Wednesday, September 14, 2011


( off a piece of that Kit-Kat bar...)

I'm going on vacation for a couple of weeks, so no posts until I return in early October. If you're lucky, I might also put a few pictures. ;) Since I'll be driving to Tampa, taking a week-long cruise with the family to the Western Caribbean, driving up for a few days to take in scenic St. Mary's, GA, and then jaunting up to Decatur, GA for the Moonlight & Magnolias conference, there will be many pictures worth seeing (unless I forget my camera. I always forget something when traveling...)

Yes, I know, for security reasons it's best not to post one's vacation plans online. But in case any thieves happen to stop on by my blog, I'd like to point out my two roommates who are happily staying home and taking care of my vicious attack cats while I'm gone. Vicious, I tell you.


The cruise, by the way, is a family get-together that's been in the works since both my brother and I graduated college. I'm very excited - we've been saving up for this for years. Family is something which that has always been important to me, and adding exotic locations to the mix just makes the trip better. Also dragging a friend along (I really had to twist her arm) to go with me on the excursions and to give my parents and my brother and his girlfriend some couple time.
Wish me luck at the Moonlight & Magnolias conference!

And in a random aside, I just got back my results from a contest. All my life, I've been trained to use two spaces between sentences. Apparently, this is not what the publishing industry is looking for. So if you've come from teachers like mine who have drilled the sentence-space-space-sentence rule into you, time to put that aside. From now on, if you're publishing, sentence-space-sentence, single spaces only.

Contest entry fee: $20
Waiting for 2 months: 200XP (kudos if you get the reference)
107,000 words worth of spacing to revise: priceless.

Maybe it was just that judge? In fact, if you'd like to share your spacing expertise, please do. I'd love an excuse not to respace the entire novel - but I'll also accept a mandate explaining why it is necessary to do so.

See you in October!

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Word Box: Rulers and Relationships

Another hop into the Grandiloquent Dictionary, for words on rulers and relationships, N-Z!

nanophilia - ( )

  An attraction to short people

neanilagnia - ( )

  An attraction to teenagers

narcokleptocracy - ( )

  Rulership by drug dealers with ties to politicians and the military

neocracy - ( )

  Rulership by inexperienced people

novercaphobia - ( )

  The fear of one's stepmother

obsolagnium - ( )

  The lack of sexual desire that accompanies old age

opsipatria - ( )

  The fathering of a child by an elderly man

opsiproligery - ( )

  The ability to still have children late in life

osculaphobia - ( )

  A fear of kissing

oxter - ( )

  To walk arm in arm

oligarchy - ( )

  A government controlled by a few people


oikomania - ( )

  mental disorder caused by an abusive home

oikonisus - ( )

  The desire to start a family 

oculoplania - ( )

  Letting one's eyes wander while assessing someone's charm

paedarchy - ( )

Rulership by a child or several children

paedocracy - ( )

A government formed of children

paparchy - ( )

Rulership by the pope

papyrocracy - ( )

Rulership by paperwork or by the press

pedantrocracy - ( )

Rulership by pedants or pedagogs

plousiocracy - ( )

A government consisting of the wealthy and the elite


plutarchy - ( )

A government formed by the wealthy and elite


plutocracy - ( )

Rulership by the wealthy or elite


plutocrat - ( )

A member of the wealthy ruling class

politicaster - ( )

Second rate politician or incompetent leader

pollarchy - ( )
Rulership by the mob

polygyny - ( )

Marriage to several women

puellaphillist - ( )

One who loves girls

quadrigamist - ( )

  Someone who either has been married four times or who is married to four people

rampasture - ( )

  A room in which several unmarried men reside, usually in a boarding house or inn

satrapess - ( )

  An official who acts like a petty tyrant

shurocracy - ( )

  A government based on consensus

soceraphobia - ( )

  A fear of parents in law

sorocide - ( )

  The killing of one's own sister

sororate - ( )

