Sunday, October 21, 2012

Six Websites for Writers, Annotated

Its homepage invites you to “Step into Speculative Writing.” Mike Akins led me to the site after we discussed proofreading marks last week. For a comprehensive list of them, click on Teachwrite’s “edit” footprint. Don’t stop there. Take advantage of explanations offered about a story’s structure. Try the graphics the site provides to help you flesh out characters and outline your ideas. Designed for students, it exemplifies how computers impact today’s classroom. It deserves a place in the “favorites” of writers, parents, teachers, and students.

world-english: test, learn and study the English language online
Describing itself as “the one-stop resource for the English language and more…,” it fascinates and overwhelms. Avoid the site when you’re pinched for time, or if you tend to amble down rabbit trails when you should be working. Examples of distracting links: “Interesting News Stories,” “World English Slang,” and the numerous quiz links. But true to its subtitle, it is a great place to check your vocabulary, and have fun with word games and grammatical quizzes.

Lynch Guide to Grammar
 Lynch Guide to Grammar and the many links Jack Lynch provides covering all things English is another site that’s fun to get lost in. If you can put a name on a grammatical question, Jack Lynch’s guide will no doubt help you. If you can’t name your problem, check out “Bugbears,” and you may decide to wing it. His introduction begins with: “Arguments over grammar and style are often as fierce as those over Windows versus Mac, and as fruitless as Coke versus Pepsi or boxers versus briefs. Pedantic and vicious debates over knotty matters such as….” Well, you get the gist. But there are conventions in English, and if in doubt you’d do well to find out what Mr. Lynch has to say.

Resources for Writers and Writing Instructors
Jack Lynch apologizes for the page he states needs reorganizing. Sure enough, I discovered several broken links. On the plus side, though, the annotated links give you a better idea of what you can find than by simply reading the title alone. Also, according to Mr. Lynch, none of the sites he lists are commercial. I’d give him two thumbs up for that.

The Norton Anthology of Poetry
If you are a non-poet and a member of a mixed-genre critique group, peruse this site. It is a good place to begin learning how to understand, and eventually appreciate poetry. Its glossary, less complete than websites aimed at the more advanced poet, also lacks pronunciation of the words listed. On the other hand, it offers the novice a learning aid: “glossary flashcards.”

Worthless Word for the Day
You can Google it. Also, you’ll find it with the dictionaries listed in Ironically, the dictionary includes aubade, a word listed in Norton’s Anthology of Poetry. If aubade is silly, the serenade must be as well. Kudos to wwtd’s compiler. Where can humor writers find a better list of uncommon, rib-tickling words?

Speaking of words, 500 are enough for now, aren't they?

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