Search

Dissection of a Misanthrope

The Writing Diary of M Brace DeFreak

Month

July 2017

Editsaurus for removing commonly unwanted words

Editsaurus by Tyler Walters does a great job of finding adverbs and unneeded filler words; such as, ‘that’. Stephen King disparages the use of adverbs and this app would work well for him. Other apps can do the same, but I prefer the highlighting method used by this app. I don’t believe in removing every adverb, so this app lets me sample the sentences. The same can be said about the word, ‘that’; which, can be replaced by a comma in many cases. You may find a use for the other features of the app, but I benefited from this singular feature.

Restoring the spirit of the withering vine

A  description of fertility rites, in Wikipedia, caught my eye because restoring the spirit of the withering vine sounds extremely euphemistic and sums up the purpose of a fertility cult, rather well. I’m assuming Bacchus, in the image above, awaits the second round of fun.

Image from Wikimedia with the following credits:

Artist Caesar Boetius van Everdingen (c. 1616/17 – 1678)
Born in Alkmaar. Dead in Alkmaar.
Details of artist on Google Art Project
Title Bacchus on a Throne − Nymphs Offering Bacchus Wine and Fruit wikidata:Q28839242
Object type Painting
Date 1658/after 1670
Medium oil on canvas
Dimensions Height: 1,620 mm (63.78 in). Width: 1,800 mm (70.87 in).
Current location
Museum Kunstpalast Link back to Institution infobox template wikidata:Q461277
Accession number Inv. no. M 25
Object history Acquired 1934 with funds from Stiftung Gustav Poensgen 1884 and Stiftung Dr. Franz Schoenfeld 1911
Notes More info at museum site
Source/Photographer gQHsoEHQC5RzWQ at Google Cultural Institute maximum zoom level

Fertility cults are about merging

My book trailer features the dwarf who came with Pedro Menendez and a prostitute who came to the Rollestown colony; this slide implies a baby born from these two lineages is born. The dwarf was real and the history books say prostitutes helped colonize Rollestown, but I write about a fiction fertility cult and the rest of the story is bent to my will.

The “R” in the image above comes from Wikimedia and it has the following credits.

English: Letter from an erotic alphabet by Joseph Apoux published ca. 1880. This is the only male homosexual act, or approach to one, in the alphabet series (apparently following the “It’s not gay if it’s a three-way” principle). The woman is holding a whip.
Date circa 1880
Source Self-scanned
Author Joseph Apoux (1846-1910)

The Link To Sideshow Hoochie Coochie Girls

I have two problems with this slide from my book trailer; the Barbie dolls and the fact that many may not realize the term, Hoohie coochie girls, comes from the old circus sideshows. My fictional fertility cult has circus connections. Some of the Little Egypt type dancers crossed over legal lines and the sideshows probably sidestepped many laws. A closed community can keep many secrets.

Another problem — I used a different head, on another slide, to signify the changes my main character, the dwarf, goes through. The change may be too noticeable.

Creating a writer

I had a story without a storyteller, so I’ve crafted myself into a writer. My brain and my fingers struggle to stay in sync, so I make many errors and edit many times. Verbs are my latest target for editing but like my other edits, I search for overuse. Several automated proofreaders aid my editing and Grammarly is my main grammar tool, ProWritingaid specialises in finding overused words.

I often test these automated proofreaders with selections from Oscar Wilde, James Joyce, and others to see how my writing compares. Apparently, I’m a far better writer than Oscar Wilde; ain’t that a hoot. The old guys almost always get nailed by their use of adverbs. James Joyce scores high in phrasing. I score in the Oscar Wilde range, but that may be because I prefer Oscar Wilde’s prose. Proverbial experts prefer James Joyce’s phrasing, so I try to split the difference.

The selection above comes from Earnest Hemmingway’s short story, Indian Camp. This analysis using the Expresso app eases my concern about my use of weak verbs; my excerpt produced a score of 28.3%, so I’m better than Hemmingway. Only James Joyce scores notably on anything. My blog scores lower because I don’t spend time editing, but I care much more about my novel.

