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Challenge to all the smart literature fans out there

So, just for fun…

with a little bit of an incentive for participation, I thought that I would propose a challenge to the readers of this blog as well as all literature fans everywhere.

Whether you’re an avid reader or like to write or both, this might just be right up your alley.

Think of one book or literary work from any genre, perhaps your favorite book. It can be poetry, fantasy, sci-fi, horror, a play or really anything else you choose. Now, once you’ve made your pick, here’s your chance to let your creativity flow.

Summarize your pick in the comments section of this post. Sounds easy right, we’ll not so fast. The summary can only be five lines long! The more interesting and accurate the better. Do you think you can handle it?

stack of books

While this isn’t a contest per se, as an incentive we are offering:

For best comment (as chosen by me) – Free promotion on at least 10 different social media platforms, a free links to your blog from this one and one year of a free graphic ad on the right sidebar of this blog.

For the runner up –  Free promotion on at least 10 different social media platforms and Free promotion on at least 10 different social media platforms and a free link to your blog from this one.

For third place (up to 10 winners) – A free link to your blog from this one.

Only comments posted over the next 30 days will be counted and please be original.

SAMPLE: 

The book (and now movie)  “Divergent” “Young woman in weird future leaves her family for exciting life, learns it’s hard, and ruins villain’s plan to destroy government.”

Come on now, show us what you’ve got!

 

 

 

 

The most beloved character type in modern literature

Anyone who writes or enjoys reading stories has at least a general idea of the various character types that make up the basics of virtually any story, novel, play or movie.

Of course, there are the villains, as more technically refereed to as the antagonists.  And just as obviously there are the heroes, technically termed the protagonists. Just perhaps the most beloved character type that is in use more now than ever is the figure known as the anti-hero.

Some people may be familiar with this type of character but in the event that you are not one of them, an anti-hero is essentially a protagonist that is anything but perfect.

Gone are the days with squeaky clean heroes who always make the right decisions and never cross any moral lines. Writers and readers have come to embrace protagonists with faults, personal struggles and other serious and not so serious issues that they must face.

So why is the anti-hero so popular? I would venture to guess that it’s because he or she is a character to which people can more accurately relate. Quite frankly, they are more realistic. Even the most shinning examples of humanity struggle with their own issues from  time to time. Nobody does everything right or always makes the right call pertaining to a moral or ethical situation.

Some famous examples of anti-heroes include:

Books -

Holden Caulfield – “Catcher in the Rye”

Scarlett O’Hara – “Gone with the Wind”

Movies -

John McClain – “Die Hard” series

Frank Martin – “Transporter” series

Television -

Patrick Jane – “The Mentalist”

Emily Thorne – “Revenge”

Plays –

Lady Macbeth  – “Macbeth”

Comics -

Batman

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Top Ten Things Your English Teacher Got Wrong

Many of the things we learn in school or in another educational setting we tend to instantly accept as fact. But no matter how reasonable something might seem, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s true. This is certainly the case when it comes to some of the “rules” that govern the English language as you may heave been taught to understand them. From the simplest notions of proper grammar to the more complex idea of citing sources in research documents, chances are you have been taught to abide by several of these so-called facts that are either only partially true or downright false.

10. You should always have one or more rough drafts

Perhaps you’ve heard it said that usually one’s first instinct is the most accurate one. This notion of not second guessing ourselves has been around for quite a long time. And recently, scientific study has weighed in on this matter.

In my opinion, this filters over into the practice of writing. While it is necessary to go over your work to correct errors and possibly make some wording and stylistic adjustments here and there, that by no means suggests an entire rewrite. And it certainly does not ensure that multiple revisions will be necessary.

9. Shakespeare wrote in proper English

There is no doubt that William Shakespeare was a brilliant writer with a masterful grasp of the English language. However, the man also “made up” more than 1,700 words. Some of these include the terms “arouse,” “fixture,” “majestic” and “negotiate.”

Imagine if we just randomly began to create our own words for letters, essays, research papers and more. Perhaps we’d even incorporate a bit of modern slang. This certainly wouldn’t be considered proper grammar or writing today and thus it wouldn’t have been in Shakespeare’s day either.

8. You must double space after a period

While in ages gone by when everything had to be hand-written, this was a non-issue. Only since the institution of typing machines (first typewriters and now computers) has this one even come into play.

When it comes to conventional typewriters, the sizes of the letters are slightly different. To compensate for this problem, it became common practice to add a second space after the period at the end of each sentence. But in this computer age, proportional font spacing has all but eliminated the need for double-spacing.

7. You should always use proper grammar

In most case, it is very important to use proper grammar. However, there are some instances in which a writer can bend or even break traditional grammatical rules for any number of purposes.

The famed twentieth-century poet E.E. Cummings provides a perfect example. In his work, Cummings frequently and intentionally used bad grammar to create a more dynamic effect while establishing his own personal style.

In other instances, writers sometimes use poor grammar in the speech of their characters. This is especially true when the author is trying to bring out cultural and ethnic traits such as the use of slang in an urban environment or the feeling of a Southern drawl.

6. You need a comma to separate every instance in a series

Separating small lists of items in a series does not necessarily require the use of a comma after each item. For example, according to many experts and style guides, the use of a comma before words like “and” or “or” to close out the series is actually quite redundant.

