The serial comma. You think you know him, but you don’t. You and Ann Rule, serials lingering in your life. LOL
- Find three examples of beautiful serial commas. (I don’t know if they are beautiful but they reflect my current reading.)
There is an odd synchronicity in the way parallel lives veer to touch one another, change direction, and then come close again and again until they connect and hold for whatever it was that fate intended to happen. -Ann Rule, Stranger Beside Me
Rather than running a forgettable self-congratulatory ad about winning the award, Jordin opted to make a stink, throw a fit, define his own high ground, rise above the award, and differentiate his car client from every other Car of the Year recipient forever. – Josh Weltman, Seducing Strangers
They, after all, play by established rules: they arrive at the dive site, bringing fis scraps or other savory dead things for eels; the eel merges from its hole, expecting to be fed; it is fed; it permits itself to be touched and handled; sometimes, if the ritual has been repeated enough times that it has become imprinted as part of the eel’s repertoire, it will hunt for morsels concealed on the diver’s person, slithering in and out of his buoyancy-compensator vest, between his legs, around his neck. -Peter Benchley, Shark Trouble (wow, isn’t that complicated.)
2. Look at a recent writing, a couple of pages and find a place where you could be more specific. Where you could show where you previously told.
Super rough, from my spy novel:
“I’ve got it.” Stanley shouted with glee. Gareth stirred but declined to get out of his napping chair. Talon yawned. Galatea was the only one on the move instantly to Stanley’s side.
“Where? Where is it?”
“They just passed the Farasan Island Marine Sanctuary.”
***“How soon can we get out there?” Galatea’s excitement was palpable.
***”How soon can we get out there?” Galatea’s voice rose a octave.
“That depends on how you want to get there.” Stanley prevaricated.
“Talon?” Galatea turned to him, some SAS advice would be quite timely.
He nodded. “A flight in, drop with a zodiac(look up the SAS word for this), board the ship in motion?”
“Probably our best chance of getting our hands on the material. A major military presence would probably lead to detonation.”
“Do we care if they detonate on the ship? We could just keep them quarantined until they all died.”
“Would that work?” Everyone turned to look at Stanley. Time for him to live up to his perceived title of inquire within upon all.
“Tentatively I would say yes, however.” He paused and Talon swallowed his irritation.”If just one man gets off that boat infected…”
“So we need to get back control.” Now that the situation was in her part of the world Galatea was very serious.
“Are we going to try to take the warhead off? Or what do we do with this shit when we get our hands on it?”
3. Uncombine the following sentences and then recombine them differently. (From Anderson’s suggestions.)
-I have hair the color of carrots in an apricot glaze, skin fair and clear where it isn’t freckled, and eye like summer storms. – Polly Horvath, Everything on a Waffle
My hair is red, like carrots in apricot glaze.
My skin is fair.
I have freckles.
My eyes are gray.
Recombine: Eyes the color of a Seattle sky adorn pale, clear, and freckled skin, all framed by hair the color of carrots in an apricot glaze.
-A single empty chair waited for Rowanne, and a thought whispered from the back of Hector’s mind, but it was drowned out by the sounds of scraping, shifting chairs. -Lynne Rae Perkins, Criss Cross
An empty chair waited for Rowanne.
Hector was trying to think.
There were many sounds caused by chairs.
Recombine: The many sounds interrupted Hector’s thought process as Rowanne headed for the empty chair.
-The sky is clear blue, a light breeze blows from the west, and pale green water sloshes against the side of the rickety old rowboat that brought us here. -Wendy Mass, Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life
The sky is blue.
A west wind blows.
The water is pale green.
The row boat is rickety but got us here.
Recombine: A rickety rowboat transported us through pale green water as the west wind blew against the blue sky.
I’d love to see your example of recent writing with changes if you’d like to post in the comments.