Monday, June 26, 2017

The Letter S by Mary Deal

Drop the letter s. If you believe that one letter couldn’t possibly cause you to receive a rejection, I encourage you to think again, especially if the same mistake recurs throughout your manuscript.

Incorrect usage comes from the lax attitude about our English language. Most people speak in jargon or a brogue that comes from a certain locale. I call it family hand-me-down language.  Truth is, no matter from where you hail, your written grammar must be correct for the broader reading audience.

I’m speaking of the letter s. Check out these sentences:
She ran towards the garage.
The ball rolled backwards.
Look upwards.

These sentences are all incorrect. That is, the use of the letter s is incorrect.
The letter s denotes something plural. In the first sentence, moving toward something means you can only go in one direction. Toward.

If the ball rolled backward, it can only go in one direction. Backward.
To look upward, you can only look in one direction. Upward.
Not surprising, an example of an exception is:
She leaned sideways.

The rule here is that when leaning, you can lean sideways in more than one direction, therefore the use of the letter s.

You’ll find many other words that are incorrectly used with s endings. When you find these, make note of them, maybe a running list. You’ll have the list to refer back to when you question your own writing.

This is but one of the finite idiosyncrasies of producing better grammar when writing stories and books that you hope to sell. Study your own language and speech.

Watch how the s is used or omitted in books that you love to read.

Get into the habit of listening to the speech patterns of others. Think critically of what you hear, but never criticize of a person who speaks that way. Instead, mentally analyze what you have heard. Learn the right from the wrong of speech and your writing will reflect your knowledge.

Mary Deal

Author, Painter, Photographer
Eric Hoffer Book Award Winner
National Indie Excellence Book Awards Finalist (past)
Pushcart Prize Nominee
Global eBook Awards Nominee
2014 National Indie Excellence Book Awards Finalist
Global eBook Awards Bronze
Global eBook Awards Silver
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Thursday, June 8, 2017

A WRITER’S FANFARE by Patricia Crandall

In the nineteen fifties, my interest was captured by the Nancy Drew series by Carolyn Keene. Each holiday I would request the latest Nancy Drew title and on receiving it I would curl-up in an over-sized chair and begin reading the fast-paced adventure.
            Whereby, I dabbled at creating my own mystery stories at an early age. My first effort detailed a long, frightening chase by a sinister man. A dark tunnel appeared, leading to (of course) a haunted mansion. The not-so-brilliant ending had me saved by the man of my life at the time – my father.
            My parents and teachers would often tell me, “Patty, you are a dreamer. You have a vivid imagination. Put it to good use.” It was at that point, in lieu of playing with friends or watching the new small-box-wonder – TV, I sat at an old desk in the kitchen and wrote mystery stories. I also drew stick figures to illustrate the action in the stories. The discovery of boys replaced pen and paper. The telephone became my favorite instrument and I lost interest in reading and writing until a formidable nun taught me English in High School. With a revival of interest, I picked up where I left off, writing saleable poetry and a variety of articles, essays, and short stories. Presently, I am taking a writing course and penning novels.

            Ironically, my mainstream stories have brought me the most success and recognition. I have often wondered, why? I have discovered that although I like to create a good mystery story, I shy from describing extreme violence or gratuitous sex and the uncanny evil bred in psychological serial killers who torture, maim and murder their victims. I prefer to write cozy mystery stories.
            Two favorite characters I have created for general entertainment are Gert Carver and Nina Westacott. Friends for many years, the two women pursue bottle mining and flea market quests. I was fortunate to have a close relationship with two aunts. The idea came to mind to express how their uniqueness affected me as a child. I wished to pass the essence of their warm and zany personalities on to others and I fictionalized them.
            In writing mystery stories, I am determined to have justice served. My recent sojourn to the Rensselaer County Courthouse for jury selection impressed me that perpetrators have more rights than victims. It confirmed what I already knew; people are victimized once during the actual crime and once during the detailing of the sordid events leading to the crime at the trial. Can anyone blame a person who refuses to go through a debilitating trial? Hence, the perpetrator gets away with a plea bargain or less and walks away a free man. Often, he/she commits a similar crime. I would like to shadow dedicated professionals and put into writing the need for more honesty and integrity in the justice system.
            Ideas for a writer’s fanfare are everywhere. Newspapers are a good source for material. Headline – Pregnant wife and Baby Survive Murder Plot. What if…?
Patricia Crandall

Friday, June 2, 2017

Bequest (a poem) by Patricia Crandall

I bequeath to you
my cottage on Pine Lake.
Being city bred
you never came
to spend a day with me
among my rustic treasures.
I always sought you out
surrounded by electric life.
As grown-up you did come
to collect your inheritance;
came alone and sat
upon a sagging dock
watching children tumble
upon black tubes,
splashing, laughing.
A swimmer's white arms
flashed out of blue waters
pulling toward shoreline.
Sailboats were sailing
rowboats drifting
waves gently wafting
shore-birds fluttering
blueberry bushes drooping
ripe for plucking.
Gray squirrels scattered nuts
from tree limb to tree limb
and you thought only they
heard what you murmured:
"I know now who you were
and who I am going to be."

Chances are You Will Want to Come to New York City

In 1958 Her streets were paved in yellow brick leading to Fifth Avenue and 42 nd  Street. You might have seen a zealous couple dance-walkin...