Subscription Glitch from the Domain Transfer

Hello, again!

The domain transfer and setup is finally complete on my end (apparently the transfer on the server side is going to take a while longer to be complete). I’m hoping to start posting again next week, but I’m still leery of posting much when even part of the transfer is still up in the air.

One advantage of the delay, however, is that I can forewarn you about some subscription issues.

Important: If You Subscribe to This Blog, Keep Reading!

Subscriptions did not transfer with everything else.

I tried to update subscriptions for email subscribers. If that worked, you should get an email and will only need to click “confirm” in that email. If you had subscribed through your account, you will definitely need to subscribe again (assuming you want to keep getting notifications).

Sorry for the trouble! I promise not to move the site again any time soon!!!

As always, thanks for reading!
Em T. Wytte

Transfer Delays

Hi, Everyone,

I’m still working on the domain transfer. It’s not supposed to take this long, but the original host has a pending action and seems to be taking its time finishing it (*sigh*).

I’m looking into how to speed them up (I’m open to suggestions). Until it gets done, however, I’m going to continue to pause posts. Otherwise, I’ll just have to keep exporting content.

With any luck, this’ll be done soon, and we can get started with writing 2018. Thanks for your patience!

Happy New Year!

A Break for the Holidays

Well, I say, “a break.” Really, there will be a break from posting while I see to site maintenance in between all those extra little jobs that come along before and after the holidays (we’re hosting). As tempting as it is to try to keep to a 2-post-a-week schedule as I maneuver those additional tasks, I foresee a great deal of additional stress, loss of sleep, and resulting grumpiness coming out of that attempt.

In other words, it wouldn’t be worth it.

So I shall endeavor to be wise and take a break from posts while I see to other responsibilities. May you all be able to balance your lives similarly when needed.

I wish all of you an enjoyable holiday seasons, and, as always, thank you for reading!

Fun Gifts for English Lovers: Check out my Zazzle Store!

Yes, you read that right – I now have a Zazzle Store, and it is open for business! In fact, I have two. 😉 If you’re looking for fun gifts for English lovers, now’s your chance! Check out Words to Write By for products related to author quotes and writing, and if you like rebus puzzles and fun Christmas cards, look no further than Holiday Cards & More!

Fun Gifts for English Lovers

Words to Write By

You know the author quote images that I post here? Well, now you can buy them on various products. 😀 I’ve posted a mix below to give you an idea of the types of products I’ve made, but be sure to look through the store. Different quotes may appear on multiple products, and mugs, magnets, etc. come in different styles and sizes.

1. Magnets


2. Mugs and Cup Warmers


3. Coasters
4. Keepsake Boxes
5. Notebooks


6. Wall Art & Decor


7. Accessories


Holiday Cards & More!

Did you ever get those puzzles where you were given a drawing or some words together that made a pun or a literal representation of something that you had to guess? Like a knight in armor making the “shhh!” gesture to indicate “Silent Night” or “blind mice” written 3 times to indicate the nursery rhyme “3 Blind Mice”?

Well, those are rebus puzzles. I’ve always loved them, and, recently, I’ve started trying to make my own. Specifically, I started making punny Christmas cards.

Here are a few examples:

8. Rebus Puzzle Holiday Cards


Thanks for looking! If you liked what you saw or wanted to see some other quotes or ideas in products, let me know – maybe, I can do something about that. 😉

Brandon Sanderson Unholy Hours of the Morning Quote

Brandon Sanderson Unholy Hours of the Morning Quote


Honestly, I have paid many authors this compliment. More than I should have, actually. And I have to say that the “unholy hours of the morning” part of this Brandon Sanderson quote is painfully accurate. At a certain time of night, the body begins to punish you for still being awake (But… I must… finish…).

As for the rest of the quote, while it might be interesting to debate whether authors are “terrible people who delight in the suffering of others,” the obvious humor takes the joy out of that conversation. I’d much rather discuss the final idea:

“Plus, we get a kickback from the caffeine industry.”

