516 reputation
29
bio website
location United Kingdom
age 60
visits member for 3 years, 7 months
seen Oct 26 at 14:37

Got a degree in language & literature a long time ago, but I don't read much fiction/creative writing these days.


Mar
13
answered How to write a book for a given reading level?
Mar
13
comment Deaf speechmarks?
Another alternative would be to use different speech demarcation symbols - put the signings <between characters like this, for example>.
Mar
13
comment Deaf speechmarks?
I think this should be on writers.se, but I suggest using a different typeface (italics if you've nothing better).
Mar
6
comment “The company from Redmond” vs “The Redmond company.”
I think in practice you'd be more likely to see "Redmond-based company" rather than plain "Redmond company".
Feb
24
awarded  Nice Answer
Feb
20
comment I want to explore the psychology of a ruthless, macho killer. What mistakes should I avoid?
@Carl Seleborg: The reader needs to be skilfully encouraged and guided, obviously, but he'll enjoy the tale more if he's been "actively engaged", even though he won't normally be consciously aware of this. The bonus for you if you get this right is that the reader fills in exactly the kind of "background details" that seem right to him - rather than always taking yours, which may not always work so well for everyone else.
Feb
19
answered I want to explore the psychology of a ruthless, macho killer. What mistakes should I avoid?
Feb
16
awarded  Citizen Patrol
Feb
16
awarded  Editor
Feb
16
revised How can this technical message be made clearer?
deleted 17 characters in body
Feb
9
comment ESL Writing How to quote article sentence?
Just write shorter sentences. CB was the author of xxxx. His argument was xxxx. I think this is really off-topic bordering on proof-reading.
Jan
19
comment How does one include sign language in a dialogue?
@HNL: I have no experience of submissions to editors, and I don't expect that to change, since I don't do creative writing. But if I did, I'd expect to do it on my own terms - if the editor didn't like my font, I'd either find another one who wasn't so hidebound, or just forget about editors and publish myself directly onto the net. Whatever - I was only trying to help. One can't help but notice that books from established authors use fonts creatively in this way when the need arises, and it seems insane that the author can't write directly in them. Jobsworth for later typesetters, perhaps?
Jan
18
comment How to start a book off?
Start with something you know you're definitely not going to keep in the finished version, like It was a dark and stormy night.... Assuming that gets you moving, you can just go back and change the beginning. There's not really any chance you'll forget to do that - but if you did, the first person you show it to for comments is bound to mention it!
Jan
18
comment How does one include sign language in a dialogue?
Per both answers, italics is a quick and easy way to do it. But if there's going to be a lot of this type of dialogue, you might consider using a distinctive font for the signed communications. And as a rule use a clarifying verb like "signed, indicated, gestured" for the first one in an interchange whenever it's been several pages since the last one. After that, use non-specific verbs like "suggested, replied, answered" and avoid verbs "said". But you might get away with the occasional "shouted" or similar in a metaphorical sense (perhaps in quotes to alert the reader to what you're doing).
Oct
1
comment Is concurrent first person / third person usage absolutely unacceptable?
@sXe: Presumably nobody would say "ABC is expanding my plan". My point is if I used "is" I'd feel compelled to follow with "..its plan". If I wanted to convey that I/we were part of the company I'd have to start with "are" to agree with the plurality of "...our plan". I'll raise this on EL&U to see if others feel the same (and specifically, whether Brits are more likely to agree with me).
Oct
1
comment Is concurrent first person / third person usage absolutely unacceptable?
@sXe: Neither usage seems odd to me. Probably I side more with the plural by default, because a lot of the time I think of companies/political groups/etc. as "collective" entities. But it does simplify things to see them as singular things sometimes. I'm quite used to seeing/using both forms - my only problem is with OP's example #1 using singular is and plural our in the same sentence. Perhaps if you always and only think of companies as singular that doesn't bother you, but it makes me wince a bit.
Sep
30
comment Is concurrent first person / third person usage absolutely unacceptable?
Stylistically I think example #1 is beyond the pale. As a Brit, I'd be quite comfortable with ABC are in the process of expanding our monitoring, but I think Americans usually refer to organisations in the singular, so maybe they wouldn't like that. But I don't have a problem with is or are in #2, because the switch to our comes in a separate sentence.
Sep
22
comment How can I condense a description of a web designer/developer's work into a one-liner?
@Shawn: Well, just say you're experienced in all aspects of web development. The only specific bit you need to add is something you haven't actually listed. That's the matter of exactly how far you interact with the clients - discussing cost benefit analysis with them, negotiating functionality, charges and delivery dates, etc. with the guys at the top? Or just talking to the clerical staff who actually use the software? You do all the "techie" stuff; you just need to say how far you reach (or don't, as the case may be) beyond that.
Sep
22
comment How can I condense a description of a web designer/developer's work into a one-liner?
I'd have thought in this day and age, doing all these things would be normal for any software developer working either as an independent, or in a small organisation. It doesn't make much difference whether the software uses/relies on the web. You still have to do everything unless you're in a bigger company where they let you concentrate on the bits you're best at, but even there I think you'd be expected to at least know how to do all the other bits.
Sep
9
comment How can this sentence better convey the immobilizing impact of fear?
I think contrasting the two possibilities by repeating On the xxx hand, it has the ability to... represents unnecessary verbiage here, and tends to obscure the fact that in reality, either one effect or the other will almost always be totally dominant. This usage is more appropriate for dichotomies where both alternatives really do co-exist.