Mrs Cranky Pants

I’ve recently finished draft #1 of the novel I’ve been working on and it’s now with a couple of readers. I have no idea where to send it, once it’s ready for submission, as it’s a bit of a hybrid – which are no-nos in the publishing world. I’m making progress with bk #2 of the Beast-speaker series (Dragon-friend). However, I’m not romping along because I’ve yet to hear whether a certain publisher will take it or not. The CEO is hesitating because of the graphic and confronting content, which is hard to avoid when one is writing about child soldiers. The indecision and uncertainty is a tad stressful, which leaves me a bit cranky. Also, I know I have very little power to change the craziness that the world is descending into, therefore I need to exercise what little control I do have. I’m just going to say it… Your = belonging to you. You’re = a shortened form for “you are“. Yore = long ago; eg: there were knights and dragons in days of yore. Yor = … This word doesn’t exist. Definitely = certain; take my word for it; eg: I’m definitely going to the game. Yes sir! Defiantly = waving a fist in the air; saying or doing what I think even though you told me not to; eg: I went to the game defiantly, even though the Taliban threatened to kill us if we did. Quiet = barely a sound; eg: It was so quiet, I could hear my heart beating. Quite = absolutely; eg: I am quite certain, or = fairly, to a certain degree; eg: it’s quite warm today. I hear you cry, “Who cares if we mix these words up?” ME! I care on behalf of the English language, which is dying from a thousand cuts every day. I care on behalf of decent communication and clear speech. I care because I think language is important. Otherwise, let’s all just go back to grunting at each other, while waving a leg bone from a T-Rex in the air. If you are a writer, or editor, or both, please check your spelling and grammar before hitting Post when writing on Facebook. I agree that not many people do it; in fact, it’s a chat site so the rules are relaxed. However, if writing is your profession I want to see you do it well, even on the internet. I find myself hesitating to purchase books written by people who don’t seem able to spell or parse a sentence correctly.  And, I’d never think of sending my manuscript to an editor who makes simple grammatical mistakes. It’s not a good look. You might think this makes me a literary snob but…that’s the way it is. Okay, my rant is over. I’ll get back to writing books that, probably, no one will get to read even though they have excellent spelling and grammar....

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Kids and their stories.

I’ve finished marking all the submissions to the children’s writing competition. The courier has collected the very large box, reinforced with kilometres of tape because I re-used the box they sent me. Now I await the short listed entries, so I can go through the process again, but on a smaller scale. (Oh frabjous joy, calloo callay!) I have learned a lot about story writing. Here are the main points:- Your story should always have a beginning, a middle and an end. Don’t kill off the person telling the story. Never, ever, finish your story with “…and then I woke up and it was all a bad dream”. Never! Write appropriately for your market. The contestants were writing for children aged 6 – 9 (a first reader). Unfortunately, stories about 18 year olds, blasting their way through enemies, friends and zombies, aren’t really suitable. If you’re writing about fairy princesses, make them do something interesting. Give at least one of them a bad attitude. Fairies that don’t do anything other than twinkle and float around gardens with unicorns, is not a story. Make sure the ending fits the rest of the story, and is a proper conclusion. Don’t write about kids who are homeless and on the run from the police, (an interesting story and I’m with you so far) and then you realise you’ve nearly used up your word limit so an alien suddenly wipes them all out. Don’t strew huge, obscure words throughout the story. It’s obvious you can use a Thesaurus but hardly anyone, other than adults with an obsession for crosswords or scrabble, will know what you’re talking about. So, how have you all been? I’d like to report that things are a bit cooler here in the Great South Land but, quite frankly, we’re all singed beyond repair. If we were steaks, we’d be well done; so well done, you’d throw us out and eat the chicken instead. (And this from a person who likes their steak well done!) I gather my friends in the Northern Hemisphere are still digging their way out of massive snow drifts. I’d sympathise but, quite frankly, from where I’m sitting (under the overhead fan), that sounds delightful. Our Prime Minister thinks we should turn from renewable energies and use “clean” coal. I assume that’s coal that’s been washed before use. There are many things I could say about that but I’ve decided to give him the benefit of the doubt. It’s been sizzling hot in Canberra, so I could assume his brain has been fried. Then again, he’s been in a right bad mood ever since Mr Trump hung up on him – he even yelled at sweet Mr Billy Shorten in parliament – so, I blame Trump!...

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