Morton Benning – Morton’s Anglish Fictionary: Fierst Endition (2016)
It is the sign of a good book when one laughs out loud. I laughed when reading this book, almost on every page and many times on some pages.
It is even better if, when I read out a portion to my wife, she laughs out loud too. Or groans – with a roll of the eyes.
Morton Benning has a winner here with hundreds of neologisms, invented words made by changing one or two letters, all with their own improbable, but highly entertaining, daffynition.
Over several years I have seen portions of this amazing volume develop as the author tried out the words and meanings by testing new words on his Facebook friends, also known as contrefutors, many of them adding extras of their own, or modifying suggestions.
While I admit that I read right through the book from cover to cover when I received it, and it can be read like that, I think it is best read by dipping into various pages at random. In this way, it is sure to entertain the reader for many years.
I notice that the author has called this the Fierst Endition (read the book for daffynitions of those words). I do hope there is not only a seconnd endition, but a theard and more. There is one downside of this work. By the time I was only half way through reading, I was seriously questioning my ability to spell even basic words. Sigh.
Grab yourself a copy from here. You won’t regret it.
Here are a few tasty morsels:
- pratzel: an annoying idiot twisted in a knot and baked
- velcrow: a raven that sticks around
- shenannygans: grandmothers behaving badly
- articulatte: to communicate clearly about, or because of, coffee
A love of writing
One of the reasons I am a writer is that I really enjoy the process of writing. I love the creative process that occurs when an idea pops into my head. It does not matter if it is a poem, a short story, a novel, a blog post, a non-fiction article or even an email to a family member, the same joy of creating is there. This joyful feeling is what keeps me going. It has enabled me to write almost three and a half million words in the last twenty-four years. It has kept me pressing on while spending over twenty thousand hours at my computer keyboard.
The unexpected creative process
One of the exciting things I find about writing, especially when writing fiction, is that I discover unexpected outcomes via the creative process. I might have a general idea of where the story is heading, I may even have a clear plan of the plot, when suddenly a character does or says something unexpected, out of character or just plain startling. The plot can take some bizarre and unplanned twists when this happens. I even find that my thoughts can be railroaded into a side-track when writing blog posts or other forms of non-fiction. It’s all very exciting.
As fascinating as this is, such a sudden turn of events, or change of direction, or unplanned content to one’s writing can have a serious repercussion. The writer can get seriously off-track. A short story about a woman’s struggle with depression (yes, I have had one such story published) could take off in the direction of telling all the woes of her childhood. This is back-story; it is probably not necessary in a 2000 word story. In a 100,000 word novel – perhaps.
The importance of revision
I have discovered over many years of writing that revision is crucial to the whole process of the art, as is rewriting, editing and proofreading. I should write articles on all of these aspects of writing – and I probably have over the years. (You can find them by using those terms in the “search” box at the top of the page.)
In this article, want to focus just on “revision”.
What is Revision?
The process of revision can include the following:
- Reading back over the piece of writing, checking for errors of fact, especially in non-fiction. It can also be crucial in fiction, too; you can’t have a character using a mobile phone if the story is set in the 1960s – unless it is a time travel story, but then, the phone wouldn’t work.
- Correcting the wrong use of words, or constant repetition of words and phrases.
- Recasting sentences which demonstrate poor grammar.
- Checking for spelling mistakes and typos (though this is usually regarded as editing or proofreading, two other important processes of writing).
- Deleting a sentence, a paragraph or even as much as a whole chapter which is unnecessary to the whole work. In one novel I wrote, I had to delete large chunks because it read like a travelogue and didn’t advance the plot.
- Rearranging the order of sentences, paragraphs or chapters to create a more logical flow.
How other writers revise their work
I have included only a few ways in which one can revise your writing. There are many different ways of doing this important process. Each writer is different, and individual writers can vary their own approach, depending on what they are writing.
I recently came across an article 12 Contemporary writers on how they revise. Each writer has a different approach to the same process. At the end of each writer’s segment, there is a link to further articles on that writer, including blog posts, podcasts, interviews and more. I hope that you find it useful.
- What is the hardest part about writing?
- Revising my novel
- Quiet, please – I’m using a chisel on my novel
- Writing a novel – a collection of articles about how I went about writing a novel
We had several fig trees in the garden on the farm where I grew up. This was in the Murray Mallee area of South Australia. It was dry, dusty country for much of the year. Winter and spring rains were few and sparse, sometimes coming just at the right time, often at the wrong time. Farmers like my father eked out an existence somehow. It was a tough life.
A feature of our farm was the vegetable garden and orchard. It was like an oasis in the parched desert. Water came from the Murray River about twenty miles away but the pressure was never good. Dad made a large storage tank near the vegetable garden which filled slowly during the night and when other taps were switched off. This water was then used to water the garden as needed.
But back to the fig trees. We had at least two of them, perhaps three –my memory dims a little after all these years. Lovely lush green leaves a bright splash against the surrounding drab grey-green leaves of the mallee trees. In season the branches bowed under the weight of the luscious fruit. The rest of the family gorged themselves on the fruit when ripe, and mother gathered the leftovers for fig jam.
I was the odd one out. I didn’t really take to fresh figs and still won’t pick one up to eat. Not sure where this phobia came from. I cannot ever recall even tasting a fresh fig. Strange that, seeing I love and devour most fruits. I do occasionally eat fig jam, but then, very few people actually make fig jam like when I was younger. In fact, most people don’t make any jam these days. The only jam you see offered these days are those insipid globules of stickiness grandly called ‘conserves.’ They are so far from the taste of true home-made jam they deserve a different name.
No – fig trees and their fruits do not make the list of my favourite things.
Now – home-made strawberry, apricot or peach jam – well, where do I start? Fortunately my wife has excelled in making these jams over the span of our married life.
Pity I have diabetes.
© 2015 Trevor W. Hampel
All rights reserved.
- Although I have listed this piece of writing under fiction, most of it is true, based on a real life. Mine.
- This piece was originally written as a warm-up writing exercise.
- You can read more of my stories here.