Sanction: What Does That Even Mean?!

The word “sanction” has always confused me.  The reader is supposed to understand your word choices based on context clues, but it would be best to avoid contronyms when possible. Below is a list of contronyms from 

Can you think of other confusing words not listed here? Please leave a comment! 

1. Apology: A statement of contrition for an action, or a defense of one
2. Aught: All, or nothing
3. Bill: A payment, or an invoice for payment
4. Bolt: To secure, or to flee
5. Bound: Heading to a destination, or restrained from movement
6. Buckle: To connect, or to break or collapse
7. Cleave: To adhere, or to separate
8. Clip: To fasten, or detach
9. Consult: To offer advice, or to obtain it
10. Continue: To keep doing an action, or to suspend an action
11. Custom: A common practice, or a special treatment
12. Dike: A wall to prevent flooding, or a ditch
13. Discursive: Moving in an orderly fashion among topics, or proceeding aimlessly in a discussion
14. Dollop: A large amount (British English), or a small amount
15. Dust: To add fine particles, or to remove them
16. Enjoin: To impose, or to prohibit
17. Fast: Quick, or stuck or made stable
18. Fine: Excellent, or acceptable or good enough
19. Finished: Completed, or ended or destroyed
20. First degree: Most severe in the case of a murder charge, or least severe in reference to a burn
21. Fix: To repair, or to castrate
22. Flog: To promote persistently, or to criticize or beat
23. Garnish: To furnish, as with food preparation, or to take away, as with wages
24. Give out: To provide, or to stop because of a lack of supply
25. Go: To proceed or succeed, or to weaken or fail
26. Grade: A degree of slope, or a horizontal line or position
27. Handicap: An advantage provided to ensure equality, or a disadvantage that prevents equal achievement
28. Help: To assist, or to prevent or (in negative constructions) restrain
29. Hold up: To support, or to impede
30. Lease: To offer property for rent, or to hold such property
31. Left: Remained, or departed
32. Let: Allowed, or hindered
33. Liege: A feudal lord, or a vassal
34. Literally: Actually, or virtually
35. Mean: Average or stingy, or excellent
36. Model: An exemplar, or a copy
37. Off: Deactivated, or activated, as an alarm
38. Out: Visible, as with stars showing in the sky, or invisible, in reference to lights
39. Out of: Outside, or inside, as in working out of a specific office
40. Overlook: To supervise, or to neglect
41. Oversight: Monitoring, or failing to oversee
42. Peer: A person of the nobility, or an equal
43. Presently: Now, or soon
44. Put out: Extinguish, or generate
45. Puzzle: A problem, or to solve one
46. Quantum: Significantly large, or a minuscule part
47. Quiddity: Essence, or a trifling point of contention
48. Quite: Rather (as a qualifying modifier), or completely
49. Ravel: To entangle, or to disentangle
50. Refrain: To desist from doing something, or to repeat
51. Rent: To purchase use of something, or to sell use
52. Rock: An immobile mass of stone or figuratively similar phenomenon, or a shaking or unsettling movement or action
53. Sanction: To approve, or to boycott
54. Sanguine: Confidently cheerful, or bloodthirsty
55. Scan: To peruse, or to glance
56. Screen: To present, or to conceal
57. Seed: To sow seeds, or to shed or remove them
58. Shop: To patronize a business in order to purchase something, or to sell something
59. Skin: To cover, or to remove
60. Skinned: Covered with skin, or with the skin removed
61. Splice: To join, or to separate
62. Stakeholder: One who has a stake in an enterprise, or a bystander who holds the stake for those placing a bet
63. Strike: To hit, or to miss in an attempt to hit
64. Table: To propose (in British English), or to set aside
65. Temper: To soften, or to strengthen
66. Throw out: To dispose of, or to present for consideration
67. Transparent: Invisible, or obvious
68. Trim: To decorate, or to remove excess from
69. Trip: A journey, or a stumble
70. Unbending: Rigid, or relaxing
71. Variety: A particular type, or many types
72. Wear: To endure, or to deteriorate
73. Weather: To withstand, or to wear away
74. Wind up: To end, or to start up
75. With: Alongside, or against


Keep writing and keep sharing! Cronin Detzz 



My back hurts and my muse thrust a dagger between my shoulder blades. My brain is amped with mighty muscle, but if I don’t attend to the rest of my body, my brain will become a deflated basketball. 

