Editor Afloat

Dedicated to Sticklers everywhere!


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Fast Grammar: Most Perfect? No.

An adjective, remember, is a word that describes a noun or pronoun. “His new car is blue.” “She’s a happy baby.” An absolute adjective is an adjective with a meaning that is generally not capable of being intensified or compared. Also known as a non-gradable adjective, these words convey their own limits. Words such as “perfect” or “dead” are absolute adjectives. Although “most perfect” is often heard in today’s conversational English, it is not technically correct. You cannot be “less dead” or “slightly married”. Your test answers are either “true” or “false”. Here is a list of words that generally stand as non-gradable adjectives:

  • absolute
  • adequate
  • alive
  • complete
  • dead
  • divorced
  • empty
  • entire
  • equal
  • essential
  • eternal
  • extraneous
  • false
  • fatal
  • final
  • finite
  • first
  • full
  • ideal
  • imperfect
  • impossible
  • incomplete
  • inevitable
  • infinite
  • known
  • last
  • main
  • married
  • minor
  • non-essential
  • not fatal
  • not ideal
  • not pregnant
  • not unique
  • not universal
  • perfect
  • possible
  • preferable
  • pregnant
  • principal
  • round (or other shape)
  • separated (marital status)
  • single (marital status)
  • sufficient
  • true
  • unanimous
  • unavoidable
  • unequal
  • unique
  • universal
  • unknown
  • whole
  • widowed

This is not an exhaustive list, but it gives you the idea. Exception: Some adjectives such as “nearly” and “almost” can sometimes be used to demonstrate attainment of a near-absolute state.


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What a Rotten Shame!

I heard from Kristen Hope Mazzola, author of Crashing Back Down that her novel, and dozens of other books, also written by indie authors are available on a piracy site. Folks, this is a crime! The creators of these works do not get paid from these sales. It is a copyright infringement to use anyone’s material for commercial gain if you have no rights to do so.

It is very sad to see that these unscrupulous persons are alive and well in cyberspace. Please do not purchase books, or anything else for that matter unless you are sure that the site offering these goods is authorized to handle the product. It is generally best to order from the author’s site or somewhere such as amazon.com.

If you are an indie author, do a search for your book to see if it appears anywhere other than where you posted it for sale. One author reportedly found her novel on 20 different sites. Don’t let common thieves ruin the holidays for these hard-working authors!


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Holly Kerr Interviews The Editor Afloat!

Many thanks to author Holly Kerr for posting an interview she and I did. Thanks also to Anna Ellis for introducing us, and to Kristen Hope Mazzola for her interview that both Holly and Anna read. Small world – see how that goes ’round? Check out Holly here (she’s Canadian, don’t pick on her spelling)  http://hollykerr.ca/karen/ She is the author of Baby? Baby! Baby!?

Anna has released the first two parts of her trilogy, Husbands and Wives. This is a quick read about the friendliest of neighbors – great fantasy stuff!

Kristen, by the way, is giving away some signed copies of her new paperback, Crashing Back Down. Be sure to visit her page to get entered into that drawing.


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Impressions

“I can tell you’re a cowgirl by your boots.”

Black Western cowboy boots on a white background

Black Western cowboy boots (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Oh?” I looked down at my forgotten-brand-name work boots. They were slathered with a fresh coat of wet mud. The bottom half of my Gore-Tex gaiters were also filthy, with splatters of mud running all the way up to my knees where the gaiters ended.  I wear those to protect the legs of my jeans from becoming irreparably stained by the mud and general ranch-life abuse.

She continued, “I’m such a town-girl. I lease Griffin so I can ride him twice a week, but I don’t get involved with the chores out here. I would have tried very hard to find a way around the mud to put that horse out in the round corral. You just walked right through it. ”

I looked at Kathy’s boots and smiled. Her riding boots were frighteningly clean for someone who was standing in the middle of a barnyard in the pouring rain.

“I grew up in a barn,” was my reply. “I guess you get used to it after a while. I do change into my sneakers before I get in my pickup. Don’t like taking the mud home.”

Her assessment wasn’t unkind. It was based on what she knows of me. For the past year, Kathy has seen me two times a week. I am always handling a horse or mucking out stalls or feeding or doing some other chore. I dress the part; I do the work. In her mind, this makes me the real deal – a cowgirl.

