Sunday, October 31, 2010


Happy Halloween! Also, happy last day of sanity before NaNoWriMo begins. I guess I’ll be speaking to everybody early next month.

Just to make sure I don’t miss any blog updates, I’ve written a bunch ahead of time, including the wonderful Language of Confusions. So be prepared for more movie references. Possibly video game references, too. I haven’t decided yet. Remember the future of TV thing I did a while back? I might do a couple more. I found them hilarious. Also? Because I can.

So you know, I’m writing this in advance. Right now, it’s three days ago. So hello from the past, everyone. Do you finally have hover cars? The an iPhone with good reception that can hold a goddamned charge? And have you cured cancer yet? No? Well, get moving!

I’ll wait.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Thoughts At Large

Because I've been busy all day (and by busy, I mean watching movies and goofing off in general), I don't have much planned blog-wise. So here are a bunch of thoughts, observations and trivia. Enjoy!

---When on a bus where every seat has one person in it, women will choose to sit with other women before men, men will choose to sit with women before other men.
---When The Simpsons first came on, it was derided for its portrayal of the American family. Now, the Catholic church is endorsing it.
---Fifteen years ago, if anyone had Internet access on their computer, it was through a phone line.
---People who live in the Himalayas have genetically evolved to use less oxygen than normal. It has happened in a relatively short amount of time (as in 5 generations), so short that scientists can't explain how this change has happened.
---They're all chickens. A male chicken is a rooster, a female chicken is a hen.
---The song Brimful of Asha by the band Cornershop is a tribute to Indian singer Asha Bhosle, who is known for having sung in over 12,000 songs.
---There are people out there who actually like The Room.
---My uncle lives in a heavily wooded area that, for some reason, is full of old cars left there to rust.
---Tofurky, though nice for turkeys, tastes like crap. Granted, I'm a picky eater, but this is just awful.
---Star Trek was the first show to have an interracial kiss. Can you believe that was a big deal? They had to make it "forced" for the characters. But William Shatner actually fought to be the one to kiss Nichelle Nichols.
---Of course, we don't see men/men or women/women kisses much, do we?
---According to Stephen Colbert's twitter, the rally to restore sanity and/or fear attracted six billion people. I guess some of China didn't make it.
---Remember scripted shows? I miss those.
---Bloggers will pull a wide variety of facts out of their ass in order to avoid an actual post.

Friday, October 29, 2010

That, or Something Like It

What pearls of wisdom shall I impart today?

Sorry. I'm blank. I'm gearing up for NaNoWriMo and trying to get another MS to be something resembling readable, so I'm a little writing-exhausted. Life is easy, editing is hard.

Do you know how many uses of "that" I have? Almost six hundred. What is it about the word "that" that makes it so attractive and yet so hated?

First of all, that can be used in a variety of ways: pronoun, adjective, adverb, preposition. So it's a very flexible word, which certainly makes it easy to use (I have an average of four a page--a bit much). "That" is most commonly abused when used just preceding the subject/object of a sentence, i.e. "Let's go back to the restaurant that I ate in last night." In this sentence, "that" can be removed without changing the meaning of the sentence, making it useless.

I also tend to use "that" as a replacement word. Sometimes it's for "the" (like: "You know that sun?" instead of "You know the sun"; makes me want to hit myself) but sometimes I use it when "it" or "any" would be more appropriate. "That was the reason he went with her" can be replaced with "It was the reason..." Finally, I like "that made." I'm not sure why. It just seems to be stamped all over my manuscript.

So tell me: what are your problem words/phrases? How do you find them and deal with them?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Language of Confusion: With A Vengeance

Anyone get that reference? It’s another movie. Not great, but far from the worst I’ve seen. That shall now and forever be Re-Animator.

Back to business. Entrance. Am I coming in or trying to hypnotize you? If I was speaking, you’d be able to tell. There is “en-trence” and “en-trance.” So what’s the story with that?

The entering a room entrance is Middle French. I mean exactly. It was basically a noun version of the Old French word entrer—enter. So instead of saying “he entered” they could say “his entrance.” If you want to go further (and of course you do), you need to look at entrance’s origin word mentioned above. Entrer and its Romance cousins are from the Latin (big surprise) word intrare, which means to go in. It is derived from another Latin word inter—among. Among you ask? Yes. I suppose you could it’s like how if you enter a conversation, you are among the speakers. Make sense? I hope so.

We can go further, you know. Inter is from the Proto-Indo-European…enter. Yes, that’s right. It’s back to its ancestor. If you take it apart by syllable, it has en, i.e. in. As in, the opposite of out. The ter, I suppose, is a variation, like adding the –tion to make something a noun. It is “coming in” instead of just “in.”

Now the other one, the hypnotize one. That one is a little easier, and it explains the different pronunciations. Like its twin, the en- is from the Old French en, and the Latin in. Obviously, the second part of the word comes from the word trance. So it means putting in to a trance. En…trance.