  The marriage of a man to his wife's sister

sphallolalia - ( )

  Flirtatious talk that leads nowhere

squirearchy - ( )

  Rulership by the landed gentry

strumpetocracy - ( )

  A government formed of prostitutes

syndyasmia - ( )

  The proper term for an open marriage in which either partner may live with other people

thearchy - ( )

  Rulership by a god or gods

theocracy - ( )

  Government formed by the church or by a representative of God

theodemocracy - ( )

  A democracy which is controlled by divine powers

theogamy - ( )

  A marriage between gods

theoktony - ( )

  The death of God or of gods

threpterophilia - ( )

  An attraction to female nurses

thygatrilagnia - ( thy-GA-truh-LAG-nee-uh )

  An incestuous desire for one's daughter

timocracy - ( )

  A government of honorable people

torschlusspanik - ( )

  The fear of young women that they will not be married until they are to old to have children

uxoricide - ( )

  The murder of a wife by her husband

uxorious - ( )

  Excessively devoted to one's husband

uxorodespotic - ( )

  Tyrranical rulership by one's wife

vernalagnia - ( )

  A romantic mood brought on by Spring. Also known as Spring Fever

vernorexia - ( VUR-nuh-REK-see-uh )

  A romantic mood inspired by Spring

vesthibitionism - ( )

  The flirtatious display of undergarments by a woman

wittol - ( )

  A man who meakly accepts his wife's adultery

ximelolagnia - ( ZY-muh-luh-LAG-nee-uh )

The desire to look a women who cross their legs

Assignment: Choose three words between A-Z and write a short story (300 words or less) using all three!

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Word Box: Rulers and Relationships (A-M)

This week, from the Grandiloquent Dictionary, words having to do with rulers (rule by what?) and relationships. (A-M)

angelocracy -( )

 Rulership by angels

anililagnia -( )

 An attraction to older women

chirocracy - ( )

 The state of being ruled by force (literally by a strong hand)

chrysocracy - ( )

 Rulership by the wealthy (literally a government by gold)

cyesolagnia - ( )

 Being attracted to pregnant women

cheiloproclitic - ( )

 Being attracted to a person's lips

demonocracy - ( )

  Rulership by demons

diabolarchy - ( )

  Rulership by the devil

ecclesiarchy - ( )

  Rulership by the church

ethnocracy - ( )

  Rulership by a specific race

gamophobia - ( )

  A fear of marriage

gymnophoria - ( )

  The sensation that someone is mentally undressing you

gynarchy - ( )

  Rulership by women

gynonudomania - ( )

  The urge to rip off a woman's clothing

gynotikolobomassophilia - ( )

  A proclivity for nibbling on women's earlobes

hagiocracy - ( )

  Rulership by saints

hirsutophilia - ( )

  An attraction to hairy men

hierocracy - ( )

  Rulership by the church or by church officials

jowfair - ( )

  An event which does not occur after much planning, such as a wedding with no groom

kakistocracy - ( )

  Rulership by the worst leader

kosmokrator - ( )

  The ruler of the world

korophilia - ( )

  Being attracted to young men or boys

karao - ( )

  The marriage of a widow to her brother-in-law

levirate - ( )

The marriage of a woman to her husbands brother

logocracy - ( )

Rulership by words

lavacultophilia - ( )

A desire to stare at someone in a bathing suit

meritocracy - ( )

  Rulership by the most skilled leader

mariticide - ( )

  The murder of a husband by his wife

maritodespotism - ( )

  Tyrranical rulership of a woman by her husband

meacock - ( )

  A meak man who dotes on his wife, or is henpecked

malaxophobia - ( )

  A fear of love play, especially in women

mariticide - ( )

  The murder of a husband by his wife

maritorious - ( )

  Excessively devoted to one's husband


misogamist - ( )

  One who hates marriage

monandry - ( )

  The practice of having a single husband at a time

myriadigamous - ( )

  Pertaining to someone who is willing to marry all kinds of people

Which word is your favorite?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Grammar Brigade: Passive for a Point

Passive voice... dreaded, depised, cursed and crushed.  Every "was," "is," and "will be" eliminated with a quick stroke of an active verb.  We all know the drill.

