Stodghill Says So

An opinionated posting on a variety of subjects by a former newspaper reporter and columnist whose daily column was named best in Indiana by UPI. The Blog title is that used in his high school sports predictions for the Muncie Evening Press.

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Location: Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, United States

At the age of 18 I was a 4th Infantry Division rifleman in the invasion of Normandy, then later was called back for the Korean War. Put in a couple of years as a Pinkerton detective. Much of my life was spent as a newspaper reporter, sports writer and daily columnist. Published three books on high school sports in Ohio and Indiana. I write mystery fiction for Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and others. Three books, Normandy 1944 - A Young Rifleman's War, The Hoosier Hot Shots, and From Devout Catholic to Communist Agitator are now available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other booksellers. So are four collections of short mysteries: Jack Eddy Stories Volumes 1 and 2, Midland Murders, and The Rough Old Stuff From Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine.

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Monday, July 23, 2007

Commas, Titles and Other Important Stuff

Commas are like dentists, something you need at times but seeing them too often can be a pain in the butt. Well, maybe not the butt in the case of dentists.
What I'm trying to say is that a comma here and there is vital but too many of them can impede the flow of a sentence or an entire story. In great quantity they are similar to unsynchronized traffic lights that bring traffic to a halt far too often rather than letting it move steadily down the road.
I've had that happen more times than I can remember. An editor, usually someone who majored in English, adds comma after comma to a story that doesn't need more than it had when it was submitted. It just seems that the love of the comma is drilled into their heads so they worry too much about breaking up sentences rather the flow of the story. A story needs rhythm as much as a song because pace is vital.
I have a story in the October issue of Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine - that's its unusual cover at the left - and it was published just as it was written aside from the addition of a few commas. Not enough to hurt anything, though, because the editors at AHMM know that you don't want to slow down the action in a mystery story.
They did surprise me by keeping the title I used when submitting it - The Survivor Of the Storms. It's the latest in the Jack Eddy series that has been running for many years. I usually can come up with decent titles such as Mayhem On Market Street, Nightmare On North Hill, Panic On Portage Path, Death On the Devil Strip, The Town Club Murders and so forth, but with this story I was stuck. I had to call it something, of course, so I came up with The Survivor Of the Storms thinking they would change it. They didn't, and now I'm glad because it looks better in print than it did in my head.
They did something else right, too. The drawing with the story is that of a Great Lakes ore boat, not some tramp steamer on the Atlantic. An ore boat - on the lakes they are called boats, not ships - is very long, sits low in the water and looks like nothing else. The artist got it right.
I've been so busy the past couple of weeks that I've missed out on much of the latest political talk from Wolf Blitzer and his cronies. Now that would be a shame because the election is only sixteen months away and a man needs time to make his choices. I hope you realize that's a joke.The fact is I'm not too crazy about any of the candidates except Dennis Kucinich and he has about as much chance of being nominated as I do. I'll have a hard time voting for any Democrat, however, because too many of them want amnesty for all the illegal aliens that slip across the border. That taken into consideration, I'll have an even harder time voting for a Republican because they are enchanted by war unless they have to do any fighting in one.There is one Republican who is just so perfect it makes a man want to gag. That's Mitt Romney, of course. I never see him on the tube without wanting to douse him with a bucketful of muddy water. But what's the use, he'd probably come out looking like he just took a shower.Guess I'm going to be stuck with an independent, being one of that breed myself. The problem with that is an independent has even less chance of winning than Dennis Kucinich. The big players have it fixed that way. Well, maybe Al Gore will decide to toss his hat in the ring. Along with Gore, a man I'd vote for in a minute is Sherrod Brown. Like Gore, he's not running. That doesn't leave much to get excited about.


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