November 15 story: Twenty Feet, Part III

Part I, Part II

“Who is, or was, this Bardo?” Corin asked.

“Is, he is still alive as far as I know,” Dolman said and a faint smile crossed his face. “He was discharged. His place wasn’t the army. Oh, he was pretty good, but…” his voice trailed off and the smile became a chuckle.

“He was one of von Strab’s Morons,” one of the hunters explained.

“That’s uh… an officer?” The scribe ventured.

“No, those were von Strab’s Idiots. The Morons were then brain-scrambled boys they grabbed when the war got really nasty.”

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November 13 post: A story to remember

Once there was a master pick-up artist for whom the tricks of his trade were to him as natural as breathing. He got around the world, worming himself into women’s mind and bedrooms with equal ease. But during his last escapade (to the exotic nation of Moldavia,) news of his arrival got around first (his social media posts stating “BITCHES be ready, I’M HERE” probably didn’t help either.)

The women had been forewarned, and some now were forearmed, and they shunned him in bars, shopping malls, coffee shops, and maternity wards. But The Master, for that was his professional name, had always known this could happen and had many contingency plans ready for such a situation and knew that, eventually, he would get around the problem.

With flair and finesse, he dressed himself up into a human peacock. Two long, dangling skull earrings, a crystal cane, a double-breasted coat that could have only been worn by Dracula himself, a silver stole, more rings you can count, a top hat, and a fanciful beard later, he was not only outrageously embellished but also unrecognizable. Ready for action, he got around the ladies with humor, guile, charisma, and judicious negging, and then, finally, he really got around with the ladies.


 

Yes, this is just a made-up story to help me remember the various meanings of the phrasal verb “to get around.”

November 12 post: the participial phrase (-ing verbs) pandemic.

This post has been in my draft folder for a long time. It’s one of the most common issues I see in texts I read or proofread, and it’s also the one that more easily sets me off. I’m talking about the overuse of participial phrases or, as you probably know them, -ing verbs. They are everywhere, and although they can be used correctly, they usually aren’t.

This is the pattern, and once I mention it, you’ll probably recognize it: “Character A did X, Y-ing something else,” or “Protagonist said, twirling his mustache.” The participial phrase is the entire, well, phrase, “twirling his mustache,” not just the word twirling. Grammatically, they usually work as an adjective, modifying a noun or pronoun (like the subject.) I was surprised when I discovered that because I had intuitively thought they worked as adverbs, saying how something was done (How did he say it? Twisting his mustache) but in fact, they modify a noun, here, “Protagonist.” Basically, it’s like saying “The Protagonist, he-who-is-twisting-his-mustache, said.”

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November 11 post: the writing of old bestsellers vs. contemporary writers, a comparison.

If you have read some of my posts, it’s no secret that I can’t stand most contemporary fiction. The last few posts have been an attempt to explain, mostly to myself, why I rarely can’t get past the first paragraphs of most books I open. Some of those posts have been quite successful and a few people have told me they have had similar experiences, so I guess I’m not the only one.

Continue reading “November 11 post: the writing of old bestsellers vs. contemporary writers, a comparison.”

November 10 post: “I awake several hours later in a daze” or first-person narrations.

Following on yesterday’s post on POV and expanding on some comments I have read and made here and in other sites, I’d like to write a bit about first-person narrators. I used to dislike them, but this last year I have been reading a lot of books that are technically first-person narrations but most people wouldn’t consider them as such because they are not fiction: memoirs. I actually started reading them because I was quite bored with most fiction and quickly found that these people, many with no formal literally talent, were nonetheless able to explain quite awesome stories. Then it dawned on me that perhaps the reason I had disliked first-person narrators was, quite simply, that they had been misused, badly written, unnecessary.

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November 9 post: Deep POV is shallow (and harming fantastic fiction)

I don’t feel like writing a story today so I’ll make a post on writing. This post will pull together different issues I have hinted or referenced in other posts, focusing on what I believe has become a serious problem in fiction literature, especially what is known as ‘genre writing’: the death of the narrator. I blame what is known as Deep Point of View, although perhaps a new term would be needed for what I will talk about, perhaps Character-Only Narrative, but Deep POV will have to do because nobody would know what I’m talking about if I start talking about CON.

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November 8 story: The Dork Knight

The businessman shot off to nearest alley, loudly cursing the sudden downpour. There, in the recessed doorway of an old building, decorated by the grotesque, jutting moldings that were a fashionable feature of the Old City district, he found shelter. And other men were looking for the same thing, or at least that’s what he thought at first.

The four men didn’t seem worried by the rain, and they walked his way with an almost casual pace. He didn’t like how they were dressed, or how they looked (and looked at him,) but he repressed the thought since he was a tolerant fellow.

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