Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Apostrophe Atrocities



"John has three cat's, a mother cat and it's babie's. One of the kitten's is real cute but the other ones face looks like the hind end of an as's."

This is an all too common example of apostrophe atrocity. As a peaceful prolife Christian, I think people who write like this should be killed. With wood chippers.

Well, that might be a _bit_ harsh. But there is no excuse for anyone who is an aspiring writer to write like this. Not even in an email or Facebook post. Not even if you are dyslexic or don't speak English or just had your brain eaten by a zombie.

If you think you may have committed an apostrophe atrocity, get thee to the English grammar confessional at once. Your penance will involve an intimate encounter with the first page of your Strunk and White.

Strunk and White? That's short for 'The Elements of Style' by William Strunk and E. B. White. Every household that doesn't have a copy wedged next to the other household essentials (The Bible, Webster's Dictionary, The Catechism of the Catholic Church (or your denominational equivalent), and The Star Trek Concordance by Bjo Trimble) is probably inhabited by sister-marrying illiterate hillbillies, rather than the literate cousin-marrying hillbilly type that most of us strive for.

Correct version of above sentence: "John has three cats, a mother and its babies. One of the kittens is real cute but the other one's face looks like the hind end of an ass."

And now, for no apparent reason, a picture with cats.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Author Holly Lisle's gone Indie



Holly Lisle, author of 32 sci-fi and fantasy books, has announced she is quitting Big Publishing to go indie.

This will without doubt be a success for her, as her blog has a large following and she's been self-publishing her non-fiction for a while now.  But I think it will also be a good thing for all indie authors as it will bring more attention to the fact that indie publishing today is quite different than the old school vanity presses.

I remember years ago reading the author Laurence Block's advice to young writers. He said that in his early years, writers got started writing short stories for the many paying markets that then existed. He said that though the publishing world had changed since then, young writers would continue to find venues in which to serve out a writing apprenticeship.

Publishing has changed again. Now the unpublished writer will be serving out his apprenticeship in the world of blogging and indie publishing--- perhaps publishing early novels and short stories through Smashwords, or novels in real-book form through Lulu.com--- both free options. A blog, I believe, is essential for such an indie writer. It provides proof to the potential reader of your book that you are indeed able to write the English language without a net. It also provides immediate feedback.

I have reasons that have nothing to do with writing that make it essential that I be an indie writer. I have one poetry book out, Where the Opium Cactus Grows, which is published by Lulu.com. I had said I was going to publish most or all of the poems from the book on this blog. I still intend to do that, and I also want to provide at least most of 'Opium Cactus' as a free ebook through Smashwords.

I also have my new web fiction novel Taliesin, and may be publishing some short fiction on this blog and/or in ebook form.

Through my blog and related activities I've had the opportunity to meet other indie authors such as:
Amanda Borenstadt: Syzygy
Tracy Krauss: And The Beat Goes On
Michael Anthony Lee: Horker's Law (The Six Books of Magic)

One advantage of indie publishing is that you can create your own little niche-genre, and that actually will help you out in gaining a readership. Christian science fiction, especially that with hard science fiction elements, is not welcomed at major Christian publishers (or secular SF ones), but is a natural for indie publishing.

One thing you can do to help your indie writer friends is to purchase/download your indie fiction from Amazon.com. This helps the book climb in sales on that site. Reviewing and tagging indie books is also a mitzvah you can do for your indie writer friends.
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