Giveaway Closing

by megsilver on February 27, 2015

Wilson and his staring issue

This is staring at me from under the desk right now. I get the feeling he’s expecting something…

The monthly giveaway for February will be closing in just a few hours! Be sure to enter if you haven’t already.

I have a limited window in the office tomorrow, so it’s possible I won’t be able to announce February’s winner until Sunday or Monday. I’ll be sure to post and contact the winner as soon as possible, and get March’s contest up an running.

Thirteen Things I Watch Way Too Often

by megsilver on February 24, 2015

Thanks to the Lake Placid reunion, I got to thinking about my addiction to a certain movie. And that gave rise to a list of thirteen things I watch way too often.

Some of these I watch out of habit, some for comfort, some to keep me company while I’m working or doing housework. Regardless, I have seen these things just too many times:

13. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

I know, right? I wouldn’t believe it of me, either. But what a great story.

It's a wonderful punch.

Jimmy was doing duck face way before it was uncool.

12. Miracle

I know they took some liberties, but I love it for what it is: five parts inspiration, three parts joy and one part Kurt Russell’s accent.

Herb and Jack.

Because hockey. And Herb Brooks. And Kurt Russell. And that whole thing with Ralph Cox, known to make me weep.

11. Goonies

The one, the only…

Chunk about to start his hair on fire

My reaction when I found out they are remaking this film. And I’m not screaming YAY. More like BLASPHEMUUUUUR!

10. Almost Famous

Rock stars… have kidnapped… my brain. About 40% of the pop-culture references made in this house come from this film. And if you like Russell, I can’t even say your name.

William telling it like it isn't.

I am the flower-hurting enemy! Rawr.

9. Supernatural, Season One, Two & Three

Do I really have to explain this one, assbutt?

Hullo there

Sure, I could have gone with the obvious eye-candy image, but why be nice?

8. Idiocracy

If you haven’t seen this, we can’t be friends.

Wonder what that looks like from the inside?

Dat apostrophe, tho

7. Captain America

The man with the star-spangled repeat button. IMO, the best of the first-Gen Marvel films.

Not the picture you were expecting

Chris Evans CGI’d to look like your average plus-sized actress.

6. Pitch Perfect

Sometimes I have the feeling I can do more intellectual fare, but then I think… Mmm… Better not.

The best character in the film.

Still a better influence than John Hughes.

5. Ghostbusters

And the flowers… are still. standing.

No one EVER made them this way

He’s texting about the all-female-cast remake again.

4. Star Wars Episodes IV, V, VI & VI.V

Episodes IV, V, VI & Spaceballs are considered one film in this house.

3. Alien

Watching my kids watch this film for the first time was pure magic. Well, for me. They were terrified. An absolutely perfect film from start to finish.

The only scene anyone remembers.

The hell is she pointing at?

2. Mean Girls

Tina Fey is a genius. Another absolutely perfect film, and as prophetic as Idiocracy. Fetch still hasn’t happened.

Try Sears.

My reaction when someone says they haven’t seen this film.

1. Buffy, Season One

Netflix probably thinks I have some sort of OCD-esque mental disorder from the number of times I’ve watched this on streaming, despite the fact that I own two sets of perfectly good disks.

Buffy Season One is my go-to hand-holder whenever I need to edit. Which helps me not to focus on the wardrobe, my only complaint with this personal oasis. (I mean, is Harmony really wearing the blue-leather Nightmares jacket when Marcie pushes her down the stairs? And corduroy? Seriously? WTF?)

In The Library.

I knew we’d end up on her list somewhere. And yes, we’re aware “e-letter” in “I Robot, You Jane” makes us sound like your grandmother.

Passive Vs. Boring

by megsilver on February 23, 2015

Welcome to a post about [probably] the most misunderstood pair of phrases in the world of editing:

“Passive Voice” vs. “Boring Voice”

Passive Voice is about one thing, and one thing only: the relationship between a sentence’s subject and object.


Active structure: Tom sat on the chair.
Passive structure: The chair was sat upon by Tom.

In passive sentence structure, the object is being acted upon by the object, rather than the subject simply acting on the object.

Passive structure almost always involves some form of the verb “to be”, which includes forms like ‘was’ and ‘had been’. Which is also how “passive voice” is so often confused with “boring voice” — “Boring voice” is caused by repetitive use of the “to be” verbs like was, were, being, had been, even when the sentence structure is active.

Example of boring voice:

Tom was sitting by the window in a chair. Tom was looking out the window, thinking about what he was going to do. The situation was ugly; his choices were getting up, or sitting there all day. ‘Sitting there’ was the more attractive choice. Getting up was a lot more work.

In this example, almost every verb is ‘was’ or another form of ‘to be’.

Confusion between “passive voice” and “boring voice” comes from semantics; many authors and editors warn against passive voice because of the involvement of the word “was”, when what they really mean to warn against is “boring voice”.

Working with authors for almost twenty years, critiquing, editing and diving into slush piles — and even reading mountains of professionally edited published works — I see ‘boring voice’ all the time. Everyone who reads sees boring voice all the time, because it’s damned difficult and time-consuming to fix.

Authors who slip into boring voice are uniquely blind to the repetitive usage of ‘was’, ‘had been’, ‘were’, et al. These verbs form a path of least resistance while putting words on the page. And sure, the author’s meaning(s) are clear enough, but boring voice causes an uncomfortable repetitive cadence, and can often strip away what the reader needs to render the story in their heads. (I used to call this ‘hemorrhaging’ on the page; all the good stuff had bled away, leaving us a corpse to read.)

Disclaimer: I’m not saying no one should ever use ‘was’ or other forms of ‘to be’. Moderation in all things.

So. I hope that clears up any confusion about the difference between ‘passive voice’ and ‘boring voice’.

No one wants to be boring. Authors, pay attention to repetitive use of ‘was’. Beta readers and editors, help your authors watch out for repetitive use of ‘was’ and other forms of ‘to be’.

Nail-biting Time

by megsilver on February 19, 2015

Over the last couple days, I’ve been working on swapping Help Wanted from the old distributor over to the new. Availability will be weird, and site links will be even weirder.

I’m sorry for the inconvenience. Links will update as soon as everything’s sorted.

Until then, the best bet is to search your favorite retailers directly.