It’s not morality, people. It’s just grammar.

science-and-technology from publicdomainpictures dot net

Image courtesy of

Hello, writer peeps!

I’ve been floundering to stay in the blogosphere lately. Life threw my schedule back, but rest assured, writers are always on my mind.

Disclosure: Sometimes I think about illustrators.

When I’m not writing, I lurk online in writers groups and Facebook pages, watching writers attack each other and bicker over grammar. Oh, look, luvswords87 misspelled something in her post. BURN HER!!!

It goes like this: Grammar bully jumps on a writer who makes a grammatical error or even a simple typo. Then (and often in that very first criticism), the bully makes a mistake–because only God is perfect. That prompts other crazed grammar bullies to jump in with their clubs and torches, until the whole venomous rant culminates in the original poster apologizing, deleting, and questioning her career choice. Over a comma.

Chill out. It’s not morality, people. It’s just grammar.

Disclosure: This editor secretly smiles at the poetic justice of mistakes made by grammar bullies.

Don’t get me wrong. Grammar matters. I love grammar. Love it. Copy editing is my chosen profession.

Disclosure: “Chosen profession” does not equal mad cash. Frazierhead the Mechanic pays our bills. I buy the chocolate.

Still, as much as I love grammar, I love people more. Grammar rules only exist to help people communicate. Bullying leads to fear of not being perfect, which can stifle writers to the point of never finishing projects. I don’t want you to lose your writing momentum. Writers (myself included) are insecure enough without taking every would-be critic seriously.


angel grammar memeFirst things first: Don’t bully others. I will never correct your grammar unless you hire me to. For your own sake as well as the sake of others, I urge you to stick to that rule. Unsolicited criticism makes you look bad, and that hurts your brand. No one buys the line that you’re only trying to help.

Sometimes editors or proofreaders look for chances to correct. I promise you, that will backfire. Instead of seeing how good you are at finding mistakes, people will search for your mistakes. They will look for them. They will find them. And they will kill your brand.

Actually help each other. Writers are not in competition with one another. Instead of tearing down other writers, give encouragement. Compliment good work and overlook mistakes.

Know your enemy.  Keep in mind that a lot of these bullies rely on memories of what they learned in English class ten years ago.

Grammar bullies who insist you should never begin a sentence with a conjunction, or never end a sentence with a preposition, have outdated knowledge. Those rules no longer apply to correct American English. Bullies who say you must always add one space (or two spaces) between sentences, or insist on using (or not using) serial commas, don’t realize that spacing and commas are style choices. And those who insist their “style” is choosing what they think looks best don’t know what grammarians mean by style choice. I could go on, but you get it.

Toughen up.  Ignore trivial criticism, no matter how tempting it is to answer. OR… come up with an all-purpose comeback. “I know you are, but what am I?” works beautifully.

CRITIC: You ended a sentence with a preposition.
ANSWER: I know you are, but what am I?
CRITIC: That doesn’t even make sense.
ANSWER: I know you are, but what am I?

See? Bulletproof.

Do not apologize. If you hurt someone with an insensitive remark, you should apologize. If you make a grammatical blunder, so what? Everybody makes mistakes. That’s not a moral failure. Don’t apologize.

Do your best, of course, but your priority as a writer is to follow the Muse. You can always hire a professional proofreader to clean things up when you finish.

Do you have an all-purpose comeback to grammar bullies? Have you taken bad advice from a grammar bully? Do you have a quick grammar question and want a straight answer from a professional copy editor, no charge? Post your comments and questions below. I promise not to correct you unless you ask me to.🙂





Posted in Copy Editing, Editing, Fiction, Kathryn A. Frazier, Line Editing, Writing | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Hezekiah’s Passover: Wrong but Still Right

Moses_and_Pharaoh_painting by Arkadi Natanov

Moses and Pharoah. Painting by Arkadi Natanov, courtesy of Center for Jewish History, NYC. No restrictions.

April 22, 2016. Passover starts at sunset tonight. I’m not celebrating this year because of my current circumstances. Maybe your circumstances are preventing you from celebrating, too. If that’s the case, you and I can be encouraged together by the Biblical account of a Passover when so much went wrong, but even more went right.

