Writing Strangely Familiar Things

Spoilers for Stranger Things (television series) seasons 1 - 2. On 15th July 2016, Netflix released the Duffer Brothers' Stranger Things (ST), a nostalgic love-letter to the '80s filled with concentrated fun and then ground down into an addictive substance and unleashed on the world, ensnaring an entire generation of unsuspecting viewers. Many fans resorted…

Passive Activism

Thanks to Thematically Meandering for featuring my article about the passive voice. Follow this link for the original article and TM's own journey of discovery in the wacky world of words, as well as his reflections on the hard life of doctoral study. If, like me, you learnt to type in the 1990s or early…

Writing 40,000 Hammers

Spoilers for Warhammer 40,000, Warhammer Fantasy Battle, and derived media. The biggest fantasy here is that a sword will be of any use against... wait a minute...(Artist: Dan Scott - info for the artist's page greatly appreciated) In the last of the current series of fictional worlds we shall be examining the fantastic oddball that…

Writing Fantasy-hammer

Spoilers (maybe?) for the Warhammer Fantasy Battle franchise. The biggest fantasy here is that a sword will be of any use against a three-foot tall creature from the back of a fifteen-foot tall mount. Nottingham is famous for three things: Robin Hood, knife crime, and the headquarters of a cynical corporation preying upon the pliable…

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…

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…