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New stuff! [08 Mar 2018|11:08am]

Yay? LOL Below is a link to an entry on AO3 that provides a list of commonly-used terms that are different in the US and UK. Should be helpful for writers on either side of the pond (British term - see what I did there?). Even if you just glance down it, you may see something that surprises you and you'll know to go back and check if you're in doubt. I only had one quibble, which was the word "heels" for shoes with, you know, high heels. I've never used the word "pump" in my life, although I am quite aware that it is the official term for dress shoes with a heel of any height, but I also don't bother to say "high heels". Just "heels" has worked fine for me my entire life, without any influence from abroad. :) No doubt you will find your own personal issues with it, but I believe it is pretty comprehensive and worth taking a look at.


Even better, IMHO, would be a list of different phrases that skew heavily American or heavily British. (Xander saying he's just going to "pop round to the..." would be an example of what I mean by phrases that skew British. I'm sure my British friends can find just as many examples of things Giles has said in fics that make them roll their eyes. I may find myself working on something like this for RRU with assistance from my British friends who can provide a list of phrases Americans get wrong.

There are so many things to consider when writing someone else's characters and their dialogue. In addition to the words and phrases that make up an "accent", there is the cadence of the character's speech, his/her level of education and attention to proper grammar, and even the way the character structures their sentences. Interesting side note: I find that I can sometimes tell how an author feels about a particular character by the words they put into the character's mouth....
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submissions [10 Mar 2017|07:53am]

So, here's a new wrinkle - LJ asked me to approve or disapprove the latest post in the community. It was not originally set up as a moderated community, so I don't know what that's all about, but shouldn't be a big deal since they send me a notification when it happens. But just in case anyone posts something and you get told it has to be approved, that's apparently the case now. Perhaps it's an attempt to keep spam away or something. Anyway, I'll be checking regularly, so no worries.

stuff [14 Nov 2016|02:05pm]

In the interest of renewing interest in this community, I'm going to be throwing things out for discussion as and when I see them. Probably not every day (okay, let's get real. Definitely not every day. lol), but I'm going to shoot for once a week. Sometimes they will be things from fanfic, sometimes they will come from stories I've worked on (examples will be heavily disguised so I don't get fired), sometimes from things I've read other places - magazines, short stories, or even from actual, you know, books. And I'll add a few not-so-daily-doozies at the end of each post because some things bear repeating...

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New link - lot's of fun [02 Nov 2016|08:32pm]

I'll try to copy paste, but if I can't, here is the link to a Writers Write post:


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Actual post - for realz! [22 Oct 2016|01:25pm]

Betas, even not-so-good ones, can be difficult to come by and difficult to keep. People's lives change, they move on to other fandoms, they just lose interest, lots of stuff happens. So, even if you have or have had a wonderful beta, you may find yourself having to do a lot of self-editing. (Which, FYI, you should be doing anyway, but authors who think "beta" or "editor" means they don't have to do any work themselves... well, that's a rantsubject for another day.)

We may or may not have done this before years ago, and I know there's an entry on here somewhere with comments that offer some of these, but just in the interest of adding something of interest or use to any newbies there may be, here are some suggestions for self-editing:

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update [18 Oct 2016|10:32am]

of sorts - Haven't had time to play with the changes a paid account will make (if any). What I did re-learn (I'd forgotten, I guess) is that if you are set up to have the entries appear in your own settings, everything is there. All the tags, visible posts, etc. If you just go to riters_r_us without that, you see the lovely banner, but not much else. Each post is only shown with its subject line which must be clicked on to see the actual post. Useless, even for me, never mind anyone who may be visiting the community for the first time. That will be one of the things I hope I can fix now. The tags are absolutely necessary if anyone is to find a particular discussion or entry (the easily-confused words list, for instance).

This sudden flurry of interest was brought on by the discussions going on at the Elysian Fields shout (chat) box, which made me realize that none of these relative newbies (relative being the important term there. LOL Ten years is a lifetime in fandom) has any idea we even exist, and some of them have a great deal to contribute.

paid account [17 Oct 2016|06:22pm]

Ok, in theory, this is now a paid account, which I hope is going to allow me to make it easier to navigate. Or not... could go either way. :)

Mostly testing to see if it shows up on my flist. [17 Oct 2016|06:09pm]

So, conversations on the EF shout box had me remembering that this community exists, and that I've not done doodleysquat (anyone have a clue how doodley is spelled?) on it for for a very long time. Which, given what I've been doing for past several years and what I've learned there is very negligent of me. I'm also thinking I may make this a paid account which should help it be easier to read and allow me to make tags or links. I dunno. Worth a shot probably.