In the end, I would have to say this one is just a coincidence, which also means the pronounciation differences make sense. The origins are a nounizing (I love making up words) of enter (enter + ance) and a prefix to a word to indicate putting into (en + trance). Still interesting, though : )

Again, gratitude to Douglas Harper’s Online Etymology website.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010, nuts...

I didn't get picked as a semi-finalist at Brenda Drake's blogfest. : (  I know I'm supposed to accept it and move on (there really were a lot of good entries that left mine in the dust) but I'm still bummed about it. It's from a MS I've been working really hard on and it's never easy to see something lose when you've put so much effort into it.

A lot of people said they liked my entry, which is nice, but I think I would've liked more criticism. If I ever want to improve it further, I need a crit partner or something. If only good ones weren't so hard to find! The last time I traded an MS for reads, I took the time to put in some critiques only to get nothing in return except anger that I didn't like the first scene.

Okay, that's enough bitching for today. I'm going to do a little more editing (still word hunting; so far I've removed 200+ was's, 100+ got's, and dozens of unnecessary had, has, and have's). Then I'll probably go crit partner hunting, so I'll need a tranquilizer gun and some duct tape...

Tune in tomorrow, when I'll be back to interesting content. Word nerdery's afoot!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Check Previous Post

Check Previous Post

Hi, everyone. If you’re looking for the Cliffhanger Blogfest, check below, or just click this link.

Yes, I know I’m very late. Technically it’s been two days, although I swear I posted it after midnight on Sunday. So whatevs.

I’m going to keep this short so people will scroll to the previous entry. Any input on my writing would be helpful—too wordy? Makes sense? Too many was’s? Saying something bad won’t make me not vote for you.

And I have finally decided: yes, I will do NaNoWriMo this year--I even put a link to the right-->. My username is the same as my twitter: jefishere. I have the perfect idea and I’d really like to write it. Horror! Should be fun.

Have a fantabulous day.

Holy crap. Fantabulous isn’t setting off the spell checker. I mean…wow.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Cliff hanging

Hi all! I wanted to get this up early to be in time for Brenda Drake’s Never-ending Scene Blogfest. Go check it out because there are prizes—critiques (I swear, writers must be the only people who like winning criticisms on their works). It ends at eight a.m. EST (eight hours from when I’m posting this), so GO NOW. Don’t forget to visit the sites of the other participants. Oh, and if you would be so kind to give me your opinion, I'd be so grateful.

Anyway, part of it is to post a cliffhanger. So here, for the first time anywhere, is an excerpt from my book, A SAFE PLACE IN HELL:

Eddie shut his eyes as more sweat dripped into them. Some inner force prodded him to open it, bear the wave of heat that came out and shut it tightly behind to keep his basement at a relatively cool temperature. He raked one hand through his hair to get it off his forehead and it stuck up in stiff fingers.
Up the stairs, he quickly stepped through the garage and the workshop , hoping that by keeping up his momentum he’d keep up his confidence (ha-ha, what confidence? his mind teased). He knew it wasn’t his fault, but he blamed his dad for not being around to save him from the bad guys…uh, deal with the problem.
At the back door. Behind it were people with guns, people who thought nothing of exterminating a little pest buzzing around their find. And here was Eddie Watson with his poorly built semi-automatic rifle. He knew it wouldn’t end well, he just hoped he wouldn’t end with it.
When he tossed the door open, he was hit by a light so bright it bit into his eyes but he could make out the bastards who came onto his land to steal the plants he spent months carefully coaxing into vegetables. Maybe they weren’t Marauders after all. These men were too coordinated, almost soldierly, in their movements. One yelled something Eddie couldn’t make out and tried to jump up only to slip on his comrade’s blood.
Eddie crouched on one knee, aimed at the man sitting on his ass like a crying child, and wondered if he should let it go. Yeah, that would make a great story to tell his friends the next time they got together for target practice. They’d laugh, tell story after story of their own (likely made up) acts of heroism, and stick Eddie with all the clean up afterwards.
He fired the gun.
A red circle appeared in the man’s arm but he gave no indication of pain other than a fall backwards. Eddie didn’t recognize the ploy and the return fire missed his head by a cool inch. He was just beginning to outgrow his teenage lankiness and achieve some grace, but he still tripped as he ducked around the corner. Sounds of an engine came to his ears and he risked another look to make sure they were going. The man he just shot turned and Eddie hid behind the wall again, listening for the expected gunfire or sounds of approach.
He didn’t hear anything except a clink and a light thud. Curious temporarily blocked caution and he looked in time to see the man’s back as he tipped over to the other side of the metal fence.
Wait, what was that black rock just outside of the porch? That smooth, uniformly black rock with notches at regular intervals?
            It took him less than a second to realize it was a grenade.