Saturday, January 16, 2010

Blame Yourselves

Today on the sidebar, we're unveiling your choices for best blog posts over the past two years on edittorrent. Compiling this list was a task filled with surprising twists and turns, and as a result, we have two subsets to the list.

There is a top ten list linking to the posts most frequently named in your votes as reader favorites. That's pretty clear and easy.

But as we were sorting through the votes, it became apparent that many of you wanted to nominate batches of posts rather than single posts. So we created three "series" tags in our Super Deluxe Sidebar Labeling System (tm;) for the three most frequently nominated batches, and we included those in our Best Of Blog list.

It just happened to work out that we had three batches nominated very frequently, and that one was by Alicia (on line editing), one was by me (the Johnny and Drago series), and one is the ongoing discussion by both of us about PPPs. Very clever of you all to arrange it that way.

Thanks again to all of you who helped with the heavy lifting on this task. Now, when new readers find our blog, maybe they'll be able to use those sidebar links to read the same posts that all of you found most useful.

And if there is one glaring conclusion I've drawn from this process, it's that our post labels suck even harder than I suspected. I'll be trying to clean that mess over the next few weeks. Oy. (Note to Self: Do it right the first time, and save yourself this hassle later.)

So, whaddya think? Any surprises on the list?

who still hasn't edited her winner's sample pages, but will soon :)


Jordan McCollum said...

Fantastic choices. I named a couple of those, and seriously considered others, and some I just came across again recently and want to study more!

Sylvia said...

This is great and there are two in there that I haven't read before!

Thanks for putting in the work to putting this together for us!

Leona said...

Ditto what sylvia said about putting in the work on this list :) Most of these are ones I struggled with in my nominations. I couldn't decide which to nominate and think I nominated four or something LOL

Great work guys!

Anonymous said...

Whoo hoo! Awesome list, and like Sylvia and Leona, a couple I haven't read.

Now, if the kids behave, I'll have a nice Sunday read.

Love the series concept too :)

Riley Murphy said...

Although they are all great, 6 and 9 were surprises to me. I don't know why - maybe because I immediately rememebered each as I went down the list - but those two didn't ring a bell. *sigh* Some things stick while other things? Slide. :D

Thanks for doing this guys!

Sky Robinson said...

As someone who just found this blog I love that you made the lists! I can go back and hit all the great ones without getting bogged down and reading them all...I might still do that, but I dont't have to now.

Edittorrent said...

Sky, thank you! That was our hope when we started this process. We couldn't have done it without the help of our readers and all their great nominations.


Shelby said...

These really are great.. all of them. Very helpful to me. Glad you did this.


Unknown said...

I have a question about no 8 - Dialogue Tags, a would-have-been comment if I'd found you back then :)

Is there a rule about where to place "said" in the dialogue tag? I notice you have the eg:

"Hello," John said.

Is there a rule against, or a good reason why, it can't be:

"Hello," said John.

And if there is no rule, then what makes this dialogue tag different to an inverted quote tag? Alicia mentioned the inverted quote tag here

Please, help me see the light!

Edittorrent said...

Rachel, John is the subject of the sentence, and said is the verb. Normally, we like the subject to come before the verb.

That's the simple explanation. Actually, technically, the dialogue itself is the direct object of the verb said. A normal SVO construction would have it as:
John said, "Dialogue."

Inverting it reverses the order of all parts:
"Dialogue," said John.

But this is generally considered outdated, and instead of a perfect inversion, we just place the object first:
"Dialogue," John said.

If you really want to get technical, we can talk about why the comma at the end of the dialogue makes that sentence structure acceptable.


Jami Gold said...

Theresa & Alicia,

These are great choices! I especially like how you selected a few series as well, as so many of your insights can't be captured with a single post.

However, now everyone will see in the comments for those old posts that for months I spelled Theresa's name wrong. And you all know what a perfectionist I am, so you can just guess how much that bothers me. LOL! Oh, to have the power to edit my comments... :) Sorry, Theresa, a childhood friend spelled it the other way and your spelling never even registered. I promise I'll do a better job of double-checking that sort of thing with my submissions.

Jami G.
(curled up in a ball...)

Riley Murphy said...

Oh man, Theresa, you had to say technical, didn't you? I can just see JG tripping over herself to rush to her keyboard. ;) You probably just made her day!

Murphy :D

Leona said...

Oh Jami! Murphy has you pegged! LOL

This is great guys. I'm stumbling over dialogue now becuase there is so much I'd forgotten about the technical side of things with the punctuation, etc. **sigh**

It's okay. I hear and obey oh wise masters. :D

Dave Shaw said...

