Be kind, Rewind! #writingtip

A few years ago, my spouse was starting a new job with a new manager and this said manager kept getting frustrated with my spouse. You see, my spouse has a couple common phrases that he says ALL the time and one of those phrases is “Sure, sure.” So every time this manager would ask him to do something, teach him something, whatever, my spouse would respond with “Sure, sure.”

His phrase used to be “you know?”

The point is we each have phrases we tend to use A LOT, whether we want to or not. We do this in speech, we do this in writing, we do this in texting. If you’re texting (or in messenger) with me, I will type lol ALL THE TIME. It drives myself insane, but the habit is there and I do it.

So the other day, I’m editing away at one of my new pretty little novels that I’ve finally finished working and you know what I found? I found a brand new phrase I’ve been using abundantly along with a few I knew I always used.

What are your go to phrases in writing that you constantly put into your piece and don’t even realize it?

I literally keep a list on notepad in my computer of “words to delete” which are these overused words and phrases I keep typing.

My newest one is “to be honest”.

My list?

– begin/began
– start/started
– quick

Our phrases/words can and will change. This is why it is SO IMPORTANT to have someone else read through your piece before it ever gets near publishing. Other people pick up on this stuff, not us. My spouse still doesn’t know he says sure, sure every five seconds of the day.

In editing other peoples works, I’ve put together a list of common words you can easily find to delete/find and rework. Here’s my list for you to start with.

– that
– feel/felt
– says/said
– ask/asked

Start there and then really look for what your personal preferences are in your own work. I guarantee you have them.

Grammar Wednesday: POV–3rd Person Omniscient

So, you thought you were done with the last post? You’re not. There is one more. This person is slowly becoming more popular, but there are still a lot of readers and editors and publishers and betas and such and such that don’t like it. Do you know what omniscient means? Well, since I’m into religion, I’ll tell you–it means all-knowing. Like God is supposed to be. All-knowing. Also like the gift in my novel Forever Burn; the gift of omni, which means all.

Anyway, this person is different from 3rd person in that the POV switches. It can happen in the same paragraph (though it is rare and confusing), different paragraphs, different sections of a chapter, or different chapters. Everything is written in third person, but the reader follows character A and then character B.

for example

Rusty ran up to Seeley and batted him on the head with her paw. She wanted to play. Bustling down on her haunches as low to the ground as she could go, she waited for Seeley to start at her, to make the second move, and to roll her over so they could play. It ran through her head like a mantra, “Play! Play! Play!” She wiggled her butt in anticipation, wanting each second to come faster and faster until they would be rolling on the ground.

Seeley, however, was not amused. He sat atop his cat tree, staring down at her with disdain in his green eyes. They would not be playing; first, he wasn’t in the mood, and secondly, she had stolen his spot on the bed the previous night. He was old crotchety and tired, and there was no way that he would be amusing the likes of the wonder kitten.

I’m sure this goes through my cats heads as they stare at each other. Positive of it. This is third person omniscient. You get the first POV (Rusty) and the second POV (Seeley) in the same story. This is a completely acceptable form to write in, just please oh please do it smartly.

Grammar Wednesday: POV–3rd person

Third person is my favorite person to write in. I have to say, I absolutely love and adore it. Recently people have said they don’t like third person because they are distanced from the character and can’t get into their mind. Also, people say that it creates confusion as to what is really going on and that they can figure out the entire novel too quickly with third person. My answer to that, is whatever they were reading, it wasn’t done right.

This is my preferred person to write in.

Rusty walked along the soft carpet, quickly going from the living room into the bedroom. She jumped up onto the desktop, where it rattled until her meager body weight settled down. Licking her paws and cleaning her face, Rusty watched her mother carefully. Her mother slept soundly in the bed just as the early morning rays of the sun started to shine through the window, and Rusty knew it was time. She stepped over to the edge of the plastic desk and leaned back on her haunches before pushing up into the calendar tacked to the wall. Biting the spiral metal that held it together, she waited until she heard the rustle from the sheets behind her. Her mother was waking up. She went back to all for paws and started to chew on the paper, stopping and giving a meow when her mother shouted across the room, “Rusty! Stop it!”

This is third person…well, third animal, in this case. (Also, this happens to me EVERY morning.) Next week, third person omniscient. Yes, I will explain the difference then.