Now, isn’t that a fun concept to play with?

Granted, I’m a bit tired (see: loopy); however, part of my brain is formulating a sales pitch for the marketing department of a coffee company. I’m sure there’s some grassroots coffee company owner who’d love to partner with an author with a page-turner to sell.

Especially coffee shops in books stores, right?

Would you buy coffee or tea that promoted your favorite author? Or authors? J.K. Rowling recommends this tea for late-night Harry Potter binges. Stephen King dares you to try this coffee when finishing his latest horror novel at 3 am.

This feels like the sort of thing ThinkGeek would promote – the bibliophile’s Christmas coffee  gift box with a flavor matched to each book.

Ok. I was being silly before, but now, I’m starting to seriously think this could happen. Maybe, it already exists! Hold on. Let me Google it.

Phew. I didn’t see it – yet (although the Mr. Coffee blog does have an article about book genres that go better with a cuppa coffee).  But all in all, I guess, the last part of the quote is sadly fiction.

But if you get a coffee-book marketing thing going, don’t forget that you owe me a percentage! (or at least a tip on how to get one, too…)

A Writing Prompt for Villains (and Thanksgiving)

A Writing Prompt for Villains (and Thanksgiving) how to make a stronger villainYou know that moment when you’re writing something and what you’re writing gives you an idea for something else to write? Well, while writing last year’s “Happy Thanksgiving Writing Prompt,” I couldn’t help but think about how it could be turned into a writing prompt for villains (and Thanksgiving).

Seem wrong? Of course it is! It’s villainous!

How to Make a Stronger Villain with the
Happy Thanksgiving Writing Prompt

If you think back to last year’s Thanksgiving writing prompt, you’ll remember that it was all about what characters want and how badly they want it. From a writer’s perspective, that’s important for figuring out character motivation and planning character behavior. From a villain’s perspective, it’s useful for almost exactly the same reasons.

After all, villains are plotting against your characters the same as you are (or should be).

That means that a very similar writing exercise can help you make a stronger villain and up the stakes of your plot. Here’s how it works.

  1. Pick the villain and target(s) you’re going to work with. If this is for a book, the target should include all the heroes (all the people opposing the villain) – thinking of 1 is not enough, but you can work on them 1 at a time.
  2. Use the happy Thanksgiving writing prompt to figure out what the target(s) values. If you’ve already done this, all the better.
  3. Think of ways the villain could endanger the objects, ideals, or people the target values. You can aim for the most important ones, but a villain with a meticulous personality might try to cover them all. If the main hero’s family or valuables are protected, consider their friends or allies. There has to be a vulnerable spot somewhere.
  4. Integrate the villain’s plans into your plot. Does the villain do the work him or herself? Does he or she assign someone else? When do the point of view characters find out about the danger(s)? How is the danger averted? Are the attacks spread out (faced one after another), or must several be confronted at once?

Remember that realistic villains have finite resources, so they may need to prioritize attacks by the cost, profit, and chance of success. That said, if they can’t manage to threaten at least a couple of the valued people or things, then they’re not that impressive as villains. The more efficient, effective, and insightful their threats are, however, the more frightening and powerful they will seem.

On the other hand, if a villain is bad at figuring out what the enemies value, he or she isn’t going to succeed (not without help or lucky happenstance).

And when you think of it that way, it makes sense that a villain would like last year’s Thanksgiving writing prompt. A process for identifying the hero’s weaknesses? Oh, yeah. That’s handy. It’s like an excerpt of Villainy for Dummies. 😉

5 Dangers of Holidays and Vacations

5 Dangers of Holidays and Vacations

It doesn’t look dangerous…

When you see something about the dangers of holidays and vacations, the first thought is probably along the lines of safety when traveling and shopping fraud, not writing problems. You know me, though, I’m talking about the dangers to your writing habits, not your health or finances.