But is it time to retire the drill?

The passive voice exists for a reason.  And, done well, it can have a big impact.

What is the passive voice?  The word "was" does not necessarily mean passive - so no more snipping out statements like, "It was true." and "Helen's hair was blue."  That's not passive voice.  Simply put, passive voice is when something happens to someone, instead of that someone doing something.

For example:
"Jeff was mugged by a troll."  This is passive voice.  The person to whom the action happened, Jeff, comes first in the sentence, and the actor, the troll, is at the end.
"A troll mugged Jeff."  This is active.  The actor is the subject of the sentence.

Which is better?  Well, if I'm trying to start a genocide against all trolls, I'd choose the latter.  But if I'm trying to stress the fact that Jeff had a bad day, I'd go with the former.

The passive voice takes stress off the person/thing doing the action, and puts it on the victim of the sentence.  So, if you've got a multiverse where trolls are just another denizen, you're tempting racism by putting the troll first.  What's important is that poor Jeff got mugged.  It could just have easily been a moody human, a fire fae, or a jabberwocky that mugged him - as long as the police arrest the guy, who cares?

But let's say that all trolls are vile creatures of death, darkness, and evil.  A TROLL mugged Jeff?  Is that how he got that black eye?  DEATH TO ALL TROLLS!  The important thing is that the mugger was a troll - it's not like Jeff got drunk and wandered down a back alley somewhere.  No one really cares about Jeff, anyway.  We just want to kill to trolls.  And that's where active voice comes in - it emphasizes the doer of the action.

So when else is passive useful in a story?

Pass the blame - Do you have a villain?  Are they trying to blame the victim?  Your evil characters will try to avoid accepting blame by using the passive voice.  "She was stabbed by a knife," the sociopath said.  Well, who stabbed her?  He did, of course.  But he doesn't want to accept that responsibility. 

Taking control - There's a character - a young boy - who doesn't have much control over his life.  Things just... happen to him.  He is moved to a small town by his parents.  He was told to wash the dishes.  And then - he left.  He chose to become a fireman.  He took control of his life.  Use a little passive voice (but don't go overboard) in the beginning.  This sets up a contrast to who he becomes later.

Losing control - She's kick-butt.  She's got a squad of alpha men at her beck and call, and she's taken down ten terrorist cells in the last month.  And then - she walks into a classroom full of kids, where her hands are taken and she's dragged into the center of the room by midgets.  Her hands are filled with a book, and all the eyes in the room stare at her expectantly.  The passive voice shows that she's out of her element, no longer sure where she's going and what she's doing.

Where else would you use passive voice?

Thanks to Amy Corwin, for a fantastic presentation on the passive voice!

Monday, September 5, 2011

On Editing

Why do we edit?

What do we edit out?

Who are we when we edit - authors, readers, critics, or trolls?

I edit because I want people to read my story.  Not just because a poorly edited novel is less likely to be read, but because a story with poor grammar, poor word choice, and poor pacing really is almost unreadable.  How can my readers know what I say, if they have to pause every page to figure out what I've just said?  I write for people.  People don't like to have to battle a paragraph to find the meaning behind it.  They just want the story.  And when they have to stop to think about what was just said, then they're not getting that story.

I edit out anything that makes me go, "huh?" I'm not talking about philosophical questions that are supposed to make the reader thing.  A well-written story is a self-contained universe. I'm talking about anything that breaks me out of the world, that sends me back into the real world instead of the one within the book.  That means overlong monologues, sidequests without significant story development, downtime that doesn't have a purpose, description of unimportant things (and sometimes important things that simply aren't affected by how they look), and anything that doesn't make sense.  It also means I put things in: transitions, time-jumps, 'downtime' with significant plot points, dialogue markers to determine who is speaking.  And that's just the beginning.