The perfection of perfection

8837096895_81577a234b_qWelcome to the Creative Buzz Hop number 2!! Here there is a prompt given each Wednesday night and you have a week to respond to it. Please, oh please, join in for some fun! There are some simple steps to this game actually. Find the topic (which I will give you in a second), write a blog, post said blog (feel free to use the picture at the left), and link up your blog with the rest of them here (it’s at the right hand side of the screen). This week we’re encouraging participate through tagging peoples. I’ll be tagging a few, probably Sarah Hart, Sirena Robinson, and Brewed Bohemian.

Moving on…this weeks topic is perfectionism. There are three choices of what to write about, but it is inspired by Anne Lamott. Now, I had the pleasure of meeting Anne this past spring at a lecture and book signing she gave here in Texas. She is an amazing woman, and her writing has helped a lot of people. I’ve heard a lot of people in the writing world say that reading “Bird by Bird” has helped them so much in their own personal writing and in motivation. I read it for class, so I think the required part killed out the helpful part. Here’s the topics:

(a) Do you always need to be perfect?
(b) Do you recall anyone who has been demanding of perfection?
(c) How has perfection affected you?
“Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft. I think perfectionism is based on the obsessive belief that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping-stone just right, you won’t have to die. The truth is that you will die anyway and that a lot of people who aren’t even looking at their feet are going to do a whole lot better than you, and have a lot more fun while they’re doing it.” – Anne Lamott
So there you go! Join in and write a post, or just join in by reading everyone’s posts. Either way will be greatly appreciated.
***
The grasp of perfectionism has never gripped me very tightly, but I have been accused of it. I’ve always grown up with the understanding that perfection or a perfect creation is impossible to make or achieve. I have never striven or desired anything that I create to be perfect, whether it be a novel, an art and craft, or a paper for class. It won’t be perfect. The only thing that I can hope and work toward is making it the best that I can make it–there will always be flaws.
Because of this understanding, I do set the proverbial bar high and I always aim to reach it. Most of the time I do reach it, and then I move it higher to do even better the next time. I have no idea how or why my mind and goals work this way, but it has always happened, ever since I was little. It also always takes my teachers and mentors a while to figure it out. I will push and push and push myself to do better each time, sometimes even to the detriment of myself, which is probably why some people think I strive for perfection. But that is not the aim or the goal that I’m working toward; I simply just want to do better than before.
Sure I’ll look at my feet on occasion, as Anne Lamott says; I’ll look at them and figure out the direction that I want to get going, but most of the time, I’m looking on my second pass, because my first pass by, I’m looking up at the sky and straight out ahead of me. This actually reminds me a lot of something I wrote into one of my novels. There is a scene where Addy is remembering something her mother said–to always walk with her head held up high and not looking at her toes. It shows confidence and character in the individual who does it, rather than fear and trepidation that staring at one’s feet does. Addy remembers her mom laughing at her when she says it’s because she doesn’t want to fall.
As Thomas Wayne in “Batman Begins” says… “Why do we fall down, Bruce? To get back up.”
There can be no raising of the bar or improving of one’s self without the lack of hitting perfectionism, which is already  unattainable, and trying to learn from the mistakes and the trials that we went through. This is what being human is all about. We have a desire to learn and to better ourselves, to grow and become something else that when we strive for perfection becomes quickly but to the back burner and left to boil away until nothing is there.
I don’t want nothing to be there; I want everything to be ahead, and just far enough that I can reach for it, letting my fingers brush over it so that I can learn and grasp the feel, so I can know what it is that I’m getting and what it is that I want. It’s the reward for doing better, a fuller touch to teach me how much closer to the final product and the betterment of me that I can do. What I’m touching is the desire to improve and learn, the desire to grow.

WIPpet Wednesday: June 12, 2013

It’s Wednesday! That means it’s time for WIPpet Wednesday! That means it’s time to read!!!

If you want to join in, write a post, click the link, add your post! Your post must correlate in some way to the date, so keep that in mind!

I have finished my ghost story that I used a few weeks ago for the WIPpet day. Here’s the link to the beginning of the story. I’m not adding some more to it! This is the last update on the ghost story I’ve title FLASH OF DEATH. This picks up close to where it left off…Shea has taken her someplace where they can touch (yes, dirty minds you are free to roam). 12 sentences, and yes, they were just kissing.

***

They broke apart after time stopped, and CL looked around, taking in her surroundings. She wasn’t in her house anymore. Shea stood before her in a gray, fuzzy and muted area. There were no walls that she could see, no floor and no ceiling as she stepped away from him to increase her awareness. The gray was close enough that she thought she could reach out and touch it, but as soon as she reached her hand forward, all she felt was air.