First item of business is to be sure the community is actually still here and available, and then I'll work on making it more useful and better.
7 commented + comment

spam and stuff [15 Aug 2015|05:42pm]

Okay, I've been told RRU has been attacked by this morning's spam bots, but I'm not seeing it? I guess TPTB at LJ have found a cure? On the other hand, I'm not seeing much on my RRU main page and I don't remember what the explanation for that was last time it happened. If I click on comments, I can see the posts, so not the end of the world, just annoying.
6 commented + comment

Word to the wise... [22 Jul 2015|07:48pm]

Because I've seen this twice lately (at least - maybe three times?):

The flunky who runs and gets things for someone (goes for....) is a "gofer". It's a common job on movie sets, but is also used to describe someone who gets everything from a cup of coffee to an expensive suit. He/she "goes for" things the boss wants or needs. :)

A "gopher" is a burrowing rodent.
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something to post! [19 Apr 2015|04:28pm]

An excellent article on why we continually make typing mistakes when we obviously know better. (And why everybody needs a beta!) It's referring mostly to on-line responses, but goes on to mention other times these things happen and why they do. You can find it here I hope. If not, I'll try to find time later this evening to copy/paste it on here.
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Thinky thoughts about stories, authors, and archives [07 Feb 2015|01:15pm]

[ mood | contemplative ]

Greetings and salutations!
I know I fell of the edge of the earth for a while, but I am slowly getting back into the groove. In doing so, I have really noticed a few things that I would like to comment on, an perhaps make a suggestion or two.

First, I want to say that my fandom isn't dead! Upon my return, I fully expected to find that no one was writing my fandom (Buffy/Angel) related fanfic anymore, aside from tweens and teens who are discovering the show via Netflix suggestions as they devour their Vampire Diaries episodes. After all, the shows ended over 10 years ago! How many of us diehards can be left, still plugging away at prolonging our fanfiction glory days? Well, a lot, as it turns out. Imagine my joy at finding several quite good authors whom I still consider friends in my heart, are still putting up stories and contributing to fandom in productive ways! Not only that, but there are some really excellent somewhat new ones that are regularly cranking out intriguing stuff as well!

Second, I did find that as expected, many of the previous ways our collective had to encourage excellence in transformative works, have indeed gone the way of the dodo. I've found very few awards or rec sites in current operation.

Third, and perhaps most distressing, is the fact that several fantastic archives seem to have disappeared. I almost feel like I myself am standing on that road in 2003 staring into a giant crater, thinking about all of those priceless treasures that have now been swallowed into a great void. The stories and art that were housed in those archives and awards sites are gone now, and may never be seen or read again.

So, if anyone is still following this, I would like to reach out and see if anyone feels up to starting a movement of sorts? How do we save the amazing legacy of stories, essays, and art housed at defunct sites before those too are gone? Some of them are still semi-accessible via Wayback or offline via Slayerworld. Some are there, but haven't been updated in years, and may disappear at any time. The archives in current operation are quite few, and fandom specific ones are dependent on the kind soul or two who foots the bill and maintains it, which could at any point in the future become unsustainable due to an unforeseen circumstance or two. I so hate to see such excellent art simply cease to exist.

The problem isn't just Buffy/Angel fandom, either. It involves a lot of fandoms whose shows have ended. Vast blank swaths of stories from other fandoms such as X-Files, Stargate, etc., have simply vanished as their authors moved on, and websites went black. Some were truly masterful and should have been preserved for future generations of fans. So, how do we do that?

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It's alive! [27 Jan 2015|06:56pm]

Or, more specifically, I'm alive I guess is more accurate. The community hasn't died, it just hasn't been updated very often. Bad mod. Bad. Partly that's because I'm just not around as much, and partly because the community seems to have shrunk along with a lot of other things in fandom. And let's face it, I'm usually preaching to the choir anyway. I'm unaware of any new or unsure of their knowledge members who might actually be counting on it to provide vocabulary updates or anything else requiring regular input from me.

But today I got an urge to revisit something I've raved talked about before, which is the value of writing drabbles and the joy of reading them. Whether it's a "true" drabble (my preference) of 100 words, a half-drabble of 50 words, or a double drabble of 200, a well done drabble is a thing of beauty. It may capture a moment in time, an aspect of a character's personality, a relationship, or anything else that can be expressed in a few well-chosen words. Most drabbles give you some sort of emotional jolt. Some are very funny (LOL funny), some are very wise (much nodding in agreement), some are shocking(much clutching of pearls and going "oh dear!"), and many, many of them are sad (how can I be in tears after one paragraph? sad). In a mere 100 words, an author will have managed to remind you why you are interested in the characters in your fandom.

Which is the second part of the coolness that is a drabble. Getting that emotion-grabbing message just right in a specific number of words (not 98, not 104) is a writing exercise par excellence. There's no room for unnecessary words, no padding, no "look at me, I'm writing!" feel to the works. Every word has to count. It's a wonderful exercise in clean writing and judicious editing. And knocking out a few drabbles is a great way to clear your head and give you the urge to kick writer's block right down the road.

And to make it legit - a doozy:

Trooper - a soldier or police officer. The drunk paratrooper probably shouldn't have tried to pass the state trooper's car at 70 mph.

