Archive for the ‘writing contests’ Category


Last Thursday I attended my first ever award ceremony so I’m skipping the word-fooling today and giving you the inside scoop on the V by Very Irish Blog Awards 2017. I’ll be back with more unusual words next week, don’t fret.

The awards had a theme of Movie Icons and funnily enough I don’t have a Monroe dress or a touch of Tiffany in my wardrobe so I tried to think of something linked to books as words and books are what I do. Sherlock Holmes is the most filmed fictional character ever, so that seemed appropriate. He’s on my mind at the moment anyhow because of  CSI-themed event I’m planning for next year.

Mercifully Amazon came up trumps with a deerstalker hat and pipe in a hurry.

I traveled to Dublin and met up with my writing friend and wordfoolery reader Noelle Ameijenda who had donned her best Science Officer garb from “Star Trek” for the event. We couldn’t miss the venue as it had a huge billboard sign above the entrance announcing the event.

Very glam, we thought, and it was backed up by the professional photographer inside taking everybody’s photos. Unfortunately we never laid our hands on the pic of the two of us together so you’ll have to make do with my increasingly wobbly photos from the night. That had nothing to do with the free bubbly, honest.

First stop, after the cloakroom, was the Green Room where we picked up a drink and enjoyed meeting some of the movie cut-outs they’d scattered around the room. I never got time to get a selfie with Chewbacca or Audrey Hepburn but we did meet Two Storm Troopers on their Night Off, a.k.a. the BlabbaTheHutt podcasters and bloggers of all things Star Wars.

The force was strong in them and they were loving the Star Wars cutouts in the room, of course. Next stop was some lovely food from KC Peaches and grabbing the last seats in the room for the start of the awards ceremony itself which was hosted by the Lords of Strut. These two lads from Cork have to be seen to be believed. Their acrobatic antics and posing was top notch, if a little bizarre at times. Their stylist should be shot, but I imagine that’s the point and they certainly knew how to get the room engaged in a very long list of finalists and awards that might otherwise have dragged.

Wordfoolery was a finalist in two categories and one was the first to be announced – Arts & Culture. The award went to Luwd Media (personal) – a film & tv blog and Writing.ie (corporate) – a well-known advice hub for writers. Able to relax now, I settled back and we chatted with the Film in Dublin blog team beside us. They run a site about all things film (reviews, festivals, special events) in the Dublin area. We appeared to be on the “lucky” balcony as loads of people rushed from their seats to collect their shiny gold letter b-shaped awards from the stage.

The halfway break saw us topping up the drinks and losing our seats in the process so we perched beside Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader on the main floor for the second half of the awards. It was a family reunion type thing.

We reached the Books & Literature category and I got to see Wordfoolery’s name up in lights.

For some reason that was super exciting and I didn’t mind a bit when Gobblefunked (personal) won the category as it’s a great blog about kids books and then Ballyronan Reads (librarians recommending books – what’s not to like?) won the corporate category with silver to the O’Brien Press blog. With competition like that I was happy to be amongst the finalists.

Congratulations to all the winners. It was wonderful to see how enthusiastic the blogging community in Ireland is and I wasn’t a bit surprised to find out how friendly too. Thanks again to Noelle for coming along, I’m very jealous of your costume!

The night was moving on to clubbing but it was a school-night so we grabbed our goodie bags and Sherlock left the building.

Until next time happy reading, writing, and wordfooling,

Grace (@Wordfoolery)

p.s. I’m always curious about what people get in the goodie bags. So here you go, the full loot –

Pipe and hat – model’s own!


Read Full Post »


This week’s word is hippomonstrosesquippedaliophilia and it is a suggestion from blog-reader, Sheena, thank you!

