Grammar is sexy

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Let’s face it; women are fussy, right? Most of us have a list going on that all dateable men must tick.

Must be independent, must show signs of intelligence, must be reasonably attractive, have own teeth, decent levels… of hygiene. Must be witty, must be confident; must be capable of holding a conversation that doesn’t just consist of grunts.

Well that’s all fair enough, but then I have to take it to a whole different level, which is why I will probably be one of those spinster types who grows old with a whole bunch of cats (and dogs hopefully) in a house covered in animal hairs and stinking of pee.

Fine by me, as I like my own space, a lot. I like being fully selfish over how I spend my time, I like my stuff to be exactly as I want it, where I leave it, I get cranky if people are even breathing around me when I am writing, I’m in charge of the remote, I eat what I want, when I want, and I don’t ever have to consult anyone over decisions.

Now I’m not stupid, and I know there is plenty to be said in favour of relationships, but it would have to be someone pretty damn special to make me want to give up my bachelorette life. And it doesn’t help that in addition to the usual list above I have other no-no’s.

It goes without question that my man would have to be an animal lover. Cats, dogs, horses, donkeys, elephants, dolphins, you name it. Nothing warms my heart more than reading heroic tales of men rescuing helpless kittens and puppies (perhaps why I have a thing for firemen and paramedic types) or the policeman who stops the traffic to let a mother duck and her baby ducklings cross the road in safety.

I like a man who reads. I don’t care what the material is, but there is something very sexy about a man with a book in his hand.

My other thing is spelling. I can forgive the odd mistake, hell, I make typos all the time and who can forget grizzly gate? But I couldn’t date a man who was unable to spell basic words, was unable to differentiate between the correct usage of their, there and they’re, or your and you’re.

The possession of correct grammar is a very sexy quality.

I don’t do text speak. Fair enough I can accept the odd ‘c u’ and ‘2’ in a phone message (though expect my own messages to be fully spelt out with capital letters and correct punctuation), but if you write like that in real life I will want to punch you in the face.

And then there is the word ‘honey’. One of my biggest pet hates is people calling me ‘honey’, ‘dear’, ‘babe’ or ‘darling’. I hate these words at the best of times, but especially when they’re coming from people I’m not intimately involved with. And if you’re going to use the word ‘honey’, at least bloody spell it right. ‘Hunny’ and ‘hunni’ are not words and when I see them written down, I just think ‘oh, hello, stupid person alert’.

See, I told you I’m fussy.

 

What ya talking about, Willis?

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Words are great, aren’t they?

Well they are so long as you’re not misusing or mispronouncing them. We’ve all had that awkward moment where we’ve used a word in the wrong context, then hoped like hell no one has noticed. Fortunately for me I talk so much, people tend to tune out and miss my mistakes. My sister wasn’t so lucky.

One day, while doing some DIY, she asked “Keri, can you come hold the ladder? I’m feeling rather promiscuous up here.”

Then there is the dear friend of mine – who shall remain anonymous – who is the queen of mispronounced words, trying to get a tan in an asylum, talking about those poor sesame twins who are joined together and even getting her movie titles muddled up to spectacular effect. “Hey, Keri. Did you see that film on TV last night called A Day To Die?” After much confusion we established she had actually watched ‘A Time To Kill’.

We won’t even mention the time her husband convinced her that her favourite actor, Sean Bean, pronounced his name ‘Seen Bean’.

Ever hear of that place in Wales, Betws-y-Coed? My work colleague clearly hadn’t as he kept referring to it as Betty’s Coyote.

And finally we have my poor mother, who in true Norfolk style gets her O’s in a muddle. She’s been known to have soap for lunch, scrub herself down with soup in the shower, put on her boats to take the dog for a walk and have a day trip out on a boot.

 

Four seasons in one day

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People say I am unobservant. And yes, they are correct. I am the person who walks down the street and ignores you. Not intentionally, but I am so caught up in my own little Beev bubble (probably dreaming up my next plot) that I literally do not notice who or what is going on around me. You can be standing right in front of me, waving like a loon and calling my name, but unless you pull my hair or slap me round the face, chances are I will pass you by and never realize you were there.

I once had six full sacks of garden rubbish sitting beside my front door waiting to go to the tip. One day while I was at work, my neighbour kindly took them for me with her own rubbish. It took me two weeks before I noticed they had gone. And let’s be clear, these weren’t small sacks, they were giant size and filled to the brim. In fact I had been tripping over them every time I tried to get in and out of my front door, so you’d think I would have noticed when they’d disappeared.

So we have established just how unobservant I am, yet as a writer I do notice some things. I notice idiosyncrasies, I always notice and remember how things smell, from people to animals to places, and I notice the changing seasons.

Summer is my favourite season. I love the warmth of the sun on my skin, the thick lush greenness of the flora, evenings that stay light until nearly 10pm, thunderstorms and the scent of summer rain. That said, I can find something to like in all seasons; tulips, daffodils, blossom trees and new born animals, and the promise of the summer to come in spring, the beautiful fall colours of autumn, crunching through leaves, that cooling nip in the air, then winter, often haunting and bleak, but so pretty at times in the frost and snow; especially when you’re snuggled up in the warm with a hot cup of coffee or a smooth glass of wine and some good food, looking at it through the window.

I think most writers would agree that the seasons play a part in your work. Once I have established my characters and the basics of the plot, I think about what time of year I want to set things. Will my characters be suffering through a humid summer or dealing with the shorter days of a harsh winter? The sounds, smells and feel of the weather all help add atmosphere and can bring a scene to life.

The Dead Letter Day sequel is set during a sweltering summer.  The stifling days add to my characters frustrations and cause sleepless nights. I’m planning on throwing in a good thunderstorm to help set the atmosphere for a particular scene and the heat can cause carelessness. It’s never a wise idea to leave the windows open when there is a killer on the loose.