Pruning the Word Tree

After trying the Expresso app, I downloaded an active verbs list and restructured a few sentences. My recommendation for tackling such issues is to chart the word frequency and try to reduce the number of menial words. You can see in the word cloud above, I use ‘about’ a lot and not many words can act as a substitute. ‘Want’ and ‘need’ are often interchangeable words, so I need a solid third option.

The verb list suggests these options for ‘need’ — require demand exact claim (see WANT)

My main character becomes more demanding as she grows in power so I may opt for ‘demand’, in the latter half of the novel. The other options depend on the fit inside a sentence, sometimes the other options seem awkward. If character names become the most prominent features of the word cloud, I should be in good shape. The name of my main character’s diary also shows up a lot.

My use of a fertility cult explains the use of some words. I often feature a leader and a follower, so answers to the affirmative show up a lot.

Milking The Duke

I created my own origin for the Russian Belle, Jacksonville’s rowdier brothel owner. Grand Duke Alexei Alexandrovich of Russia went on a celebrity tour of the US, in 1867. He apparently had an eye for the ladies, so I had one of my Mata Hara girls milk him. The Russian fleet sailed out of Pensacola, 1872, so I have my attachment to Florida.

My fictional cult specializes in milking the rich and famous. I call the Russian Belle the rowdier brothel Madam because Cora Crane was more famous due to her marriage to Stephen Crane, the famed author of the  Civil War novel, The Red Badge of Courage. Cora Crane is in my fictional cult, too, but the Russian Belle pays a bigger role. My book trailer uses the slide on the left.

Images from Wikimedia with the following credits:

Title: A well-dressed client inspects the prostitutes at a brothel
Description A well-dressed client inspects the prostitutes at a brothel
General Collections Keywords: Sex
Credit line: Wellcome Trust logo.svg
This file comes from Wellcome Images, a website operated by Wellcome Trust, a global charitable foundation based in the United Kingdom. Refer to Wellcome blog post (archive).
This tag does not indicate the copyright status of the attached work. A normal copyright tag is still required. See Commons:Licensing for more information.
References Library reference: GC REQUEST Med. XWM
Photo number: L0049215
Full Bibliographic Record: http://catalogue.wellcomelibrary.org/record=b1023188
Source/Photographer

Gallery: http://wellcomeimages.org/indexplus/image/L0049215.html
Description: Grand Duke Alexei Alexandrovich of Russia
Source: from the book: the camera and the Tsars (published 2006)
Date: unknown; no later than 1908
Author: unknown

Jaquentas, the dwarf

Jaquentas is to ‘jackass’ as Don Quixote is to ‘donkey.’  I couldn’t find a name for the dwarf who came with Pedro Hernandez and helped found St. Augustine, Florida, so I used a bit of imperfect wordplay to create a name.

Cross and Sword’, by American playwright Paul Green, is the state play of Florida and inspired the symbolization. Green’s play features the same events I allude to in the two slides taken from my book trailer — Menendez masquerading the French Huguenots which gave Matanzas its name.

Native Americans tried to marry off a chief’s daughter to Menendez, but he was already married and the offer wasn’t the younger and prettier daughter which may have swayed Menendez’s decision. I decided to marry off the dwarf. Many cultures associate Little People with the gods and this link helped  Cortes conquer the Aztecs with a handful of men. Superstitions are powerful things. I can’t say for sure that Florida’s natives were swayed by the dwarf, but it’s possible.

The Expresso App and Weak Verbs

My review 2/5 stars. See how this app highlighted commonly used words and common phrasing, in this excerpt:

The Expresso app finds weak verbs, but it flags words that I don’t consider a problem. Prowritngaid hates some of these words, too, but it highlights the overuse and I’m not overusing verbs in this clip the Expresso app highlighted. Using another app to check my work would help me concentrate as I attempt another round of editing, but I’m a bit overwhelmed by this app. Highlighting commonly used words does not help. As an app for creative writing — it fails, but it may help with a research paper.

Even though I don’t like this app, I may still use it. It still highlights sentences that may need revision, but it also highlights way too many sentences that don’t. The app still prompts me to review potential problems. Prowritingaid and Grammarly are far better apps for a creative writer.

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