Holidays and Vacations: The Succubi of a Writer’s Schedule

If you’ve ever manage to get into a regular writing habit or even a semi-regular writing habit (not the easiest goal, I admit), then you might see where I’m going with this. It’s like any other habit – the only ones that are easy to restart are the bad ones (the ones you’re trying not to do).

Since writing is work, beware temptations to put it aside for a bit. It might get dusty before you get back to it.

Here are some common enticements to resist.

 1. Reading

If you’re a bibliophile like me, books can be hard to resist. And the more I read, the harder it is to resist reading. Then, that time I set aside for writing? It’s spent reading instead.

I’m not saying to never read (A tragedy!), but it might be wise to keep whatever rules you usually have for reading. In other words, don’t let books take over your entire schedule. It’ll make coming back from a holiday harder, believe me.

2. Sleeping In

Oh, that sounds good. Are you as sleep deprived as I am? Does the idea of lazing in bed and sleeping hours into the day sound like the best present you could get right now?

Well, that sucks.

Honestly, that’s pretty bad, and if you can, you need to make some life changes to fix that (says the pot to the kettle [I’m working on it!]).

That said, resist the urge to sleep til noon on vacation days. It’ll just screw up your sleep schedule, and you’ll pay for that temporary pleasure with a real struggle when it’s time to get up for work again.

3. Distracted Writing

Although multitasking is handy at times, it’s not ideal for productive writing. Like loss of sleep, it makes the writing take longer, and the writing quality drops. Neither is helpful.

If you can, keep your dedicated writing time the same as usual. If you can’t, a shorter but still dedicated period for writing can be more productive than trying to combine your writing with other chores or projects.

4. Hectic Schedules

Those of us with large families may not get much of a choice on this one. That said, we still get to decide what we commit to. We can choose not to make our lives more complicated than they need to be.

A good example is what you cook for a family potluck. If you have a choice between a really fancy, work-intensive recipe and an easy one that’s just as popular, which is gonna give you more time to write and make your life less stressful?

There are tons of decisions we make about holidays and gatherings that can have the same effect. How many stops we make, what parties we go to, and what favors we agree to do for other people are the mere tip of the iceberg.

5. Residual Exhaustion

If you can resist scheduling yourself thin, this one will be easier; however, we’ve all had those holidays where we work so hard to make everything amazing that we need a vacation after the holidays are over. That’s when taking a total day or two off looks really, really appealing.

Apple to Eve kind of appealing.

In that situation, try to make yourself do a minimum amount of work. You can even decide ahead of time – this much time writing, this much exercising, this much cleaning up, etc.

If you can at least keep the general shape of your usual daily habits in place (still with plenty of resting!), then, going back to work will be much easier.

You see, getting out of the habit is the real problem. The more of these temptations you keep from taking over your vacation, the better chance you have of keeping your writing going once you get back in the swing of things. Otherwise, it’s horribly easy to get back to work and replace your writing habit with a reading/sleeping/tv-watching/etc. habit instead.

You’ve experienced this problem before, right? (It’s not just me?) What other tips do you have?

Different Types of Disney Movie Insults

different types of Disney insultsLooking for some kid-friendly insults for your YA or children’s book? Watch some Disney movies. Seriously, while we don’t think of kids movies as being full of insults, when you pay attention, you realize that there are a lot. Enough, in fact, that I can break them down into different types of Disney movie insults.

How Disney Characters Insult Each Other

After reading through Disney quote after Disney quote, I noticed that there are two basic of types of insults: witty and simple. Then, I thought, no, the two types are specific and generic. Finally, I ended up with 2 types (witty v. simple) with 2 subtypes (specific and generic).

Witty Disney Movie Insults

Most witty disney movie insults fall under banter and come from characters who are joking or are fairly calm. They involve the use of $2 words, long phrases, and even figurative language. Some of them are so subtle that I’m sure that they go right over kids heads. Others are blatant enough that ambitious children probably have them memorized (or at least giggle madly).


