Funny problems unique to writers...

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Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

The Second Moon

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I noticed another writer-y problem last night, while I was pretending to watch football with Mr. Maryn but really goofing around online.

Words.

I found a cool word with a cool meaning and shot a fast email to myself to add it to my massive list of cool words. This morning, I discovered that word was already listed, but sheesh, does any other group of people collect words and their definitions in documents past twenty pages long?

Maryn, confessing

When I was in high school I keep journal full of new words. I don't do it anymore, but I still love learning new words. Maybe I should pick that habit back up?
 

Maryn

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Allow me to start you with the one I emailed myself about but already had:

apophenia, noun
Seeking patterns in random objects or information which has no pattern, often observed in gambling, paranormal claims, conspiracy theory. Finding human faces in random patterns, pareidolis, is a subset of apophenia.

Maryn, who also has words in her signature line, but doesn't change them often enough
 

The Second Moon

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Allow me to start you with the one I emailed myself about but already had:

apophenia, noun
Seeking patterns in random objects or information which has no pattern, often observed in gambling, paranormal claims, conspiracy theory. Finding human faces in random patterns, pareidolis, is a subset of apophenia.

Maryn, who also has words in her signature line, but doesn't change them often enough

I was cleaning and found a small pocket notebook that I can use. And yes...I noticed your sig's "Learn a word". :D
 

Liz_V

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apophenia, noun
Seeking patterns in random objects or information which has no pattern

So... like rejection letters?
 

Maryn

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I think it's more like radiators or faucets that smile, or highlighted words on a busy page forming big letters. John Nash, the guy played by Russell Crowe in "A Beautiful Mind," demonstrated his apophenia here (3:20 clip).

Maryn, who follows Faces In Things on Twitter
 

Liz_V

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Sorry, joke; should've added a smiley. :)

Does that mean everybody doesn't see faces in non-face shapes, or patterns in random non-patterns? I thought that was a universal thing.
 

Maryn

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Among our kids and their friends, the ability to see patterns, faces, etc. where they're not intentionally placed seemed to align with those damned hidden pictures in the mosaic patterns that were so popular in the 1990s. Magic pictures, something like that? The kids who saw the secret pix with ease also saw the patterns and faces and didn't need anyone to point them out.

Maryn, who sees the pictures better with some wine in her
 

aprildavila

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I constantly worry that my search history will be subpoena the subject of a subpoena and I'll go down for some obscure crime having to do with 18th century murder weapons...
 

Liz_V

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Huh. I was never much good at those "hidden picture" things, but I see faces and shapes in random places all the time. The busted-up linoleum in my bathroom has a dog-dragon in it, and a kid in a dinosaur suit, and a sort of surrealist Viking long-ship on fire....

I once researched sniper rifles and where the security cameras are in the Zurich airport in the same session. It was for two different stories, but the fact that the FBI didn't drop by for a chat is my best evidence that nobody's looking at my search history. ;-)
 

Ambrosia

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Maryn, who sees the pictures better with some wine in her

That's because a little wine helps your eyes to unfocus. Some people are just naturally unfocused. :greenie

I once researched sniper rifles and where the security cameras are in the Zurich airport in the same session. It was for two different stories, but the fact that the FBI didn't drop by for a chat is my best evidence that nobody's looking at my search history. ;-)
Just because they haven't dropped by doesn't mean they haven't looked. ;)

That fine line between not wanting to disturb the magic that's happening and peeing your self.

:ROFL: This made me laugh because it's so true.


I can plunge into the research rabbit hole in an instant. I won't emerge until hours later, shaking my head and wondering how I let myself go so deep and travel such divergent paths. But I always emerge with a fistful of carrots for later consumption. So I guess it's not such a bad thing.
 

Liz_V

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Just because they haven't dropped by doesn't mean they haven't looked. ;)

True enough! You have to figure they have filters for that sort of thing: "Oh, that's not a terrorist, that's just a writer."
 

Akvranel

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"Oh, that's not a terrorist, that's just a writer."

I imagine they have three folders: 1) National Security Threat; 2) Writer ; 3) Probably Both

Sometimes, when I'm talking to people, I ask them questions just so I can file their responses in my mental 'stuff people do to include in a story' folder.
 

Gilitrutt

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Don't know if this fits the bill but staring at the page for hours on end absolutely sure something is wrong, something is not working. Then a " helpful" husband gives the page a quick once over and points out one wrongly placed comma! Maybe that´s just me.
 

Bufty

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Know the feeling, but if correcting that one comma is all it takes to clear up a whole page you are very lucky to have such an observant hubby.:Hug2:

Don't know if this fits the bill but staring at the page for hours on end absolutely sure something is wrong, something is not working. Then a " helpful" husband gives the page a quick once over and points out one wrongly placed comma! Maybe that´s just me.
 

