Sunday, April 29, 2012

Baby Cove

Finally, after months of carrying, Nikki delivered our first baby boy. Cove is a joy in our lives. At the start of this new chapter in life, I am beginning to understand that our lives are never going to be the same. A baby adds a variable to the marital equation that brings about new situations and new behavior. As Nikki and I struggled through the first night of having Cove home with us, we realized how thankful we are to have good family and friends since we were able to count on a number of them for advice and support. We’re glad for our four years together without having kids, but we’re grateful for this next exciting phase in our lives.

There have been a few complications with Cove’s first few days. He was born with a slight temperature which went down quickly, but the doctor mentioned he wanted cove there an additional day just to make sure everything was ok. While there, we learned that Cove’s bilirubin count was high and was at risk for having jaundice. He was put on bilirubin lights and was sent home with us with orders for us to keep him on the lights over the weekend. It’s been tough on both him and us since he has to stay on his light bed all day and night (except for feeding and diaper changing). One of us has been staying up watching him the whole time, and sleep is one of our larger trials.

Icarus has been staying up with us though. He’s proving to be a fine bigger brother—a stalwart watch.^_^
I’m still working, editing into the wee hours of the night (tonight I got done with my daily quota at 2 in the morning), but as for blog posts, I’m going to have to take a break for a bit; not for too long, just long enough for me to adjust a bit to taking care of Cove.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

When’s that Baaaaby due?

A potential Cove baby?
Big news! Nikki just had a doctor visit today and the doctor mentioned that the baby is ready, and if she hasn’t had Cove by next Monday, he might try inducing her into labor! A lot of this is up in the air still, but thought I’d mention this since I won’t be posting any of next week since,

1) I still have tons of editing/copy writing work to finish up before Cove comes
2) Nikki has needed my help more and more as the pregnancy progresses
3) I should have a baby by mid-next week

Keep us in your prayers/thoughts everyone!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Comma Rule: Separate Adjectives Modifying a Noun

I was editing my book today and had to look up a comma rule. When this happens, I try to jot my findings down and then share it with someone. This is kind of a comma rule within a comma rule (those are always fun). I might have known this rule years ago, but having two instances of comma issue popping up twice in one paragraph, I thought I should look up the rule just to make sure I was doing it right.

To explain the rule within the rule, we first must look at the base rule, which is this: You use a comma to separate two or more adjectives that modifies a noun.

Simple enough. Here’s an example of that in action: The ingenuous, fervent preacher.
“Ingenuous” and “fervent” are adjectives modifying the noun “preacher.” Since they are both modifying the same noun, put a comma between them to distinguish them.

OK, here’s the second rule that sometimes pops up with the above comma rule: You shouldn’t put a comma between two adjective if the last adjective acts as a unit with the noun.

Here’s what I mean. I’ll give two examples:

1) I found that it was a half-spherical glass dome.

2) The bright moon glow was stunning.

Those two lines actually were the lines in my book that brought me to look up the rule. In the first example, the adjective “glass” acts as a unit with “dome,” so there is no comma between “half-spherical” and “glass.” Same with #2’s “bright” and “moon”; there’s no comma between those two words because “moon” is a unit with “glow.”

Now, how can you tell if the adjective is a “unit” with the noun? There’s an easy way to figure this out. If you insert “and” where the comma would go and it doesn’t sound awkward, then it’s not a unit (ex. The ingenuous and fervent preacher). If it does sound awkward (ex. The bright and moon glow was stunning) then you know it’s a unit, which means you don’t need a comma between the two modifying adjectives.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A New Look for Tomework

My wife is an awesome graphic designer. She designed my first Tomework site layout, but I felt it was a little disconnected and not personal enough. I want my clients to know who I am so they can feel they are working with a real person instead of working with an anonymous online business title; so, Nikki went to work at remaking my site yesterday. So far we’ve only got the homepage to show for (and even with that, some of the text is just filler text), but we’ve got the layout and design figured out. I’m quite pleased with it and wanted to show you the new facelift Tomework is getting.
We’re still working on making it live (and with baby Cove due any day now, who knows when that’s going to be), but I’m working on getting it up in two or so weeks. I’ll keep you posted.

Monday, April 16, 2012

One Space or Two?

This picture elegantly captures the essence of the double space issue.
Another point that comes up in almost every manuscript I edit is the issue of whether to use one space or two spaces after each period or sentence ending.

First, what method is technically correct?

It seems that you won’t be slapped on the wrist for using two spaces after punctuation, but in all the resources that I’ve dug into on this subject, the leading authorities recommend using a single space over the “outdated” double space method.

They say to use the single space post-punctuation unless instructors or editors request a double space to adhere to an in-house class or company code.

Some articles I found on the subject were quite zealous about trying to prove double spacing is technically wrong. Most were opinion pieces though. The actual style guides such as, the Modern Language Association (MLA) and the Chicago Manual of Style Online say that although adding two spaces after each punctuation is considered by most typographers today to be discourageable, technically, unless in-house guidelines say otherwise, the option is up to the writer.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Next Week Stuff, Updates, and Ghosts Just Wanted to Shake it.

Hi there,

Just a little heads up for the next week. I’m thinking on going over more grammar stuff for the upcoming posts. It’s been a while since I hit on that subject. I’ll try to keep the topics fun and informative. That subject can be pretty dull if you let it.

Just as an update on the book I’m currently working on. I’ve finished writing my next book I want to get published, but I’m still editing it. Today I made quite a bit of progress with it. I might be sending it out to publishers in a few weeks’ time. I’ll keep you updated on that.

