Sunday, September 20, 2015

Week in Review 9/20/15

Welcome to the week in review for 9/20/15. Egad, where is September going?

During last week's review donnaeve followed up on our discussion about geographical accuracy asking:

The setting is the North Carolina mountains, specifically Jackson County which has the Tuckasegee River running through it. I have all that in there, but I've created a fictional area, a branch off the Tuckasegee called Stampers Creek - which uses the last name of my MC's family. Plenty of folks have named their piece of land or path or trail using their surname. This is okay to do, in my story, isn't it? I.e. no different in my opinion than the fact my characters don't exist either. I don't know why I can't seem to decide, given the responses, if it is or isn't.

As a reader, this would make sense to me. It's authentic if not totally accurate. Sometimes what feels authentic isn't accurate at all: our sense of what criminal trials are like is based on television and anyone who's been involved in a trial at any level will tell you that TV trials are bunk.

And as a side note, I had a brief moment of panic when I wondered if I'd been misreading Tuskegee all these years and it really was Tuckasegee. Nope. Two DIFFERENT places.

Pharosian asked about made up places:

But I have a question: How does the importance of geographic accuracy pertain in a work like Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials? In that case, he set much of the story in and around the University of Oxford, but in a fictional college within the university. Sue Grafton made up the town of Santa Teresa for her alphabet murder series. And Lake Wobegon doesn't really exist in Minnesota. There are many such examples where the author wasn't sloppy or lazy, and yet chose to make fictional alterations to an existing place. What is your feeling about instances like those?

As a reader, I'm totally fine with made up places. I only get hot under the collar if you set something in New York City and talk about apartments on Central Park East.

Adele asked a really good question:

Thinking about the geography thing. In my original post, the situation was that the contest entrant had mentioned an area in British Columbia and referred to it as a desert. Well, it is a desert. It gets about 1/4" of rain a year and has sagebrush, rattlesnakes and scorpions. The contest judge did not know that, wrote "Canada doesn't have deserts" and carried on with a diatribe about how important it is to get your geography correct.

So here's the thing. Obviously, the geographic fact of this desert was not known to the judge and also probably not known to agents, editors, and most potential readers. So as a writer, do you think the contest entrant should have tried to explain more fully? Perhaps working in the info that lots of people don't know about the desert? Or was she right to just assume that if she says desert, there's a desert?
Clearly the judge (and I really hope it wasn't me) has forgotten that you really want to verify stuff before you rant about it. I didn't know Canada had deserts but since I know Central Oregon and Eastern Washington are both high desert I'd have checked a map to see if the Canadian location was due north of there.

It's always troublesome when someone judging a contest or reading your query has her facts wrong. There's no way I can think of to avoid it. Even the best of us (or should I say the nit pickiest among us) has made a bunch of mistakes on this.

If you have a situation that no one really knows about (lady bronc riders!) you might include a note that says these are based on real women with a footnote or citation. But generally you just need to write something that makes us believe there is in fact water on Mars.

I mentioned that I welcomed notice about the typos (which I do, and thank you to all who helped with those this week) but hands off the grammar/syntax. That brought this from kdjames:

It's a very small, almost minuscule, consolation that I wasn't the only one who oh-so-helpfully [ahem] offered suggestions on how to re-write your email response re fulls.
I actually DID ask for that help since it was clear that it needed some work. What I meant was people writing to correct something like "umbrage at this callous reception of his magnanimity muttering after him." since the syntax is grammatically wobbly but on purpose for style.

And so far, you've all been very helpfully mute on those liberties I've taken.

And Panda in Chief brought up one of my favorite movies of all time Trouble In Mind. I haven't seen it for years, but I always remember the baby named Spike. And the liberties they took with the Monorail indeed…but it was set in Rain City, so I guess we overlook it, right?

On Monday we talked about using real people in historical fiction:

There was a lot of great discussion about research, accuracy and anachronisms.

I couldn't spell libel right to save my life.

On Tuesday the topic turned to how much platform a novelist needs at the query stage.

the answer is none.

Nicole Roder
brought up a very interesting point:

This post is a major relief, thank you! However, I'm still confused, and I wonder if the rest of the agenting world agrees with you on this. (I realize you're the QOTKU, but still.) I've seen other advice online that says that writers need either a blog, Twitter, Facebook, or some other social media presence at the querying stage, and that we must update it regularly, or agents won't be interested.

and this even more troublesome stat:
This is bunk.