Beware of the Hippos 🙂

Sadly hippomonstrosesquippedaliophilia isn’t in any of the mainstream dictionaries to which I have access. It appears to be a recently coined word from sesquipedalian (pronunciation here). So what does sesquipedalian mean then? It’s the word to describe long, multi-syllabic words and is, itself, sesquipedalian. The word can also describe someone who delights in using long words where perhaps a shorter one would do. The adjective is sesquipedalian and one of these words is a sesquipedalia, the singular noun.

Where does that get us with the hippos (beserk or otherwise)?

If you are afraid of long words you suffer from a related word, hippomonstrosesquippedaliophobia, and you might enjoy the Long Word Song on You Tube (plug in headphones first if you’re at work).

Hippomonstrosesquippedaliophobia features in some modern dictionaries like Urban Dictionary and Wordnik but without an explanation of its word roots. It’s even a hashtag on Twitter which is brave as it contains 32 of the maximum 140 characters in a tweet. However a bit of word dissection is a fun activity on a Monday so here goes. Hippomonstros means very large. Sesquipedalio comes from the afore-mentioned sesquipedalian adjective to describe very long words and phobia as everybody knows means fear (from the Greek word Phobos who was the son of Ares, the god of war). Hence we get fear of very, very, very large words. It’s fun fake-Latin and hey, how many 32 letter words do you know?

The original word suggestion, hippomonstrosesquippedaliophilia, is a simple twist that adds philia (love) rather than phobia (fear) as a suffix and gives us the love of very, very, very long words. It may not be an official word, but it has 32 letters too and I like it. How about you?

Before I sign off, I’d like to welcome the 400th subscriber to Wordfoolery. I hope you suggest a word for me to explore (via the comments or the Nominate a Word page). I’m proud to announce that Wordfoolery has made it to the finals of the V by Very Irish Blog Awards 2017 in both the Arts & Culture and Books & Literature categories. I’m delighted and am looking forward to attending the awards ceremony.

Until next time happy reading, writing, and wordfooling,

Grace (@Wordfoolery)

p.s. I dare you to use the #Hippomonstrosesquippedaliophobia tag on Twitter!


Read Full Post »


This week’s word is lethologica (pronunciation here) and according to the Oxford English Dictionary it’s a rare word for the inability to remember a particular word or name. Unless you’re one of those blessed people with perfect recall for names of those they’ve met previously, I am sure you’re grappled for a name at some point. I used to try and bluff my way out or avoid the name entirely but having been on the receiving end of that approach, it doesn’t work. Now I admit my fuzziness and ask for a reminder.

Being unable to retrieve a particular word from the memory vaults can hit even a word nerd like myself and can be frustrating so I was delighted to discover there’s a term for this struggle. Lethologica is a relatively recent addition to the English language, possibly coined by Carl Jung and first seen c. 1915. It’s formed by joining two Greek words – lethe which means forgetfulness and logos which means word.

In Greek mythology the River Lethe, also known at the River of Oblivion, ran through the underworld. The souls of the dead drank from it to forget their earthly memories. The goddess of forgetfulness, also called Lethe, supervised this process.

The other four rivers were the Styx or River of Hatred which ringed Hades seven times, the Acheron or River of Pain which is the one the ferryman Charon crossed with the souls, the Phelegethon or River of Fire leading to Tartarus, and the Cocytus or River of Wailing where souls not buried properly were abandoned. Interestingly the Acheron is a real river in Greece.

So the next you’re struggling to name a person or find the perfect word, try distracting your friends with the history of lethologica instead.

Until next time happy reading, writing, and what was that word again – oh yes – wordfooling,

Grace (@Wordfoolery)

p.s. I’m delighted to announce that Wordfoolery has made it to the shortlist in the 2017 V by Very Irish Blog Awards in two categories – Arts & Culture and Books & Literature.


Read Full Post »


Wordfoolery was on holidays last week and that means one thing – reading. I came across fustilug as an insult in “Closed Casket” by Sophie Hannah. She was writing in the voice of Agatha Christie and continuing the detecting work of the egg-headed Hercule Poirot but she sent me to my dictionary.

