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English Essays

English Quirks

These essays were created by participants on the Analog magazine discussion board.
(It's difficult to give direct credit, as many of these folks use semi-anonymous screen names.)

How I Met My Wife

On Cow Riting

This one 'reverses' some common idiomatic words, in order to better illustrate their use.

"How I Met My Wife"

It had been a rough day, so when I walked into the party I was very chalant, despite my efforts to appear gruntled and consolate. I was furling my wieldy umbrella for the coat check when I saw her standing alone in a corner. She was a descript person, a woman in a state of total array. Her hair was kempt, her clothing shevelled, and she moved in a gainly way.

I wanted desperately to meet her, but I knew I'd have to make bones about it since I was travelling cognito. Beknownst to me, the hostess, whom I could see both hide and hair of, was very proper, so it would be skin off my nose if anything bad happened. And even though I had only swerving loyalty to her, my manners couldn't be peccable. Only toward and heard-of behavior would do.

Fortunately, the embarrassment that my maculate appearance might cause was evitable. There were two ways about it, but the chances that someone as flappable as I would be ept enough to become persona grata or a sung hero were slim. I was, after all, something to sneeze at, someone you could easily hold a candle to, someone who usually aroused bridled passion. So I decided not to risk it. But then, all at once, for some apparent reason, she looked in my direction and smiled in a way that I could make heads or tails of.

I was plussed. It was concerting to see that she was communicado, and it nerved me that she was interested in a pareil like me, sight seen. Normally, I had a domitable spirit, but, being corrigible, I felt capacitated--as if this were something I was great shakes at--and forgot that I had succeeded in situations like this only a told number of times. So, after a terminable delay, I acted with mitigated gall and made my way through the ruly crowd with strong givings.

Nevertheless, since this was all new hat to me and I had no time to prepare a promptu speech, I was petuous. Wanting to make only called-for remarks, I started talking about the hors d'oeuvres, trying to abuse her of the notion that I was sipid, and perhaps even bunk a few myths about myself.

She responded well, and I was mayed that she considered me a savory character who was up to some good. She told me who she was. "What a perfect nomer," I said, advertently. The conversation become more and more choate, and we spoke at length to much avail. But I was defatigable, so I had to leave at a godly hour. I asked if she wanted to come with me. To my delight, she was committal. We left the party together and have been together ever since. I have given her my love, and she has requited it.

This essay was presented in response to an impromptu exercise with oddball 'themed' writing.

On Cow Riting
by "SS Minnow"

Cow riting is an interesting beast. Sometimes the result is something to crow about, and other times you end up with a turkey.

Here's a few tips on cow riting. I'll try to leave most of the bull out.

First off, you need to find someone you can bear to work with. Right off the bat, I can tell you that you don't want to work with someone who is an ass. You also want to find someone who is creative, and won't just ape back everything you say. It's good if you can find someone that will horse around from time to time, but will also whip you into shape when needed. (A cat-o'-nine-tails might come in handy here. J/K)

The next thing to do is spur some ideas. Don't be chicken when suggesting ideas. The more animated your brainstorming is, the better. Some say that fishing for story ideas is their favorite part. A good cow riting partner will bait you with many ideas. If you come up with an idea you can't use for the current story, just squirrel it away for future use.

If you're ever unsure whether you've understood something correctly, parroting things back using different words can sometimes help.

Sometimes a married couple will make a good cow riting team. This isn't always the case. There was at least one instance where the husband said he felt henpecked and the wife said her husband was too cocky. Each partner kept egging the other one on.

The best part of cow riting is that you have someone to bounce ideas off. Don't be afraid to talk about the elephant in the middle of the room.

A lot of cow writing is done by use of the internet, which means you'll be slugging it out with your mouse a lot unless its an optical one.

You have to be willing to put up with your cow riting partner's idiosyncrasies. Sometimes you'll end up doing the lion's share of the work, and at other times you'll feel like a louse.

Fishy things can happen. Just try to ram the good ideas through while never forgetting to kid around and have fun too. Eventually, you'll horn in on a good cow riting method that works for you.

You have to be willing to have scenes twisted around even when you feel like your partner's idea is a muttonhead one. Don't be afraid to tell them that that dog don't hunt. Just stick to your guns. Yap about your ideas. Gnaw on them for a while. Scratch around until you find something that you both dig. But be warned. Don't hound your partner with an idea that they obviously don't like.

Sometimes your partner may think you're a rat and at other times you may think your partner is a weasel. If this happens, buck the trend and take the higher ground. Don't badger them about the way they're acting. Maybe their spouse has been nagging them or something else has put them in a fowl mood.

Pairing with someone that has different life experiences can help you duck past some problems that would have bulldozed you under if you had tried things on your own. Maybe your partner has an eagle eye for grammar, or you're willing to tackle something that your partner is sheepish about trying. Whatever happens, keep prodding each other along.

The most important thing is to keep an open mind and not take things too personally. Otherwise it will just become one big catfight, even though it might start out as something shrimpy. Maybe you'll start out by carping about one thing, which will put them in a crabby mood. Next thing you know, they'll be telling you something is none of your beeswax. This will get your goat. You'll be tempted to act like a pig, so you'll start hogging your better ideas which will make the piece you're working on suffer. Eventually someone will say something stupid, which will seal off any chance of an otherwise terrific story seeing the light of day.

The best thing to do when something bad happens is to remember that the world's your oyster. Have fun with your cow riting. Horse around a bit. Kick around all your ideas, because you never know which one will be the cat's meow. Even doggone bad ideas can sometimes be shepherded back in. Don't be a leech. Pitch in as much as you can. Eventually your story will grow to the size of a moose. Then you can curtail the parts that don't add anything of value, once everything else is done.

It might seem like a lot of work, but hopefully when all is said in done, you'll be in the camp that has something to crow about!

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