Grace's Mosaic Moments

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Kids & Creative Writing

Bear Update.
A block from my daughter's house in Longwood, a bear broke through a neighbor's pool screen, opened a small fridge, and happily chewed & emptied all the soda cans inside. (Maybe more than one bear?) But please note that the bears were either "teetotalers" or recognized that munching beer bottles isn't a good idea. Note that the beer bottles are still neatly laid out, the bear(s) extracting the soda cans without breaking a single one. Very sophisticated bears in Longwood.

 I am postponing the continuation of my comments on Political Correctness until next week in order to write about something very special that happened to me this week. As part of what is called "Dividends" day here in Seminole County, parents and relatives of students were asked to come to school and talk about what they do for a living. My daughter and I were booked together—Susie talking about buying and fixing up dilapidated houses and suggesting ways the children could make money at their age, while I contributed a workshop on Creative Writing. 

I had planned to stick to the school regimen of Non-fiction writing (essays), but in the very first of the three workshops I did, the teacher suggested the students be allowed to write Fiction if they wished. A suggestion I was all too happy to oblige. FYI, Florida is a state that "over-tests" students, which results in teachers being forced to teach to the tests rather than teach the students the things they really believe they should know.

I talked a bit about by my sole book written for Young Adults (and suitable to any age interested in Medieval times) - The Captive Heiress. And then I read them two examples of how a student might answer the question: What did you do yesterday afternoon after school?  The first example was deadly dull, a scant paragraph marked by short sentences beginning with,  "Then I . . . Then I . . ." The second essay, answering the very same question, ran to five full and hopefully colorful paragraphs.

After that, I talked about "why" the second essay was so much better than the first - the details I had added, the more colorful language, the personal viewpoint. I also got in a plug for Fiction - the fun of creating good people, bad people, smart people, stupid people, silly people, etc. And then I asked the students (4th & 5th grade) to write two or three paragraphs, which they would then read aloud.

I gave a list of topics for those who needed it, but added that they could write about anything they wished, Fiction or Non-fiction. The results were astonishing—to the teachers, I'm convinced, as well as to me. Their work was so good—and almost all chose Fiction, something they never get to do in school—that I was truly saddened by not having enough time to hear each child read aloud. It was as if someone had pulled a cork out of a bottle, allowing them to shine. We had nine- and ten-year-olds writing not just narration but DIALOGUE, with "he said" and "she said." And the creativity - oh my! Yes, much of it was Fantasy, but that they could spout it out in 15 minutes with no warning they were going to be asked to do this . . .

Yes, one of the fourth grade classes was for the Gifted, but the other two classes were not. One boy nearly had me in tears as he read about "jays" pecking at a bully. A fifth-grade boy had the class in stitches with a few colorful paragraphs that suggested he was either going to be an author or a stand-up comedian. And a girl in the Gifted class wrote a story so well done that I truly think she may become a successful author.

Let me tell you, I went home glowing. That I had unleashed, however inadvertently, such a torrent of words made my day, my week, my month. Now if only the Florida school system could understand the need for creativity in the classroom instead of sticking to facts and figures in order to answer statewide tests. Sigh . . .!

~ * ~

 Next week, back to the problem of Political Correctness gone too far.

Thanks for stopping by,


For Grace's website, listing all books as Blair Bancroft, click here.
For a brochure for Grace's editing service, Best Foot Forward, click here.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

PC - Have we gone too far?

In light of the horrible news from Paris and the devastating downing of the Russian passenger jet last week, I am pasting below the immortal words of Winston Churchill (posted to Facebook by Carol Cork).

"You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: Victory. Victory at all costs—Victory in spite of all terror—Victory, however long and hard the road may be, for without victory there is no survival."
- Winston Churchill
(May 13, 1940)

~ * ~

And lest we find our own selves teetering on the edge of extremism, let us consider how easy it is to carry what at first seems right and proper to such an extreme that we  become as nonsensical, as unreasoning and fanatical as those we oppose. The following blog was planned before the terror attacks in Paris and refers to incidents much less dire, but the principle is similar. We all like to think we would never fall into extremism, be it religion, politics, even extreme sports. But it happens. I read an article just the week about the number of people being injured because they pushed their bodies too far. And that is as difficult to understand as why anyone would hate—that should probably be written, HATE—someone because they follow a different religion, a different political philosophy, or just because they are immigrants or refugees looking for a better life. And yet that kind of hatred not only exists, it is becoming more prevalent, more vocal, more violent. To the point the world is reeling, threatening to tumble out of control.

