Fanfic mistakes and pleasures

My time for writing originals is certainly not over, but I have been working on fanfiction, toying with the plots (which involve mostly sex) and characters. I know that there are quite a few people who do not agree with fanfic, who think it’s a complete violation of the rights of the owners/creators of the originals. I agree that it might be a violation, but I am in no way seeking monetary compensation for writing fanfic.

I write in four or five fandoms. I have to say that after working on an original story and spending all that time editing, writing fanfic is a massive relief to me. I don’t have to worry about character development or location description or creating something other than the plot. The plot is all that matters when writing fanfic (AU excluded, but I tend NOT to write those, or read for that matter). The plot is where all my creativity is focused, and it’s so relaxing.

While most of my fanfic plot does involve “smut” or “lemons,” as they are called in the fandom world, it is infinitely more relaxing to write this than original fiction. Original has more reward at the end, but it’s not as instantaneous. So, perhaps when I’m feeling shitty about my writing abilities, I happen to on occasion write a fanfic one-shot, solely for the fact that I know I will get instant and supportive feedback. I think it’s my own prerogative.

I am currently writing a series for the shows The Closer and Major Crimes, which will span the entirety of both series, beginning before the series begins and perhaps even after Major Crimes ends. I am also working on, and will finish today, a one-shot for Battlestar Galactica (2003). I’ve been avoiding writing for a new fandom, but the characters called and I felt a scene was missing from the show, so I’m writing it in.

One of the biggest debates with fanfic, are those people who turn fanfic into original stories and then sell those stories for profit. *cough* 50 Shades of Grey *cough* I don’t necessarily disagree with selling it. It is an original story, the plot is all there and not in Twilight by any means. However, there are many issues with 50 Shades of Grey that happen, which occur ALL over the place in fanfic.

1) Lack of research
2) Lack of writing skill
3) Lack of editing skill
4) Not knowing that in American English “gray” is spelled with an “a” not an “e”

I beta fanfic all the time. I work with authors who write Twilight fanfic (among other fandoms: BSG, Stargate (all), Sanctuary, Supernatural, Harry Potter, Doctor Who, Closer, Major Crimes, Law and Order (all), Star Treks (all)). I have plenty experience in knowing who of those writers is an actual writer and who just wants to play around (and nothing is wrong with just wanting to play around). First off, getting a beta usually means they’re pretty serious.

While I assume that E. L. James had an editor of some sort, there seemed to be a lack of learning or desire for improvement. An editor or a beta is not just supposed to read and placate the author. We are supposed to provoke and get the author to think. To look at grammar, sentence structure, spelling, over usages, story flow and structure, continuity, research, fact-checking–it’s a huge order for just one person to do.

That’s why I have at least two people go through all my novels before I even think about sending them into an editor or publisher. I want these to be the product of the best of my ability at the time that they are sent out. In about an hour, I guarantee that I could go back and rework it and make it even better. That’s the gift of being a writer–there is always, always, ALWAYS something to learn and room to improve.

Grammar Wednesday: Quoting a quote

I was writing, and I had a question. This is how I typically come up with finding grammatical rules to remember for the rest of my writing career. In my newest novel FOR BY GRACE, there is a character, Peter, who has a bad habit of quoting scripture when he’s drunk.

So, as a college student, I certainly know how to quote within a quote. It got confusing when it became a quote within a quote within a quote. Let’s start with the first though, shall we?

To quote dialogue there is always double quote marks to open and close the speech.

He said, “Why the hell did you do that?”

Simple enough, right? I actually ran into a beta recently that had single quotes, or single for one and double for another, and my most recent beta who didn’t put quote marks in at all. It gets a bit more confusing when you add in a quote within the quote. For that you have the double quotes for the person who is actually speaking and single quotes for what that person is saying. For example:

She replied, “Well, I was told to. She told me, ‘You go out there and be strong. You are smart, you are pretty and you are strong.'”

Single quotes within the double quotes, making sure to close everything out at the end of the dialogue so that it’s all complete. Simple enough. Now, here’s the complication I ran into. Peter is quoting Scripture in his own speech, which has dialogue in it. To resolve this, it’s double quotes for what Peter says, single quotes for the Scripture, then back to double for the dialogue in the Scripture (are you starting to see the pattern?). Here’s a sneak peek of the novel, too.

