Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tackling the Taunting Letters: Guest Alana Garrigues

Picture        Many of you know Alana of Writercize for her tips on better writing and building writing muscle.  If you're looking for some great exercises to help you become a better writer, visit Alana's blog and let her be your trainer.  In this post Alana offers some suggestions on how to conquer some of the those letters that menace our successful completion of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.

       There are a few select letters in the alphabet that like to taunt writers navigating the linguistic waters from A through Z. Dr. Seuss had one solution to this conundrum in his alphabetical children's books; he made up his own words like Zizzer-zazzer-zuzz.

       Since most of us have neither the illustrative talents nor the vast audience that Dr. Seuss enjoys, word creation is not likely the first choice of A to Z blogging challengers seeking to attract and sustain an audience. If I were to open a page and see a post titled xytorphian xolecites, I would probably run for the hills, thinking it was a foreign language or highly complicated medical terminology. Either way, something that would take far too much time and effort out of my blog reading time to understand!

       So, rather than cringe and avoid certain letters, cling to a dictionary in hopes of discovering inspiration or resort to nonsensical word creation, let's band together as fellow A to Z participants to brainstorm and support one another as we embrace a few pesky letters.

      Say it with me:

To the letters F, J, Q,
We are not afraid of U!
Finally, dear X and Z,
We'll find great posts for you to be.

        Yes, last year those were the six letters that attempted to elude me. X and Z are pretty obvious. I was surprised that F and J were not more cooperative, expecting more difficulty towards the end if the alphabet with W and Y, but those two stuck out like a sore thumb. Random knowledge thanks to participation in the A to Z last year!

        Before we move forward, please take a moment to bookmark this post now. Go ahead. I know how amazing, creative and cooperative readers of this blog are, so I know they (and that means you!) are going to make it a valuable resource and reference point for all the 2012 A to Z bloggers who find themselves stuck on any of the aforementioned letters.

        Good, now ... I run a blog called writercize, where I create and post a few writing exercises (hence, writercize) every week, and I have an assignment for you here today to help you and hundreds if others prepare for the challenge. Ready?

        writercize: Brainstorm words, phrases, feelings, topics, celebrities, locations, companies ... anything you can think of ... for the letters F,J,Q,U,X,Z. Pick one letter to focus on, spout out solutions to a couple or give all six a go, but please help your fellow challengers out by leaving your brainstorm in the comments section of this post.

       The goal is to have a page where anyone in the challenge can visit for inspiration or a free word when those tough letters seem ready to bare their teeth.

       I'll get you started with a few, and really look forward to seeing what you all come up with!

F: first (love, kiss, fight, discovery), flight, fox, finnicky, fear
J: juice, jiggles, jumpy, jaded, jolly
Q: quell, quit, quake, quick, quart
U: underdog, understood, underwhelmed, ugh, ubiquitous
X: xeno, x marks the spot, x-hilirated, the exes, xanax
Z: zany, zither, Zoey, zebra stripes, zoo

          Good luck to everyone with the challenge, and here's to a very prolific April in the blogosphere! Now get those brainstorms thundering!


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Lisa said...

This is really interesting and helpful. Thank you Alana. I'll remember this.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

There's something for every letter if we try.
Although I always end with Z-End!

Tracy MacDonald said...

Thank you! Started to write up ideas last night and hadn't gotten anywhere near these elusive and tricky letters. Thanks Alana!
A2ZMommy and What’s In Between

Ro @ Eat Live Move said...

I've been brainstorming this last few days. Thanks for the additional inspiration.

Unknown said...

I LOVE this writercize! OK, here goes:
F: Forever, Fantastic, Flamboyant, Fluid, Forested, Feverish
: Juvenile, Justice, Justify, Juggle, Jabberwocky, Jungle
Q: Quite, Quench, Quirky, Quarrelsome, Quarry, Query, Queen Latifah, Quest
U: Underserved, Unique, Unbounded, Umbrage, Unassuming, Unctuous, Unequal, Unite, Uma Thurman
X: Xeroguraphy, X-rated, Xtreme, Malcolm X, Xanadu, Xenophobia
Z: Zeal, Zenith, Zephyr, Zest, Zero, Zig-Zah, Zoom, Zone.
Phew! Hope I gave someone an idea or two - I now have my post ideas for F, Q, U, V, X, and Z! Thanks, Alan, for the great idea!


Unknown said...

I meant, "Alana", not Alan! Sorry for the typo!


PR said...

Genius idea. Ok here goes...
F: fairies, flying, family, frisbees, freebies.
J: jam, january, jesus, jokes, jewelery
Q: queen, quell, quiet, quick, quake, quirky
U: umbrella, UPS, under, uh oh
X: xmen - that's all I've got for this one!
Z: zebra, zombies, zip, zeppelin, zany

Universal Gibberish

MISH said...

