BSV Forum - Support - How and where?

Links to punctuation, grammar and vocabulary help

Nov 28 2009 01:26 am   #1slaymesoftly
Below is a list of links to posts from here and from Riters_R-Us that offer assistance for authors who are struggling without betas and/or have had their chapters rejected for mechanical problems.  All of the ones linking to the BSV forum entries may also be found by going to the Writing Section and clicking on General Tips.  There are also many more entries there dealing with writing issues.  Unfortunately, the thread titles don't always indicate how useful the thread may be, hence this list. The list will not take the place of a good beta, but it may help both authors and people who want to be betas be able to present a cleaner product.  Because we have to make so many rejections for mechanical problems, I intend to keep this list bumped up so that it is always visible. And I will be mentioning it on the home page notes.  With a bit of luck, new authors to the verse will not only read the rules carefully before submitting, but will consult some of the list entries and be able to evaluate for themselves whether or not their fic is ready for submission, or whether they need to work on it a bit more.

 

http://www.bloodshedverse.com/forum.php?go=sub&no=17 --  General Tips section - this is where you will find all of the below links, as well as many more threads dealing with writing tips and problems.  It's the place to go for help with something.

 

http://www.bloodshedverse.com/forum.php?go=read&no=19929 -- Original submissions entry - An older entry for authors new to the BSV, it still has some good information for authors planning to post their first story. Some of it will be new, some of it will be similar to other recent posts about submitting to the BSV.

 

http://www.bloodshedverse.com/forum.php?go=read&no=2510 -- Common mistakes and random advice tips for authors new to the verse, covering some very common errors that we find in submissions. A good place to find out if you are submitting something that is likely to be rejected.

 

http://www.bloodshedverse.com/forum.php?go=read&no=19939 --  A and An  --pretty much what it says, deals with the proper use of "a" and "an" before words.

 

http://www.bloodshedverse.com/forum.php?go=read&no=2579

Commas (some uses) An entry on some important uses of commas. Not comprehensive, by any means, but covers some of the more common mistakes made with them.

 

http://www.bloodshedverse.com/forum.php?go=read&no=2837 --  Clauses - a written explanation of what clauses are and how to use them correctly. Probably one of the most common sources of problems in sentence structure and clarity.

 

http://www.bloodshedverse.com/forum.php?go=read&no=2599 --  Why it Matters deals with why we are so picky about the mechanics of our fics. You may be surprised to find out how many readers stop reading stories if the mechanics are too bad.

 

http://www.bloodshedverse.com/forum.php?go=read&no=2476  -- Speech tags -  this entry deals with those pesky speech (dialogue) tags and how to write them correctly. It's fairly comprehensive and should help with anything but the most complicated situations.

 

The following links are to entries at the Live Journal community LJ Communityriters_r_us which is a resource for authors and betas.  In addition to the below links, there are many shorter entries in the tags and memories and there are semi-regular updates which always include a "Daily Doozy" which is usually a commonly confused set of words. (Think your, you're, yore). If you have a Live Journal account, I highly recommend joining this community. Members include many English teachers, college professors and otherwise knowledgeable and brilliant people. You can get almost any question answered.

 

http://community.livejournal.com/riters_r_us/600.html  -- Essays - these are the first three posts I made (on my own LJ at first) that were the impetus behind setting up RRU. They include common mistakes that I was finding at the time (as a reader, not a mod) as well as some useful information about how to avoid them.  They were so well-received that they led to the community's founding.

 

http://community.livejournal.com/riters_r_us/10307.html   -- Word list - This is a fairly comprehensive, but by no means complete, list of homophones and other commonly confused words.  A good place to look if you aren't sure which word to use.

 

http://community.livejournal.com/riters_r_us/103469.html  -- Capitalization - just what it says; an entry covering some important rules for capitalizing words (and not capitalizing them).

 

http://community.livejournal.com/riters_r_us/45523.html  -- Comma stuff -- Some important rules about using commas correctly. Where, when, how and why they are important.

 

http://community.livejournal.com/riters_r_us/16260.html  -- Misrelated participles - some common problems that can turn an otherwise perfectly acceptable sentence into unintentional hilarity by placing participles in the wrong places. 

