If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

October Interviews
10/2 Debra H. Goldstein, Two Bites To Many
10/10 Connie Berry, A Legacy of Murder
10/17 Lida Sideris, Double Murder or Nothing
10/23 Toni L. P. Kelner writing as Leigh Perry, The Skeleton Stuffs A Stocking
10/30 Jennifer David Hesse, Autumn Alibi

Saturday Guest Bloggers:
10/5 Ang Pompano
10/12 Eyes of Texas Anthology Writers
10/19 Neil Plakcy

WWK Bloggers: 10/26 Kait Carson


Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Lyrical Press will publish Kaye George's Vintage Sweets mystery series. The first book, Revenge Is Sweet, will be released in March. Look for the interview here on 3/11.

Shari Randall will be writing again for St. Martin's, perhaps under a pseudonym. We look forward to reading Shari's Ice Cream Shop Mystery series debuting next year. Congratulations, Shari!

Susan Van Kirk's A Death At Tippett Pond was released on June 15th. Read E. B. Davis's interview with Susan.

KM Rockwood's "Frozen Daiquiris" appears in The Best Laid Plans: 21 Stories of Mystery & Suspense, edited by Judy Penz Sheluk. The anthology was released on June 18th.

Fishy Business anthology authors include KM Rockwood, Debra Goldstein, and James M. Jackson. This volume was edited by Linda Rodriguez.

Please read Margaret S. Hamilton and Debra Goldstein's short stories (don't ask about their modus operandi) in a new anthology, Cooked To Death Vol. IV: Cold Cut Files.

Warren Bull's Abraham Lincoln: Seldom Told Stories was released. It is available at: GoRead: https://www.goread.com/book/abraham-lincoln-seldom-told-stories or at Amazon: https://tinyurl.com/ydaklx8p

Grace Topping's mystery, Staging is Murder was released April 30.


Friday, September 14, 2012

Y Eye Cant Spel

Y Eye Cant Spel

I watched the national spelling bee championships on television this year again. Once again I could not spell or define any of the words in the event. I admired the young spellers who could. I enjoyed their sense of camaraderie. (I used spell check for the previous word.) They congratulated each other when one of them met the challenge. They consoled each other when one of them failed. No one blamed the judges for choosing unfair words or threw chairs at them. It felt more like a cooperative venture than a competition.

I really enjoy watching people practice skills I don’t possess. I can’t spell.

As Pegasus Publishing tells us in a copyrighted paraphrase of a quotation made by James Nicoll, “English does not borrow from other languages. English follows other languages down dark alleys, knocks them over and goes through their pockets for loose grammar.” 
Yep, that there is a paraphrase of a quotation. It is.

The same is true for spelling. Every Latinate to Greek to Croatian word drags its sordid past into its spelling.  Every “rule” of spelling has exceptions and darn it my high school didn’t offer a class in Latin.

Phonetic helps sometimes but at other times…
“Ghoti” sounds like fish: enouGH wOmen NaTIon
“What” has no sound at all: snoW gHost kneAd casTle

I am notorious for writing letters and spelling the same word three different ways within one letter. In my defense, each time the word I intended was clear to my readers.  I flunked the entrance exam in English at the University of Illinois and was assigned to the class fondly known as “Bonehead English” based entirely on a test with a spelling section that offered a choice between various spellings which all sounded alike to me when I read them mentally . Did I mention that I am an auditory learner? I really did enjoy the class as well as the confusion of the teacher about why I was one of her students after she read my assigned essay. 

I admit I am stubborn, but English is even more unyielding than I am. It refuses to accept my way of spelling.

Can you spell? If so…How?


E. B. Davis said...

No, I can't either, Warren. Not only am I an auditory learner, but I was also taught to "sound it out," which I do anyway because I'm an auditory learner and that does no good what so ever. I think that there should be a law that says in English we pronounce it the way it is spelled.

Take the word dearth--please! (Sorry) I understand that etymology plays a big role in the spelling of this word, but why can't we pronounce it the way it sounds. I never could find it in the dictionary to learn how to spell it (if you think about it, that makes no sense at all--if you can't spell it, how....) So I begged a friend of mine to find out how to spell it. Took her two days, but I've never forgotten how to spell it. My time to look it up again was too dear!

James Montgomery Jackson said...

I have never been a good speller. Unlike you and EB, I am more a visual learner and so I have it worse than you two: I can "see" that the word is wrong, but have no idea how to fix it.

And Warren, I had the reverse problem to you. Because the entrance exam spelling section was multiple guess, I scored well enough to place out of freshman English class and had to take a year of English with the sophomore English majors -- I was a math guy.

Spellcheck has improved my spelling because I get immediate feedback about my misspelled words and get to "see" the correction.

But sometimes I can't get close enough for either spellcheck or a dictionary to help. Thank goodness for a thesaurus.

~ Jim

Warren Bull said...

EB, Dictionaries are often useless. I have to start with the first letter of the word and read every page. Even then the particular word I'm looking for might not be included.

Warren Bull said...

JIm, A thesaurus (I copied the spell of that word from your note) is great but sometimes as an author I want a specific word.

Linda Rodriguez said...

I'm a good speller, Warren. I was one of those kids winning spelling bees back in the day and so was my son (who took the entire Jackson County spelling bee in 4th grade, up against 7th & 8th graders), so there may be something genetic about it. I have always thought it was because Joseph and I are fanatic readers of every kind of book (both since we were still technically toddlers) and because we're both good at and love to learn foreign languages.

I have to admit I've never understood people who couldn't spell, because it comes so easily to me. But I've taught enough of them to know that it's a very real problem for often quite intelligent people and to try to come up with ways to accommodate their needs. There are a number of different ways of learning, and our schools, unfortunately, embrace only one.

I hate spellcheck because it's sometimes quite wrong. (Not as often as grammar checking software is wrong, though!) However, I realize spellcheck is a lifesaver a lot of the time for people who have difficulty with spelling. The thing to remember is that English is the most difficult language to learn, even for people who are quite gifted at learning foreign languages. That's what makes it such a treasure for writers.

Alyx Morgan said...

I've always been able to spell really well, though I've never entered a spelling bee. Phonetics does help me with it quite a bit, but it's also just something that my brain seems to pick up. My mom played Scrabble with me when I was a kid, & I LOVE to do word jumble puzzles.

In fact, there's a board game we have called Hugger Mugger that's all about words, spelling, definitions, etc. One category is word jumbles & you have to unscramble 6 letters to form the correct word. I can actually see the letters in my head & usually say the correct word before anyone has time to turn over the timer.

I will say, however, that every now & then, I'll spell a word & look at it several times, thinking that I'm spelling it wrong. Not sure why that is, but it does bug me from time to time.

Warren Bull said...

Linda, Spellcheck is some help but it is not enough to thoroughly edit writing. And it certainly does not know much grammar,

Warren Bull said...

Alyx, I enjoy cross words and scrabble despite my problem.

Grace Topping said...

Hi, Warren -- My daughter couldn't spell and had a hard time learning the alphabet. After much testing the school system diagnosed her with visual memory problems. She could look at a word dozens of times and not remember how to spell it. This may account for why many people can't spell well.

Warren Bull said...

Grace, You could be right.

Kathy Waller said...

Until I was forty, I was a spelling whiz. Now I have to run words by my husband and/or an online dictionary. I blame the disability on reading too many high school English papers, developing a late-blooming case of dyslexia, and thinking all people could spell if they just put their minds to it.

Warren Bull said...

Interesting, Kathy. I have not heard before of someone losing the ability to spell. Of course as I get older I feel like lots of things get harder to do.