Maryn

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Today my problem is with home-made signs that mean to be cheery. I spent several hours visiting various parts of a large medical facility this morning (I'm fine, thanks), and nearly every department's reception area had a sign or two for Christmas. (Virtually nothing for winter or any other religion's holidays.)

So many misspellings, absent commas, commas that shouldn't be there, and more. I wanted to take pictures but couldn't do it without being seen to be doing it, so I didn't.

What I remember seeing:
Santa Clause
Sante Claus
Christmass

Maryn, face-palming herself half to death
 

Ellis Clover

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Today my problem is with home-made signs that mean to be cheery. I spent several hours visiting various parts of a large medical facility this morning (I'm fine, thanks), and nearly every department's reception area had a sign or two for Christmas. (Virtually nothing for winter or any other religion's holidays.)

So many misspellings, absent commas, commas that shouldn't be there, and more. I wanted to take pictures but couldn't do it without being seen to be doing it, so I didn't.

What I remember seeing:
Santa Clause
Sante Claus
Christmass

Maryn, face-palming herself half to death

Ha, I'm a reformed grammar snob (well, I'm working on it) but I definitely groaned out loud at the following the other day: I belong to a couple of 'gymnastics for old people' social media groups, and a fellow old person had posted a photo of a trophy they'd won at a local meet. Something to be super proud of! - except you'd never be able to display it, because the plaque was engraved NEVER TO OLD TO FLIP. Oh dear.

Just like all the incorrectly used 'it's's and dodgy parallelisms missed by sub-editors in modern journalism (that's assuming sub-editors still exist, I guess?), I'll never understand how these kinds of basic errors make it to print.
 
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Akvranel

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So many misspellings, absent commas, commas that shouldn't be there, and more. I wanted to take pictures but couldn't do it without being seen to be doing it, so I didn't.

Ha, I'm a reformed grammar snob (well, I'm working on it) but I definitely groaned out loud at the following the other day: I belong to a couple of 'gymnastics for old people' social media groups, and a fellow old person had posted a photo of a trophy they'd won at a local meet. Something to be super proud of! - except you'd never be able to display it, because the plaque was engraved NEVER TO OLD TO FLIP. Oh dear.

@Maryn and @Ellis Clover - beware of any email I compose at work, then. Despite a decent background in English as well as Latin and Ancient Greek, I so frequently misspell, omit, or utilize the wrong words. And my personal eye for copy editing is . . . well . . . not that great.

I will look through items I have sent and wonder how an aspiring author can send something with a typo every other sentence.
 

cmhbob

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Today my problem is with home-made signs that mean to be cheery. I spent several hours visiting various parts of a large medical facility this morning (I'm fine, thanks), and nearly every department's reception area had a sign or two for Christmas. (Virtually nothing for winter or any other religion's holidays.)

So many misspellings, absent commas, commas that shouldn't be there, and more. I wanted to take pictures but couldn't do it without being seen to be doing it, so I didn't.

What I remember seeing:
Santa Clause
Sante Claus
Christmass

Maryn, face-palming herself half to death

What, no misplaced apostrophes? Or did you just block all of them out? ;)
 

Maryn

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Oh, I block those routinely.

But I also passed my obsession on. I bought a car when our kids were in fourth and fifth grades respectively. Like any car-seller, the showroom's windows were painted from the inside with whatever they were promoting. The owner of the dealership came out to the showroom after the completion of the sale to ask if there was anything at all that could have been improved. The kids piped up with, "You don't make vans plural with an apostrophe-s." "Maybe SUV's but even that looks wrong. You should have somebody fix that."

I personally had never before seen a used car salesman blush.
 

Mattpwriter

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Well, we do learn to filter and process selectively. At the beginning of a project, everything seems like it could be relevant; but after you've spent some time on a subject, you begin to build a knowledge base and attach the truly relevant pieces to it. I think there's always a phase when starting, though, that feels like you're drinking out of a fire hose.

And, of course, there's a feeling of mixed thrill and frustration whenever you discover a new historical database open to the public--because you know you'll never, ever, ever have time to read through the whole thing before you die. And you really want to. :snoopy::Headbang:

Strangely enough, my brain has a natural way of getting around this. I look up the information I need online, and I find myself able to easily ignore anything that isn't helpful to me.
 

Mattpwriter

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Does anyone else have the problem of 90% of your ideas just being blatant ripoffs of whatever book/show/movie you most recently enjoyed, and having to figure out how to properly mash together ideas to get something passably original?
 

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