that must have been it. After all, they probably thought they’d be stuck with her forever. Lucky for them, they had a hero in the family.

The people set about cleaning up the mess, while the cat looked on from his perch. The sight of his enemy being swept into a dustpan with the rest of her broken nest filled him with immense satisfaction. Come to think of it, destroying the box wasn’t part of the plan. He knew how much his humans liked it. Why else would they hang it on the wall if they knew what lived inside it? But if that was the price to pay for getting rid of the noisy bird, it was worth it.

Purring softly, Sawyer curled up and closed his eyes, ready for the nap he had earned. There would be plenty of time for praise later. For now, all he really wanted was to enjoy the peace and quiet.

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