Thursday, April 22, 2021
Monday, November 9, 2020
Open Letter to a Grammar Blunder Hunter (or, Speak for Yourself)
Dear “Book Blogger” Who Once Said Poor Grammar Hurt My Writing:
Most of the novels reviewers and bloggers are likely to be asked to critique will be written in third person. This means that someone outside the parameters of the story—presumably the author—is telling the story. A third-person narration in a novel might go something like this:
Frank came out of the hardware store and realized his car was gone. He’d seen some boys on his way in, but his only thought at the time was that it was Monday morning and those kids should have been in school. Now he wondered if they were the ones who stole his car. “Crap!” he cried. “Them kids musta done it! They musta!”
The reader knows two things right off the bat. One, Frank believes his car was stolen by some boys. And two, Frank’s grammar leaves something to be desired. Very few book reviewers or bloggers would make the mistake of attributing Frank’s bad grammar to the author because that grammar is in quotations. It is dialogue. The author is building character by showing us how Frank talks.
I went into the hardware store that morning to buy a new showerhead, because the wife was bellyaching the old one didn’t put out enough water. And I come out and find my car’s gone! I seen those darn kids off to the right just before I went into the store. Had to be them. Had to be.
You can see the attraction for the author to have Frank tell the story in his own words. The fact that he refers to his spouse as “the wife” speaks volumes in itself. And if we need further proof that Frank is imperfect, we have his “I seen them.” And there is a switch from past tense (I went) to present (I come) right in the middle of the paragraph too. This writing reeks of bad grammar, right?
Actually, no; Frank has poor grammar, true, and on top of that, he is flippant in the way he talks about his wife. But it would be a mistake for someone reviewing the book in which this paragraph appears to attribute the sin of bad grammar to the author as well. The author has simply given Frank permission to speak for himself.
Here’s one more example of first-person narration to consider:
Well, when Tom and me got to the edge of the hilltop we looked away down into the village and could see three or four lights twinkling, where there was sick folks, maybe; and the stars over us was sparkling ever so fine.
Yes, there are grammatical errors here too, but that is only because Mark Twain is allowing his character Huck Finn to tell his own story. Huck lacks an education. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is necessarily full of grammatical blunders. The tradeoff is that by having Huck speak for himself, the author gets to “show” us exactly who Huck is, rather than describing Huck’s quirks for us. We’re right there with Huck, as close as a reader can get.
Overzealous blunder hunters need only ask themselves who is narrating the book they plan to review or comment on. If it’s one of the characters, they can put down their red pens and relax and go with the flow—or read something else.
An author who frequently lets her characters speak for themselves
Joan Schweighardt is the author of River Aria (which is both a standalone novel and the third book in a trilogy), as well as other novels, nonfiction titles, and children’s books. She is also a freelance writer and ghostwriter. Visit her at her website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Friday, August 14, 2020
Inside the Book:
Monday, July 20, 2020
The Inspiration Behind Slow Down
By Lee Matthew Goldberg
Slow Down, a cross between the noir styling of James M. Cain and the dark satire of Bret Easton Ellis, is a thrilling page-turner that holds a mirror up to a media-saturated society that is constantly searching for the fastest way to get ahead, regardless of consequences.
Here’s what readers are saying about Slow Down!“Slow Down is a frenetic first novel…full of unedifying characters scrambling for the elusive, perhaps imaginary, brass ring.”
“Lee Matthew Goldberg writes like a young Bret Easton Ellis doing a line of uncut Denis Johnson off the back of a public urinal. Memorable in the best possible way, also mostly illegal, Goldberg’s Slow Down is a mad man’s tour of Manhattan’s vices, follies, and ultimate betrayals.”
–Urban Waite, author of The Terror of Living and Sometimes the Wolf
“What would happen if one of Raymond Chandler’s 1940’s femme fatales were to join forces with one of Jay McInerney’s enfant terribles? Lee Matthew Goldberg wrings every delectable trope imaginable out of this mashup while still managing a fresh spin. A writer to watch out for.”
–David Kukoff, author of Children of the Canyon
“Slow Down starts fast and gets faster quick, gunning through yellow streetlights on its way to a full collision with your shattered soul. Lee Matthew Goldberg takes on the American Zeitgeist in this stunning debut.”
–Stephen Jay Schwartz, LA Times bestselling author of Boulevard and Beat
“Slow Down is a brilliant rush of a work charting the rise and fall of Noah and other pretentious losers. Savor this book.”
“Dark and hard-boiled writing that grabs you by the throat. Slow Down is one of those rare novels that’s so good you want it to go on forever!”
–Nick Pengelley, author of Ryder: An Ayesha Ryder Novel
“The plot takes off…there’s no denying it’s fun to watch rich snots destroy themselves.”
“Goldberg’s portrayal of the New York demimonde is one of the book’s strengths and brings to mind Bret Easton Ellis’ Less Than Zero. He also succeeds in marshalling a complicated plot.”
ORDER YOUR COPY
Amazon → https://amzn.to/3dmv8UU
WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:Website: http://www.leematthewgoldberg.com
Friday, July 17, 2020
Friday, June 19, 2020
Book Title: The Rising Place
Buy book: The Rising Place by David Armstrong
Shortly after I completed my second novel, The Rising Place, I read an article about a film premiere by a Mississippi director/producer that was being held in Jackson, Mississippi, not far from my hometown of Natchez. As I read the article about his film, I was struck by the similarities between my novel and what his movie was about.
