Showing posts from September, 2010

Flash Fiction Fridays


Today marks the debut of Flash Fiction Fridays, which showcases writers of all genres contributing their interpretations of monthly themes in 500 words or less. To start us off, here is a great piece from Karen Cantwell.

Bashful Blueberry
by Karen Cantwell

Bashful Blueberry had tried the patience of more than one teacher in her time.

“Sue Miller!” they would call out.

Standing slowly, she would correct them. “My name is Bashful Blueberry. I live in a rainbow near a river of diamonds.”

“It says right here,” they would point their picky fingers at a piece of paper, “that your name is Sue Miller.”

Rolling her emerald eyes, Bashful would mumble a reply. “Don’t believe what you read.”

That’s when Bashful found herself in the principal’s office. Many a time she would be forced to write My name is Sue Miller a hundred times or more. Then the principal would ask, “Now what is your name?”

“Bashful Blueberry. I live in a rainbow near a river of diamonds.”

So she would go to a…

Commonly Misused Word Pairings

Critical, Crucial
According to Webster, crucial is “important or essential as resolving a crisis, decisive.”
Critical means “being at a turning point or specially important juncture” or “relating to an illness or condition involving danger of death.”
They are not synonyms. "Critical" bumps it up a notch. The something you are describing is of vital importance, possibly a matter of life or death.

Nauseous, Nauseated
Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style has a great explanation of the difference between nauseous and nauseated.
“The first means ‘sickening to contemplate’; the second means ‘sick at the stomach.’ Do not, therefore, say ‘I feel nauseous,’ unless you are sure you have that effect on others.”

Sources “Critical.” Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary. 1991. Print. “Crucial.” Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary. 1991. Print. Strunk Jr., William, and E.B. White. The Elements of Style, 3rd ed. New York: Macmillan, 1979. Print.

Up First for Flash Fiction Fridays

Editing for Grammarphobes

Today’s topic is the usage of “I” or “me” at the end of a sentence.

Which of the following sentences is correct?
A. Jane went to the concert with Lizzie and I.
B. Jane went to the concert with Lizzie and me.

The correct answer is B. If the noun and pronoun come after the verb, use “me.”
You would not say “Jane went to the concert with I,” right? That is a good way to check yourself. Remove the additional noun, and read your sentence. Does it make sense?

Get Ready for Flash Fiction Fridays

Flash fiction is a little difficult to pinpoint. Some say it should contain 1,000 words or less. Others go lower, from 500 to 300 to even down to a mere 100 well-chosen words. But whatever the character count, it is an intriguing art form that contains all of the classic story elements of protagonist, conflict and resolution in far less space than the traditional short story. It is also a great writing challenge.
Bibliophilic Blather is proud to announce Flash Fiction Fridays, which will feature micro-fiction from authors of all genres. Instead of weekly writing prompts, each writer will present his or her interpretation of a monthly theme in 500 words or less.
Starting us off next week is Karen Cantwell, author of the exceedingly popular Take the Monkeys and Run: A Barbara Marr Murder Mystery. Her short story, “The Recollections of Rosabelle Raines,” was published in the mystery anthology Chesapeake Crimes: They Had it Comin’. Karen also created “Fiction for Dessert,” a wonderful blog,…

Grammarphobes, writers, poor spellers, lend me your ears


A long time ago, much further* back in my personal history than I care to dwell upon, one of my college English professors told me I could be a great writer if I only took the time to properly use the tools of our trade. She flung my essay on the desk before me. Content = A. Grammar = D. Final grade = C. Dejected, I left her office, vowing it would never happen again.
Many wonderful stories are marred by misspellings, grammar mistakes and improper word usage. When I was editing magazines, if contributors handed in a manuscripts polluted with typos and grammatical errors, the entire staff thought they were idiots, even if they had doctorates in chemistry.
Everyone makes mistakes, however writers need to know the rules. Computer spell check and grammar editors are unreliable. But, who has the time to take a refresher English class? 
Beginning September 20, Bibliophilic Blather will offer editing tips each Monday and Wednesday. How to punctuate dialogue. When to…

The Death of the Oprah Dream


Today, “The Oprah Winfrey Show” begins its final season. I don’t know about you, but this leaves me empty, morose and wanting to crawl back into bed, never to surface again. However, this reaction is not due to the impending absence of the program in my life, although I have been a viewer on and off for many of her years on TV. No, it goes far deeper than that. It means I must let go of my “Oprah Dream.”
I bet many of you have the same one. I am standing backstage at Harpo Studios. The frenzied audience is screaming. Then Oprah utters the magic words, “This book really touched my heart. It is truly one of the best novels I have ever read. Here she is, the author of A Whisper to a Scream, Karen Wojcik Berner!” Audience members jump to their feet. I am greeted by thunderous applause and a warm embrace from the Queen of Media.
Looking spectacular, as everyone does who appears on “Oprah” after her stylists and makeup artists work on you, I sit opposite the w…

Change is in the air


Get ready for a new and improved Bibliophilic Blather!

Flash Fiction Fridays
Editing Tips for Grammarphobes
Details coming soon...

"Whisper" is featured on Kindle Author blog


When it rains, it pours. Fortunately for me, it is a deluge of publicity this week.

My interview with author David Wisehart was featured on his Tuesday blog.
Here's the link.

"Whisper" interview with Noah


Author Noah K. Mullette-Gillman interviews writers of all genres on his website. I was fortunate enough to be one of them this week.

Here's the link.