See also: 10 Ways to Remember Passover if You Don’t Celebrate

One Passover, King Hezekiah sent invitations to the people of Israel, Judah, Ephraim, and Manasseh to join together to celebrate the LORD’s Passover. He’d chosen a date that was a month past the appointed time according to the Law, because that seemed right to both the king and the people, due to their circumstances.

A month late, the people came in droves, and many took the elements without first purifying themselves as commanded in the Law. They were eager to jump right in and to get right with God, but they unintentionally violated God’s written commandments. What do you suppose happened? Rejection? Disease? General smiting?

No. God pardoned “everyone who sets their heart on seeking God…even if they are not clean according to the rules of the sanctuary” (2 Chronicles 30:19). God healed them, and their prayers reached heaven. Everyone was so blessed by their experience that they stayed an extra week, rejoicing and encouraging one another.

“The entire assembly of Judah rejoiced, along with the priests and Levites and all who had assembled from Israel, including the foreigners who had come from Israel and also those who resided in Judah. There was great joy in Jerusalem, for since the days of Solomon son of David king of Israel there had been nothing like this in Jerusalem. The priests and the Levites stood to bless the people, and God heard them, for their prayer reached heaven, his holy dwelling place.”  (2 Chronicles 30:25-27)

Read the whole story in 2 Chronicles 30

Contrary to popular belief, God is not looking for some slip-up to blame us for. God is loving and kind! If we “set our heart [determine] to seek God,” he will hear our prayers.

Why do you suppose that Hezekiah decided to set up a Passover celebration a month late, instead of waiting for the appointed time the next year? What do you think made him believe that God would pardon the unpurified? Under similar circumstances, I’m not so sure that I would have made the same choices. What about you? Why or why not?

May God bless you and hear your prayer every single day that you determine to seek him.


Pssst! Hey Christians: Did you know that the Last Supper that Jesus took with his disciples was a Passover seder? Find out what Passover looks like for followers of Jesus in the 3 minute video below.

Posted in Bible, Christianity, Faith, Holidays, Judaism, Kathryn A. Frazier, Messianic Judaism, Religion | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Distracted Writing

Image (1)

Dad swinging my daughter Elisabeth

I’m distracted. My conscious thought is pinballing between dozens of logistics and social commitments, regrets and what ifs, bits and pieces of about six works in progress, the memory of an arcade pinball machine that my dad once brought home as a surprise, and wondering whether I brushed my hair today and what my kids are eating for dinner and how my mom is doing and…

Image (21)

Dad & Mom: forever love

My daddy died. He was 86, ambulatory and lucid right up to the end. He and Mom had just celebrated their 68th wedding anniversary. He died peacefully in his sleep after an evening of visiting with family, including playing on the floor with his great grandson, whom he adored. Not a bad way to go. Still. My heart is broken.


I had been making great progress on an e-book that I’m writing. Then, suddenly, it didn’t matter anymore.

Usually in times of stress, I immerse myself in writing and editing. Work focuses my mind and gives me a break from overwhelming feelings. But that is, for now, impossible, so I put aside my work in progress and decided to write my feelings instead, to turn all that emotion into a new creation. But the only word that came out was sad.

Daddy used to tell me, “Girl, there ain’t no reason on this earth that you cannot do exactly what you wish, if you put your mind to it.” (He pronounced the wish like whoosh.)

So, for my dad and for myself, I won’t stop writing. I’m carrying around a pad and pen and scribbling notes–even one word notes like “sad”–as random events and emotions come to mind. They’re not cohesive, but who knows what may come of it? And I’m writing this blog post, which I know isn’t formatted correctly to look right, but I don’t care today. At least I showed up.

I’m new to this phase of life, and I still have lots to figure out. But I “whoosh” to write. And I’ll find a way.

How about you? How have you dealt with following your dreams in the midst of soul-crushing distraction? I’d love to hear from you.

And if you’d like to leave a comment on my daddy’s memorial page, I’d appreciate that, too. It isn’t finished, because I’m distracted, but I’m working on it.

poppop pinch all slide frame

Always a prankster. Dad with my kids (L-R): Angela, Michael, and Elliot.