In the midst of all this, we need to look inward and ask ourselves if we too have gone to extremes, allbeit in a much less violent fashion. This is where the topic I'd previously scheduled for this week connects with the recent extremism seen in France and Egypt. Quite simply, extremism in any form - declaring there is only one way to do something, while rejecting every other approach - feeds upon itself, becoming blown out of proportion until what might have been a good idea becomes a be-all and end-all in itself, exaggerated to the point of absurdity, harmful to everyone not belonging to the "inner circle" of believers.

And, yes, this exaggeration can apply to something with such good intentions as "Political Correctness." My question is:  Are we harming ourselves - and more importantly, our children - by being too Politically Correct? 

Anyone who is a regular reader of this blog knows that I am about as far from being a fan of Donald Trump as it is possible to be. And yet he and I may actually agree on one thing: We have carried political correctness to an extreme. I began to suspect this over the last few months, but this week the issue seemed to crop up everywhere I looked. In the Yale Alumni Magazine, on the TV news, in several different articles in the newspaper, and even on this week's episode of Blue Bloods. And I recalled what I'd been told when I visited the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. One of the men who spoke to us said that the FBI was having difficulty finding agents with "street smarts." Potential candidates seemed to have been chained inside with "play dates" as children instead of being out on the steets, learning to interact with other (read "more diverse") kids, and sitting at their keyboards as they grew older, instead of being out and about, discovering the rough and tumble world as it really is. 

These are also the children who grew up in the "PC" era, who learned a well-scrubbed version of "Eeny, meeny, miny moe." Who never sang "Three Blind Mice" or the multitude of glorious music we used to call Negro Spirituals. Children who were taught to avoid the slightest hint of something that might be offensive, thus creating a generation where the slightest thing became offensive.* Creating lily-livered little darlings who cringe over even a hint of something that might offend someone, anyone, anywhere, any time. Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! These are the kids whose parents want every team to get a prize, the ones who want to do away with school report cards, etc., etc. This is not only sad, it is damaging. It turns potentially strong kids into overly sensitive whiners. 

*I sympathized with the students at the University of Missouri until I learned the miniscule nature of the slights that began the ruckus. I mean, I remember the time when a governor stood guard at a university door to keep black students out. Now that was truly offensive. I remember those who died in the Civil Rights movement of the 60s. That too was appalling. But a bit of name-calling in a world where some people will always be stupid asses? Aw, come on, kids, that's just plain ridiculous. Suck it up and find better things to do with your life than complain over slights from idiots. In my day we were brought up on "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me." (They did, of course, but we got the message. Some people should simply be ignored.)

Enough from me. Below is a Letter to the Editor from this month's Yale Alumni Magazine. (And, no, I did not go to Yale - the magazine is sent to me because my husband was a Yalie. At the time I applied for college, no women were allowed at Yale - revealing in light of recent events that Yalies may be smart but they're not always wise.)

Excerpt from a letter by Steen Kovacs, Yale '68:
Subject: the possible re-naming of Calhoun College (a residential unit at Yale)

"John C. Calhoun was not only a graduate of Yale, but one of the most distinguished political figures in American history. He was a congressman, senator, secretary of war, secretary of state, and vice-president of the United States. He was one of a triumvirate of brilliant political figures, along with Daniel Webster and Henry Clay. He advocated states' rights, limited government, and free trade. To reduce him to being the leading champion of slavery is to do him injustice.

"So what are we do to with such a historical figure? In fact, what are we to do with any historical figure? Take them out of their historical context? Shall we rename all of our many institutions bearing the names of Washington and Jefferson because they owned slaves?

