In today’s Journal
* Quotes of the Day
* Adios TKZ
* What Constitutes a Run-On Sentence
* Pearl Harbor Day
* Of Interest
Quotes of the Day
“Fear of life closes off more opportunities for us than fear of death ever does.” Agnes Moorehead
“If you can walk away from a landing, it’s a good landing. If you use the airplane the next day, it’s an outstanding landing.” Chuck Yeager
“Dare to be bad.” Nina Kiriki Hoffman
After several years of checking The Kill Zone blog every day, my own blog post yesterday caused me to look at TKZ in a different light. Why should I help them sell the myths and their nonfiction books in which they propagate the myths?
As a result, I deleted TKZ from my bookmarks this morning. Over the years it has become more and more deeply steeped in the myths.
Most of the writers there actively promote the myths despite the fact that every myth is based on an unreasoning fear and is actually harmful to writers in how it inhibits their learning curve on craft. The myths stunt your growth as a writer.
Unfortunately, the writers there also actively and loudly denounce, shout down and ridicule anyone who proposes that you as a writer really CAN simply believe in yourself and your abilities to do something as simple as telling a story.
TKZ has also transformed into a platform that seems to exist primarily for promoting the contributors’ fiction and, unfortunately (and much worse), some contributors’ nonfiction how-to books that further promote and promulgate the myths of writing.
I understand very well that fiction writers lie for a living. But they shouldn’t lie to other fiction writers just to make a few (or even a million) lousy bucks pushing the myths.
I can’t in good conscience pass along articles that I believe might lead astray those who look to me for instruction and recommendations.
For any who believe I’m being unfair, if you would like to continue to check TKZ for articles that might be of interest, you may do so at https://killzoneblog.com. That’s as fair as I can be.
What Constitutes a Run-On Sentence
Writing friend Alison H wrote,
“In an earlier newsletter, you mentioned run-on sentences. You said something to the effect of a super long sentence isn’t always a run-on sentence but I don’t think you went into detail about what makes a sentence a run-on sentence. In one of your newsletters, could you explain?”
The post she mentioned was “What Matters…” at https://hestanbrough.com/what-matters-picture-manager-and-publishing/. I reread it, and she’s right. I stopped short of defining a run-on sentence.
However, I did define it in response to a comment on that post from Peggy:
Simply put “two or more independent clauses joined without either a semicolon or a coordinating conjunction is a run-on. My point was that length had nothing whatsoever to do with it.”
And of course, if you download the Journal archives, you can always key “run-on” into the search box. The archives are free. I get nothing when you download them. I suggest you take advantage of this while you can.
A clause is any group of words that contains a subject and a verb.
An independent clause (and simple sentence) is a group of words that has a subject and verb and makes sense all by itself.
So “Jesus wept” is an independent clause and a simple sentence. “The heavens opened up” is also an independent clause and a simple sentence.
A dependent clause is a group of words with a subject and a verb and a subordinate conjunction. It depends on an independent clause to make sense. “Because Jesus wept” is a dependent clause.
Next time it’s raining where you are, go out in it, turn your palms up, smile at someone and say, “It’s raining!” Chances are they’ll smile and go on their way. What you said made perfect sense.
On the other hand, if you turn your palms up, smile and say, “Because it’s raining” or “After it stops raining” or “Until it stops raining” and then stop, chance are they’ll look at you as if you have two heads. They’ll want you to say something else to fill-out the thought.
“Jesus wept the heavens opened up” is a run-on sentence, two independent clauses joined without a comma and a coordinating conjunction, a semicolon, or a subordinate conjunction. If you insert only a comma after “wept,” you’ll have a comma splice. (The coordinating conjunctions are FANBOYS: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so.)
“Because Jesus wept, the heavens opened up” is a complex sentenece (a dependent or subordinate clause followed by an independent clause. If the order is reversed—”The heavens opened up because Jesus wept” it’s still a complex sentence).
Some commenter on TPV the other day asked why you have to follow a subordinate clause with a comma when it is the first clause in the complex sentence but you don’t have to follow an independent clause with a comma if it’s the first clause in a complex sentence.
The first half of the sentence is the important position. If the less-important information (the subordinate or dependent clause) is in that postion, you follow it with a comma to provide a brief pause to “introduce” the more important independent clause. When the order is reverse and the important information is in the important first half of the sentence, no comma is necessary. That’s why.
“Jesus wept, and the heavens opened up” is a compound sentence (two independent clauses appropriately joined).
“Because Jesus wept, the heavens opened up, and it rained for forty days” is a compound/complex sentence.
“Jesus wept early in the morning while hanging on a cross on a hill called Golgotha outside the city of Jerusalem” also is a simple sentence. If you continued adding prepositional phrases all day but never added another subject or verb, it would still be a very long simple sentence, but it would still not be a run-on. (The subject and verb are “Jesus wept.”)
Finally, for all of this and more, see Punctuation for Writers, 2nd Edition. Ten lousy bucks, for the best explanation you’ll ever see of punctuation and a great little grammar refresher.
Pearl Harbor Day
I wish you a thoughtful Pearl Harbor Day. Some of us remember when December 7 on calendars was routinely labeled “Pearl Harbor Day.”
Of course, that was a different time. Back then it was not only acceptable but fashionable to be proud of America and defend her rather than run her down.
Talk with you again soon.
See “11 Scientific Advancements Inspired by Sci-Fi Stories” at https://www.mentalfloss.com/posts/scientific-advancements-inspired-by-science-fiction. Someday the intergalactic magnetic drive will be among these. (grin) I suspect Jack Williamson’s “The Humanoids” predated any Manga series.
See “The Elizabethan era is not yet at an end” at https://www.thepassivevoice.com/the-elizabethan-era-is-not-yet-at-an-end/.
See “3 Action-Reaction Misfires That Flatten Your Writing” at https://www.thepassivevoice.com/3-action-reaction-misfires-that-flatten-your-writing/. Sigh. Read this in case it’s important, then forget it and Just Write.
The Journal…………………………………… 1170 words
Writing of Santa Fe (novel, tentative title)
Day 1…… 3877 words. Total words to date…… 3877
Day 2…… 3460 words. Total words to date…… 7337
Day 3…… 2011 words. Total words to date…… 9348
Day 4…… 1050 words. Total words to date…… 10398
Day 5…… 3673 words. Total words to date…… 14071
Day 6…… 2501 words. Total words to date…… 16572
Day 7…… 4046 words. Total words to date…… 20618
Day 8…… 2273 words. Total words to date…… 22891
Day 9…… 2614 words. Total words to date…… 25505
Day 10… 3778 words. Total words to date…… 29283
Day 11… 2672 words. Total words to date…… 31955
Total fiction words for December……… 15383
Total fiction words for the year………… 230357
Total nonfiction words for December… 6310
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 204390
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 413054
Calendar Year 2022 Novels to Date…………………… 3
Calendar Year 2022 Novellas to Date……………… 0
Calendar Year 2022 Short Stories to Date… 0
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………………………………… 69
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)………………………………… 8
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)………………… 217
Short story collections……………………………………………… 31
Disclaimer: In this blog I have shared my experiences, good and bad, as a prolific professional fiction writer. Because It Makes Sense, I trust my characters to tell the story that they, not I, are living. This greatly increases my productivity and provides the fastest possible ascension along the learning curve of Craft because I get a great deal more practice at actually writing.