The Journal, Saturday, 12/17

Hey Folks,

When discussing consistency in a seminar I taught a year or two ago, I mentioned as an example, that the writer should use either “toward” or “towards” throughout the manuscript. I also said, almost in passing, that “toward” is the American version of the word and “towards” (most often pronounced “t’ords”) is the Brit version.

I wasn’t talking about the use of the word by a particular character or in a writing set in a particular country. I was talking only about consistency. I’ve seen hundreds of manuscripts in which the writer writes “toward” one time and “towards” another time. So I was saying the writer should pick one (toward or towards) and then use it throughout.

Shirley, a friend who is from Great Britain originally, was in attendance and quietly corrected me. Rather than either of us risking embarrassment in that public venue (and to get on with the class) I let it pass rather than discussing it further.

I also don’t know how I could have discussed it further anyway without pulling out my copy of “the” dictionary. (I am blessed to own a copy of The Compact Oxford English Dictionary. All 19 volumes in one massive tome, accompanied by a magnifying glass.) And specifically for American English, I use the American Heritage College Dictionary.

But no matter. In a discussion concerning consistency, it was a moot point anyway. I wasn’t saying you shouldn’t call a “crow” an “Arizona Black Eagle.” I was saying only that you should pick one and stick with it through the story.

Now Joanna Penn, in the “Of Interest” section below, offers a blog post on the differences between British and American terms. She mentions the term in question, not as a specific example but (as I did so long ago) only in passing. Very entertaining.

She even offers “five major, easily adoptable” nuances between the languages that will make you “golden” with most readers. I hope you’ll read it.

You can also take advantage of the links on my website under Writers’ Resources in the left sidebar. The entries marked Dictionary are most appropriate for this discussion, but if you haven’t browsed the list in awhile, I encourage you to do so.

* * *

Rolled out about 3:30. It was almost 60 degrees but with sustained winds of around 40 mph. Spent the first three hours writing this little bit of stuff and exploring Author Marketing Club (see the second entry in Of Interest below).

By 6:30 it was sleeting and the temp had dropped to 36°. And still high winds. Ugh. Gonna be one of those days.

Yesterday I hit upon a few ideas for novels, actually set in a world I’ve written in before. In that world, a new worldwide political organization had been established; a second worldwide purge of the Jewish people had occurred; an inter-Arab war was going on as Arab nations fought each other over the division of Israel after the worldwide political organization threw it to the winds; and one child who was missed in the purge grew up to become a miner of bones for a calcium extract in the Siberian burial fields. So he was mining the bones of his own people.

I wrote only the last idea, a 73,000 word story about the boy who grew up to mine the bones of his people and the effect that had on him. That novel was In the Siberian Fields.

But the other ideas have gone unwritten to any real depth. Oh, and there was also a moon colony involved, complete with a love interest for the young miner featured in In the Siberian Fields.

I thought I might start one of those other ideas today, but a few factors combine to make that unlikely: 1, it’s Saturday, so I’m not the only human in the house and there are other things to be done; 2, with the weather like it is, although I could easily get to the Hovel and work out there, I feel a need to be here, in the house, to fend off or attend to any possible catastrophies; and 3, a day like this just begs to be a day off. It’s a curl-up-on-the-couch-and-watch-TCM kind of day, though I will get some editing done. I can’t afford to fall behind in that.

So I said all of that to say this: We’ll see what happens.

* * *

Moving right along on the editing. No writing again today, but I got a lot done.

I’m selling my 4-Runner and getting a Toyota Tacoma, also 4 wheel drive. So I spent some time today getting the 4-Runner prepped and taking off some things I want to keep (like the brush guard, etc.).

I also edited 73 pages, getting through page 230 and putting me 54 pages above the mean of 35 pages per day.

Of Interest

A must read at Joanna Penn’s site, Making British Characters Realistic as an American Writer … and Vice Versa (

Also, if you know as little about marketing as I do, here’s something to consider:

An interesting note at Dean’s site in 12/16/16 Daily (

Today’s Writing

Nope. Back tomorrow.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 870 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 870

Writing of “”

Day 1…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 18975
Total fiction words for the year………… 698669
Total nonfiction words for the month… 10170
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 268070

Total words for the year (fiction and nonfiction)…… 966739

Edit Totals

Day 1…… 51 pages. Total to date…… 51 (+16 in the bank)
Day 2…… 26 pages. Total to date…… 77 (+7)
Day 3…… 41 pages. Total to date…… 118(+13)
Day 4…… 38 pages. Total to date…… 156 (+16)
Day 5…… 73 pages. Total to date…… 229 (+54)