These witty insults only work in the context of the movie (or something very similar).

  • “Some all-powerful Genie. Can’t even bring people back from the dead. I don’t know, Abu. He probably can’t even get us out of this cave.” — Aladdin from Aladdin
  • “For a clown fish, he’s not that funny.” — Bruce from Finding Nemo
  • “Ah, Eric, I think you swallowed a bit too much seawater.” — Grimsby from The Little Mermaid (They’d have to at least have been swimming in a sea for this to make sense.)
  • “Gaston, you are positively primeval.” — Belle from Beauty and the Beast
  • “You pompous, paraffin-headed peabrain!” — Cogsworth from Beauty and the Beast (It’s name calling, but it also uses “big words,” alliteration, and an allusion to Lumiere’s former state.)
  • “En garde, you, you overgrown pocket watch!” — Lumiere from Beauty and the Beast (references Cogworth’s former state)
  • “Oh, how quaint – even the rabble.” — Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty


While a step above the average “stupid-head,” these aren’t specific to the story. They can re-used.

  • “We mustn’t lurk in doorways. It’s rude. One might question your upbringing.” — Ursula from The Little Mermaid
  • “Teenagers. They think they know everything. You give them an inch – they swim all over you.” — Sebastian from The Little Mermaid (Granted, the swimming is story-specific, but otherwise, not so much.)
  • “Well, as slippery as your mind is, as the King’s brother, you should’ve been first in line.” — Zazu from The Lion King (“the King’s brother” is specific, but the actual insult is not.)
  • “I’d rather be smart than be an actor.” Pinocchio from Pinocchio
  • “Oh, they’re hopeless. A disgrace to the forces of evil.” — Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty
  • “The only girl who’d love him is his mother.” — Yao from Mulan
  • “I know. It’s called ‘a cruel irony.’ Like my dependence on you.” — Yzma from The Emperor’s New Groove
  • “This is Yzma, the Emperor’s advisor. Living proof that dinosaurs once roamed the Earth.” — Kuzco from The Emperor’s New Groove
  • “I’m very sorry, Gaston, but… but I just don’t deserve you.” — Belle from Beauty and the Beast
  • “You can be replaced, you know.” — Napoleon from Aristocats
Simple Disney Insults

These disparaging remarks are basically examples of name-calling. Usually 1 insulting word at a time since the characters tend to be much more upset than with the others (for the most part). And you might notice some overlap between movies and characters.


There aren’t as many examples of context-specific name-calling, but it does happen.

  • “Hey, look! Banana Beak is scared.” — Simba from The Lion King
  • “Flounder, don’t be such a guppy.” — Ariel from The Little Mermaid
  • “You are a worthless street rat. You were born a street rat, you will die a street rat, and only your fleas will mourn you.” — Prince Achmed from Aladdin (It’s long-winded but mostly repeated name-calling.)


The generic ones have the most overlap. In fact, the near-identical nature of some of the lines is what made me start paying attention to Disney insults in the first place.

  • “I’m surrounded by amateurs.” — Sebastian from The Little Mermaid
  • “I’m surrounded by idiots.” — Scar from The Lion King
  • “Why you, you unreasonable, pompous, blustering old windbag!” — King Stefan from Sleeping Beauty
  • “Take a look at that, you pompous windbag!” — The King from Cinderella
  • “She’s a demon! She’s a monster!” — Sebastian from The Little Mermaid
  • “She’s an old witch!” — Grumpy from Snow White
  • “That witch. That devil woman.” — Perdita from 101 Dalmatians
  • “Stupid-head.” — Stitch from Lilo and Stitch
  • “You idiot!” — Jasper from 101 Dalmatians
  • “You idiots! You fools! You imbeciles!” — Cruella De Vil from 101 Dalmatians
  • “You idiots!” — Razoul from Aladdin
  • “You little fool!” — Jafar from Aladdin
  • “You clumsy little fool!” — Lady Tremaine from Cinderella
  • “Fools! Idiots! Imbeciles!” — Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty

Notice the pattern? I almost focused the article on how many characters got called stupid (or a synonym). Not the best example for kids, but what insult would be?