 

http://community.livejournal.com/riters_r_us/41628.html   -- Object pronouns - a fairly short entry dealing with the common mistakes made with subject and object pronouns.

 

 

 


I am not a minion of Evil...
I am upper management.
Dec 03 2009 02:59 am   #2Sensei
Wonderful!  I'm a teacher, but I can use the review, too.  In fact, whether you write fanfic or just read it, this is an excellent resource  that you've put together. Everyone should check it out.  It will help people doing college or high school papers, people writing reports for work, and, of course, increase the already high level of professionalism in the Spuffy stories at this site.

Thanks so much for organizing this!

Dec 03 2009 03:15 am   #3slaymesoftly
Thanks for thanking me (and for bumping it up)   I remember how many things I had forgotten when I started writing - we can all use the reminders.
I am not a minion of Evil...
I am upper management.
Dec 03 2009 03:35 am   #4Spikez_tart
This stuff would be useful on a links page. 
If we want her to be exactly she'll never be exactly I know the only really real Buffy is really Buffy and she's gone' who?
Dec 06 2009 03:47 am   #5nmcil
Thanks for putting this together - great resource
” Recent evolutionary models have demonstrated what politicians have long known: the best way to get people to collaborate and to think like a group is to identify an enemy and charge that “they” threaten “us.”

Michael Tomasello is co-director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.
Dec 06 2009 04:14 pm   #6slaymesoftly
I can mention that to Dia, Tart. But, you know, it doesn't seem to matter where the information is, or how accessible we make it, some people just won't look.  Usually the same people who haven't bothered to read the rules and are shocked when their illiterate and often spammed (more than one chapter at a time) fics are rejected for violating the rules.  I just figure, for those who genuinely need and want the help, making it as accessible as possible can save them some time and energy.
I am not a minion of Evil...
I am upper management.
Dec 07 2009 12:21 am   #7Spikez_tart
You're so right.  Why do people think they can be writers without learning grammar, etc.?
If we want her to be exactly she'll never be exactly I know the only really real Buffy is really Buffy and she's gone' who?
Dec 07 2009 02:04 am   #8slaymesoftly
*bites tongue*  Whew! Okay, urge to say something wildly inappropriate out of the way....

Serious answer? Some people are all about the story and to them, a summary of a good plot sounds like a story. Truly. And some do have good ideas and some knack for telling a story, but haven't had enough writing experience (or reading of really good works) to know that how the story is told plays a big role in whether or not readers are going to enjoy hearing it.

Interestingly enough, though, very rarely is a grammatically incorrect story also a good story.  Along with lack of writing and grammar skills, seems to go a lack of logic and and plotting as well as no knack for dialogue or characterization. Not always, but often enough for us to be grateful that those things are usually accompanied by mechanical issues.
I am not a minion of Evil...
I am upper management.
Jan 21 2010 12:22 am   #9BandS
I don't know if this goes here or not...

Can someone explain why I see the word sneaked rather than snuck?  I also notice here it doesn't like the word, it underlines it...I checked though...seems it can be used but still largely frowned upon, yet I hear it all the time.  When I come across it in a sentence--to me sneaked sounds incorrect or wrong.  Or maybe that was my mothers upbringing with me...I used to say sneaked until she kept correcting me.  Had to listen to the Speech therapist, lol.  Or was that because she stubbornly refused to see it as sneaked...lol guess so...

I know there are other words like this, but for the life of me, I can't remember.  But here is what I checked on sneaked using snuck.


Usage Note: Snuck is an Americanism first introduced in the 19th century as a nonstandard regional variant of sneaked. Widespread use of snuck has become more common with every generation. It is now used by educated speakers in all regions. Formal written English is more conservative than other varieties, of course, and here snuck still meets with much resistance. Many writers and editors have a lingering unease about the form, particularly if they recall its nonstandard origins. And 67 percent of the Usage Panel disapproved of snuck in our 1988 survey. Nevertheless, an examination of recent sources shows that snuck is sneaking up on sneaked. Snuck was almost 20 percent more common in newspaper articles published in 1995 than it was in 1985. Snuck also appears in the work of many respected columnists and authors: "He ran up huge hotel bills and then snuck out without paying" (George Stade). "He had snuck away from camp with a cabinmate" (Anne Tyler). "I ducked down behind the paperbacks and snuck out" (Garrison Keillor).

