Monday, March 19, 2012

Ranty-pants.

Do you follow the "My Life Herding Cats" blog? Because if you don't, you should. Brittany is hilarious and also spells her name properly. I know these things because as an official author who has signed lots and lots of books, I have to deal with name spellings all the time and now I know the right way and wrong way, based purely on my own opinion, to spell every name in the whole world. But mainly you should check it out right now because it's your next chance to win my book TWITTERPATED.


On to other things . . .


You know how you go get your baby girl out of the crib and it turns out she's been sleeping in vomit for awhile? No? So what you're saying is that you don't live in the Jacobson house.


Poor baby girl. Poor stinky, coughy, fevery baby girl.


It will be a long day for all of us.


You know what makes it longer? I discovered Draw Something for my phone yesterday and now I just sit and refresh it constantly waiting for someone to take their turn.


Also, I read another dumb book. Here's a massive pet peeve of mine that "older" writers commit constantly. I've complained about this before but I'm going to do it again: your characters need to be the right names for their age. If you are giving me a story set in the present time and it has teenagers, they should not be named Karen, Cathy, Bill, Gordon, and Larry. SERIOUSLY. And people hitting thirty in your story shouldn't be named that, either. Why do older writers insist on doing this? It drives me nuts because if you're out of touch there, I know you're probably missing the boat on lots of other things in your book. A simple trick most writers use--and a fun site to play around on--is the Social Security Administration names database.


And not that you needed another time suck, but that's a really fun site for non-writers too. If you want a good giggle, check out the most popular names in Utah (and their spellings) compared to, oh say, ANY OTHER STATE. Makes me laugh every time. Or look up popular names from your birth year, or your kids' birth years, etc. See? Fun stuff.


Second pet peeve from older writers: making their characters sound old (old being defined as older than their story age). Is it so hard to read a bit of dialogue out loud and ask yourself, "Do people really talk like this?" Answer: NO. And the author didn't do it. Not in this dumb book. A BIG clue you're screwing up your dialogue: if any of your characters say "perhaps." We got on my critique partner about this the other day (who took it all in good humor, or possibly a smile that hid murderous feelings). Perhaps is a writer word. No one actually says it. Just writers. And it immediately puts your character in senior citizen territory. Except I don't know any senior folks who say "perhaps" in conversation either.


There's a lot of other words or phrasing to check for, but that's the one that annoyed me throughout this entire book last night so PERHAPS IT WILL FEEL MY WRATH. You hear me, PERHAPS?


What else? Oh, I posted pictures from some recent book signings. You can check them out on my Facebook author page. Oh, what's that you say? You haven't "liked" that page yet?


. . .


NOT COOL. Check out "Melanie Jacobson, Author" or just press this:
And that's it. I will now move on to the ceremonial cleansing of the puke from hair, skin, pjs, bedding, carpeting, etc. Did I say that thing about it's going to be a long day? Cuz, yeah.

9 comments:

Susan said...

I'm so with you on the name thing. I use that site all the time in choosing names. Perhaps? Yeah. Nobody says that.

Man, you have the pukiest house in the history of the world. I'm so sorry for your little one. Hope your day gets better.

Donna K. Weaver said...

Sorry your baby's been sick. I hate when that happens. Personally, the only thing worse is when they decide to make a snack out of the contents of a dirty diaper. I babysat for a little girl who did that once. Yuck!

Kristina P. said...

I think Gourdynnn would be so much better.

Barbaloot said...

Oh gosh---I read a book recently (can't remember what it's called) but it was the same thing! The characters kept saying things like, "Shall I get the table ready?" And they were college-aged! Drove me crazy.

KaseyQ said...

I am SO glad I'm not the only one who gets irritated by that sort of thing. Whenever I hear myself start griping in my head, I always think, "Stop being such a writing snob. Just ignore it and move on." But I CAN'T! Really glad it's not just me.

DeNae / SHP said...

Have you ever listened to anyone from Britain speak? They say 'p'raps' all the time. Including William and Katherine, both youngsters in their earliest of 30's, sporting names that are centuries old.

I say 'perhaps' when I'm being snarky, as in the following exchange:

Teen-aged son with ancient, biblical name: "I can't find my good jeans."

Old mother who uses 'perhaps' a lot: "Perhaps you should start by finding your floor."

Lest you think this is an anti-rant, however, I will say this: I know a woman whose oldest son is 13, and whom she saddled with the name "Billy". I'm pretty sure it's a matter of time before he drives the family Buick over the dog. Perhaps she should have chosen a hipper name. : )

InkMom said...

I'm with DeNae. I say "perhaps" all the time -- but mostly in a sarcastic way.

Mom, the wii won't work.

Perhaps you should try turning it on first.

That one happened at our house like two days ago.

But then, I also say "methinks" and "it would seem" so don't listen to me at all here.

wendy said...

hmmm...and that's just one more reason I am not able to write....perhaps I would totally screw it up.
Cause Larry and Martha probably wouldn't be found at a "mosh pit" and LaPriel would have a hard time explaining to her mom about the date rape drug.

sorry about sick baby, those are never fun times.

Karen Peterson said...

I say "perhaps." But then, I'm weird.

Not as weird as the names in Utah, though. Thankfully.