In today’s Journal
* Quote of the Day
* An alternate dictionary
* A Little Fun
* A Run-on Sentence? Nope.
* No writing yesterday
* The Numbers
Quote of the Day
“Noir is urban gothic—hopeless. Hardboiled is gritty and unsentimental.” Garry Rodgers
For maybe the past 40 years or so, I’ve been slowly compiling an alternate dictionary of sorts as a mental exercise, something similar to The Devil’s Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce.
Despite its name, Bierce’s dictionary has nothing to do with Satan, by the way. If you’re not familiar with it, you can find a free copy at https://www.gutenberg.org/files/972/972-h/972-h.htm. It’s great fun to read. I recommend it.
One of the definitions I wrote for my own dictionary was this one:
“democratic republic, n. That form of government in which, every four years, the citizenry is kept busy canceling each other’s votes while the electoral college selects a president.”
I’m envious of Bierce. My own dictionary contains only maybe 30 or 40 definitions, whereas his contains probably a few hundred.
A Little Fun
A friend in California sent me a link to an article in Wired magazine. According to the article, to write a book in 2021 you need
* A Way to Take Notes
* Some (Any) Kind of Writing App
* A Second, Safe Copy of Your Work
* Something to Track Your Progress, and
* The Right Space
According to Harvey, you need
* A character with a problem in a setting (grin)
I win, at least for brevity.
A Run-on Sentence? Nope.
In a post today The Passive Guy wrote this sentence:
“So, back to frolicking, if Jane delivers her load for Super-Fast Deliveries and, instead of returning the tractor portion of the truck to the closest Super-Fast depot as she is supposed to do, Jane decides to ‘borrow’ it for a weekend getaway out by the lake, and, on her way to the lake, runs a red light and smashes into into a loaded bus filled with wealthy investment bankers, causing a huge amount of damage, well beyond the limits of Super-Fast’s liability insurance, Super-Fast might contend that Jane had the accident not while she was doing the job for which she was hired, but rather, ‘on a frolic of her own’ or an updated term that means the same thing.”
Then he wrote, “(Yes, PG acknowledges that was a run-on sentence and Mrs. Lascelles would be upset with him even if he were still only in the third grade.)”
So I stole the example and his comment for a teaching moment. Here’s the (tongue-in-cheek if you can’t tell) comment I left on his site:
“Strictly as a case in point, PG, the sentence you wrote that begins with ‘So, back to frolicking’ and ends with ‘the same thing’ is a very long sentence, but it is neither a run-on sentence nor a comma spliced sentence. It’s written and puncutated correctly, and though it might cause mind-strain for some, it works fine as-is.
“A ‘run-on sentence’ is two or more independent clauses (each with its own subject and verb) that are joined by simply being smashed together, without benefit of a comma and a coordinating conjunction (or a semicolon). You have plenty of commas, each in a correct, useful place, and just enough coordinating conjunctions. Y’done good.”
Any questions, email me or leave a comment on the site.
By the way, there are some very long stream-of-consciousness sentences in my “Vignette from a Third-Story Window” too, but there are no run-on sentences. It won’t be published for awhile, so if you’d like a copy, email me.
I didn’t do any writing yesterday except cycling over the short story I wrote. That added about 150 words, so the fiction totals below jumped by that much. Otherwise it was a non-writing day.
Not because of anything going on over in DC, but because my wife is a bit under the weather. We did watch a little TV, but we watched fiction. No live events.
Today I will dive headlong back into writing fiction. It’s my favorite escape. I’ll probably continue my SF Future of Humanity (FOH) series for now.
But another storyline’s lurking in the back of my mind. It would document the culmination and ramifications of a determined and expertly choreographed 4-year coup in a fictitious democratic republic, probably set in Africa or Central or South America.
Talk with you again soon.
See “Rules for Your Writing Group” at https://mystorydoctor.com/rules-for-your-writing-group/. I’ll point out that despite the title, he is not actually talking about a “writing” group, one in whicn people gather to write. He is talking about a critique group. I recommend not letting anyone else into your story.
See “Crime Writing — Do You Like Yours Hardboiled or Noir?” at https://killzoneblog.com/2021/01/crime-writing-do-you-like-yours-hardboiled-or-noir.html.
See “Long Black Veil” at https://www.thepassivevoice.com/long-black-veil/. One of my favorite old songs and linked here as a continuation of “noir” talk.
The Journal…………………………………… 810 words
Writing of The Journey Home: Part 6 (novel)
Day 1…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX
Total fiction words for January……… 61039
Total fiction words for the year………… 61039
Total nonfiction words for December… 15440
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 15440
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 76479
Calendar Year 2021 Novels to Date…………………… 1
Calendar Year 2021 Novellas to Date……………… X
Calendar Year 2021 Short Stories to Date… 1
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………………………………… 55
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)………………………………… 8
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)………………… 215
Short story collections……………………………………………… 31