Thunder roared around the room, but it sounded off, like someone had stuffed earplugs in her ears and then put sound-canceling headphones on. She spun back around to Shea when she realized that the thunder didn’t echo. Light filled the room for a momentary blast before receding back into the grayness. “Where are we?”

“In the in between,” he answered, not moving from where he was rooted. More lightning came and went; thunder resounded before disappearing into the ether. “This is where we collide.”

***

On other news, I finished my final edit of DYING EMBERS and have sent it to the publisher. Just waiting to hear back from her, and then I have to task of picking a book cover! So yay! Now I’m off to take pictures of sunflowers!!

The wondrous world of editing

I’ve been seeing a lot of posts on facebook, twitter, goodreads and more about editing and the editing process. I’m not one to miss the bandwagon. Editing is extremely important when it comes to finalizing ANYTHING, even emails to the boss. There can be some pretty blaring typos (I’ve made them and will continue to make them).

Just for show…I want everyone who reads this post to comment with their editing process and what they do for it. I will say, always have someone else go through your work.

Here’s my process.

1. I edit the piece
2. I edit the piece
3. I sent my piece to not one but two beta’s.
4. I edit from my beta’s comments
5. I do a final edit after beta’s comments
6. I print out and run through each sentence backward, looking ONLY for typos.
7. I send to my editor
8. I go through editors comments
9. Sometimes #7 and #8 are repeated.

Those are a lot of freakin’ steps, and even after ALL of that, I still find typos and mistakes that should have been caught.

So WHAT’S YOUR PROCESS?

Grammar Wednesday: POV–1st person

I’ve decide the next group of grammar goodness will be about persons in writing. There are typically 3 persons, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd! Go figure, the numbers go up.

First person, at least from what I have seen, is becoming far more common–that might just be because I’m seeing it more, not that it actually is becoming more common. I might have ignored it, since I don’t like it. Apparently a lot of people like it. What I’ve heard is that it gives more insight to the character, but it is harder to write because the MC has to be in every single scene (this is assuming there is only one POV in the novel). There are ways to have multiple first person POV’s in one novel. Check out Jodi Picoult. She has a lot in her books.

Example of first person:

I shuffled my foot against the sidewalk as my cheeks burned with fire. Mom scolded me like I was a two-year-old who had just thrown a temper tantrum at the grocery store–I can assure you I did no such thing. I refused to look up at her as the hot sun beat down on my shoulders and the top of my head. Waves of embarrassment floated through my body, grasping on to ever available surfaced and licking my wounds with vinegar, causing them to burn even more. I meant to steal the candy bar. She thought it was an accident, that I had simply walked out without paying for it because I forgot. But that’s not how it was. I had carefully chosen which chocolate bar I wanted to eat and I slipped it into my hand, keeping it in my fist. I didn’t put it in my pocket or one of the grocery bags–I was going to walk out of that store with it in my hand where everyone could see it if they wanted to. I had dared them to approach me. They didn’t. Mom had caught me though–right when we got home.

So that’s first person! I really like it in memoir or autobiography, but that’s about it. I highly doubt you will ever see a novel or short story from me that is fiction and in first person. It’s not my thing! Have fun and have a great day!

Grammar Wednesday: the “U” and the “A”

This is a common mistake that I find with my copy-editing, and it has to do with tenses, which I will eventually tackle on this blog.

Drank v. Drunk
Sank v. Sunk

These are two that are commonly misused when speaking and even more commonly misused when writing.

1–He drank the tea.
2–He had drunk the tea.

The first sentence is past tense, the second is past perfect or perfect past.  If you are writing in past tense, and the action happens in the moment (yes, I know that doesn’t make TOTAL sense), then the first sentence is correct. If time has passed since the action has occurred, then the past perfect is necessary and the second sentence is correct.

1–The ship sank in port; the U.S.S. Arizona fell beneath the warm waters of the harbor.
2–The ship had sunk in port; the U.S.S. Arizona had fallen beneath the warm waters of the harbor.

Do you see the difference? In the second sentence there is the past perfect tense twice, with the “had sunk” and “had fallen.” These tense things take time to learn. I will do a more in-depth post about them, including also present tense. For kicks and giggles, the present tense of the second example would be: “The ship sinks in the port; the U.S.S. Arizona falls beneath the warm waters of the harbor.

I should note that I have never ever EVER written a story in present tense. It’s just not my thing. However, I have edited and read plenty. A lot of it comes with preference.

Grammar Wednesday: ACTIVE PHRASING

Hello everyone! I know some of you were sad that I missed last week’s Grammar Wednesday, but I didn’t miss it. I was in Guatemala–no interwebs for a whole week! I started to go into withdrawal.

