Are you one of those people who get annoyed when you find grammatical errors in a novel? (Or novella, short story, newspaper/magazine article, children’s book… )
And do you get annoyed a lot? Or just a little?
I fall into the I-don’t-get-annoyed-much category, with the exception of if it’s a mistake that happens consistently throughout the book. But sometimes I get into a story that has style issues I don’t like. Of course that’s a totally personal thing, but I’m gonna talk about the ones I don’t like. Actually, I’ll only talk about one today because:
1. People tend to skim posts when they get too long
2. I want to drag this out into two posts cause it’s one less posting I have to create.
So have you seen any novels where the author didn’t use quotation marks?
A few years back I ready LABOR DAY by Joyce Maynard. I loved the story and would still recommend it to others, but one thing about it frustrated me. Her lack of quotation marks. She used dialog tags, but still, sometimes it got confusing. In the end, it took away from the enjoyment of the book.
It was just weird. I’ve never read anything else by her, so I don’t know if she’s used that style a lot, or if LABOR DAY was the only one. But it is the only novel I’ve read with no quotation marks, and I’m sure there are others. It won’t stop me from read a book, but it will slow me down.
Have you ever read a book that didn’t use quotation marks in their dialogue? Did it bother you?
Have you read LABOR DAY? (If you haven’t, you should.)
If I had more time, I’d write…
-An adult contemporary novel involving air traffic controllers. Cause that’s what my husband does, and I think that’d be cool.
-Many more contemporary young adult books because I’ve got lots of ideas.
-An adult thriller that takes place on a construction site with the main character being a woman engineer.
-An adult or young adult horror story. Maybe a psychological or serial killer story. Perhaps a supernatural horror. I haven’t really decided. I’ve got one idea written down, but I haven’t yet explored it. (Because I have too many other projects right now.)
-A middle grade book, which was the first novel I started and set aside probably 15 years ago. (I didn’t get far.) It’d be a fantasy involving the middle ages. That would be totally cool, because who doesn’t love kings and queens and princes and princesses? (No need to tell me if you don’t. )
-A children’s book. This is probably about the least likely as I have no desire into researching the proper way to write children’s books.
If I were really good, I could write a horror with a civil engineer working on the construction site at a airport where of course they have to deal with air traffic controllers. I could knock three things off my list at one. Hmmm. I’ll have to think about that.
What would you write if you had an endless amount of time?
The first set comes from Kate at My Next Life. Here are her questions.
1. If you were an animal, what would you be?
Dolphin maybe? That’d be fun swimming across the ocean, jumping out of the water and playing around.
2. What is your favorite book of all time?
The Outsiders has been my favorite since grade school. Haven’t read it as an adult, but I should. Also loved the movie, as any girl would.
3. What’s your biggest fear?
Dying without seeing kids grow up.
4. If you could have any talent, what would it be?
Singing would be cool. Not that I’d want to do it for a living; I just wish I could carry a tune.
5. If you could invite 3 famous people to dinner, who would you choose?
Emeril Lagasse: he’d have to cook dinner
President Obama and Rush Limbaugh: just to see what would happen
6. If you had a time machine, where would you go first?
For fun: medieval times. Take the place of a princess or queen. That’d be cool to live in a castle.
7. If calories didn’t count, what would you eat today?
Shrimp and scallops fettucine alfredo with a side of the most tender filet wrapped in bacon. Brownies (no nuts) and vanilla ice cream.
8. What book do you wish you’d written?
How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr
9. What antagonist do you most relate to?
I have no idea. I’m not very antagonistic.
10. If you could relive any day of your life, what would it be?
Wedding day, probably. So I could remember more of it. It goes by too fast.
11. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?
The second set comes from Dani at Entertaining Interests. Here are her questions.
1. Which urban legend freaks you out the most?
The person in the back seat of your car with a knife. Yet, I don’t always check my back seat like my mom always said to.
2. If given the chance, which dream celeb would you have asked to your prom?
Back in the day, it would’ve been Corey Haim or Kirk Cameron… what dreamboats. I think Kirk turned out okay, unfortunately Corey did not.
3. Who would you “Freaky Friday” (switch places) with?
Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge. Maybe she’s not a princess or a queen, but maybe duchess is the next best thing.
I don’t know. It’d be cool to be a duchess.
5. If you could claim any novel as your own, whose would it be?
How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr
6. Is there any skill you’d like to learn?
I always wanted to learn fencing. I should’ve taken a class before the kids were born. I don’t see myself doing it anytime soon.
7. What movie would you like to star in?
Any of my novels made into movies. I’d even take just a little cameo instead of the starring role.
8. Which book/series would you like to see made into a movie?
I think Shine by Lauren Myracle would make a good movie.
9. You just crashed into the back of Ryan Gosling’s car, what do you do?
Grab my camera. And not to take pictures of the damage.
