|Here is a lesson in creative writing. First rule: Do not use semicolons. They are transvestite hermaphrodites representing absolutely nothing. All they do is show you’ve been to college. -- |
I was going to add my own agreement to Reesa’s, but then I was utterly side tracked. Is it possible to be a transvestite hermaphrodite? If you have the secondary sexual characteristics of both sexes, you can’t necessarily dress in the “opposite” manner… Unless, I suppose, you choose not to wear clothing at all, which is pretty much the opposite of dressing like anyone, whatever their gender presentation.
Yay semanitcs, connotations, and definitions!
(But seriously: semicolons are awesome; I like them a lot. Learn to use them properly and, like adjectives and adverbs, they will help you out.)
I am discovering that A) I am apparently more hide-bound than I thought I was, B) that I am hide-bound about the weirdest things, C) I am mildly annoyed by something that doesn’t even affect me, and D) that it is really, really difficult to lay hands on a copy of the CoE BCP.
What I really want is nothing more or less than a Coverdale Psalter, but as far as I can tell a single volume of Coverdale’s Psalter (with numbered verses, that’s very important; Lutherans Online has a lovely PDF of a mildly-modernized CP but there are NO VERSE NUMBERS ARGH) does not exist. Coverdale’s Psalms are still in use… in the CoE’s Book of Common Prayer.
So, okay, I’ll buy a copy of the BCP. It can hang out with my ’79 Episcopal BCP and they can be friends. Awesome.
Except that apparently someone somewhere decided that the BCP was, I don’t know, too convenient or something. The CoE has been infested with ‘Common Worship’, which is basically all of the bits of the BCP/Alternative Service Book broken up into separate volumes. Like, six of them. This is where the hide-bound bit comes in: all I can think is that I have enough trouble juggling the BCP and the hymnal and the bulletin, why in the name of all that is seen and unseen does anyone want to ADD another volume (or two) to that? *Grumble* What’s wrong with one book, I ask you? You kids get offa my lawn!
One of the other problems with the Common Worship book(s) is that the Psalter isn’t Coverdale’s–or it is, but modernized. I’m all for modernized-yet-still-poetic versions of the Psalms! I love the adaptation of them that’s found in the Psalter in my EBCP.
Thing is, though, that they are modern and some of them are fairly different from Coverdale’s version.
For instance, our friend Psalm 121. The first line in my EBCP says, “I lift up my eyes to the hills; from where is my help to come?”
Coverdale says, “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.”
That’s not a question, that’s a statement. Unless it’s some kind of punctuation weirdness? Now I have to go find out the history of the question mark. Excuse me. Here I am–while mildly entertaining, it wasn’t terribly helpful. All right, so let’s see what people who’ve read more bibles than I have to say…
(As an aside, I would like to have the non-word “prayerfully” struck (preferably by lightning) from all vocabularies everywhere.)
(…I can’t decide if I want to object to ‘literalness’. On the one hand, I don’t like it. On the other, ‘literality’ isn’t a word. It feels nicer in the mouth, to me–and it’s the quality of being literal, yes?)
(This… This page is written by a person or persons with some good ideas, but I don’t enjoy reading it because I feel like I’m being shouted at while they’re throwing rocks at me. Ugh.)
(On the other hand, Paul Stroble offers an explanation as to why Episcopalians (and, I’m assuming, other members of the Anglican communion) sing ALL the verses: “[…] It is the same with “A Mighty Fortress is Our God”: if we only sing verse one, the devil wins.” Yes, I know, that’s not precisely what he meant but I take my fun where I can get it.)
Okay, I give up on Shouty-Pants over there. The consensus is that there is no consensus. There is one school of thought that says the use of “whence”, meaning “where”, indicates that the sentence is intended to be interrogative and therefore requires a question mark. The other school of thought argues that it’s a statement–These are the hills (the holy hill(s), the hill upon which the temple at Jerusalem is/was located) of God and therefore they are the source of help.
The temptation to put the question mark in parentheses from now on is awful, I tell you what.
I have no idea what I was originally talking about… Oh, right. The difference between Coverdale and the modernized version of Psalms. Here’s another example, this time from Psalm 91 (one oft-quoted by Justinian.) Technically, this is recited by Ezekiel (and now that I think of it I shoooooould probably have him recite the Coverdale version. You’ll see why.)
The (Episcopal) Book of Common Prayer, Ps 91, verses 5 and 6:  You shall not be afraid of any terror by night; nor of the arrow that flies by day;  Of the plague that stalks in the darkness; nor of the sickness that lays waste at mid-day.
Coverdale, Ps 91, I HAVE NO IDEA SORRY: Thou shalt not be afraid for any terror by night, nor
for the arrow that flieth by day; for the pestilence that walketh in darkness, nor for the sickness that destroyeth in the noonday.
“Afraid for” and “Afraid of” are two decidedly different phrases, to me. Is that because I grew up learning 20th-/21st-century American syntax/connotations, or is it something else?
Then there’s the verse about being covered by feathers (Coverdale) or pinions (EBCP) — I had feathers in, once, and my mother said ‘No, that’s supposed to be pinions’. I shrugged and changed it…and then discovered that the version of the Psalm that Ezekiel and Justinian would be most familiar with said feathers. I give up! (But I’m not changing it back. I like pinions.)
