Mechanics Technique, again

Technique, again

I am taking a look yet again at my first novel, Fatal Score (initially called Hack the Yak), which I am preparing to query. I asked an editor to look at the first three chapters.  The results were eye-opening. When I began writing, I used interior monolog (protagonist’s thoughts), which I laid down in italics.  …

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Mechanics The Writing Paradigm

The Writing Paradigm

Ponderous title, no? The paradigm of writing has been one of my discoveries, the kind that slaps you upside the head and then laughs at you when you look back over your benighted stumble toward understanding and realize that it was always there, obvious. You were just too dense to see it. Webster’s defines paradigm …

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Mechanics Arrrrgh! Bring-Take

Arrrrgh! Bring-Take

No, I’m not channeling my inner pirate.  And, right off, I admit to being a closet snooty person about grammar.  However, I do understand that language is ever changing, mapping our ways and means of communication.  So, unlike political candidates these days, I’m a proud centrist with respect to grammar (and in politics, too, but …

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Mechanics The Agony of Grammar

The Agony of Grammar

I’ve been running into an issue in writing lately that has me stumped: grammar. Specifically, how precisely to follow grammatical rules in writing, particularly in dialog. On the one hand, John McWhorter (Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue and others) points out that the language is always in motion and often intimates that the “rules” we follow …

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Mechanics The Grammar Question

The Grammar Question

One of the great advantages my writing groups give me is a breadth of vision about ‘normal’ grammar. I’ve learned to stay in the middle of the grammar continuum, which to me looks like this: Stuffy <——————————————-> Stupid-boring It’s pretty easy to stay away from the far ends. I can’t have my characters saying, “There’s …

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Mechanics Bring/Take and the Surrender of Grammar to Chaos

Bring/Take and the Surrender of Grammar to Chaos

This morning, the Sunday New York Times delivered a shot upside the head before I even read about Ebola or the insanity that is ISIS.The bag.  It was the bag.  There, in the upper right corner “Bring it Back” from the NYT. Bring it Back? Really?  Not “Recycle it?” Since the delivery person already brought …

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Mechanics Ten Rules For Writing

Ten Rules For Writing

Important rules, with thanks to my friends at Writers Alliance of Gainesville: 1.  Avoid Alliteration.  Always. 2.  Prepositions are not words to end sentences with. 3.  Avoid clichés like the plague. 4.  Comparisons are as bad as clichés. 5.  Be more or less specific. 6.  Writers should never generalize. Seven:  Be consistent. 8.  Don’t be …

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Mechanics On punctuation and breathing

On punctuation and breathing

My friend Sam Westreich, a fine writer, asked about a rule for punctuation, says, “Put in a comma when your brain runs out of breath.”  Now, if we had been given rules like that in fifth grade, we’d all be grammarians!

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