Of course the favorites are great for the casual browsers, but you all know that the only way to TRULY experience the blog is to start at the very beginning, it's the very best place to start...

Yes, I'm evil. >;-)

Riley Murphy said...

Dave, you're not evil. Geez, don't you remember that infamous comment in a thread last year- when JG announced that she had read EACH AND EVERY post of T and A's? EVERY COTTON-PICKING ONE of them?! That's why I didn't rib her about misspelling T's name at the time...there's only so much a Point Dexter like her can up put with. ;D Um, sorry, I couldn’t resist - but hey, instead of Ishmael just call me Churchill.

Murphy - who is patiently waiting for some new sidebar bling. I do like the dazzle. :D

Jami Gold said...

Murphy & Leona,

Nope, I'm still curled up in a ball, so I won't touch Theresa's comment about commas and dialogue. :)


Yep, I did that. That's how I found so many of my favorite things - I mean posts - to nominate for the list. Hee!

Jami G.

Theresa Milstein said...

I've read several blogs that discuss dialogue tags, and many say to use "said" as much as possible because anything else becomes a distraction. But I've read a few books that use "said" almost exclusively, and I've found that a distraction. While I don't want to pepper my manuscripts with every single word related to "said" that I can find in the thesaurus, I think a few more options enhance the writing.

What are your thoughts on this, Theresa?

Jami Gold said...


I can't believe you went there...

And no, I'm not talking about the reading all the posts thing. You called Theresa and Alicia - "T & A". That's some balls there... LOL!

Jami G.

Dave Shaw said...

Gee, Murphy, did you not get that the blog is alive with the sound of commenters humming? That was the evil I referred to. Jami got it, but as you say, she went back and read every post, so we know what kind of person she is. ;-)

Edittorrent said...

Theresa M, try using action beats instead of tags. You'll end up with more vivid prose in the end, and you'll get around the issue of whether to use said or a said-clone. I wrote a post on it here:

T&A. Leave it to Murphy to come up with that one. lol


Eva Gale said...

Jonsing for a new post, but now I get to go back and read all of the favorites on the list! Awesome.

Leona said...

Unlike Jami, I have not made it through each and everyone of the posts. I made it through most of them, but my brain melted into a puddle upon overload.

I'm surprised the dialogue post mentioned didn't get more responses. It's useful, as always.

I finally got my husband started on editing the many works waiting for help. Will have to direct him to this site when we find an internet provider that services Rural America that isn't dial up.

Murphy, see me shaking my head and laughing until I cough. You are incorrigible.

I don't know how you all keep it straight, though. Jami must be a computer on legs! No offense Jami, simply envy. It seems when I get one thing down a new thing comes along and I start messing up the old thing again!! LOL

S'okay though, cuz I'm on the lookout for a hot critiquer who will help edit regularly (not every 6-8 months when in the mood :P) Hopefully, they can keep it all straight.

Jami Gold said...


So I shouldn't mention that I've restrained myself from a "T&A" comment several times since I first started reading this blog? :) Although you probably could guess that because I was the one that noticed it. If you notice something, isn't it usually because you've done it or at least thought about it? :)

Jami G.

Edittorrent said...

And I am jonesing for time to write a new post.


Unknown said...

I'm crawling out from under the mushroom now *blinking*, but with a huge grin. I see the light! Thanks so much for your explanation, Theresa. Technical = improvement.

I'm a fan of action tags too. I find a book has pace with action tags. And I hope my MS will too ;)

Oh, Dave, you are so right. The best way to enjoy this blog is to read the comments - and participate. LOL!

Leona, let me know if you find that hot critiquer, I might need one too ;)

Dave Shaw said...

Uh, Jami, you must have missed a few comments along the way, because T&A has come up before. It's been a while, though, and was probably before Murphy's time, so I'm sure her use is original. I imagine Ian would remember if he came by.

Jami Gold said...


Don't feel bad. I may be a perfectionist, but I am nowhere near perfect! LOL! I did some copy-editing work in high school and it trained me to be detail-oriented. However, as Alicia can attest with the PPP stuff, I didn't actually know what I was doing. :) I'm just stubborn and determined enough to stick around here to learn it all. I only wish that I could plug myself into the Matrix and learn it all instantly, so I didn't have to worry about what holes my education might have. :)

Jami G.

Leona said...

@rachelcapps no such luck :( I'm still looking. I even went through my spam mail to be sure lol

@jami I used to be able to learn most of this stuff instantly and retain a good portion. So, for me, this new "learning curve" is especially frustrating. But, I can go back and look at old posts when I realize I'm doing something wrong. The trick is to catch it :D