Grammar. Punctuation. We despise them, yet they're essential elements to good story-writing. The question: how to make people care? I've come up with a solution: Ares, god of war. You don't care about comma splices? What if Ares licks your ear while he explains the ins and outs of the rules? Sound a little more enticing? Let's try it out. If you have no sense of humor, leave now.
Each independent clause, or complete sentence, is divided by a semi-colon, not--" he pauses here, eyes darkening with anger, "Not with a comma. If you use a comma, that's a comma splice. It's like shaving my head; it breaks all natural laws. And you don't want that, do you?"
He pauses, flexing those amazing pecs. "Let's try one more. 'The god ran his fingers through his thick curls; she could only gasp in amazement.' See? Use a semi-colon, not a comma there. If you do it right, I'll consider running my tongue up and down your body."
*See below for a fuller definition
Ares' body. Ares' bulging biceps. Ares' hard thighs. The god's sweaty back. The god's taut nipples.
I'm using the apostrophe to signal possession. The body belongs to Ares, and that's what the apostrophe indicates here. (You don't need to add the extra s if the word ends with an s.)
Listen to how you speak. You contract everything. But contraction is really a shortening of longer words. With all this talk of contracting, I'm seeing the muscles of Ares' ass contracting as he thrusts inside me. Yeah, me. It's my grammar guide, so let me have him for a minute or two.
Trick: when you see an apostrophe, try to insert missing letters. If you can't, you know it's possessive.
Its vs It's
It's, with the apostrophe, is a contraction. It's [it is] too bad I can't feel his cock pressing against me.
Your vs You're
You're, with the apostrophe and e, is a contraction. You're [you are] hot for Ares.
Whose vs Who's
Who's, with the apostrophe, is a
contraction. The god, who's [who is] so delicious, got naked.
He licks his lips, then begins to speak: "Commas usually function within sentences to separate elements. I'm going to give you some pointers. Remember, of course, that I'm naked while I demonstrate comma use."
Commas are used:
So what does a colon do, exactly, other than put lusty thoughts into my head? In brief, you can use a colon to introduce statements that summarize, restate or explain what is said in an independent clause. (See below for a discussion of independent clauses.)
Ares, head thrown back, curls hanging down his back, thunders a warning: "A colon can introduce a list only when the words before the colon are an independent clause!"
If you really want to suck Ares' cock, you need to do three things: take out his cock; get on your knees; and open your mouth.
You use the colon in the above example because the section before it appears is an independent clause, while the section after explains what is said in that clause. That introductory section has to be independent, otherwise you go to grammar hell.
A colon can also introduce an appositive, a word or words that rename a noun or pronoun, but only if the introductory words form an independent clause.
The temple of Ares has one outstanding
feature: the big, bad god of war.
A colon can introduce a quotation, but only if the words before the colon are an independent clause. Use a comma, not a colon, if the words before the quotation are not an independent clause.
Ares, voice low like a lion's growl, insists you're the only lover for him: "I want you. I need you. Now fuck me."
When the first independent clause explains or summarizes the second independent clauses, a colon can separate them.
I'll never forget the first time he slid that thick juicy cock into me: I was lying on my bed and then he entered me without warning.
Misusing the Colon
NO: The god fucked: Iphicles, you, and Hercules.
YES: The god fucked Iphicles, you and Hercules.
The words or phrases such as, including, and like can be tricky: don't let them lure you into using a colon incorrectly.
NO: The god complained about a number of things, such as: his father's neglect, Hercules' mockery, and the tight leather chafing his cock.
YES: The god complained about a number of things, such as his father's neglect, Hercules' mockery, and the tight leather chafing his cock.
Don't use a colon to separate a phrase or dependent clause from an independent clause:
NO: Day after day: the war god kissed you.
YES: Day after day, the war god kissed you.
NO: At the day's end: he pushed you onto the bed and licked your nipples.
YES: At the day's end,
he pushed you onto the bed and licked your nipples.
Note the comma after the final word in the quotation mark. It goes there because the speech is followed by a speaking verb ("said"). Let's do some more: "Lick the head of my cock," the war god whispered. He pulled it from the tight leather. "Do it now."
If the action following the dialogue does not involve speech, but a different type of physical gesture, then you put a period. "I love you." He looked you up and down, smiling provocatively.
See? Ares is looking, and he can't look 'I love you'. He can whisper it, scream it, moan it, hiss it, but he can't look it. So a period follows the speech, because he is speaking, then doing something else.
You smiled back. "I love you, too."
Again, no comma here, because the action prefacing the dialogue is not speech-based. You can't smile the words, so they stand separately from the dialogue. You're smiling, then you're speaking.
Ares opened his arms. "Come here and fuck me," he commanded.
You wanted to say no, but he was naked and hard, so what could you do? "Ok, Ares, you big, horny stud." Your tongue slid over your dry lips. "I'm ready when you are," you told him.
Notice, too, that I've double-spaced
between the dialogue. This is a convention in fanfic, and you must
The above sentences are written in the active voice. In all cases, the subject of the sentence is clearly performing the action. The active voice kicks in fiction: it's direct, powerful, hard-hitting--just like the god himself.
The passive voice, on the other hand, bites (and not in a good way). It forces you to produce wordier, more convoluted and generally slower sentences.
Ares despises the passive voice.
See? The second one is unnecessarily wordy since the god of war likes it hard and fast. You know what I'm talking about.
Ares thrust his tongue down your throat.
Oh, no! In the second one, we've lost Ares. He's not doing the action anymore, and we want him to thrust. Oh yes, yes.
Ares leans forward, putting his
hand on your thigh. "If you're still not sure how to identify the
passive voice," he says seductively, "look for telltale words like by
and was. They won't always tell you, but they'll help."
As a reward for paying attention, he slips his hand higher.
Ares rolls his eyes. "Predicate" is the kind of word that scares people--maybe that's why it appeals to the god of war. A predicate is simply the part of a sentence that contains the verb and tells what the subject is doing or experiencing, or what is being done to the subject.
An independent (main) clause can stand by itself as a sentence. It contains a subject and a predicate.
The big, naked, gorgeous god of
A subordinate (dependent) clauses servers as a single part of speech and so cannot stand by itself as a sentence.
Independent clauses: We will
always love Ares.
Doctor Merlin's Guide to Fan Fiction
Guide to Grammar and Writing
Torch's Links Page (last few sections deal specifically with writing)
The Transitive Demigod
The Writer's Tool Box (lots of links)
*I mention Eric S. above, and I want to thank him and everyone else who has contributed in some way to this guide.