A Chilling Summer Read
Shannon Delaney Series, Vol. 1
Shannon Delaney's writing assignment in San Diego opens new doors for her young career. She has no idea that her temporary home, the Victorian-era Blackthorne House mansion is a portal to a century-old mystery. On her first night a ghostly encounter entagles her in the spectral mission of the mansion's original owner-Eric Blackthorne, master magician. Complicating matters is Alex Blackthorne, handsome and charming descendent of the ghostly magician. Also, there's Zach Zavala, who has guy-next-door good looks and a straightforward manner. Plus, Zach's grandfather Francisco is a retired detective and a kindred spirit who appreciates Shannon's apprehension about her paranormal experiences.
Question from the e-mail: Our reading group chose a myster by a new-to-me writer this month. The style seemed a bit old-fashioned. And someone in the group mentioned "all the Swifties." Any idea awhat a "Swiftie" is?
Answer: Tom Swift was a hero of a series of boys' adventures featuring scientific accomplishment. A literary character whose author chose the shortest and easiest kind of dialogue attribution --- a said, followed by an adverb.
You won't find any in the book above. According to Wikipedia, a Tom Swifty (Swiftly, or Tom Swiftie) is a phrase in which a quoted sentence is linked by a pun to the manner in which it is attributed. The most common example is from TOM SWIFT AND HIS ELECTRIC MACHINE. "That's the spark!" Tom said, electricly.
This was a common dialogue construction back in the 20s and 30s, but is now considered by most writing teachers as "lazy writing" with or without puns.
Here are a few examples:
- "I'll have a martini," said Tom, drily (dryly).
- "Who left the toilet seat down?" Tom asked peevishly.
- "Pass me the shellfish," said Tom crabbily.
- "That's the last time I'll stick my arm in a lion's mouth," the lion-tamer said off-handedly.
- "Can I go looking for the Grail again?" Tom re-quested.
- "I unclogged the drain with a vacuum cleaner," said Tom succinctly.
- "I might as well be dead," Tom croaked.
- "We just struck oil!" Tom gushed.
- "It's freezing," Tom muttered icily.
- "They had to amputate them both at the ankles," said Tom defeatedly.
- "I wonder if this radium is radioactive?" asked Marie curiously.
- "The Battle of the Nile? A lot of fun!" said Lord Nelson disarmingly.
- "Hurry up and get to the back of the ship!" Tom said sternly.
- "We could have made a fortune canning pineapples," Tom groaned dolefully.
- "I wish I drove a Scandinavian car," Tom sobbed (Saabed).
- "Careful with that chainsaw," Tom said offhandedly.
- "I'm here," Tom said presently.
- "Happy Birthday," Tom said presently.
- "Walk this way," Tom said stridently.
- "I stole the gold," Tom confessed guiltily (giltily).
- "Bingo," Tom exclaimed winningly.
- "Where did all the carpet on the steps go?" asked Tom with a blank stare (stair).
- "I used to be a criminal pilot," he ex-plained con-descendingly.
- "I have no flowers," Tom said lackadaisically.
- "I know not which groceries to purchase," Tom said listlessly.
- "I decided to come back to the group," Tom rejoined.
- "Did you say to zip up my sleeping bag or the door?" Tom asked inattentively.
- "This pizza place is great!" Tom exclaimed saucily.
- "I dropped my toothpaste," Tom said crestfallenly.