10. The zombie apocalypse just broke out; besides family, pick 1 movie star, athlete, weapon, and one other person or object, who/what would they be?
Movie star: Charlton Heston. I figure he’s got a good stack of guns somewhere. Even though he’s dead himself now.
Athlete: Whomever is the last winner in the UFC championship.
Weapon: Crap. I don’t know what all kills zombies. If I can have unlimited bullets, a gun, but otherwise a samurai sword.
Person/object: Magic zombie killing powder. (The question didn’t say it had to be real)
11. What is your dream day?
Sleeping in to a quiet home. Doing some reading in a quiet home. Doing some writing in a quiet home. Eating what/when I want in a quiet home. Basically I want a quiet home.
Thank you to Dani and Kate for the fun award. And as usual, I’m backing out of the passing it on to other, because I hate that part.
So go check out their blogs to learn more about them.
Last October after watching all the movies on TV before Halloween, I got the idea to do an A to Z on horror movies. I also have a story premise in the back of my head involving horror movies, so this fits into my research for that. So I’m going to talk about random horror movies.
First, I am no film critic, just a person who likes horror movies. And second, some of the posts may contain spoilers. So you have been warned.
Children of the Corn (1984)
IMDb Summary: A young couple is trapped in a remote town where a dangerous religious cult of children believe everyone over the age of 18 must be killed.
Cheese factor: low
Gore factor: medium
Creep factor: high
Could it happen? nope.
This is one of the best horror movies and one of my all time favorites. It’s got it all:
Creepy story: Everyone over 18 is killed in this teeny, tiny town. When someone turns 18, they are sacrificed to He Who Walks Behind the Rows. (That’s not a good thing.)
Creepy characters: Isaac is the head of the group. He’s got this screechy voice, is kinda puny looking, and dresses like a religious leader. Malachi is his enforcer. Flaming red hair, tall and imposing, heartless and ruthless. You don’t mess with Malachi cause he screwed over Isaac. But don’t worry, Malachi got his due.
Creepy setting: Scary cornfields and an almost ghost town with no adults. I’m sure this made many people afraid of going in a cornfield.
It’s a little bloody, but not really gory.
Like I said, I’ve always loved this movie and have seen it many times. It’d be fun to read the short story written by Stephen King that this is based on. Someday I might do that too. But for the movie, check this one out. Just don’t waste your time on any of the sequels.
Another I have to quickly mention is Cabin by the Lake (2000), a made-for-tv movie.
If you like realistic and creepy, but not gory, this is a great one. Judd Nelson plays a horror movie screen-writer/serial killer, who drops the girls he kidnaps into the lake, with a concrete block attached to their feet because he’s creating a ‘garden’ of sorts.
I love it because it’s creative, not your typical serial killer. And it’s got some funny parts too. Definitely one to check out. And it still runs on TV periodically.
Have you seen Children of the Corn or Cabin by the Lake?
Other C movies I recommend: Candyman: like a serial killer Beetlejuice-don’t say his names 3x in a row, Cabin Fever: flesh-eating virus, Child’s Play: who doesn’t love Chuckie (all scary/gory)
Tomorrow is the start of the A to Z blog challenge. For those who don’t know, it is a post for each letter of the alphabet every day in April. Except Sundays. When I checked last, there were just under 1500 participants. It’s huge.
So for the month of April, I won’t be doing my Big Reveal or Sloppy Writing postings. It’ll get to be too much. They will return in May.
And I look forward to visiting other A to Z participants.
One other thing I wanted to mention. I just participated in Brenda Drake’s PitchMadness this past week and was lucky enough to get 2 requests. It is one of many contests put on by writers.
And I just wanted to give a shout out to all those writer/bloggers who do these terrific contests, bringing writers and agents together. They look like a ton of work and often take many volunteers to organize them.
Here are some of the blogs that host regular contests.
Cupid’s Literary Connection
Miss Snark’s First Victim
Krista Van Dolzer
I’m sure there are more, but these are the ones I’m familiar with. So thank you to all these bloggers for freely giving their time and effort.
And see you tomorrow for the A to Z.
Here’s how the blog hop works:
Step One: Sign up on the linky below
Step Two: Dust off those old sappy diaries bursting with teenage angst or high school notebooks filled with bad poetry*
Step Three: Skim through them until you find something share-worthy
Step Four: On Monday, March 25 POST IT on your blog
Optional: We all love seeing old photos, so if you have one lying around of you as a teen, post that, too.
Thank you to the hosts of My So Called Teenage Life (Part Deux): Amy Sonnichsen and Christa Desir and Andrea.
I did this the last time, see here here for my previous post, and it was so much fun looking through old journals, I had to do it again. So thank you ladies.
