About Writing on Wednesdays: Updates on To Touch A Unicorn and First Snowfall

Well, I’m here in Maryland and have been for nearly two weeks. I was supposed to go home last Friday but the car broke down in Virginia. Fortunately it was late in the afternoon so the heat wasn’t too bad for humans or dogs. Thank goodness because Rex has a hard time in very hot weather. Still, it was hot enough that he whined a bit.  As a matter of fact I whined, too. Belle Amie and Paul did pretty good. Hot, thirsty, and in Paul’s case very dirty from working on the car, we all survived.

The editor from Buzzy Mag contacted me last week while I was here in Maryland about To Touch A Unicorn. I have to admit I was a little intimidated and put off reading her comments until this week. But honestly? When I finally read them it wasn’t bad. Everything she pointed out was dead on and I have no problem with making the changes. My feelings are not hurt and it is a lot like working with Beta Readers. I love working on the story to make it a great read.

Diane and Terry both beta read First Snowfall for me and loved the story. They tell me it’s creepy. Yay! I finished the edits they suggested in the middle of the night this week. There was no else around except me, Rex and Belle Amie. My own story creeped me out. Belle Amie kept barking and shaking at nothing. I’m pretty sure I just made this story up in my head. Didn’t I? o_o

After the story marinates a few days I’ll read over it, during the day, and send it off to see if anyone wants to publish it. I’m crossing my fingers. Many thanks and much appreciation to Diane and Terry for their time, critiques and encouragement.

The sequel to To Touch A Unicorn is in the works. I had to trash most of it although I hope to salvage some scenes. The fact I was having such a hard time moving forward in the story should have been a big clue I was writing in the wrong direction. I like the new start better and hope to have the story finished soon. It may end up being a novella. I’ll find out once I sit down to plot a few scenes. I should have done that to begin with anyway. I do know better.

Moonfire is calling to me. You know? My writing has grown and I might just be ready to get back to that story and get her done. One thing I’ve realized is that I was trying to write to an agenda. There are certain elements in the story that make it easy to cross a line and sermonize instead of telling a great story. I have enough maturity as a writer now to recognize that fact and hopefully fix it.

 

 

Peace.

 

References:

The clip art used is from ClipartPal.

 

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About Writing on Wednesdays: I’m Confused, Where’s That Comma Go Again?

Grammar, I understand, is an important tool in a writer’s arsenal. I haven’t seen anyone ‘taste’ grammar as I have seen them do with a word, but still I’m sure it’s at least as important as the words used to write a story. It is up to the writer to set the mood, rhythm and voice of their work with the grammar they use.

During the course of my self-education I have learned commas are important, and complicated. According to Margaret Shertzer, author of The Elements of Grammar, there are thirty-one different ways to use a comma.  Strunk and White devotes six and a half pages to them in their book, The Elements of Style. *Shudder* No need to cringe, I have no intention of going over them. If you’re in to self-torture go ahead.

I ran across this definition of commas from World English Dictionary:

the punctuation mark(,) indicating a slight pause in the spoken sentence and used where there is a listing of items or to separate a nonrestrictive clause or phrase from a main clause

I like that description. Short, sweet and to the point. Me, being me, can’t leave it alone. No, I need more description. Back I go to Shertzer, Strunk and White; my eyes cross and I get a bit of a buzz in my head while I work out all the intricacies of what you can and can’t do with commas. Commas, I’m pretty sure, are the invention of some little minor demon in hell to give even the devil a headache.

Commas are misused, according to an article I read about them not too long ago. I’m pretty sure that’s true. I know I abuse them in a gleeful manner on a regular basis, and no wonder. Who wouldn’t want to abuse such prudish, uptight punctuation? Besides it’s so easy to do. Evidently.

According to another article I read the use of a comma is up to the writer.  What?! I’ve stressed over my commas, colons and semi-colons for nothing? But wait, according to this same writer they’re misused. I’m scratching my head.

My conclusion is there are basic rules for commas as indicated in the dictionary’s definition. The how of using a comma seems to depend on who you talk to or read, what you’re writing, who you’re writing for (as in your publisher, etc.), your audience and if you’re willing to say kiss my asterisk, I’m putting that dang comma here, so there.

Do you use commas correctly? Or do you enjoy to abusing those suckers? Do you stress over commas? Are you a comma-phobe, like me? Did you know you can italicize a comma? You sure can, here it is:

English: A normal and an italicized comma in T...

 

The articles I’ve referenced:

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/04/09/fanfare-for-the-comma-man/

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/05/21/the-most-comma-mistakes/?src=tp

Peace.

Curio’s Past, Shhh.