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Saturday, November 22, 2014

One space or two? No more double spaces after the end of a sentence -it's killing me!

A teenager would call me old. Someone in their mid-forties would call me young. Some days I feel older than others.

I learned ‘typewriting’ in high school…on typewriters (much like the one above).  It was beat into my head that when you end a sentence, you hit the space bar…twice. Two spaces.

Since then I’ve heard whisperings and rumors of the double space falling out of favor but, like an ostrich, I have buried my head in the sand and kept working the double space.

My editors never said boo about my manuscripts having double space (in my defense) so I let the issue go. They were probably worried if they brought it to my attention it would hurt my feelings. (ha)

…until one day in the embarrassingly not too distant past, I actually looked it up.  The Chicago Manual of Style is a reputable source in my opinion and this is what they had to say on the matter.  This is a direct quote from their website but I’m going to highlight some phrases for those who don’t like reading anything longer than three sentences without an indent (like myself).

The view at CMOS is that there is no reason for two spaces after a period in published work. Some people, however—my colleagues included—prefer it, relegating this preference to their personal correspondence and notes. I’ve noticed in old American books printed in the few decades before and after the turn of the last century (ca. 1870–1930 at least) that there seemed to be a trend in publishing to use extra space (sometimes quite a bit of it) after periods. And many people were taught to use that extra space in typing class (I was). But introducing two spaces after the period causes problems: (1) it is inefficient, requiring an extra keystroke for every sentence; (2) even if a program is set to automatically put an extra space after a period, such automation is never foolproof; (3) there is no proof that an extra space actually improves readability—as your comment suggests, it’s probably just a matter of familiarity (Who knows? perhaps it’s actually more efficient to read with less regard for sentences as individual units of thought—many centuries ago, for example in ancient Greece, there were no spaces even between words, and no punctuation); (4) two spaces are harder to control for than one in electronic documents (I find that the earmark of a document that imposes a two-space rule is a smattering of instances of both three spaces and one space after a period, and two spaces in the middle of sentences); and (5) two spaces can cause problems with line breaks in certain programs.
So, in our efficient, modern world, I think there is no room for two spaces after a period. In the opinion of this particular copyeditor, this is a good thing.

There you have it...

One. Space. After. A. Period.

Boy, training myself not to do the double tap is quite a challenge (thank goodness for find and replace -yes it works for spacing).

Oh and if you look hard enough, you can probably find a double tap after a period somewhere in here...old dog, new tricks.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Star Wars episode 7 trailer coming soon, will JJ Abrams meet expectations?

As a Star Wars junkie, I'm sure you know that the title of episode seven was announced earlier this month. The title left me feeling cautiously optimistic.  

Just to back up a few steps -after the last three films (episodes/debacles 1-3), I was left disheartened with the franchise (see my rants HERE ).  When Lucasfilm sold to Disney, I was excited.  No more George Lucas (sorry, bro, everyone's time comes eventually), no more crappy casting and vomit-inducing love scene dialogue. I was even more excited when I found out that JJ Abrams was slated to direct.  
He did an amazing job resurrecting  the Star Trek franchise with Star Trek and Into Darkness, directed Super 8 (awesome movie) and Lost (best TV show EVER). Then they released information about the casting…including casting some of the originals, which horrified me (see THIS blog post for more on that). 

Then, primary casting was announced  and I was slightly relieved.   Good potential -especially with Abrams at the helm. 

Okay now we are current.  

The name releases.  Star Wars, The Force Awakens. This could be good, right?

My first thoughts are negative (unfortunately -damn you, George Lucas for making me so pessimistic!) 

Can the force sleep? 
Are all those little Midi-chlorians taking a cozy little nap?  
Who/how are they going to be woken from their comfy beds?

At the end of episode VI (Return of the Jedi) Luke is the reigning bad-ass when it comes to the force (possibly the only one) and his sister, Leia has ‘the force’ in a very fledgling state. The end. 

So 30 years later what has happened to the dynamic duo (Luke & Leia) to cause the force to fall into obscurity?

Here is where the positive thinking comes in.  Something bad had to happen, right? Something dark and very JJ Abrams-esque. Perhaps the collapse of the Rebellion, the banishment of Luke and Leia, the destruction of Endor, Naboo and every other annoying character, species and storyline Lucas created?  

See 'ya later, Jar Jar. 

End of Endor.

Things are looking up for sure.

According to THIS ARTICLE  from IGN, Disney may debut a trailer within the next 4-5 weeks.  Sweet! (fingers crossed)

So, with any luck, the galaxy is in ruin, the original cast is banished and occupies about twelve seconds of screen time and an awesome re-booted franchise is birthed.

Star Wars: Episode VII, The Force Awakens, is scheduled to release December 18th, 2015

There is a GREAT ARTICLE with several fan-made Star Wars VII posters worth checking out.   Two of the coolest (and two of the funniest) are below. 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Brad Wiggins vs Chris Frome... My Time vs The Climb

For those of you who don't know, I'm a huge cycling fan.  Now you know.

I read The Climb by Chris Froome right after reading My Time by Brad Wiggins and am going to do a quick comparison between the two books.

