Or if you prefer...

You can follow my blog here and receive each individual new post by email.

Join 2,439 other subscribers

Connect With Me

Latest Tweets (or Howls)

Books I’m Reading

My Reading Goals: Books I’ve Read in 2017

As we reach the end of 2017, it’s a good time to look back on our achievements over the past year. Back in January, I set another goal to read 10 books for the Goodreads Reading Challenge, and though I’m still technically working on it, I’m optimistic about reaching my goal again!

So following two January posts on the ten books I wanted to read this year and a midyear progress report in July, here’s my final report on my reading challenge goals for 2017. Enjoy!

2017 Reading Goal: 10 books

Total books read in 2017: 8 books (80%)

Books I planned to read this year and did

  1. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
  2. A Game of Thrones, by George R.R. Martin
  3. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
  4. 1984, by George Orwell

Books I planned to read this year but didn’t

  1. Wuthering Heights, by Emily Brontë
  2. The Martian, by Andy Weir
  3. Shogun, by James Clavell
  4. The Road, by Cormac McCarthy
  5. StarTalk, by Neil deGrasse Tyson

Books I read this year but didn’t plan to

  1. I Am Pusheen the Cat, by Claire Belton
  2. High Performance Paperback, by Ray Brehm and Jim Molinelli
  3. You Are A Writer, by Jeff Goins
  4. The Adventure, by Jennifer M Zeiger

Books I’m still reading

  1. Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline
  2. Creating Character Arcs, by K.M. Weiland
  3. The Business of Writing & Editing, by Sagan Morrow

And last but not least…

My Favorite Book of the Year: 1984, by George Orwell

What about you? Did you set any reading goals this year? Were you able to meet them? What were your favorite books of the year?

Word of the Week: Sententious

Word: sententious

Pronunciation: sen-TEN-(t)shəs

Part of Speech: adjective

Definition: given to moralizing in a pompous or affected manner

Source: Oxford Dictionaries


“Thoughtcrime is a dreadful thing, old man,” he said sententiously.
1984, George Orwell (1949)

If it isn’t already obvious by the first word in the given example, I learned today’s Word of the Week from George Orwell’s famous novel 1984. The above excerpt is from a conversation between Winston, the Party-hating protagonist, and Parsons, his Party-loving neighbor. Without going into too much detail about why they’re discussing thoughtcrime, this line shows the latter is only too eager to call it out as the worst thing that can happen to a person. He may be dull, but given his extreme loyalty to the Party, it only makes sense that Parsons would be so “sententious” about this subject!

A “sententious” act is one that moralizes in an affected or pompous way. The word arose in late Middle English and comes from the Latin adjective sententiosus, which derives from the noun sententia, meaning “opinion”. This noun stems from the verb sentire, which means “to feel”.

Interestingly, the original definition of “sententious” was “full of meaning or wisdom”, but this meaning eventually became obsolete and the word since took on a depreciatory sense. To a lesser extent, “sententious” can also be used as a synonym for “pithy” or “concise”, though it’s unclear how common this use is. If your characters often moralize issues in a pompous or self-important way, “sententious” may be a good word to use in your stories!

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

First Snow

I had never seen anything like it before.

It was soft and fluffy, like a white blanket that covered the space where the yard used to be. But it was wet and cold to the touch, not like any blanket I’d ever slept on. In the nine months I’d been living here, it was the strangest thing I’d ever seen.

I wasn’t sure if I liked it.

The kids and the dog were the next to come outside. Unlike me, they weren’t afraid to run out into the white stuff. In fact, they seemed to love it, like they’d been waiting all year for it. They all looked better prepared than I was: the kids wore thick clothes that covered them from head to toe, and even the dog had a sort of long blanket around his neck.

Mom and Dad followed the kids out into the yard a few minutes later, also covered in strange thick clothes. How did everyone else know this cold fluff was coming today? I watched as they packed the white stuff into balls and threw them at each other. How strange. I know I would hate that, so why did they look like they enjoyed it so much?

I’m not proud to admit that watching them all play in the yard made me a little curious. What was it about the cold, wet fluff that made it so fun? I was curious to know why the kids loved it, and I was intrigued to see Mom and Dad playing in it like they were children too.

But it was the sight of them all playing with the dog that made me jealous. Why should Buddy get all the attention while I was stuck on the porch like a common house pet? I could have fun outside too! Right?

Cautiously, I took another step off the porch. The cold shot through my paw and up my leg, but I shook it off and took another few steps until I was standing completely in the white stuff. I was already starting to regret my decision; my paws were freezing and my fur was damp. But I couldn’t stop now. Or could I?

