January 29

Tip: Don’t use complex words when a simpler one will do. Just because you won the fifth grade spelling bee or read the entire dictionary doesn’t mean you need to use unusual words (unless it’s a character thing). Instead of: preowned automobile – used car; chemical dependency – drug addiction; correctional facility – prison. And so on. Use common words people will recognize. No, you don’t have to “dumb it down”, but you shouldn’t need a college degree to read a good story.

Thought: All you need is a blank piece of paper and a pencil – Seymour Mann (father of Erica Jong).

Teaser: This is National Puzzle Day. Puzzles come in all sizes, shapes and formats, from easy word-searches to furniture. Imagine you are in the business of creating puzzles and have to come up with something new. What would it be? How many pieces would it have? How big is it? Do you need tools to assemble or a dictionary to solve? Is there a prize for the first solver? Let your imagination puzzle the facts out.

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