I tell this story to point out that the way we speak, and for us writers, what we put down on paper – or the screen – for the whole world to see, whether we write short stories, blogs, poems, novels, whatever our specialty, our words make the impressions by which people decide if we’re the ‘real deal’ or not.  Taking the time to learn a few grammar and spelling rules (or learning to use a spell-checker) can turn a ho-hum script into a page-turner. I’m not saying you have to use two-dollar words at every turn, especially when a fifty-center will do, but if you want to write something extraordinary, then don’t sound ordinary. Most online dictionaries offer a listing of synonyms, as well. Look through that list, see if there isn’t a word that paints a better picture of the scene, emotion, or event you are attempting to portray. Writers are readers. Purposely skip the story-line in a few books and focus on the descriptions. Pick out the ones that made clear images in your mind and try to follow that path in your own writing. It’s a step to becoming a top-selling author – the “real deal”! 🙂

 


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Crazy Days!

The last two weeks have been a little wild and close to overwhelming here on the peaceful river. First, my allergies got out of control, making me wheeze for days. Then my birthday rolled around and I added to my troubles by eating “treats”. My food allergies are worse than the reactions I have to the environment. Add to that, three days of overtime between the barn and the store. Then, out of the blue, I come back to the boat and there is absolutely no Internet! ACK! I wandered down the dock to ask the young man who provides the Internet service out here what may have happened. I didn’t have to inquire. There, on the finger next to his boat, is a new contraption for gold mining: A dredge for sucking sand up off the bottom of the Columbia River and a sluice box to ‘capture’ the gold dust. Hey kid! This isn’t California, how ’bout it? The equipment has  the same value roughly as servers for broadcasting Wi-Fi to your neighbors. I can only guess that this is the latest in his long list of get-rich-quick schemes. Sigh… I spent the next two days trying to find a replacement service. Easier said than done out here on the water. I am (obviously) back online, but it is sooooooo slow compared to what I did have. I’ll have to keep looking.

Tonight I added a new page – Current Projects – to my web site. This is a list of WIPs, that is, Works in Progress. Also, recent jobs and I included a short list of my own ambitions. There are links to most of the works I mention; please take a look at these authors’ pages, you may find something you really like. 🙂

Finally, and perhaps the most significant reason for this post, is to apologize to S.C. Rhyne, Lynne Taylor, and Anna Ellis for falling so far behind in my work on their projects. I should have had all three of them done by last weekend. It is tough for me to work when I fall asleep every time I sit down. That is one of the sad side effects of my food allergies. (OK ladies, I am trying to behave now!) I have also added a third editing program to my arsenal. It is more thorough than my others, but I still find myself eye-balling the majority of the errors. Artificial Intelligence is fine, but it still isn’t the greatest.

I did finish the final edit of The Reporter and The Girl by S.C. Rhyne. This will be released as an e-book very soon.  You will find links to her Facebook page and blog too, on my new Current Projects page.


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Fast Grammar – Then and Than

Here’s another situation that is changed mightily by one letter. I not only see this error often in manuscripts but I hear it in the spoken word as well. There is a difference!

Then – used to indicate what happened, happens next, or what should be done next.

Than –  can be either a conjunction or a preposition. Most commonly used with comparative adjectives and comparative adverbs.

Examples: If the puppy grows bigger than her cage, then you’ll need to buy her a new one. (In the first half of the sentence, we are comparing the size of the pup versus her cage. In the second half of the sentence, an action will take place if the condition exists.) Another: We can move the table over there and then put the couch here, but that will only work if the couch is shorter than the windowsill. (Again, the couch will only be moved after the first action is completed and in the second part of the sentence, we are comparing the height of the couch relative to the windowsill.)

It’s easy to figure out whether to use then or than just by thinking (ahead) how the word will be used in your sentence.

Get your Fast Grammar fix here! Don’t forget the Editor Afloat also has a presence on Facebook and Twitter.


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One letter is all it takes…

I saw a message on a social media site today that made me stop what I was doing and create this little message. We all know (or hope we know) what she meant to say to her BFF but the missing letter turned the meaning quite upside down! Just a reminder that even if your spell-checker isn’t telling you anything is wrong, you’d better read your letter one more time.

Friend vs. Fiend

Be careful what you write!