Jan 21 2010 03:02 am   #10slaymesoftly
I think you got your answer in the usage note. My pocket OED calls "snuck" a North American informal version of the past tense of "sneak". So, you undoubtedly do hear it a lot, but word processing programs, particularly those more oriented to British English will probably flag it as incorrect.  In dialogue, it would be perfectly fine. In more formal writing, it might be better to use "sneaked", but I don't think it's a big deal which you use if it's starting to creep into newspapers and essays written by literate people. It seems to be one of those words that has worked its way into acceptable use.
I am not a minion of Evil...
I am upper management.
Jan 21 2010 04:25 am   #11BandS 
Thanks Slaymesoftly, I just realized it.  I know, grammatically speaking, to use sneaked.  But the sound in my head seems to frown at the way it is used or sounds in that sentence using sneaked instead of snuck.  It sounds wrong...I just wondered what others thought about certain words that sound 'uncomfortable' in the way the sentence is--even when the sentence is grammatically correct. 

Does that make sense?  Growing up with my Speech Therapist mother was tough enough, so certain words always had me doing the tongue twist thing.
Jan 21 2010 01:49 pm   #12slaymesoftly
It does make sense. Often, how the sentence/word sounds is a good clue as to what is correct. The only time we get into trouble with that is when we've been used to a particular way of saying something that may be "correct" for our region or country, but is not technically the correct way.  Can't think of any examples off the top of my head, but I am sure there are tons of them.  Oh, here's one: a lot of people say "anyways" which is incorrect in written work; but for those who grew up with that expression, it's very hard to convince them that it's wrong.    And some things are appropriate in dialogue (assuming that the character actually did speak that way), but not appropriate to use in the narrative portion of a fic.  An example of that would be Scooby-speak, which is appropriate when one of them is speaking (if it's not over done) but not appropriate for the author's "voice" during exposition and narration.
I am not a minion of Evil...
I am upper management.
Jan 25 2010 03:51 am   #13sensei 
Maybe it is because I am a teacher (or perhaps because my mom is a professional editor so I grew up using words correctly or  found myself chastised!), but I would love to add more to the "snuck" discussion and include other "u" verbs such as swum, rung hung, sung, etc.  Verbs such as snuck (and other "u" forms of verbs) are correctly used only as past participles.  For example, it is technically incorrect to say that the phone rung or I swum in the ocean.  It is correct to say that the phone has rung seven times or I had swum in the ocean every day as a child.

The problem is that we have misused these verbs so much, that after hearing them used incorrectly for so many years, they now sound normal to our ears.  In fact, if we hear someone say that she hanged up the phone it sounds odd.  We say that she hung up the phone although technically it should be she had/has hung up the phone.

My opinion is that it is fine to write something informal such as fanfiction the way people speak because otherwise it sounds stilted and jolts the reader out of the story (and who wants to stop and ponder grammar when Spike is just about to be staked and the action is tense?!).  I will never, however, accept someone writing or saying the phrase "me and my friend" as the subject of a sentence!!!!!  It is "my friend and I".  It is just wrong, wrong, wrong on so many levels!!!!! 
Jan 25 2010 04:23 am   #14slaymesoftly
LOL Sensei.

Everyone has his or her own pet peeves and own selection of things that they can let slide.  The only one of the above words that I can recall hearing so much that it sound correct is "hung".  The others would all scream "wrong!" to me.   As someone who is not young *cough, cough* there are often things that make me shudder (and would no doubt do so to your mother), but when I research them, I sometimes discover that modern usage is changing and things that were considered wrong fifty years ago have moved into the language and are now acceptable.  Different style manuals also sometimes disagree on punctuation and even grammar issues, so that adds another level of confusion. If I can get submissions by authors to stick to the basics, I'm happy!

