Sunday, February 20, 2011

Grammar Geeks Unite!

Recently, I listened to a local English teacher bemoan the fact that most of her students are terrible writers. They come to her class at the beginning of the year with no clue about good grammar, proper punctuation, essay structure, etc. She blames this partly on the computer age -- texting, chatting, instant messaging -- all forms of communication which don't require punctuation, capitalization, complete sentences, or even proper spelling for that matter. The editor in me has to agree. (Txt me l8tr if u don't. LOL!) Our world is moving away from all that's proper (in more ways than just spelling and grammar) to whatever is convenient. Some people love it, but for those of us who are grammar geeks it's... well, painful.

What I'd really like to see is people using phonetic punctuation. This sketch by the late musician/comedian Victor Borge is a fun look at what the world would be like if we included punctuation in our everyday, face-to-face conversations. Hope it brings a smile to your day. TTYL... :-)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

If You Give a Writer a Virtual Cookie...

Saw this hilarious post at The New Emily and just had to share it. What a great take on If You Give a Mouse a Cookie! Does this woman have a camera inside my house? Or maybe this is a malady that all writers share. There's hope for me yet! Either way, if you're a writer, you'll get it!

If You Send a Writer a Virtual Cookie
by Laura Malish

If you send a writer a virtual cookie from your blog, she will return the love, but will notice that you’ve updated your profile. Clicking on your new smiling image, she’ll see that you’re on Twitter. She’ll decide to send you a tweet which will remind her that she forgot to post a tweet on her account. Closing her blogger friend’s page, she’ll remember that she was supposed to be blogging.
Sitting in her quiet office, waiting for inspiration, the dryer beeps in the background. Avoiding ironing at all costs, she pops out of her chair and quickly hangs up the warm clothes before the dreaded wrinkles can set in. On the way back to her desk, she’ll notice the stack of unopened mail on the table by the back door. Sorting through ads and bills, she finds a professional looking envelope with the name of an agency she queried.

Sighing, she resigns herself to the expected rejection letter which reminds her that she needs to query that agent she found online yesterday. Tossing aside the not quite right for our agency letter, she dashes back to her desk to dig through the pile of notes on her desk, desperately trying to find that email address. In the pile, she discovers the science paper that her daughter had been searching for last night. Grabbing her keys, she’s out the door. She turns on the radio and hears a beautiful love song that reminds her of the scene she’s writing in her latest manuscript. Repeating it over and over, she hopes to cement the lyrics in her brain so she can remember it when she sits down to write.

Returning home after preparing her lecture speech about responsibility for her child, she tries to remember what she wanted to write. Hurrying to her desk, she notices the empty screen still waiting for her blog post. Staring at the flashing line, she ponders what the heck she can write about. Maybe children that need a lesson in organization? The line is still flashing. Maybe a more professional entry would be better in case a prospective agent checks out her blog. Agents and editors! She forgot to send a query to the editor from the fall conference. Quickly, dragging out her binder of important papers, she shuffles through until she finds the submission guidelines. Three months? She swallows and starts to count how many weeks since the conference and remembers that she needs to make an appointment for a haircut.

Going to the mirror, she looks to see if any gray roots are showing. Looking at her reflection, she wonders if she will ever get her manuscript published – there are a few wrinkles appearing around her eyes. That’s what her character needs! Wrinkles. Back behind the desk, she brings up her work-in-progress. A soft ping announces she has mail. Opening the email, in case it’s the agent she queried last week requesting a partial, she finds a big chocolate chip cookie from her critique friend. Thought you could use something sweet today. Oh, no!