I think it's very easy for agents at conferences or on Twitter to make bold statements like that, but if you actually did a study of manuscripts read/manuscripts signed you'd find a far different story.

I simply can't imagine a terrific book coming in and an agent not signing the author because they don't have a website. Maybe I'm wrong. If I am, those agents are utter idiots. You can always build a platform. Hell, I can have a website up and running for you in three hours, and that's taking time to make sure all the words are spelled right.

As to that stat of of 62% of agents changing their mind, I call bullshit on that too. Now, if you were to ask me if I've googled someone who's queried me, and found weird ass stuff that makes me NOT want to offer, sure. But I do that stuff BEFORE I request a full. Any agent who invests five -ten hours in reading a full manuscript and then does rudimentary web research and finds a nutjob will only do that once. It's a total waste of time.

I've googled my fair share of writers but often times it's to see if they are as nutty as they sound on paper.

The bottom line is again: write something amazing. That's the ONLY thing you can do better than anyone else. Write something I want to read and we'll figure out the rest later.

And remember that some of these agents making this broad pronouncements are young and repeating what they think is true. Give them a couple more years and they'll tell you stuff based on their own experiences instead.

On Wednesday we talked about inventory novels

Julie M Weathers told us about this inventory novel:

Years ago I wrote a suspense novel called DANCING HORSES. It was about a young cutting horse farm manager who was also a rodeo bareback rider. He'd given up rodeo to manage the farm. Then champion horses started dying mysteriously and he suspected they weren't all accidents so he loaded up his horses and quit.

They weren't. The owner was involved with the mob and had hired a horse hit man, yes there is such a thing, so he could collect on the insurance.

Long story short. One of the MC's horses was a colt the owner had given him that was an embryo transfer from a champion mare. At the time AQHA only allowed owners to register one foal from embryo transfer. Since this colt had been born with a crooked leg, he gave it away. The vet cast it and it was fine. The colt the owner kept had zero talent. The colt he gave away was on his way to becoming a champion so the owner swapped out the horses and altered the markings via freeze branding.

A string of murders ensues to cover up the mess. Colton has hooked up with two Cajun cowboys and disappeared on the rodeo circuit and hit men are on his trail. yada yada.

I love the story. Love the characters. Then AQHA changes the rules so owners can register all foals from embryo transfer. That kind of kills a main plot point.

So, yes, timing is everything. DANCING HORSES will never see the light of day even if I felt like finishing it again. It was good practice.

To which I say: never let the facts get in the way of a good story. You know how many readers are going to know about how many foals can be registered from an embryo transfer? About ten. And they all read this blog.

and Rob Ceres had a very good idea:

Julie, not sure why the rules of today should govern your book. Just set in 2006 or whenever works! Sounds like a lot of interesting and unique plot opportunity here.

In other words, once again, Julie is tormenting us by telling us about books we want to read.

Adib Khoram asked

I'm curious what constitutes "inventory." Are manuscripts "inventory" before they're finished—that is, is a rough draft, or half of a rough draft, inventory? Or are they still concepts until the author has typed "THE END?"

I don't really have a definition for inventory. When I'm talking to clients about inventory, generally I mean novels I can read for possible submission. That would mean finished at the very least.

On Thursday I told you about an author signing event with "That Guy", the one with the ideas you'll write and then split the money with.

Stephen Parks asked

Janet, I’m curious what your author would have done if you weren’t present. Do you go through scenarios like this in advance?

All my clients have blanket permission to send all such inquiries to me. They're also told to send all blurb requests through me, and any requests to read manuscripts. Many of them handle these matters on their own of course, but I consider it part of my job to be there for this as needed.

arstoneauthor asked:
I have to ask, have any encounters with "that guy" resulted in a deal?

I can't imagine they have. I have never heard of any of them getting past the "hey, thanks for thinking of me, but I really don't do collaborations" stage with anyone. Generally writers are going to collaborate with people they know, or people recommended to them by an agent or editor.

Escape Artist Linda (and oh my god, what a great name!) offered this:

I'm not going to jump on the bandwagon here. The guy was excited. He got carried away.
Who hasn't done that at one time in their lives? Who hasn't made a little bit of an ass of themselves? We all have. I would rather have naivety out there and the enthusiasm of trying, then those who don't spark or try anything. So, I'm not going to diss the poor guy, for having his "cray-cray" moment, but I'm going to ask all of you to remember yours. Oh yes, I can see you blush. We've all got something to blush over. Remember it.

