More Stuff I’ve Learned

So doing this long project of reading and writing fan fiction, I have learned a few things. First, I learned that stories have rhythms: action/inaction, noise/quiet, angst/fluff, questioning/answering, planning/executing. I feel like this is sort of like beats in a movie, but apparently there, a beat, according to Wikipedia, is an act or discovery that alters the way the main character goes about his/her purpose.

Second, people really love the word “smirk,” practically to a criminal extent.

Third, many, many people, people who consider themselves writers, are completely capable of having read fiction all their lives without actually ever learning the rules for punctuating dialogue. “This one bothers me most,” she said, smirking. I have probably left comments on this, encouraging people to look at their favorite novel to figure out the rules, maybe twenty times.

Weighing In On the Issues, #1


Before I begin explaining Campaign Issue Number One, I have to explain where it comes from. Hopefully, if you haven’t been living in a cave recently, and/or your cat hasn’t knocked your computer mouse off your desk so that you are incapable of accessing Facebook, then you know that Berkeley Breathed has broken his 25 year sabbatical and brought Bloom County back in time for the 2016 American presidential circus. I mean, election. And of course Opus is running, with Bill the Cat as his Veep of choice.

Now let me get a leetle political here and say that at this point I would probably vote for Opus before any of the Republican contenders and most of the Democratic ones, which is sad. I believe that Opus probably wouldn’t get us into yet another war (not sure about Bill) or try to defund cancer screenings for women. That is just not how he rolls.

However, I must say that the hot-button issue he has chosen as the main plank in his platform is something I simply cannot get behind: reverting to using two spaces after a period.

People talk about how we’ve abandoned our traditional values, rejected the teachings of the Bible (presumably by eating shrimp and not having concubines, because I am pretty sure ancient Hebrew doesn’t actually use punctuation). But what they ignore is the reason we used to have two spaces after the period back in the day when we typed on actual typewriters, manual and electric.

The way I was taught, the letters in the font that typewriters used were of different widths and the space was narrow, so the extra space did something to balance that out. Now, the letters of most fonts are less varied, so the extra space isn’t needed. I don’t know if that is true. What I do know is that should you, gods forbid, justify your writing on both left and right, an extra space could end up giving you a huge hole in the middle of your paragraph as your word processing program works overtime to fix what ain’t broke.

Where do you stand on the debate?