“Peter is the disciple. Peter makes the revelation. Peter is the child of God who follows Jesus.  ‘Jesus went out, with his disciples, into the villages of Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked his disciples, “Who do men say that I am?”’” Peter paused.

Wow! Look at all those quote marks to close out all the quotes. It’s insane! I wouldn’t suggest going beyond what I did here, but as you might have guess it goes double, single, double, single, double, single until you’re done or don’t need anymore. If you have more than this, I suggest reworking the piece so you don’t need it. I even reworked a lot in this piece to get rid of a lot of the double and triple quote marks.

Keep it up, and remember to always edit!

Finish Line

I can see it. Almost taste the joy of crossing that line and being done with the first major round of editing on this novel. There’s another finish line that I want to write about today, too.

Sarah Hart is publishing her first novella called “The Coin.” It’s an uplifting and in-depth story. Everything for this novella will be available April 26th, ebook and print copy. The cover is amazing, so check it out.

Sarah Hart’s THE COIN

Now…back to my own editing!

Grammar Wednesday: COMMA SPLICE–rearranging

I realize that this post is going to be short, as it should be pretty self-explanatory. However, next week I will be concluding the comma splice regime with how to find comma splices. My cohort Amy is a comma splice nazi, particularly in my own work. Check out her blog, she’s awesome sauce!

Rearrange the structure of the sentence

4. Adrian is writing a forum on comma splices, she is sitting in class.

RESOLUTION:

Adrian is writing a forum on comma splices while she is sitting in class.

As I said before, resolving comma splices is very stylistic.  Here is another option for resolving this comma splice.  This is by changing the structure of the sentence. Be careful when doing this, as it can change the meaning of the sentence.

6. “I’m Adrian, I’m a word-guru, according to my best friend.”

RESOLUTION:

“I’m Adrian and a word-guru, according to my best friend.”

Rearranging this sentence with a conjunction to make an independent clause with a dependent clause does not change the meaning of this sentence. It actually makes it read more like one would speak.

Writing for speech

As most of you, or at least some of you, might know, I dapple in the world of ministry. I recently (meaning only a short few hours ago) had to give a sermon on a text from the gospel of John (4:5-42, if you were curious). Now, I obviously love and enjoy writing and the rush that it gives me.

I’ve heard tell that if one can write, one can preach. That is SO not true! Writing for reading and writing for speaking are two completely different things. Now, one who writes might have a one up on those who don’t, because we know how to plot something out. There’s a beginning that grips, certain moves that are taken, a heightening in action or emotion and then a sweet conclusion to wrap everything up.

Writing a sermon is much like writing a short story–however, I do not write short stories, at least not often (planning on two this next month). I wrote my sermon, I plotted it out like I was writing a short story about this one moment, a moment that changes. The moment when the Spirit enters into our lives and carry us away on the breeze.

Describing a moment in words is one part of this, the other is in voice. If I talk about this moment like a dull school teacher that has no passion for the subject, then the moment will never come. If I talk about the moment with energy and excitement, with joy and praise, then that moment is transferred to those listening, the experience it again. That is the difference in writing a sermon and writing a novel/story. The writing for the sermon is the prep–the reading of it is what makes the sermon a sermon.

If enough of you want, I might post my manuscript for my sermon on here. Not sure if I will though.

Grammar Wednesday: COMMA SPLICE–Em dash

Use an Em dash

An Em dash will strongly connect the two independent clauses.  Em dashes to resolve comma splices are most commonly found in dialogue, where semi-colons and colons are avoided.  This is for flow of voice of the character and for flow of reading.

3. “I didn’t know you could do that, you can do that?”

RESOLUTION:

“I didn’t know you could do that—you can do that?”

Using this form of resolution strongly connects the two independent clauses.  In dialogue, it is easier to use an Em dash to separate the two clauses.

10. Writing fanfiction is stress-relieving, it is a world of its own.

RESOLUTION:

Writing fanfiction is stress-relieving—it’s a world of its own.

Using an Em dash here creates a flow for the sentences.  The two sentences go together.

PS There is a difference between an em dash and an en dash. To make an em dash (which is the one you want to use just about all the time), type the word, make to hyphens, type the next word and hit space.

Roger Ebert

Reading a story on Roger Ebert. Check out this quote:
“Just write, get better, keep writing, keep getting better. It’s the only thing you can control.”
He passed away today at 70.

For by Grace TIDBITS!

“It is. I’m holed up in the security office if you ever want to stop by.”

