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What’s that comma for?

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Although I’m not certain what the source was, I created this handy-dandy little checklist for comma usage early on in my writing career. I still use it from time to time, although more a gentle reminder than as a check_list. I hope you will find it useful too.

Comma usage blog

As an aid in using this checklist, I’m also including definitions of some of the terms used above. No offense implied should you already be familiar.

Restrictive and non-restrictive clauses: An adjective clause is restrictive when it limits the thing it refers to and is therefore essential to the sentence. Example: The store accepted returns that were less than sixty days old. If an adjective clause adds non-essential or extra information it is non-restrictive and should use a comma followed by which to introduce it. Example: Julia’s scarf, which was purchased three months ago, was not accepted as a return.

Introductory dependent clause: A group of words including a verb and a subject but does not express a complete thought and cannot stand alone, which introduces a sentence. Example: When I worry, I eat.

Example of non-restrictive clause in the middle of a sentence: The book, which was on the table, was on fire.

Appositive: A noun or noun phrase that renames another noun right beside it. Example: His hat, a billycock, was askew. His girlfriend, a short girl with flaming red hair, sat down beside him.

Parentheticals: A parenthetical is a statement or reference that is incidental and could be properly enclosed within parentheses (hence the name). Example: Parentheticals, for example, require commas.

Transitionals: Words and phrases used to connect one idea with the next. Example: The fingertips contain numerous nerve endings. To illustrate, pick up that branding iron.

Conjunction: A word used to connect clauses or sentences or to coordinate words in the same clause. Example: In his pocket he had a coin, a ring, and a piece of twine.

Independent clause: A clause (group of words consisting of at least a noun and a verb) that can stand alone as a simple sentence. Example: His car started smoothly and he took off for home.

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Short Story to be published in Grievous Angel Webzine…

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King-Carousel-solo-WEB

I’ve just learned that a piece of Flash Fiction of mine has been accepted for publication in GRIEVOUS ANGEL WEBZINE. The name of the piece is The Prize and though it will be a couple months before it surfaces, I thought I’d announce it now.

Looking for suggestions on direction

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Here is a fragment of a story on which I’m looking for some suggestions on where to take it…please leave your suggestions in the comments. And thanks.

morgue

To Matthew, Elise Newcombe was more beautiful dead than alive, but so were they all. He took pictures of each one and carefully catalogued them in a scrapbook. Not caring if some might think it was morbid to do so, but careful that it not be discovered, Matthew would only bring out the scrapbook when he knew his mother was asleep.

Always a loner, Matthew took the job at the mortuary because he didn’t have to deal with people, live ones anyway.

This one is just for fun…

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Here is a little story that I wrote just for fun. Let me know if anyone likes it!

 

It reads:

It wasn’t until I tried to start my car that I really began to think something strange was going on. I had awakened just after dawn. The first thing I noticed was silence where the incessant chatter of the early morning news on my clock radio should be. I raised myself up on my elbow and saw the radio was dark. The power’s gone off, I thought, so I dragged myself out of bed and reached for my cell phone on the bureau to find out what time it was. Oh great, was my next thought, I forgot to recharge it and now it’s dead. I forced myself into the shower. Thank God for propane water heaters.

After I dressed in the semi-darkness of my bedroom, I walked into the living room. It was kind of eerie without the TV, radio or even tunes on my iphone to listen to. The silence was getting to me so I decided to go to the neighborhood Starbucks, hoping their power was still on. That’s when my car wouldn’t start. “What the…” I said to the steering wheel as I sat with my mouth hanging open. I looked up the street and two houses down I saw Russell Lawrence, that insufferable bastard, with his head under the hood of his new BMW.

“What’s wrong, Russ?” I asked as I walked up behind him.

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Another short story (or part of one)…

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Here is a short story for Christmas; yeah, it’s a little corny, but sweet. I hope you enjoy it.

The Pageant

The snow crunched beneath his feet as the old man walked from his garage to his front door. Winters had always been hard, but they seemed a bit colder and a bit grayer since Evelyn had passed. They’d been married 42 years when she discovered a lump in her breast. By then, it was too late – within six months she was gone.

Their last Christmas together had been incredibly tough. She was in her last stages and though they’d tried everything the doctors could suggest, nothing helped. In fact, it seemed to Paul it may have hastened her death. That’s why near the end he’d refused the latest round of treatments, even when their son tried to convince otherwise. They had a bitter argument, resulting in a split between father and son, a split so deep that they were unable to give one another any solace when Evelyn passed. The last time they saw each other was at the funeral.

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Short story published in Nth Degree …

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I nearly forgot that I’ve recently had one of my earlier short stories published online in the Nth Degree Fiction magazine Issue #25…I do like the illustration they put with it!

NthDegree-25

The story is “Harcourt Manor” and is a sort of haunted house story. I hope you enjoy it.

A story a week…

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I’ve decided to shake the dust off some old stories and pieces of stories I’ve written and give them a fresh airing. What I hope to get out of this are useful comments, whether complimentary or not, that I can use to get better at the craft of writing. Feel free to critique and to criticize what you see here. I’ll begin with something I wrote a couple of years ago and put up on Amazon’s, and Barnes and Noble’s self-publishing platform. So this one is a complete work, though I’ve not touched it in quite some time.

banshee

 

THE BANSHEE OF THE RANNOCH MOOR

by Dean P. Turnbloom

 

I believe it was the Bard himself who wrote, “there are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy,” and I am here to tell you it’s a fact. The story I’m about to tell is true, I swear it by all that is holy, and all that is unholy for that matter, for this isn’t a tale for the faint of heart. Be warned, for if you hear the cry of the Banshee…but wait, I’m getting ahead of myself.

 Here, sit down, let me start from the beginning, so you can judge for yourself. I may not tell it well, but then who’s to say what’s worth the telling, eh? Sit. It’ll only take a little while. There, that’s better.

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