I think your sympathies are misplaced here Escape. This wasn't an over zealous fan. My god, we've ALL got those moments of shame, myself included.

No, this guy wanted to enter into a business partnership with someone he didn't know, in a field for which he had done no research and had not the faintest clue about how it worked. That isn't even hubris, that's just delusion.

Naivety and enthusiasm are great, but most of us recognize when that's ALL we have to offer, and we do some research, ask questions, or generally just hang around with people who know a lot more till we get some stuff figured out.

The first time I had a social engagement with two agents who were much more experienced than I was, I spake not a word the entire meal other than "please" "thank you" "I''ll have the same thing" and "wow, tell me more."

I knew NOTHING compared to these two and I kept my mouth shut for about a year till I had at least learned enough not to sound delusional.

Why we know Julie M Weathers is a southern lady:

When people tell me I should write this book for them, we'll split the money and get rich, I put my arm around their shoulder and smile. "Oh, honey. That's a great idea. I just don't think I could do justice to it though. This story is all yours. It lives in your heart. Truly. I believe you are the only one who could bring it to life the way it deserves. I know you can do this. Just sit down and write for fifteen minutes every day. You'll be amazed at what you accomplish."

"You know, I think you're right."

"Oh, yes. I'm sure I am. I just know these things."

On Friday an author asked about exclusives, and I used the post to remind readers to listen to all advice with a degree of caution (even advice on this blog)

ProfJMarie(JanetRundquist) put it a lot more elegantly:

There is no one right way for all things.

And LeahB asked a very practical question:

So how would you exclusively query a "no response means no" agent? Put querying on hold for the (usual) 6-8 week window they give themselves? Or hope that by saying "exclusive" they'll respond?

thinks she's going to Carkoon for this (but she's wrong)

I *didn't* take Janet's advice and agreed to an exclusive R&R and I think I made the right decision.

(I am actually, literally withering away to dust as I wait {it really hasn't been that long. I ought to toughen up}. Despite all my big talk about sending my little manuscript unicorn to find the right pasture, I miss it and I want it to come back and snuggle me.)

AND. As painful as the waiting is, I still think that I made the right decision in doing this R&R exclusively. Said agent put a lot of time and thought into helping me fix what was broken in my MS, and it seems like it's only right to let the person who took the time to work with me have the first crack at the book.

Off to Carkoon...

I think letting an agent have first crack at a revise and resubmit is quite alright. Obviously you don't let them have it exclusively for endless amounts of time, but if you've revised on their notes, giving them a headstart seems fair.

I don't ask for exclusives even on R&Rs because it just takes me so damn long to read things.

On Saturday the question was about holding out for big bucks advance

Gayle Carline makes an excellent point:

As a self-pubbed writer, I feel that this person would not do any better in the self-publishing arena than in seeking an agent/publisher. Yes, any yahoo can write something and throw it on Amazon, but if you want to treat your books as a business, you need to invest in their quality. That means hiring an editor (to touch your baby!), hiring a cover designer (to interpret your baby!), having beta readers give you their opinion of your baby (how dare they?!), etc. In other words, you have to make your books as professional as if they'd come from a publishing house.

Then you place them carefully on Amazon and other sites, and what happens? Strangers read them and POST their opinions as reviews. The horror! (Please note, I am using my sarcasm font.)

Miri Baker has my new favorite word with this:
I get the sense that OP also doesn't trust other people to offer constructive feedback on their wordbaby, either.

Wordbaby! I'd seen furbaby for pets before but never wordbaby! Honestly if you think of your novel as your wordbaby, you'll need to let it sit for awhile till it's at least a wordtween before you send it out. In other words: have developed a sense that the book does need to venture out in the world or it will just stagnate to death there in your computer. I'm not going to tell you your baby is ugly, but I am going to tell you if your tween needs to shape up her on her spelling tests.

Angie Brooksby Arcangioli brought up one of the parts of the post I also found troublesome:

...but at least I'll retain my rights From what I understand, agents deal well at negotiating all kinds of rights for their clients. Which rights are OP considering?

Let me be VERY clear: a publishing contract is a license of rights, NOT A SALE. Writers RETAIN those rights. They OWN them. They are licensing the exploitation of those rights as specified in their contract. The idea that you "give up" or "lose" rights is VERY misleading. Of course, if you didn't negotiate the contract very well, or you didn't have an agent or a lawyer, maybe you did give up your rights. My clients do not.

