Leaving the Body

Intelligent Editing: The Blog

This has nothing to do with astral projection or any other form of out-of-body experience…but, inspired by a recent article in Discover magazine, here are five ways for writers to “leave the body.”

  1. Kick with your feet.
  2. Listen with your ears.
  3. Look with your eyes.
  4. Smell with your nose.
  5. Think with your mind.

All five of these verbs describe actions performed with, or processes involving, a certain part (or parts) of the body. The crossed-out part goes without saying. So don’t say it! This is what I mean by leaving the body: if the body part that’s doing the action is self-evident or can be guessed at with a bit of common sense, leave it out of your writing.

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The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, by Claire North

Jonas David

I just finished reading this, and though it was very clever, and a fresh idea and extremely well written with beautiful prose, identifiable characters and vivid emotions and exciting action, it was also incredibly irritating.

It is another iteration of the timeless story of the villain trying to accomplish something, and the hero trying to stop it. This may sound trivial to you–of course it should be that way, it is the villain’s job to do, and the hero’s job to impede–it is so ingrained in fiction that it’s hard to imagine any other formula. But I’m sick of it. I’m sick of rooting against the character trying to accomplish something, and cheering for the character trying to keep the status quo. It was even more irritating in the case of this book because the story was so good, so engaging, so interesting and exciting up till the turning point when…

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Monday: Tidbit

Grammar TidbitIf you care to be grammatical with “like” and “as though,” remember this mini-rule: Like a Pig, As Though I Were a Pig.

What does this mean?640px-Lionking-disneyscreencaps.com-5902

The word “like” requires a noun or pronoun. Like a boss, like a llama, like an idiot . . . you get it.

The phrases “as if,” “as though,” and the like (don’t hit me) require a verb of some kind. As if I were a king, as though I were a llama, as if the idiot became wise.

This page is very helpful.

Have a grammar peeve you’d like others to finally learn? Send your tidbit, name, and web-space to Blog@CiceroGrade.com!

 

Friday: Tips

Writing Tips

 

Nobody tells this to people who are beginners; I wish someone had told me.

All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste.

But there is this gap.

For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you.

A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know it’s normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work.

Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met.

It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile.

You’ve just gotta fight your way through.

-Ira Glass

Wednesday: The Grade

The Grade

This contest challenges our following writers to fix these offending lines. To participate, simply post a “before” line and an “after” line from your writing. If you’d rather not show your personal growth, just work on the lines provided below. The follower with the best rewrite will win an edit of their work for up to 1000 words! I know it might be easy to pick on Twilight, but I can’t help it. Rather, I refuse to help it. Here is a line from Stephenie Meyer’s New Moon:

No matter how I tried to distract myself—and I had plenty to think of: I was honestly and desperately worried about Jacob and his wolf-brothers, I was terrified for Charlie and the others who thought they were hunting animals, I was getting in deeper and deeper with Jacob without ever having consciously decided to progress in that direction and I didn’t know what to do about it—none of these very real, very deserving of thought, very pressing concerns could take my mind off the pain in my chest for long.

Post your entries in the comments below!

Monday: Find the Typo

Find the Typo

Welcome to this special French-inspired installment of Find the Typo!

Phone 2014 January 480

The phrase is correct as “en route.” Any editor would know the spelling; if not, they’d at least be professional enough to look it up. That’s what we’re here for!

Have you found a typo? As always, if you find a typo on Cicero Grade at WordPress, we will feature your web-space in a future post! Comment with typo stories below; if you have typo photos, please email them to Blog@CiceroGrade.com to win a feature-post. Thank you for reading!

Friday: Showcase

Showcase

Why English is Hard to Learn

By Anonymous

We’ll begin with box; the plural is boxes,

But the plural of ox is oxen, not oxes.

One fowl is a goose, and two are called geese,

Yet the plural of moose is never called meese.

You may find a lone mouse or a house full of mice;

But the plural of house is houses, not hice.

The plural of man is always men,

But the plural of pan is never pen.

If I speak of a foot, and you show me two feet,

And I give you a book, would a pair be a beek?

If one is a tooth and a whole set are teeth,

Why shouldn’t two booths be called beeth?

If the singular’s this and the plural is these,

Should the plural of kiss be ever called keese?

We speak of a brother and also of brethren,

But though we say mother, we never say methren.

Then the masculine pronouns are he, his, and him;

But imagine the feminine . . . she, shis, and shim!

If you’re interested, there are loads of angry poets rhyming (kinda) about the English language. Check out a few here!