John Doe, a cabinetmaker, was wandering through the stacks in the farthest, darkest corner of his local hardwood dealer’s lot one fine spring day, when he came upon a very old piece of old-growth cherry wood that had been lying there air-drying in that very yard for thirty years. It was four inches thick,
Continue reading The Cabinetmaker, the Photographer, the Sculptor, and the Editor
…but sometimes, it’s the tree trunk in your own.
I just read a blog post on “How Not to Write Christian Fiction.” No, I’m not going to link to it. You can find it if you try hard enough. It does make some valid points, many of them, actually, but it’s also full of the same
Continue reading Sometimes, it’s the mote in the other guy’s eye…
Trust your instinct as least as much as you trust your editor.
I’m not going to link to the blog post where I found this, because it’s not my goal here to embarrass or shame anyone, or to set myself up as a better source than another blog. I only want to point out that a
Continue reading Correction vs Incorrection
I will never cease in the war on adverb hatred!
One of the absolute finest writers of all time, Ursula K. Le Guin, in her latest post at the Book View Café (of which I believe she is a founder):
“Without egg, Madame,” he said softly, almost unreproachfully, and went away to fetch my eggless
Continue reading One More Time Into the Breach
You’ve had it said to you.
You may even have said it to others. You, in the corner, slinking away, you’ll continue to say it, because you’ve heard it from better authorities than I am, so it must be true.
“Adjectives, like adverbs, are lazy words, slowpokes, tranquilizers. Watch out for them.”
–Jack M. Bickham
“Write with nouns and
Continue reading Really and Truly Hating the Adverb Hatred
“There was a man” is a profoundly different sentence than “There was an old man,” which is profoundly different than “There was, back when we lived in the blue house, a man down the street from us, down toward Graves Avenue.” And that last one is different than “There was in those days an elder
Continue reading Four Sentences
You have no idea how annoying this is to me!
Or at least I assume none of my three regular readers have figured out, over the years, how annoying it is to me that so many people rant and rail against something that they call “passive voice,” or “passive tense,” or “passive verbs,” all the while
Continue reading “Active” vs “Passive” Round N, or “Once more into the breach, my friends!”
There’s at least one thing more amusing than people ranting and railing against passive voice:
…the fact that they can’t even identify it.
[P]eople disagree with me when I point out such things (over and over again, like a CD that has gotten stuc- stuc- stuc- stuc- stuc- stuc- stuc- stuc- stuck), and ask rhetorically where on
Continue reading Another Jab at the Passive Phantom
“Show, don’t tell,” Round N
Over and over and over, you hear people saying that. “Show, don’t tell.” Usually, it’s said by someone who feels they must “be constructive” (ie, say something bad, but say it nicely) or they’re not being helpful. Well, guess what? Words can’t show! They can only tell!
It was a dark and
Continue reading It Was a Dark and Stormy Night