Today the Dragon Wins

"Today the Dragon Wins" offers information from Fantasy Author and Professional Editor Sandy Lender. You'll also find dragons, wizards, sorcerers, and other fantasy elements necessary for a fabulous story, if you know where to look...

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Sandy Lender is the editor of an international trade publication and the author of the fantasy novels Choices Meant for Gods and Choices Meant for Kings, available from ArcheBooks Publishing, and the series-supporting chapbook, What Choices We Made.

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Monday, May 14, 2007

Grammar Guide
Prophesy vs. Prophecy

M.B. Weston and I are both fond of these words because they play pivotal roles in our new fantasy novels, A Prophecy Forgotten and Choices Meant for Gods, respectively. Perhaps the title of Michelle’s novel makes it apparent why the word/concept is important for her novel, hmm?

Let’s start with the ultra simple one. Prophesy, with an “s” in the spelling, is a verb. It means “to predict.” In my novel, CMFG, the prophets in the underground world of Tiurlang sit around all the livelong day prophesying. The character Sorne Jeel that Chariss (the heroine) rescues does some prophesying, which the reader gets to see, but none of the other characters pick up on it right away.

Just remember that the verb prophesy has an “s” in the spelling.

Now! Prophecy, with a “c” in the spelling, is a noun. And it rocks. It means “a prediction.” In Michelle’s novel, A Prophecy Forgotten, the guardian angels who protect us have a prophecy at the core of their beliefs that some of them have forgotten to respect. Thankfully, a handful of angels not only remember the prophecy, they hang their hopes on it, and fight to defend a child they believe is the incarnation of that prophecy.

My novel, Choices Meant for Gods, has a couple prophecies that guide the plotlines. One is terrible; the other positive. The positive prophecy was set in motion when our heroine was born, and now that she’s decided to stand up for herself and accept her duties and responsibilities in life, her role in prophecy has come to the forefront. (And she rocks.) The terrible prophecy was set in motion at the end of the novel, just in time for the sequel!

The prophets in Tiurlang in CMFG who sit around prophesying (verb) all day actually lose their sanity over the prophecies (noun) they see. Some of the events they foretell are so dark and foreboding that they can’t deal with the scenes. Some of the events are just so confusing (as prophecy is wont to be) that their minds’ inability to grasp and understand what’s been revealed drives them mad. This concept isn’t foreign to fantasy literature; Terry Goodkind’s prophets in his Sword of Truth series slowly go insane, but, wow, they take a long time to get there.

If you’re a writer of fantasy or paranormal thrillers (or even some paranormal romance), these words are in your vernacular and their proper use is a sign of your writing prowess. If you’re just writing a business letter, maybe prophecy isn’t going to come up very often, but knowing the difference can save you some embarrassment someday.

To get your copy of A Prophecy Forgotten by M.B. Weston, visit
To get your copy of Choices Meant for Gods by Sandy Lender, visit

(Sandy Lender has been an editor in the magazine publishing industry for fifteen years and is the author of the new fantasy novel Choices Meant for Gods, available from

“Some days, I just want the dragon to win.”

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Blogger M. B. Weston said...

I have a sentence for prophecy vs. prophesy. How's this, "My publisher mistakenly called my novel 'A Prophesy Forgotten' when he first listed it on the production schedule, and it took me a long time to catch it because they look so much alike."

11:45 PM  

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