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Commonly Confused Words: Saucy Edition THE SECOND

A bit over a year ago, we posted our first Commonly Confused Words: Saucy Edition. Since then, we’ve spotted more very confused word usage, and we had some folks tell us some confusions they’d encountered, and now we’ve compiled those into Commonly Confused Saucy words TWO: Electric Boogaloo.

Often, which of these words an author uses marks the difference between a story being very sexy, and a story being very strange, so to all writers out there – it’s worth learning the differences, asking for help, or Googling if you’re not sure!


fellate vs. filet vs. fillet vs. flay

fellate (verb): to perform fellatio on a person (as in: to perform oral stimulation on a person’s penis). For example: “Parting her lips, she eagerly fellated her boyfriend.”

vs.

filet (noun): a piece of lace, usually with a geometric design; OR, a French word for a cut of meat. For example: “My hobby is filet crochet.” For example: “I’d like to order the filet mignon, please.”

vs.

fillet (noun): the English spelling of the French word “filet,” referring to a cut of meat. For example: “The advert from the grocery store said fillet of fish is on sale.”

vs.

flay (verb): to remove the skin from a creature. For example: “The person screamed as the torturer flayed their skin from their body.”


taut vs. taught

taut (adjective): pulled tight; alternatively, ship-shape. For example: “He pulled the rope taut and the sails unfurled.”

vs.

taught (verb): something an instructor presented to a learner in the past. For example: “She taught him how to pull the rope taut and unfurl the sales.”


baited vs. bated vs. batted

baited (verb): many meanings, such as: to persecute or exasperate (”He baited them into attack by mocking them.”), to harass or attack by biting and tearing (”The dog baited the cat.”), to place bait (”The fisherman baited his hook.”), to entice or lure (”Good deals baited hopeful house hunters.”

vs.

bated (verb): to reduce the force or intensity of something; to take something away. For example: “She waited with bated breath.”

vs.

batted (verb): the act of using a bat against someone or something. For example: “The shortstop batted third in the line-up.”


pore vs. poor vs. pour

pore (verb): to study or gaze at something intensely. For example: “He pored over the document.”

vs.

pore (noun): a small opening in the outer covering of an animal or plant. For example: “The close-up was so intense that you could see every pore on their nose.”

vs.

poor (adjective): to lack material resources. For example: “I can’t afford lunch because I’m too poor.”

vs.

pour (verb): to cause a liquid to flow in a stream, possibly from a container (”The juice pours from the pitcher.”), or can be used figuratively, for example “She poured out her feelings in a rush” or “The tycoon pours money into their investment.”)


wither vs. writh vs. writhe

wither (verb): to lose vitality or freshness. For example: “After the flowers were cut, they withered quickly.”

vs.

writh (???): writh is not a word.

vs.

writhe (verb): to twist into folds, to twist until something distorts, to twist (a part of the body) as though in pain, to suffer keenly. For example: “He tickled my foot, and I writhed in discomfort.”


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The Duck Prints Press Style Guide

Do you love the nuts and bolts of writing? Have you always been confused by the difference between a hyphen, an en dash, and an em dash? Do you want an easy-to-use, free resource to help you improve your technical skills related to spelling and grammar?

We are here to help!

After months of work, we’ve polished the Duck Prints Press style guide until it shone and shared it publicly on our website!

This valuable resource includes a ton of information, and we’re expanding it regularly. While it’s especially relevant to people working with us (especially our growing editor staff!), it can also be of general use to the authorly public. That said, though, always make sure that when you submit to a publisher you focus on their style guide, because no two publishers are going to resolve these issues in exactly the same way. And when we say “issues,” we mean “all those areas where the major style guides (we use the Chicago Manual of Style 17th Edition) don’t offer unambiguous answers,” such as:

  • Oxford commas (we use them)
  • How to handle capitalization around certain punctuation choices, especially in dialogue (…it depends on the circumstance)
  • Which interrobang to use (?! or !?)
  • When to spell out numbers versus when to use numerals (…it’s complicated)
  • Incorporating words that use accents and/or special characters (we always use special characters unless the author suggests we not)
  • Spacing around ellipses and em dashes (…again, it’s complicated)

…and many other incredibly tiny, fiddly editor things that 9 out of 10 readers won’t notice but that that tenth reader has very strong opinions about.

Ultimately, putting a clean, professional-looking manuscript out to the reading public requires that an editorial staff make decisions on all these kinds of issues and many others. It doesn’t so much matter which direction the staff goes (there’s not a huge difference between putting regular spaces versus thin spaces versus hair spaces around em dashes); what matters is that whatever choices are made, they’re implemented consistently. To ensure that consistency, we’ve written and now use this internal, Press-specific style guide.

And now, if you want, you can use that style guide too!

Happy writing, and feel free to let us know if you’ve got questions we haven’t addressed in the guide. Fiddly editory spelling and grammar is our jam!


Want to learn more? Some related posts!


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Round Table: What Software Do You Find Helpful for Your Writing Process?

We asked our authors what software helps them write – and got a range of answers! 

Contributors: Adrian Harley, boneturtle, D. V. Morse, not-gwaenchanha, theirprofoundbond, Tris Lawrence, unforth


Discord 

Tris Lawrence: Lately Discord is becoming critical because that’s how I’m making notes for my series bible with a combination of private folders and channels to split out information

(boneturtle +1, unforth +1)


Evernote

not-gwaenchanha: I use Evernote for all the ideas, makes them easy to sort. One notebook (or even a notebook stack) per WIP. It lets you interlink notes, use tags to sort stuff. It also has a webclipper browser extension which lets you copy websites or parts of them straight into the notebook which is super helpful for research. Free version can be used on two devices.