I would disagree, though, that fanfiction should be written the way people speak. Good fanfiction is no more informal than any other writing.  It is fiction, and therefore not as formal as an essay, business letter or other formal document, but it shouldn't be terribly informal. That is one the biggest problems we have with new/younger authors - that their stories are written the way they speak. Not fun to read. Trust me.  The narrative part of a story doesn't need to be formal, but it does need to be literate and grammatically correct in most ways. Anything else would throw me out of the story in a heartbeat.  Dialogue is a different story - as long as the language is within character for that person, it can be very informal because that is how most people speak and to ignore that would be to have very stilted dialogue and a boring story.
I am not a minion of Evil...
I am upper management.
Jan 26 2010 12:58 pm   #15Always_jbj
I will never, however, accept someone writing or saying the phrase "me and my friend" as the subject of a sentence!!!!!  It is "my friend and I".  It is just wrong, wrong, wrong on so many levels!!!!! 

Actually, sometimes it IS me and my friend, it depends on the sentence.  You have to ask yourself if it was just 'you', would it be correct to say 'me or 'I' in the sentence, whichever it is for just one of you is also correct for two or more. So it would be: My friend and I went to the shops.  and... Mum gave me and my friend and icecream each.
Aim from the heart
Some will love and some will curse you, baby
You can go to war
But only if you have to 


Fanfic ~*~ Artwork ~*~ Live Journal
Jan 26 2010 03:58 pm   #16coalitiongirl
... Although then it's technically "my friend and me."
 
Jan 26 2010 08:47 pm   #17Tanit
But "my friend and me" or "me and my friend" (either way, I'm not sure the order really matters, from a technical viewpoint? Might be wrong on that.) are the objects of the given sentence. Switch it around (so that "me" is the subject), and it's all wrong. "Me and my friend gave Mom some ice cream." You'd never say, "Me gave Mom some ice cream."

Jan 26 2010 10:30 pm   #18Always_jbj
 You'd never say, "Me gave Mom some ice cream."

No, you wouldn't, you'd say 'I gave Mum some ice cream', so you would say 'My friend and I gave Mum some ice cream' . As I said, it doesn't change just because you add extra people, what is correct for 'you' is correct for 'you' plus others.
Aim from the heart
Some will love and some will curse you, baby
You can go to war
But only if you have to 


Fanfic ~*~ Artwork ~*~ Live Journal
Jan 27 2010 12:15 am   #19Tanit
I think you're seeing "me and my friend" as the subject, where they are actually the object of the sentence. Sensei was speaking specifically about using me as the subject of the sentence, and it cannot be the subject. It just can't. Me is the objective form of the pronoun I.

Jan 27 2010 01:19 am   #20Always_jbj

Ah, I see what the problem is... I didn't actually notice that she'd qualified with 'the subject' and thought she was objecting to people ever using the phrase 'me and my friend'.

Aim from the heart
Some will love and some will curse you, baby
You can go to war
But only if you have to 


Fanfic ~*~ Artwork ~*~ Live Journal
Jan 27 2010 04:58 am   #21Sensei
Yup, it turns out we are all in agreement with I as the subject and me as the object.  Way back in the dinosaur days when I went to school, we were taught in elementary school that mentioning the other person first was the polite way to state it.  In that case coalitiongirl is correct that you would say my friend and me as the object.  I don't know if that was actually grammatically correct or just politely correct. 

I do know, however, that when I would teach my students to put the other person first, they would automatically use I as the subject.  They'd say, "Billy and I both have to go to the bathroom at the same time."  Yeah, right--I'd never fall for that line, but at least I could appreciate the correct grammar!!!! LOL

Jan 27 2010 05:16 am   #22coalitiongirl
I do know, however, that when I would teach my students to put the other person first, they would automatically use I as the subject.

Most likely, it's because "...me have to go to the bathroom" just doesn't sound right. That's usually how I teach people to figure out whether to use me or I- they're not always clear on what a subject or object is, but they know when me doesn't fit.

Not so with I. My pet peeve? When people write things like "She gave the cookies to Billy and I" in an attempt to sound more educated. Epic fail.