This just underscores my point that unless you understand how publishing actually works, you'll want to be careful about who you listen to and what you believe.

Which brings us to the end of the week and the very sad news that Jackie Collins has died. Her novels brought a great deal of pleasure to  many readers over the years, and that is, I think, one of the best things you can say about any author.

This coming week, His Holiness arrives in New York. We've got an extra chair for him here in the office in case he wants to stop by and discuss some book ideas.

Subheader of the week;

Ah, writers. We're such a charming mix of towering arrogance and crushing self-doubt. It's a wonder more of us aren't killed in our sleep.--kdjames


Anonymous said...

LOVE the subheader!

Amy Schaefer said...

I missed the 'wordbaby' comment the first time; I find that term hilarious. It's hard to decide whether it is better applied to an over-loved manuscript or an over-whiny writer.

AJ Blythe said...

I missed Julie's post about her horse story. Agree with JR, another of yours I want to read =)

Also love 'wordbaby' and 'wordtween'.

Thanks for another wonderful WiR, Janet.

CynthiaMc said...

I am slowly coming back from the Virus from Hell. Enjoyed catching up this morning. Thank you for the WIR.

I had to laugh at Julie's response to "I have a great idea for you" - there must be something in our Southern genes. My standard response is "We each have a story we need to tell. That one is yours."

I'm relieved to hear about the rights thing. I've heard so many horror stories it makes me leery. More proof that one definitely needs a good agent. Thank you.

Re: authenticity - nothing annoys me more than "you all" as dialogue for a Southerner (at least in coastal Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia). It's "y'all", y'all. And "all y'all" if you're speaking to a group as in "All y'all better get in the car right now or we're gonna be late for church."

And now I have a scene I have to be off book on by this afternoon. God help me.

Donnaeve said...

Exactly CynthiaMac - Don't use "you all" and expect it to sound southern - even though those ARE the two words for the ya'll contraction.

kdjames - for the win on the subheader - AGAIN! Whoop!

And...thank you QOTKU, not only for the WiR, but for clarifying the intent of That Guy. I was surprised by the empathy, not only for him - but as well for the other OP who evidently has big plans for his/her "wordbaby." It's odd (or interesting?) how folks out here read/interpret the same bundle of words.

IMO, there is nothing better than a little humility while in the pursuit of a goal.

And just to make things more fun, the Tuckasegee is also spelled Tuckaseigee, and it's taken from the anglicisation of the Cherokee language, daksiyi, (pronunciation tahksiyi) which means "Turtle place." :)

Lisa Bodenheim said...

Yes, where has September gone? Wonderful WiR. And early!

Congrats, kdjames, on the subheader of the week. And, actually, I think it's a congrats again, isn't it? You've had one before.

Reading this blog enriches my supply of non-dictionary words that are just plain fun. Thanks, y'all!

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Damn straight Cynthia. It's hey ya'll and Hell yeah.

I love the week in review. All this week I will have the image of the Pope complete with big hat pitching book ideas to Janet. "It's sort of a cross between The Canterbury Tales and Dante's Inferno with a touch of Faust thrown in for good measure".

Donnaeve said...

I have to add...very, very sad about the death of legendary Jackie Collins. I think the only book I read of hers was Hollywood Wives, but, despite the fact she wrote in a genre I didn't read, she had such a respected and prolific writing career.

Theresa said...

Sublime sub header!

Now I'm imagining the conversation between the Pope and Janet. I see two comfy chairs and a small table with the latest Reacher novel on it. The Pope is a fan........

Unknown said...

Mmm, tasty spam.

I saw the new subheader comment float across the comments column and loved it then. Love it even more now that it's in its rightful place.

Thank you for the expansion on the wordherd! I'll have to start using "wordtween" as another classification.

Amy Schaefer: I usually default to "wordbaby" for the work and "special snowflake" for the writer, because I'm not a very nice person sometimes, but I do like the alternate definition.

Lance said...

Great WIR. Thank you for spending the time for this and for the entire blog.

Great subheading, kdjames. Wordbaby and Wordtween are excellent.

Unknown said...

Oh dear God, I read the spam entry thinking it was one of the readers trying to make some point about other readers correcting grammar 'mistakes." Then I'm, like, WTF! Then I blew coffee up my nose 'cause my own dumbassesness cracked me up so hard.

Janet Reid said...

It might take me an hour or two but I usually am able to pluck the spam comments pretty quickly. Rendering references to it...strange and perplexing to those who come late.

Just a word to the early birds.

And if your comment is ONLY about the spam comment, that one gets deleted too. (Ms TidyPaws the Blog Cleaner is so tidy she keeps her ice cream in alphabetical order in the freezer.)

Jennifer R. Donohue said...

September? To quote Tom Cullen, "M-O-O-N, that spells gone!"

I too like the term "wordbaby" (far more than "furbaby", which is a word that actually kind of skeeves me out. And yes, I say that as a dog blogger. A terribly remiss dog blogger, but a dog blogger all the same.)

Anonymous said...

I LOVE the subheader. Well done, KD.

Regarding noting COWGIRLS WANTED is based on a true story, yes. I've set up a time line, character sheets, bibliography sheet, and gallery in Liquid Story Binder. I have a folder with newspaper clippings going.

I wasn't going to do a bibliography with THE RAIN CROW the Civil War novel, but it's so heavily researched I decided to. I've had people challenge me on several things in excerpts I've posted and had to say, "Well, this actually happened on ____ in _____."

I'm not footnoting the novels, but if people want to look things up, they can knock themselves out.

Re DANCING HORSES. Perhaps someday. That's the novel that got lost in the nethers. Back everything up numerous times people. Two backups apparently isn't enough. I re-wrote the first seventeen chapters, but it was gut wrenching to do it and I couldn't finish it.

"Many of them handle these matters on their own of course, but I consider it part of my job to be there for this as needed."

This is awesome. I hadn't thought about this before, but just another good reason to have a great agent. I truly do wish I had something in her field. We could make beautiful word music.

Great week in review. I always look forward to Janet's blog and comments from y'all.

Yee haw Pickups for the captcha!

BJ Muntain said...

Thanks for another great week in review, Janet!

Great choice for a subhead!

Regarding rights: At the Surrey conference last year, Lisa Rodgers from JABberwocky Literary Agency gave a talk on the basics of a book contract, what writers need to know, and what agents (specifically her agency, which is a very good agency) will do for their authors in contract negotiations.

It was very interesting, very easy to understand, and very reassurring. She would say things like, "Sometimes publishers will try to slip something like this into a contract, but any good agent will negotiate it better. Our agency wouldn't go for any less than..."

I highly recommend learning everything you can about contracts, even if you have an agent. Not that you wouldn't trust your agent, but it's very interesting - and actually freeing - to know exactly what's in your contract. And if you know what's in your contract, you can feel more confidence in your agent and less unsure of what your rights are. (I feel this way about most contracts - I was able to stand up to my wireless carrier when they tried to throw a huge bill at me that I hadn't agreed to. They saw the error of their ways and went beyond to make amends.)

And, when talking to fellow writers, you're less likely to scare them out of working with traditional publishing.

So jealous at the chance to see His Holiness. The Pope's only come to Canada 3 times - ever - and that was Pope John Paul II all three times. Not one of those times did he come to Saskatchewan. Oh wait. Jealousy's a sin, isn't it? Dang...

Missed the spam. Oh well. And I am impressed by anyone who has enough ice cream in their freezer to have any order for it.

Lance said...

Is the alphabetical order for ice cream necessary because the manufacturers misspell chocolate?

Donnaeve said... it weird I intuited you would do just what you did with the spam comment + mine?

I think I've actually seen that one before. Either way, duly noted on referencing one, and letting it stand alone. Like the cheese.

Janice Grinyer said...

Jackie Collins was on facebook with her fans the day before she passed away - truly a Writer with a heart of gold...

Love the new sub header!

JMW -I used the voice recognition link you provided last night on one of my "little writings" - Works like a charm! Hearing versus reading gives a new perspective...

Thank you Janet for providing the WIR; gives us a good recap to glean information from...

Gayle Carline said...

Wordbaby - my new favorite term for my WIP.

Re: Juli and her most intriguing manuscript about foal embryos - it's true that the normal population would not know (or perhaps care) about AQHA rules, but I'm betting that AQHA members would be one of Juli's main marketing focus groups. There are thousands of us, worldwide. She'd probably land an article in both magazines (AQHA Journal and America's Horse). And yes, we know the rules. But setting it a few years in the past, before the rule was changed? Yeah, I'd go for that!

Anonymous said...


"-I used the voice recognition link you provided last night on one of my "little writings" - Works like a charm! Hearing versus reading gives a new perspective..."

Very much so. I was asking Will, my son about voice recording software and he said, "The problem with that is you're going to read what you think is there because you're too familiar with it. It will help a lot, but for maximum effect, you need a different voice."

I was shocked at what I caught in Amy's voice even after I had gone over it by reading it aloud.

I think a writer still needs to go over several times reading, but as the last sweep, this is magic.

angie Brooksby-Arcangioli said...

As always a great Week in Review.

Wordbaby is fantastic. So funny and painfully true. Thank you, QOTKU for further defining author rights and how you fight for licensing them.

@Julie, I am one fan pining to read your books.

Panda in Chief said...

I love WIR! Even when I don't say something worth mentioning, but even more when I do. Hopefully the glow will follow me this week.
Love KD's subheader. It is a wonder, is it not?

Be the bear, everyone!

Say hi to the Pope for me.

Dena Pawling said...

“Egad, where is September going?”

September is going into October, the beginning of my favorite time of year [November thru March]. I'm a winter person. Yes, I realize this is because I live in SoCal, where our winters are mild.

As a comparison, it's 102 degrees today. I'm soooooo ready for summer to be over.

American Salli is awesome. I think I'll buy this. Thanks Julie! I'll also probably need to buy some headphones, so my family doesn't go bonkers [more than usual]. The dog stared at me with perked ears when I played Salli just now.

Great WiR, as always. Love the new sub-header.

Anonymous said...

*rubs eyes*
*blinks again*

Geez. Just when you think you've managed to get through the week without garnering undue attention, you end up in the subheader. Thanks, everyone, for the kinds words about my words. It's very flattering. But it does feel a bit unwarranted in this group where there are so many bon mots, every day, from every corner.

Julie, I agree with Janet: "In other words, once again, Julie is tormenting us by telling us about books we want to read."

I actually say "you all" fairly often (less grating on Southern ears than the "you guys" I grew up with). Not having been born in the South, even after living here as long as I have, I just can't manage a convincing "y'all" that wouldn't make everyone cringe. But I'd never have a Southern character say it. At least I don't think I would. I see a word search in my future...

Janet, I hope you get a chance to see the Pope this week. I'm now imagining him as the only person who could show up at your office to pitch a book in person and not get chomped for his efforts.

Colin Smith said...

Wonderful WiR, Janet! Thanks for the reminders of the fun from this week. I've not been very vocal, but I've read the posts and most of the comments. :)

kd: I'm practicing my "y'all" for Bouchercon so I can say it to Donna and Janet in my best English accent. ;)

Elissa M said...

I love the Week in Review. Even when I would swear I read every post and every comment, I somehow always seem to miss something. Then there are the times when I don't/can't read everything.

Ms. Reid, thank you for the time and effort you put into this blog, and especially the extra time for the Sunday Week in Review. I know I'm not the only one who appreciates it, but it seemed past time to say thanks.

Panda in Chief said...

If you grow up in Pittsburgh PA, you would use the very lovely construction, "youns"
Y'all is music in comparison.
I am now picturing the Pope joning in with the Friday dance-a-thon, showing off his swing moves with Janet.

Donnaeve said...

Colin - I can't wait! I might try to adopt a British accent for your amusement. A proper tongue wagging, shall we say?

Colin Smith said...

Donna: Oh yes! I'm definitely looking forward to having a natter. :)

Leah B said...

Whenever I've seen "y'all" in a book, it's usually been code for "this is a dumb Southerner" or "this here girl is a Southern belle". I say "y'all" all the time, but when I write anything, regardless of formality, I write "you all".

I always look for correct usage of "fixin to" to test for proper Southern grammar. Used to be usage of "coke" instead of "soda" or "pop", but that seems to be non-standard now. Can't recall the last time I ordered a "coke" and the waitress followed up with "what kind". Now they just bring me a Coke.

John Frain said...


If the pope starts sermonizing too much in your office, will you feel comfortable telling him to stop pontificating?

This is where someone needs to be in my office to stop me before I hit "Publish Your Comment." Someone? Anyone? Bueller?

Joseph S. said...

I missed the blog entry on fictional geographical locations. Reading Sunday's WIR lead paragraph I was inspired to research whether John Grisham's Ford County, Mississippi, really exists (I had wondered about it but was too lazy to look it up). It doesn't exist, even though it may be the most famous county in Mississippi to many of us. Sure does feel real when reading about it.