Posted in Editing, Family, Kathryn A. Frazier, Parenting, Writing | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Quick Reference Guide to Punctuating Dialogue in Fiction

speech bubbles punctuating dialogue

Original artwork by Dawn Hudson

Ciao, writer peeps!

For those of you who find yourselves either without a style guide, or too busy writing the next great American novel to get bogged down in the nit-picky details, I made you a handy-dandy, quick-reference chart for punctuating dialogue in fiction. Since most fiction is written in Chicago style (CMOS), that’s the style I used.

Of course, the chart doesn’t cover every possible case of punctuation in dialogue, but it covers the usual suspects. You can always ask me questions in the comment section if you come across a grammatical stumper. I’m here for you. If I don’t know the answer, I’ll find it for you.

I made the chart as a two-page, downloadable PDF, so you can print it out on two sides of one paper, then slip it into a page protector to keep for easy reference. You have my permission to download, print, copy, and share for personal use. I’d appreciate it if you link back to this blog post if you’re sharing.

Get the PDF here > Punctuating Dialogue 2016

For those of you who just want to look at it online, I made the JPEG below, but that didn’t turn out so well. Womp, womp. I’m better with words than with pictures.

Whichever you use, I hope this will free up your time, so you can keep writing. Only you can write your story.


Punctuating Dialogue in Fiction p 1

Punctuating Dialogue in Fiction p 2





Posted in Copy Editing, Editing, Fiction, Kathryn A. Frazier, Line Editing, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Archeological find may change Jewish and Christian religious practices.

Blarney_Stone by  Andy Beecroft CC BY-SA 2.0 EDITED

Controversial message carved above the image of Gullinbursti. Original photo by Andy Beecroft. CC BY-SA 2.0

A panel of theologians from across the US and Europe gather together today in Cormac Laidir, Ireland, to discuss a controversial religious artifact unearthed there last week. The artifact, which predates the time of Christ, appears to show the face of the Norse sun-pig Gullinbursti. Above the image of Gullinbursti, four letters appear carved in limestone: ΔΙβΣ

The proto-Norse word ΔΙβΣ  translates to our modern English word dibs. Therein lies the controversy. Is the call meant as a message from an ancient Pagan community to modern non-Pagans, warning us not to adapt any of their culture to our own? Or does it include only elements associated with Gullinbursti? These are questions the panel will address.

According to the universal rule of dibs, the dib caller retains all rights to the dibs in question, and the non-caller must yield all rights-of-use. If, in fact, ancient Pagans called dibs, non-Pagan religions may be forced to abandon beloved traditions.

Freyr_riding_Gullinbursti public domain

Freya riding Gullinbursti. Illustration from Manual of Mythology by Alexander Murray (1865) Public domain.

Biblical scholar and Jewish rabbi, Dr. Shlomo Beenah agrees that the discovery is “significant,” but dismisses the long-reaching power of the message. “So Pagans lit fires and ate bread. Why should I care? It doesn’t make any difference to me.”

Messianic rabbi Daniel ben Goy, disagrees with Dr. Beenah, stating, “Of course it makes a difference. All Pagan influence is evil. Like the plays. When the Jews left Egypt, they kept making plays. They never stopped telling stories, acting. Then came movies. Now children watch shows right in their own homes through TV. It’s sickening.”

The panel is not expected to reach a conclusion for some time. Of particular interest is the religious future of Asian Christians. Panelists agree that Gullinbursti’s dibs would not necessarily cover Asians, since the sun-pig is not a part of their ancestry. But because Asian Christians have adopted some Western religious traditions, including celebrating Christ’s birth on Christmas and Christ’s resurrection on Easter, panelists must decide if those customs, received in Christian faith, are Christian enough in nature, or if they fall under the terms of dibs.

While awaiting the panel’s decision, Reverend Thomas Joshing of the First United Ecumenical Congregational Church of Forest Hills, Florida, canceled all wedding ceremonies scheduled at his church and removed his own wedding band in a gesture of good faith. “Because Pagans had wedding ceremonies and wore wedding rings first,” he explained. “This dibs thing, this has far-reaching implications. If Pagans called dibs on their entire culture–and it looks like they did– we in the Western world have no right to the elements of that culture. Weddings, funerals, flowers, trees, ornate clothing, the senate, even plates for eating. They’ll all have to go. It’s not like we can each use them in our own way. Not when there’s a dibs on the table.”