A fustilug is an obsolete word for a fat, gross, or frowzy person, especially a woman – according to The Collins Dictionary.

Hannah’s fustilug was male so feel free to insult anybody with it. Chances are they won’t know what you’re talking about, a definite upside of using old-fashioned invective.

Lug is a dialect term in British English for an ear and fusty can mean smelly, so the origin may lie with somebody with smelly ears although the mind boggles at how you could have smelly ears. Grubby, I grant you, but ear wax doesn’t smell, does it?

Wordsmith came to my aid. Fusty is a Middle English term for smelly or mouldy and lug in this case is used in the verb sense of carrying something heavy. They date fustilug’s first documented use to 1607 so I am very tempted to use it in my 1588 story “Ready for the Storm”.

Opening email after my holidays (I relish leaving email at home) I got the lovely news that Wordfoolery has been longlisted by the 2017 V by Very Blog Awards Ireland in the Books & Lit category along 19 others, including TaraSparling, Bleach House Library, and WordHerding. I’m delighted to be in such good company.


It inspired me to brush up the blog a little – a new tagline and my publications list has its own page finally. You may also notice a book cover on the sidebar. It’s not my eponym book “How to Get Your Name in the Dictionary”, sorry. It will be published later this year.

No, it’s my first ever serialised novel. When Channillo asked me to pitch for their subscription reading platform, I suggested “Hamster Stew & Other Stories”. It launched with its free first installment on Wednesday. I’ll be adding new installments of Trish McTaggart’s chaotic family life every Wednesday.

Until next time happy reading, writing, and wordfooling,

Grace (@Wordfoolery)

p.s. welcome to our recent subscribers – feel free to suggest a word – all feedback welcome

Read Full Post »


Great news, Wordfoolery has made the shortlist of the Arts&Culture section of the Littlewoods Ireland Blog Awards Ireland 2016, hurrah!

Moving from this stage to finalist is based 80% on judging and 20% on public vote – which is where you come in. The public vote is open today (Monday 22nd) and tomorrow (Tuesday 23rd) until midnight. Just press the button below. You’ll need to pick Wordfoolery from the Arts & Culture shortlist and create an account to vote but it’s pretty easy.



Thanks for your support, Grace (a.k.a. Wordfoolery)

Read Full Post »

Littlewoods Blog Awards 2016_Judging Round Button_LonglistHello,

Well it isn’t the Man Booker, the Nobel or, mercifully, the Darwin Awards, but I am happy to announce that I’ve scrambled onto the Long List of the Littlewoods Ireland Blog Awards Ireland 2016.

After this comes the Short List stage (80% judged and 20% public vote – I’ll let you know when it opens for voting, hint hint), then Finalist judging and the awards ceremony is sometime in the autumn.

Congrats to all the other 45 entries on the Arts & Culture Long List – it takes hard work and passion to maintain a blog week after week and a large dash of confidence to risk entering the awards. I’ll be trying to visit my fellow long-listers over the next month.

Grace (a.k.a. @Wordfoolery)

Read Full Post »


This week, instead of my usual musings on the origins of unusual words and phrases, I’m going to give a roundup of the RTE Guide/Penguin Ireland Publishing Day (2015) which I attended last Friday. For my non-writing subscribers, don’t panic, normal service resumes next week.

Patricia, Pauline Clooney, Catherine

Patricia, Pauline Clooney, Catherine

Some background first – this annual event began in 2010 and attendees are limited to short list and long list entrants of the annual short fiction prize. I was lucky enough to make the top ten on my first attempt and was delighted to attend. There were writers from all over Ireland there and for several I spoke to it was their first short fiction submission, so don’t be afraid to enter even if you’re new to writing. There were 300 entrants this year.

