Bio Fav: Stories . Authors
I'm from Cape Breton Island in the province of Nova Scotia, Canada, which is just about as far east as you can go in North America without being in Newfoundland. I've lived here all my life except when I was in university, first elsewhere in Nova Scotia, then grad school at the University of Toronto. I've been a librarian for over 30 years.
The only TV show I make it a point not to miss is Supernatural, which has such great writing and acting that it has completely captivated me since my youngest daughter introduced me to it when she bought the first 2 seasons on DVD. We now have up to season 7, and finally have access to a station that carries the current season so we can watch the new shows when they are first broadcast. And yes, I do schedule my time around it, something I've not done since the original Star Trek aired back in the sixties. (Yes, I am that old. Sigh.)
As a librarian I liked that, at least in the earlier shows, the brothers Winchester spent a lot of time researching in libraries, and no one said the words "musty old books" at all (unlike another show I could mention). Good places, libraries. Free for everyone. And no musty books (we throw those out!).
My daughters also introduced me to the world of fan fiction, which was a completely surprising phenomenon! I can't write it, but I sure enjoy reading it. I'm constantly amazed by the sheer amount of exceptional writing talent out there. (Not to mention the astounding youth of some of the writers.) I stick to Supernatural fanfics and read virtually anything if the story is well written, though I must say that slash and and graphic sex fics are not my thing. I guess I'm the wrong generation for that. Nor do I bother much with drabbles. I particularly enjoy crossovers, especially with police and legal dramas or Stargate.
I try to leave a comment of some kind for most fics that I read, though I do not feel qualified to make any major judgements regarding accuracy in character depiction or writing style. I usually just leave some indication that I've read the story, such as "good chapter" or the like. (If I start a story and find I cannot continue reading it for one reason or another I will not bother to make any comment.) I may ask a question or speculate on plot development, but I do not mean this to be in a negative way. I do not mean to discourage any writer who is courageous enough to put their work up for public reading. However, as you can see below, certain things authors do when writing do drive me slightly crazy (crazier?) and I may comment on them in my "review". I usually only bother to do that if the story is good enough to be worth reading, and do not intend to put anyone down or denigrate them or their story in any way but only intend a little constructive criticism.
I'd like to exhort: those who can, write! (And update...)
If you are not going to finish a story, please delete it from the site, or at the very least note "on hiatus" in the citation. There are few things more aggravating than getting invested in a story only to find that it has been left dangling midway through with little or no hope of completion. If you think you will revisit and complete the story, a "WIP" note would be appreciated. At least the reader can note the date of the WIP note and see that if it has been like that for four years it may as well say "on hiatus".
Please keep these points in mind:
Have someone check it over before posting, if you can, and watch out for word mix-ups and typographical errors. Don't depend on a spelling check program because it cannot detect word meanings, only whether or not words are spelled correctly. There, their, and they're are different words. So are your and you're, patience and patients, conscious and conscience, bare and bear, viscous and vicious, definite and defiant, its and it's, then and than, stake and steak, dinner and diner, dye and die, lie and lye, he's and his, to and too, angel and angle, penchant and pension, rouge and rogue, weary and wary, wait and weight, quiet and quite, alter and altar, lightning and lightening, break and brake, sent and scent, diseased and deceased, chock and choke, wonder and wander, principle and principal, flew, flu and flue, sight and site, were and where, hallow and hollow, horse and hoarse, whinny and whiney, faint and feint, ruff and rough, haven and heaven, magnet and magnate, manner and manor, straight and strait, lair and liar, shoot and shot, phase and faze, decent and descent, dam and damn, college and collage, tomb and tome, bleed and bled, peel and peal, heal and heel, ruse and rouse, ow and owe, wine and whine, flare and flair, threw and through, pastor and pasture, idle and idol, of and off, vile and vial, desert and dessert, ridged and rigid, hole and whole, bored and board, horde and hoard, morn and mourn, exercise and exorcise, wretch and retch, heroin and heroine, suit and suite, minute and minuet, lose, loose and loss, allowed and aloud, chock and chalk, final and finale, fair and fare, forth and fourth, eke and eek, pole and poll, waste and waist, wrap and rap, psych and psyche, rabid and rapid, wreck and wrack, whether and weather, repel and rappel, foul and fowl, inject and eject, tact and tack, steaming and stemming, aw or ah and awe, cheep and cheap, save and safe, secret and secrete, knit and nit, role and roll, vertical and vertigo, residents and residence, mist and midst, trail and trial, rift and riff (as in guitar), since and sense, corps, corpse and copse, drawer and draw, fury and furry, manacle and maniacal, profit and prophet, balk and bulk, plane and plain, sedate and sedated, devise and device, crumble and crumple, pray and prey, non and none, affect and effect.
