New Collective Noun

Last night I took my daughter downtown to practice nighttime city driving [1], and we encountered crowds of people crossing the streets [2]. Sometimes we had to wait quite a while for a gap in the pedestrians so that we could turn. I decided that there should be a collective noun to describe a group of pedestrians, so I invented one: an amble of pedestrians.

Now I want to find a way to fit that phrase into a story. What’s your favorite collective noun?

[1] She did a great job negotiating the crowds, handling the traffic with patience and poise.
[2] It turns out the Rockets game had just ended.

Ursula K. Le Guin Writing Challenge

Ursula K. Le Guin in her acceptance speech at the National Book Awards set a challenge for writers:

“I think hard times are coming, when we will be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now, and can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies, to other ways of being. And even imagine some real grounds for hope. We will need writers who can remember freedom: poets, visionaries—the realists of a larger reality. Right now, I think we need writers who know the difference between production of a market commodity and the practice of an art. The profit motive is often in conflict with the aims of art. We live in capitalism. Its power seems inescapable; so did the divine right of kings. … Power can be resisted and changed by human beings; resistance and change often begin in art, and very often in our art—the art of words. I’ve had a long career and a good one, in good company, and here, at the end of it, I really don’t want to watch American literature get sold down the river. … The name of our beautiful reward is not profit. Its name is freedom.”

Are you writing something about a better way of living? Something that gives the reader hope for the future? If so, tell me about it in the comments below! I want to read it.


It’s the month of November and time for the writing frenzy known as NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month – where writers try to produce a 50,000 word novel in a month.

Since I’ve been collecting statistics on my word count per hour for years, I know that 50,000 words in a month would be close to a full-time job for me. At least it would be given my style of writing.

I tried a word war with a friend last weekend (you set a timer for a given amount of time and see who can write the most words), and it was a lot of fun. I wrote 700 words in 20 minutes. (We tied, BTW.) So it turns out that I could perhaps produce 50,000 words in a month without it being a full time job.

However, I’m used to doing a lot more word crafting while I’m writing, and I’m not at all satisfied with this dashed-off 700 words. Further, I actually enjoy doing the word crafting, and I missed being able to play with the words while writing. So my task for the week was to turn last weekend’s words into words that I was happy with before going on to write new stuff.

For those who get something out of NaNoWriMo, more power to you, and the best of luck in reaching your goal. Me, I’m not doing NaNo, I’m doing WriMo – “Write More!”

October 2014 Stats

To my surprise when I complied the stats, October was a decent writing month. I’m over a third of the way through the novel both in word count and in content. I’m not doing NaNo, but I’m hoping for an even better November. To those doing NaNo: Good Luck!