Let's stop being so politically correct and so very, very wrong. Let us accept the wide range of humanity and recognize that we are situated in a particular historical reality.

I am fervently against renaming Calhoun College. But if, against all good reason and judgment, it is to be renamed, I sincerely hope it will carry the name of Cole Porter, the most brilliant American composer and songwriter of the twentieth century—who also happened to be a Yalie, gay, and disabled, having lost his leg in a riding accident. He's a hell of a lot more exciting than Abraham Pierson [another Yale college]. And he's politically correct!"

Grace Note:  It's become clear this topic is too long for a single blog. Please join me next week for more comments from people who believe we have carried Politically Correct to an extreme where it is more of a detriment than a boost to living a more equitable life.

~ * ~

I am thrilled to announce that Rebel Princess, Book One of the Blue Moon Rising series, has been accepted for publication by Kindle Scout. An extra thank-you to the readers of Mosaic Moments who took the time to read the excerpt and nominate RP. Since this is a new Amazon program, I am not certain how long it will be before the book is available, but I will most certainly let everyone know.

Each week The Orlando Sentinel publishes a list of the latest movies released on DVD - which I tear out and save until I'm making my next Netflix queue. (I've found some amazing movies that away.) Last night it was the Iranian film, About Elly. This would be an outstanding film in any location and any language, but the opportunity to see the many similarities between East-West cultures, as well as the admitted differences, is truly remarkable. The story is simple: three married couples with children (upper middle class, driving good cars) rent a beach house for the weekend, taking along a young couple for whom they are attempting a bit of matchmaking. And then something goes horribly wrong . . . If you can get your hands on this film, it will be well worth the effort. The characterizations alone are worth watching, including those of the children.

~ * ~

Thanks for stopping by,


For Grace's website, listing all books as Blair Bancroft, click here.
For a brochure for Grace's editing service, Best Foot Forward, click here.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Character Development

Delivering donations to SafeHouse in Altamonte Springs
At their 18th annual Halloween Party the Reale family requested donations for SafeHouse of Seminole, a refuge for victims of domestic violence. Here is a photo of the three grandgirls delivering the donations. (The sunglasses were given to them by SafeHouse.) I donated food but was truly impressed by the wide variety of items contributed by thoughtful partygoers last Friday night.

Weather Report.
In spite of "falling back" to Standard Time, the Orlando area has yet to experience Fall. Our air conditioners remain on, and the temperatures hover 10-12 degrees above normal. This week we experienced our 125th 90° (c. 30+ celsius) day this year. Last night, the Weatherman said he went all the way back to the first records kept in 1892 and could not find any November with three 90° days, let alone three in a row, as we've had this week. Come on, Cold Front, we need you. This is ridiculous!


Character Development has to rank near the top of the requirements for a good book. This week's Mosaic Moments is going to look at only one small portion: dramatic changes in character. This topic cropped up as I began a final edit on my latest, The Welshman's Bride. From the very beginning, I knew I was dealing with a heroine some readers might not like, but that's just the way she was, and there was little I could do about it. 

What on earth does that mean, you ask? She's my character. I created her. I can do anything I want with her.

Uh-uh. Once she's on the page, she takes on a life of her own. She is what she is, and I have to learn to deal with it, just as my readers do. Okay, maybe some authors are more ruthless or more uncaring. They can cut and chop, revise and polish, until their heroines become Miss Goody-Two-Shoes, and only the hero has naughty moments. Well, sorry, I can't do that. Once I create a character, he or she takes on a life of his/her own. They grab the reins and off they go, revealing the story to me as we go along.

To expand on that, in most Romances it seems as if it's always the hero who needs to improve his character - the old "rake in need of redemption" theme. Heroines are all too often well-mannered, long-suffering, self-sacrificing, kind, generous, thoughtful - name a good character trait, they've got it. Yes, they may be allowed to be funny, on occasion. They can even be klutzes, but always kind-hearted ones. 

