Jun 10, 2010

Grammar 101: The whole ie/ei conundrum

(It was time for another grammar post –though it is not as long as my other posts.)




I will admit that I am one of those individuals that the whole “i” before “e” sometimes still stumps. The old mnemonic phrase “‘i’ before ‘e’, except after ‘c’, or when sounded like ‘a’ in neighbor and weigh.” Hasn’t really helped me out when you consider the fact that there are exceptions to the rule, and the phrase “Neither financier seized either weird species of leisure,” is a little bit harder to remember.

Sometimes I despise the English language (though it is rare) and dealing with the words that don’t fit into this pattern generally incites my ire.

Jun 3, 2010

What’s in a name?

I’ve always found names difficult when writing, generally the main characters aren’t hard, but when it comes to the minor characters, it’s like pulling teeth, no matter how integral they are to the story.


I have a story that is, at this point, sitting in my computer as a synopsis. I thought I’d found the perfect name for my main character and, having completed the synopsis, I saved it and went about my business. That very night, I met up with my friend and workout partner, the redheaded dancer, before I left her apartment that night, she just had to show me this flash comic called Salad Fingers. As I’m watching it, I look up to the byline and see that the guy who created this series of flash videos is named “David Firth”… can you guess what my perfect name for that character was? David Firth. I cannot begin to tell you how utterly creeped out I was.

This is the reason I now Google and Wiki, all of my character names before I commit to them.

So what’s in a name? There are characters whose names really do define them in my head, there are characters in my novels who were named specifically for a character trait. I think I have to defer to Ms. Montgomery and her words, spoken through the young redheaded orphan:

I read in a book once that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but I've never been able to believe it. I don't believe a rose would be as nice if it was called a thistle or a skunk cabbage.
Those of us who are incredibly familiar with both thistle and skunk cabbage can tell you, a rose wouldn’t be as nice.