Posts

Showing posts from April, 2011

Flash Fiction Fridays: A Cure to Spring Fever

Image
Posted by KAREN WOJCIK BERNER


Spring Fever month comes to a close with Sharon Cupp Pennington who bridges this month and next beautifully with her story, "Deliverance." May's theme? You guessed it. Parenthood.



Deliverance 
By Sharon Cupp Pennington

“Push, Mags.” Her husband bent over her, his urging firm yet gentle.

Maggie blew out a breath, sucked in another and pushed with what she hoped was enough strength to bring a baby into the world. She and little Mack—he’d carry the name McKenzie after his great grandfather—had endured four hours of pushing since her water broke in their apartment’s renovated kitchen, and James bustled her into his Volvo for the twenty minute drive to the hospital.

Her brain fuzzy with fatigue, Maggie likened the natal downpour in her kitchen to the deluge that had breached the levies and flooded her beloved New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. They’d celebrated being back in their home a year only last Tuesday.

One flood brought life; one ended …

Editing for Grammarphobes: Miscellany

Posted by KAREN WOJCIK BERNER



My mind is all over the place today.

Our refrigerator died Saturday, which is quite inconvenient considering I am throwing the Royal Wedding Bunco party on Friday. Thank goodness I did not host Easter dinner this year or you would have heard a blood-curdling scream no matter where you reside on our planet.

The replacement is to be delivered sometime this afternoon. It will be accompanied by a new oven because we wanted to make the switch to stainless-steel appliances. If we did not purchase both at the same time, the kitchen would not match, and one as anal as myself would start to twitch every time I entered. Obviously, that would not do.

So since I lack focus, here are three nonrelated grammar issues, definitely worthy of correction, but with no commonality among them.

Confusing i.e. and e.g.

The first comes from the Latin id est or “that is.” It should be used in place of a phrase like “in other words.”

The abbreviation e.g. means “for example” from the…

Stylish Blogger Award

Image
Posted by KAREN WOJCIK BERNER


Bibliophilic Blather has received a Stylish Blogger Award. A big thank you to Kelly Hashway. Kelly is a middle grade and YA author who has published over fifty short stories in various children’s magazines and anthologies. May the Best Dog Win, her first picture book, was released in March. To learn more about Kelly, please visit her website, Kelly Hashway’s Books.


For this award, I have to share seven things about myself, so here goes. I cannot wait for the Royal Wedding this week. I am hosting a Royal Wedding Bunco party at  my house Friday night, complete with a hat contest, Pimm's Cups and cucumber sandwiches.I consider Peter Gabriel the God of Music.Football (American football, that is) is my favorite sport.I have written almost every kind of copy imaginable over my twenty-five years of writing professionally, including a restaurant menu and a press release for clown college.Westminster Abbey is my happy place. My new favorite song is Muse's &qu…

Editing for Grammarphobes: Pruning Your Writing, Part Two

Image
Posted by KAREN WOJCIK BERNER


Welcome back to the second half of Spring cleaning for your writing. Today, we will examine more redundancies that can bog down even the best prose.


Before we begin, I would like to say hello to all of the visitors from the She Writes group "Blogging about Books and Writing." I have participated in the blog hops before and discovered many wonderful sites on a variety of topics. If you would like to join the group or the blog hop, here is the link.
http://megwaiteclayton.com/1stbooks/shewrites/




Okay, so back to Spring cleaning. Grab those pruning shears. It's time to edit. 


Richard Nordquist compiled a great list of 200 common redundancies for About.com. Here are some mentioned.


(Final) conclusion. What other kind is there?


(Fly) through the air. Can one fly anywhere else?


(Live) studio audience. Let's hope so.


Nape (of her neck). A nape can only be found at the back of the neck. There is no nape of the arm, for example.


ISBN (number). This is the …

Editing for Grammarphobes: Pruning Your Writing

Posted by KAREN WOJCIK BERNER



Spring is synonymous with cleaning. Whether it is your home, garden, work desk or car, it is time to give everything a good scrub.

Let’s apply the same principle to your writing.

Do have favorite words or phrases? Do you find yourself using them way too many times in your manuscripts? Don’t kid yourself. Readers notice.

One of my favorite authors uses “padded” constantly instead of “walked.” It drives me crazy by the end of the book. “She padded downstairs.” “He padded down the hall.” Ugh.

Get rid of go-to words. Find something new. Read a thesaurus.

Obviously, writers love words and wordplay, but sometimes less is better, especially when you are repeating yourself.

Be on the lookout for these five common redundancies in your writing.

ATM (Machine). The acronym ATM stands for “Automated Teller Machine.” You are writing automated teller machine machine if you use this phrase.

(Absolutely) essential. The word “essential” means necessary or indispensable. Addi…

Flash Fiction Fridays: Comfort Zones

Image
Posted by KAREN WOJCIK BERNER


Spring Fever month continues today as Flash Fiction Fridays features award-winning author Sharon Cupp Pennington.

The King of Crescent Street
By Sharon Cupp Pennington



Shoving my newspaper aside, I raised a cup to my lips and thought of Emilio Nogales. The coffee tasted bitter. Combined with what I’d read in the paper, it settled like a storm cloud over my day, though the morning sun shined blissfully through my kitchen window. Birds sang and delicate white blossoms covered the plum tree’s branches, signaling an early spring. Squealing brakes announced the garbage truck‘s arrival.

For once, I’d forgotten to put out the trash.

It’s strange how the monotonous comings and goings in our neighborhoods become our comfort zones, the things we rely on in today’s chaotic world. As if synchronized in their schedules, Mrs. Hoffman walks her miniature poodle precisely at two o’clock each afternoon and Mr. Jarvis his Doberman down the same stretch of sidewalk at five.

