Showing posts from July, 2011

English Usage That Annoys Me

Today's EUTAM: Incorrect use of the word "impact," and outright fabrication of non-words like "impactful" and "impactfulness" and "impactive." See, my spell check is angry about all of those.

An "impact" is a physical collision of one thing into another - like a meteor impacting the earth.

Correct use: The meteor's impact was felt over a wide area.

Incorrect use: "This was an impactful movie." If it was, the film reel itself would have had to slam into the earth hard enough to create a new word out of thin air.

Correct use: "This movie affected me on a deep emotional level."

This gets into a whole other area of affect vs. effect, but I'll leave that for another day.

In sum: unless there's a meteor involved, or some other thing physically hitting another thing, you don't have an impact.

Here endeth the lesson.


Stuff is afoot. Behold the new look of Sinister. Now with more sinister...ness.

Anyway. This will likely be tweaked further, but it is now time for bed.

Blog I need to devour

This is a blog I just discovered that is chock full of good info for writers and writers-to-be. Great articles about how to build an audience via blogging and social networking etc, how to hook people & keep 'em coming back, etc.

If I'm going to ramp up my efforts to "become a writer," then I really should take some of this advice to heart.

Stay tuned. Stuff is afoot.

Shooter Vanished - a tiny excerpt.

And now, as a treat, a tiny excerpt of what will likely be the first novel I eventually finish and send off to publishers, The Shooter Vanished. Stay tuned for further excerpts as the mood strikes me.

Thomas found himself back at the bookstore again, just looking in the windows at the endless rows of shelves, the warmth of the place, imagining the smell of old paper, the murmur of hushed voices discussing their favorite titles. The place haunted him, and so he stood there, trying, perhaps, to stare through the wall into the past.

His eyes were streaked black with lack of sleep; the scar on his face burned with memory; he shivered in the prickling drizzle and pulled his ratty trench coat close. It would be a good night. Then he'd find her again, be with her again, hold her, curl up next to her and rest. Finally rest.

Fear spiked through him as he was overcome with dizziness. He put his arms out to catch his fall. He put it down to stress, to depression, to the slow inexorable…

Author page on Facebook

I've created an "Author Page" for myself on Facebook (link in post title). Not sure exactly what it's for yet, but you're welcome to "like" me.


Interesting concept for a website - give books away, get free books from other people. Haven't used it yet, but I will probably sign up for it. God knows I have tons of books I could give away.

8 words you're confusing with other words is a surprisingly intelligent website with some really good articles. This is a funny one about commonly-confused words. It had me giggling a fair bit.

Ten Wizards who found themselves in sci fi

Interesting article that shows how a "wizard" can show up in an ostensibly science fiction universe. Of note - The Doctor is included, which I agree with. Terry Pratchett, an author I really like, has said explicitly that Doctor Who isn't sci fi. I agree. The Doctor is a wizard, and his sonic screwdriver is nothing more than a magic wand. Even the softest sci-fi should have some semi-consistent rule set that establishes the boundaries of the universe in which it is set (think Star Trek and the rules for warp drives; think Dune and the mechanics of spice mining and the culture that develops around it). Doctor Who really doesn't have that.

Having said that, I love the hell out of Doctor Who - I think it's always a fantastic romp and lots of fun to watch. I've been watching all of the new series over again recently. I think of the three new doctors - and I'm going to catch hell for this - I like Matt Smith the best of all. Tennant had his own kind …

New Feature: English Usage that Annoys Me

Every so often I'll post one of these, starting below.

English Usage that Annoys Me for Monday, July 11, 2011

There's a tendency among professionals to use the word "same" in a particular way that annoys me. Example:

"I will draft the document and expect you to sign same."

I would replace the word "same" with the word "it."

"I will draft the document and expect you to sign it."

"Same" just seems like an unnecessary and awkward phrasing of something that can easily be expressed by the use of a pronoun.

It's not wrong, per se, but it is annoying.

I don't get a lot of comments on Sinister, but I know at least a few of you are reading same (see what I did there?), so please comment below. What's a grammar or language usage thing that annoys you?

If you're on Goodreads,

Find me there. I'm "sinisterblogger."

Happy 4th.

Post title link: Allen Ginsberg reading an early, unfinished version of "America."

Below: Full text.

America Allen GinsbergAmerica I've given you all and now I'm nothing.
America two dollars and twenty-seven cents January 17, 1956.
I can't stand my own mind.
America when will we end the human war?
Go fuck yourself with your atom bomb
I don't feel good don't bother me.
I won't write my poem till I'm in my right mind.
America when will you be angelic?
When will you take off your clothes?
When will you look at yourself through the grave?
When will you be worthy of your million Trotskyites?
America why are your libraries full of tears?
America when will you send your eggs to India?
I'm sick of your insane demands.
When can I go into the supermarket and buy what I need with my good looks?
America after all it is you and I who are perfect not the next world.
Your machinery is too much for me.
You made me want to be a saint.
There must be some other way to settle t…

Short Story Openings

Interesting article about 7 different types of short story openings, focused on sci-fi. Read the featured comments - they're funny.