From a reader's perspective, Froome's autobiography, The Climb, was much easier to read, more linear, less confusing, lighter and frankly, the writing was superior. 

click for image credit
Victorious Wiggins
Brad Wiggins the man (sorry, the knight), from outside the fish bowl, is an enigma and comes across as an enigma via his writing.  He is consistently inconsistent, at times aloof and seems incredibly (and sadly) insecure with himself.

 This comes out in his writing -how he describes his interactions with others, how his thoughts are all over the place.  I would have thought a good editor would have reigned in his tangents but perhaps it was an attempt to...allow readers a glimpse inside the mind of Sir. Wiggo.  Brad's story was post-olympics and onward and it lacked the foundation, the back story that was so prevalent in Froome's The Climb.

click for image credit

Last week Sir Bradley Wiggins won the Time Trial World Championships making him the only cyclist to gold medal in the Olympics, win the Tour de France and win the World Championships.

This may never be done again in the history of the sport.  When Brad is on, he is phenomenal -unstoppable in the time trial.  I believe Froome could take him in the mountains...but that's neither here nor there. 

Back to the books...
The window into Froome's past that comprises the first quarter (or more) of his book is very well written and entertaining.  It gave me insight into the man I see in the media and on the television during the race season.

Chris Froome
Froome wins mountaintop finish
The endearing account of his early life in Kenya followed by his early cycling career and taking us through his 2013 Tour de France victory is one of the best athlete autobiographies I've had the pleasure of reading.  My perception of Chris is someone I'd love to meet -a nice guy (although fiercely competitive).

Brad Wiggins has moments where he, too, can be that guy you'd like to meet in a local pub and share a pint in his autobiography...but it is spotted with moments that made me wonder if that was the real Brad...or is Brad the other guy -the guy with the walls all around him, the guy who can't communicate with his own team.  He leaves you confused because I think he is confused.  I truly hope Wiggo is able to find peace in his life.
Casual Brad

So, in summary: The Climb: excellent read, highly recommend. My Time is more sterile, harder to read but a highly interesting glimpse into the mind of a cycling legend.  While Froome speaks more of his interactions with Wiggins, the stories intertwine so much that if you're going to read one, you certainly should read the other.  Start with My Time (otherwise your perception of Brad may be poisoned before you give him a chance). 

2015 should be a great year for cycling and the paths of Chris Froome and Sir Bradley Wiggins will no doubt be captivating.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Starbucks vs Dunkin Donuts

I know this is totally random but I was pondering while driving past yet another Dunkin' Donuts being constructed and I realized what the difference between these two coffee giants truly is. 

They both have

Good coffee
Good baked stuff
Good non-coffee beverage selections

But there is something Starbucks has that Dunkin' does not and, in my opinion, never will. 

Has anyone ever thought, hey, I'm going to Dunkin to sit, relax, get some work done, meet some friends?  Probably not. But why?

1. Layout. Take a look at the floor layouts the next time you visit either. Every DD I've ever visited were perfectly rectangular. A counter on one side, tables  on the other. Set up fore one thing. Move customers through the ordering process as quickly as possible. Are there windows by the tables? Probably not. Now look at a Starbucks. They are usually more square with tables around the perimeter and in the center. Sure, they have flow in mind but they also have atmosphere in mind. The tables are most likely beside large windows. They probably have a community board on the wall somewhere. And there is most likely artwork hanging on the wall that doesn't have anything to do with marketing their own products.

2. Customer service. The majority of Starbucks employees are on their 'A' game every time you walk in the door. If you go there enough they probably know you by your first name. Can the same be said for DD? I don't think so. At least, not in my personal experience. I imagine the training to be a Starbucks barista is rather focused. Cookie cutter? Yes. But consistent. I would guess that DD training is more store specific and less formal. 

I am speculating however I believe that each Dunkin' Donuts is individually owned and operated which could explain the difference from store to store when it comes to customer service. Perhaps training unification across all stores would be helpful.

Anyway, that's all for my random coffeehouse post that I'm writing on my phone using the Blogger app for the first time.

What do you think? Did I get it right or am I wrong?

Thursday, May 29, 2014

June short story contest-Zombie me!

As part of the lead-up to the October launch of Evasion, book 2 of The Never Chronicles, I will be hosting a writing contest each month.  

Contest category:  Fiction
Type:  Short Story
Deadline:   June 30, 2014
Entry fee: $0.00 (FREE!)

Word count Maximum: 500

​First place: Two signed copies of Exiled and a digital copy of Tristis Manor 
Second place: One signed copy of Exiled and a digital copy of Tristis Manor
Third place: a digital copy of Tristis Manor

Prompt: Write a story that centers around a zombie, zombies or the zombie apocalypse.  That's it. Seriously.

​PLEASE read the contest rules HERE I STRONGLY RECOMMEND reading the scoring rubric (found in the contest rules). It will tell you exactly how each submission will be scored.

Tweet: I'm entering the zombie short story contest! @JRWagner2 #TheNeverChronicles #writingcontest

~In the book world, word of mouth is king~