So now that we’ve failed to clarify the mystery of the question mark in Ps 121, I’m trying desperately to remember the point of all of this.
…Oh! That’s it. The point is that for whatever reason, there doesn’t seem to be a mildly-modernized version of the Church of England Book of Common Prayer for sale for love or money. EVERY standard edition of the CoE BCP on the Cambridge Press site is marked “unavailable”, and searching Amazon got me bupkis. I just want a physical copy that’s been updated with current spelling and features the Coverdale Psalter with numbered verses.
I like this. I really, really like this. I may actually kind of love it.
It also drives me up the freakin’ wall, but I like it.
Adjectives are not evil. Adjectives are not the spawn of Satan. Generally speaking, and I emphasize the word GENERALLY, here, adjectives aren’t going to get you rejected, fired, or excommunicated*.
Yes, it’s important to make sure you’re not using five adjectives when one or two will do. Yes, it’s important to make sure your adjectives are properly modifying the nouns to which they’re attached. Yes, there are people out there who use sentences like some people use wardrobes: stuff everything in and hope nothing falls out.
Use adjectives. Use adverbs! You’ll note that in the sentence I’ve reblogged that there are TWO WHOLE ADVERBS in it — adverbs are no more or less evil than adjectives.
Parts of speech have no moral qualities. [article] [adjective] [noun] [verb]. None of those things are “good” or “bad”, they simply are. Once you start choosing individual words, then you can start arguing the morality of them… But that’s semantics/definition/philosophy and beyond the scope of my post and point.
My point is, as always: as soon as anyone who agitates against two perfectly good parts of speech tells me a story that makes me gasp and flail and want to run around shoving it in people’s faces chanting read this! and do it WITHOUT adverbs and adjectives, I’ll start listening to those who act as if adjectives and adverbs are violently radioactive.
* I don’t want to
argue about discuss situations in which the use of adjectives will result in these things; we all know that they exist. Thanks.
Things my cat does that I wish I could do:
- fall sound asleep pretty much anywhere
- hide under the bed
- get treated sympathetically for hissing at and scratching annoying people
Yeah, hi, it’s me again.
Look, when I went to bed night before last, I had Tumblr Savior installed. As of mid-afternoon yesterday, it’s gone.
Since I know I didn’t uninstall it, that leaves you.
What. The. Hell.
A miniscule amount of love because Chrome’s the only browser that lets me save pictures directly from my dash as actual image files and not HTML files,
(Edited to add a P.S.:
And when I reinstalled TS… ALL OF MY BLACKLISTED TAGS/TERMS WERE THERE. Again, what the ever-lovin’ HELL?)
I hate this statement. In its ridiculously broad vagueness, it implies that everyone who has ever experienced something horrible in their lives wanted it.
I can’t speak for anyone else, but I’m pretty damn sure that the last time I checked, I did not daydream longingly of the day when I would feel threatened by noisy groups of late high school-age to college-age young men of any ethnic background while I was out in public alone; I am utterly certain that I never sat in grade school, ignoring my teachers while I thought about how much fun it would be to be saddled with Anxiety Issues that cost me the chance at having relationships in high school like 90 percent of the rest of my peers.
Regret is a complicated thing, and it’s not platitude-soluble.
So I was picking through this gigantic list of writing resources and came across Superhero Nation: Red Flags for Female Characters Written By Men.
It’s pretty decent stuff, except for the tiny little quibble I have with a line in point 3. Specifically (boldface mine; their link goes to TV Tropes just FYI):
3. The character is mute. This broadcasts that the author has serious trouble writing dialogue for female characters, which is especially problematic if you have a major character that is a female. Additionally, I can’t think of many situations where a mute character would be more interesting than one that could talk. Finally, depending on the context, it could be creepy. (For example, do you have any females that do talk? Do they sound remotely believable?)
Secondly: it’s kind of sad and surprising that a writer would find themselves unable to imagine “many situations” in which a mute character would be “more interesting”. Because… Talking always makes people more interesting, yes? *Squint* I have some sincere doubts about that.
It’s just… I don’t know, it’s weird to me to think that a writer could dismiss something that makes such a difference in someone’s life as less important or potentially interesting than… something, anything—hair color, maybe?
Or maybe I’m just the odd one out as always. I do have a character who is congenitally mute, after all, so I’ve spent more time thinking about this kind of thing than most people. *Shrug*
Just so I could take it off to all the writers out there who have kids and somehow manage to write not only entire bleeding novels but novels with sex scenes in them. Seriously, you’re all freaking AMAZING. If I could give every last one of you a hug and a cookie and a nice long weekend away from everything that sucks up writing time, I so would.
Me? I’m gonna go to sleep in an attempt to get rid of this headache while being pathetically proud of ekeing out a whole 4 paragraphs.
FIX THIS. It’s ridiculous. I HAVE ONE TAB OPEN! It’d be one thing if I were trying to do five different things at once with fifty tabs, but I’m not. I have one tab, and one Word doc open. That’s it.
If you’ll excuse me, I have to go weep over the draft post I’m about to lose, because I’m not going to sit here and let my drive spin itself into heat-death.
No love at the moment,