Excellent idea!
F ~ flagrant, fanatical, flimsy, flippant.
J ~ jubilation, joust, je ne sais quoi, joie de vivre.
Q ~ quaint, quorum, quota, quintessential.
U ~ ufology, umbrage, unequivocally, utilitarianism.
X ~ xenocracy, X-factor, X-files, Xerxes.
Z ~ zest, zip, zilch, zealous.

Countdown continues... 39 days to go...

Stephsco said...



I haven't seen the movie, but I know it's some type of roller skating fantasy extravaganza with Sandy from "Grease."

Tempted to watch it.

Nicole said...


What a great writing exercise for the A to Z challenge! You always come up with the most fun and creative ways for your readers to put our thinking caps on, all for the better of the written word.

Here is my attempt at giving all six of the challenging letters a go:

F: Fumble, Football, Funny, Four, Fraternity

J: Jaws, Jawbone, Junior, Jumping Jacks, Joe Boxer Briefs, Jim Carry, Jennifer Aniston

Q: Quints (the movie), Quints (the set of dolls), Quintuplets, QVC Network, Q Dogs (one of many nicknames for the Omega Psi Phi fraternity)

U: UTI, UFO, Underground, Underworld, Unforgiving, Undertaker

X: xXx (get your mind out of the gutter; this is an action movie starring Vin Diesel and Samuel L. Jackson), Xena - Warrior Princess, Professor X (from X-Men), X-Factor (NBC show)

Z: Zero, Zipper, Zipcar, Zen

That's all I have to give so far. Hope it helps!

Also, side note for Dawn:

I used "X-Rated" last year during the 2011 A to Z Challenge, in a blog post about Myths that People Believe about X-Rated Films after struggling to find a word or topic for the letter "X". I eventually realized that I was looking in all the wrong places, when there was a topic that fit right in line with my blog and field of study. How could I not pass that one up?! LOL

Writing about it helped me learn about the history of some laws and also helped me learn some things about popular films that I would have never even guessed :)

The Madlab Post

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great tips! I love the tough letters. I find Q to be the easiest as I'll be using the word quantum.

Nicole said...

But wait. There's more...

(after a short nap to ease a headache, I thought of these)

F - Frogs, Foul, Fragrance, Far, Fulfillment, Frantic, Frenzy, Frozen (ice; emotion; 90s single by Madonna), The Fast and the Furious (action flick about cars)

J - Judge Judy, Jury, JAG (tv show), Jaguar (the animal or the automobile...you could go either way), Joe Jonas, Joe Jackson, Judge Joe Brown, Jewish

Q - Quidditch, Quizzo, Quirks, Quip, Quakers, Quest

U - UFC, Unicorn, Urban ("urban" Outfitters; Legend; Culture; Geography; Genre, etc.), Uno, Unecessary, Undone

X - Xanax, X Games, Xscape (90s R&B singing group), Xbox

Z - Zodiac, Zucchini, Zzz (ever have bouts with insomnia? well, here you go!), Zirtec/Zyrtec, The Legend of Zelda


The Madlab Post

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I like your poetry. Are you sure you're not Dr. Suess?

Marta Szemik said...

Nice post. I hope to have those letters done before hand. Quite a few good suggestions here. Wow!

Shannon Lawrence said...

I was surprised by how hard F and J were, too. I tried going through to check these out so I wouldn't repeat anything anyone else had said and I can't keep up! I did Zenith for my "Z" last year.

Alright, probably repeats, but:

F: Fanatic, fast, fitness, furious, flaws, flash

J: jury, judge, justice, jackelope, jail, jumping jacks

Q: quintessential, query, quip, quicken, qwerty, qat

U: understanding, urban, ugly, Uranus, uncle

X: xenophobe, xenon, eXsanguinate, xerox

Z: zoological, zipped, zits, zero, zenith, zap, Zeus

Tina said...

Hey Alana,
Great post! I'm 1/2 Swedish and will be doing this challenge using the Swedish alphabet. It's longer than the English one. I have three extra vowels:
Å å
Å å
Ö ö
(Upper and lower case, not six)
And Y, W, and Q are pretty much neglected orphans. Wish me luck?

Tina @ Life is Good

Co-Host of the April 2012 Blogging from A to Z Challenge


Arlee Bird said...

Thanks for this stimulating post, Alana. And in case anyone thinks Alana abandoned us, she went away for some surprise trip from her husband and may not be accessing the internet.

She really fueled some good thinking with this.


Jamie Gibbs said...

Great advice! That damn Q is not going to beat me this year, I swear it!

Alana said...

Thanks for all the fabulous ideas everyone! I am still not 100% satisfied with my list so I am stopping in to be inspired by all of you again. :)

Hope everyone had a great first day of the challenge!