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Help! Storybuilding On Plotting and Theming [Writing Advice]

Discussion in 'Creative Discussion & Worldbuilding' started by Tempera, Dec 9, 2014.

  1. EarthScorpion

    EarthScorpion CR of the Thrown

    For goodness sake, it still tries to tell people not to use a split infinitive, which says everything. It indicates it shows far too much regard for the idiotic quaverings of 19th century prescriptivist grammarians.

    (the Economist's style guide says everything that needs to be said about split infinitives - "Happy the man who has never been told that it is wrong to split an infinitive: the ban is pointless. Unfortunately, to see it broken is so annoying to so many people that you should observe it." Or, in other words, there is absolutely no good reason to not split an infinitive, except for the whining people who care more about archaic atavistic books than naturally flowing writing. Since I'm not writing for the Economist, I'm strongly of the opinion that if you complain about split infinitives, you're probably the sort of person who complains about the singular they and then there's no saving you)
     
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  2. Fernandel

    Fernandel Lovely Writing, Tendency to Waffle Councillor

    I really need to read and review this thing. Lots of people seem to swear by it, but it's nearly a hundred years old. It cannot possibly have aged this well. Gonna see if my library has a copy.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2017
  3. Vindictus

    Vindictus Monster in Disguise

    Location:
    Texas
    Uh, you realize that the wiki refers to the same author as the article you just wrote, right? So, that's one named critic, and one newspaper (The Boston Globe).

    As far as the criticism itself goes I'll grant that the book takes a prescriptive approach to grammar, but I really can't bring myself to care that much, as the grammar advice is pretty clearly meant as a way to reinforce the "Platitudinous style recommendations," which Pullum admits would help make writing better "if you knew how to follow them," rather than as iron-clad laws.

    I actually own that one too, funny enough, though I haven't gotten around to reading it.
     
  4. Sorry, I'm not going to spend ten minutes hunting down quotes for you. I lie defeated. Congratulations. It is an excellent resource for aspiring writers. Feel free to continue recommending the book to everyone. :V
     
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  5. Vindictus

    Vindictus Monster in Disguise

    Location:
    Texas
    Given I've recommended the book once, because it was recommended to me by sources I trust and I personally found it's advice useful, I'm not sure why you're so upset about it.

    Obviously no book is going to be perfect, but I don't see why I should be expected to not pass along a recommendation I found helpful based on criticism I have literally never heard before. That's inane.
     
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  6. Bludflag

    Bludflag shitposter extraordinaire

    Location:
    Croatia
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  7. ManusDomine

    ManusDomine Immaculate

    Location:
    Denmark
    But why would you...

    But that doesn't...

    But?

    But WHY?

    That's like the most stupidly useless advice that I've ever heard, hell that will probably make your writing actively worse if you were to follow it, why anyone would give or follow such horrid advice is fucking beyond me.

    Truly doomed are those who cannot use the singular they, and even worse are those who are aware of it's strength but refuse to use it anyways. :V
     
  8. its.

    *Marks down your paper one grade to a B.*
     
  9. ManusDomine

    ManusDomine Immaculate

    Location:
    Denmark
    Actually, as a native danish speaker I never got the proper difference when to use "its" and "it's" so I usually just end up using "it's" in basically every situation. :V

    (Someone explain the difference please.)

    EDIT: In Denmark we just slap an "s" on in every possessive and call it a day.

    no exceptions
     
  10. Okay then, it's is a contraction. It stands for 'it is'.

    Its is a possessive adjective.

    "Its strength" means the strength that belongs to it (whatever it is).

    "It's strength" is you saying, "It is strength."

    Combine the two, and!

    "It's a strange thing about English that its grammar is so hard to understand."
     
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  11. Fernandel

    Fernandel Lovely Writing, Tendency to Waffle Councillor

    "Its" is possessive, "it's" is a contraction of "it is".
    That actually sounds interesting. I should find this book.
     
