Wednesday, November 14, 2012

What's the Word Wednesday - Wail, Whale, Wale

English is a tricky language. Spelling can be a real challenge. Consider the three words Storee Wryter is working on this week.

wail – verb

To make a prolonged, high-pitched sound suggestive of a cry.

Storee didn't like to hear the baby wail when she was hungry. She got her a bottle right away.

whale - noun

A marine mammal shaped like a fish with flippers, a tail with horizontal flukes, and one or two blowholes for breathing.

"Critique is amazed by the size of that whale. It sure looks like a big fish!"


whale – verb

To hit repeatedly and forcefully. "

Addie was so excited about Thanksgiving treats she started to whale on her sleeping cushion with her paws.”
wale - noun

One of the heavy planks extending along the sides of a wooden ship

“ WhenStoree and her pets went to the marina to see the wooden ships she wondered if a whale ever bumped into the wale and made the captain wail.”


Write a story about a whale. Include the words wail or wale if you can. Have fun!

Teachers: For a free e-book version of Storee Wryter Gets a Dog send an email request to: or to the author at


Thursday, November 8, 2012

What's the Word Wednesday - Dangling Participle

Beware the dangling participle. It changes the meaning of the sentence.

After falling from the tree, Jane picked up the apple.
In the sentence above, Jill fell from the tree. Ouch!

Jane picked up the apple after it fell from the tree.
In the sentence above, the apple fell from the tree and then Jane picked it up. That's correct!
Write a story about what Jane did with the apple after it fell from the tree.
Did she settle for just one? Did she pick more and bake a pie? Where is the tree?
Is it a magic apple? Have you ever dangled from a tree?
Use your imagination and have fun writing.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Welcome Guest Author - Val Muller

Vall Muller and her Corgis
I’ve wanted to write since I could first hold a pencil. I realized from a young age that magic does exist—in books. Through books, an author can create any possibility imaginable. I even thought it was amazing that authors can communicate with people generations in the future. I was inspired by watching my two favorite TV shows—Rainbow Brite and He-Man (very different, I know)—by the writers’ ability to create a unique and clever world much different from our own. I knew that one day, I wanted to create such worlds.
The first “book” I ever wrote was a little stapled-together set of notebook paper called “The Mystery of Who Killed John Polly.” I wrote it in first grade (and illustrated it, too). It was a detective story about a murder. When the detectives couldn’t figure it out, a group of neighbors banded together to solve the crime and snag the perpetrator. I brought it in for show-and-tell in second and third grade, and the rest of the class was the thrilled. Also in first grade, my teacher asked us to write a poem about Halloween. She liked mine so much that she had me read it to the fifth graders. In fact, throughout all my school, my teachers frequently commented about how they expected to see my name in books and magazines one day.
Since then, I’ve been reading and writing as much as I can, and I’m loving every minute of it!
When I was younger, an elderly Italian couple moved next door. The woman’s Italian accent was so heavy that I could barely understand her. As a result, I thought she was a witch, and I hid from her whenever she came out. (I feel horrible about it now—she was the nicest woman in the world!). Still, I used that experience as inspiration for my newest book, The Sorceress of Stoney Brook, in which Adam Hollinger believes his new neighbors are witches.
Write about a unique, memorable, or scary exchange you had with a neighbor. Use that as the starting point for a story.
About the Author:
Val Muller lives in Virginia with two corgis and a husband. By day she teaches English, but by night and early-morning, she is a voracious reader and writer, reviewing one book every week on her blog and participating in a weekly flash fiction writers group (their serial story appears on her blog every Thursday). Her work has appeared in many magazines and anthologies and ranges from children’s literature to horror. You can see a full list of work on her website. Her horror novel for adults, Faulkner’s Apprentice, will be released in early 2013 with Crowded Quarantine Publications. 
Where to buy:
Corgi Capers 1 (
Amazon) (Publisher) (author’s website for autographed copy)
For Whom My Heart Beats Eternal (Amazon) (author’s website for autographed copy)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

What's the Word Wednesday - Good or Well


People are often confused about when to use the words good and well.

"Good" is an adjective (and a noun in some cases); "well" is used as an adverb unless used as an adjective meaning "healthy". If we need a word to describe noun or pronoun we use "good". If we need a word to describe verb (or sometimes adjective or other adverb) we use "well". For example:

Kate is a good piano player. (correct)
Kate is a well piano player. (incorrect!)

Kate plays the piano well. (correct)
Kate plays the piano good. (incorrect!)

My brother did well on the English test. (correct)
My brother did good on the English test. (incorrect!)

Do you think I'm doing well at school? (correct)
Do you think I'm doing good at school? (incorrect!)

After linking verbs such as be, taste, sound, smell, look, seem, appear we use the adjective "good" as we are describing the subject of the sentence, not the action of the verb:
The concert last night wasn't very good.
Your idea sounds good and if it works would be great.
It always smells good after the rain.

More confusion???

 If your doctor asks, "How do you feel?" You should say, I am well. / I feel well. / I'm feeling well. (refers to health, a physical state)

If you just scored a touchdown and your friend asks, "How do you feel?"  You should say,
"I am good. / I feel good. / I'm feeling good. (refers rather to emotional than physical state)

Write a story using the words good and well. How do you feel about that?