Of course you’ve figured out that this is an April Fool’s joke–first published April 1, 2016. Even though some people vehemently preach otherwise, no one can call dibs on elements of earth, human behavior, or expressions of faith. Live in freedom.


Posted in Christianity, Faith, Holidays, Interfaith Relations, Judaism, Kathryn A. Frazier, Messianic Judaism, Religion | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake Method

_Snowflake_Koch snowflake wikimedia cc by-sa 3.0

Koch Snowflake image by Wrtlprnft CC BY-SA 3.0

Ciao, writer peeps! I still have this eye thing limiting my screen time. Surely, there’s a blog post in there about serious writers overcoming all obstacles to express their craft. But I didn’t write it.

Since I love you and want you to succeed, though, I’m using my time to turn you on to Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake Method for Designing a Novel. If you’ve been writing fiction for a while, you already know about the Snowflake Method, even if you don’t use it. If you’re a newbie writer, I promise you, this is gold.

I don’t know the man, and I don’t get any compensation for recommending this. I just want you to have this tool in your writing toolbox.

You can find the Snowflake Method in a nutshell at

Ingermanson offers software, designed for the Snowflake Method, available through his site, but you can use the method without the software. Make sure you skip down to the bio pic at the bottom of the page, where it says “About the Author” to sign up for his free Advanced Fiction Writing e-zine for more awesome, practical, writing skills.

Do you write by the seat of your pants, or do you plot out your work? (I’m a plotter.) How is your method working for you? Have you tried the Snowflake Method? Do you use another method that works better for you?



Posted in Freebies, Kathryn A. Frazier, Writing | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The Crucifix: Where Sorrow and Hope Meet

Many thanks to my friend and sometimes critique partner, John Brunson, for the following guest post. It is most appropriate for this Holy Week.

by John Brunson

Crucifix in public domain

16th century Crucifix, National Museum in Warsaw. Photo by Michael Pacher, CCO 1.0, public domain.

In my experience growing up, there weren’t many Good Friday services being Protestant. It wasn’t until I came to where I am now that I got a chance to attend one. And most churches I’ve attended display an empty cross. So why the crucifix?

Consider for a moment what you are looking at: A man, who has had his arms and legs attached to wood by driving a railroad-like spike through his wrists and his feet. No doubt the victim is in wordless agony. The pain is so bad that there’s a word for it: excruciating (literally “out from the cross”).

Consider again that the man on the cross is taking our punishment. The wages of sin is death. And here death is, in all of its repugnant horror, before us. So much so, that we are led to gasp, “Christ on the altar!”

Some will say, “But Jesus isn’t on the cross anymore.” And they are right. But without a Good Friday, there is no Easter Sunday. Without the Cross, there is no resurrection, there is no hope. Woe unto us because we should be pitied above all other men. And yet the cross is where sorrow and hope meet. Sorrow because the innocent God-man dies in order to save his creation. And hope because this isn’t the end of the story.

In the gospel of John, the writer makes an interesting point. He stated that Jesus “gave up his spirit” when he died. It’s a turn of a phrase that has always made me pause until… I remember Jesus’ words: “No man takes my life from me. I lay down my life and I take it up again.”

And that’s why the cross isn’t just a sorrowful memory. It’s a hint of the resurrection. Not even death could claim victory. It’s Jesus willingly laying down his life. His life wasn’t taken; his life was given. Meaning Jesus holds all the cards. Jesus is doing things his way. And he’s doing them on his terms. The Messiah is dealing decisively with Israel’s greatest nemesis. Not The Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Greeks or even the Romans. Jesus is dealing decisively with death itself. It’s here that Jesus takes his place as the king without equal.

The crucifix, the place where sorrow and hope meet.

Kathy here again. What are your thoughts on the crucifixion? Do you display an empty cross, a cross with the figure of Jesus, or no cross at all? Let me know in the comment section below.

See also: Easter-Only Churchgoers Want More
How do you celebrate spring holidays?

Have a blessed Easter. Christ is Risen!


Posted in Christianity, Faith, Holidays, Jesus, Kathryn A. Frazier, Religion | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment