Dramatic Dissonance

In my reviews of Star Trek Picard, I’ve started using the term ‘dramatic dissonance’ to describe something that we’re seeing on-screen. This particular phenomenon or quality may already have a term to describe it – if it does, I don’t know what it is, so for now I’m going to use ‘dramatic dissonance’ (to mimic the phrase ‘dramatic irony’). And while I’ve started using this term in my Star Trek Picard reviews, it’s something I’ve seen in lots of other shows too – like Star Trek Discovery and recent Doctor Who – so I thought I’d write a blog post about it in order to define it more clearly.

Dramatic dissonance is when the reactions of the characters to each other, or to the events of the story, are different to the audience’s reaction to the characters or to the events of the story.

Here’s an example of this: one character says something, and several other characters around them consider it a very awkward thing to say, or a faux pas, but the audience doesn’t think that it’s an awkward thing to say.

Here’s another: one character does something (it could be anything), and all of the characters around them think that this character is a genius for doing it, but the audience isn’t impressed by it at all.

This second example is one we’ve seen a lot in both Star Trek Picard and Star Trek Discovery – in fact this second example is often a way of determining whether a character is a Mary Sue. (Other characters will just think that they’re brilliant no matter what they do.)

Dramatic dissonance is a bad quality for a show to have. It is, by its very definition, unrealistic, and if a show has it, the audience will sense something is amiss, even if they can’t quite put it into words. The audience can sense it because things in the show don’t seem to make sense.

I’m not sure I could exactly say what the origins of dramatic dissonance in a show actually are, but I don’t think it’s an acting problem – I think it comes from the writing. It may come from writers thinking too much about ‘How do I want this character to react?’ rather than ‘How would they react?’.

Star Trek Picard – Series 1 Episode 5 – Picard is not Picard and Seven is not Seven

Hmm. I wrote five pages of notes for the last episode; for this episode I wrote six – this is not a good sign.

This was not a good episode – for many reasons. Over the course of the series so far we’ve seen various problems: a lot of the dialogue is very unnatural; many of the characters are played over-the-top; the characters just exposit their backstories to each other or to holograms; alien races have lost all of their distinctive qualities and are now just space thugs. Many of these problems have been somewhat ignorable, because they’re only very apparent in one part of the episode, and this is the start of a new series anyway, and new shows tend to take a while to get going.

But in this episode we saw many of these same problems again, suggesting that these are going to be problems throughout the whole series, and this episode revealed some very big character problems. This episode also shows that the mystery of the Mars incident is not progressing well – I was amazed to find out that this series is only going to have ten episodes in it – this episode marks the half-way point, but the mystery has really only just been set up – nothing else has happened with it. By this point we should have found out something important about the mystery, but we haven’t. The ‘gang’ is still just wandering around the galaxy, looking for some sort of starting point. (Also, consider that it was only in episode four that the ‘gang’ first all assembled, with Elnor ‘binding his sword’ to Picard’s ‘quest’.)

I’ll get to the main problem with the episode in a few paragraphs, but first let’s get the simpler stuff out of the way.

Firstly, this episode was very gory. I personally am not a fan of gore – many people like it (and indeed, horror as a genre is often thought of as being part of a set of related genres with sci. fi. and fantasy), but I don’t. I detest the gory and the grotesque. (Anyone who’s read my books will have seen that while I don’t mind the gross (all of the trolls in OTSOT are described as being disgusting), I never describe gore, even when quite violent things happen in my stories.) This is just my preference, and I don’t hold it against the quality of the episode, because I know some people do like that stuff. However, I will say that this is yet another departure from the style of classic Star Trek. Classic Star Trek was not gory (or rather, there was an upper limit on how gory it was willing to be – a limit that was a lot lower than in this show). Other episodes in this show have had moments of gore too – like when we see doctors taking the implants out of Borg on the Artefact – it’s clearly a deliberate decision by showrunners to make the show more gory.

The show continues to have character problems – so, so many in this episode. The character of Raffi (whose full name is apparently Rafaela Musiker – interesting choice) continues to be an obnoxious mess. Firstly, Raffi has just become every single expert who’s normally on a Federation starship. Throughout the course of this episode we see that she is an expert hacker, an expert spy, a cultural expert, a chief medical officer, and a chief engineer. Throughout the ‘mission’ that they go on in this episode, she is the only one who knows anything about anything – all of the other characters are clueless and just listen to her tell them what to do. She has a detailed knowledge of the culture and technology on Freecloud, and how to infiltrate them. She knows enough about medical science and human physiology to create a substance that can block the special abilities of the Beta Annari. And she is apparently the only person who knows enough about transporter technology to give instructions on what to do to everyone else. This is unrealistic – it is not possible for one person to know that much about that many things. One of the good things about classic Star Trek is that the different skills of the different characters meant that no single character could solve every problem, and they had to work together. At one point Picard even says to Raffi ‘This is going to be very much harder without you.’ – Yes! Because she literally does fucking everything!

As a side note I really don’t care about this new thing with Raffi’s son. It just seems like some desperate attempt to tag on a ‘personal storyline’ to Raffi’s character, but it doesn’t seem to have any relation to anything else that’s going on in the show or anything to do with Raffi’s personality. It’s just a cliché of writing – you’ve accidentally created an overpowered character so now you have to tag on some ‘tragic backstory’ bollocks. A character’s own story arc should be interwoven and relevant to the main fucking story arc of the show – this is basic fucking shit.

That’s Raffi; now Elnor. Elnor so far has been completely fucking useless and has no personality. I mean really, what do we even know of Elnor at this point? What does he want? Why is he there? What does he really think of Picard? He chose this ‘quest’ because he thought it was hopeless – does that mean he thinks he’s going to die? How is he preparing for that? Or is he thinking of ways that he can make this ‘quest’ succeed against all odds? The show has not even begun to answer any of these questions.

At this point, the only personality trait that Elnor has is that he’s awkward. That’s it. But even that is not as concrete as it might superficially seem, because while we see lots of scenes where the other characters around him think that something he’s said is awkward, it’s actually not. Because of the very unnatural dialogue of the show, many of the things that other characters say are actually far more awkward than the few things that Elnor says. This results in what one might call ‘dramatic dissonance’, where what we are being told by the dialogue or the script or the writers is different to what we are being shown and what the audience thinks. All of the characters act as though Elnor is really awkward, but this is madness when every other character is actually more awkward.

Next: Agnes Jurati. This character is all over the place, but I will say that this character is much better in the serious moments than in the ones that try to be funny or matey. Alison Pill is actually an extremely good actor – her performance as Jurati kills Maddox is extraordinary. But she keeps being given crap lines to perform in the less serious moments.

As a side note: Maddox. Firstly, why is Bruce Maddox being played by a different actor? This character was a minor one-story character in TNG, and completely obnoxious. Why bring back a character like that if you’re not going to at least maintain the consistency and get the same actor? More importantly though, shortly before Maddox is killed, he says to Picard ‘Dahj is dead, isn’t she?’. The show deprives us of seeing his reaction when he learns this by having the character already know it. This is a thing that seems to happen a lot in modern television (and film) – where we just don’t see the reactions of characters to new information – and it’s bad. Stop it. If all good acting is reacting, how can we get good performances if we never see the bloody reactions! (And this was particularly annoying on this occasion because it’s so bloody unnecessary!)

But okay, let’s get to the big ones – the problems that really condemn this whole episode and this whole show: Seven of Nine is not the same character that we saw in Voyager, and Jean-luc Picard is not the same character that we saw in The Next Generation.

Seven of Nine is completely different. There are almost no similarities between this character in this show, and the real Seven of Nine from Voyager. They are two separate characters with the same name played by the same actress.

Now, some people may argue that characters change over time, and it has been, what, 20-ish years in-universe since Voyager? That’s a long time – people can change a lot over that time. Firstly, I disagree with this premise – I actually don’t think people change as much as some like to think – this idea that people change radically over the course of their life is a cliché – some people do, but most don’t. But even if people did change a lot over 20 years, I don’t think this is a good thing to do in fiction. This does not make for a good narrative – in fact it’s quite nihilistic. In most narratives, characters have some obstacle to overcome – some challenge to succeed at. Changing a character off-screen essentially involves giving them a new obstacle or challenge (or, as is the case in a lot of contemporary television and film, giving them no obstacle or challenge at all), which most of the time is not related or connected to their previous challenge. This means that essentially their previous challenge and success is meaningless and irrelevant – it didn’t matter whether they overcame the obstacle or not, because now they’ve just been given a new, different one. If characters are defined by the obstacles they overcome, then giving them a different obstacle makes them a different character.

So it is bad to outright change a character from a previous series. Even just from a pure entertainment point of view it makes no sense – people liked the old character, so why are you just replacing it with a new one that the audience may not like?

And the character of Seven of Nine has changed – quite drastically. Just look at any clips of Seven from Voyager, and you can quickly see that these are not the same character. Seven of Nine from Voyager is meticulous and diligent. She is no longer part of the Borg, but she does not outright hate them – she sees the advantages to some of the things they do, and thinks some of the things that humans do are strange. She gradually learns how to be more human, and enjoy human things, but it is not tragic. Seven of Nine from STP is a vigilante. She’s abrasive, and ‘doesn’t play by anyone’s rules’. She’s a space cowboy who’s tragically haunted by her Borg past. These are completely different characters. (Seven of Nine in STP is also selectively moronic – why, WHY, even though she is completely prepared to kill Bjayzl, does she allow Bjayzl to stand there monologuing for several minutes?! It’s Austin Powers levels of unrealistic incompetence!)

And now the big one: Picard. The character of Jean-luc Picard in this show is not the same character as Jean-luc Picard in The Next Generation. Considering that he’s the main character of the show, that’s pretty bad.

So far in this series I’ve been somewhat tolerant of the disparities between the two Picards – I’ve put it down to badly-written dialogue and the show getting started. But no – this episode shows that the two Picards are different characters.

Let’s look at the examples. Firstly, when Picard is talking to Seven, he says ‘You are taking the law into your own hands.’, referring to her being a vigilante. This line is ridiculous because Picard knows that no law is being enforced in this part of the galaxy, and he would know that in such a situation you have to follow your own principles and be strategic. Picard never just considered ‘The Law’ to be outright correct, and thus any violation of it to be automatically incorrect – many times he disagreed with what the law was, and deliberately went against it. He would not be an advocate for just following non-existent law for the sake of being lawful. He would have known that lawful and good aren’t always the same thing.

The Picard from TNG was the ‘philosopher king’ archetype – a character who is both an authoritative leader and a moral teacher – a difficult archetype to do right and one that’s not done often nowadays. The reason it’s not often done nowadays is because lots of film and television writers nowadays lack the profundity to have the character say anything with any real moral value. In this episode, the writers of this show tried to mimic this philosophical Picard from TNG, but lack the capacity. The result is that Picard is no longer a moral teacher, and is just as stupid as the rest of the characters.

Not only is the ‘philosopher’ part of Picard’s character missing, so is the ‘king’. This is connected to Raffi’s all-powerfulness. In all of these episodes, Picard is just standing around, asking other people to do things for him. He does not lead anyone at any point. You’d hardly even know he was an admiral at all.

Let’s look at another odd line. When Seven is about to kill Bjayzl, Picard says to her ‘This is not saving the galaxy – this is settling an old score!’. So, Picard knows that Bjayzl tortured Seven’s friend. The Picard of TNG would never refer to the torturing of someone’s friend as an ‘old score’ – he would take it far more seriously than that. Similarly, Picard would never talk about ‘saving the galaxy’ in this way. This isn’t fucking Star Wars. What Seven does isn’t saving the fucking galaxy – she is limited to one very small part of the fucking galaxy, and there are many parts of the galaxy that no-one’s even been to yet. It’s ridiculously melodramatic and Picard in TNG was anything but melodramatic.

As an aside, consider the scenes where Picard is down on Freecloud. It’s clear that Patrick Stewart had far more fun playing that character than he does playing Picard’s Picard. There’s also a bizarre moment where he says the words ‘appropriately sinister’ in a French accent, which is odd, because Picard can speak French – would he not just say the words in French?

The Jean-luc Picard in this show is not reminiscent of the character from TNG. The character actually reminds me far more of Professor Xavier from the X-Men. But in this series he has nothing interesting or meaningful to say, and does not actually take any actions in the story. In five episodes he doesn’t seem to have actually done anything to try to solve this mystery himself – he’s just been nearby to other people when they tell him things about the mystery. He has not solved or figured out anything himself, nor has he made any of the decisions for what to do next – Raffi does all of that. He’s just some guy, standing there, watching the other characters do things.

There are only five episodes left. I don’t think this show is going to turn around in that time. So far, what have we seen? A mystery that is moderately compelling, but which has hardly moved forward since the first episode, and which the main character has only had peripheral involvement in solving. We’ve seen no other interesting or new ideas – if this had been TNG, we’d’ve gotten five new, interesting, sci. fi. ideas by now. We’ve heard a bunch of annoying, over-performed characters say some very unnatural lines. And we’ve seen some other characters who have the same names as characters from TNG, some of whom are also played by the same actors, but who are completely different characters. So far, this series has mostly been a massive waste of time.

Star Trek Picard – Series 1 Episode 3 – A bit annoying at times

I am still, mostly, enjoying Star Trek Picard. I’m still enjoying the mystery – I still want to know what the Zhat Vash are up to and why the androids went mad. But this series is far from perfect, and it remains not as good as its predecessor – The Next Generation (I am continuing a re-watch of all of TNG, and it’s amazing how well that show holds up compared to many more recently-made shows). I have two pages of notes in my notebook about this episode – most of them are quite disconnected from each other, so I think rather than just go through them all in this review, I’ll focus on the problems in this episode that were very apparent, and which are present in all of the episodes of this series so far.

Firstly, a lot of the characters in this series are played far too over-the-top. In this episode this was the case for both Raffi and Chris. This is an odd problem. The reason why it is a problem in the first place is that it makes the emotions of the characters seem wildly disproportionate to the problems that they have and the situation that they’re in. It undermines the realism and it’s very annoying to watch.

And I think this is both an acting problem and a writing problem. The dialogue of this show is, a lot of the time, not well written. It is cheap – the writers keep trying to tell things to the audience via the dialogue, rather than the dialogue just being what that character would say at that time and in that situation. It’s very difficult to perform bad dialogue well – bad dialogue can make a performance seem over-the-top. But this is also an acting problem. It’s as though the actors believe that more emotion is always better – the more you veer wildly from one mood to the next, the better your performance is. This is not true, and it’s why you don’t see Patrick Stewart or Brent Spiner do it.

Secondly, and similarly, many times in this episode, and this series, characters just exposit their own backstory to each other. Raffi does this a lot in this episode – she just tells Picard, and the audience, everything about her life for the last fourteen years. Chris does it too – he just has a conversation with a hologram (who seems to appear just so that the audience can be exposited to), in which he explains the important parts of his backstory and what he thinks of his current situation. It’s very cheap. You are supposed to realise not to do this kind of exposition early on as a writer – you are sacrificing realistic dialogue for the sake of giving backstory that is not needed yet, and which would be better if left as a mystery for now.

Underlying both of these points is the fact that this show is trying very hard to be ‘gritty’ and ‘bad-ass’. Lots of the new characters are moody and sarcastic (though they’re quite bad at sarcasm), and clearly the writers of this show had the phrase ‘morally grey’ whizzing around their brains a bit too much. This seems to mimic a trend that we’ve seen in Hollywood films and television shows over the last twenty years or so – for grittier, grungier worlds. It works fine for things like the Dark Knight trilogy, but it’s somewhat antithetical to Star Trek. The world depicted in this show does not seem like the same world as in classic Star Trek. It makes this series seem more like Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. than The Next Generation.

I did like the fight scene in this episode. It was a complete surprise, and very tense – exactly how that situation would seem in real life, which was great. Dr. Jurati’s reaction to having just killed someone was portrayed excellently too.

So this series has flaws, but for now they are somewhat ignorable, and the show continues to be enjoyable. (Although if there’s one thing I really did hate about this episode it was Raffi calling Picard ‘JL’ – fuck off with that. This is desperately trying to show these two characters as being familiar, but that should be done through the actors’ performances. This doesn’t make Raffi and Jean-luc look like they’ve been friends for a long time – it just makes Raffi look like a twat.)

Doctor Who – Series 12 Episode 1 – Dull, dull, ever so dull

Gosh it doesn’t seem all that long since series 11. After series 11 had aired, I had intended to make a video for my YouTube channel reviewing the series as a whole. I never got round to that in the end (as is the case with many, many videos), so I will just summarise what I thought of series 11 here.

I did not like series 11. The series had many problems, and I could have spent a long time describing them, either in blog posts or videos, but the main problem with the series was that it was deathly dull. It was unendingly boring; I tried to watch every episode of the series, but by the end I just didn’t give a shit anymore, so didn’t watch the last two or three episodes.

This followed on from many years of decline of Doctor Who. Peter Capaldi is an outstanding actor – one of the best living actors – but his series’ as The Doctor were increasingly dull. I can’t really remember the stories of any of the episodes he was in – there were no memorable moments. Getting rid of Peter Capaldi and Steven Moffat and bringing in Jodie Whittaker and Chris Chibnall was an attempt at revitalising the show. I watched series 11 optimistic that this would work, but it didn’t.

As a result of all of this, I had not intended on watching series 12 – once a show declines below a certain level of quality, one should stop watching it – how else will the showrunners learn? However, I’ve heard mixed things about series 12 so far, about half of which has aired, so I thought I’d watch this series (at least, start watching it – I may not make it to the end), to see for myself. I tend to tolerate one bad series of a show, but not two – that’s what I did with Star Trek Discovery.

So I watched episode 1 of series 12, optimistic that they would begin to solve some of the problems from the last series. But they didn’t.

I have four pages of notes on this episode, and each note could probably become two or three whole paragraphs in this review. If I were to try to fully describe what was bad about this episode, this review would become enormous, and I really don’t want to have to write and edit a giant piece of text – that takes a lot of time – considering this is just one episode. And I think it would be rather dull to read too. So instead I’m just going to give my overall thoughts on this episode – what the main problems with it are – and then chuck in a list of quick thoughts I had while watching the episode, to give the sense of just how many things are wrong with it.

The main problem with this episode is that it is dull – very, very dull. Throughout most of the episode I was just waiting for it to end, so that I could get on with other stuff. I just don’t give a shit about the mystery they are trying to solve or the villain they are trying to defeat.

And I think this says something important about writing mystery – something actually quite fundamental. The best mysteries are ones where the audience has a chance of figuring out the mystery before the characters do. We the audience should be given clues about the mystery throughout the story, and we can use these clues to solve the mystery, in the same way that the characters do. The problem with Doctor Who recently is the same problem that Steven Moffat’s Sherlock series had: we the audience have no way of figuring out the mystery ourselves, and so all we can do is watch the protagonist use their brilliance and genius to figure out the mystery using knowledge that we the audience don’t have. This is dull.

A very similar principle is true about ‘defeat the bad guy’ stories too. We the audience should be able to figure out how the bad guy can be defeated based on what we know of the rules of the world that the story is set in and the resources that the protagonists have access to. This is why world-building is so important. Part of world-building is establishing what the rules of your fictional world are, and once set, they should not be broken. The audience then knows what the rules of your world are, and can use that knowledge to figure out how to defeat the villain. The problem with Doctor Who is that it is one giant festival of deus ex machina. New rules and possibilities are introduced all the time, and old rules are disregarded. This means that all we can do as the audience is just sit back and bask in the genius of the protagonist as, once again, the protagonist uses knowledge of what’s possible and what isn’t, that we the audience don’t have, to defeat the antagonist. This is dull.

Doctor Who has had both of these problems for a long time, and this episode epitomised them. I simply don’t care how or why all of these people are being killed, because I have no way of figuring it out. Nor do I care about how The Master will be defeated – he’s always defeated. There is no threat; there is no suspense; there is no mystery.

That is the biggest problem with the episode (and I anticipate it will be the biggest problem with the whole series); that’s why it’s dull.

And now for a selection of random thoughts from throughout the episode:

  • Weird fucking dialogue right from the fucking outset. This was a problem in the last series too – for some reason the writers aren’t able to write realistic dialogue – the dialogue in this show just comes across as creepy, patronising, passive-aggressive, forced, and ultimately fake.
  • The side-kicks continue to have zero charisma. They have no personality – no character traits whatsoever. This isn’t a problem with the actors – this is a problem with the writers.
  • ‘Worst Uber ever!’ – y’know I think this line might epitomise the problem with Doctor Who at the moment. This line is played as a joke, but it’s not a joke – it’s a half-joke – a thing that is said that may be ever-so-slightly amusing, but which does not have the actual structure of a joke (yes jokes do have analysable structure). Half-jokes should never, ever make it into your writing, unless you are trying to mock the person who makes the half-joke.
  • MI6 seems a bit weak-sauce compared to U.N.I.T.
  • ‘I’ve read the files; The Doctor is a man.’ says Stephen Fry. ‘I’ve had an upgrade.’ says Jodie Whittaker. This is a bit of a fuck you to the people who didn’t like this change.
  • Even Stephen Fry can’t make the dialogue good. Normally a great actor can make shit dialogue good, but here the dialogue is just too shit.
  • I hate all of this walking and talking stuff – it prevents the suspense from building. Leave pauses in your scenes – you don’t have to have characters talking all the time. Suspense builds when we sense something ominous – little is more ominous than silence.
  • ‘Is she gonna die Doc?’ says one of the side-kicks. Once again, the side-kicks are just used as props for The Doctor. This was a problem last series too.
  • ‘MI6 has never countenanced the possibility of extra-terrestrial life.’ – I’m guessing all of those times aliens were seen by lots of people around Earth have been retconned then.
  • Stephen Fry’s character’s death has no impact.
  • The line ‘No-one’s mocking you now.’ is weirdly hilarious, though it’s not supposed to be.
  • Lenny Henry is thin now.
  • The show desperately wants to examine the big issues – like corporate data gathering and people being shits on Twitter – but it has no idea how to do it.
  • This was another fucking ‘end of the universe’ story. Stop it. This carries no weight in a series with world-building and characters as flimsy as this.
  • Fake-out deaths – these kill the tension – avoid them.
  • Jodie Whittaker plays The Doctor like a children’s television presenter. You’re not on fucking Blue Peter.
  • This is another episode that has characters talk about technology that’s been written by people who know nothing about how that technology works. If you’re not going to have any techie people write your show, at least get a fucking technology adviser so that your characters don’t say stupid things.
  • Lenny Henry is shit at aiming.
  • Lenny Henry does not make for a threatening villain. (This is actually a writing problem – as is the above point. Lenny Henry actually does very well with what he is given – it’s just that what he is given to perform is shit.)

That was one episode, and it had that much wrong with it. That episode was a complete disaster, and it doesn’t bode well for the rest of the series.

Apostrophic Abbreviations

I remember learning about apostrophes in primary and secondary school. I remember learning that they could be used to indicate possession with the possessive s – for example, ‘Ben’s blog’. And I remember learning that apostrophes were also used in abbreviations – they denoted letters that had been omitted to make two words shorter.

This is something we all learn in school. But I think something else we learn at the same time is that there is a set of words that are abbreviated in this way (words like I’ve and you’re) and that that’s it – no other words can be abbreviated in this way.

But in the last two years or so, I realised that there really isn’t anything to stop me from using apostrophes to abbreviate more words. (It might not be considered grammatically correct by a number of grammar and spelling aficionados, but I don’t think there’s any point sticking to a rule of grammar if the rule adds nothing to the language.) There are words that I abbreviate when I speak them – sometimes if I want to write a sentence, but convey the same meaning as if I had spoken it, I want to abbreviate the same words.

So I have started doing this – I have started abbreviating other words – beyond the standard set – and here are some of the ones that I use:

  • I’d’ve – I would have
  • You’d’ve – You would have
  • They’d’ve – They would have
  • What’ve – What have
  • When’ve – When have
  • to’ve – to have
  • Couldn’t’ve – Could not have
  • Wouldn’t’ve – Would not have
  • There’re – There are
  • Where’re – Where are
  • Who’re – Who are
  • Y’know – You know
  • D’y’know – Do you know
  • J’know – Do you know
  • ‘snot – It’s not
  • ‘salso – It’s also

In this list there are words which have two apostrophes in them where I’ve smashed together three words. I find this to be delightfully absurd. Two apostrophes is altogether too many apostrophes to have in a word – much the same way that twelve sides is too many sides for a £1 coin to have – and that’s why I think it’s brilliant (and I like the new £1 coin too).

Some of these words even start with apostrophes – also a lot of fun.

It doesn’t save any time writing words like this – I write fewer characters but I spend more time thinking about when to type the apostrophes. I use these abbreviations in order to make what I write more similar to what I say. They can prevent something I write from seeming too formal and stiff.

Microsoft Word complains when I do this, of course, as does my phone when I use these abbreviations in text messages. But I have a lot of idiosyncrasies in my writing, and I’ve long since ignored Word’s opinion of it. (‘Yes Word, I do in fact WANT that line to be a sentence fragment.’)