peregrinf: Blog

I mean -- like -- ya know -- characters should talk...

September 21, 2017
Posted at 9:05 am

...I mean like real people, ya know?

It's not exactly a pet peeve with me, but it sure does discourage me from reading what might otherwise be a good story if the characters don't talk like real people do.

It's why we invented contractions like "it's", ya know?

And another thing. The way a character talks can be used to establish the character, identify him or her, distinguish them.

For example, a selection from my own writing:

"Hi! I'm Judy Liu. You're new here! Are you okay? Can I help?"

"I am Hadiya," she responded, amazingly calm, bobbing her head without really looking up. A colorful scarf concealed her hair, hung over her face."I do seem to have offended someone."

"That was Dolph Foster. He's just offensive, 'specially to anyone who's not his color. We try to avoid him, but that's not always possible."

"He is what you would call a bigot?" She had a lovely accent.

"He is what we call an asshole."

See what I mean? English is a second language to Hadiya, so she's more precise. Judy Liu is American to the core and sounds like it.

LISTEN to your characters. Hear them in your head. Don't make them all sound like they're reading from a dictionary.

Ya know? I mean, see what I mean?

'nuff said?

Let's Lose the Loose Ends

September 12, 2017
Posted at 8:36 am

Okay, it's been a while, and yes I have NOT slumped over my keyboard. I intend to resume posting stories here, just not right away. Personal reasons. 'nuff said.

Instead I am putting on my Grammar Nazi helmet.

Now "lose" and "loose" are not quite homonyms, in that one (lose) has a soft "s" sound, more like a "z" and the other (loose) has a hard "s" sound. To wit: looze as opposed to loose.

I know, counter intuitive but that's American English for you.

Got it?


Now, and this has cropped up in an SOL story I'm currently reading (name redacted to avoid embarrassing anyone) as well as on another web site I frequent.

To "lose" something is not to "loose" it.

If you "lose" something you can't find it.

If you "loose" something it means you have released it, untied it, set it free.

If you loose something you may, indeed, lose it. Not necessarily a bad thing. If I have a loose tooth I might eventually lose it.

Got it?

Good. Because I think I just lost my mind.

Putting my writers' blocks to work.

September 24, 2016
Posted at 8:03 am

Or should that be writer's blocks?

Never mind.

I am juggling my mental blocks and a few are starting to fall into place. After dusting them off and finding some mortar to hold them together I hope to get started on The Spirit of Central High, the sequel to Carrying the Flag.

Meanwhile, I'm pleased to see that my stories continue to attract new readers and the scores of CTF have crept up. They aren't likely to ever hit 8, but 7.90 isn't bad and my thanks to those who've sent me some feedback.

Even an interesting discussion of the different protocols between color guards (U.S. style) and colour guards (Canadian style) is a sign that people are reading my stuff and paying attention. Thank you, readers, wherever you are.

Those Homonyms'll get you every time

September 24, 2016
Posted at 7:52 am

The grammar nazi strikes again. It's been awhile, but I haven't forgotten you.

A desert is a dry place with little rain.

A dessert is that sweet treat you have at the end of a meal.

How do you remember? Simple! A dessert is usually fattening. Dessert is a fatter word than desert.

So remember. The next time your characters want that sweet treat don't go sending them off into the Sahara, Gobi, or Atacama. Ain't no sweets there!

Another take on NIS

July 23, 2016
Posted at 12:27 pm

Those of you who have read any of Bar Bar's stories know what a great writer she is. She has her own take on Naked in School for a physically challenged character that I strongly urge you to read.

Start with Jacob Naked in School, and then read Margot Naked in School. Different, and probably more realistic than my fantasy version.

Also, read her very short story Suellen Naked in School. It is a real treat.