Trouper - a actor in a traveling troup, or someone who persists despite obstacles. "You're quite a trouper," the man said to his hardest-working employee. "Nothing slows you down."
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Exasperated vs. Exacerbated [14 Oct 2014|11:32am]

In reading a court decision for work today, I ran across this little gem:

"...the condition was exasperated by the death of his mother."

Exasperated: verb (used with object), to irritate or provoke to a high degree; annoy extremely.

Exacerbated: verb (used with object), to increase the severity, bitterness, or violence of (disease, ill feeling, etc.) Or to embitter the feelings of (a person); irritate, exasperate.

So, while a person might be exasperated by his condition, a condition cannot be exasperated because a condition does not have feelings.
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Yes, we are still here! [08 Sep 2014|09:05am]

I am a sucky mod. It is what it is. I'm never sure who, if anybody, still sees this journal anyway (although we have had a few member posts lately, so Yay! for that). However, this article on proofreading (not editing - proofreading. That thing you do when the story is ready for its close-up) is excellent. It touches some of the things we've mentioned here in the past - reading in a different font/size/format being the one that I think works best for spotting errors - but it also has some ideas and advice that's new.

You can find the article by e-book publisher J W Manus here

ETA: I had a typo in the post that I didn't notice until I saw the actual post. See what I mean? :) more ETA - and I had one in the title (which I don't proofread - bad SMS!) that was spotted by the eagle-eyed silk_labyrinth.
Actually, I had two typos in the title - Thanks to pickamix for pointing out that my "fix" hadn't really fixed anything. Murphy's Law at work, folks!
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"Is it ever okay to dangle your participle in public?" [06 Sep 2014|11:41am]

An entertaining but thoughtful article pointing out that although dangling modifiers mustn't be ambiguous, some are not necessarily ungrammatical.
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[14 Aug 2014|12:08pm]

Although there are times when a sentence ending with a preposition is weakened and requires rephrasing, there are many instances in which it works just fine. Where did the edict "Never end a sentence with a preposition" come from? Here's a short but interesting article about a failed attempt during the 1600s to establish an academy that would have formalized and codified English.
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punctuation stuff [24 Jul 2014|10:32am]

This is a post in a writing blog that is entertaining and has some useful information about using punctuation when we're not sending tweets or texts to our friends. I'm a teensy bit hesitant to put it up here because it has throughout some deliberate examples of poor punctuation and spelling that I'm hoping everyone will realize are deliberate and for entertainment's sake. *crosses fingers* It also begins with what I think is a major mistake in verb tense - and I really don't know if that was intentional or not. There's no reason for it; it's not drawing attention to anything she is going to be discussing, so I dunno. I think the safest things is to give the author the benefit of the doubt and assume all mistakes are intentional on her part. Otherwise, I will have just given you a link to a blog on writing by someone who can't do it correctly.... (For those who go on to read it, her point about too many ellipsis is a good one; however, when the 3-dot ellipses is ending a sentence, it is followed by a period. I hope she knows that and just didn't mention it.)

Oh dear. Now I don't know if I should link to it or not! LOL I glanced at a few other posts, and I didn't see any mistakes, and she seems to have been making a living as a writer of some sort, so I'm going to go with it.
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Did you think I died? [28 Jun 2014|08:48am]

LOL - so, I'm MIA more often than not and the "daily doozies" have become more of an annual thing. My apologies. RL is what it is, fandom (my teeny little corner) is what it is (not what it was). I'm not reading as much in fandom and what I do read is pretty good and has little to set off a doozie, so.... excuses, excuses. As you may or may not know, RL, now that I've retired from going to work at a school everyday, consists of catching up on twenty years of neglect of yard and house (very much still a wip) and a "part-time" job as a copy and submissions editor for a niche publishing company that is growing by leaps and bounds. The result is that I spend a lot of time reading, and a lot of time thinking about writing, grammar, punctuation, etc. but have little time left over for my own writing (admittedly somewhat influenced by having been writing the same characters for so many years I'm running out of steam) and even less time to think about things like this community.

I'm not leaving it - which is probably how it sounds - just explaining why you rarely see a post anymore. It is a community, though, and any member is welcome to share things with everyone. Doesn't need to be just me. :)

Anyway, in the interest of proving I'm not dead, I want to share this excellent blog entry about working with and around all those "never do this or that" rules that you see given out freely by everyone from actual successful writers to creative writing teachers. This sums up really well that, as important as rules are, knowing how and when to make an exception can set you apart from everyone else who is learning to write. Rules are good, and important to know, but a slavish devotion to any one person's opinion of how you should express yourself is not going to work out well in the long run (unless you are trying to appear to be a clone of said "authority". Here is the text, the link to the blog is below. Enjoy!

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ETA: Just for fun:

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Fun stuff [01 Mar 2014|02:54pm]

Snagged this off a grammar page on FB. Have fun!

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