Word Tinker

Word Tinker: Words, Culture, History and Christianity (with a slightly Aussie slant) blog.

The New Year’s Resolution that changes the world


My New Year’s resolution is, as it has been often lately, all about one of the world’s greatest paradoxes: giving. Why? Well if you want to think of it from a purely selfish point of view, it is the key to so many successes in life, including publication. There is a profound principle at work when we give unselfishly. It is not only the key to a new phenomenon that is solving everything from teenage addictions to Presidential victories, it is a Biblical principle— “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35)

Here’s one example of how the giving principle works in publishing…

Scott Sigler gave the world, free, chapter by chapter, his first five novels. He started in 2005 and in a few short years he had developed such a following on his novel podcasts that one of the world’s biggest publishers saw the demand and signed him up on a five-book deal.

When  people share their work with the world, they are abandoning a time old principle of writing, that is all about keeping copyright for the owner. They are sharing their most precious possession they have—their intellectual property. And by this Biblical law, they are reaping rewards. (Please note this is not an endorsement of Scott Sigler’s writing)

To learn how to make your own podcast, stay tuned for my next blog.

For now, share your work with your friends. Write for someone else’s therapy. Remember, in the words of St Francis of Assisi, ‘it is in giving that we receive’.

And if you want some more friends to social network with, here are a few more Christian writing networks to join:-

Associations (in alphabetical order)

Australian and New Zealand

Omega Writers Association.  Contact scribe@scribeofspirit.com

New Zealand Christian Writers Guild




Inscribe Christian Writers



Association of Christian Writers


UK Christian Writer’s group (Subway)



Christian Writers Guild


American Christian Writers Association


(For a more complete list, see my blog Dec 7th)

(Wendy McNeice is a writer, editor, inspirational speaker and tutor and a one-time history teacher and information adviser. Find more writing tips at http://www.scribeofspirit.com . Read her latest book As the Eagle Flies the King, based around the remarkable true story of the release of the Israelites from ancient Babylon by a Persian king. announcemtbookregajpg

http://www.tatepublishing.com/bookstore/book.php?w=978-1-60604-339-4 . http://www.amazon.com/Eagle-Flies-King-Wendy-McNeice/dp/1606043390/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1223864553&sr=8-1

Permission is granted to distribute this material provided the following statement appears on any distributed copy: © W. McNeice http://http://www.scribeofspirit.com


December 25, 2008 Posted by | New Year's Resolutions, Uncategorized | Comments Off on The New Year’s Resolution that changes the world

Watching a video of the nightly Jewish ritual of Hanukkah (known as Chanukah)—a systematic lighting of candles, one for each of the eight nights— reminded me of the rituals needed as a writer. As a person who loves spontaneity the rituals of editing were the hardest thing I had to learn when I started editing. When we’re self-editing we should also use a methodical ritual.


Editing your manuscript… 

Before an editor begins a style sheet is created for headings (heading hierarchy etc.), spellings permitted (whether US or British, etc.), any shortened forms and specialist terms.

Structural editing should be checked first. If anything is to be plucked out of the manuscript there is no point correcting grammar. Next, grammar and punctuation should be checked, contents and the index, if used, consistency of chapter headings, illustrations—including title or figure numbers, caption and page numbers or location— tables and any other numbering systems should be checked, the foreword, preface, acknowledgements and finally footnotes and bibliography should be proofed for accuracy and currency of hyperlinks.

These elements should be proof read in these groupings, rather than randomly throughout the book. When done systematically, nothing is left to chance.

The Chicago Manual of Style is the ultimate editing authority.


The Style Manual for Authors, Editors and Printers  by John Wiley & Sons ( latest edition available) is the Australian standard of reference used for stylistic issues particularly related to government publications. Now you have the tools…

but who can really edit their own work?


  • We need a minimum of six weeks of detachment before we return with an editing eye. Otherwise we are as good as a crime investigator at a crime we committed!
  • Never edit solely online. The computer deceives the eye.
  • Always read the work aloud.

I did promise more links to writing communities around the world, but I’ve run out of space…so next time…  


December 16, 2008 Posted by | Editing; United Nations Days | | Comments Off on

Community, History and Words

Dec 7th…

          is Good Neighbourliness Day in Turkmenistan. Hey! you say, is there even such a word as Neighbourliness? According to the Cambridge International Dictionary, “the lack of ‘good neighbourliness’ has led to a breakdown in the traditional life of the community.”

Is this a word doomed to become obsolete?

Old Words still in Usage

Words relating to social manners have always had nicknames with each new generation. Here are a few words used as far back as the 14th century and still in use by our elders today.


