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Spellchecking Annoyances

There is much talk about editing and editing software in author circles. What editing services do you need? Which program should you use?

I use both the free version of Grammarly for grammar check, the paid versions of Prowritingaid and Autocrit. Each does things a bit differently, so a writer ends up capturing a wider range of problems than if they simply used one program.

I’m happy with my set-up, but it’s hardly perfect. What do I mean by that? Take a look at the sentence below, from my WIP The Glass Volcano.

“Shiobe kept swiping at her forehead to clear it of sweat but still blinked it into her eyes.”

Here’s the suggestion of Grammarly.

Here’s the suggestion of Prowritingaid.

Truthfully, this emphasizes to me something I’ve believed for a long time; grammar rules are not immutable and can be manipulated at will. There is a variety of ways to say different things with clarity and flair, and each author has their unique perspective. That’s a feature, because if everyone wrote exactly the same, reading would be a boring slog.

I’ve read blog posts where writers and editors insist that this way is best, that way is best, and woe be to any author who writes how it best looks/sounds to them. It’s true, some writers need strict structure, but others don’t. And that’s OK. It adds variety.

I mean, if various experts don’t agree, why should we writers? English is malleable, and if we strictly follow rules, we’re going to end up with stilted stories that are technically flawless, and ultimately vapid and forgettable.

Who wants to read, “She walked into a room”, when they could have, “A fog carrying the stench of rotting plants engulfed her as she peeked around the door jamb. Slapping a hand over her nose, she gingerly stepped onto creaking floorboards.” (I say this, because have you ever watched a Grammarly commercial where they pare everything down to a cold and calculated sentence and claim that’s best?)

If you like what you write, your readers will, too. If you spend too much time tweaking it to the point it looses that special something, you’ll hate it, and so will your readers. Yes, spelling and grammar are important, but if the point gets across despite the absence of a comma, why complain?

*Cover by Image by Oberholster Venita from Pixabay

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Shiobe Rising: The Wellspring Dragons Book 1 and Trouble in Tindrel: The Wellspring Dragons Book 2 are available in Kindle format. Lapis of Nicodem, a serialized dark fantasy/science fantasy, is available for free at World Anvil. Follow me, Kwyn Marie, on Facebook and Instagram. Check out my author website, the Wellspring Dragons book site and the Lapis of Nicodem book site. And if you like what you see, buy me a KoFi.

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Ambercaast Chapter 13: Sweet Luck is Live

Ambercaast Chapter 13: Sweet Luck is now Live! Celebration of 1 year of Lapis of Nicodem storytelling!

That’s right, the Lapis of Nicodem serial began Oct. 2, 2020–and oddly, this chapter lined up with the date I chose for Lapis’s birthday. An accident, but Happy Birthday! Thank you to all readers who follow Lapis’s exploits. I deeply appreciate the support, and I will continue to entertain you during the next year 🙂 And thank you to World Anvil, for providing a great place I can run my serial and house its world.

Summary: Faelan asks Lapis to delve into the identity of the chasers Requet is searching for, including one whose patron has staked him for death. Guard Superior Fyor also wants to chat, which, luckily enough, leads Lapis to Danaea’s partner, Thyden–a man no one would guess worked with a dangerous chaser.

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Shiobe Rising: The Wellspring Dragons Book 1 and Trouble in TindrelThe Wellspring are available in Kindle format. Lapis of Nicodem, a serialized dark fantasy, is available for free at World Anvil. Follow me, Kwyn Marie, on Facebook and Instagram. Check out my author website, and the Wellspring Dragons book site as well as the Lapis of Nicodem book site. And if you like what you see, buy me a KoFi!

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Ambercaast Chapter 12: A Night with requet is Live!

Happy Friday! Sit back and read Ambercaast Chapter 12: A Night of Requet.

Rin is upset over Jerin, and Lapis wants to speak with him about it. Unfortunately, following him into the night market proves problematic; she is waylaid by Black Hats in the employ of Leadcommander Requet. He wants to speak with her–NOW. As with everything else, his concerns appear to lead back to a missing Hoyt.

And Lapis of Nicodem turns 1 on October 2! I can’t believe I’ve been releasing a chapter every 2 weeks for a year 🙂 !

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Shiobe Rising: The Wellspring Dragons Book 1 and Trouble in TindrelThe Wellspring Dragons Book 2 are available in Kindle format. Lapis of Nicodem, a serialized dark fantasy, is available for free at World Anvil. Follow me, Kwyn Marie, on Facebook and Instagram. Check out my author website, and the Wellspring Dragons book site as well as the Lapis of Nicodem book site. And if you like what you see, buy me a KoFi!