“My section is on the other side of the mall. You know, that part by Santa. Why do parents have to go all insane? Why can’t everyone just stay calm and have a good time anymore? It’s all about being first in line and being the best—it’s ridiculous.”

“Hey, Grace?”

“Yeah?” Grace stuffed a few more morsels of fruit into her mouth, chewing.

“I’m in my uniform.”

The smile that broke out on her face was huge. Grace settled the phone on her shoulder. “Are you, now?”

“I am. So, stop complaining about society and park those cars.”

To continue on romance…

In my current novel, from the first few chapters, it should be pretty obvious that this is NOT a romance novel. I work with a website called Project Team Beta to find my beta readers and editors. This is the third novel that I have pushed through their site and it might possibly be the last. While I love working with them, and they do often catch many mistakes, often times, I feel as though the entire point of the story is missed.

For example: after explicitly stating that this was not a romance both when asked the genre and when describing what I wanted the beta’s to look at. I still get comments like this…

“I enjoyed the slice-of-life feel of this chapter, but I felt that too much time was spent on the run-in with the drunk man and the woman with the flat tire, especially in comparison with the scenes with [REDACTED].”

and

“I also would like to have seen more interaction between Grace and [REDACTED].  As the first run beta said, if this story is meant to be about them and their relationship, I’d spend more time focused on their evening.”

Their evening takes up the last thousand words of the chapter (which is about 7 thousand words long). It is not a large part, but it is necessary for the rest of the novel to move forward. This book is about Grace and her life, which includes romance, but is not solely focused on Grace’s romantic interests.

Romance is a part of life, not the entirety of it.

Super Secret Project (that’s not so secret) Title REVEAL!

I have let it slip a few times what the actual title of this novel is, but this is the actual 100% totally awesome reveal! Are you ready? Are you really, really ready? All right…The title is………….

For by Grace

=P This novel follows the life of Deputy Grace Halling and her day to day routine in the Sheriff’s Department. She meets Amya Stone, a previous police officer turned Law Enforcement Chaplain.

Now, does that explain the title any? No? hmmm…okay.

Ephesians 2:8-10

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, that no one would boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared before that we would walk in them.”

Does that explain it any better? No? Let’s try a quick synopsis.

Being employed in the Sheriff’s Department is not as glorious a position as the television shows make it out to be. While the kids at the schools Deputy Grace Halling visits see her as the knight in blue-cotton armor, those she is dispatched to visit have a different opinion. She has every confidence in her ability to do her job and arrest criminals. She takes down a knife-wielding woman and a drunk combatant teenager, tackling both. Everyone—victim, suspect, or witness—has a story to tell or to lie about and she is never perturbed by their tales.

That all changes when she looks down the barrel of a gun. She loses confidence in her ability as a deputy, she loses trust in herself and fellow officers, and she struggles to stay afloat as shift after shift passes. Grace cannot find her rhythm of being a Deputy again. And when the Police Chaplain unexpectedly barges into her life, her personal and professional lives are flipped upside down. Will she ever be able to find her even ground again? Or will the next time that she stares a murderer in the face be the last?

 

That should about do it!! Look for more news on what is happening with this novel.

Grammar Wednesday: COMMA SPLICE–coordinating conjunction

Our new grammatical issue to look at, for the next five weeks or so, is the comma splice. Are you ready? This one has been the bane of my existence since my early college years. My prof would go through and take red marker to ALL my comma splices, and let me tell you, that was a lot. I stopped using commas after that for years! Now, people call me the comma-nazi.

WHAT IS A COMMA SPLICE?

Commas are a crazy thing to try and learn. Commonly, when in the process of learning how to punctuate commas and add them in, one learns to add them where they should not be.  Typically, one of these places is called a comma splice.  This is where there are two independent clauses smooshed together into one sentence only by a comma.  Now, commas are powerful things, don’t get me wrong. They’re like the dukes and duchesses’ of grammar.  But they do not belong in the chamber of the compound sentence.

Comma splices are typically hard to find, because there is still a natural pause in the sentence.  However, comma splices can easily become the bane of someone’s existence (a.k.a me for the past five or six years).

Here are some examples of comma splices.

1. “I kissed a girl, I liked it.”

2. She didn’t know what to say, she was stunned into silence.

3. “I didn’t know you could do that, you can do that?”