For instance, let’s take the list “red, white and blue.” Notice how there is no comma prior to the word “and.” The reasoning is that if we use a comma after the word “white” it essentially amounts to using the word “and” twice.

5. Paragraphs have to have more than one sentence

This is a long-held myth that can be easily disproved. All one has to do is look to the work of legendary author Charles Dickens. His famous novel entitled “A Tale of Two Cities” begins with a single paragraph that is also only one sentence long.

The truth is, as long as it meets the criteria to make a paragraph, there is no set number of sentences the writer must use. It can be as few or as many as her or she wants.

4. There is only one proper way to cite sources

While your teacher may have preferred the use of a particular style in his or her classes, there are actually several ways to cite sources in research papers and the like. Often this varies depending upon the discipline you are researching or studying.

A few of the more common style guides include MLA (Modern Language Association), APA (American Psychological Association), CMS (Chicago Manual of Style) and AP Style used by many journalistic outlets. There are several others out there as well.

3. Always use a comma after the greeting in a letter

While using a comma after statements like ”Dear Ted” or “Hello Maggie” at the start of a letter is generally correct and seen as good grammar, this is not always the case.

In instances in which you are writing a business letter, the comma should actually be replaced by a colon.

 Commas should be reserved for more informal communication.

When it comes to the use of email, it is generally accepted that either of these two forms of punctuation can be used to fit the bill.

2. You should not shift tenses

Sure, shifting tense for no real reason is poor grammar and makes for poor writing. However, there are some instances in which a shift in tense is appropriate and even required to make things work.

If the time frame of something taking place in your writing moves from past to present, you have to change the tense for both correctness and to avoid reader confusion. The following two sentences provide a simple example. “I was so afraid to get on that bicycle as a young child. Reflecting back on that point in my life, I think it was more about the possible embarrassment of falling rather than getting hurt.”

As you can see, the first sentence focuses on the past and uses the past tense while the second one is amount my reflections in the present.

1. You can’t use “and” to start a sentence

Those who use “and” to start off a sentence have long been ostracized by those entrusted with teaching us the English language. However, this isn’t a criticism that is based in the reality of proper grammar.

While the use of “and” as the first word of a sentence can come across as rather informal and has the potential to make your wording a bit choppy and awkward, it’s not technically wrong. In fact, some language experts suggest that it can actually work better in some case that using more traditional terms like “however,” “therefore” and “furthermore”

Finding out about fan fiction

Fan fiction

has been around for several years now. And while I had a basic idea of what the concept was all about, I never really bothered to look into it until recently. A friend of the family gave me a few more specific details of what is involved in this fan-driven form of literature.

Imagine reading your favorite science fiction book, or watching a classic super hero movie and having some actual control over the thoughts, actions and just about everything to do with the characters. This is the essence of fan fiction.

The control over one’s favorite characters combined with the ability to express one’s own creativity has made this form of writing a rapidly growing success.  Essentially, everything is possible!

Personally, as a fan of the television series “Revolution,” I am looking forward to checking out what people have written about this futuristic and somewhat post-apocalyptic show. Who knows, maybe someday I’ll even write some for myself.

Revolution show

Awaken Anew (a poem)

I’ve decided to share

a new poem I was recently inspired to write. I hope you enjoy it.

Awaken Anew

For more of my work, please feel free to check out my poetry books and other publications.

The art of language and definition change over time

Any writer must realize

when we try to define words, the definition of things tend to change over time. In fact, few people today may know what a given word we use on a daily basis might haven meant decades or even centuries ago. And the ones who do might potentially have a bit of an attitude when it comes to what we consider the “real” meaning of a word.

The truth is, there is no real meaning but just the meaning that the word was intended to convey at the time.

For example, while today one might use the word “girl” and a representation of a young female child. However, in centuries past, the term girl was used for a young person of either gender. That’s a big difference huh?

Some words change do to the influences of other languages and cultures while others adopt a new meaning due to the use of slang. No matter what the source of the change may be, the change itself can be quite interesting.

no dictionary

Here are some more fun examples:

Bad -

In many contexts it can mean negative or terrible while the slang of the last few decades has redefined it to also mean positive, good or outstanding.

Handsome -

Today this usually refers to a man who is attractive in appearance. However, in years past it referred to pleasant looking women.

Dude -

when used today, a dude tends to be a rather fun, lively or interesting guy. But with the earliest origination of the word, the term was one that depicted a pansy sort of man.

Interesting isn’t it?

Three non-technical keys to writing your best poetry

What makes good poetry?

If someone was to ask this question to a crowd of people, that person would probably receive any number of different answers. But in my personal opinion as the author of poetry books, considering the fact that poetry is an art, who is to say what makes one piece good as opposed to another not? Like any art form, it is highly subjective.

writing poems

But with that being the case, I do believe that there are a few things any poet can do in order to make the best of their own work.

1. Be inspired -

If you don’t have some sort of inspiration behind your work, the result won’t be as satisfying as if you do. While in other forms of writing you can simply just jump into it, this is not the case with poetry.

2. Express emotion -

Letting your emotion pour out onto a page is very important in this particular form of literature.

3. Let if flow -

The flow of the words in your poetry is also very important. The more natural and compelling the flow of the words, the better your writing will end up.

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