Betty’s Tips

Happy Spring, Dear Readers,

Now that spring has arrived, I’m spending more time outside preparing the garden for this summer’s vegetables. The outdoors always stirs my imagination. Story ideas are popping up faster than I can write them—The Great Tomato Caper, To Sprout or not to Sprout, and the greatest mystery, Who Nabbed the Baby Greens.

Friends at my writing group had suggestions to help organize my racing ideas. One asked if I had any kind of system. I had tried a filing system with note cards, but there isn’t enough room on them to jot down the hook line and what gave me the idea. This may work for some, but not for me.

Eva gave me a clever idea to keep track of stories with Google Forms. Each story idea would take up only one line on the form and the weaker ideas could be weeded out by just deleting a line! She explained how simple it was to create the form, but I have my doubts. Technology and I go together much like oil and vinegar.

Anu had even more ways to remember my ideas by using my cell phone. I could take pictures of what set the thought into motion, then talk into one of the note taking apps to add to the story. This seemed simpler as I always have my phone on hand.

They both had good systems, but would they work for me? I scoured the web for more ways to capture my thoughts and came across a blog that not only explained several ways to keep track of ideas, but also why it’s important to keep track of all writing. There were different apps to try using on my cell phone or laptop.

No matter which system I decide on, all of the suggestion thought it best to find one that works instead of trying to keep the ideas in my head.

There’s that darn villain from Who Nabbed the Baby Green hopping into the spinach patch. Time to mend the fencing! Happy writing!

Betty Wryte-Goode

Betty Wryte-Goode is a writer and mother who lives in the Lehigh Valley. Her passions include writing, reading, shopping, gardening, and exploring the internet. Betty is always looking for writing tips, so if you have any you would like to share, please send them to her through our Submissions/Contacts page.

Mixed-Up Words of the Month


For this issue’s mixed-up words, we will keep on the overall theme and tackle one of the most long-standing questions in the English language…

Just how do you pluralize “octopus”?

It’s surprising how long people have argued over this grammatical issue. The debate goes back to the early nineteenth century. Some of these early writers/speakers championed “octopi” as the correct pluralization, claiming that a word of Latin origin should use the Latin pluralization.

Alas, “octopus” is of Greek origin. (And even if it was Latin, using “pi” to pluralize it would be grammatically incorrect.”

The Greek pluralization of “octopus” is “octopodes.” That’s a four-syllable word; not a three, with the last syllable being pronounced similar to “days.” Awkward, right?

Fortunately, the correct answer all along has been the fairly obvious and simple “octopuses.” No, that’s neither a Greek nor Latin pluralization. Here’s the thing, though. There is not another English word for “octopus.” We have commandeered it, but then English is a piratical language that has stolen many of its terms from other languages. Once they have been ours for a while, they become, to all intents and purposes, English. After all, no English speaker is particularly interested in coming up with a whole new word for an octopus, nor is any English speaker desperately seeking such a word.

So, in English, the proper way to pluralize a word that ends in “s” is to add an “es” at the finish.

Voila. Octopuses.

You’re welcome.

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