Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Photo Story Prompt: In Traffic

Let us know what you come up with! Share your fiction, non-fiction, prose, or what have you with us if you are inspired. Leave a comment below, or email it to us at

Monday, November 01, 2010

Editorial Tip of the Week: Lists, lists, lists...

Lists are an everyday occurrence for some of us, but for others, they are only for special occasions (birthday wish lists, anyone?). No matter how frequently lists make their way into your life, you should know how to list correctly! It's not too much trouble to remember, and if you forget the guidelines, you can always refer back to The Chicago Manual of Style for a little hint.

First and foremost, all items in your list should be syntactically alike, whatever the context. Lists can be written with or without numerals or letters; lists that utilize numerals or letters should do so for a reason, be it to clarify order, show importance, or otherwise. And, of course, lists can be written out in sentences, or set apart as vertical lists (think grocery lists).

Simple and short lists work well in sentence structure, such as: She needed to remember to buy milk, butter, and sugar. Lists that appear within sentences are often set apart by colons, as well. If the introduction to the list is an independent clause, go ahead and use a colon. For example: The grocery store used three types of tags for pricing their items for sale: green produce tags, red clearance tags, and yellow tags.

Longer lists can be used in sentence form as well, but they are easier on the eyes to list out vertically, if it is possible. For a long vertical list, it's best to introduce it with a complete sentence followed by a colon, and then begin your listing. Numbers or even bullets can be used for vertical lists. Closing punctuation is not necessary in vertical lists unless each item requires multiple sentences, or is numbered. In the case of list items that run long, indent the second, third, and any following lines so that they line up with the number of the item.

No matter how big, small, important, or inconsequential your list is, these guidelines are great to reference.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Spotlighted Literary Events

Tuesday, November 2nd
VoiceCatcher contributers will come together to celebrate the release of Volume 5. Readers include: Gerri Ravyn Stanfield, Alida Rol, Liza Langral, Paige Pancratz, Karen Campbell, and Tiel Aisha Ansari. There is a suggested donation at the door of $2-10 to support the work of In Others Words, the only non-profit, women-volunteered bookstore and resource center in the country.
Where: In Other Words, 14 NE Killingsworth
When: 7:00 pm
Cost: Suggested donation of $2-10

Tuesday, November 2nd
Portland writer Dana Haynes will speak to Willamette Writers November meeting about writing, research, timing, and success. His book Crashers was published on June 22nd this year and will be coming out on the big screen in 2012 through Steven Spielberg. Dana has a background in journalism and currently works in public affairs at PCC. Prior to writing "Crashers," he wrote three mysteries under the name of Conrad Haynes.
Where: 1422 SW 11th
When: 7:00 pm
Cost: Free for members and students, $5 for guests of members, and $10 for non-members.

Wednesday, November 3rd
From Nicole Krauss, author of The History of Love, comes Great House, a powerful, soaring novel about a stolen desk that contains the secrets, and becomes the obsession, of the lives it passes through. "A formidable and haunting mosaic of loss and profound sorrow," says Publishers Weekly.
Where: Powell's, 1005 W. Burnside
When: 7:30 pm
Cost: Free

Thursday, November 4th
Celebrate In Other Words' seventeen years in Portland and their expansion into a feminist community center. Reading by Nicole Georges, Alysia Angel, and Carrot Quinn. A photobooth will be provided by Bloodhound Photography, and Bear Feet will provide the musical entertainment.
Where: Northstar Ballroom, 635 N. Killingsworth Ct.
When: 6:00 pm
Cost: $7-20 at the door

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Photo Story Prompt: Around the House

Write whatever you come up with: fiction or non, poetry or prose. Let us know what you have written! Post it below as a comment or email it to us at

Monday, October 25, 2010

Editorial Tip of the Week: Affect or Effect?

Affect or effect? This is a common question and common mistake. Grammar Girl, a great reference website, offers this cartoon as a visualization of the difference between the two words. A good thing to keep in mind is that most of the time, you use affect as a verb and effect as a noun.
Affect means to influence, as illustrated in the example above. It can also be used to mean that a person is acting in a way they don't feel, or are putting on airs. Therefore you can write things like: "The arrow affected the aardvark" or "He affected an air of superiority."
Effect has a lot of varied meanings, but in the case of determining when to use it, "a result" is a useful way of looking at it. Therefore, you can use effect in sentences like: "The effect was unsettling" or "The special effects were ahead of their time."
There are other rare instances in which affect and effect are in reversed roles, but for general cases, the above examples are good rules to go by.