I am evil when I edit.  I destroy my beautiful novel, my beautiful baby - I alternately stuff her with new scenes and slice off old ones.  I am a surgeon.  I am a troll.  I wield a club, a sword, an axe, and a sewing needle in the same hand.  I cry.  I scream.  But before all that - I read.

I read, because that is what I want someone else to do.  I read my own novel as if I hadn't written it, and I try to find all the places that, as a reader, I get thrown out of my fantasy world.  And I fix all those spots, and think about what I think is missing from that writer's story. I am not her critic - I am not her fan - I am just a reader, given a new novel to read, and all I want is to read the story.  Except, unlike every other book in the world, here I really can make the changes that I want to make.

So I do.

And I think that, perhaps, is one of the biggest reasons I write.  Because when I'm writing the story, I can fix it.

That is why I love editing.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Publishing News

I've been busy.  So instead of following the publishing industry as usual, I've been dropping out grammar-and-such posts.

But not today.  Today, it's another tour of the publishing industry as a whole: links to articles and blogs that are highly relevant to today's writers.  But not like usual.  Using one of my favorite blogs, Nathan Bradford's, I want to do a little tour of the effect of ePublishing on the industry, and where traditional publishing stands in contrast. 

 I'm going to point out an old blog of Nathan Bradford's, The Greatest Challenge Agents Face.  Posted in January, he mentioned the problem of standarized splits - that is, an across-the-board author/publisher split that is non-negotiable.  What do agents do for writers?  Among other things, their duties include getting the writer published, and getting the writer a good deal.  But if all writers go self-publishing, and there's a standarized non-negotiable contract, agents aren't needed anymore.

I bring this post up because it relates to a slightly more recent post: 99-cent E-Books and the Tragedy of the Commons.  E-book pricing is still a huge debate in the industry, so despite the fact that this blog first posted in April 2011, it's highly relevant.  The gist is that new writers (at least in eBooks) are being pressured to sell their new books for as little as possible - $.99 or less - which is, in turn, setting the stage for the next generation of writers.  On the other hand, this benefits no one.  Therefore, the industry begins finding ways to charge more for books.  Thus, eventually and hopefully, a balance will be found in which writers still make money.

And both of these, in turn, relate to the perceived value of books.  It still takes many authors a year - or years - to write their books.  What is the value of that effort?  How much should a reader pay for a book?  As new authors publish at lower prices, the market begins to expect lower prices. Amanda Hocking and the 99-cent Kindle Millionaires are setting  a trend - but, as in the Tragedy of the Commons, at what price?

To fight back, booksellers are trying something innovative: readjusting their profit model.  Some E-Books Cost More than the Hardcover, at least they did last March.  This has led to a slow-down of the EBook taking over the industry completely. 

But it's still a mostly-physical book world, anyway, as you'll note with a thorough read of Amanda Hocking and the 99-Cent Kindle Millionaires.  In fact, a lot of those e-pub names are now breaking into print.  This past week,  Simon & Schuster Handle Sales and Distribution for John Locke, and other Kindle names are joining the bandwagon.  Simply put, more people are buying physical books than e-books.  Maybe that will change.  But, as I've said before, not everyone has e-readers - and it will be a very, very long time until everyone does.

To further explain the exodus from e to print, I'll end with a glimpse of Bradford's Self-Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing: Which Way Will Make You More Money, another old (March) blog.  These authors will probably sell more than 70K print books; therefore, they will make more money in print than on an e-platform.  By using both platforms, they get the best of both worlds.

I know - all of these are from Bradford's point of view, and many of them are months old in a rapidly changing industry.  So here's your opportunity to round things out: Go find me other articles about where things are now.  And please weigh in: what do you think the state of self-publishing is versus traditional publishing?  Which route will you be taking?