Monday, April 15, 2013

Being Punctuated: A Matter of Clarity and Comedy

I recently had a discussion with some friends about why so much time is spent on grammar and mechanics in school. Isn't it all a little arbitrary and pointless? To partially answer that, I submit the following cases where the grammatical mechanics (punctuation in this case) make all the difference in meaning.

Try not to laugh too hard.


1. Say "No" to drugs

Incorrectly punctuated:
Just say "No" to drugs from the D.A.R.E. police officers.

Whoops, lets not turn the officers into drug dealers.
Just say "No" to drugs, from the D.A.R.E. police officers.


2.A comma could save a life

Incorrectly punctuated:
For all those who like to cook and eat my wife just made a blog with recipes.

Let's make sure no cannibals show up:
For all those who like to cook and eat, my wife just made a blog with recipes.

Incorrectly punctuated:
"I want to eat Mom!"

Or, for the good of the whole family:
"I want to eat, Mom!"

3. Declaration of love?

I'm sorry I still love you.

Or, is it...
I'm sorry. I still love you.

4. Emphatic Quotation Marks


5. Who needs who?

Woman without her man is nothing

Could be:
Woman: without her, man is nothing.

Woman, without her man, is nothing.

You decide.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

I've Decided to be Happy!

“I have decided to be happy;
it is excellent for one’s health!”

I came across this quote today, and I have to say - I LOVE IT. It is good for your health to be happy. As a nurse, I can state this as a fact. And, I truly believe that happiness is a choice. So, I've come up with the following list of reasons that I have to be happy today (and every day). Hopefully in sharing them, I'll spark some realizations of why you should be happy too!

  • I have a husband that is my best friend, who I love very much.
  • I have a beautiful little daughter who makes me smile everyday.
  • I went on a nice walk today with my family in the cool weather.
  • I have a comfortable home to live in, where I feel safe and loved.
  • I have been reading some interesting and fun books. (Check out my Goodreads page).
  • I have pretty good health. Again, as a nurse, I truly appreciate what a blessing this is.
  • I have the opportunity to work with the teenage girls at my church, whom I love and am inspired by.
  • I have great friends that I know I can rely on and trust.
  • My husband and I are both able to work from home together.
  • I had delicous homemade chicken soup for dinner.
  • I'm going to see my mom this weekend.
  • My daughter has slept through the night since she was 3 months old.
  • Chocolate - need I say more?  

Thursday, April 4, 2013

A Complete Story in Fewer Words Than This Title?

Yes. It's called Skinny Fiction. It's an awesome concept I just came across recently when I visited this blog, and I've been having a lot of fun with it ever since.

The idea is to write a story in as few words as possible. Potentially, try to get the story across in 10 or 25 words, but definable less than 100 words. This turns it into a poem, of sorts, but the key is that it must have a storyline. A character, a beginning, a middle, and an end.

A great example of Skinny Fiction is by the famous author, Ernest Hemingway. He wrote:

"For sale: baby shoes, never worn."

Now, tell me that doesn't give a whole story. Yes, a lot is implied, but that's the power of Skinny Fiction. It engages the imagination, and can lead each person down their own little road based on the connections and understandings they form.

The following is my Skinny Fiction story which is inspired by my novel, IN AN INSTANT, which I am currently having beta read and doing some edits. It's no wonder that it was on my mind.

by Melanie James

Uncertainty. Heart races.
A look. A sigh.
We cry.
I’m still me.

This story, I wrote a few days before Easter.

by Melanie James

Darkness surrounds me. 
I walk toward him; he walks toward me. 
Morning blooms.

And this one was inspired by my precious little one-year-old daughter, Allie.

Little One
by Melanie James

Awake; her face is the dawn. 
Sticky fingers, tears, hugs, kisses, mysteries solved. 
More hugs and kisses.
Away into dreams.
I watch. She doesn't know.

Can you write a story in 25 words or less? 
Bet you can't.