In my very first book, The Sometime Bride, the only liberty I took with that concept was creating an unusually young heroine. And though the passing of eight years during the course of the book adds more wisdom, her character doesn't truly become independent until late in the book when she discovers how horribly she has been betrayed by the man she's loved since she was fourteen. Thus setting up a situation where the "hero" has an enormous amount of groveling to do before the book can have its HEA. My second heroine, in Tarleton's Wife, is strong from beginning to end. Again, it is the hero who must change his attitude. Another example: Jack, an important secondary character in Tarleton's Wife, also had to change his stripes before his HEA. In fact, he had to wait almost as long in real time for a happy ending as he does in fiction, not getting the girl until the last book in the series, written almost twenty years after the first. The Regency Warrior series, in order: The Sometime Bride, Tarleton's Wife, O'Rourke's Heiress, and Rogue's Destiny (on the back burner for years as "Jack's book").

But when I wrote those books, I was still using the conventional thinking of women displaying their basically "good" personas, while the men had some "improving" to do. And then one day, I sat down to write a contemporary Romantic Suspense set in Florida. In Shadowed Paradise, I drew from my own experience of moving from Connecticut to the Gulf Coast of Florida. And suddenly I had an upper middle class New Englander attempting to deal with a world almost beyond her comprehension. A character who had to push beyond personal tragedy while learning to cope with a new culture and new kinds of personalities, even to the point of having to protect herself and her son from a serial killer. Here, at last, was a heroine whose character was forced to become stronger as the book progressed.

I expanded on this in The Art of Evil, a mystery set at the Ringling Museum in Sarasota. The heroine is physically damaged, wallowing in grief for a lost love. She's cranky, listless, coming back to life only enough to volunteer as a tram driver on sixty-plus acres of a waterfront art gallery, circus museum, and mansion. Only the sudden arrival of a mystery man in her life begins the process of bringing her back to life. (And yes, I had agents, editors, and reviewers say they didn't like her character. Well, really, was she supposed to be cheerful about losing her fiancé and nearly ending up permanently crippled?)

So for a while - without conscious thought about it - I went back to writing heroines who seldom put a foot wrong. (It's all those other people who cause the trouble.) But in my fourth Regency Gothic, I wanted a different kind of heroine. One not so noble or self-sacrificing. One who doesn't turn the other cheek. A spoiled, head-strong beauty who has a fit when her husband does her wrong. This then is the heroine of The Welshman's Bride, and I suspect there will certainly be readers who don't like her. ("But she isn't supposed to be that way!") Only time will tell. I'm looking forward to finding out if my atypical heroine has reader-appeal.

While on the subject of change, I should add that in most mysteries with a female protagonist, the old rules apply. The heroines maintain their characters, even as their Significant Others fall by the way side. The females are inevitably nosy, perspicacious, courageous (sometimes unwisely), steadfast, sometimes funny, frequently threatened, and inevitably smarter than law enforcement. There are always dead bodies, multiple clues, etc., but to keep readers guessing from book to book, almost all have serious ups and downs in their romantic relationships. 

You write mysteries with a male protagonist? You might ask yourself the same question: Should my hero grow and change over the course of the book? Or the course of the series? Because in Mystery, I've noted, this seldom happens. As with female heroines, the main character remains stalwart, while all the changes occur in the people around him or her.

As you write, beware of keeping your protagonist's character static. If you feel your genre demands it, then so be it. But surely having your main characters become wiser and stronger, or possibly suffer a severe slump, can only add an extra dimension to your book. Ladies, don't give all the faults to the men. Men, don't be tempted to blame the sins of the world on women. (As did so many Medieval monks!) Balance the books - add a few faults here and there to your oh-so-perfect Main Character. Okay, we may get shot down for it, but surely the more piquant sauce is better than the bland?

~ * ~

Thanks for stopping by,


For Grace's website, listing all books as Blair Bancroft, click here.
For a brochure for Grace's editing service, Best Foot Forward, click here.


