In today’s Journal
* Quotes of the Day
* Topic: On the Split Infinitive and Other Inane Rules
* I’d spend more time
* What It Takes to Have a Really Good Day
* Another personal record-setting day
* Of Interest
* The Numbers
Quotes of the Day
“And all dared to brave unknown terrors, to do mighty deeds, to boldly split infinitives that no man had split before–and thus was the Empire forged.” Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
“When I split an infinitive, God damn it, I split it so it stays split.” Raymond Chandler
“Making English grammar conform to Latin rules is like asking people to play baseball using the rules of football.” Bill Bryson
“Remember to never split an infinitive. The passive voice should never be used. Do not put statements in the negative form. Proofread carefully to see if you words out. And don’t start a sentence with a conjugation.”
Topic: On the Split Infinitive and Other Inane Rules (Tongue-in-Cheek)
One of my first readers pointed out, casually, almost in passing, a “dreaded” split infinitive. Hence the quotes above.
Yep, I use split infinitives at times. When one occurs in dialogue, it’s easy to simply blame it on the foibles of human speech. (Or maye I should have written “I blame it on….”)
But when the construction occurs in so-called narrative, I use the same excuse because Every Word in a story comes from one character or another. In a good story, nothing comes from the writer. (Now there’s a quotable line for you.)
Intellectually, I’ve always felt the split-infinitive rule was silly and had no practical rationale, like so many other “rules.”
How many writers out there still hyphenate “year old” in every instance because some unthinking instructor (or style manual) told them to? And without providing a practical reason to do so?
For that matter, how many writers out there will not allow even a waitress in a truck stop in the deep south to end a sentence with a preposition, (as I did in the second sentence above this one)? (We’ve all heard the old “Where ya’ll from?” joke.)
Or won’t allow that waitress-character or any other character to begin a sentence with a conjunction? Or won’t write any other kind of sentence fragment? Even in dialogue?
How many just wondered how any character could end a sentence with a preposition WITHOUT that sentence being in dialogue?
I’d spend more time playing with the above (I wrote it this morning) but I have a stupid doctor appointment early this afternoon and I’m hoping to have another really good writing day. Maybe I’ll return to it in the future, especially if I get questions or comments.
What It Takes to Have a Really Good Day
I actually wrote the following yesterday.
I keep talking about “a really good day” of writing. And as I’ve said, these are not “just get it down” sloppy first draft days of writing. When I stop for the day, I’ve cycled through the words I’ve written (usually chapter by chapter) and “corrected” anything that pops out at me as I Just Read for Pleasure.
There are writers out there who are much more prolific than I and who also use the creative subconscious method of cycling. My point is, you can do this too.
If you love the story you’re telling, and more importantly if you love running through the story with your characters, just trying to keep up, the story itself will take you away.
Not everybody will write 6,000 words in even a really good day. Some will write only a thousand, or only two or three thousand. Everything depends on how long you can remain in the chair or keep coming back to the chair in a given day.
But you can extend that amount of time (and improve your storytelling ability) with practice. Every word and sentence and paragraph of fiction you write is practice on the writing craft. Especially if you’re continually learning between projects, taking in information with your conscious mind and allowing it to seep into your subconscious.
Likewise, every additional quarter-hour or half-hour or hour you spend in the chair is practice. And your word count (of publishable fiction) will improve. Meaning you can tell more stories in a week or month or year. Meaning you can publish more stories, increasing the size of your IP inventory and creating additional streams of income.
So all of that goes to the physical aspect of writing: spending time in the chair, your fingers moving across the keyboard.
Then there’s what I call the Determination aspect. As Mr. Heinlein wrote, if you want to be a writer, you must write. But if you want to be a prolific writer and have even one “really good day,” you have to be determined and keep coming back. Naturally, it’s easier to be “determined” if you love what you do.
Just sayin’, this isn’t an exclusive swimmin’ hole. The water’s fine, and everyone is welcome. You don’t even need a bathing suit.
As I mentioned earlier, I wrote the above yesterday during a break. Turns out it was timely. I set a new personal record yesterday for the second day in a row, with well over 7,000 words. I’m stoked.
Talk with you again soon.
See “Infinitive Quotes” at https://www.azquotes.com/quotes/topics/infinitive.html. Just one example. There are others.
See “Just Be Safe” at https://www.deanwesleysmith.com/just-be-safe/. For what it’s worth to you. I offer no opinion and link to this only to notify you of Ben Bova’s death.
See “Is Speed Reading Efficient for Writers?” at https://killzoneblog.com/2020/12/is-speed-reading-efficient-for-writers.html.
See “A Brief Observation” at https://www.thepassivevoice.com/a-brief-observation/. A great post. I only wish The Journal was on The Passive Guy’s list of websites to visit daily, or at least on his list of Google Alerts. Sigh.
See “The Beat Goes On” at https://www.thepassivevoice.com/the-beat-goes-on/. Again, for what it’s worth.
See “Audible Returns and Indie Author Royalties…” at https://www.thepassivevoice.com/audible-returns-a-detailed-discussion/.
The Journal…………………………………… 1000 words
Writing of The Journey Home: Part 2 (novel)
Day 1…… 4955 words. Total words to date…… 4955
Day 2…… 5068 words. Total words to date…… 10023
Day 3…… 6513 words. Total words to date…… 16536
Day 4…… 7467 words. Total words to date…… 24003
Total fiction words for December……… 13980
Total fiction words for the year………… 466511
Total nonfiction words for December… 1970
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 187180
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 653691
Calendar Year 2020 Novels to Date…………………… 7
Calendar Year 2020 Novellas to Date……………… X
Calendar Year 2020 Short Stories to Date… 13
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………………………………… 52
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)………………………………… 8
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)………………… 214
Short story collections……………………………………………… 31