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Archive for May, 2015

May 25, 2015

On Writing: Those Pesky Possessives

Plastic.Ducks.on.Paper

Awhile back, I helped the ladies of our church proof  a cookbook before sending it to the printer. One of the questionable terms that came up in a few of the recipes was “confectioner’s sugar.” Did it have an apostrophe or not?

I checked out a bag of the little white powder at the grocery store, and the manufacturing company had it spelled “confectioners sugar” on the label.

One of the gals in the church took the time to look up possessives in an English book and found that, at least, in her resource, confectioner DOES use an apostrophe in this phrase: confectioner’s sugar.

Publisher’s choice? This is often the case with punctuation, and, unfortunately, the rules always seem to be changing.

So, FYI, I’ve included just a few of those pesky possessive rules for you to ponder. But don’t bet your life on any of these; in a year or two, some could be different, or the editor with whom you work might have her own idea.

Just try to understand the pesky possessive’s point of view.

Generally, a possessive is formed by adding an apostrophe and an s to a word that does not end in s, and only an apostrophe to a word that does end in s. An apostrophe is not added to plurals.
Some Singulars: child, lunch, sheep, lady, man, passerby:

Singular Possessive: child’s, lunch’s, sheep’s, lady’s, man’s, passerby’s

Plural:  children, lunches, sheep, ladies, men, passersby

Plural Possessive:  children’s, lunches’, sheep’s, ladies’, men’s , passersbys’

Add an apostrophe to a word that ends in an s sound: for old times’ sake for conscience’ sake for appearance’ sake

Add an apostrophe and an s to a foreign name ending in a silent sibilant. Descartes’s invention Des Moines’s schools faux pas’s

Add an apostrophe and an s to the last word of a singular compound noun. the Governor of Maine’s the attorney general’s

Indicate common possession by making only the last item in a series possessive. Teddy, Peggy, and Nancy’s home

Indicate individual possession by making each item in a series possessive. Teddy’s, Peggy’s, and Nancy’s homes

The following types of possessives should be written as singulars. artist’s paintbrush baker’s yeast farmer’s market confectioner’s sugar florist’s wire printer’s ink writer’s cramp painter’s tape

So there you have some help for these pesky possessives that you sometimes see rarely and might use barely at all. Yet, when one pops up in your manuscript, maybe this little blog will help you use the correct form.

On another note, make plans to join the Odd Duck Society and attend the Montrose Christian Writers Conference this July 19th-24th. The faculty of 16 includes award-winning authors, editors, and an agent, all eager to sit down with you and discuss your projects. You might go home with a contract!

http://www.montrosebible.org/OurEvents/tabid/113/page_550/1/eventid_550/58/Default.aspx

Westcotts.+BigDuck

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May 16, 2015

On Writing: Christian Horror

Have you noticed there’s a new genre out there for us writers AND readers to try to absorb: Christian horror. If you recall, the popularity of the “darker” genre seemed to start gaining popularity with Frank Peretti’s This Present Darkness in 1986, and since then has branched out into a few other subgenres.

I’m trying to wrap my heart around the concept of this new genre, but I’m having trouble accepting it. The whole idea of “Christian horror” seems like such an oxymoron, a genre filled with opposites that cannot coexist on the same page. Can two be together unless they agree?

Ever since Harry Potter appeared on the scene, and then Twilight (plus dozens of other similars), these spooky fiction subgenres are running wild in the market at the moment, so everyone with a pen in his hand is jumping on the bandwagon to write a best-seller thriller, Christian or not.

At present I know of at least three different publishing companies (I’m sure there are lots more) that are now releasing Christian horror or paranormal novels. A few years ago, at my request, an editor at one of those companies had sent me a manuscript of the creepy genre to read so I could get a grip on what the Christian market is trying to present to its readers with this seemingly contradictory new type of book.

I’ve been told the main difference with a secular and Christian horror is this: the Christian book exposes the occult, witchcraft, demonic activity, or “whatever wicked this way comes” for what it is: evil. The book then presents the gospel of Jesus Christ with hope for the future to be delivered from such evil.

Anticipating that promised vision of hope in the resolution, I read that manuscript and just recently finished reading another paranormal novel with an open mind to see if I could accept the new genre as part of American literature that is not only a good read, but also presents the truth based on biblical principles and hope beyond the gory grave.

I must admit both reads encroached way too much into my comfort zone so that I put the books down and walked away often. When I reached the last page, I concluded that this new genre is not for me. It certainly won’t be for me to write, and I doubt I’ll ever pick up a horror or paranormal book of any kind again, whether it has the Christian label on it or not.

I’m not condemning this genre and its offshoots. If the books proclaim salvation through Jesus and deliverance from evil of any kind, then more power to them. I’m just saying it’s not for me.

Now a Word about the Montrose Christian Writers Conference

Please join us from July 19th to the 26th and meet one of our faculty members teaching blogging and social media

Catlett.Don.Photo.2015MCWC.

Don Catlett: media expert and advisor to multiple startups, has spent more than 14 years working at the crossroads of web design, photography, marketing, and social media. Since launching Clearly See Media in 2008, he continues to hone his skills as a digital advertising specialist for companies including Amazon Publishing, Lamplighter Publishing, QVC, The Shopping Channel, The Learning Parent, Child Evangelism Fellowship, Home Educating Family Magazine, Christian Homeschool Magazine, and AHEAD National Conferences. He also provides marketing direction and advice for building a presence with social media.

Please check out the week’s schedule at http://www.montrosebible.org/OurEvents/tabid/113/page_550/1/eventid_550/58/Default.aspx

Conferees.Anniv.Celebration.No.1

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