My journals started around 8th grade and went through the end of high school. Sadly they are filled with so much crap. You know, like, who was seeing/breaking up with who. Mundane boring things. Then every once in a while there are funny little snippets from my classmates. And embarrassing things that happened to others mostly, because I wouldn’t want to put in writing what happened to me.
And then, I find something like this one below. Now I’d like to state that I was a fairly normal, average, boring teenager. A quiet, reserved, good kid. Yes, I did some illegal things sometimes, (alcohol mostly), but I didn’t over do it. So what I’m trying to say is I wasn’t overly dramatic.
So proud of myself at first, but then it degrades into stupidity.
January 1st, 1990 (my sophomore year)
Well in a new way this year has been great. Communist parties falling everywhere. Berlin Wall open. The uprise in China. Noreiga in Panama.
Are you impressed with my knowledge of current events in 10th grade? Well don’t be, cause then I say this:
People argue that people (teens) in the 1920s+ had it harder then now. Depression and all. I disagree.
(Probably because I did NOT live through the depression.)
They didn’t have to deal with AIDS, DRUGS, ALCOHOL, MURDER, CRIME, SEX. Anything of that sort.
Yes, I did capitalize that all.
But, um really, ridiculous teenage girl. Are you serious? Let’s break this down a little.
AIDS: To this day, I still don’t know anyone with AIDS. Of course someone may have it, and I might not know, but in high school? Pretty sure nobody in our school was dealing with that because we probably would’ve heard about it since it wasn’t so common yet.
DRUGS: So as an adult, I realize I was blind to many things in school. Yeah, you know who the losers are who won’t graduate because they’re hooked on alcohol or whatever. But sometimes the regular kids came in to school drunk or high. And I was completely unaware. And senior year, if you would’ve asked me to identify any type of illegal drug, would I have been able to? No. Did I know who the dealers were? No.
ALCOHOL: Okay, I’ll maybe give the teenage me that one. But my friends were good; they didn’t encourage stupid behavior all the time like some teens do. But I did know lots of kids that drank too much.
MURDER: So I’m going to give you some crime statistics from 1991, because that’s what I found, and they’re pretty similar to 1990. Eight people were murdered in the State of North Dakota in 1991. Yes, eight. In six of the cases, the assailant was known to the victim(s). Two were unknown. One of these occurred in my town, the 3rd biggest city in the state. The rest elsewhere. I’m pretty sure that murder was not a big worry of mine.
CRIME: There were 407 violent crimes reported in 1991. That includes murder, manslaughter, rape, aggravated assault, and robbery. 407 out of approximately 650,000 people. I don’t know, that doesn’t seem that high, but what do I know.
SEX: I’m not quite sure what this meant. High rates of teenage pregnancy? I don’t know. There was the rare occasion that someone in school got pregnant, but I wasn’t aware of any until my senior year. Meaning once again, I was probably blind and dumb to all that.
So now you’re probably shaking your head like I did. Because I’m pretty damn sure I would’ve taken growing up in the 80s and 90s rather than the 20s. But I guess teenage me wasn’t so smart as current me.
So did you think you had it bad during your teenage years?
And go check out the other bloggers to see what they came up with from their teenage years.
The other day Jolene Perry mentioned in a blog post about how when she ends up on the B&N bookshelves, she’ll be sitting close to Perkins, Stephanie. Great placement.
I’m like, hmmm, I never thought about that. Who would I be next to on the Barnes and Noble bookshelves?
And so very conveniently, I was going there in a few days and could look.
So here are my neighbors if I was on the B&N bookshelf.
Slice of Cherry Dia Reeves and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children Ransom Riggs.
I think that’s pretty good. I haven’t read either, but know of them and have them on my TBR list.
As of now, I assume I will use my current name. But in case I happen to go back to my maiden name for a pen name, I checked that out also. And these would be my neighbors.
Where Things Come Back John Corey Whaley and Clash Nicole Williams
And one book down was Carol Lynch Williams, whose books I really like. So that was kind of cool too. I don’t know much about the other two, but the John Corey Whaley book was an award winner.
So those would be my neighbors. Have you ever thought about or looked up who your neighbors on the bookshelf are?
One thing I worry about with the settings of my contemporary novels is getting it right. That’s why I tend to use fake cities, but usually name a state. And even then, I’ve looked up temperatures and sunset/sunrise times: things that are specific to that area to make sure I get things right.
When I run across little setting mistakes in novels, it won’t make me hate the book, but I won’t enjoy it as much because I’m constantly thinking about the mistake. I’ve got a couple examples, and I’m curious if other people feel this way too. You may think I’m being a little harsh on the authors (feel free to tell me in the comments). But hey, sometimes things just rub you wrong.