I glanced between my family and the porch, wondering what to do next. Just then, I heard a whistling sound coming from the yard. I turned and froze at the sight: a great white ball was flying toward me!

I dove out of the way a split second in time. The ball missed me, crashing into the tree behind me instead. I jumped to my feet and shook the white stuff off my fur, licking my paws clean of their cold touch. That was a close call. Or so I thought.

Another whistling sound over my head made me look up. More of the fluff was falling toward me, dislodged from the branches above. This time I wasn’t so lucky.

What happened next happened so fast that I barely had time to react. I remember I was suddenly very cold and very wet, surrounded by nothing but white. The next thing I knew, I was being scooped out of the pile into Dad’s arms. They rushed me into the house and I sat shivering on the table as Mom warmed me up with blankets and a blowdryer (it was loud and scary, but at least it got my fur warm and dry again). I glared at the dog as he stared at me with those innocent yet mocking eyes. As the kids watched, one of them laughed and made a comment to the other.

“Maybe we shouldn’t let Buttercup out in the snow anymore.”

That was my very first winter, three years ago. Since then, every year when the weather gets cold and the yard turns white, I’ve kept my paws dry and curled up to watch my family from the warmth of the porch. This fluffy white stuff they call “snow” is not for me.

What If? Writing Prompts: Holidays IV

December is here! Another year has come and gone, and with the holiday season about to shift into high gear, it’s a great time for some more “What If?” Writing Prompts! This week’s batch of prompts once again centers around the theme of the holidays. See what holiday stories you can write from these ideas! Enjoy!

What if… instead of giving presents, Christmas centered around a tradition of doing good deeds?

What if… your family only celebrated a made-up non-commercial holiday like Festivus in December?

What if… you received a mysterious Christmas present from a relative who had passed away?

What if… one Hanukkah, you and your family played a mystery game in which you’d get one new clue every night until someone won?

What if… every year, at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve, you had the power to make it January 1st of any year in history, but had to live that entire year until the following New Year’s Eve?

Good luck writing more stories about the holidays!

If you have any “What If?” writing prompt suggestions (for any theme), please feel free to share them in the comments below. Ideas I like may be featured in future “What If?” posts, with full credit and a link to your blog (if you have one)! Also, if you’ve written a piece based on an idea you’ve found here, be sure to link back to the respective “What If?” post. I would love to see what you’ve done with the prompt! Thank you!

Word of the Week: Augur

Word: augur

Pronunciation: AW-ɡər

Part of Speech: verb

Definition: (of an event or circumstance) portend a good or bad outcome

Source: Oxford Dictionaries


Here’s an interesting word I found while searching for a synonym for “foreshadow”. You may recognize today’s Word of the Week as part of another more familiar word (which I featured in this segment earlier this year), though their meanings are considerably different. While it’s not exactly common, I’m sure we could all find a use for this word now and then; in such an unpredictable world, the least we can hope for is to determine if current events will “augur” well or badly for the future!

To “augur” is to foreshadow a good or bad outcome. The word arose in late Middle English and is originally a Latin noun meaning “diviner”. This noun’s origin is uncertain, but it’s related to the verb augurare, which means “to predict”.

When used in its primary sense, “augur” should be followed by an adverb describing the predicted outcome (e.g. to “augur well” or “augur badly”), though it can also be followed by the prediction itself (e.g. to “augur the end of the war”). The word also functions as a historical noun; in Ancient Rome, an “augur” was “a religious official who observed natural signs, especially the behavior of birds, interpreting these as an indication of divine approval or disapproval of a proposed action”. It should not be confused with the noun “auger”, which means “a tool with a helical bit for boring holes in wood”. If your stories involve a lot of foreshadowing of good or bad events, “augur” may be an excellent addition to your vocabulary!

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

About J.C. Wolfe

J.C. Wolfe is a fiction writer, biologist, and aspiring novelist of science fantasy and romance. A natural-born American and graduate in Marine Ecology from a university in Brazil, J.C. now writes for a living in California while spending free time blogging and penning stories and poetry.

Follow The Wolfe's (Writing) Den on WordPress.com
Read More…

Recent Posts

Buried Scraps

Blog Stats

  • 61,115 visits

Copyright

Creative Commons License
The Wolfe's (Writing) Den by J.C. Wolfe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Amazon Associates Disclaimer

J.C. Wolfe is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Advertisements

Thanks for visiting my blog! Like what you're reading?

Subscribe for weekly broadcasts from my blog and future updates about my published works!

Thanks for subscribing!

Pin It on Pinterest

%d bloggers like this: