Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Me, Myself, and I

When I was a little girl, my mother used to sing a song about someone, so conceited that her only playmates were me, myself and I. I don't remember the tune or the words but the concept of one's favorite companions being only themselves stuck with me all these years.
In proper grammar circles, me, myself, and I are sentence objects and subjects that can be quite confusing when constructing a sentence.
"Me, myself, I hate goat cheese."
The previous example uses all three subjects and objects in a sentence. as you can imagine though, it isn't correct.
I, being the subject of the sentence is used correctly. Even the use of myself in this scenario, is appropriate because it emphasizes the subject of the sentence...'I'.
Beginning a sentence with me, the object of a verb, before there is a verb, is incorrect.
Let's look at some examples-
I, myself, don't like ham and cheese.-correct
I, don't like ham and cheese, myself.-correct
'myself' in these situations emphasizes the subject.
The ham and cheese were disliked by my brother and I.-incorrect
Ham and cheese isn't the thing to serve my brother and I.-incorrect
The subject is 'the ham and cheese'. alone in the sentence the object of the verb dislike or serve is me, not I.
If you begin a sentence with a combination brother and me it is the same whether or not me, or brother come first.
i.e. 'I and my brother don't like ham and cheese.-correct
"My brother and I don't like Ham and Cheese.-correct.
Me and my brother don't like Ham and cheese.-incorrect
My brother and me don't like ham and cheese.-incorrect
The arrangement of the subjects doesn't change the grammatic correctness.
It sounds awkward to say 'I and my brother' and therefore wouldn't naturally appear in most people's vocabulary. The truth is though, it is correct.
Often basic grammar mistakes are made because they sound backward or awkward. Using 'me' because it sounds better than I, or visa versa, is a social adjustment speakers make to smooth out their speech.
'The suitcase arrived beside my wife and I.' incorrect
'The suitcase arrived beside my wife and me.' correct
You wouldn't say 'the suitcase arrived beside I.' and therefore you wouldn't use I as the object in the sentence in combination with 'my wife'.
If there are questions about this, remove the first subject and leave me or I and the correctness of the sentence becomes obvious.
I was taught that myself was reflexive, meaning it should be used to emphasize the original subject. 'Myself' is a little harder to grasp.  If you'd like further references look up or and keep writing!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Is There Mystery In Your Thriller?

 Whether you're writing straight suspense, thriller, mystery or combinations; the rules for each are different.
Adding an element of suspense to any story keeps your reader turning pages, but there are clear distinctions between mystery and suspense. Now mind you can mix some elements of mystery into your thriller and some thrilling elements into your mystery. However mixing too much of these elements together will muddy the water when you're submitting to a publisher or agent. If you consider yourself a mystery  or thriller writer; look at these guidelines. If you're breaking too many rules, consider changing format, point of view, or development to define the category of your manuscript. It shows the publisher/agent that you know  on which shelf your book belongs.

• The Identity of the Antagonist: In a mystery, readers do not know who committed the murder (until the end); they try to figure it out along the way. In
a thriller, readers often know who the bad guy is, and hope that the hero can stop him.
• Appeal to Readers: Mystery readers take pleasure in the intellectual exercise of puzzling out a crime. Thriller readers enjoy the emotional aspect —
riding out the highs and lows of the charged storyline.
• Point of View: Mysteries tend to be written in the first person, while thrillers more often are written in the third person, and from multiple points
of view.
• Stakes: While solving a murder is by no means a “low stakes” endeavor, thrillers tend to have “higher” stakes that imperil larger numbers of people.
• Pace: Mysteries usually have a slower pace than the fast-and-furious plotting of a thriller.
• Action: Mysteries often have fewer action sequences than thrillers, in which the characters regularly find themselves in great danger.
• Plot complexity: Mystery plots tend to be less complex than thrillers, which rely on a constant flow of events to provide a sense of immediacy.
• Character depth: The slower pace of mysteries allows for greater depth of character than the thriller form.
• Sub-genres: Mysteries tend to get sub-divided based on the identity of their protagonists: “amateur sleuth” mysteries feature a main character whose main
occupation is not crime-solving; “police procedural s” often follow a police detective; “private investigator” novels, naturally, star private detectives.
Thrillers get sub-divided based on the cultural or professional world in which the threat arises. Thus you have “medical thrillers,” “spy thrillers,” “financial/corporate
thrillers,” and many others.
I have to admit, my suspense novels mix too many of these differing components together. I need to go back and figure out which genre I'm writing. It means throwing out some of the long hours and revisions I've already made, but what else is new. Having a distinct genre is the first element of your novel that can determine if you're a hit with reader's or just a passing thrill.
In the meantime, keep writing!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Paper Gems with Tina Wainscott

Reading, one of my favorite parts of being a writer, offers the chance to read many styles and subjects. I looked for a series of popular works featuring handicapped or disabled characters as I wanted to learn about how popular authors wrote about different lifestyles and environments. I found "Blind Sight" by Tina Wainscott.
"Blind Sight" is the story of a woman, who when she was kidnapped sixteen years earlier, became blinded by the traumatic event. As a result, she now has the ability to connect with other kidnapped children and 'see' through their eyes. She uses this gift to help the police find the kids.
The story is actually about her gift but also about the police detective who suspects her of being involved in a kidnapping and their romance as they heal each  others  wounds.
As a blind person and writer myself, I was intrigued by the idea of a blind character being written by a sighted person. It is often difficult to know some of the cultural nuances of a blind person's world without having lived in it. Wainscott, I thought, did a very good job. Her character had a seeing eye dog and seemed fairly accurate without being overly detailed and getting herself in trouble. The story was interesting. It was a good mix of romance and suspense with an ending that should have been satisfactory. This could be just my personal opinion, but I was disappointed in the ending when the author took the MC;s handicap and 'cured' it by the end of the story. It is rare and unlikely for a blind person to regain their sight. Its also traumatizing for them. This character's blindness was caused by a conversion disorder which is the brain's way of causing physical symptom's to protect the individual from trauma. After sixteen years, regaining her sight wasn't complete but it was coming back. 'Happy Endings' don't mean that everyone gets what they want. Often they just mean you accept your circumstances and are happy with your ending.Despite this, I enjoyed this story and hope to read more from this author.
You can find Tina's work on Amazon, Bnn and I-tunes as well as the Library For the Blind. Look for Tina at or on amazon at

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Marketing With The Seven Basic Plot Archetypes

Did you know...all fiction can be broken down to seven basic plot lines? According to Christopher Booker, the author of The Seven Basic Plots, every story can be boiled down to seven story lines.
Here they are-

1. Overcoming the Monster
2. Rags to Riches
3. The Quest
4. Voyage and Return
5. Comedy
6. Tragedy
7. Rebirth

Bookers work will go deeply into the seven plot archetypes and the way to use them in your fiction if you read his book.  As I looked into marketing helps and suggestions I found out how these seven plot lines are more than just the lay out for your novel though. They lay a map and guideline for your marketing efforts as well.
Over the next few months we will take a look at each archetype and how it can be used in your marketing efforts...starting with-
Overcoming the monster.
Each of your customers have or will go through one or more of our seven basic plots at sometime in their lives. It is the reason stories are told in this fashion, to connect with readers who relate.
First, take a look at what kind of 'monsters' your readers may be experiencing. If you write romance,  it may be addiction, handicaps, divorce, lost love etc. etc.
Once you have identified the 'monsters', you figure out what tool for overcoming your novel represents to the reader. Have you written a self-help? A 'happily ever after', a story with lessons that your reader may connect with or seek out to help themselves? Recognize in your own work what the monster is and the tools to overcome it. At this point go find blogs, websites, businesses or places that advertise the tools you offer in your novel. Write a marketing approach for each of the seven archetypes and then use it in your advertisement.
For example...Your tragic hero was married and lost his wife and daughter in a accident. In a forum of grief counseling, or family tragedy you can advertise your book like this.    "Detective Max Rawlins has lost everything important, his wife and daughter. Now Max must find the man stalking his beautiful neighbor, Ashley, while she must find a way to bring Max back from his grief."
Perhaps, this isn't even your story line. Maybe your story line is "Detective Max Rawlins has been given the toughest assignment of his career, to protect movie star Ashley Ryder from her stalker. Failure means death. Hers and his own, but success means losing his heart."
The secret is to find the plot line that fits the archetype of where you want to advertise. 
Take a look at what you're selling and how it may fit into one of the aforementioned archetypes and see what you can find.
In the meantime, keep writing!