Guest Post

HAVE A BOOK TO PROMOTE? Lyrical Pens welcomes guest posts. Answer a questionnaire or create your own post. FYI, up front: This site is a definite PG-13. For details, contact cjpetterson@gmail.com cj

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Helpful grammar hints

cj Sez: Because I'm "trying" to do NaNoWriMo, today's post is a repeat of a popular one done in 2015. The English language is littered with obscure quirks and twists, and writers seem to find a way to encounter every one of them. A few of my favorites follow.
The Christmas Grinch notwithstanding, here are proper usages for Stink, Stank, Stunk . . .
… Stink is the present or future form.
… Stank is the past form, use it when you refer to some time that has already happened, such as last night, yesterday, or last week.
… Stunk is the participle form, it means you must use have, has, or had with it).

… What is that stink I smell?
… Frying that fish will stink up the whole house.
… She sure stank up the kitchen last night with that burned milk!
… I'm sorry, but the baby's diaper really stank on the way home yesterday!
… The house hasn't stunk this badly since the day we found that rat behind the dryer.
… If you hadn't stunk up the bathroom, I wouldn't have opened the window and let your orchids freeze in the snow.

Then there’s this tricky usage/spelling: Pick up, Pick-up, Pickup

… Will you pick up my dry cleaning?
… “Have we met” is such a stale pick-up line.
… My pickup truck is red.
 \\
(Following are excerpts of a blog by a fellow Sisters-in-Crime member:)
IN DEFENSE OF THE MALIGNED “WAS”
By Lois Winston

Editors like action verbs. “Was,” along with its brothers and sisters (is, am, are, been, were) is passive and a surefire way to a rejection letter.

Wrong!

Passive voice is when an action is acted upon the subject, rather than the subject acting.

The car was driven by Anna is a passive sentence. Anna drove the car is an active sentence. However, Anna was happy to drive the car is not a passive sentence. Anna is expressing emotion. She is acting, rather than being acted upon. Of course, there are more interesting ways to write the sentence to show Anna’s emotions, but that’s a separate discussion.

One of the easiest ways to tell whether your sentence is active or passive is to analyze the position of the subject, verb, and direct object.


In active voice, the subject (the one performing the action) will come before the verb (the action), and the verb will come before the direct object (that which is being acted upon.)

There are instances, though, when passive voice is necessary to the unfolding of a story or better suited to the realism of the dialogue. When we speak, we don’t first think whether our sentences are active or passive before uttering them. We just speak them.

Manipulate a sentence to avoid passive voice in conversation, and you often transform snappy dialogue into stilted dialogue.

For example: Billy ran into the house and cried, “Mom! Come quick. Snoopy was hit by a car!” This passage accurately illustrates the way a child might respond to a car hitting his dog. Snoopy was hit by a car is a passive sentence because Snoopy is being acted upon by the car, but the child mentions Snoopy first because the dog’s welfare is uppermost in his mind. Also, by placing the last sentence in passive voice, the author is actually ratcheting up the tension. We don’t know until the very end exactly what hit Snoopy. A stray baseball? A nasty neighbor? A falling tree limb? Although “A car hit Snoopy” is active voice, using it actually lessens the impact of the sentence.

Still squeamish about the use of “was”? After you have finished your manuscript, do a search of the word. Check each sentence to see if you can rewrite it to avoid using “was.” If you can, and it doesn’t detract from the pace, dialogue, or meaning of the passage, do so. If not, leave it. Some “was” were meant to be.

Except . . . the subjunctive:
The what, you ask? Subjunctive case or mood is one of the most misunderstood rules in the English language -- and virtually unknown to most contest judges who will circle a “were” and write in a “was” because the subject is singular.

The subjunctive applies to cases of “wishfulness” or “what if” situations. In these cases, “was” becomes “were,” as in, I wish I were taller. “Were” is also used when a sentence or clause uses “if,” “as if,” or “as though,” but only in instances where the statement is contrary to fact.

Examples include: If I were taller, I could see the stage better, Her twelve year old son acts as if he were in kindergarten, or The maid behaved as though she were queen. Because I cannot grow taller, the twelve-year-old is not in kindergarten, and the maid is not a queen, all the statements are contrary to fact, and “was” becomes “were” even though the subjects are all singular.

