My Passion's Pen

Helping to polish what your passion pens.

Archive for the category “Grammar”

How to Reduce Editing Costs

Recently, I was approached by an emerging writer who opened her correspondence with something to the effect of: I don’t have money but I need a comprehensive editing package. My last editor was more interested in taking my money than fixing my book. 

I can empathize with this writer: she’s hungry to get her product into the marketplace and believes her work experience qualifies her to be a NYT Bestseller. But, as most of us who have tried our hat at creative writing after careers in journalism, academia, technology, etc. have learned, writing fiction requires a different skillset.

Writers are fortunate to have resources available to help save costs while honing their craft. Through the Internet, we can take master-level courses in creative writing and storytelling, grammar, and all points in between at little to no cost. I have personally completed the Creative Writing Specialization through Coursera.org and found it to be one of the best learning experiences I’ve had to date. There are also local workshops hosted by writing groups and universities such as this one in my corner of the world: The Apprentices: Free Creative Writing Workshops at Northwestern University. On social media and apps like Meetup or Scribophile you can join face-to-face or virtual writing groups.

Also, there are literally oodles of books about writing available for free through your favorite eReader bookshop, and don’t get me started on the tens of thousands of titles on Kindle Unlimited alone! And, don’t forget about your library where you can rent ebooks and audiobooks as well.

All of these resources can help writers — newbies and veterans — gain a better command of their craft. This legwork is done so you can save time and money when you reach the editing stage of the publishing process.

As an editor, I hope you’ve used your time wisely and sought advice from early readers and writing partners. I don’t like to have been the only other voice at this stage of the process.

“Write with the door closed, rewrite with the door open.” Stephen King On Writing

What King means is, tell yourself the story in the first draft. Let it rest. Then collaborate to make your story more real through the help of trusted crit partners. Give your manuscript another thorough self-edit or two before handing it over to editors.

Also, check out this post about how to determine what kind of editor you need and how to combine services to save money without negatively affecting your manuscript. In the linked article are alternatives to costly editing tasks. Picking Editors: Can We Combine Steps…? Jamie Gold has a terrific site chock-full of detailed guides and worksheets to help you tell your best story.

After you’ve done all that, give me a holler to discuss your publishing goals. daphne@mypassionspen.com 

 

Writing: Overused Words + Dangling Modifiers

Writing: Overused Words + Dangling Modifiers.

Exclude Us From Novels

Print this and post it at your workstation as a self-editing guide.

A list of what shouldn’t be included in novels, including words and common fiction elements. Use this list to safely exclude unnecessary elements from fiction.

via Exclude Us From Novels.

Commas with Subordinate Clauses—A Reader’s Question

What are the rules for dependent clauses and commas when the dependent clause comes before, in the middle of, or after the independent clause.

via Commas with Subordinate Clauses—A Reader’s Question.

It’s Not Cheating to Use Writing Tips and Tools

It’s not cheating to learn from other writers. Take advantage of the experience of writers and use their tips and writing techniques for your own stories.

via It’s Not Cheating to Use Writing Tips and Tools.

Sentence clauses and where to put the comma. With gratuitous nudity.

Eric the Gray

Warning: The naked monster in this picture has nothing to do with the content below and is therefore gratuitous. Warning: The naked monster in this picture has nothing to do with the content below and is therefore gratuitous.

Do you have any idea how hard it is to think up an enticing blog post title when your topic is sentence clauses? That’s about as unsexy a thing as can be discussed. My other options were Full Frontal Commas and When Punctuation Marks Hook Up, but I ultimately decided “sentences clauses” and “comma” both belonged because the union of those two language elements is what we’re talking about today.

I’m willing to bet that when writers express worry about their punctuation skills, their chief grief is commas. Like, when to use one and where to put it (by the way, if you block out the rest of this post, you have to admit what I just wrote could be sexy). Today I shall discuss one aspect of comma…

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Great advice from Terrible Minds

http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2014/03/19/in-writing-there-are-rules-and-then-there-are-rules/

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Watch “Fix Your Grammar” on YouTube

I love funny grammar videos. This one also features sharp-witted puppets and Kelsey Grammer, so it’s like I’ve tripled my pleasure.

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Confessions of a Logophile

In between my search for my next favorite novel, I’ve caught up on some fan fiction. There are many gifted yarn spinners out there in the Fandom, yet I’ve struggled with just about every fic I’ve read lately.

Why? Grammar — primarily the misuse of words.

http://www.dailywritingtips.com/category/misused-words/

I’ve always been a bit of a word nerd, and nothing cools my jets faster than someone throwing words around all willy-nilly. Just because two words look and sound similar does not make them interchangeable.

[*raises hand*I’m Daph, and I can’t make my fingers put a Y in flier when I know I’m supposed to.

*Side-eyes self* A pamphlet and an aviator are very different things.

*hangs head in shame* I know.]

I can overlook some errors in favor of the story, but it has to be one helluva story. When I read and come across a misused word, I feel like the writer is saying, “You know what I meant.”  No, boo-boo, we ain’t playing Guesstures. 

I’ll be the first to admit: I’m a major fic snob, and I’m unapologetic about it. If a writer expects readers to spend their valuable time with their creations, then they should give us readers their best words. Right? However, as with the prevalent misuse of “literally” has shown, we have no idea what some of those words mean. 

Mandy Patinkin & Wallace Shawn — The Princess Bride

I suppose my issue isn’t so much with the writer, it’s the dissolution of rules…and dare I say: standards. I read an article the other day which said, “…dictionaries do not show how words should be used, but how they are commonly used… .”

http://grammar.about.com/od/words/a/UsageGlossary.htm

This is unsettling to me, like an “everybody’s doing it” mentality. Language has gotten so lazy — I blame Instant Messaging and texting.  I’m no fool. I know language changes over time, but it’s important for writers to stay true to themselves. Write well. Write simply. Write your truth.

http://www.buzzfeed.com/adamellis/17-misused-and-made-up-words-that-make-you-rage

I think Stephen King said it best in his memoir On Writing, “One of the really bad things you can do to your writing is to dress up the vocabulary, looking for long words because you may be a little ashamed of your shorter ones. This is like dressing up a household pet in evening clothes. The pet is embarrassed and the person who committed this act of premeditated cuteness should be even more embarrassed.”

To paraphrase: Trying to sound smart makes you look stupid. 

Your stone throwing may commence. *puts up telekinetic shield*

Happy writing!!

 

On Writing by Stephen King

http://www.amazon.com/On-Writing-Anniversary-Edition-Memoir/dp/1439156816
I’ve seen this book quoted like the Bible. Being Stephen King’s thoughts on his writing journey, and considering myself a lifelong fan, I had to add this to my library. However, over the year-something I’ve owned this book, I’ve never read it cover-to-cover. And I call myself a fan…

Another confession: I almost never read book Forwards.

I read this one (there are actually three) and wanted to slap myself for contemplating skipping over the wealth of knowledge shared in those few pages.  I’ve already learned so much.

I’m only a couple chapters in, but I know this volume will end up looking like a unicorn threw up on it. I’m already marking this bad boy up. Simply the way he describes his childhood has me awestruck: “Mine is a fogged-out landscape from which occasional memories appear like isolated trees … the kind that look as if they might like to grab and eat you.”

I haven’t read much of his recent stuff, but lines like this remind me why I used to live in his books of short stories for days on end, hardly surfacing for sustenance.

Do yourself a favor, get this book.

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