Style Guides and How to Avoid Them

Today we are going to take a break from the constant stream of dragons and magic to talk about something fun instead: grammar and style guides. Woo. Some of you may remember a little while ago when I compared the cover of Strunk and White's magnum opus to what happens after flushing. The first lesson…

Of Daenerys and Denouements

Spoilers for A Game of Thrones and Battlestar Galactica (2004). This is a slight diversion from the blog's usual focus as a big story comes to a close. I might do this regularly. The final episode of Game of Thrones was actually not bad. There were some clangers and I rolled my eyes at least…

Writing Realms

'Now where did I leave my realms?' Forgotten Realms is a long-running fantasy setting originally conceived by Ed Greenwood for the Advanced Dungeons and Dragons role-playing game and is possibly the most well-known setting for the game: although other settings such as Greyhawk and Dragonlance predate Forgotten Realms, the books of authors such as R.…

Writing Ice and Fire

Spoilers for A Song of Ice and Fire (book series) and Game of Thrones (television series). George R. R. Martin's acclaimed fantasy series, which has reinvigorated the fantasy genre and made it even somewhat acceptable to people who might have sneered at it in years past, is a natural place to start a series on thinking…

Split Infinitives and Dangling Participles

Katie Bouman's algorithm helps linguists externalize visualize the crushing oblivion that awaits a society in which minor grammatical errors are tolerated. A while ago I found myself in a discussion with an acquaintance who pointed out that, despite my frothing aversion to split infinitives, the authorities at the OED blog had declared them acceptable because…

Grammar Matters

Grammar is usually portrayed as the boring, necessary bit of language. Unwanted, unloved, it sits around like a pedant blogger, complaining about things it dislikes and expecting to be taken seriously by people who have better things to do with their lives. Woah there... Grammar is like a toolkit. A mechanic needs to know what…

Smoke and Mirrors, part 2 or ‘Unfortunate Lay’

Spoilers for Hollow Knight (computer game). Clarity in writing flows from choosing the correct word. To paraphrase both Antoine de Saint-Expuréy and Josef Pieper, you will know that you have the correct word when no other word fits its place better. Nothing says, 'I promise this won't be pretentious' like casually dropping Antoine de Saint-Expuréy…