Category Archives: Writing
Anything related to writing, authors, agents, publishers, etc.
Things have been crazy busy at my end of the world, but I wanted to take some time to give a well-deserved shout-out to a fellow blogger whose meticulous proofreading/editing services I’ve recently had the chance to experience.
I’ve been following the blog of Thomas Weaver for quite some time now (well, just about since I started blogging myself), and have consistently enjoyed his Grammar Rants, amongst other posts. I’d like to believe that we’re similar in some respects (perfectionists, sticklers for detail, and grammar na… er, ninjas), but I can’t claim to have any seriously honed editing skills (though I did rant myself about things an editor should’ve picked up in a book written by my favourite author that I just couldn’t overlook). So, since I remembered from first browsing his site a long time ago that he was also an editor who offered a free sample of his proofreading/editing skills for up to 5000 words – and because I knew I would soon be submitting my first chapter, which therefore had to be extra polished – I thought I’d see whether he’d be able to find any little errors I may have overlooked in my own writing. I was pretty convinced that there wouldn’t be more than a few, and that those would have been ones that crept in with recent edits to said first chapter.
Boy, was I naïve.
Thomas not only found a few errors that had crept in, he also managed to remind me of how inconsistent I’d become with my commas and semicolons (in more places than I’d like to admit publicly), and of my bad habit with adding a fourth dot to an ellipsis when it’s at the end of a sentence, which isn’t correct.
I did have the audacity to disagree with some of his suggested edits, and, in our interesting email conversation about several aspects of editing and grammar, rather than being a “my way or the highway” kind of guy, he was happy to agree with some of my reasoning and answer my questions about some of the finer points of… stuff.
Oh, and, as a bonus, he came up with this gem regarding ellipses that cracked me up:
Then thou must write three dots upon the page. Three shall be the number of the dots, and the number of the dots shall be three. Four dots shall thou not write, neither shall thou write two, excepting that thou then proceed to three. Five is right out. Once the three dots, three being the number of the dots, be written…
It helps to know the Monty Python original to appreciate it:
So, clearly, if you’re in need of professional proofreading and/or editing, I can whole-heartedly recommend Thomas’ services. Not only will you get first-class service, you’ll also be communicating with a guy who is very approachable, who knows way more than just his commas and semicolons, and who has a great sense of humour.
You can even try out his free sample offer so you have an idea of what you’ll get for hiring him. And if you do, please tell him Amos sent you – maybe I’ll get a discount when I need more of his excellent editing skills. ;-)
Ok, quick break from writing, just long enough to say…
… Sorry, the main part of my mind is somewhere completely different right now.
… I’m making good progress with my last couple of chapters.
… Thanks heaps, Thomas, I’ll get around to that blog post when I have a chance (that is, when it doesn’t mean breaking out of the Zone), and will reply to that email. Just… not right now. (You’ll notice lots of 3-dot ellipses, though!)
… Another great picture my wife took that sort of fits the topic:
… No, it’s not the Twilight Zone. (But thanks for your concern.)
… Your blog visit is very important to us. The next available Amos will be with your comment… er, later. Probably. Gotta go!
(*clears throat and climbs up on his soapbox, manifesto in one hand, microphone in the other*)
… that there are a few things I need to say at the start of the new year, 2015.
- … that people who wonder about the meaning of life either don’t have kids or don’t pay enough attention to them.
- … that love, humour and hope are the three main ingredients for happiness.
- … in happy endings in real life. (In stories, they sometimes make me cringe, though. Even if I did silently hope for them.)
- … in the importance of people being able to talk to each other… non-electronically.
- … that you don’t need to drink alcohol in order to have fun.
- … that smoking should be outlawed except for people willing to wear a permanently sealed-off helmet, and that the influence of tobacco lobbyists and the like are despicable. We all know what it does… why is it still around?
- … that America and the UK need to stop hanging on to their confusing versions of the imperial system of units and finally go metric (your medical and military people are doing it… no, not with each other, I mean they use the metric system). Also, the US need to stop insisting on formatting dates with the middle value followed by the smallest value followed by the largest value. WTF? Oh, while you’re at it, guys, fix where punctuation goes on quotes that are less than a “complete sentence”.
- … that bullies are almost always cowards too weak to stop doing to others something similar to what’s been done to them.
- … that the most wonderful sound in the whole wide world is that of my kids laughing uncontrollably.
- … that I’m the luckiest guy alive because my awesome wife, best friend and soulmate gets me and loves me including all my faults.
- … that religious extremism of any sort makes this world a darker place, and that the rest of the world should take heed of how Australia handled her first real encounter with it. #IllRideWithYou
- … that Australia needs to get rid of its current village idiot, climate-change-denying leader to start moving in the right direction again. We’re the joke of the world, being pretty much the only country in the world that is moving away from actively doing something about global warming, and it’s a friggin’ disgrace.
- … that OSS (open-source software) is the way to go wherever there’s a choice.
- … that DRM (digital rights management) is wrong.
- … that I couldn’t live without some of my favourite pieces of software (sounds like a future blog topic to me!).