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“Clean”, “Wholesome” Romance: Please Use Another Term

I’m a dark fantasy writer, and fantasy is my preferred reading genre. But I noticed that several Instagram authors, as well as people who are members of a Facebook group for writers I belong to, use the term “clean romance”. I had a inkling what it meant, and looked it up.

Yep. “Clean”, or “Wholesome” in some circles, is exactly what I guessed: romance without the sex. And yes, that annoyed me. Well, annoyed is a light term for the emotion I felt.

The explanations I’ve read about this subgenre claim that “clean” and “wholesome” just means no sex, that kissing and hugging’s OK (maybe), and this allows the romance to shine through.

Huh. OK. But why not use the term light romance or something along those lines? Because “clean”, when it comes to love, has a specific meaning, and the opposite of that is “dirty”. When you claim “clean romance” is one that has no sex, you’re automatically saying “dirty” is a romance that does.

And that, dear reader, is what western societies have been telling girls, teens and women for eons–you have sex, you’re filthy. You have sex, you’re disgusting. You have sex, you’re a licked lollipop with flies on it. No one will ever want to marry you because no one could possibly want you.

Yes, this term is used on purpose. Yes, it plays on the stereotype of women as either “good” or “bad”, and promotes the unhealthy attitude that sex is dirty. If you don’t want to write sex scenes, fine. But don’t pretend you’re not making a judgmental statement using the terms “clean” and “wholesome”. You are, and it’s a misogynistic one that shows how little you respect women and girls.

The more often girls, teens and women are exposed to the idea that “clean” means “wholesome” means “good”, if something terrible does happen to them (rape, for instance), they’re more likely to see themselves as “dirty“, a slut, and unsalvageable. Elizabeth Smart was kidnapped at fourteen and raped, and I remember how so many people wondered why she didn’t try to escape her captors. She said it was because she realized she fell into the “dirty” category after what happened. Who wants a used piece of bubblegum?

No one. Smart assumed, as she had been taught by her family and her church, that she was damaged beyond redemption. And that is what “clean” romance is implicitly referring to; good girls don’t do icky things like sex outside of marriage, and if they do, they’re no longer clean, so no longer good or worthy.

There are booklists titled, “Clean Romances that won’t make you feel dirty”. So yeah, the term is on purpose. It’s meant to highlight that sex is dirty–at least for women (and if you say that’s not true, peek in on the Duggar saga).

Women have been talking about the harmful effects of such language for years, because words do mean something. But, as usual, since it’s women’s voices, they’ve been ignored.

I have seen the harmful effects of “clean” vs “dirty”. I’ve watched the self-destruction and pain play out because molestation victims struggled to see themselves as still viable human beings instead of nasty, worthless sluts. Some of the families even used “dirty” to describe the victims, girls who were considered despicable liars and outcast because they were now spoiled. So sure, continue to use the word “clean” in relation to romance–and remember, there’s a little girl, a teen, a woman out there who internalizes the reminder they are a hopeless, dirty monster.

There’s nothing wrong with writing and reading a romance without sex, but is it really too much to ask to use another term that isn’t seeped in hate and misogyny?

*Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay

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Shiobe Rising: The Wellspring Dragons Book 1 and Trouble in TindrelThe Wellspring Dragons Book 2 are available in Kindle format. Lapis of Nicodem, a serialized dark fantasy, is available for free at World Anvil. Follow me, Kwyn Marie, on Facebook and Instagram. Check out my author website, and the Wellspring Dragons book site as well as the Lapis of Nicodem book site. And if you like what you see, buy me a KoFi!

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Ambercaast Chapter 11: Invitations is Live

Read Ambercaast Chapter 11: Invitations here.

Lapis is shocked when the Black Hats declare they want to speak to her partner, Aethon. Aethon is Patch’s pre-rebel name, and no one outside a select few knows that–including the enemy, who don’t put two-and-two together concerning him. Instead, the skyshroud’s leadcommander wants a personal meeting with her to discuss matters. She would rather wade through testy teenage rat moodiness and rebel intrigue than suffer through a Dentherion interrogation. Lucky for her, Patch has a better idea on how to spend an evening.

Lapis of Nicodem turns 1 on October 2! Has it been that long? Wow.

Within the next six months or so, I plan to have the audio version of Lapis of Nicodem available. We’ll see how fast I get at editing audio clips. Why not check out my article on The Night Market, which is playing a more pivotable role in the series than I originally intended.

Take care, y’all.

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Shiobe Rising: The Wellspring Dragons Book 1 and Trouble in Tindrel: The Wellspring Dragons Book 2 are available in Kindle format. Lapis of Nicodem, a serialized dark fantasy, is available for free at World Anvil. Follow me, Kwyn Marie, on Facebook and Instagram. Check out my author website, and the Wellspring Dragons book site as well as the Lapis of Nicodem book site. And if you like what you see, buy me a KoFi!