Holy Mother Grammatica's Guide to Good Writing

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Title: Holy Mother Grammatica's Guide to Good Writing
Creator: Susan L. Williams
Date(s): very early 2000s?
Medium: online
Fandom: all fandoms, focus on The Sentinel
External Links: Holy Mother Grammatica's Guide to Good Writing (website)
Holy Mother Grammatica's Guide to Good Writing (PDF)
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Holy Mother Grammatica's Guide to Good Writing is an how-to article about fanwriting. It was written by Susan L. Williams.

While the subject of the article was about fanfic (and other writing), the article's examples are all from The Sentinel.

One of many writing "how-to" tutorials and articles posted to the internet regarding the production of quality fanfic in the late 1990s to mid-2000s, this was one of the most oft-cited.

The author had a series of panels over several years (2001-2011) at MediaWest*Con, as well as a SentiCon, which highlighted the article and the points it made.

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"Punctuation, grammar, and spelling are not things that only happen to other people."--Terry Pratchett

Good writing doesn't just happen. "Well, duh," you say? And well you may, as long as you put it in quotation marks and punctuate it correctly. A surprising number of writers don't know how to do that. Many either don't know or don't care about the rules of grammar or of writing fiction.

Now, you say, "Rules of writing fiction? What rules?" The rules that I am about to tell you, of course. That's why you're reading this, right?

Who am I? I am Holy Mother Grammatica, dispenser of the rules, advisor to writers seeking guidance. I do not work alone. Among my colleagues are Mr. Exposition and Auntie Continuity. Together, we will attempt to help interested writers gain new skills and polish those they already have. We will start with general rules, and move on to specific errors. Let us begin.

The Chapters

  • Plot
  • Exposition
  • Show Don't Tell
  • Continuity
  • Point of View
  • Tense Persons
  • Dialogue
  • Names, Pronouns, Descriptive Phrases
  • Fragments
  • Spelling
  • Plurals, Numbers, and Apostrophes
  • Punctuation
  • Common Errors
  • Resources
  • Favorite Bloopers


[Exposition]: You all know Mr. Exposition. He's the character who says, "Well, Jim, as you know, the Chopec are a people who live in Peru but occasionally take ocean voyages to Cascade in order to seek out the heads of corporations that are destroying their lands." His is a thankless job, that of explaining to the readers who a character is and exactly what is going on, or of giving background information. Sometimes, she is Ms. Exposition, or Dr. Exposition, but the job is always the same. In bad writing, Mr. Exposition has no other purpose as a character than to dispense information. He is not really a person at all, but a walking encyclopedia. In the worst writing, Mr. Exposition is not a character, but the writer himself, giving the readers lots of information in blocks of not very interesting prose. This is also called info-dump.

Fan Comments

  • "The examples are all from fanfic on the TV show "The Sentinel", but her advice is sound." + "LOL, her advice is sound and packaged in a rather amusing fashion. :D" + "This is the first time I've ever enjoyed a grammar lesson. :)" [1]


  1. ^ 2012 comments at www.rhemuthcastle.com