I’m not a fitness enthusiast but I wish I were. My husband works out in this gym 3 times a week. I took a week off work to focus on writing, so I took the time and finally went with him to the gym.

I hopped onto the treadmill and read my Kindle. Thirty minutes sped by.

I wanted to read more so I walked another 30 minutes! We finished the session by relaxing in the pool.

Because I have arthritis and fibromyalgia, I expected to be sore the next day. I wasn’t! I do walk every day, so my legs were probably used to the exercise. 

But here’s the best part: the treadmill loosened up the creative debris lodged in my skull. I got a lot of writing done.

What has worked for you? I wish I could jog or do more with my body. I bet that a writer who is also a jogger could really shake up his muse. 

Keep writing and keep sharing! Cronin Detzz 

Stretch Your Literary Muscles

Do you keep a list of fun words? It’s a great way to stretch your literary muscles. What is on your special word list?


Here are a few words from my list:
Zeitgeist: the flavor of a time
Excelsior: soft wood shavings used for packing
Attenuate: reduce the force or value of something

Help your fellow writers by sharing a few of your fun words in the comments below.

Keep writing and keep sharing! – Cronin Detzz


I finally receive clarification of a recurring dream from the dawn of civilization.


Like many people, I retain snippets of dreams each morning. However, I’m often left with bizarre words that take time to unravel.

Like Bilqis. My first thoughts last week: “did I hear that right? Was it Biquip? Bilks?”

It was Bilqis. The Queen of Sheba, from 1,000 BC. This information helped me to pinpoint a location: Ethiopia.

The recurring dream shows a tribal conflict. In the dark of night, a large faction splits off and builds three large boats in secret. They gather all their supplies, and with torches in hand they row across the dark sea to find a new land.

Leaving behind everything they know is the only way to restore peace. They are afraid but they are also afraid to show their fear. So they press on into the unknown with their warrior-like leader, Gilgamesh.

I see the route they take. I see the same route every time I have this dream. Today, I finally looked at our globe to pinpoint where they came from.

From Ethiopia, they cross the Gulf of Aden and land in Yemen. Ethiopia is rumored to be the kingdom of Sheba. Sheba was born a thousand years after Gilgamesh.

One of the smaller boats became lost and settled in Socatra.

In last night’s final episode, I am Shamhat, the royal courtesan who tames Enkidu. Enkidu was a rival of Gilgamesh but after Shamhat tamed him, Enkidu and Gilgamesh became best friends.

What my dream showed was that Gilgamesh was crucified. The epic story of him does not confirm this. Shamhat wept more than anyone as he was lifted on the cross. In a Christ-like way, he accepts his fate and instructs Shamhat to do the same. He willingly surrenders his spirit to the Lord.

When I woke up, my body was in the same position as Gilgamesh on the cross.

Before last night’s dream, I knew next to nothing about his story. I did some research today; Sparknotes has the best recap.

Dreams can be a fascinating building block to story writing. Keep a dream log.

Has a dream log helped your writing?

Keep writing and keep sharing! – Cronin Detzz

Don’t Confuse Mystery with Confusion


I started two books this week, one by a cyber thriller writer and another by a world famous sci-fi writer.

The cyber thriller had confusing dialog where I wasn’t always certain who was speaking. There was also too much telling and not enough showing. I couldn’t finish it.

The science fiction piece was confusing because it wasn’t until the beginning of the inciting event that I realized the main character was a female. This writer’s main characters are usually male.

I know we want to avoid too much backstory, but I think we want to have mystery, not confusion.

Keep writing and keep sharing! – Cronin Detzz


After struggling for some time with writer’s block on my current work in progress about an uprising, I jumped ahead to playing with plot twists. Yes! It’s okay to jump ahead and write what you can. See more about fragmented writing here.

I’m not going to reveal my twists, but I will say that I implanted a red herring. My goal is to have the reader be very angry at the corrupt villain. This particular villain deserves to be detested, but the real villain – the powerful deceiver who is pulling all the strings – is not revealed until well after the mid-point.