Saturday, October 31, 2015

Copyediting Challenges - 6

Another clever Facebook post on Grammar

A bit of nostalgia, courtesy of Facebook - the grandgirls, 2012

A new wrinkle - Trick or Treating via U-Haul, 2015

Bear Update:
The great Florida bear hunt ended after two days (out of a proposed week) with 298 bears dead, the Florida Panhandle exceeding its quota of 40 three times over, and Central Florida exceeding its quota of 100 bears by more than a third. North Florida and South Florida did not meet their allowed quotas. The controversy continues. The weight minimum was 200 pounds, and one bear was brought in at 40 pounds, another at 70. There was even a fruitless search instigated for cubs that might have been left motherless, although the Florida Wildlife Commission alleges that spring cubs are well old enough to fend for themselves. There is already talk of another hunt next year. Only time will tell if culling the bears was the right move. Most people I know found the hunt appalling, yet hunters refer to us as "city folk." Frankly, I have no idea which side is right.

Copyediting Challenges - Part 6

 1.  Variety of dashes.
 The most common dash is an "M" dash, called that because it equals the width of the letter M.
Also used is the "N" dash, the width of the letter N.
When writing this blog, I often use: space hyphen space, a form of dash that works well in non-fiction but not in fiction, as it looks really weird when used at the end of an interrupted sentence.

Grace note: Do not use a single hyphen in place of a dash. That's a real no-no.

Grace note 2: Do not use a double hyphen as a dash. This dates back to the days of typewriters and is no longer necessary now that we can write a dash the same way typesetters do.

 2.  Where to find M and N dashes.
Most word processing programs offer these dashes in their symbols menu. Microsoft Word under "General Punctuation" symbols, Word Perfect from the "Typographic Symbols" menu. (Both are sub-headings under Insert - Symbols. I have an older version of Word, but you will definitely find them if you search around a bit.) I've also heard that some versions of Microsoft Word provide an automatic M-dash if you type 3 hyphens in a row. (My older program does not.) HOWEVER, I don't bother with the Insert menu. I simply use the old ASCII codes that have been built into computers since before PCs. (Many people have no idea they are there.)  

To write an M-dash: use Alt + 0151 on your keypad. (It won't work with the numbers at the top of your QWERTY keys.) Num Lock must be off.

To write an N-dash:  Alt + 0150 

All but one of the examples below are taken from my current Work in Progress, The Welshman's Bride, expected out some time in December.

The M-dash (often written em-dash):

3.  The Dash in place of a Colon or Semi-Colon.
Colons and semi-colons are seldom used in Fiction, particularly the lighter fiction represented by the Romance, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, Paranormal & SyFy markets. As far as I can tell, they are considered "too academic." Not that I don't use both on occasion, but in general these punctuation marks are rare in Fiction.  In most manuscripts these days, you will find both replaced by either a period or an M-dash.


She was a strikingly lovely woman—Hugh never would have ignored her, not after Rhys had put her aside. 

4.  Dash to indicate an Interruption.
Any time a person's words, or thoughts, are interrupted, you indicate this by using a dash.

Grace Note:  To get the correct quotation mark at the end of the M-dash, type the quotation mark twice, then delete the "open quote" symbol. (Something I can't demonstrate here, as Blogger uses san-serif quote marks. A copy from my manuscript reproduces well, however. See example below.)

Grace Note 2:  If a bit of dialogue, or a thought, trails away without interruption, then you use an ellipsis. [Scroll down to last week's Mosaic Moments.] A dash is used only when an actual interruption occurs.


“We will agree to nothing,” Rhys said, “until we have had more time to examine the situation.”
“Carys!” I cried . . .

5Dash used for an insertion.
Sometimes you want to insert a phrase in the middle of a sentence, perhaps a "comment" that simply won't work if only set off by commas. In that case, set off the phrase with an M-dash on each side.


Though what I am to say to Mama—let alone what I am going to do with her—I cannot even imagine.”

Shortly after I finished my daily meeting with Mrs. Blevins, Matty, Tegan, Alice, and I— feeling like conspirators in spite of my newly altered status—glided through the tapestry room and into the ancient castle. 

6.  Dash used for clarity.
In a manner similar to #5 above - If you have written a sentence with several clauses needing commas, you can frequently make it easier to read by setting off one of the phrases with an M-dash on each side. (On occasion, only a single dash is needed.)


