– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –
Today I’m on the ‘The Single Best Thing’ blogtour, organised by Rachel’s Random Resources.
To promote this book I have a guest post written by its author, but b
About the Author :
Elaine Spires is a novelist, playwright, screenwriter and actress. Extensive travelling and a background in education and tourism perfected Elaine’s keen eye for the quirky characteristics of people, captivating the humorous observations she now affectionately shares with the readers of her novels. Elaine has written two books of short stories, two novellas and seven novels, four of which form the Singles Series – Singles’ Holiday, Singles and Spice, Single All The Way and Singles At Sea. Her latest book, Singles, Set and Match is the fifth and final book in the series. Her play Stanley Grimshaw Has Left The Building is being staged at the Bridewell Theatre, London in May 2019. Her short film Only the Lonely, co-written with Veronique Christie and featuring Anna Calder Marshall is currently being in shown in film festivals worldwide and she is currently working on a full length feature film script. Only the Lonely won the Groucho Club Short Film Festival 2019! Elaine recently returned to UK after living in Antigua W.I. She lives in East London.
Almost four years have passed since Melv followed Eve back to England refusing to throw away their long awaited chance of lasting love and happiness. Much has happened in that time. No longer a tour manager for Travel Together, Eve is enjoying unexpected success in her new career. Has she forgiven him for hurting her so deeply? Was her love for him simply enough? And what about her own dark secret?
Provoking smiles and tears this glimpse into Eve’s future brings the Singles’ Series to its final conclusion.
Guest Post :
Back in December I gave a talk at Dagenham Library and thoroughly enjoyed myself. The reason I was there was to promote The Banjo coming out in paperback. The Banjo is set in Dagenham in 50s and 60s and the term banjo is unique to Dagenham and it refers to a pedestrianised cul-de-sac of which there are many in the borough. The audience was a lively one and they had loads of questions for me including, “Are you a very critical reader?”
And the answer to that is a resounding “Yes!”
For me the first thing a book has to be is believable. I wrote plays before I wrote books and because a play is visual and includes the actors’ performances I was always looking for believability. And as a reader I scrutinise the story and ask the question of each scene/plot twist: is it believable? And whether it’s believable or not is down to the writer’s ability to make us believe even the most unlikely occurrence. Some writers have that talent in spades, they can make us believe anything and others sometimes fall short.
My other bugbear is poor grammar. Now, before you start calling me a pedant or grammar-nazi let me explain. If you are a writer you make a living through language. Yes, language is a living thing and therefore it changes and develops. Over the last fifty years British English has become inundated with Americanisms, mainly due to the influence of American films and TV programmes. Except so many people don’t call them films any more, they say “movies”. I accept that.
There was a time when “got” was unacceptable. I was told by my English teacher that we could always find another verb. So we had to say “He recovered,” instead of “He got better” and “She got ready for the party” became “She prepared for the party” etc. For the last thirty years “got” has become normal as English has become less formal. But now I read “gotten” everywhere and that an Americanism. When I read that in a book written by a British author I shake my head in despair.
Other errors guaranteed to irritate me are writers that don’t know the difference between less and fewer; number and amount; sitting, seated and sat; standing and stood. Last year I stopped reading a book I was quite enjoying because the continual use of “sat” instead of “sitting” drove me nuts! “He was sat in his office.” No he wasn’t! He was sitting. Someone tried to tell me it was a regional thing but I hear it all over. And surely grammar rules apply to the whole country, don’t they?
And don’t get me started on writers using “I” when it should be “me”. So a correct sentence would be “It was a special treat for Mary and me” – not for Mary and I. The secret is to take away Mary and then you see that you can’t say “It was a special treat for I.” It’s not the same as saying “Mary and I prepared a special treat” is it?
And the thing that astounds me most of all is that the vast majority of these books are published by well-know publishing houses. Don’t they use proof-readers any more? Don’t editors pick up grammatical howlers?
We indie writers get a lot of stick; there’s a lot of prejudice aimed as us. God help us if anyone finds a typo in one of our five-hundred page books. Yet the majority of mistakes I come across don’t come from indies but rather from traditionally published authors.
I know that many will be shaking their heads and asking, “Why does it matter, Elaine?” Well, because it does. As I said before, if you make your living from using language then treat it with respect. Take delight and pride in the English language with all its idiosyncrasies, quirks and exceptions to the rule. I’m not talking about dialect in books because when people are speaking anything goes. But when you’re writing prose it doesn’t.
It takes as much work to get something wrong as to get it right. No other language seems to get butchered by its writers the way English does. Is it too much to ask that we all take a little pride in our language again? Or am I being picky?
The Magic of Wor(l)ds