Think about some of your favorite movies, and you will surely get some ideas for plot twists and surprise endings. “Book of Eli,” starring Denzel Washington, has a fabulous surprise ending. My husband and I pride ourselves in picking out Hollywood’s plot twists, so we watched the movie again. We wondered how we could have missed such a vital clue about Eli. You may have felt the same sense of wonder after M. Night Shyamalan’s “Sixth Sense.”


Fight Club-Cronin Detzz

K. M. Weiland writes a fantastic blog. I admire her because she shares my vision of helping other writers. In her post about writing killer plot twists, she states that plot twists not only need to be unique and executed cleverly, they “must also not take away from re-readability.” This is sound advice for anyone who may want to re-read your book.  Your readers should be asking themselves, “Wow, how did I miss that? I need to go back and re-read the clues. A link to Weiland’s blog is below.

You can click on a blue button to create a random plot twist by visiting pantomimepony (link below). It offers ideas like, “The sister marries the vicar,” or “The social worker unintentionally burns the note, believing it to be cursed.”

A link to an infographic can be seen by clicking the “Awesomer” link below. Many of these twists have been done before, and I wouldn’t advise literally using them, but they are definitely worth a glance because these pictures can get your brain moving in creative directions. For instance, one fun twist is the “robot reveal,” (think Schwarzenegger’s “Terminator”) but a twist you’ll want to avoid is “it was all a dream.”

As a matter of fact, if you are concerned that your twist is trite, read Huffington Post’s blog (link below). Here, you’ll find taboos such as: don’t tell us the aunt is really the mother or that Darth is Luke’s father. I cannot comment on some of this blogger’s pet peeves because I haven’t read some of the books listed, but I do agree that a twist/surprise ending should not be, “oh, never mind, that guy’s just crazy.” This kind of ending is in danger of punching all the teeth out of a story. I do offer this counterpoint: “Fight Club” pulls it off brilliantly. Read the book.

Writers should especially remember to structure the twist so that readers do not feel cheated. Sprinkle a bit of foreshadowing, water it with a few subtle clues, and have fun.

What are some of your favorite plot twists?

Keep writing & keep sharing! – Cronin Detzz

See the link to K. M. Weiland’s plot twist blog at:

Random plot twist generator:

The awesomer infographic:

Huffington Post’s 7 awful plot twists:


If you thought that we were going to discuss sleeping as an aid to better writing – well, that’s true but that’s not the type of zz’s we are going to catch.
Cronin Detzz Pen Names

What do these names have in common:
Eric Blair
Francois-Marie Arouet
Sam Clemens

Ah, you saw Sam Clemens and you caught on. These are pen names. Eric Blair wrote as George Orwell, Francois-Marie Arouet was Voltaire, and of course you know that Sam Clemens was Mark Twain. Have you considered using a pen name? If you use your given name but were given the option for a pen name, what name would you choose?

Cronin Detzz is my pen name. I use it for two reasons. First, my real name is very common and forgettable. Second – and more importantly – my mother was a writer and she mentored me. Cronin Detzz was her pen name. Ironically, I am a junior so my mother and I not only share the same “real” name, we also have the same pen name.

Mom was killed by a drunk driver when I was 24. She was only 45. I thought it would be a fitting tribute to use her pen name. I asked my sister if she minded, especially since she likes to write, too. She was glad to let me use it.

My mom chose this name for very specific reason. In her time, female writers were still trying to break barriers. One of my favorite coming-of-age books, “The Outsiders,” was written by S.E. Hinton. Suzy Hinton used her initials to hide the fact that she is female. Similarly, Mary Ann Evans wrote as George Eliot. So my mother chose Cronin because it can be a male or a female’s name. Detzz was her own creation, and she liked it because of the double z’s. She felt that the “zz” combo was catchy.

Maybe using a pen name isn’t a big deal. A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. But with a writer’s need to be memorable or to have a name that is easy to pronounce, some people really should use a pen name.

Now that you know my reasons, I again ask you: If you use your given name but were given the option for a pen name, what name would you choose? If you already use a pen name, what is it and why?

Look forward to your comments. Keep writing & keep sharing! Cronin Detzz