I’m just back from Duncan Creek Elementary School in Hoschton, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta, singing the praises of the 185 Young Writers who participated in the 7th Annual Mill Creek Young Writers Literacy Institute.
What heart-walloping fun I had, first, sharing the A to Z of my jarringly-good Writer’s life and bone-delicious process with the grades 1-8 all-star students in the morning,then, workshopping the afternoon with their fifty-carat teachers, putting forth ways to keep their bang brilliant Young Writers fed!
The teachers LOVED my newest Writer’s Bookshelf Recommendation: Arthur Plotnik’s Better Than Great – A Plenitudinous Compendium of Wallopingly Fresh Superlatives (Viva Editions, 2011)
Author and editor Plotnik believes: “Praise can be greater than amazing.”
And he should know.
He combed through thesauruses, lexicons and countless compendiums to compile 6,000 (!) alternatives to used-up superlatives.
You read that right – 6,000!
And that number doesn’t include the 50 text-friendly synonyms (1drfl), relevant quotes and foreign phrases (mockered up) he thoughtfully added.
Former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins labels the collection “amen-astonishing.”Donna Seaman of Booklist describes the book as “high-fiveable hot sauce for the brain.”
Understandably, Plotnik’s collection has drawn nothing but praise.An especially acclaimable feature?
Plotnik makes the collection especially user-friendly by categorizing the plenitude of possible fine-hair distinctions, from Great (postcard-perfect) and Sublime (all-knowing) and Physically Affecting (eye-misting) to Cool (cookin’), Wicked Cool (stompin’) and Forceful (bionically buff), in between offering Beautiful (bellafatima), Joy-giving (embraceable), Large (continental-shelf-sized) and Exceptional (giga awesome), as well as Intense (pincering), Delicious (plate-licking good), Mentally, Emotionally or Spiritually Affecting (nutso-making) and Trendy (out-front).
Better Than Great is just that - a true landfall of bliss for any lover of words.
Hmmmm….180 school days in a year,
6,000 ways to say “amazing” –
first, written on the blackboard,
next, copied into a Writer’s Notebook,
then, spoken in conversation,
finally, chosen for a story.
What a superlative way to begin a superlative (new) School Year.
I am off to LA, to the pinnacular, jaw-slacking, joy-spreading, worldwide, all-eclipsing, boot-in-the-face intense, gulp-worthy, fabulosa, outta sight 40th Anniversary SCBWI Conference!
Why not attend too - vicariously - by clicking on Team Blog or tweeting with the #11LASCBWI hash tag?!
P.P.S from Carmela: Don't forget: today is the last day to enter for a chance to win a copy Allan Woodrow's humorous new middle-grade novel, The Rotten Adventures of Zachary Ruthless!
Writer’s Workout: Name That Superlative!
An eponym is a person, real or imagined, from whom something, as a tribe, nation, or place, takes or is said to take its name. Name-based terms, are called “eponymous.” Think: Amelia Jenks Bloomer of “bloomers”; innkeeper Cesar Ritz of “Puttin’ on the Ritz”; Midas touch; Mickey Mouse.
Many eponyms form adjectives.Think: Christian, ritzy, Lincolnesque, Dickensian, Jordanesque.
To create your own eponymous superlative, follow Arthur Plotnik’s advice:
(1) Start with a name recognized by your audience and having the desired positive association
(2) Add endings such as –an, -ian, -seque, -ic, -ish, - al.
Note: if name ends with a consonant, add “ian” or “esque.”if name ends in e or i, add “an”
if name ends in a, o, or y – add “n”, "ninan,” “esque,” “ ist,” or “nic.”
What eponymous superlatives might students create - using their names, the first day of school - to introduce themselves to their fellow classmates and use throughout the year?