Scribe, lady, scribe!

The thing about writing is that it can take a lot of different forms.


To start with, letters.  There are 26 of them in the Latin Alphabet, which is my alphabet of choice.  Only three letters legitimately make a complete word, and all three are vowels  -A, I and O - and that last one is infrequent - you usually see it as Oh.

That said, there are letters that stand in for full words in texting like:

B  - from the verb To Be (2 B or not 2B, that is the ?)
C - Homophone for See, Sea, and Si
F - Shortened version of the F word, though written, you'll also see "Eff that".
G - Gee
K - short for OK
R - also from the verb To Be (R they here?)
T - A drink, with jam and bread
U - You  (U mad, bro?)
Y - Why (Y R U mad, bro?)

That reminds me of a childhood alphabet joke, (M for Sis, N for Mation, O for Heaven's Sake,  P for Comfort, Q for the Loo- thanks Iona and Peter Opie!

These two collected childrens' play rhymes and nursery tales, etc.  Bless them!


Letters make up words.  The average adult English speaker knows about 42,000 of them.  I took an online quiz that I know approximately 89% of the words in the English language.  But, internet, so  -  grain of salt.  If it's accurate, though - I know 53,134.

These words can be uses to create phrases, lines, sentences and paragraphs.

And once you have all that down, you can write:

Poems - with either strict structural guidelines (haiku, villanelle, limerick, sonnet), or a looser structure - the stuff read at coffee houses on Open Mic night.

Essays - A short work that often employs a 5 paragraph structure, where in you tell the reader what you're going to tell them, then you tell them, then you tell them what you told them.

Short Stories - Fiction or non-fiction - they don't carry the same formal structure as an essay.

Novel - A longer short story.

Book - A more serious, vague way of indicating you had something long-form published.  May indicate fiction or non-fiction.

Novella - A shortish novel, or longish short story.  Honestly, this one irritates me.  I recognize there are works that fall into this category, and they are worthy of publication, but my boy Hemingway could have either padded out or cleanly edited The Old Man and the Sea.  Maybe by removing the whole fishing subplot.  I don't know...

Article - A short informational work that appears in publication.

Listicle - A newfangled expression for a list of items with editorial commentary.  "Seventeen On Fleek Lifehacks to Make Your Bae Extra!  Number Three Will Render You Incapable of Rolling your Rs"

List - Like a listicle, but with more integrity.  Lists are published on McSweeneys.  Listicles are on Woke Sloth.

Piece - Any work that isn't easily otherwise categorized.  Pieces can be pretty much anything written.  This is a piece I've been working on over a two day span.

Pliest - Mindy Kaling came up with this term in her first book, It's a portmanteau of piece and list.  It's a listicle.

Post - Any of the above, published in a web format.  Once I finish this piece and hit submit, it will become a post.  Also used as a social media entry term.

Tweet - A specific social media piece limited to a short number of characters.  A self-limiting post.

Manifesto - Often found in a cabin in the middle of nowhere, possibly written on old pieces of mail, or paper bags.  Typically political or social commentary in content.

Play - a theatrical piece, written to be performed repeatedly.  Productions may be amateur or professional, but typically have some enhanced production values.  Plays with songs woven in are called Musicals.

Skits and sketches -  A skit is a short theatrical piece meant to be performed informally such as in a classroom, at camp, sorority rush, or college orientation. They may involve rudimentary production pieces like music, costumes and key props.  Sketches are performed by "professionals".  They are typically more structured with better props and costumes.  SCTV, SNL, Mad TV, iO, Second City and the Groundlings do sketches.  Pi Beta Phi does an adorable rush skit based on the movie Annie - their rendition of "It's a Pi Phi Life For Us" is a tear jerker.  Kids in the Hall did a series of sketches based on secretaries.  On the last episode of their show, we learn that one of the secretaries is moving back to her hometown to marry "the richest Mennonite in Kitchener".  I think about that way too often.

Work/Works - Everything you've ever written.  You don't get to use this word yourself, unless you're being ironic, or being an a-hole.  This word gets used about you after you die - Shakespeare, Fitzgerald, Dr. Seuss.

Word Vomit - See above.

xoxo,

ae

Comments

Mindy Kaling and Ike Barinholtz were on together—that is, in close proximity, not romantically involved—on “The Mindy Project” and Barinholtz was on “MadTV”, and I’m sure I’m only making that connection because I watch too much TV when I should be reading.