Rabble…tumultuous crowd of people (1513)

Rascal…person of the lowest class (1330) Today: a term of endearment by elders

Crush…infatuated with (1884) “Have a crush on” (1913)

Shirty…(1814) disheveled, as in anger, bad-tempered

Hot-headed…(1616) ungovernable

Beau…suitor (1665)

But would you dream of using the word ‘neighbourliness’ in a sentence?

The definitive online source to go to if you had to check is the Onelook Online dictionary http://www.onelook.com/ .

The Websters Revised Unabridged Dictionary http://machaut.uchicago.edu/?resource=Webster%27s&word=jacknape&use1913=on&use1828=on  is a great source for obsolete words. And if you want to check word usage for your historic novel to give it that authentic ring, look in the Online Etymology Dictionary http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?search=dandy&searchmode=none.

 If you don’t know the word you’re looking for, look up the concept in the Onelook Reverse Dictionary http://www.onelook.com/reverse-dictionary.shtml .

Michael Quinion has the best index I’ve seen of online dictionaries at http://www.worldwidewords.org/wordlinks.htm including such gems as the Australian National Dictionary, The Jargon File  (for net heads) and The Luciferous Logolepsy for obscure words, plus various slang dictionaries.

By now you would have discovered that neighbourliness is in fact a word in usage. But for how long? Perhaps we need a sociologist to answer that one!  Social Scientist Alvin Toffler says we’re on the cusp of a new civilization. But in a new civilization where communities are full of people (online) you may never meet, has the very concept of neighbourliness  gone out the door? Think about how you can change that today!

PPST! Here are a few Christian  writing communities you could join in the meantime—

Christian Writers Networks Online




http://www.xalt.co.uk/index.php?i=108&prev=1 (UK based)

 More next time…



December 4, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Comments Off on Community, History and Words

Writing to change history

2 December setfree2

Today is International Day for the Abolition of Slavery



If there was one piece of writing, other than the Bible, that changed history it was a book written in the nineteenth century by a devout Christian. It was about slavery. Yes, as writers we really can make a difference to the big issues in life. Here is a prime example…


The one thing that had the most sensational effect of all time on the issue of slavery was not a politician, but a novel, called Uncle Tom’s Cabin, http://www.gutenberg.org/files/203/203-h/203-h.htm by Harriet Beecher Stowe.  Abraham Lincoln is reputed to have said of Mrs Stowe “so you’re the little lady who started this war.” (http://www.abc.net.au/rn/summer/2007/talk/terrylane/)


It was in fact the most influential and widely read book of the nineteenth century. Ideas of faith and religion are paramount in the book, and it was considered inflammatory, so for that reason it later fell out of favour. The main character, a slave named Tom, though, wrestles with a lot of doubts and moral choices as any rounded character should.

Uncle Tom’s Cabin was published in 1852…

and the Civil War started in 1861.



The North Star is a symbol of freedom.

 It was used by Southern US slaves to

 find their way to the free north. It is

also a fixed reference point for sailors

 lost at sea at night.


The North Star is not the only symbol associated with slavery and freedom.  But if you were writing a book about their story you would simply HAVE to include it.

A symbol as defined by the Encyclopedia Britannica  is “the term given to a visible object representing to the mind the semblance of something which is not shown but realized by association with it.” (v.21 p.702)

God loves symbols. If you want evidence, look at the parables of Jesus or Chapter 12 in Ezekiel.welcometinkersignweb2

There are many symbols, or signifiers, which we draw upon for their individual significance. But a good piece of writing is made up of many symbols. And it is these symbols which tell us something about where the writer is coming from—his launching pad into blank space.

  • The symbols will give the connotations of the text—the underlying meaning, whereas regular nouns only give the denotation.
  • Don’t forget to use symbols in your writing, with images and language. It will take your writing from mediocre to classic!


A point to ponder…


If you were released from slavery and had two choices:-

a.    To stay in the city you grew up in under a foreign ruler who had slain a king or

b.  To trek across the desert for years to rebuild a homeland that had been virtually destroyed…


which would you choose? That was the dilemma facing the Israelites after their forty years of exile in Babylon, when they were released by a Persian king who worshipped the god Marduk…the subject of my book, As the Eagle Flies the King.


King Cyrus became God’s “anointed one” and walked into the mightiest stronghold of the greatest empire in the world, toppling its regime without resistance, freeing the Israelite slaves and thereby founding the first charter of human rights.  It is one of the most remarkable stories in all of history and has been left out of the literary canon, I believe, because of confusion over titles.  Read my explanation at http://www.scribeofspirit.com/bible-research.php .

(Wendy McNeice is a writer, editor, inspirational speaker and tutor and a one-time history teacher and information adviser. Find more writing tips at www.scribeofspirit.com . Permission is granted to distribute this material provided the following statement appears on any distributed copy: © W. McNeice www.scribeofspirit.com


December 2, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Comments Off on Writing to change history