The Journal, Thursday, April 19

Hey Folks,

Another very long post today. Get your beverage, settle in and enjoy.

Way back on January 7, I started a story called “The Storytellers.”

On the first trip to the Hovel this morning, I happened across it while looking for Versailles. An idea occurred to me last night, and I was going to apply it this morning.

Remember yesterday I mentioned I wished I could work on both of them (Versailles and Pulp 9) back and forth?

Be careful what you wish for.

Curious, I opened “The Storytellers” and glanced over it. As I read, naturally, I did a little cycling. Lo and behold, the thing took off.

So now I have three WsIP. I’m going to list them all below for awhile until one or the other becomes predominant. Whichever one I work on that day will be at the top. If I work on more than one… but at the moment, I don’t feel like that’s going to happen.

When I started “The Storytellers,” I was certain it was going to be a short story.

Now I think it’s going to be a hybrid. I think it’s going to be both a short story collection and a novel. And yes, I’ll publish it both ways. Or rather in all ways.

Each chapter will also be a stand-alone short story. Yet when they’re combined, they will form a novel, with each story taking up a chapter or two or three.

So there will be a novel and a short story collection. That’s two publications. Then there will be 8 or 10 or 15 short stories, each with its own cover, each a separate publication.

Obviously, I’m excited at the prospect.

Trouble is, I’m also excited at the prospect of writing Stern Talbot’s current story (Pulp 9) and the story of what happened in Versailles. Both of those will be novels as well.

So wish me luck, rub your lucky faux rabbit’s foot, mutter prayers, or whatever you have. I appreciate it.

When the smoke clears, I should have at least 33 novels, a new short story collection and in the vicinity of 200 short stories.

Topic: Have a Clue

This morning as I read a new post on a site I often reference here in the “Of Interest” section, I was reminded again of the preacher in the film “Oh God.” The problem was, the preacher was a hypocrite.

God (played by George Burns) said, “The guy ought to be selling Earth shoes.”

That sums up my philosophy about entirely too many so-called writing instructors.

I won’t reference the site today. Some of you probably will find it and read the offensive post anyway, and that’s fine, but if you do, please keep a HUGE container of salt close at hand. Other than the major faux pas I list below as an example, the article is rife with inaccuracies and flat-out wrong information.

If you know me at all, you know my number one irritant is people who go about teaching things of which they are ignorant. When I come across an example of this, I actually lose sleep. How much sleep I lose depends on how heavily the offense registers on my That’s Some Seriously Wrong Crap scale.

Why does this bother me so much?

Because I’m a writer and an editor and a writing instructor who DOES know what I’m talking about. If I don’t know something, I don’t teach it, period. And I’m conscientious about the reader (your reader) and the reading experience. They and you deserve no less from a writing instructor.

Now, to be clear, not knowing something about the language doesn’t mean you shouldn’t write. We’re all learning via the process of writing.

But it does mean, in spades, you should go to your doctor and have your mouth sewn shut rather than hold forth on the topic to other writers.

And as a writer who’s striving to improve your craft, when you hear something that doesn’t strike you as factual, you should question it. No matter the source. Yes, even me. I’ll gladly field questions.

The most memorable example of writers succumbing to bogus information arose while I was teaching a very basic writing seminar awhile back on the use and application of punctuation, including quotation marks.

One class member asked why I found it necessary to put quotation marks around dialogue.

“Because those two little ink tics before dialogue indicates to the reader that what she’s about to read is spoken aloud. And the two afterward mean the character stopped speaking.”

The student said, “But Cormac McCarthy doesn’t do it that way, so why should we?”

Seriously? In ONE of Cormac McCarthy’s books he tried that. In millions or even billions of books, writers successfully used quotation marks around dialogue, yet she’d picked as an example of what to do the one book that didn’t.

I gave up. I shrugged and said, “You’re the writer. Do it however you like.”

I wish I’d said, “What was the book about? Can you give me a synopsis?” Because I’d bet anything she couldn’t. What she remembered wasn’t the story, but the fact that the author hadn’t used quotation marks.