Also, once I publish that book, I’m probably going to add a page on my website Tomework that serves as a spotlight of my works. Maybe I’ll couple it with the profile page. Not sure yet.


A ghost

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Influence of Association: Part Three

How does the last two posts equate to writing? If you want to increase your motivation to write, hang out with writers. It’s pretty simple. Hanging out with all soccer players isn’t going to help you crack open that story you’ve been meaning to get to for the past month. Hanging out with soccer players is going to help you to play soccer more, and hanging out with writers is going to help you write more.

Surrounding yourself with people who are successful in your craft (writing for writers, thin people for people working on losing weight, PHDs for aspiring students) can be very beneficial. They can help guide you, give you valid advice, help motivate you, and help show you the rewards ahead for those successful in that craft.

However, all of your acquaintances don’t have to be successful writers and probably shouldn’t be (and you would probably have a hard time constructing a friends circle of all successfully published writers anyways). Even though you most likely will learn the most about the craft of writing from a successful writer, you can learn something from everyone you interact with.

Perhaps my gamer friends aren’t, ehem...
as "hardcore" as this proud gamer, but they're proud none the less.
I have multiple friends groups: some writers, some gamers, some artists, some programmers. I’ve learned to diversify characters in my stories because of them. They’ve introduced me to hobbies and ideas that I would have never been exposed to if I had just a friends circle of hardcore writers. Because of that, I’ve gain some unique experiences that I incorporate in my writing. My relations with my non-writer friends helps keep my perspective fresh on page. But on the flip side, my friends that write regularly help keep me charged about writing and help inspire me to improve my craft. In essence, this is my yin and yang pool. A dichotomy of skill, ideals, characters, and slants that help keep me balanced between focused and striving for excellence in my craft, as well as keeping it fresh and interesting.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Influence of Association: Part Two

I love telling myself that I am my own person. I am able to make decisions in my life that are not affected by the social pressures of my friends—I believe that to a large degree. I do have a great resilience to social peer pressure. But it’s only a resistance, my will is not impenetrable. If exposed to enough pressure to, say, eat a doughnut when I’m on a diet, I might just give in and justify that one doughnut won’t really make a difference in my overall month-long diet plan, or that I can work the calories off later that day by working out extra hard. The point is that exposing yourself to negative peer-pressure can invite arguments between friends, can be energy draining, and can be a slow destructive catalyst to your ideal lifestyle dream.

                Much of the time, your friends aren’t out there to get you and pull you down, as in the case of my diet example. What if this diet really meant a lot to me. Let’s say that my self-confidence and self-mastery was connected to the success of this diet. Then my friends come along and start tempting me to have a doughnut, and started teasing me about my diet. Perhaps I wouldn’t straight up tell them the extent of what this diet means to me for fear of being teased even more. So you receive consistent pressure about this doughnut until you justify it off. Your friends had no ill motive, just a friendly one, but the damage is done to you either way.
Cue doughnut explosion! There were too many cute doughnut pictures. I couldn’t choose.

As a rule, I only eat doughnuts with faces on them.
I never knew...
This can happen with morals, religion, aspirations, and other important topics. You may hold writing to be a huge priority, but if the only friends you have are friends that eat, drink, and play soccer. How much writing do you think you’ll be getting done when your friends are constantly begging you to come play soccer with them. One of two things will happen.

1)      You’ll go play soccer with them.
2)      You won’t, and slowly, they’ll stop asking you and go find someone else to play soccer with. They’ll find other friends, and so will you.
Which might be OK if your buddies are on the team from Shaolin Soccer. They’d give you a lot to write about.

Next segment of this topic will be available tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Influence of Association: Part One

In my early 20’s, I had some advice given to me that has helped improve, not only my writing, but all areas in life. It’s kind of a broad subject, one that might take a few posts to cover, so this will be the introduction to a two or three part post. The subject I’m speaking about is associations.

Associating with specific people can, in fact, help naturally improve who you are. Let me start off with giving a generic example of what I mean.

                Tate grew up with a group of friends who didn’t end up going to college, got heavy into drugs and alcohol, used crude language without restraint in all scenarios, dressed like slobs, wasted their lives playing video games and watching TV shows while living off of their mom or girlfriend or wife. Tate only hung out with this group of friends. He has goals of being accepted into Harvard University, receive a PHD, start a (legal) corporate business, and donate half of his yearly earnings from his successful business to charity researching ways to cure breast cancer.
Tate with not so good friends.

Now, given that scenario, what are the chances Tate is actually going to accomplish his lofty goals if he stays with the mentioned friends throughout the whole process? Not very.

Now let’s put a spin on that scenario. Let’s say that Tate’s group of friends were all 4.0 GPA high school graduates; all were enrolled in advanced college courses before even out of high school; all had a high awareness of intellectual or philosophical literature such as Milton, Shakespeare, Tolstoy, religious philosophies, or other influential works; were all accepted into Harvard University; constantly graduated first in their class in college through each degree; all were on the dean’s list; each had a healthy physical, mental, spiritual, moral, sexual lifestyle; and were generally regarded by those who know them as an, “upright, productive, and highly successful citizen and individual.”
Tate with good friends.
 Would Tate’s goal of receiving a PHD from Harvord, starting a corporate level business, and donating half of his yearly earnings from his successful business to charity be so farfetched anymore? No. And why is that? Because your friends (as much as our increasingly individualistic/independent society would like you to think that you alone control who you become) generally do play a part in shaping you, for good or bad.

I’ll continue on this thought tomorrow.