I came across a book that takes place in North Dakota. Cool, cause you know, we’re kinda considered boring, so you don’t see that often. Now I will say: I have not read this book. And it is a fantasy, but it should still be right. I wouldn’t read this particular book because I couldn’t take the author seriously.
The cover blurb makes reference to the backwoods of North Dakota. I about choked in laughter.
For those not familiar with ND, we don’t have trees. Not literally, I mean we have a few, but even people who live here joke about how little trees we have.
So when I looked it up to verify I’m right, this is what I found. Yes, technically we have forests in ND, 5 state forests to be exact, but guess what. Forest land is 1.6% of the total land area (According to the US Forest Service).
Did you see that?
1.6%. That means that 98.4% of North Dakota is NOT forest.
We do not have backwoods in ND.
I went to Facebook to ask my friends if anybody knew where the backwoods of ND are. All I got were a lot of funny responses, because there are no backwoods of ND to us North Dakotans.
So, that is one book I just can’t take seriously.
I am going to be as vague as I can here because this book/author is pretty well known. And popular, so I don’t want to look like I’m bashing her. Especially cause you might think I’m being a little tough on her.
The main character moves from a southern state to a northern state in September. This northern state has similar weather to us in ND. It’s September, now remember. And there is snow.
So I stopped reading. Snow? Really? I go back and check the month cause maybe I was wrong. Nope September. And this snow was enough to scoop up (not just frost). It was fluffy white snow (the best kind.) And from what I can tell from the story, it’s early or mid-September.
Now I’ll give the author this. The MC asks a native of the northern state about the snow. And he says it’s ‘rare’.
Hell yeah. Rare as in like it’s never snowed in September. Ever!
How do I know this? Well I looked it up, and the earliest snowfall of the metro area where this city resides is October 12th, 2006. (From the National Weather Service)
Now if the author was familiar at all with this state, she would’ve had the guy make a big deal out of it. Snow in September. That never happens. Like ever. But he didn’t. He said it like, yeah, it’s rare, but happens. Like it’s semi-normal.
So does this keep me from reading this author’s book. No. But every time I saw the word snow, I’d roll my eyes because it’s clear to me the author did not know anything about living in a northern state. Or snow for that matter.
Am I being too hard on these authors? Do little things like this bother you? Have you ever run into mistakes about places you’ve lived? And do you look up average weather temps and stuff for your settings?
Spring cleaning time.
Okay, maybe it’s not spring here yet. But I’m optimistic that we won’t have snow in April. (But chances of that happening are pretty low.) So I started doing spring cleaning with my writing stuff.
I am one of those people who writes notes on anything. As you can see, I have a variety of things: little brown envelope, small spiral notebooks usually kept in my purse, scratch paper from our printer, whatever piece of paper I could find.
I don’t usually do this with life in general, mostly just writing stuff. Silly things my daughter says. Plot/character ideas, agent stuff, descriptive words I might use in my manuscript. Title ideas and character names. Sometimes dialogue. Anything that strikes me related to my writing. And unfortunately, if I don’t write it down, it has a 95% chance of being forgotten.
So I’m cleaning things up. When I start working on a story, I get an 8×10 spiral bound notebook to write those ideas. I went through all this crap and moved it to the correct notebook. But some of my notes are for stories I wrote a while back, and have no notebook, so then I just throw it into a manila folder. (I have a folder for each project. Even ones that got pushed aside for better ideas. But if I started creating scenes in my head, it has a folder.)
What I’m wondering is, how many people do this too? Do you write little notes like this for everyday things? Or is it mostly writing stuff like me?
Or are you the type of person who will put the information down in the correct place right away instead of leaving notes around the house?
I’m trying to get better at this. I should just leave small notebooks in several rooms, so that it’s there when I need it. But then I have to leave a pencil too. And the kids like to move them around. Or use the notebooks themselves. And if I hide it somewhere, I might forget where it is.
Maybe I should work on some memory exercises, so I wouldn’t have to write it all down.
So do you write yourself notes like this, or are you an organized person?
When I’m writing, there are those words that I always seem to type wrong. That I can never spell right the first time. And luckily Word tells me it’s wrong. And most of the time, Word knows how to spell—because Word is so darn smart.
It’s annoying as hell because I really know how to spell them right. And when I think about it, I can get them. But for some reasons my brain doesn’t connect to my fingers.
So here are a few of those words that trip me up.
-Nown (noun—as a writer I should automatically get this right, but sadly, I don’t.)
-Ackward (awkward—why do I always get these two backwards?)
And sometimes when I’m typing a word, the wrong one will come out.
-One (on—many times I’ll add the e to on. I don’t know why.)
And of course this happens with punctuation.
Question marks. So many times I forget the question mark. I know it’s a question, but I put a period there.
It’s frustrating, but there’s nothing I can do about it.
Does anybody else do this? Or is it just me?