I got the crazy idea (or so it seemed, at the time) that Tom (the director) just might be looking for an idea for his next film (This is what I mean by “crazy”—directors and producers are always inundated with ideas and scripts!).
So, I got in my brand new, Mercedes Benz (yeah, right—actually, it was an old Toyota Tercel) and drove to Jackson with my polished manuscript, The Rising Place, in hand.
After the showing, which was well attended, Tom stayed and answered various questions from audience members. I didn’t ask Tom anything; I was waiting for my chance to meet him, personally, and pitch my manuscript for his next film.
Well, after all the questions and answers were finally over, and Tom was leaving the theatre, I cornered him before he made it to his waiting car and introduced myself.
His natural response was, “Who the hell are you, and what the hell is that you’re holding in your hand?” (Film directors and producers, I’ve noticed, use the word, “hell,” a lot—must be a Hollywood thing.)
I told Tom my name, that I was an attorney, former Natchez mayor, and that I once ran for the U.S. Congress.
Tom was quite gracious and replied, “So, what the hell am I supposed to be—impressed, or something?”
“I doubt it,” Tom informed me, “but, hell, why not. Give it to me, and I’ll try to read it on the plane when I fly back to L.A. It’s a helluva long flight back, you know.”
So, I handed Tom my manuscript. He got inside his friend’s BMW, and they drove away into the night, without even honking goodbye (which is the polite thing to do in Mississippi).
A whole year passed. Then, one night, I got a phone call from Tom (When he told me his full name, it didn’t even register with me.). “Hey, David, this is Tom.”
“Tom, from Hollywood. I finally finished reading your manuscript, and I loved the hell out of it!”
“Great!” I said.
“I want it to be my next film.”
“Great,” I told him, again. “I never doubted that. So, Tom—how much you gonna’ pay me for it?”
And that was the start of an eighteen-month collaboration between Tom and myself for the filming of The Rising Place. The film won sixteen film festival awards and opened in both L.A. and New York before going to DVD.
Unfortunately, I naturally assumed that selling the book rights to a publisher would be a cinch since there was already a great film out about the story. Boy, was I wrong! Most publishers weren’t interested because they couldn’t acquire potential film rights, as well. The rest seemed to be put off by the epistolary, writing style that I used (where letters tell the story, as in that wonderful novel, The Color Purple). Anyway, I never could find a publisher. So, I stopped trying and wrote another novel, The Third Gift, which will be released this summer, in addition to four screenplays.
Fast forward several years. I decided to try to sell The Rising Place, again, and was blessed to find a great Indie publisher, The Wild Rose Press, that loved it. The novel was released on April 27th on Amazon, and my editor at The Wild Rose Press and I are busy editing The Third Gift, before its upcoming release.
As I said above, it’s all about timing….
Monday, May 11, 2020
Then strange things happen. If during the day I would hear a odd word I found myself forming a raw thought that was a reflect of my past and that word---I made a note and placed the note by my computer and held in place by a plastic chunk of dog poop
About the Book
A MAN’S LATE NIGHT THOUGHTS by J. Richman is a creative and life-affirming collection of ponderings that expose the deep thoughts and feelings of a man who has lived a life full of diverse experiences and challenges. This uniquely constructed compilation of more than 300 reflections focuses on several areas of living, including intimate relationships and acceptance of human frailty, as well as the author’s internal conflicts.
A MAN’S LATE NIGHT THOUGHTS homes in on the complications inherent in intimate relationships from the opening pages of the book: “Problems accrue when we confuse how a woman looks with who she is.” Richman brings the perspective of a mature man to the lessons on love presented in the book, including, “Exploitation of another depreciates both parties,” and “The reason we fall in love with flawed people is that that’s the only kind of people there are.”
In addition to offering a brief study of intimate relationships, A MAN’S LATE NIGHT THOUGHTS probes human frailty and offers readers guidance in accepting this fact. “We must learn to be strong enough to be gentle,” brings into focus the need to deliberately work at treating people well. The author also encourages readers to show self-compassion when dealing with their own baggage: “Sometimes it’s difficult to see beyond the wreckage of our lives, but we must! Take heart! We are more than our mistakes.”
In A MAN’S LATE NIGHT THOUGHTS, Richman further challenges readers to take the reins of their lives when he says, “Name those things that you would do if you had no fear then do something about it.” He offers words of caution regarding political rhetoric: “Beware of politicians who whip up emotions to make us suspicious of others unlike us.” And rounds the book out by sharing his internal conflicts: “The world has bent me more than I have bent it”; “too often my logical mind and my emotional mind are hostile enemies”; “every time I look in the mirror, I expect to see a younger man.”
A MAN’S LATE NIGHT THOUGHTS began as a series of notes that Richman wrote to himself. “I found that if I do not write out my true, and often painful, thoughts and feelings, I do not deal with them.” Richman wishes a book like this one had been available when he was a boy because the knowledge enclosed could have assisted him in navigating his teenage and young adult years. He hopes A MAN’S LATE NIGHT THOUGHTS will assure men that they are not alone in their quiet musings. For women, Richman believes the book will provide a window into men’s unexpressed emotions.
Amazon → https://amzn.to/2RVEoqX
Barnes & Noble → https://bit.ly/3b7HaRo
About the Author