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  12. ManusDomine

    ManusDomine Immaculate

    Location:
    Denmark
    Ah right, I keep forgetting that it's a contraction because danish doesn't use any contractions. Instead we slap words together and make longer words out of shorter words, which is how we ended up with Speciallægepraksisplanlægningsstabiliseringsperiode. :V
     
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  13. Fernandel

    Fernandel Lovely Writing, Tendency to Waffle Councillor

    Hello, my Northern cousin! :D
     
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  14. ManusDomine

    ManusDomine Immaculate

    Location:
    Denmark
    Hello cousin!

    (You are German, right?)
     
  15. Man, that seems like it'd make translation difficult. Because a modern english speaker who doesn't use contractions at all when they talk sounds weird, and so if you translated without correcting for that you'd have everyone talking subtly *off* in a Dutch-to-English book.

    I suppose that's why they pay translators the big bucks. :V
     
  16. EarthScorpion

    EarthScorpion CR of the Thrown

    Okay, time for more history. Guess whose fault it is that "its", the third person possessive, doesn't have an apostrophe?

    Yep! It's the fault of 19th century grammarians again!

    Originally in the 17th century, "its" was written "it's" in accordance with English rules for possessives. However, in the 19th century it was changed to "its", presumably to bring it in line with "his" and "hers". As a result, "its", "his" and "hers" are some of the only possessives which lack the apostrophe-s (or equivalent) [1].

    (as a side note, apostrophe-s in English is the bastardised remnants of Old English's genitive case. Most words had an -es genitive case, which was generalised in Middle English to all genitive being -es, except in many of these words the 'e' was silent resulting in its elision and the use of an apostrophe to mark its absence.)

    [1] I had to edit this, because I noticed on rereading that I had in fact used "whose" earlier and this correction stops you pedantic bastards pointing it out.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2017
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  17. I mentioned not so long ago that I can never tell if I'm being humorous or not: this this will be my Exhibit 55113.

    Anyway, you somewhat overestimate how much I care about a century old style guide, and vaaaaaastly overestimate how upset I am. In other words: I am not. While it is true that I found your 'you only have two sources!' to be another silly internet gotcha I tried to humorously step to the side because a) pedantic gotchas are a valley into which nothing productive or useful will emerge once you enter, b) my attempt at extracting anything useful from the book by getting you to tell me what you found useful in the book failed fell flat.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2017
  18. I dunno, what they did was accidentally not that bad? Or at least, more contractions means more fun. I mean, who isn't a fan of contractions? Or maybe "its" has stockholm syndromed me after all of the years growing up with that being the norm.

    Maybe if they taught that its was said "I't's'" I'd be like, "It makes perfect sense because reasons!"
     
  19. Bludflag

    Bludflag shitposter extraordinaire

    Location:
    Croatia
    [​IMG]

    I’ll lay off with the language bullying now.
    I’d recommend simply buying Garner’s Modern English Usage. It’s got answers to just about any question you might have. I’m not so enthused with the spaced ellipsis, but oh well. The ebook reads something li-ke this, so the actual book is probably better (it has entries on hyphens).

    Nitpicking books that old simply isn’t a productive use of your time unless that’s your field. Honestly, this whole debacle seems to generate salt.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2017
  20. ManusDomine

    ManusDomine Immaculate

    Location:
    Denmark
    Wait, did I do something wrong again? :???:

    Please explain so I can improve!
     
  21. It's apparently anyway, instead. Though I probably make the same mistake, as does pretty much everyone.

    Honestly, compared to "its/it's" where there's actual confusion if you use one instead of the other, "anyways" isn't even a big deal.
     
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  22. Scify

    Scify It always starts with a lighthouse.

    Not that this isn't a subject I have a deep interest in, but I think the actual topic of the thread has been well and truly left in the dust.
     
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  23. Bludflag

    Bludflag shitposter extraordinaire

    Location:
    Croatia
    Anyways is a colloquial variant of anyway.
    Oh. Sorry!
     
  24. ManusDomine

    ManusDomine Immaculate

    Location:
    Denmark
    I don't know if it's their fault.

    But I'm still blaming 19th century grammarians.
     
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  25. DezoPenguin

    DezoPenguin Text Wall

    Location:
    USA
    If there's anything this thread has accomplished, it's that we've identified the first necessary targets when time travel is invented and we start going back to change human history for the better.
     
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