Please contact E. B. Davis at for information on guest blogs and interviews. Interviews for October: 10/5 Carolina Crimes: Rock, Roll and Ruin 10/12 Alicia Beckman, Blind Faith 10/19 J. Woollcott, A Nice Place To Die 10/26 Carol J. Perry, High Spirits

Thursday, May 31, 2018

How to Write Good

My sister and her husband from Tacoma Washington have been visiting for two weeks. They’ve been staying at my sister Elaine’s house for all but two days and we’ve been doing something every day in those two weeks so I haven’t been home much. Twice I skipped what was planned because I needed to get things done here before they came to my house for two days.

In those days when I participated in what they did we had a great time. As I wrote last week we went to Zoar Village. The day after they arrived the evening before, my sister Elaine had a welcoming party for them with snacks and then a delicious supper.

The next day we hiked the Greenway Trail in Lisbon and then ate dinner at a delicious vegetarian restaurant. The next day we also went hiking in Cuyahoga National Park not too far from where I live so they came to my house first before going there. The next day we had a cookout at my brother, Phil’s house in Salem. Ohio the evening before he left to fly to Las Vegas for a conference. His son’s and their families were there, too.

The next day is when we went to Zoar Village.

The following day we went hiking in Moraine State Park in Pennsylvania.  The next day we went to the Akron Zoo, I hadn’t visited that since my now college age grandchildren were quite young. I enjoyed it except it was quite noisy with a dozen school buses filled with children who were there that day.

The next day they met for dinner and music in the evening at Alliance Ohio. I skipped that.

The next day was SISTER’S DAY a day our sister-in-law Joanne has every year in which we meet at a restaurant for lunch and she pays for it. This year it was at a golf club near where she lives. Sometime she plans other things, too, but this time it was to go to her home for ice cream and a pastry. I skipped the next day because it was a shopping excursion.

 On Saturday night three days before they would leave, we met at an Italian restaurant in Salem, Ohio to celebrate our sister Suzanne’s birthday and retirement. There were at least twenty who came to that. After we ate we all went to my sister-in-law’s home for birthday cake and ice cream.  When we left there Cathi and Bill followed me to my house where they would spend the next two nights with me.

On Sunday they went to Mass with me after eating breakfast first in a restaurant nearby. We also went to the cemetery nearby so they could see our parents’ gravestone and my son John’s grave and my six year old granddaughter Megan’s grave, and my gravestone that my ex-husband bought for me before he died. (He was cremated.) Then we went to the tall monument of our ancestors who date back into the 1800s and the gravestones of our grandparents.

When we got back Cathi started weeding my brick sidewalk while Bill got my shovel and loppers and proceeded to get rid of all the ash saplings that are taking over everywhere. We stopped for a rest at the patio table every so often and for a snack, and then we walked over to my son’s house and visited with him before heading out to an Italian restaurant for supper.

The following day, Memorial Day was a cookout at my son’s house with everyone bringing something to eat. My sisters all came as well as my sister-in-law and her fiancé. Only my brother didn’t come, but my local daughter came and my granddaughter and her two little ones came, too.

When we all left, Cathi and Bill came back to my house and packed up to leave for Bill’s son and family’s house in North Carolina. Everyone was sad to see them go, but Cathi had been suffering from the extreme heat we were having and she wanted to get on the road and stay in a motel with air conditioning. My house with trees around it isn’t too warm, but I haven’t brought my air conditioner in yet because it’s heavy and I haven’t asked my son or grandson to bring it in from the garage yet.

Now about today’s blog. I’ve been too busy to even come up with an idea. This evening (Tuesday) I’m heading to Cleveland to pick up my California daughter to be here a week. I didn’t have an idea for a blog so I was browsing through the older ones in 2013 in which only Elaine, Jim, Linda and Warren were still members. They probably forgot it after all these years anyway.

My same sister and her husband had been spending time in Oregon and visited Powell’s, of course. My brother-in-law is a reader who reads a lot of books like I do. My sister, too, but not quite as much as we do. They also visited a store for writers and found the perfect poster for a writer and sent it to me. The title was “How to Write Good. I will write the list here and then write some of the comments others made.

1.       Avoid alliteration always.
2.      Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.
3.      The passive voice is to be avoided.
4.      Avoid clichés like the plague. They’re old hat.
5.      It is wrong to ever split an infinitive.
6.      Writers should never generalize.
7.      Seven – be consistent.
8.      Don’t use more words than necessary. It’s highly superfluous.
9.      Be more or less specific.
10.  Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.

Now some comments made by others when I first posted this:

James Montgomery Jackson: 11. Never ever use absolutes. 12. Relay on Spellcheck four all your editing kneads.

E.B. Davis        Show actions and emotions completely, extenuatingly and continually by carefully and thoughtfully avoiding the use of adverbs while trying not to split infinitives seriously and conscientiously.

Warren Bull     Don’t have an ending that just trails O
If you have any other suggestions please let me know.


Margaret S. Hamilton said...

Gloria, a good catch-up with your busy life.

My admonition: a few foreign words or phrases (with the meaning obvious in context) are sufficient for establishing the setting and characters in a story.

E. B. Davis said...

OMG--I don't remember this--we are so silly. OH--NO silly is an "ly" word!

Paula Gail Benson said...

Gloria, how lovely to hear about your family. It sounds as if you had a wonderful time.

My advice: write frequently and often, whichever seems more appropriate!

Warren Bull said...

Did I say that? I don't remember, although I have a vague idea that maybe when I was thinking it wasn't then...

KM Rockwood said...

Obtuse verbiage when unpretentious terminologies suffice may be construed as pretentious.

Liz Milliron said...

I'm surprised there isn't one about using complicated words instead of simple ones (you know, to sound more...whatever).


Patg said...

Is that visit to the main Powell's, City of Books? Great place. A sightseeing attraction of Portland that can have you there for several hours.
Do Not put too much romance in a mystery.
Keep your recipes.

Gloria Alden said...

Margaret that is perfect. Sometimes Louise Penny uses French words in her book which take
place in Quebec.

E.B. You made me laugh.

Paula, I love that advice. I've fallen behind on working on my tenth book because
so much else is going on.

Warren, yes you did and it still makes me smile.

KM that is so funny and true.

Mary I agree with you. Complicated words are a way of showing off.

Pat, I love Powells. I think they got it at a bookstore in a small town nearby. I Happen to like a little romance in a mystery, but maybe that's just me. As for recipes since I don't particularly care to cook they aren't important to me.