by Tanya Hanson
..".as I recite my verses for the King...my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer.” Psalm 45:1
As a high school English teacher, I forbade my students to use the word “things” in their writing. Things, I told them, are the tidbits found at the bottom of my purse. Find something better. Do you mean items? Reasons? Descriptions?
Well, I’ve got such a disparate list today that the word “things” just works. My apologies.
1. When did The Oxford comma, or serial comma, become optional? You know, the comma before the word “and” in a series of three or more? There’s a huge difference between “I love kale, fennel, and basil.” and “I love kale, fennel and basil.”
In the first example, I’ve got three distinct tastes. In the latter, “fennel and basil” become one unit, like macaroni and cheese. Don’t they?
2. In my reading, I’m coming across far too many books with massive introductory clauses and phrases NOT separated by a comma from the main sentence.
a. When Samuel received a full-ride scholarship to MIT and decided to attend the Massachusetts school he never imagined how homesickness would derail him.
b. After the fall Adam and Eve were expelled from Paradise.
Read a. and b. out loud and you'll "hear" where the commas should go.
3. Enough about commas. When did we graduate high school? Where’s the from? When-where-why did it become “the thing” to eliminate? I’m reading this more and more and gnashing my teeth.
4. And let’s consider gone missing. Now, missing can be either an adjective or the present participle of the verb miss.
Correct: The missing boy is my neighbor.
Correct: My neighbor boy has been missing for two days.
Therefore...isn’t “gone missing” ungrammatical and awkward? Used like that, I can see missing isn’t an adjective or a verb form and certainly isn’t a gerund. Like, I've gone fishing. Or maybe I’m “missing” something...?
Whatever genre we pen, the craft of good writing has got to be as important as our story. And yes, I know our language is dynamic. It changes even as it stays the same. That’s why we can still read Shakespeare although the footnotes make it easier.
But...what writing bug-a-boos are you seeing that bug you? Whether you’re a reader, a writer, an editor, or all three, what “things” make you groan or grab for a red pen?
Seeing Daylight releases this Friday. It’s the seventh book in my Hearts Crossing Ranch series about the “hills and valleys of faith” experienced by the eight siblings of a Colorado ranch.
Sixteen months since the senseless death of her husband, attorney Rachel Martin fears the future. Cutting back on her law practice and returning to her childhood home at Hearts Crossing Ranch has given her son all the attention he needs, but she aches to strike out on her own. Finding love again is the last thing on her mind...until she meets Brayton Metcalf.
A successful businessman, Brayton blames himself for the plane crash that killed his wife and injured his daughter Adelaide. When he brings "Addie" to Hearts Crossing Ranch for therapy riding lessons, he is drawn to Rachel Martin right away, even as she backs off. She too wrestles with the loss of a spouse under unusual circumstances.
Brayton finds he must whittle away at her doubts as well as put his own guilt to rest. But his hasty business decision affecting the Martin family endangers Rachel’s trust. Can renewed faith bring them to true love? Can they heal from lost spouses enough to see daylight once again?
Facebook: Tanya Hanson, Author
Tanya Hanson is multipublished in several genres including inspirational romance. Her heroes are always cowboys! A California native, she lives on the central coast with her fire-fighter hubby where they enjoy a happy home, good health, exciting travels. Tanya describes her son and daughter as the best "thing" she's ever done...and her two little grandsons as the halves of her heart.