August 10, 2011

Too Much Information is Distracting: ROW 80 Check In

Good Morning! I am up early thanks to a 6:00am online registration start for my daughter's year-round swim team. I think the organizers knew I'd get up and work after the five minute registration process. How kind of them to motivate me.

A slight rant: the internet is killing me. When Mom and I run into a word or punctuation question, we hit the internet. Can I just say there is rarely a definitive answer? If you search long enough, you can find support for any conclusion. This makes me crazy! I want someone to say yes or no to things like the serial comma (I like it, but will probably not use it in our manuscript because it looks messy). Oh, and which is it, internet or Internet? I'm ashamed to admit I own one dictionary, and it's not a good one. Maybe I should go back to the days of having a nice Webster's dictionary sitting on my bookshelf, often used and nicely worn.

Yesterday we were discussing a common Southern expression we wanted to use for our character. It's in dialogue, so we wanted it to look like he would say it. We know how it sounds, but weren't sure how to write it. We typed it into our search engine. Lo and behold there were two camps and both equally represented. Then, of course, we disagreed about which to use. So much time wasted. For those interested, the term was Fair to Midland or Fair to Middling. I'm interested, which would you use?

On to my check in... Visiting Mom this week has been an excellent motivator to work on the sequel to Depression Cookies. We have outlined plot and characters in addition to writing and editing. I've spent a minimum of an hour a day on this, but I have to admit I'm ready to get back to some serious writing. I like seeing the word count tallies growing. I know what we are doing is important, but I'm eager to post word totals. For one more week, I'm going to continue to work a minimum of an hour a day but am hoping to go back to my 750-a-day word challenge Sunday.

I am doing so much better about visiting blogs, but need to do a bit of catch up to meet my 15 blog visits goal. Will do that today. I easily visited and commented on ten other blogs. This goal will also remain in effect until Sunday.

I'm so excited about the YA book I'm editing. It's an excellent story and I give all the credit to the lovely writer, but I feel I'm making an impact. Editing is the sugar in my life. Writing provides me the nutrition and necessity, but there's nothing like a good edit to finish it off.

Glory be, I finally finished my book and will review it today. The next book is calling to me, and I have until Friday to finish and review it to achieve my goal. Stay tuned...

I'd love some help with my earlier rant. In addition to the question posed above, I'd love to know what guidebook or source you use most often to answer grammar questions? How about word usage?


Anonymous said...

I'm with you about the net rarely being able to give a definitive answer on anything. I'd use "Fair to Middling", but I'm from the North and this is the way my parents said the phrase.

Great job on your goals. All the best for the rest of the week :)

DarkWyvern said...

I'd use "fair to middling", because I've heard that phrase several times, and I've never heard the "midland" variation.

750 words is a respectable but achievable goal; good luck :D

Gerhi Feuren said...

As to your grammar rant. When I'm in doubt I make the character stupid. Then it ain't matter how badly them speak.

When in doubt I use an editor - luckily there is one in the family.

Julie Glover said...

I vote Middling, and I'm from the south (Texas). As for resources, Elements of Grammar and Elements of Style are always good. I also comb through the internet for grammar questions and consider the source. I have a few friends whom I consult as well, and if together we come up with an answer we can all agree with, it must be right!

Great progress on ROW80! I like your goal to comment on other blogs. The writing community online is wonderful!

Christine said...

I vote middling also - I've heard that used by older people growing up and have never heard "midland."

Tia Bach said...

Thanks everyone for the feedback. Middling is the hands-down winner. Now I know to ask my blog peeps when I'm stuck!

Gerhi-great idea to go with how a character would say it. I'm considering using middlin' as a Southern version.

Julie, Interesting you chose middling too, because the term Fair to Midland, according to my searches, was a Texas term.

I so appreciate your support and comments. Thanks!

Laurel-Rain Snow said...

My grandmother said "fair to middlin'."

And I think I use the word "Internet" with upper case...

I have a dictionary and a thesaurus, but also Google is a quandary.

You know what I hate? Spell and Grammar check on Word documents...those are frequently "wrong" according to what I learned in grammar classes, but they also seem like the "voice of authority" to me. Sometimes I'm brave enough to ignore them. I certainly ignore them when they "chide" me for my fragmented sentences. I like occasional fragments!

Ha-Ha...what are your thoughts on that?

Hang in there!

Creative Moments said...

Oops, I put the wrong link on my name: it's

Tia Bach said...

Laurel, Love it. Fair to middlin' it is! Thanks for stopping by, and I do like to break the rules every now and again, too.

bookworm said...

I'm chiming in a little late. I'm from the North but have lived in Florida, Texas and Arkansas. I've never heard of "midland" either. So of course I had to turn to the Internet. My research seems to agree with "middling". The research also indicated that "fair to middling" was a midwestern term. Interesting.

Tia Bach said...

Thanks, Alana. I'm so glad I asked. Fair to middling is the consensus for sure!