Ev…

Blogs I Love

Posted by KAREN WOJCIK BERNER


There are so many blogs out there, who has time to read them all? And which ones do you choose? Pretty much everyone in the industry knows J.A. Konrath's A Newbie's Guide to Publishing, but there are many other sites packed with great information for writers or new books to share for readers. Here are a few of my favorites.

Publishing
Breakout Books Reviews showcases indie books and authors exclusively.
The Frugal e-Reader lists Kindle books for under $9, as well as author Q&As.
McQuestionable Musings is self-publishing rock star Karen McQuestion's interesting blog. McQuestion's A Scattered Life has been optioned for film and five of her six novels are now under contract with Amazon's imprint, Amazon Encore. 
NewPages.Com features news, information and guides to independent bookstores, independent publishers, literary magazines, alternative periodicals, independent record labels, alternative newsweeklies and more.
Pimp My Novel, written b…

Editing for Grammarphobes: Loose or Lose?

Posted by KAREN WOJCIK BERNER



Which is correct in the following sentence?

A. I do not want to loose my car keys.
B. I do not want to lose my car keys.

The answer is B.

The word “loose” means not fastened securely or not tight-fitting. It also can mean “lacking in restraint” and “lacking moral restraint.”

“Lose” is the verb form of lost.


Flash Fiction Submissions Needed 

Bibliophilic Blather’s popular “Flash Fiction Fridays” still needs one more piece for the April Spring Fever theme. I am looking for something to run on the last Friday of the month. The drop-dead deadline for this submission is April 26.

Also, there are two open spots for May’s Parenthood theme. Submissions are due May 2. 

Remember, 500 words or less. Send your submissions to karen@karenberner.com. Put "Flash Fiction Fridays" in the subject line and include a short bio with your story. Please sign up to follow Bibliophilic Blather, so we can build our online writing community.

Thanks.

Flash Fiction Fridays: Spring Fever Month Continues

Image
Posted by KAREN WOJCIK BERNER


Ah, Spring. The crack of the bat. The roar of the crowd. Here's what Spring Fever means to Sean Sweeney. Enjoy.

Beating the Yanks
By Sean Sweeney

Usually it’s the smell of the sausages sizzling on Lansdowne Street that gets me on Opening Day. This year, the two Yankee fans chasing me would get me if I wasn’t careful.

Alright, so I was a little obnoxious when I said their pitching staff was cobbled together with spit – a knock against the fans for their actions toward Cliff Lee’s wife – and glue. I admit that wholeheartedly. Should that have earned me a chasing from the Kenmore T stop all the way to Fenway Park, though? Nosireebob.

Of course, I had to go and pick on two of the largest Yankee fans of them all. Remember Eddie the Yankee Fan from the "Cheers" season one episode? Yeah. He’s small compared to these bums. Their pinstriped t-shirts looked like they used Tide with Mudpuddle. They had mustard stains that looked ground into the fabric, a…

Editing for Grammarphobes: A Huge Headache

Posted by KAREN WOJCIK BERNER


I have a headache today, one of those that starts at the base of the skull and travels swiftly upward, eventually encompassing the entire head. I think it is partially the result of a thread on the Kindle Boards forum. A few threads, actually. 


This particular one has to do with defining literary fiction, which no one really seems to be able to do. Despite this, several posters have come out against it with snide remarks about it having no plot, no readers and no interest, exemplifying the age-old commercial fiction versus prize-winning fiction debate, only now they are calling themselves genre writers versus literary fiction writers.


It is unhealthy and unproductive. I think many of the posters are forgetting the most important part of this whole business —the writing. 


Where are the discussions about the craft? Where are the threads devoted to developing plots or creating characters? Someone tried to start a post on character development recently, but it di…

Editing for Grammarphobes: Possessives and Proper Nouns

Posted by KAREN WOJCIK BERNER



A comment left after the March 28 “Possessives” post brought up an interesting question. llevinso wrote, “...when it’s a person’s name that ends in s, what is the correct form? I thought I knew, but I’ve seen it so many different ways, I just don’t know anymore...”

I was going to write a quick response, but when I looked this up in The Chicago Manual of Style and The Elements of Style, there were so many variations, my answer would have been way too long for the comment section. What I found may surprise you.

Both works cite “the general rule for possessive nouns covers most proper nouns” by adding an apostrophe s. Same thing goes for names ending in silent s, z or x.

Examples 

Kansas’s

Dickens’s novels

Marx’s theories

the Joneses’ reputation


Traditional exceptions to this rule are ancient proper names, such as Jesus and Moses, which take just the apostrophe, not the s.

Examples 
Jesus’ apostles

Moses’ law 


Names with more than one syllable with unaccented end…

Flash Fiction Fridays: Spring Fever

Image
Posted by KAREN WOJCIK BERNER



How do you interpret Spring Fever? Is it a flirty crush or the first pitch at a season opener? This month, Flash Fiction Fridays will offer five stories, each with its own distinct take on our topic. First up is Jason G. Anderson.


Pandemic
By Jason G. Anderson

Dr. John Andrews looked through the transparent wall in his office toward the hospital entrance below. Hundreds of people filled the normally clear area, all seeking medical help. He turned as another doctor entered his office.

“We’ve received another sixty-seven patients in the past two hours,” said Dr. Susan Hallow. “They’ve all tested positive for Xyalo’s Syndrome.”

“Damn it.” John turned back to the window. Xyalo’s Syndrome, or “Spring Fever” as the original colonists had nicknamed it due to the time of year it struck, was a disease that had once killed hundreds a year. No one had ever worked out exactly what it was that caused Xyalo’s Syndrome. Starting as a simple body ache and fever, it progre…