To boldly go...

What better way to start a blog about books, writing, and publishing than to steal the opening line from the original Star Trek and spit in the face of convention by daring to split an infinitive? (OK, probably somewhere in the neighborhood of infinity but this is the way I'm doing it.) As Mignon Fogarty (the self-proclaimed Grammar Girl) said; "You can split infinitives." So there. It's on the Internet so it must be true. Besides, if Thomas Cromwell, Daniel Defoe, Lord Byron, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Elizabeth Gaskell, Benjamin Franklin, and Elizabeth Barrett Browning could do it, then I can too. (See how I've connected myself to really great writers? Hey, it's my blog.)

Fellow writers who are reading this will be freaking out right now. Not because of my wanton disregard for the made-up rule regarding infinitive-splitting but because of the more heinous crime of dramatically, brutally, irresponsibly, and gratuitously inflicting readers with the most dreaded of all literary faux pas – use of a dastardly ADVERB!!! "Damn it, man! Don't say it. SHOW IT!"

As Stephen King says in his book "On Writing: A Memoir on the Craft," "The adverb is not your friend." Not if you are a writer. I'm not going to disrespect King's sage instruction by trying to rephrase information the master has bestowed upon us (read the book), but let me give those who are interested an example of why adverbs are weak and how showing the reader is so much better:

With adverbs: "After reading my manuscript she quickly ran to the bathroom and mercifully flushed the thing down the toilet."

Sans adverbs: "After reading my manuscript she sprang from her chair and made a beeline toward the bathroom. Although she tripped over the cat and bashed her forehead on the coffee table, she managed to crawl to the toilet, cram the offending pages of word-retch into its gaping maw, and pulled the lever with every ounce of strength remaining in her body – a selfless act that will forever be celebrated for having saved the literary world." (Did I mention that my blog might tend to ramble?)

As a writer, the downside to knowing this is that forever-after when you read a book laced with adverbs you experience a Donald Sutherland moment. You know, that last scene in "The Invasion of the Body Snatchers" where his alien body-usurper spots the last remaining human, points, and screams "AAAAAAaaaaaddddddddddddvvvvvveeeeeerrrrrbbbbbbbb!!!" (Oops... spoiler alert.) Yes, now that you know, I've ruined crappy writing for everyone. Please. No thanks necessary.

So this is how it begins. Random thoughts and essays on literary stuff. I must advise subscribers to this blog that future musings probably won't be nearly as intellectual or sophisticated. But I do promise to try and be entertaining.

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