In my reading, I often see questionable usage of a few related punctuation marks. I know (1) that grammar is not every writer’s strong suit and (2) the rules for grammar are more often gray rather than black and white, with lots of room for subjective variation, but a short primer on a few of the more confusing marks might be in order.
Many writers today seem to either hate or distrust the semi-colon, and that could be because they are not clear on the usage (and I won’t even go into the discussion about the spelling, with or without a space and/or dash). Cathy Speight did an IU piece on this persnickety punctuation mark a while back, but I want to talk about it along with some other marks that are sometimes confused, so I’ll recap the semi-colon here as well. Interestingly enough, in the mid-19th century there was an organization of writers in Cincinnati, Ohio called the Semi-Colon Club. Members included Harriet Beecher Stowe and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Salmon P. Chase, among others. I would guess from their choice of name for their group that they were not afraid to use the much-maligned mark. Continue reading “Those Pesky Punctuation Marks”
For those of you who have many years of experience and well established connections in the writing community, this is all going to seem blatantly obvious. But for those of us who are new, who have come to writing and publishing through a more circuitous route, there are many strange and wondrous things: book conferences for instance.
I knew there were things for Trekkies and comic book fans. I had heard of the London Book Fair, and certain highbrow literary festivals, but I had no idea there were conferences for ordinary readers and everyday, even rookie writers. It’s not that I’m an introvert. Far from it. I’m just not much of a herd animal. It was one of my readers who told me I should look into the Bloody Words Mystery Conference which took place this past weekend, in my home town of Toronto. Boy, am I glad I did! I learned a lot, I met some very nice people, and best of all, I had a blast. Continue reading “My First Book Conference”
The other day, I was chatting with an author who had registered the title of her book as a hashtag. She really had it together – mentioning the hashtag in her book, and even in her book’s description. I was wowed by this level of planning and technology.
“How did you know to register the hashtag?” I asked.
“It was in an article on Indies Unlimited,” she answered.
Well, I’ll be. And it sure was. Lynne Cantwell interviewed Kriss Morton and wrote Hashtags 501 – and I must have been so dazzled by the amazing amount of hashtag knowledge that I missed that part.
I kind of liked the idea of registering a hashtag, so I decided to give it a shot. I went to Twubs.com and entered “MrPish” in the big “enter a hashtag” box. A little wheel spun for a moment, but there were no results. Cool! This hashtag was mine, all mine! *rubbing hands together in an evil manner* Continue reading “Registering a HashTag”
In the past, I’ve written standalone novels and never seriously considered releasing sequels to any of them. But every time another writing colleague published another installment in his or her series, gaining in sales and readership, a little voice in my head said: I gotta write one of those someday. Continue reading “The Accidental Non-Linear Series”