The Evolution Of The English Language Since The Elements Of Style

Standard

In preparation for an upcoming blog, I was leafing through my copy of The Elements of Style, which is generally considered a writer’s bible. It was originally written as a textbook for a Cornell University English course by Professor William Strunk Jnr in 1919. In 1957, the author EB White (who coincidentally took that course) was commissioned to revise it for general publication. Yes, that EB White. The one who wrote Charlotte’s Web.

As I leafed, I was struck by how much of the advice is now irrelevant or ignored. Plenty of it is still important and even now I recommend it to anyone who is serious about writing well. But nearly one hundred years has passed since its advice was first committed to paper and all languages evolve. Not just new words coming into usage and old ones falling by the wayside but the meaning of words changing and rules being completely subverted.
So I thought it would be interesting to explore the advice in The Elements of Style that is no longer as definitive as it once was. Continue reading

Stevie and Alex: Chapter One

Standard

This is one of the old practice novels I started writing when I still thought I was going to be the next queen of romance fiction and I’d considered posting it before and dismissed it as just too awful.

But then as I was researching names for my 200 Thank You’s on the Occasion of my 200th Blog Post post (because I’m terrible with names if you’re someone I’ve met personally – you’ll have to become famous if you want me to remember your name for all time), I pulled out a bunch of amateur publications from when I was at Holmesglen TAFE. And there, amongst them, was a collection of first chapters from my Novel 2 class. And this was in it.

I shuddered. But I figured if it was already out there, it might as well be out here, too.

It’s way too long for a first chapter of a category romance novel and it’s unnecessarily complex because both the main characters have men’s names even though one is a woman. But aren’t these exactly the kinds of things in relation to which we insist on sticking to our guns when we’re young and learning to write and don’t know any better? Continue reading

Book Review: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and Other Pieces by James Thurber

Standard

I bought this book because I’m embarking on a reading challenge, which is to read a series of books that have been made into movies that I’ve already seen and thought were pretty good. Usually I find it hard to read a book if I’ve already seen the movie of it because I spend a lot of time doing comparisons. “That’s not what happened in the movie.” Or anticipating what’s about to happen. “This is the part where he gets shot.”

This is a book of James Thurber’s short stories, one of which is “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”. It was probably a good book to start this challenge with because the titular short story is only five pages long. It’s hard to get caught up with comparisons on such a short piece of text. In fact, apart from his name and the fact that Walter Mitty gets caught up in daydreams to alleviate the boredom of his life, there aren’t too many similarities between the short story and the movie starring Ben Stiller. But it’s a good short story. Continue reading

I’m Running Out Of Ideas For Blog Posts…

Standard

Over the past year and a bit since starting this blog, I’ve written a lot. At the beginning it was easy. I had so much material that had never been seen anywhere except writing classes and quite a bit more that had never been seen at all. Bit by bit, I would dole it out along with whatever else I came up with along the way.

I still have plenty of novel chapters, poems, song lyrics, creative pieces in reserve. But posting them all would be indulgent. So I try to sprinkle them sparingly throughout blog posts that offer something more to others who also write.

And I always have opinions, so a steady stream of articles and advice on writing and editing was the inevitable result. Until this month. The ideas boards were starting to get empty. The remaining ideas on them were starting to get less inspiring. I had to admit a hard truth. I was running out of ideas for blog posts… Continue reading

200 Thank Yous On The Occasion Of My 200th Blog Post

Standard

Thank you to my sister Liz Holmes-Truscott (1), the soon to be Dr Mrs Elizabeth Mawson, for letting me pick your brain about blogging (read Sewn by Elizabeth here), reading the first draft of Black Spot and providing important feedback, such as to remove “Louise” words.

Thank you to my sister Natalie Campbell (2), the former Natalie Truscott, for reading the first draft of Black Spot and providing important feedback, such as to remove the peeing scene.

Thank you to my dad, Alan Truscott (3), for trying to read my first novel, Enemies Closer, even though you fall asleep when you try to read anything, even the newspaper. Continue reading

Book Review: Her Version by Leigh Cato

Standard

I picked this book up in a second-hand store simply on the basis of the title on the spine. I couldn’t see the front cover, I hadn’t heard of it before, I didn’t know anything about it other than what the title implied – a book that told “her version” about an unknown story.

When I read the blurb, I realised it wasn’t fiction, which is what I was primarily looking for but I thought it might be useful as research for a book I want to write in the next few years. Written and published in the mid-1990s (making it more than twenty years old now), Leigh Cato started with a simple concept as she watched “perfect” marriages disintegrate around her (her own included) and friends becoming involved with married men. How did the women being left and the women they were being left for see the two sides of the same story? Continue reading