Thoughts? Ready to inadvertently pay attention to all the insults in Disney movies now that I brought it to your attention? (Sry?)

The English Building Block Most Kids Are Missing

English Building Block Most Kids Are MissingWhen you’re trying to teach kids higher English skills, it can be really frustrating when they are fundamental skills they simply don’t have. In my experience, the English building block most kids are missing is an understanding of clauses.

The Clause: English Building Block & Gamechanger

Defining Characteristics of Clauses

Since this is a blog for writers, I’m assuming that most of you already know what clauses are (English-wise). On the off chance that you don’t, however, here’s a brief description of the most important distinctions:

  • A clause must always have both a subject and a verb.
    • Independent Clause = a complete thought that can stand on its own
    • Dependent Clause = an independent clause with an added word in front of it

Yes, a dependent clause is an incomplete thought, but recognizing the conjunction or adverb that turns the independent clause into a dependent clause is really useful. See, students can’t always tell when something is an incomplete thought. They can, however, tell when the word “because” is in front of a subject and verb (more often, anyway).

Here’s an example:

  • Independent Clause (IC): He traveled forty-five miles in the driving rain.
  • Dependent Clause (DC): After he traveled forty-five miles in the driving rain.

The first one is a whole sentence. The second one is a fragment until or unless an independent clause is added to the end of it.

After he traveled forty-five miles in the driving rain (DC), he decided to not even try to drive the rest of the way that night (IC).

Why Is Knowing Clauses Important?

Some people will tell you that knowing clauses is important because it helps you to recognize the different types of sentence structures. While that’s true (the sentence structures are defined by the number and types of clauses in the sentence), naming the type of sentence structure isn’t particularly useful unless you’re going to be teacher English Language Arts or making your career in linguistics.

In which case, I sincerely hope that you don’t struggle with identifying clauses.

The reason I want all my students to be able to write and recognize clauses is that you cannot know punctuation rules well without them. You can’t. Where commas go, where semicolons are needed, where colons can be used – all these rules rely on whether something is a clause or a phrase, what type of clause it is, and where the clause/phrase is in the sentence.

Without understanding those punctuation rules, students are effectively left guessing or following rules given to them in lower grades that are only true sometimes.

For example, in younger grades, students are often told to put a comma in front of “and.” That’s only true if the “and” is part of a list (if you were taught the Oxford comma), or there is an independent clause after “and.”

To prove my point, the punctuation in each of the following sentences is correct:

  • We went to the movie theatre, the ice cream parlor, and the book store.
  • The number of parties on campus are increasing and seem to be causing a drop in grades.
  • Tim and his friend went to the pet store, and they immediately left after catching a glimpse of the tarantula in the clerk’s hand.

So… sometimes, the student would be right and other times, not. If the student’s teacher likes the Oxford comma, the student has a 2/3 chance of being right. If the student’s teacher hates the Oxford comma, the student has a 1/3 chance of being right.

The worst part of this is that the student has no idea why following this rule is sometimes right and sometimes wrong.

This problem is most obvious when students are supposed to edit something. Anyone can (and will) make punctuation mistakes when writing. Students who don’t know these rules, however, have nothing to go on when looking for errors. They can’t find them because they don’t know where to put the commas, semicolons, or colons in the first place.

And, you know what? Those same rules can help the students understand reading passages better.

That’s why knowing clauses is important, and that’s why it’s so frustrating that most kids are missing this essential English building block. If we want kids to be able to write and punctuate effectively, we need to figure out how to fix this.

Any ideas?