Jane Alger gave a welcome address and this was followed by Patricia Deevy (Penguin Ireland) and Faith O’Grady (literary agent) explaining their roles plus a Q&A. I asked about the ebook market in Ireland (as many of my US writing friends are doing well in that field in particular). Patricia said that it wasn’t huge in Ireland but was significant in the UK market. The Easons book buyer (Easons is a large book selling chain in Ireland) later added that the ebook market here has flattened but physical book sales are rising and that overall more books are being sold, so that’s great news for writers!

Then we had the author panel hosted by SinĂ©ad Moriarty (commerical women’s fiction) with Karen Gillece (one half of Karen Perry crime partnership) and Emma Hooper (literary fiction), again with Q&A.

Stephen Boylan (Easons book buyer) gave a great run down on the market and excellent advice on using social media as well as book reviews and book clubs to sell your work and Cliona Lewis (publicity director at Penguin Ireland) spoke about the marketing side of your work as a author once you’ve been taken on by a traditional publishing house. The consensus was that you’re only starting your work once you land a contract and that you sell yourself as much as you sell the book.

Catherine (editor of the RTE Guide) and Patricia (Penguin Ireland) presented a framed copy of her winning short fiction to Pauline Clooney.

After a light lunch and time to chat with the other writers in attendance, Rachel Pierce (editor and also children’s author as Emily Mason) gave an excellent presentation on editing – both the self-editing every writer needs to master and the editing process after the book contract is signed. The authors (including Paul Perry – the other half of that writing partnership) chipped in advice here too. Paul Howard (author of the hilarious Ross O’Carroll Kelly books) must have had burning ears at one point as all agreed he was 100% professional – always happy to engage with readers, booksellers, and media but also always making his deadlines with perfect manuscripts. That will have to be my target now!

Overall a great day and the goodie bag at the end brought a smile to everyone’s face despite the rain which arrived in time to soak us as we left. I took oodles of notes but here’s a selection of my favourites –

  • Penguin Ireland took only one fiction book a year in the last few years. They want the xfactor, strong voice, amazing story.
  • Faith gets 60 submissions weekly but only takes about one client per year. She likes narrative non-fiction like H is for Hawk and The Hare with the Amber Eyes.
  • If your book includes images, you sort out the permissions yourself before approaching the publisher.
  • It’s good to have a plot you can sum up in 1-3 sentences.
  • Luck plays a part – but the more you submit, the more the odds tip in your favour.
  • Don’t market where other writers are, market where readers are – get book bloggers to review you, local papers (not national), local radio, book clubs – six free books could drive word-of-mouth.
  • Publicity starts a year before the book is launched to build word of mouth.
  • Content drives action – post good links, be yourself, consider sharing flash fiction, engage in chatter with readers, connect with your fans.
  • But don’t forget that lots of readers are NOT on social media – that reminded me of my parents who read more books than anybody else I know, but they don’t even own a computer.
  • If you want to get your book listed at Easons email buyers at easons.com to get the application.

My Favourite Editing Tips from the Day

  • Draft one is dreadful, it is meant to be.
  • Draft two is draft one minus 10% (I totally agree with this).
  • Write the book you need to write, don’t cling to the one you think you should write. (Paul Perry)
  • Be brave. (Emma Hooper)
  • Ask why and what if of every plot point.
  • There are always structural issues – you know where they are, so fix them.
  • Consider changing character genders or collating minor characters.
  • What is your character most afraid of? Make it happen to them.
  • Ebook sampling takes the first 15% so make sure that sings.
  • Each chapter must pay its way.
  • Do not panic and rush your ending, control it, make it satisfying. Then rewrite the start because you know your characters properly now.
  • Unsure on viewpoint or first person vs. third? Try a few chapters and see what works best. It’s like getting your jeans to fit properly. (Emma Hooper)
  • Trying to clear out your “used too often words”? Use wordle to make a visual graphic of your language and see what you are over-using (Emma Hooper)

Until next week happy reading, writing, and wordfooling,


Read Full Post »

Older Posts »