Grammar, Grammar Everywhere, But a Dangling Modifier is Good … Never?

Crow

Dear readers,

Just a quick drop-in to spruik one of my favourite online resources. When I’m about to embark on a typical editing project, I must begin by having all my ‘weapons’ at the ready. I run through this list:

I’ve got my Wiley Style Guide (5th Ed.) — Check.
Macquarie Dictionary — Check.
Australian Handbook For-Writers and Editors — Check.
The Dreaded Purple Book — Check.
A Less Buggy Version of Word — (often) Check.
Battery Life — Check.
Back-up Drive — Check.
Hands — Check.
OH&S Stretches — Check-one-two-check!

Well, in addition to the above, I also make sure I have the Grammar Girl website open. Continue reading

Defiance

The_Defiant_by_David_Willicome

(Legal: Thanks to David Willicome for the artwork above.)

Heinrich groaned and slapped at the ‘snooze’ button on his alarm clock. The voices stopped.

Head felt like a toilet; he’d gamed too long and hard last night, and his body was showing all the signs of it: Over-Shock.

No more than 2 days at a time, they’d said, otherwise you’re training the body to disengage from the brain. Didn’t sound so bad, in theory. Last night’s nosebleed, however, had been a wake-up call.

Flicking on his holowall—a 3D simulated projection of peace and tranquillity that neatly hid the dim walls of his lifecube—he trudged over to the fridge and opened it and quickly downed a carton of OJ. The bitterness singed his tongue, the artificial flavours mixing and sending a rush of endorphins screaming through his sluggish cortex. Continue reading

Update 27/04/13: Absence Makes the Nose Grow Longer

roxanneabsence

Crumbs! I can’t believe it’s been almost a month since I last posted. Recently, I’ve been weighed down by romance novel edits, but they’re finally done, so my next piece should be up here soon …

In the meantime, aspiring authors should check out yWriter5, a word processor/story tracker application. yWriter5 streamlines the process of planning out a novel, allowing characters, plot arcs and chapter/scene breakdowns to be easily tracked and edited. It’s a little clunky—’Free writing software designed by an author, not a salesman’ says the website—but very flexible.

It’s also very free. Get amongst it,
MalarkyGetsTheGirl

‘Neath Extract

Crow

Dear readers,

I’m still working on Smarmbeard, so until then, here’s a short extract from a novel I’ve been struggling with.

Enjoy.

*    *    *

It was a common enough problem: Sarah had no motivation to get out of bed. Warm and cozy in her eiderdown cocoon, in her world of lemon-scented fabric detergent and flannel sheeting, her body felt weightless; her arms, legs and head were bits of heavy-packing foam, like the stuff she’d once seen at that decrepit self-storage unit years previously.

She and Zoe had been moving house at the time. Continue reading

Update 22/02/13: Storylane

storylane

Greetings, dear readers,

I’ve recently stumbled upon a new site called Storylane that I’d like to share with the aspiring authors in the audience. Much like a blogging platform, Storylane encourages you to write pieces based on your personal experiences, with a number of preset questions and topics on offer (I believe these can be customised and expanded, as you so desire). I’m finding it… fun. I feel like it encourages me  to write on a regular basis, as others can request stories and topics from my own ‘storylane’, and that validates my sense of self-worth. Hoo-hum, a little too much of Sparky’s inner psychology for you there.

Anyway, enjoy the site, and my two latest bits of personalised narrative:

Magic Folder of Memories

Hill

From my quill to your screen,
SparkyGetsTheGirl

The Horribly Prolonged Adventures of the Right Admirable Falus Aboard the Drunken Parrot.

smarmbeard

The below excerpt is taken from a comedic serial that I hope to make a regular feature on A Dark Moon in Orbit. Think Lucasarts ‘Monkey Island’ series crossed with a demented ‘Captain Pugwash.’

Enjoy.

*           *           *

The Right Admirable Falus raised his ornate telescope and squinted into the distance. A rather tarnished eyepiece gazed back at him.

Who, or hwhat, is that?

The face was partially obscured. Sweeping his viewpoint higher, Falus wrinkled his nose at its strange adornments: a top hat, festooned with rotting grapes, and a rather preposterous feather poking out the top. Then, glancing downwards, he froze. Continue reading

Whips ‘n Chains

Whips 'n Chains

‘I found you lying by the side of road. From the moment I saw you, I was in love.’
I looked down at the huddled form. Held her there with my eyes.

Please, she seemed to say, I’m so hungry.

She could not speak. Circumstances dictated she would not.

‘I brought you home. Kept you warm. Made this your home.’
I gestured at the dank crawlspace.

You’re cruel. So cruel. Someone will find me.

No one would find us here.

She shivered, slowly crawling back against the stone wall.

A dripping of water.

My voice changed:

‘You had an … accident. I got you fixed. You ran away.’

In my hands, the length of chain tightened. Continue reading

Housemate

Fridge

My beautiful Holden Vectra had committed suicide, taken a dive, lost the will to survive. Within a minute, my mobile—a Sony Ericsson k750i ex-showroom model that I’d bought for $350 (rrp) three long years ago—had also given up the ghost.

I had to grit my teeth and think, It’s a funny old world, isn’t it?

*           *           *

My day had started out relatively benign, similar to most: big breakfast (eggs, sunny-side up, and bacon), big shower (an environmentally-hurtful fifteen minutes), and big argument with my housemate, Sam.

Once again, Sam had left the washing up soaking in the sink overnight. I’d woken up, come stumbling out to the kitchen for my late afternoon pick-me-up of fresh OJ, and found last night’s strained peas floating in a morass of sludge water in the sink, with nary a clean cup in sight. Continue reading