Image from the Evernote website…they didn’t have anything writing-related, apologies.


Google Suite (G Docs, G Sheets, G Keep)

Hermit: Gdoc for me because my writing tends to happen on my couch/at the coffee shop and thus on my phone a lot (I am totally the person who brings a wireless mechanical keyboard to the coffee shop). I also make use of Google Keep for research notes. And a notebook with some frixion pens.

D. V. Morse: At the moment, I’m tracking things in Google Sheets, which is great (except there’s a lot of functionality from Trello that I’m missing).

not-gwaenchanha: I use gDocs to write, mainly because I don’t have to worry I’ll lose everything if technology decides it hates me, but it also allows me to write from my phone and easily share with my beta. Google keep is where all the “darlings” go when I kill them a.k.a scraps of text that are good but don’t fit. It’s got a nice integration with google docs, you can send stuff there straight from the doc from the context menu and then move all the scraps into one “scraps” doc 

(unforth +1, theirprofoundbond +1, Adrian Harley +1)


Microsoft Word

Adrian Harley: I have been using the same laptop since 2012, and when the hard drive gave out in 2020, my independent computer repair shop was kind enough to reinstall the 2010 versions of Microsoft Office so I didn’t have to pay a subscription for them. It’s what I’m used to. The “styles” function lets me find chapters easily, and it’s easy for me to leave comments for myself when I see an issue and don’t want to resolve it right at that moment. I think the free Microsoft Word, whatever they’re calling it, has those basic features too, though I’m not positive.

(unforth +1)


Miro (formerly RealTimeBoard) 

not-gwaenchanha: it’s an endless white board. Great for visual plotting. You can put in sticky notes, tables etc. I also like to upload images to it to make a private moodboard for the story.

Image is from the Miro website.


Notes App (IOS, Android)

Adrian Harley: I prefer to use the Notes app on the go. It’s just as easy as Google Drive, it doesn’t freak out if I’m not connected to the internet, and I have to copy and paste the text from any portable software to my document record of choice anyway. 

(boneturtle +1, unforth +1)


Notion

theirprofoundbond: There is a desktop version and an app, with syncing between both. You can use it for writing but I prefer Google Docs for that. Instead, I’ve built myself a wiki, basically. My “Writing HQ” contains: current editing projects; word count table to track my daily word counts; gallery of my WIPs, which is pretty and motivating, and each “card” contains metadata and promotional info for each project; calendar for my posting schedule; and a gallery of completed work. Notion is incredibly customizeable with great documentation to help you get your head around all the possibilities. It’d be a great home for a worldbuilding bible, too, I think!

(boneturtle +1)


Scrivener

unforth: I use Scrivener for organizing my notes and research, its flashcard system is great for that.

Tris Lawrence: I live and die by a combination of Scrivener and Sprinting. Scrivener was the first piece of software I found that works the way my brain works, from the scrap documents to writing in the margins to index cards, and being able to organize it roughly but have it export pretty when I need it.

D. V. Morse: The main software I use is Scrivener, right up until it’s time for critique/beta reading. Then everything goes into GDocs. I’ve experimented with mind-mapping apps with variable results.

Adrian Harley: Scrivener was incredibly helpful for my novella when I decided to turn it into a novel. It let me keep track of different drafts by chapter, so I could note which versions my writing group had already looked at. It also was easy to add in the “flashback” narrative that I’ve interspersed throughout the book.

Image from the Scrivener website.


SmartEdit Writer (formerly Atomic Scribbler)

boneturtle: It’s a free word processor that has all the functions of Scrivener that I need and none of the confusing extras, is default dark mode, tracks my word count by scene and by entire project, and allows me to document and organize my writing projects from one-shots to novel length works. I use Discord for collaboration and have occasionally used Notion to organize writing prompts and story bible information, but most of that I also keep in Smart Edit, so it ends up being a bit redundant.

Image from the SmartEdit Writer website.


Spotify and Pandora:

not-gwaenchanha: because music helps my brain switch into the writing mode

unforth: I definitely use Pandora, music helps a lot

(theirprofoundbond +1)


Sprinto

Tris Lawrence: I cannot survive without a timer somewhere, because that’s how I can force myself to focus in 20-30 minute spaces. 


StayFocusd

unforth: it’s an extension that shuts off internet access for a specified amount of time, and it helped me not get distracted by All The Social Media. (I don’t use Chrome anymore, but when I did…)


Trello

D. V. Morse: I’ve always loved Trello for organizing workflow and really need to get on that again. 


Tris Lawrence’s Word Tracking Spreadsheet

Adrian Harley: I have also tried a bunch of different software to track word count, because Number Go Up makes my brain happy. Can I recommend Tris’s spreadsheet? That got me through a few months.

Tris Lawrence: I am slightly laughing that I didn’t call out my own tracking spreadsheet. Probably because I’ve been SO focused on notes lately that I haven’t gotten new words in uhhhh months. But obviously, yes, when writing I live and die by that as well! I love my charts. I loved the charts on the old NaNo site and wanted them year round. I wanted to be able to set goals and see how I was doing. I wanted to do comparisons. I wanted to see writing across weeks, months, and years, and it helped me learn that zero days and fluctuation were OKAY.

Image from Tris’s 2022 spreadsheet blog post


What is your favorite software to use to help you write? We’d love to hear from you!

Have a question for us? Drop us an ask anytime!

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Note that none of these comments should be interpreted as Duck Prints Press endorsing these products.