Gower, The Master Scrivener

Member Since


Last Activity

1/21/2021 10:26 PM

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Duel Stats

0 wins / 0 losses


Notorious Marauder Exemplar



"He was slightly less unfun."




"Somehow there was comfort in coffee despite his misery; the only comfort in a black world." -- Hornblower in the West Indies


Trophies Earned

Earning 100 Points Earning 500 Points Earning 1,000 Points Earning 2,000 Points Having 3 Storygame(s) Featured Rated 97.7% of all Stories Given by BerkaZerka on 12/14/2019 - For an inspiring display of creativity ^v^ Given by EndMaster on 01/07/2020 - You may be fooling the rest, but I know you’re up to no good. Given by mizal on 10/11/2019 - For your exceptional games and articles, many forum contributions, and disturbing sweetness and light. (Sorry about McAllen, it wasn’t our idea either.) Given by Will11 on 10/12/2019 - For your excellent stories and many worthwhile contributions to the site :)


Featured Story Kelly Unicornstrider and Friends (1982-1985) Super Quiz

A comprehensive quiz + bonus fan faction about the the underrated cult classic show "Kelly Unicornstrider and Friends" (1982-1985). Questions range from really easy to really difficult.

Featured Story Private Game for Natalie

I think putting this on "publish" makes it so only we can see this. It's just for us, sweetie. I made it to celebrate our anniversary and remember some special intimate moments together over the years in an interesting way as a present for you.

I hope you love it, Natalie, as much as I love you!

(Of course if there's any admin looking at this, or if I messed up, don't read this, because it's got private things in it.)

Featured Story Sabbatical Report Presentation

This is my required report to the full faculty in accordance with the rules noted in the Faculty Handbook (version 15.1, as of October 2017)

Sixteen Words

"Personally I can only read 16 words in one go before words stop working," wrote Mizal.


This game has sixteen words per path.  Not counting "The End."  So you can play quickly.


When reviewing, please use precisely sixteen words.   That should be plenty for your suggestions and observations.


Note this challenge connected with this game:  Write the Last Page!

Articles Written

Basic Sentence Structure: Additive Sentences
Comma Use and Additive Sentences with lots of examples

Cumulative Sentences, Part 1
An introduction to the sophisticated and elegant cumulative sentence style.

Cumulative Sentences, Part 2
Master the elusive and attractive cumulative sentence by using panning and zooming style of description.

Dialogue Punctuation
This is a brief discussion of how to punctuate dialogue in US and UK English. It also notes a few rules for quotation mark use in general.

Relative Sentences
A lecture on how to write relative sentences using restrictive and non-restrictive clauses.

Semicolons and Advanced Additive Sentences
This article explains how to use semicolons to create new types of additive sentences. It includes the plain semicolon and semicolons with transition words.

Understanding Style: The Sweet Style
An introduction to style, focusing on "sweet" style. How to recognize it, when to use it, and when to avoid it.

Recent Posts

Gower's Office Hours on 1/18/2021 8:26:15 AM

You mean like the whole thing where every so often you run into stuff like this?

Ford said, "Did he really say, 'I've got a secret plan, and I cannot be stopped!'?"

That's so rare as to be just a curiosity--if people mess that up, that's understandable.  That sort of thing you only run into a few times in life without seeking it out.  But not knowing how to punctuate regular dialogue is distressing.


WARLORD LARPER for POTUS on 1/13/2021 4:35:27 PM

I will settle for anything, *anything* not plagiarized at this point.  Spelling things correctly is so far away from the world of possibilities that I can't even see it from here.

wassup on 12/23/2020 6:41:52 PM

You get points with me for having the same name as one of the best Dickens novels.

Hi! & How Not to Plagiarize Jane Austen? on 12/23/2020 6:10:26 PM

And yeah, I know better than to ever try to pass off Austen's work as my own hahaha.

And yet I still get essays handed in to me with full paragraphs, unattributed, from articles that *I wrote*.

Corgi vs FemWolverine on 12/8/2020 6:52:23 PM

We might have to go to the little-known and extraordinarily deadly tiebreaker round.

Corgi vs FemWolverine on 12/8/2020 6:42:31 PM

I vote for the first one.  The second story's prose style was the key feature that decided it for me.  The two big things were great use of cliche/formulaic writing and extra-sweet writing.  Cliche-wise, in the first bit alone we have "stumbling" out of bed, making a beeline, and piercing eyes, as well as the formula of all formulas, starting with the protagonist waking up in bed.  "She exchanged a teary goodbye with Ella and her family, also with some of the maids who she knew and liked. Then she took a deep breath and walked through the palace gates, sparing one last glance back at the place she called home." -- that's a few lines that I would call wholly cliche.

The prose of the second entry over-relies on adjectives and adverbs to do all the heavy lifting, which *feels* to writers sometimes like good description, but more frequently serves to get in the way of the narration and loses reader interest.  The "short red hair and piercing blue eyes" is symptomatic--this feels to the beginning writer like description--hair color, check, eye color, check, but doesn't really tell the reader much.  I don't actually care what color eyes she has.  I just met her.  What's so piercing about her eyes?  Or is that just shorthand for "my female character is tough"?  Similarly, if you say she stumbled to the curtains, I know she's sleepy; if you tell me her pajamas are silk, I know they are soft.    If someone is glaring, and also scowling, that may be one facial expression too many.  And so forth.

I don't mean to bag overly on this entry, but I offer these words in the spirit of improvement.  You have about ten seconds to snare your reader, and descriptions of clothes may not be the thing.  Let the description of your protagonist come naturally.  Show me what she does.  Let the physical be secondary to the narrative.

I don't mean to suggest entry one is perfect in this regard, but entry two had more problems with prose style, and in the end, I'm all about prose style.

(100 word stories) Just a short thing on the spot on 12/4/2020 4:08:54 PM

I will make my own choices and live the way I want to, not like everyone around me. 

--I had written, as a thirteen year old, in a tattered notebook.

I looked at it and then went to go heat up the kids' macaroni and cheese in the fucking microwave.

This Week's "Mead Hall" on 11/23/2020 6:33:57 PM

I want a review of the Valkyrie's choice.  Does it pack a punch that'll send you straight to the halls of Valhalla?

Hello CYS on 10/24/2020 7:08:02 AM

Welcome back!  I'm looking forward to reading your three epic stories!

Present progressive vs present to start a clause on 10/19/2020 6:44:20 AM

The present progressive would be "the relentless attacks are breaking his spirit."  What you have there in the first example is a cumulative phrase with a participle ("breaking.")  The second example is a straight-up present tense in an additive sentence.

I think in this case, the meaning is slightly different, and you must choose based on that.

In the first case, the breaking of the noob's spirit is happening as the posts are assaulting.  The cumulative phrasing makes the timing simultaneous.  We watch it happen, right there.  You can see End put up the noose picture, the frantic making of alt accounts, MHD posting a devastating sketch, and a hopeless final "I didn't mean to insult anyone, and you are all so mean" post with tearstains on it, and it's all happening *right now*.

In the second case, the comma-and additive phrasing ever-so-slightly makes it a FIRST-THEN timing.  The posts assault.  And the attacks break his spirit.  The wave of venom and vitriol spew.  Thara unleashes a single "Lol."  Mizal notes that this is the last time she'll attempt to help someone quite so stupid.  And then, the spirit breaks.  It could be in the privacy of the noob's classroom, or a bit later that night as he sobs himself to sleep.   It's only a beat later, but there's a definite timing beat there.

Therefore, since the noob's spirit breaks ever-so-slightly sooner in example number one, that one is preferred.