Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Chris's Crazy Character Contest

Because it sounds much cooler that way.

Well, this is something new I'd like to try, so here we go. This is a contest related to reading Magic Trickery, and the prize is a guaranteed free copy of the sequel (which is now under creation) from Smashwords.

Excited yet?

The rules are fairly simple. In order to enter, you must have bought and read Magic Trickery. You then can email me at chrismitchelltheauthor@hotmail.com, and in the body of the email you have to include a list of eight characters from Magic Trickery, excluding Thadrick Clant himself. You have to provide their full names (to the extent the book reveals them), and spelling/capitalization does count. Unnamed characters do not qualify.

The first ten people to send me emails that correctly identify eight characters will get a very special email when the book is released. This email will have a special coupon link that will allow you to get a copy of the sequel for free. Free books are always fun, right?

The deadline for entry, just to give people ample time to read, is midnight on June 30th. I think just over five months is plenty of time to get the book done and get back to me.

So enjoy the reading, and I look forward to hearing from you all!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Grammar as guidelines

I hope you all like the slight revamp to the site design! Really gives it a nice elegant touch, doesn't it?

Anyway, on to a bit more serious post: my views on grammar.

Now, I will be first to say the basics are essential. Failing at those will have prospective readers throwing up in their metaphorical mouths before they throw away your book/delete it off their e-reader of choice.

But that's the basics. You probably already know (assuming you've read all my posts up to now) how I feel about the lie/lay distinction, but that's just one of many more advanced and obscure rules that the English language has. And a lot of them are even more complex than that.

So we come to my view about these cases, which is: advanced grammar is a set of guidelines, not rules. Follow them as you see fit.

I know, this is going to shock the grammar nazis of the world. You go anywhere on the Internet, you're going to get dozens of blogs and sites spelling out why violating these rules are Terrible Horrible Things that any sane sensible writer would steer one hundred miles clear of.

The truth is, the overwhelming majority of people don't know what 100% perfectly proper grammar is (including many sticklers for perfect grammar themselves). While some may lament that fact, it does give writers like me quite a bit of flex room, particularly when actually following those sneaky grammar rules would result in more stilted phrasing. (It's not common, but it does happen from time to time.)

There's a good rule of thumb for writers, especially if you have a solid education in the English language. (If you don't have such an education, you may want to get one.) If you have not heard of a particular grammar rule, there is a fair chance the majority of people do not know about it either. Doubly true if it's something as complex as lie/lay.

For the writers out there reading this, there is one caveat: you have to be consistent. If you "break" a "rule" once, you have to do it the same way every time. Otherwise, you're even worse off.

So in short, I don't worry if I'm grammatically perfect. To readers, you shouldn't worry about that either, as it typically does very little to detract from an actually good story. To other writers, you also shouldn't worry about it. There are much more important things, like writing a good story and getting it published.

Now, if you can excuse me, I'm going to go stick "nodded" in a dialogue tag, just to complete my day of annoying the grammar nazis. Take care!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Book, set, and match

Well, here's a little more news for all of you.

I've recently arranged for Magic Trickery to be part of the database of the website Bookmatchers. So there's another avenue through which people can find my book. Also, even if you happen to be not interested in my work (shame on you), you can go there, fill in their search field, and find stuff that's better suited for your taste.

Sounds good, right?

Now for the other news. We have straightened out all the details, and unfortunately it doesn't look like any proceeds from the anthology will go to charity after all, due to a couple of snafus. If you paid for the book in good faith, I am sorry.

However, it should be available on Amazon any day now, so look for it! (It might not be free initially, but I have a plan to fix that.)

Hope you all are enjoying 2013 so far. I know I am.