Word Nerd Wednesdays

by Kristi R. Johnson

Okay, so last week I played a mean trick and began the post by talking about world-building, and then I changed course drastically and lured you into a lesson about writing a thesis. Sorry.

To make up for it, I will actually talk about world-building this week, though honestly, I don’t have a whole lot to say about it. Literally, you build your own world and universe to your liking. All fiction writers do this on some level, but it is especially employed by fantasy and science fiction writers.

When a writer is telling a story set in the world we live in, where everything is more or less as we know them to be, there is not much about the setting that will need to be constructed. But fantasy and science fiction writers will often make up an entire universe in which they must come up with a unique history, geography, ecology, map, and even language (think Tolkien and the languages of Middle Earth in The Lord of the Rings).

J.K. Rowling masterfully built an entire world for the Harry Potter Series. From The Simpsons episode “The Regina Monologues”

Personally, I love world-building, even though I  don’t write fantasy or science fiction, and if I do, the world I create is still fairly similar to the one we know, with just a few changes here and there. But even in its simplest form, it can be easy for the writer to let world-building get away from them. Think about it: there is no limit. You can do anything you want; it’s your world that you made up. But if you take it too far, you risk losing your audience. Also, you risk losing the one thing that is arguably the most important when building your own universe: consistency. Suspension of disbelief only works if the audience is allowed to get caught up in the story. If they are constantly caught up on inconsistencies, the experience will not work for them.

So why not try building your own world. Is it similar to the one we know or completely different? What are its challenges and immediate dangers? Are humans still in charge, or has some other species come to power? It is all entirely up to you.


Word Nerd Wednesdays

By Kristi R. Johnson

You guys know what world building is right? It is awesome…or at least I think it is.

You basically put together your own setting – your own world – and make it into whatever you like in order to serve a specific purpose. As someone who enjoys writing fiction, I have created entire fictional college campuses, small towns, fake neighborhoods inside of existing real-life cities, even an entire fictional country.

While world building can be incredibly fun, thesis building is typically the least amount of fun anyone can possibly have. In fact, it can actually take away any existing fun currently in your life. It will put your fun bank in the negative if you let it.

Unfortunately for today, I will be talking about thesis building. Sorry. I will attempt to make this as painless as possible.

noun: thesis; plural noun: theses
a statement or theory that is put forward as a premise to be   maintained or proved.

So you start with your basic argument:

Bart Simpson is a horrible brother and a disrespectful son.

This may be true and all, but for a thesis, it is not enough. You will need to provide proof throughout the paper that this is true. How will you do that?

Through his behavior, Bart Simpson proves to be a horrible brother and a disrespectful son.

Better. But here’s the thing about Bart Simpson: audiences find him hilarious. Most people recognize he has a smart mouth and bad attitude that would drive any parent crazy, and no teacher would ever want him in their classroom. But audiences still love him and some may want to defend him. So it may be a good idea to think of the counter argument.

Even though Bart Simpson is a favorite among audiences, his behavior proves him to be a horrible brother and a disrespectful son.

See? You are doing so well! Now let’s take it even further. I know, I know, but go with me on this.

Why should it matter that Bart Simpson is a less than ideal brother and son? People still adore him and love when he gives Homer so much grief that the TV father literally chokes him.

Even though Bart Simpson is a favorite among audiences, his behavior proves him to be a horrible brother and a disrespectful son, and ultimately not someone many The Simpsons fans would want to know in real life.

Is there any other role he plays for the people of Springfield that could be included?

Even though Bart Simpson is a favorite among audiences, his behavior proves him to be a horrible brother, a disrespectful son, and a dismissive friend; ultimately, he is not someone many The Simpsons fans would want to know in real life.

Yes! So good. But…and I hate to do this…but we need to go one more round. I promise, it’ll be worth it.

Remember that counter argument? Anyway we could flesh that out?

Even though Bart Simpson is a favorite among audiences due to his clever one-liners and practical jokes, his behavior proves him to be a horrible brother, a disrespectful son, and a dismissive friend; ultimately, he is not someone many The Simpsons fans would want to know in real life.

Oh my goodness, you did it! See, thesis building can work out okay. It may take time and little revisiting and editing, but it can be done.

As for Bart, I think Marge said it best when she proclaimed that we like the way Lisa speaks her mind, and we like Bart’s…well…we like Bart.

From The Simpsons episode “Bart’s Girlfriend”

Word Nerd Wednesdays

by Kristi R. Johnson

Happy National Novel Writing Month!

NaNoWriMo is one of three reasons why November is my second favorite month of the year. I love the challenge of writing 50,000 words in 30 days. I also love the idea of starting a brand new novel, though that excitement does drop a bit once I get to about day nine or ten. And by day 20 I am certainly near over it all.

But I still encourage everyone who can to give it a try. And nanowrimo.org  is a great place to help you get started.

So happy writing word nerds! I’ve got a good streak going (four years in a row!) and hope to keep it up!

Core 4 STEM Day at OLLU!!

Are your children interested in math, science, or technology??

Register them to join OLLU for Core 4 STEM Day! See flyer below for more details.

We will have demonstrations from OLLU Faculty in Anthropology, Chemistry, Biology (SPIDERS!), CISS (computer science and cyber security), and more!

After lunch, OLLU staff will demonstrate the physics of medieval warfare with Pumpkin Chunkin’ from our Floating-Arm Trebuchet!

We hope you will join us for a morning of fun and excitement!!

Core 4 STEM Day Flyer 2017

OLLU would also like to extend our gratitude to Jefferson Dental Care for sponsoring our event.

Word Nerd Wednesday

by Kristi R. Johnson

Hey word nerds! You know a fun word that I just rediscovered? Sycophant!

noun: sycophant; plural noun: sycophants
  1. a person who acts obsequiously toward someone important in order to gain advantage.

Also known as a yes-man, suck-up, brown-noser , flatterer, etc.

Okay, so the definition isn’t so fun, but I do enjoy saying it. Sycophant has many of the sounds that can make a word fun to say. Go ahead, try it. You’ll see what I mean.

That’s really all I have for today. I haven’t fangirled over a word in a while, so this was fun.


Welcome to the Mary Francine Danis Writing Center at ACE. You can find tips, news, and fun posts about the wonderful world of writing, the ACE, and the OLLU Community!