4. Adrian is writing a forum on comma splices, she is sitting in class.

Add a coordinating conjunction to the comma

Coordinating conjunctions are one of the easiest ways to solve a comma splice. The most common one used is “and.” However, there are others—for, or, but, yet, so, nor. An easy way to remember these is the acronym FANBOYS

F—for
A—and
N—nor
B—but
O—or
Y—yet
S—so

EXAMPLES:

1. “I kissed a girl, I liked it.”

RESOLUTION:

“I kissed a girl, and I liked it.”

Adding the coordinating conjunction “and” to this run-one or fused sentence allows the two independent clauses to be separated.  While a semi-colon, EM dash, or a new sentence would work to resolve the comma splice, we all know that Katy Perry did not sing those lyrics.  Also, as this is dialogue, there is a tendency to avoid using semi-colons.  Usually, within dialogue, there is a preference for any of the other options to resolve a comma splice.

Resolving comma splices are very stylistic for the author.  There is no real “right or wrong” answer when it comes to fixing the run-on sentence.  There are stylistic resolutions, and there are resolutions that make more sense or work better.

Grammar Wednesday: COMMA–direct salutation

Direct salutations occur mainly in dialogue when one character is calling another by a specific name. Now, this can be the name of the character or a nickname. Either way, it is considered a direct salutation. I will also tag on identifying characters in this. The commas go on either side of the name. When the name is at the beginning or the end of a sentence, there is only one comma necessary either after or before the name–respectably.

EXAMPLES: (Direct Salutation)
1. “Hello there, Bob.”
2. “Hey, Bill.”
3. “Captain, the report is on your desk.”

EXAMPLES: (Identifying Characters)
1. Sharon, the fifth grade teacher, had recess duty for the rest of the week.
2. The girl who loves to read, Katherine, gets through a book a week.

now for practice.

EXAMPLES:

1. “Katherine you need to mail me my yarn!”

RESOLUTION

“Katherine, you need to mail me my yarn!”

2. The cable guy Larry, made a funny joke when he was fixing the cable box.

RESOLUTION

The cable guy, Larry, made a funny joke when he was fixing the cable box.

Grammar Wednesday: Comma–parenthetical phrase

A parenthetical is easy. If it could go into parenthesis, a.k.a if it makes not difference to the meaning behind the sentence, but you still want it there, then it is a parenthetical phrase.

EXAMPLE:
1. Bobby went out to the bar, which he did a lot, and had so many beers he couldn’t drive home.
2. Adrian loves the smell of incense, especially the type in worship, but could never light any when she lived with her mother.
3.She cracked the door and saw they slept, and a little braver than before, pushed the door all the way open.

The “which he did a lot” and “especially the type in worship” are unnecessary to the meaning of the sentence but add extra information. These are the parenthetical phrases. The parenthetical phrases need commas before and after. This gets a bit tricky in concerns to parenthetical phrases and conjunctions.

EXAMPLE:

1. Rusty the wonder kitten loves to play with laser pointers.

RESOLUTION

1. Rusty, the wonder kitten, loves to play with laser pointers.

EXAMPLE:

2. Rusty likes lasers the light is distracting, and, she chases them around the room.

RESOLUTION:

2. Rusty likes lasers, the light is distracting, and she chases them around the room.

EXAMPLE:

3. Rusty, and, her older brother, Seeley, play every morning at six a.m.

RESOLUTION:

3. Rusty, and her older brother, Seeley, play every morning at six a.m.

Watch conjunctions when resolving parenthetical phrases. They complicate matters. Have fun, folks!!!

Gingerman Monday

So I’m at the bar, again, and my bartender is shocked that I’m writing in a notebook today! He says I’m going old school.

There are advantages to writing on a word processor and advantages to writing on paper.

Computer!
1. Faster: I type close to 100 wpm so this help me get a ton done in a short period of time.
2. Spell check and auto correct: this can be disadvantages too but it’s nice to know my words are correct–for the most part.
3. Backing up: I can save to hard drive, flash drive, Internet, email. So many places.
4. SAVES TREES!

Notebook!
1. Slows me down. Makes me think about what I’m writing rather than my word count total.
2. Less distractions: no Internet, no twitter, no Facebook, etc. means I can only focus on writings.
3. Less distractions(yes, that deserves two points).
4. Old school, how it’s been done for ages.

There are advantages and disadvantages to both. It really is a preference. I prefer to write on the computer and use the notebook when I’m blocked or stuck.