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Archive for November, 2010

Got rejection fatigue?

Brighten up!  Rejection is a necessary evil in the writing industry, a rite of passage of sorts, and those who persist not only gain to improve their craft but may find out something even greater than an acceptance letter.  They may discover insights into their own soul.  Joy Harjo, the Native American poet, says:

‘You can use rejection to put you in a funk and stop you from writing, or you can crumple it up and use it to build your fire in the evening when you write.’

Enjoy the warmth!

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Tip of the Day from www.WritersDigest.com

Run-on sentences are independent clauses that have not been joined correctly. If two independent clauses appear in one sentence, they must be joined either with a comma and coordinating conjunction or with a semicolon (and on rare occasions with a colon or dash). You could also choose to make the independent clauses into two separate sentences, or make one of the clauses dependent on the other by adding a subordinating conjunction.Most run-on sentences are comma splices; that is, independent clauses joined by a comma but lacking the coordinating conjunction:

Willie Nelson has been showing strong Mexican influences, his work has improved.

Inserting the coordinating conjunction “and” after the comma corrects the comma splice:

Willie Nelson has been showing strong Mexican influences, and his work has improved.

Or you could subordinate one of the clauses:

Since Willie Nelson has been showing strong Mexican influences, his work has improved.

Or, as we mentioned above, you could replace the comma after “influences” with a semicolon or a period (with appropriate capitalization afterward, of course).

Another form of run-on sentence, the fused sentence, occurs when you neglect to put any punctuation mark and/or coordinating conjunction between two independent clauses:

My mother was in a good mood I took the opportunity to ask for money.

Insert a period (or semicolon) after “mood,” or use an appropriate conjunction and connect the clauses with a comma: 

My mother was in a good mood, so I took the opportunity to ask for money.

Adding a comma and the coordinating conjunction “so” properly joins these two independent clauses.

Because my mother was in a good mood, I took the opportunity to ask for money.

Adding the subordinating conjunction “because” makes the first clause dependent on the second.

To learn more about writing sentences that don’t run on and on, check out the Elements of Effective Writing II: Form and Composition.

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  • Mark your calendars for the next Random Readings event on January 22nd. 
  • Stay tuned for information on playwright forums in January.
  • Our Backtalk events have been so successful that we’ll start hosting them every other month beginning in the new year.
  • Also in the coming year we’ll be organizing Idaho Writers Guild lunch meetings once a month.  Open to all IWG members and a great place to network and socialize with fellow writers.  Stay tuned for details.
  • To all those participating in NaNoWriMo, just keep writing!

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Going beyond their boundaries, the old men rule without warrant at the veteran organization’s bar. They sit in the back room playing solitaire on the computer, one trolls the web for porn. And they watch, keep the place in line. They are volunteers, nothing in it for them.

One of them lines up cheetos by size on the bar when he comes out for a drink. He always eats them in order. And he strongly believes in going by the organization’s rulebook. Just ask him. He’ll look at you over his reading lenses and quote you chapter and verse. Then he’ll eat a cheeto.

The other plays solitaire on the computer in the back room, the one with the lock on the door, next to the women’s restroom. He has a key. Once in a while, he ventures out into the smoky bar, has a gin and tonic, and makes jokes about his wife. She is dying of cancer. He was an Air Force pilot in Viet Nam. That explains his good eyesight, still good in his sixties. I mean being a pilot, not his wife dying of cancer.

Today he eyes the cheetos lined up on the bar.

The back door opens by the bar. It’s “Ole Harold.” He asks, “You servin’ me today?” The bartender says, “No.” Harold retreats, slamming the door after him. The bartender shakes his head. Every time they change management in the place, Harold gets wind of it and tries to get a drink. He is on disability for war injuries, but his main disability is drink.

This causes only a minor disruption to the talk around the bar. But, just before the ex-pilot leaves for home, he quickly moves some of the cheetos around, messes them up.  The cheeto man is busy telling the bartender what he should be charging for beer. The ex-pilot leaves, and the bar goes quiet waiting for the cheeto man to notice.

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