Gruffydd and Olwenna Blevins stood before me, boasting nearly identical expressions—that of prisoners poised on the gallows, defiant to the end, waiting for the hangman to thrust their heads through the noose. 

7.  The dash used to avoid Dialogue Heresy.
As I've stated before in Mosaic Moments, you absolutely, positively cannot use a full sentence as a dialogue tag. You can, however, avoid this disaster by setting off that full-sentence tag with M-dashes on either side.


 “No, I do not regret it,” he added, “but if I had known”—a gargoyle grimace passed over his face—“I never would have subjected you to what you have encountered here.”

8.  The dash as an ever-useful tool:


 A pyrrhic victory—wasn’t that the name for a victory won at too high a cost?  

Now that I had matters more firmly in hand, perhaps a diversion was called for—something I had longed to do but could not manage until I had the ordering of the household.  

The N-dash (often written en-dash):

The Chicago Manual of Style basically advises the use of the N-dash in place of a hyphen. Which, frankly, surprised me. (I admit to not looking at "en-dash" rules until writing this blog.) They recommend the N-dash for between numbers, such as 1923–1940, or: The Miami–New York train goes through Orlando every day at 2:00 p.m.

To demonstrate the same with a hyphen:  1923-1940; Miami-New York.

I personally like to use the N-dash for "stuttered" dialogue. It's just enough longer than a hyphen to emphasize that a person is having trouble getting his/her words out. Yet I find the M-dash a bit too much. This is a personal choice, however; the CMS recommends the M-dash for just about everything except replacing a hyphen in typography. 

Example of an N-dash:

“I–I needed to be up and about,” I added rather obscurely.

The M-dash is ubiquitous, being used for myriad purposes, not just the ones mentioned above. The N-dash is less used; in fact, not at all if you prefer to stick to the hyphen for every dash not requiring an M-dash.  Do not, however, use "space hyphen space" for a dash when you are writing Fiction.  

Suggestions for the other ways to use the dash - and examples - are most welcome. 

~ * ~

Thanks for stopping by,


For Grace's website, listing all books as Blair Bancroft, click here.
For a brochure for Grace's editing service, Best Foot Forward, click here.


Saturday, October 24, 2015

Copyediting Challenges - 5

My daughter shared this on Facebook - no idea where it originated, but it's certainly found the right home on Mosaic Moments. (I would suggest that the sentiments expressed are indicative of the type of people who failed to acquire good manners as well as good English while in school.)

For my foreign readers who might be having trouble interpreting the above. The all-too-common mistakes are on the left. The correct use of "your" and "you're" (you are) is in blue on the right.

Alligator Update.
Visitors to Florida - whether from "up north," "out west," or international - seldom have any concept of Florida other than our beaches and themed attractions in Orlando. Which is why I try to keep my readers updated on happenings that show just how wild so much of Florida still is. The veneer of civilization is truly thin. (Anyone who has read my "Golden Beach" books knows it is a less than 10-mile strip along the edges of our peninsula, with a few inland cities, like Orlando, thrown in for good measure.) I lived 25 years on Florida's Gulf Coast, where we had so many alligators no one would even consider swimming in fresh water. (Two children, an adult male, and innumerable pets were lost to gators in our area during my time on the Gulf Coast.) 

When I moved to Orlando, I was astounded to discover people actually ventured into lakes they knew they were sharing with gators. And, as you've seen on Mosaic Moments, this can lead to trouble. On Sunday a 61-year-old man, a swimmer highly experienced in the waters of Blue Springs Park about 30 miles northwest of Longwood/Orlando, was pulled under by a gator and drowned. The first alligator fatality since 2007. The 12-foot gator was later shot and killed. 

The newspaper reported 22 fatal alligator attacks since 1948, 338 alligator bites (which would include the woman who lost her arm within a couple of miles from my house earlier this year). And by the way, when we ate lunch this weekend at Snook Haven on the Myakka River (10 miles east of Venice on the Gulf Coast), there were large signs saying, "Beware of venomous snakes." (When I moved to Venice in 1982, rattlers regularly sunned themselves on some of our less-traveled roads.)

