The Journal: Griping a little

In today’s Journal

* Quote of the Day
* Griping a little
* Still in class
* Of Interest
* The Numbers

Quote of the Day

“[L]ibraries promote more reading, which creates more readers, which creates more book purchasers, which means publishers make more money.” The Passive Guy

I’m griping a little today. I don’t like inaccuracy in writing instruction, and there’s a lot of inaccuracy out there. When I read or hear a blatant inaccuracy that is obviously not a typo in a blog post or a misstep in a writing class, it makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.

Some would-be writing instructors don’t know how to safeguard their credibility by using qualifiers like “some” or “most” or “hardly ever.” Instead they use absolutes (or extremes) like “all” or “always” or “never.” And when they do, they’re almost always wrong.

You could pretty safely say the sunrise “always” occurs at the eastern horizon of the earth. Barring a truly major cataclysm, that will always be true.

But you can’t accurately write that “You CANNOT use an apostrophe to create a plural.” (See today’s “Of Interest.”) Of course, the writer who wrote that then contradicted herself by adding

“My characters can mind their Ps and Qs. But when it comes to dotting I’s, [my editor] prefers the apostrophe because it avoids the confusion with the word Is. And, for consistency, she included the apostrophe with crossing T’s.”

YES! I’ve taught my students that exception for thirty years or more, although the example I used was one parent talking to another about Little Johnny’s report card. In that case, you might write “He earned three A’s, two B’s and a C.” The first apostrophe would avoid reader confusion with “as” and the second would be for consistency.

So in her advice, why did the author of the article write the absolute “THERE IS NO USE THREE” instead of “The third use of the apostrophe, to form a plural, is an exception to the norm”?

Why did she choose to write “You CANNOT use an apostrophe to create a plural” instead of “You can use an apostrophe to create a plural only to avoid confusing the reader” and then insert her example?

When you’re a professional writer, part of your job is learning how much you don’t know. Another part of your job is correcting that lack by learning. Until you do that, you shouldn’t pose as a writing instructor.

Writing instructors owe it to their students to get it right. Spreading misinformation, whether intentionally or out of ignorance, is just wrong.

A day or two ago, another professional writer, one I admire, commented on a Journal post that she misses my daily word counts. Flippantly, I replied that I miss them too. (grin)

But I owe her (and you) a better answer than that. So here it is.

I’m still in the class on Affinity Publisher for Beginners, and I’m making good headway. Yesterday I made it through about 1/4 of the lessons before my head was full and I had to stop. (I’ve already learned about Layers and a few other things that are well worth the price of the course.) Overall, this is a great course, easily worth four times the price and maybe more.

In addition to the benefit of all that I’m learning, this course also feels like a transition. As you know, I’ve been in the doldrums for a few months now.

To recap, I finished my last novel back in early May. I wrote no fiction during June and July, and I made an aborted start on a new novel in August. In September, I made another aborted start on another novel and then wrote four short stories and started another one.

And I finally FINALLY realized I need to focus my mind on a different task for awhile. So I enrolled in this course on Affinity Publisher.

But my creative subconscious is tugging at the bit. I suspect once this learning cycle is out of the way, I’ll be back to writing normally again — well, my version of normal, which is to say prolifically, with regular, elevated word counts.

So really, this is my way of clearing the decks, knocking out an obstacle to my writing. When I get through the other side, I’ll still be a good storyteller, but I will be a much more knowledgeable indie publisher.

I’ll go through the entire course once, mostly just viewing and listening. Then I’ll go through specific parts of it again and apply them to a specific project as I go. That will complete my training. So I figure another week, maybe two.

Thanks for hanging in there. Talk with you again soon.

Of Interest

See “Caution on the November Writing Challenge…” at True stuff about possible drawbacks to NaNoWriMo.

See “Using Apostrophes” at As is typical of this author, she inaccurately paints a very specific topic with a very broad brush. Still, 2/3 of the information is good, so I linked to it here.

See “When to Form a Plural with an Apostrophe” at

See “Publishers worry as ebooks fly off libraries’ virtual shelves” at Especially see PG’s take.

See “All of Barnes & Noble’s Computer Systems…” at Again, see PG’s take. If you have books for sale at B&N, this should matter to you.

The Numbers

The Journal…………………………………… 900 words

Writing of “Turnaround” (short story, probably)

Day 1…… 1092 words. Total words to date…… 1092
Day 2…… 1287 words. Total words to date…… 2379
Day 3…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 1287
Total fiction words for the year………… 336481
Total nonfiction words for the month… 5950
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 156340
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 492821

Calendar Year 2020 Novels to Date…………………… 5
Calendar Year 2020 Novellas to Date……………… X
Calendar Year 2020 Short Stories to Date… 12
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………………………………… 50
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)………………………………… 8
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)………………… 213
Short story collections……………………………………………… 31

2 thoughts on “The Journal: Griping a little”

  1. Sounds like I should take the Affinity Publishing classes too. I could make an ebook cover without instruction but it was a struggle.
    I’ll get back to writing on my current book first. Tomorrow will be my first day back writing in about a month. I’ll schedule class time after writing time.
    Thanks for the info!

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