I’ve also heard repeatedly, “But my writing instructor at Blah Blah Academy said….” I could give you examples, but the list is practically endless. Maybe I’ll write a nonfiction book about it.

At any rate, the “writing instructor” was wrong. And I had to clean up the mess, and then defend myself for doing so.

This morning I ran across an example that was equally basic and equally egregious.

The writer-turned-wannabe-instructor put forth this group of words and called it a run-on sentence:

“Why does it have to be a fire crime, I hate fire crimes, Cam must remember that, he should have told me.”

If you believe this group of words is a run-on sentence, Don’t Tell Others. You’re only showing your ignorance.

It isn’t, by the way. It’s a series of comma splices.

Neither is a run-on sentence a really long sentence, even if it’s so long that it’s difficult to comprehend.

A run-on sentence is any two or more independent clauses joined by nothing. In other words, they “run on” from one sentence to the next. No periods. No comma followed by a coordinating conjunction. No semicolon.

For the example to be a run-on sentence it would have to look like this:

“Why does it have to be a fire crime I hate fire crimes Cam must remember that he should have told me.”

Now THAT is a run-on sentence.

A comma splice is the same thing with one important difference, hence the name. A comma splice is any two or more independent clauses that are joined only with commas.

Again, a period (or semicolon, but those aren’t used much in fiction) in place of the comma in a comma splice would solve the problem. Or inserting the appropriate coordinating conjunction after the comma would correct it.

(The acronym FANBOYS is a convenient way to remember the coordinating conjunctions: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so.)

So if you fix the example, it might look like this:

“Why does it have to be a fire crime? I hate fire crimes. Cam must remember that, so he should have told me.”

I’m certain some of you are rolling your eyes, and I don’t blame you. This stuff is basic. I understand that. But not everybody was in class that day, and of those who were, not everybody got it.

And to be sure you understand, as you’re writing, you should NOT be thinking “Oh gosh, did I just write a comma splice?”

This is the stuff that most of us learned at some point in school. From there it seeped into your subconscious, and it comes out automatically as you write. You know, like enclosing dialogue in quotation marks or putting a period at the end of a sentence.

So it isn’t necessary to allow your conscious mind into the writing process by “watching” for comma splices and run-on sentences as you write.

But if you’re one of the unfortunates who missed class that day, well, that’s why God created copyeditors.

A good copyeditor will correct the copy, but he’ll also teach you as he goes. For one thing, he wants you to improve. For another, he wants to lessen his workload so he can more fully enjoy your story as he reads through it.

To see what I can do for you as a copyeditor, click

To see the 2nd edition of my book, Punctuation for Writers, click for Amazon or Actually, I didn’t know this listing existed until just now.

As for the professional writer who put her ignorance on display this morning? Well, she might or might not be a good writer, but she’s no writing instructor. In that regard, she should be selling Earth shoes.


Well, I didn’t get 3000 words today, but close. And The Storytellers is going strong.

Back soon. ​

Of Interest

See Linda Maye Adams’ “Naming Names and Other Muse Misadventures” at

See “Had To Happen: I Committed Novel” at

Fiction Words: 2966
Nonfiction Words: 1420 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 4386

Writing of The Storytellers
Brought forward………………………………………………………………… 1304

Day 2…… 2966 words. Total words to date…… 4270

Writing of Versailles (novel, tentative title)

Day 1…… 3081 words. Total words to date…… 3081
Day 2…… 2217 words. Total words to date…… 5298
Day 3…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXX

Writing of Pulp 9 (novel, tentative title)

Day 1…… 1926 words. Total words to date…… 1926
Day 2…… 2884 words. Total words to date…… 4810
Day 3…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 27030
Total fiction words for the year………… 140571
Total nonfiction words for the month… 9580
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 43340
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 225691

Calendar Year 2018 Novels to Date………………………… 3
Calenday Year 2018 Novellas to Date…………………… 1
Calendar Year 2018 Short Stories to Date……… 0
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 30
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 5
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 182