Tag: I would —

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. If I Were King of the Internet, I Would Mandate the Percontation Point⸮

 

Satire. Irony. Sarcasm. The written word seldom conveys these things well enough to tell them from someone’s making a serious statement or proposal. (This has even been codified and is now known as Poe’s Law.) Distinguishing serious from ironic is a very old problem, and one that was solved in about 1580. It was in that decade that Henry Denham, an English printer, came up with a solution. His idea was to have a new mark of punctuation that would distinguish when someone was not serious. That mark was the percontation point, and it looked like this: ⸮.

Thus, were I the King of the Internet, you would be mandated to use the percontation point⸮ It would probably be the only punctuation available to such publications as The Onion or The Babylon Bee. And maybe some mistakes would no longer be made:

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. If I Were Your Writing Coach, I’d Take Away Your Exclamation Point

 

Exclamation point abuse! It happens to far too many writers! It seems they just can’t help themselves!

Okay, look, you get one exclamation point per year or per book. That’s it. And I just used up my three-year allotment. Unless you are illustrating a point of a character who always seems to be in exclamatory mode, a character who is a joke and a punchline, then you might use more exclamation points to show what an idiot he is. Otherwise, just don’t. Exclamation points should be treated like saffron: Just a few bits go a very long way.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. If I Were a Leaf, I Would Fall for You

 

If I were a leaf, I would fall for you.
From high atop the highest tree, I’d spy
As you came forth and topple through the blue
To meet your shoe as it kicked me up high,
To fall and rise once more and tumble nigh
That shoe to be kicked again as my plan
To be near your feet or fluttering high,
To always be your leaf that takes the van.
I am no falling leaf; I am a man,
A tired, old mortal with little play
Where once I strolled and kicked the leaves and ran
Beside you. Then I matched you fey for fey.
Good days come and good days go. Good days fade.
But those memories I would never trade.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. If I Were a Pirate, I’d Steal Thy Heart

 

If I were a pirate, I’d steal thy heart,
For something must a pirate steal, matey.
Ah, talking this way is not such a start.
No, no, we must discourse matters weighty,
Such as how to get representation
Of damsels fair of form in pirate crews
And thus to improve the pirate nation.
No people stands for long without it woos.
And men alone get up to deviltry
When left to their devices comical,
They turn their hands to outright ribaldry
And vile pursuits far more inimical.
Left are we to mull over thy beauty
And how that begets thy solemn duty.

It’s Talk Like a Pirate Day once more, a foolish bit of frippery. What better way to address one bit of foolishness than with another? Are you a participant in this ersatz holiday?

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. If I Were Your Writing Coach, I Would Start You at the Beginning

 

Your first line is the most important of your written work. It is like the door to your house or business. You want it to be inviting so the reader will feel welcome and come for a visit in the world you have created. If the door to your house is chipped and scuffed and needs painting or refinishing and maybe the screen on the storm door is hanging loose, people might be a little hesitant to come visit. If you want to be a professional writer, your first line is the door to your business. If the opening of your written work is sloppy or uninteresting, why would the reader want to move on to the next line? If the first paragraph is dull or passive or even seemingly evasive through being non-specific, why would a reader want to bother reading the second paragraph? You don’t want your reader to feel like they have entered a rough part of town where few of the houses are maintained.

As mentioned in the previous entry of this series, I critique a fair number of works of art before they are seen by the public. While I have critiqued works of visual and industrial art, my forte is in the written word. I have helped other authors develop poems, short stories, novellas, novels, and even non-fiction works. I often come across the same issues in the works of many authors, especially those who are amateurs or just trying to break into the profession. This conversation will highlight one of these common issues and errors: the weak opening.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. If I Were Your Writing Coach, I Would Advise a Different Point of View

 

I critique a fair number of works of art before they are seen by the public. While I have critiqued works of visual and industrial art, my forte is in the written word. I have helped other authors develop poems, short stories, novellas, novels, and even non-fiction works. I often come across the same issues in the works of many authors, especially those who are amateurs or just trying to break into the profession. This conversation will highlight one of these common issues and errors. I may do more as time allows.

In most short works, such as a short poem, say a sonnet, point of view is not a big deal. The point of view may be the author of the work, or it may be a character made up for the occasion. When we start writing longer works, especially works of fiction, point of view becomes much more important. It seems that most beginning authors attempt to write from the point of view of an omniscient narrator. This is usually a mistake.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Member Post

 

Hey you! Yes, you. Each month, Ricochet members like you share a few thoughts, a bit of knowledge or creativity, playing off a theme. Sometimes it is no more than a concluding line or a throw-away to shoe horn their post into the theme. We are very casual about that. The whole point is for […]

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