Tag: rules


Fire the Grammar Police and Read this Book

Read this book. Just do it. It doesn’t matter if you are a writer or not. Words are the building blocks of communication and how we use them matters. There are rules, some of which are okay to break, but there are others that signal a lack of talent using your native language. This is not going to win you points in your professional or personal life. A judge once told me that if he sees an attorney spell “judgment” with an “e,” the lawyer immediately loses credibility with him. (Unless the lawyer was from England where the word is spelled “judgement.”) Dreyer’s English, An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style, was written by Benjamin Dreyer, copy chief of Random House was released on January 29, 2019, and is currently #359 in all books on Amazon. It is #1 in several word and grammar categories. Dreyer’s English is that good. The fiction writer in me marvels that a book about grammar soars above great works of fiction. What is going on here? This is the second time this week I have confessed that I attended Catholic school. In addition, I was raised by a father who received a master’s […]

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Rules Were Made to be…Followed

I did a bad thing today. I liked a Tweet that was part of a contest without first reading the contest rules. In my defense, the rules Tweet showed up in my Twitter feed several Tweets after the one I liked and the one I liked was a commentary, not an actual contest entry, but still… Contests have rules for reasons. Prizes are awarded for specific things. No participation trophies are handed out, so there’s no point entering your love poem in a horror screenplay contest. It will be rejected without consideration and the contest judges will send bad vibes your way. Those judges are another reason to follow the rules. Judges for many contests are volunteers with lots of other, non-contest related, responsibilities: day jobs, children’s soccer tournaments, dinner with the in-laws, manuscript revisions. They’re donating precious time so don’t waste it. 70,000 words take a long time to read. Don’t annoy the judges by trying to force them to read 90,000. They won’t. They’ll consign your tome to the “not worth a glance” pile and they’ll jinx you by wishing all your pens run out of ink in the middle of climactic scenes and your laptop’s caps lock key […]

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