A smirk is a facial expression, an affected or offensive smile, not a method of speech. One says something with a smirk, one does not smirk something. And unless your characters are pigeons, please don't have them coo, either.
Less is more, usually, especially whan using descriptors. Don't overdo the use of adjectives and adverbs. Spare prose beats gushy prose any day.
"Santa Claus" does not have an "e" in it. Neither does "first aid". Werewolf does not have an "h". And it's through, not thru.
If it's inside anything but a boat, it's a floor, outside it's the ground. An unfinished building will have a dirt floor. Boats have decks.
For people, use "who", otherwise use "that": the truck that stopped; the person who stopped.
It's a posse, not a posy, possy, possie or posey.
Restraints are bonds or bindings, not binds.
A regiment is a unit of an army. A regimen is a routine, such as a training regimen.
Cavalry are horse soldiers, Calvary is a place.
If it's a trap, it's baited, but if it's breath, it's bated.
One gets down to brass tacks, not taxes.
When you wreak havoc, you'll probably wreck something.
Peeked, peaked and piqued mean different things, as in: she peeked out as the activity peaked and it piqued her curiosity.
Softly and lowly also mean different things, as in: he spoke softly to the lowly apprentice. (Apparently it is now accepted that lowly may also mean softly, but it just doesn't sound right to me...)
The past tense of drag is dragged, not drug (unless it's used as vernacular speech), and the past tense of lean is leaned or leant. Lent is the period before Easter. The past tense of slay is slew, not slayed.
If you whale on someone they wail.
Things go from better to worse to worst, and they can get worse but not worser. Things can take a turn for the worse and there can be a worst case scenario.
You sow a seed and sew a seam, and once it's done it's either sown or sewn. Fields are seeded, so are athletes, apparently, but most folks are just seated. Some things, like fears, are even deep seated.
If you "come too" you are there also. If you "come to" you wake up.
A murderer murders.
Barley is a grain.
Apart and "a part" mean diametrically opposite things.
Innocents are innocent because they have innocence.
If you break down you might have a breakdown.
Rain, reign and rein: to rain means to have precipitation fall from the clouds, or to have other things falling like rain: as it rained small rocks rained down the cliff. To reign means to rule: the Queen reigns over her country. To rein means to control or direct: he had to rein in his temper before he hit someone. When someone has "free rein" they are able to act without constraints.
When "to" is used after a verb it usually has only one "o": had to, went to, need to, etc., unless it is used to convey "also": come too, laughed too, etc.
Keep verb tenses consistent. If you are using, say, the past tense to narrate, do not suddenly start using the present tense, as in: "Dean went to the car and sees the gun", or alternate passages using either tense at random.
When a verb ends in a consonant and the ending will be "ing" or "ed" you usually double the consonant: scar, scarring, scarred. When a verb ends in a vowel following a consonant, the consonant is not doubled: scare, scaring, scared. (Note: usually does not mean always.)
Those end "e"s also affect pronunciation: breath and breathe are not interchangeable.
The verb "to lay" gives a lot of writers problems. It is the act of putting something down. It implies an action: you can lay yourself down, lay something down, lay an egg. Once it has been laid down, it is then lying there - implying a passive condition: he lay on the bed and while lying there watched TV. Here's a trick to use when in doubt - mentally add the word "eggs" any time you use "lay" so that you can tell if it's an action or if you should be using "lie": he was laying on the bed becomes he was laying eggs on the bed. You can see that it would be an action and so the correct word should be lie: he was lying on the bed. Also: lied means spoke an untruth. It is not the past tense of "to lay". Now, just to really confuse matters, remember that "lay" is a tense of " lie" as well, and will sometimes not indicate action, as in "the wolf was growing bolder with each second that the man lay immobile on the ground". Ah, well, tricks don't work all the time...
