Thursday, October 22, 2015

Grammarly Deets -- An Interim Note

I apologize for making you wait, but I'm in the midst of an editing quagmire, i.e. 2nd round (reread and revise) of my WIP, Camellia's Choice. In light of that, I decided to post my checklist, a truck load of words and phrases to cull from my story. I know it will seem a tedious, overwhelming task to many, but it really does the job. The first stage of it, anyway. Ah yes, there will be more! As if that's not bad enough, I run through my manuscript one word at a time. Go ahead and count. Yep. That's ... hmm ... around sixty-some? Imagine that. Scanning through 300 or so pages sixty times? No. I confess. I don't do that many. I search each word to see how many times I've used it. If it comes in at a low number, I skip it. Otherwise, maybe one or three years from now, you'd be finding me in a padded cell, gone cuckoo with my mind stuck in editing gear, words trolling through my brain while I sputter and spout all sorts of nonsense. Talk about nonsense ... let me stop, now, and get to that list.

·        decide(d)
·        notice(d)
·        realise(d)
·        watch(ed)
·        saw
·        heard
·        thought
·        wonder(ed)
·        look(ed)
·        seem(ed)
·        knew
·        begin/began/begun to
·        start to
·        about to
·        could

·        a bit,
·        a little,
·        about,
·        actually,
·        almost,
·        almost like,
·        already,
·        appears,
·        approximately,
·        basically,
·        close to,
·        even,
·        eventually,
·        exactly,
·        fairly,

·        finally, 
·        here,
·        highly,
·        instead
·        just,
·        just then,
·        kind of,
·        mostly,
·        nearly,
·        now
·        only
·        practically,
·        pretty,
·        quite,
·        rather,
·        really,  
·        simply,
·        slightly,
·        so,
·        some of
·        somehow,
·        somewhat,
·        somewhat like,
·        sort of,
·        suddenly,
·        that
·        then,
·        there,
·        truly,
·        utterly,
·        very

        *Phrases to shorten: 

·        in front of (before, ahead)
·        at the back (behind)
·        out of (from, away, beyond)
·        off of (off)
“Throw up into your typewriter every morning. Clean up every noon.”
         -Raymond Chandler
          Authors on Revision
          Happy writing and editing!

Friday, October 9, 2015

Grammarly Deets #7

Back to school again with Grammar class 101. This time I'm going to focus on a few confusing words, which many misuse quite often. It happens more than you'd think and in situations from people you wouldn't expect. Of course, that only perpetuates the misuse. Gotta love the English language!

First up, and it's a biggie, is the misuse of the verbs to lie and to lay. In this case to lie is not referring to the meaning of telling a fib, but rather to recline. If you're familiar with the grammar term "direct object" this might be easier to understand. If not, please be patient. I will use examples to help clarify.

Present tense:

--to lie: I lie on the bed.
--to lay: I lay the book on the table. (notice the underlined words, the book; that's a direct object.) 

**Remember: Lay will always have a direct object when it means placing something or putting something.

Now, let's go on to create a chart (it helps me to refer to this and maybe it will for you, too):

To lie (meaning to recline)

present tense:    lie (I lie on the bed)                             

past tense:         lay (Yesterday, I lay in bed until noon.)
past participle: lain (I had lain in bed until noon three days last week.)

To lay (meaning to place something or put something)

present tense:     lay (I lay the book down on the table.)                   

past tense:          laid (I laid the book on the table yesterday.)
past participle:  laid (I suddenly remembered I had laid the books on the table.)

Don't be discouraged if you get lie and lay confused. Some of the greatest figures in society have done so, too. Remember Bob Dylan and his song "Lay Lady Lay"? It's wrong! Should be "Lie Lady Lie". Eric Clapton? "Lay Down, Sally"? Eh, eh. Nope. "Lie Down, Sally". 

You want more common grammar confusion? How about there, their, they're? It's really quite easy to remember this way: there has the word here in it. Therefore, it means location. Example: I left the book over there by the door. The word they're is a contraction. Remember that the apostrophe (') is the replacement for a letter. They're = they are. Example: They're (they are) going to the party together. Of course that leaves their. One trick to remember is to focus on the letter i in the word. I can prompt the idea of possession. Another trick is the word heir inside their. An heir inherits so things belong to him, i.e. possession. Example: They needed to bring their books to class.

A couple more? 

Accept/Except : I accept your apology. Everyone came except Tom. The first one is a verb.

Affect/Effect:  Lack of sleep affects your health. The effects of poor health may kill you. Again, the first one is a verb, second one a noun. 

Enough for now. Class is over. However, I'll be back with more word confusion next week!

Enjoy life and write well!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Weekly Deets - 10.8.15

Be forewarned today's post has nothing to do with writing. Not really. I just had an itch to post about this. However, there will be an appropriate quote or two made by authors to follow. That's sort of a tie-in. Sort of. So, on with it ... 

I was watching the news yesterday. The usual newsy stuff along with the not so newsy stuff, like a video of a toddler and family dog jumping up and down when Daddy comes home from work. How is that news? I can send our local network plenty of videos of my pooch doing cutesy things. Do you think the producer would include it in the show's lineup? I don't know ... I mean, they only have ... hmm ... let's see, an hour of morning news, three hours of afternoon/evening news, and one hour of nightly news to fit a tiny video into their program. Of course, most all of it is looped to repeat several times a day.

I guess at this point I should mention I'm not ranting just to, well, rant. I'm making a point. Really. We've become a society of over-saturation. News, news and more news, streaming into our lives via television, computer, tablet, and phone. Twenty-four seven to stay connected. Makes you wonder how news people managed to do it years ago in a half hour evening segment. Of course, I do realize one purpose of this is to make news available to accommodate every one's busy schedule. There's bound to be a point during the day we're free to turn on or plug in our device and be informed. Over-saturation. 

I remember learning in psychology class how watching videos with a violent theme over and over again tends to make a person immune to witnessing violence. Scary thought. Of course I cry over everything! Like those Hallmark commercials and the one showing closeups of the faces of those sad-eyed little abused puppies. You know the one  where Sarah McLachlan sings "Angel" in the background? And don't get me started on movies or books where a dear family pet dies in the story. I won't watch. (Old Yeller traumatized me forever.) Anyway, the saying "ignorance is bliss"* comes to mind. Most days or weeks, I'd rather be blissful, happily ignorant living in my own little world of fiction, thank you very much. Maybe it's my age -- years of being over-saturated with the misery going on around me. Avoiding that is quite desirable.  But then I wouldn't be very well informed, as all those news mongers would argue. Not saying it's right for everyone, but I'm okay with it. Sort of. I like to be informed. Makes me not look so stupid when I'm in a group of people discussing world views. But I can only take so much saturation. Give me small doses, thank you very much. That will do just fine. 

"There are many things of which a wise man might wish to be ignorant." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Where is the life we have lost in living? Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?" -- T.S. Eliot 

*Ignorance is bliss -- a phrase coined by Thomas Gray in his Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College. 

Have a great week, all. And happy writing!

This news broadcast is brought to you by Kathryn Long, a blissfully optimistic soul who will always appreciate the positives in life. :-)