Keep in mind, though, that the key statement here is “contrary to fact.” “If” statements that are not contrary to fact retain the singular form of the verb. “If I was at Starbucks that day, I don’t remember” is a correct sentence because the statement is not contrary to fact whether or not I can recall the event.

cj Sez: I keep a list of the quirks and twists that I run across, like the stink, stank, stunk,  and Lois’s blog above. Do you keep a list, or do you run to Google? 

Okay, you-all guys keep on keeping on, and I’ll try to do the same. In the meantime, I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving.


cj
PS:  Thank you for your prayers for my sister. The stroke slowed her down but didn’t cripple her. She is recuperating at home and moving forward with the necessary changes in her life.
PPS:  Pray for peace in this crazy world.

Qrtly newsletter sign-up:  cjpetterson@gmail.com
Bad Day at Round Rock” in The Posse Western anthology of 8 short stories @99 cents
Choosing Carter  -- Kindle  /  Nook  /  Kobo   /  iTunes/iBook
Deadly Star --  Kindle  / Nook  / Kobo
California Kisses—10 book publisher’s bundle @ 99 cents (includes Deadly Star)
The Great Outdoors  8 book publisher’s bundle @99 cents (includes Choosing Carter)
Bodies in Motion — 10 book publisher’s bundle @99 cents (includes Choosing Carter)
Note: On the bundles, the “look inside” invitation gives you a taste of only the first book.


Sunday, November 12, 2017

Mid NaNoWriMo

cj Sez: Since I’ve committed to writing as many words as possible for the NaNoWriMo challenge, today’s post will again be brief. 


Click on over to Facebook and log in to view the perfect symbolism for a successful NaNoWriMo...


Wishing all the strivers SUCCESS!

FYE…Here’s the opening paragraph of my NaNoWriMo story:

The young man sitting opposite her did not appear unfriendly, though not a word had passed between them during the previous eight hours. Handsome, she thought, but soft. Definitely not a Westerner. Despite the semitransparent mix of brown dust and coal soot coating the train window, his dark hair, parted in the middle and curling against the collar of his suit coat, shone with a red highlight glint in the late afternoon sun. streaming in train’s window. His eyes were as blue as the clear Texas skies. She’d been sitting silently, facing him, since leaving the depot in Indian Territory at seven that morning. She took notice of his shy glances and the occasional, deep dimple that dented his one smooth-shaven cheek when he seemed to reflect on some pleasant thought. Silent long enough, she decided to be a little forward and venture the start of a conversation. ///

As you can see by the red, crossed-through places, I can’t stop editing, so I have little hope of reaching 50,000 words. How-some-ever, I will have a good start on a new historical western romance.

From my publisher, Crimson Romance, a new release coming November 27th, the perfect holiday gift for a romance reader near you: 


CHRISTMAS KISSES: 4 HOLIDAY ROMANCES by USA Today bestselling authors Alicia Hunter Pace and T.F. Walsh, with Dana Volney and Casey Dawes.

Grab your eggnog and curl up by the fireplace with these magical holiday romances sure to warm your heart and your spirits!

Okay, you-all guys keep on keeping on, and I’ll try to do the same.

cj
Warning, warning! Santa’s arrival on Christmas eve is only six weeks away. Here are some wonderful (and cheap) suggestions for holiday gifts for your favorite romance readers. Helpful hint: The bundles are so cheap, you can buy them for white elephant gifts also and look like a big spender.
Bad Day at Round Rock” in The Posse Western anthology of 8 short stories @99 cents
Choosing Carter  -- Kindle  /  Nook  /  Kobo   /  iTunes/iBook
Deadly Star --  Kindle  / Nook  / Kobo
California Kisses—10 book publisher’s bundle @ 99 cents (includes Deadly Star)
The Great Outdoors  8 book publisher’s bundle @99 cents (includes Choosing Carter)
Bodies in Motion — 10 book publisher’s bundle @99 cents (includes Choosing Carter)
Note: On the bundles, the “look inside” invitation gives you a taste of only the first book.
Qrtly newsletter sign-up:  cjpetterson@gmail.com