Still speaking of verbs, "to spit" has more than one meaning, and which meaning is in use changes the conjugation. It can mean to skewer something, like meat on a spit, or impale, as in to spit someone with a sword. In this case the past tense would be spitted: the soldier was spitted by a sabre. It can also mean to expectorate, as in, he spit out the sour mouthful. In this instance the past tense is spat - he spat the previous one out too.
Other verbs have irregular tenses in a similar manner as "spit", that it, they change internally rather than adding "ed", such as drink: drink, drank, drunk; swim, swam, swum; shrink, shrank, shrunk; run, ran, run; lead, led, led; cleave, clove, clove, etc.
Also, "sat": it's "he sat" or "he was sitting", not "he was sat". (Unless you're using it as a regional vernacular speech variation in a conversation.) And it's "had gone" not "had went".
And then there's the past/passed confusion. "Passed" implies more of an actual motion: he passed the car, he passed out, the law was passed. "Past" does not, but rather denotes more a time period, or, beyond: he looked past the car as he had done in the past.
Be careful of apostrophes. Use them to indicate ownership, not plurals: " as the Winchesters ran up he hotwired the brothers' car then nearly ran the brothers over before hitting Bobby's truck", or as contractions: "it's here and he's got it". Simple plurals do not need apostrophes.
A note on possessives versus contractions: possessives denote ownership, something belonging to someone or something. Your means belonging to you. Their means belonging to them. Whose means belonging to someone (they whose words we heard...) Its means belonging to it. You're is a contraction of you are. They're is a contraction of they are. Who's is a contraction of who is or who has. It's is a contraction of it is or it has. Please keep them straight.
Unless you're actually polishing something the past tense of shine is shone: he shined his shoes until they shone, the sun shone, his smile shone, he shone the light...
It's could have or could've, not could of. Same goes for should and would. (He should've done it earlier and would've, but was lying down all morning while the sun shone brightly.)
Dangling prepositions are not something up with which I will not put, but watch out for overuse of "at", as in, "Where are you at?". "Where are you?" and similar expressions are perfectly fine without an "at" stuck on the end, unless, again, it's vernacular conversation.
Drunk is not only a noun, but also a conjugation of the verb to drink, as in "what he had drunk was not water".
One gets bored with something, not bored of it.
Lead can be pronounced like led or like leed, and lead, led and lead (pronounced leed) can mean different things. Leaded does not mean led.
Intact is one word. So is nowhere. And archangel. But not "at least".
Use capital letters for names of people and places.
Don't call eyes orbs unless you're writing a bodice-ripper. And unless eye colour is germane to the story don't wax lyrical about it. That also goes for muscle tone, hair colour/style, facial features, etc. Save the romantic descriptions for romance stories. In action/adventure stories they're irritatingly out of place. Ditto with over sweetness, as in: Dean saw his Sammy and his heart swelled with joy. Please don't indicate characters by hair colour: "the blond moved towards the brunette as the redhead ran away". Use names or other indicators: "Dean moved towards Sam as the bystander ran away".
It's spelled SEPARATION - 1 e, 2 a's! Also: SEPARATE. And WHOA, not WOAH. If you want to accent the "a" sound, it's "whoah". And it's "used to" and "supposed to" - the d's are not really pronounced in speech but the spelling remains.
If you want to write Latin and are not sure how to spell things, most libraries have Latin-English dictionaries that you can check. Or try Wikipedia. (With all due caution.) Don't try to wing it.
If you write it all in capital letters IT'S LIKE YOU'RE SHOUTING AND IT'S VERY ANNOYING. Also very annoying is using the centering function when posting a story. It makes it very difficult to read, so it's usually not worth the effort.
I know, some of these are purely personal preferences (smirk, orbs, writing all in caps, centering) but most are genuine errors found in many fanfics.
When a story's good it's a definite jolt to find consistent errors throughout, it disrupts the flow somehow. Remember, the dictionary is your friend. The odd typo here and there is quite understandable (I can't type a line without one), but if the spelling and grammar are too bad it's virtually unreadable, and if the errors are in the summary... why even look at it? (Especially if you can't spell summary.) But I do love a good story, so I repeat, keep 'em coming!