Daily Archives: December 8, 2009

Found the Perfect Giveaway!

‘Tis the gift giving season and it’s sometimes harder to think our way through a shopping list than it is to plot a 120,000 word novel. It’s tough! We all forget people we shouldn’t forget (that’s what that stash of scratch-off lottery tickets is for), and we realize that the people we didn’t forget, simply have everything. It’s a dilemma. What to buy, what to buy?

Okay, admit it, we all re-gift and we all do it for various reasons. Sometimes I get a gift that simply doesn’t fit. But hey, my work friend is three sizes smaller and she’ll love it so ….  Sometimes the gift is not my taste, but my son loves alternative rock ‘n roll so he gets the disc. Sometimes I already have one of those and don’t feel like doing the whole exchange thing, but oh yes, my neighbor would love a Tupperware salad crisper. Re-gifting just happens.

I take re-gifting a little further. For years I was involved with Native American studies and one of the most special parts of a ceremony is the “giveaway”. The original concept of the giveaway was designed to move the wealth around the community. To offer what you have and receive something in return. It also held a lot of spiritual importance, as it passed along the energy of the original owner to the new owner. For example, in today’s giveaways, many women pass on pieces of jewelry or a favorite shawl. Men will giveaway good serviceable tools or leather coats. The heart of this practice is beautiful and more giving than when a person simply popped in at J.C. Penny’s and picked up a sweater or wallet for you.

The giveaway touches on the spirit of the giving person it came from. It’s hard to part with things sometime, but I believe that if you listen hard enough, that item will tell you when it’s time to move on. I’ve tried to institute the practice often, especially when I have to give a gift to someone I don’t know very well. It’s an opportunity to explain the lovely meaning of the giveaway, what they’re getting, why I felt the need to give it to them, and what the item had meant to me.

I wish the Holidays would be more like Giveaways.

But, among my closest friends they all know they’ll get something odd, strange and interesting from me. I may spice the item with something small from the store, but the guts of it is always deeply personal from me to them. Today as I did my annual search, I found something entertaining and fun to share with you, my fellow writers. I only wish I had a million of these to pass around, but instead, I’ll just give you bits and pieces right here in the blog.

In the many still sealed boxes I never got to after moving 3,000 miles to Los Angeles a few years ago, I found a little treasure that made me laugh. The book is entitled “Words that Sell”. It was published in 1984 by Asher-Gallant Press and written by Richard Bayan. It’s a cool little book that boasts being “A Ultimate Thesaurus to Help Promote Your Products, Services, and Ideas”  I can’t recall if I ever used the book but exploring through it made me laugh and made me think. It also surprised me that there really are a few things in here that can be super helpful for writers. For example: the “Puffspeak – And Its Alternative” chapter. Check this out.


access (used as verb)  –   obtain

at this point in time  –  now

continuum  –  link

counterproductive  –  futile

finalize  –  finish

impact (used as a verb)  –  affect

inoperative  –  doesn’t work

interface  –  meet, work with

macro-anything –  big

mainstreaming  –  rejoining

mega-anything  –  big

optimize  –  improve

parameters  –  limits

parenting  –  raising kids

pursuant to  –  according to

ramifications  –  consequences

stonewalling  – lying

viable  –  workable

Now this wasn’t all of them listed but reading through the list, I realized that not only do writers use a lot of Puffspeak where they shouldn’t, but they probably forget to use it where they should. Cool, huh?

Anther section in that chapter has the header of “Wordy Expressions”. Now here’s a good way to pare down those manuscripts!


at the present time  –  now

at this point in time  –  now

as of this date  –  now

during that time  –  when

at which time  –  when

on the occasion of  –  when

on the grounds that  –  because

as a result of  –  because

owing to the fact that  –  because

by virtue of the fact that  –  because

with reference to  –  about

pertaining to  –  about

in the event that  –  if

came to a decision as to  –  decide

reached a conclusion as to  –  decide

make use of  –  use

in close proximity of  –  near

as it is often the case  –  often

he is a man who  –  he

Hahaha, I love those! Why do we all get so damn wordy? This book also includes lists on commonly confused words like accede and exceed, on commonly misspelled words, and a cool chapter on “Grabbers”. Under descriptions there’s a category of “Romantic”. Check this out. This was the ultimate in word collections and quick reference when computers were just a new nuisance we knew we’d eventually have to figure out. Please tell me that these days we do better than this under the “romantic” category, LOL.






a storybook world

surrender to the spell of






So funny! I think we’ve come a long way since 1984 but of course, there’s always something to learn from the past and from other parts of the communication world. I always listen to complex symphony when I’m preparing to plot a novel. I always look at old magazines and movies when developing character. I always check out the way I used to think to develop a new way of thinking.

“Words That Sell” was my giveaway little Holiday gift to you!