The I Won the Ellipses War

There are no hard fast rules for punctuation in the written American English language. If there were we would not need the Chicago Manual of Style, the Associated Press Stylebook, the Modern Language Association (MLA) Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing, or the Government Printing Office Style Manual.

It’s the same language, but these manuals vary widely in how to punctuate the same sentence.

I recently had an editor object to the way I use ellipses. I have a space between the three periods and the word before the ellipses. The editor insisted that there wasn’t a space between the word before an ellipses and the periods. The editor is in agreement with the Chicago Manual of Style. I object on the grounds of logic and visual presentation. I use the Associated Press Stylebook form of leaving a space between the start and end of the three periods.

The Chicago Manual of Style also demands that the three periods of an ellipses have a space between each period. The editor did not object to my having the periods close spaced.

I put a space before and after the ellipse because the ellipses stand for a missing word or words. So I threat the ellipses as a word and have a space between the start of the ellipses and the word before it.

For a period (or full stop for my British readers or those putting on airs) it’s a different matter. I do not put the period ending a sentence right after the three periods of an ellipses. That might get it confused with a four period ellipses. Many people say that there is no such thing as a four period ellipses. The MLA Style Manual … says that if a sentence or several sentences are omitted then use an ellipses with four periods to show that more than a couple of words are missing. To me that makes sense.

Because of the MLA style Manual, I put a space after the last period of an ellipses and the period that ends the sentence (where the last words have been omitted). This avoids a four period ellipses in a place where only a couple of words were omitted.

I am not making up my own rules, but I am picking and choosing rules that have logic to them. I have several grammar books above my desk that pick and choose rules that the author liked or was taught. Many of these authors make up or use obscure rules and criticize everyone that doesn’t use those rules.

Stay strong, write on and be consistent with your grammar usage no matter what rules you use.

Professor Hyram Voltage


Can You be too Busy? Yes, But Bring It On.

I missed a blog update Monday morning. I’ve been busy. Sunday, the day I would have written the blog was packed. The Saturday before I helped a very sick friend. It was hot and muggy. Several of us spent all day packing and moving stuff. Hot sweaty work.We got stuff done. I also got tired.

I had planned to write all day Saturday to have part of book two ready for the writers group. I also had purchased a new mother board for the old tower computer on Friday. I planned to install the mother board in the old tower computer case during breaks in writing. I need a computer that I can leave on 24 hours a day. Microsoft updates has green screened the old tower twice and Microsoft doesn’t see anything wrong with that. Also Microsoft will not let me transfer the windows 10 license when I install the new mother board. That’s not fair, they killed the old computer. It works fine in Linux and the Windows 10 update killed the computer because of something in their programming and I have to spend hundreds of dollars to fix it, not Microsoft who caused the problem.

Oh well. I planned to stay up late (till around midnight) Saturday night to edit the part of book two I was going to submit to the writers group. I fell asleep at the key board around 10:30. I have been working hard all day for weeks. To make up for going to bed at a reasonable time I got up early the next morning.

Sunday I drag my self to the keyboard and work on the edits for the 11:00 AM writers meeting. I feel bad about having to tell another friend I couldn’t come over and help them I had the meeting to go to and another friend to help Sunday. It turned out alright the friend did other things and it worked out.

I get two chapters edited and typed up just before I have to leave for the meeting. The meeting was good. We had a new member show up. I got a compliment on how I did the prologue. Complements make my day. Get out of the meeting at 1:30 and head over to the other friends place. Work for a couple of hours. Drag myself home. I try to do some cleaning, the place is a mess. Try to get ready for the tower work several of us are going to do Monday. Round up tools and material and load them into the car. Later I find out that another friend went and moved some stuff for me while I was tied up in the meeting and helping a friend.

Monday it’s take antennas off a tower. We had someone with experience climb the tower and do the high end work. It’s hot, it’s humid. I get a sun burn. We get the antennas down without anyone getting hurt. One antenna turned out to weight a lot more than we thought. Load the antennas up and haul them to their new owners. Its after 1:00 PM so I go get a late lunch.

Back home I run around in circles trying to do whatever I can. I make a run to Fry’s Electronics to get more parts for the computer I’m upgrading before Fry’s closes. At 8:00 PM I host the net, a radio broadcast for a club.

Am I busy? You bet I am. Bring it on.

Stay strong, write on and savor your free time.
Professor Hyram Voltage

The Terror of Having Your Work Read

Terror? I thought the whole idea was to get your book read.

Well, last weekend, August 31 through Sep 4, I attended the CoKoCon in Phoenix, AZ. It’s a great little con and I like little cons. Phoenix was also hot, but some of the rooms were so cold that only the editor from Canada was comfortable.

One of the talks given at the Con was by four editors that offered a chance to get a couple of pages of my story read. I’m game.

I figured that there would not be many people attending the talk. Instead there was a hand full of authors there. Six of us handed pages in to be read. I also thought that an editor would take my pages and read them then hand the pages off to the next editor.

The editors had done a panel like this in the past and had one editor read the pages out loud and then all four would comment on what was read.

Of course the authors having their pages read identified themselves as their pages were read. My pages were the last ones to get read, so there was no hiding for me.

That’s the terrorizing part. The pages I handed in were gritty. Having them read out loud to a group of people, I was terrified that someone would get offended. All the editors and most of the people in the room were female. Nothing wrong with that except my story starts off with a woman getting beaten with a riding crop. Don’t worry the guy doing the beating get his head blown off on page five. But then they only got to page four.

As a writer I failed. I failed to communicate clearly. Three of the editors were not clear if the woman getting beaten was enjoying it or being paid to get beaten. She wasn’t either of those things, she was going to be beaten to death until another character interrupts and saves her. Now I’m worried that I don’t understand the editors or my target audience.

Also, on page one, in line two I had the wrong word in the sentence. It was spelled right but it was not the word it should have been. I wanted to hide under the chair when the editor reading the story hit that word. She was good and figured out the right word and kept on reading instead of laughing. Let’s hear it for professionals. A professional like an editor that can read a story out loud, make corrections as she reads, and not miss a beat.

I got dinged for jumping POV’s (Point Of Views). I can’t figure out any other way to tell the story.

After the talk I got some one on one time with the editor that read the story outside the ice box like conference room. When I explained that the heroine of the story was not in chapter one she said that chapter one should be a prologue. Then later she said that she doesn’t read prologues and jumps to the first chapter.

Dog gone it all. My writing group complained that I needed that chapter one to explain the murder that occurred before the heroine was sent to the crime scene. I can’t make anyone happy. The editor suggested I put chapter one in a flashback. My writing group would throw a fit if I did that.

What am I going to do?

Rewrite. And rewrite again. I’ve been rewriting this book for months and I can’t get the first four pages past an editor or even one out of four editors.

The good news is two of the editors said they would continue to read the story based on what they had heard. That is better than a couple of the poor authors that got told by one editor or a couple of them that they would stop after the first couple of pages.

So it’s rewrite a bunch more times, and I got to find better Beta Readers.

Stay strong, write on, and rewrite over and over again.
Professor Hyram Voltage