- … that installing a piece of software on my PC or an app on my phone doesn’t give it the right to do things like collect data about me without my explicit agreement, to not give me a choice of when it can dial home or check for updates, or to access any information on my system it doesn’t absolutely need to function. Worst offenders being companies like Apple, Microsoft, and Adobe, but also increasingly “do-no-evil” Google. (I love Cyanogen!)
- … that it’s a crying shame that Smalltalk isn’t more widely used as a programming language (try Pharo and Seaside if you like to tinker, you won’t want to go back).
- … that I am fully within my rights, when I see an email from someone that ends with “sent from my iPhone” to add to my own response, “Sent from my 64GB/3G Snapdragon 801 2.5GHz Quadcore OnePlus One with Cyanogen 11S that kicks your iPhone’s arse (and costs less than half as much)”.
Work (in IT)
- … that programmers shouldn’t have to wear business clothes.
- … that software architects should have the guts to recommend the right software for the job, not based on which sales reps can throw more money at decision-making board members who still believe that more expensive must mean better.
- … that IT recruiters are right up there with lawyers and other blood suckers. The fact that they charge between 10% and 40% (or even more) on top of a developer’s rates without really knowing anything beyond buzz words is just appalling.
- … that I should take the time to blog a bit more. (Yeah, like that’ll happen. *sigh*)
- … that there are too many good, honest blogs out there to read – how I wish I had more time to invest in being a good follower!
- … that following another blog without really being interested in what it’s about, i.e. just to get them to follow you back, is akin to lying. Thanks to all those who do occasionally read my humble scribblings, and I hope to find more time to read all your blogs. (I _am_ interested in those I follow! I just roll my eyes whenever someone new follows me whose blog is about “making money by blogging” or the like.) For now, though, my aim is simply to have (not necessarily build) a platform while I focus on writing my book. Building my platform will come later, when I have more time for that sort of thing….
- … that WordPress is great, but they should finally accept that I like the “old” stats page better and stop asking me to vote in their silly survey every time I load it.
- … that WordPress needs to finally find a way to fix the “invalid certificate” bug that causes security errors. I keep forgetting that certain things only work in certain browsers because of it, and that it sometimes causes my “likes” of other blogs to be lost. Not cool!
- … that I’ve had enough of distopian future stories whose premise I don’t buy, or whose premise I buy, but they then make ridiculous assumptions about human nature that I just can’t swallow (might be another future blog post).
- … that everyone should take grammar seriously. Not just grandpa. All jokes aside, don’t let our language decay because people have to fit everything into 140 characters. Do your part, write things out, learn how it’s done right without needing a spell checker, and gently educate those who fall short. Or, like, mercilessly correct them, or… whatever.
- … that my story is worth telling.
- … that 2015 will be the year I finally finish my story. Watch this space. #amwriting
- … that you should all have a Happy New Year! All the best for 2015 (and beyond).
- … that it’s about time I stepped off this soap box. Ahem. Sorry for ranting, but occasionally it’s nice to get this sort of stuff off my chest. Now somebody give me a hand getting down, it’s higher than it looks. Huh? What do you mean, the microphone wasn’t on?!?
Oh yeah… holidays! Time off from work! Time to finally write more than a few disjointed hours per week! I can’t tell you how much I’ve been looking forward to this.
Admittedly, there’s also that little thing called Christmas to get through, but that will be so much easier this year… because all my kids are now old enough to know. We’ve kept the magic alive as long as we could; this year, all three of them will be in on the magic. Maybe that’ll take some of the excitement out of it, but I think it should still be fun. Just in a different way.
I finally found the time earlier this week to post a topic I’d been working on for a while (the GuildWars 2 bounties post; just taking, picking, cropping, uploading and inserting all those screenshots took forever), and may get around to posting on one or two other non-writing ones I’ve been meaning to do, but I do want to get back to the reason I created this blog in the first place, i.e. my own writing.
If I don’t quite finish writing the ending to my work-in-progress before I have to go back to work, I’m hoping to at least get close. Then, next year may find me writing about going through the long, boring, exciting, depressing, scary process of eventually submitting my work. Reading up on potential agencies to submit to, writing/honing my query letter, agonising over picking the sample chapters to submit, and so on. Wish me luck! :-)
But first, I have to get there, and write my ending. I’ve only got a rough outline thus far, but at least I now have a chunk of time to dedicate to it. (I hope.) Also, I have to complete my timeline (nearly done!) so that I can make sure that everything is logical and coherent. Not such an easy task in the fantasy genre and in my tropical setting, where I need to know exactly when the rainy season needs to kick in so that it all makes sense.
Oh, plus I need to get over this nasty chest cold I’ve caught… I think it’s been around a year and a half since I’ve had a real cold or the flu, so maybe I was overdue. All this coughing is exhausting, but you don’t need that much (physical) energy to sit and write.
And that’s exactly what I intend to do.
A heartfelt “thanks” to anyone who ever read my blog, I’ve learned heaps this year (not least of which was to adjust my expectations time-wise of what’s involved in blogging) and look forward to blogging more next year. And an even bigger “thank you” to my wonderful wife (she reads my blog and my scribblings) for putting up with me sitting in front of my computer for large chunks of my “spare” time and for supporting me in my crazy dream all the way!
Merry Christmas (or Happy Holiday Season or whatever you prefer…) to all writers. Oh, fine, to all non-writers as well.