Month: May 2014

10 Interesting Posts and Links Shared This Month

In this day and age, a lot of us spend a lot of time on the internet, and while sometimes it can feel like a black hole of chatter unworthy of retweets, shares, or mentioning, sometimes you come across internet gold. I often generate story ideas from news items I hear about, or videos I watch. So for this week’s post, I wanted to list 10 interesting posts and links I shared or were shared with me this month. Maybe some will inspire you, or at least entertain you for a moment.

10. Hero Cat Saves Boy from Dog Attack

The headline might be all you need to understand this clip, but the video was pretty cool (in a “Go cat!” way). And after hearing the backstory about the cat and its attachment to the little boy, I thought it could be a great tidbit to add to your next story. There are always hero dogs, but now what about hero cats?

9. The Most Commonly Spoken Language in Each State Besides English & Spanish

I was interested in that Nebraska’s was Vietnamese and a few others surprised me as well, and I started thinking about telling a story from an individual’s perspective that speaks that language, in that state.

8. 3D Gifs

These could also be short writing exercises – write the first adjectives that come to your mind when you see each one. But honestly… I just think 3D GIFs are cool. They trick the eyes!

7. Texts from My Dog

This website just cheers me up, and makes me think about books like The Art of Racing in the Rain and Walking in Circles Before Lying Down.

6. Generic Brand Video

Working in marketing, this was perhaps more amusing to me than others might think, but I thought it would be an interesting writing exercise to write a generic video like this on some other topic. Global Warming. Science Fiction. Novel-writing.

5. Plagiarisma.Net

In case you’re wondering if someone has stolen your words or writing… or if you have inadvertently done the same to someone else.

4. DuoLingo

If you’ve ever wanted to learn a language but can’t afford Rosetta Stone, DuoLingo is a great alternative and one you can download on your iPad or iPhone to practice on the go. You’re one step closer to writing that story in another language!

3. 60-Second Films

Some of your favorite films (The Matrix, Back to the Future, Star Wars, Blade Runner, Die Hard) condensed into 60-seconds of animated awesomeness.

2. 50 Completely Unexplainable Stock Photos No One Will Ever Use

Each one of these could be a writing prompt.

1. The 100 Best Comic Book Characters of All Time

Just going through this list reminded me of the amazing back stories and worlds these characters inhabit.

15 Synonyms for Common Words to Invigorate Your Writing

Sometimes we can get stuck on familiar words, or we’re pushing out a draft and using the same adjectives and verbs that we always do. If you’re looking to add a bit more into your sentences or you need a quick memory jog to remind you of some other options for a few common terms, here’s a quick list of 15 synonyms for common words that you can use to invigorate your writing.

Great grand, distinguished, remarkable, meritorious, revered, splendid

Big – colossal, brimming, tremendous, considerable, substantial, lavish

Exciting – dramatic, rousing, sensational, electrifying, arresting, magnetic, dynamic

Interesting – absorbing, enthralling, compelling, captivating, consuming, bewitching

Speaks – murmurs, utters, expresses, parleys, expounds, stammers

Cries – keens, whimpers, sobs, grieves, frets, howls

Walks – parades, strolls, paces, saunters, strides, shambles, roams, steps

Looks – Contemplates, peeks, glimpses, stares, inspects, regards, studies, scrutinizes

Beautiful – resplendent, dazzling, exquisite, striking, captivating

Clear – luminous, explicit, incontrovertible, unmistakable, palpable

Special – exceptional, momentous, singular, peculiar, celebrated

Secret – cryptic, restricted, shrouded, cipher, classified

Smart – Canny, astute, capable, keen, shrewd, nimble, clever, deft

Old – Aged, ancient, gray-haired, seasoned, venerable

Surprise – Revelation, shock, discovery, epiphany, startling

What are some of your favorite synonyms? Share yours in the comments section!

Test Your Vocab: How Many Words Do You Know?


I found a fun (read: don’t take this to be a pinpoint calculation) website that calculates your general vocabulary so you can test your vocab.

Note on honesty.

This website and test relies on complete honesty, with yourself, about what words you do or do not know a definition for – there were a few where I figured I’d be able to guess, but I wasn’t 100% sure, so I didn’t count them. The choice is yours.

Some interesting tidbits:

  • For my age range, the 90th percentile was 35,355 words.
  • The site provides accurate results for virtually everyone, from very small children (with answers input by parents) to professional linguists. It can calculate vocabulary sizes from less than 100 words to more than 40,000 words.”
  • A bit about how they set up the test, from how they get a general range of a person’s vocabulary and then narrow that number down.

Ready to see my results?


I admit, I don’t have as large of a vocabulary as some of my other writer friends. But I’m always out to learn more words. Something a professor said about discovering an unknown word while reading has always stuck with me:

“If you’ve finished a book and you haven’t come across one word that you didn’t know, you’re not reading at the level you should be.”

Tip: Keep a vocabulary list.

I love lists, and some advice I’d give to readers who come across an unfamiliar word during a reading session is, “Use lists!” Don’t stop and look the word up immediately – that’s too disruptive to your reading. Instead, write the word down and also jot down your best guess at its definition from its context. Then continue reading. Once you’ve ended your reading session, go back and look up each word you have added to your list. When I do this, I find that (1) I remember the words better and (2) I often had a pretty good idea of what the word was, from its context.

Interested in testing your vocabulary?

Test your vocab by heading to the site. Share your results in the comments section!

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