The moral of the story: when you venture off the beach or out of a well-manicured theme park, take care. Gators, bears, rattlers, moccasins, oh my! They're not figments of Walt Disney's imagination. (We have a lot of deer, raccoon, and possum, too, but we don't consider them a menace. Unless you feed them, that is. In East Orlando - in a typical modest suburban community - a possum regularly entered my house through the cat door and helped himself to the cat's kibble. I finally had to seal the cat door.)

Bear Update.
Today, Saturday, October 24, is the first day of Florida's first bear hunt since 1972. Against vociferous protests, even from those who live in active bear country, the Florida Wildlife Commission's answer to three bear attacks on women last year is a hunt that most say will do nothing to keep bears from searching for food in trash cans the government refuses to replace with sturdier "bear proof" cans. If anything, I suspect it may drive more bears out of the deep woods and into people's backyards. The situation, as the hunt opens, is so controversial that the FWC has assigned monitors out in the field and law enforcement officers at tag stations where protesters are allowed to gather. (Hunters are required to bring their kill to a tag station. Overall quota for the hunt: 320.) FWC has even e-mailed every permitted hunter to advise them to be respectful of each other and of the protesters. If confronted, hunters are told to, "put your best foot forward and avoid engaging with them." More on the bear hunt as it develops.

Ha! Told you Florida wasn't all beaches, condos, and theme parks! 

Sat. Night Addendum - from the 11:00 p.m. news:
207 bears were killed across the state today. Central Florida met its quota of 99 bears and FWC has closed hunting in our area. Also in the Florida Panhandle. North and South Florida zones remain open for hunting until the overall quota of 320 bears is met. Hunters keep insisting the bears needed culling, but frankly, the sight of bears being brought in stretched out in the flatbeds of trucks was pretty sickening.

Copyediting Challenges - 5

The "modern" compression of the ellipsis is one of my pet peeves. I like to use an ellipsis in my writing to indicate a pause - in dialogue or simply in a person's thoughts. When the classic ellipsis is reduced to three periods, one right next to the other, the significant pause becomes more like a hiccup. It simply does not serve the function for which it was intended. And yet, just because Microsoft made a code for the wrong way to write an ellipsis (Ctrl+Alt+.), everyone seems to think that is how it should be done. I've even heard the excuse that the three periods close together work better in e-books. Don't believe it. Those wide spaces between words are going to happen, no matter which way you write the ellipsis. In summary, all I can say is, Please God, don't let programmers at Microscoft, who did not major in English, tell us how to write. 

Grace note:  If you absolutely, positively must use those squeezed periods, please put a space on either side so it at least looks close to a pause instead of a typo from someone's fingers left too long on the "period" key. Or nothing at all because the eye skips right over those teeny little squeezed-together periods.

1.  Ellipsis - how to write it.

 A correct ellipsis has a space before, between, and after each period.

Example from The Welshman's Bride:
“Everyone says . . . well, missus, they say Gruffydd would do anything for Mrs. Gwendolyn." 

2.  Ellipsis - used as a pause. See example above. 

3.  Ellipsis -used  to indicate a voice or thought trailing into silence, or into another thought

Example from The Welshman's Bride:
The carriage accident, stranding Hugh . . . Oh dear God. Hugh. 

Grace note: In non-fiction writing, the ellipsis is used to indicate portions of a quote that have been omitted, and there are occasions when the ellipsis is followed by a fourth period without a space between. Since my Writing & Editing posts are primarily intended for fiction authors, I am not going to confuse you by getting into this use of the ellipsis. Just keep in mind that in Fiction ellipses are three periods, plus spaces. Forget the four.

~ * ~

As I began to scribble down the different ways to use a dash, I realized the ubiquitous dash should wait for its own blog. So we'll leave it for another day.

Thanks for stopping by,


For Grace's website, listing all books as Blair Bancroft, click here.
For a brochure for Grace's editing service, Best Foot Forward, click here.