I've been off the air with various distractions, including the opportunity to do a beta read.  I expect to finish ome review and do at least one more over the weekend.

I'll try to get to a few reviews tonight.  I'm still looking at Kirsey's backstory, considering how to change B1 and B2, and not getting very far with the overall story arc.  I don't like the start I have on K's life story, and have a direction I like more,  but there are details that have to mesh, and fit with tbe timeframe.  Nor do I have a title.  But the big thing is to get Kirsey's parents together, with their circumstances and baggage, and do it in about 6,000 interesting words.  "Nitwit, blubber, oddment, tweak" just won't do.

And of course, projects and projects.

But the subject of the sentence is no longer the topic subject.  Keeping the two aligned is one use of the passive.

Passives have other uses, and one just bubbled up in my head:  'They were beset with problems' can set the topic, an introduction before presenting the bill of particulars.  You could force it into the grammatical active: 'They had many problems', but the 'They' are passive victims either way, and the sentence has less force, perhaps due to the less vivid verb, perhaps due to the mismatch between grammar and meaning.

I've got LOTS to catch up on with everybody.  I've not disappeared,  but been distracted, and have just learned why I've been unable to get the holes I drill in metal to stay where they need to be.  (My pilot holes were too shallow.  Drill'em deep enough to get the full width of the final drill guided into the metal by the pilot hole!) and have to catch up after that.

There are also some things that naturally fall into the passive voice: "I was born in 1966 ..."  It also works well for certain types of statements: "I'd been told that people here were aloof.  Sometimes I wondered if they could speak English."  "I was taught to use a comma before or after direct address."  And sometimes it signals weasel-wording, and sometimes the active subject is unkown or irrelevant:  "The monument was erected after the great flood in '53."  Passive voice has a place, but it usually lacks color and force, unless the topic provides it:  "I've been arrested, twice, for letting my ice-cream cone drip on the police station steps."

It's best when you don't notice it.

If you're indicating shouts, especially shouted imperatives, from a mob or during a confrontation, I have no problem with the exclamation points. The limit is how long the shouters will amd can continue to blast their voices.

If it's a single voice driven to unnatural volume while declaiming a manifesto, then the fact of the volume can be carried in narrative.  But here it's demand, response, demand, response.

Followup thought on that third example: The speakers are not identified; they are anonymous voices in a crowd.  I have no problem with the original way.  The reader doesn't  need to attach any identity to either.

You see published writers go both ways.  The important thing is that it's clear.  I would draw the line at two character's speech in the same paragraph, or mixing one character's speech with another's IM.

This was posted in a place I often read.  It's off-topic there, so there's no point in looking for more


You went to all that effort?  I didn't think it worth the effort to chase down all the plot gaps.  Or gasps

A national plan will only help if it's a good plan AND it's universally applicable.  Oh, and it must be adjusted as we learn.  We've learned that asymptomatic transmission doesn't occur.  We've learned that full lockdowns don't work, but targeted quarantines might.   We've learned early on that Medicare reimbursement rules required hospitals to send sick, infectious people back into nursing homes UNLESS the state acted to forbid it, as Florida did.  We've got evidence of treatments working or not working, but the national planners (FDA) threaten to pull the licenses of doctors who use the drugs off-label.

No plan survives contact with the enemy, because if the plan survives, the army locked into the plan doesn't.  What's needed is to distill our experience into a policies that are flexible enough to work in a wide variety of circumstances, and comprehensive enough to cover all the territories on the battlefield.  The US Army has a Center for Lessons Learned.  It hasn't always lived up to its name, but it has helped a lot.  We need this for pandemics.

And we need elected officials more concerned with fighting the disease, using the ever-growing body of knowledge, than with enforcing their own authority by threatening religious communities and threatening ever-harder lockdowns for harmless 'violations'.

The problem is that it's not been a two week lockdown, and the governments have been strangely inconsistent.  Andrew Coumo's treatment of Orthodox Jews living in closed communities crosses the line into persecution even as he sends sick people back into nursing homes, resulting in thousands of COVID deaths.  Other governors threaten to arrest people sharing Thanksgiving dinner with their families, while holding large parties with friends and lobbyists.  And the evidence on the effectiveness of the lockdowns is very mixed.

This may be saving lives, it may be costing them.  But it is shredding American's faith in the good judgement and good intentions of their governments

My approach: Start dialogue, drop into flashback.  Return from flashback, use closing dialogue.  I've got limited practice, but if it's needed for the story it can work.


Not for a while, I'm afraid.  I'm in reactive mode.

To those waiting on reviews: I'm tied up into and maybe through Tuesday.  I'll get back to you then.

To those waiting on reviews: I'm tied up into and maybe through Tuesday.  I'll get back to you then.

Note to Randall K.:  I'm planning on reviewing your next two chapters. I stopped to think about the first of the two and other events overtook things   I may do both non inline and inline.

Thank you for the kind words.  I hope and expect to put four to six hours into reviews in the next, let's see, 13 hours.  I'm making progress on long, drawn-out circuit project, and also want to do another prototype of a seemingly simple circuit (about the ninth, each with one or two refinements) and most of what's left are physical design problems.  At the moment, I've got no off-website review commitment.

In Alma Boykin's =Familiar= series, the mages Familiar animals love to utter smart-alek remarks, though obscenities are usually limited to languages like Arabic and Pashtun.

At one point a group of mages at a conference are discussiing what sort of demonstrations would suit their specialty.  They are interrupted by an owl Familiar screeching "No Nukes!  No nukes!  Save the whales!"  Did I mention his mage is an academic?

Nobody -asks- for a Familiar.

Wow!  Many congratulations, and we've been privileged to see you develop your work here.

Look at Alma T.C. Boykin's Merchant series, Merchant and Magic, etc.  They're Kindle-only for now, not high adventure but exploring a magical world in a different Medieval setting modeled loosely on the Hanseatic League.  She's got her own pantheon and in some of the later books the gods have had enough and step in.  Nobody wants to see that again.

The series is stalled right now because one of her other series has become popular, and needs far less research.  But it shows a different approach.

I haven't been getting many reviews done, but I've got one started and another on the list.  However, right now, I've been asked to work on something else.  That will have me tied up through mid-week, or maybe all of it.


(11 replies, posted in TheNextBigWriter Premium)

That's the Unix/Linux quote convention.  Inside HTML, the code is literal-ampersandamp .  But the problem is quoting snd interpretation at different levels of the system.  Will copy-paste mishandle it?