Here’s your Grammar Wednesday! It’s about active phrasing and passive phrasing. I apparently used to write passive phrasing, and if you read FOREVER BURN, you’ll see it all over the place. *head desk* yup, but I learned. I just had to have someone point it out to me a couple dozen million times.

This is how it goes–in the easiest form. Look for the “was.” It’s mostly overused and the “have been.”

She was walking down the road.
She walked down the road.

She was leaning down to pick up a rock.
She leaned down to pick up a rock.

She had been having weird thoughts lately.
She had weird thoughts lately.

Get it?! I hope so. There are a lot of other ways to see passive phrasing. You can always go into MSword and turn it on. It’ll underline other passive phrases. In most of the fanfiction that I beta read for, and even some of the original fiction, I find a lot of passive phrasing. Not only are you writing it in a more concise sentence structure, but you’re writing it in a way that makes it more realistic and stronger.

Beta-reading

Today I am working on editing. And not my own stuff.

I finished up a Twilight fanfic (yes, I beta it…no I do not write it, nor have I read the books or the movies, so sometimes beta’ing can be quite interesting). I beta for a website called Project Team Beta, which takes on a few fandoms and original fiction. It is also where I have found my wonderful beta’s for my novels throughout the past.

I’m about to embark on a new adventure. I was approached and as to copy-edit (professionally, I might add) an erotica novel. To be sure that the individual and I work well together, I requested a chapter be sent to me (free of charge, of course) so that I may copy-edit it and send it back before any commitments have been made. It’s quite a process. If this edit goes well, I’ll have my second official copy-editing job ever.

And on that note–later on today, after these first two edits and before writing group, I will be copy-editing a novel titled “Stuck on Pause.” I’m about a fourth of the way through the novel and will absolutely have it completed by June 1st. This copy-editing stuff takes a very long time, but it’s so much fun. I quite enjoy it.

I remember when I was little and reading novels that I would point out mistakes in them to my mother but still enjoy the novel itself. She told me a few times that I should become a professional editor. Well, God had different plans for me, but doing it on the side is still great fun and joy (and a way to earn some extra cash). I never honestly thought in the past year that I’ve been beta’ing or copy-editing for people that ANYONE would actually pay me for it!

Beta-reading can be a tricky matter. There comes into play grammar, process, plot-lines, subplots, authorship, cranky authors (which I might be one of them), stubbornness and the intense need to be able to multitask. I have to be able to look for many things in a novel at the same time…that or suffer a third or fourth run-through, looking for different things each time. Grammar is all-out one of the most important things, but so is story flow. If the story is not there, I can edit the grammar endlessly and the story will still not be good. I’ve had a couple of those. But I’ve also had fantastic stories that are so poorly written in the grammatical sense that no one would ever read them. My job, as I see it, is to make the story read better, to give a hand up to the author toward a path of completing their story/novel etc. It’s not my story; it’s there. So, what they do with it after I send it back is their own prerogative.

Fanfic mistakes and pleasures

My time for writing originals is certainly not over, but I have been working on fanfiction, toying with the plots (which involve mostly sex) and characters. I know that there are quite a few people who do not agree with fanfic, who think it’s a complete violation of the rights of the owners/creators of the originals. I agree that it might be a violation, but I am in no way seeking monetary compensation for writing fanfic.

I write in four or five fandoms. I have to say that after working on an original story and spending all that time editing, writing fanfic is a massive relief to me. I don’t have to worry about character development or location description or creating something other than the plot. The plot is all that matters when writing fanfic (AU excluded, but I tend NOT to write those, or read for that matter). The plot is where all my creativity is focused, and it’s so relaxing.

While most of my fanfic plot does involve “smut” or “lemons,” as they are called in the fandom world, it is infinitely more relaxing to write this than original fiction. Original has more reward at the end, but it’s not as instantaneous. So, perhaps when I’m feeling shitty about my writing abilities, I happen to on occasion write a fanfic one-shot, solely for the fact that I know I will get instant and supportive feedback. I think it’s my own prerogative.

I am currently writing a series for the shows The Closer and Major Crimes, which will span the entirety of both series, beginning before the series begins and perhaps even after Major Crimes ends. I am also working on, and will finish today, a one-shot for Battlestar Galactica (2003). I’ve been avoiding writing for a new fandom, but the characters called and I felt a scene was missing from the show, so I’m writing it in.

One of the biggest debates with fanfic, are those people who turn fanfic into original stories and then sell those stories for profit. *cough* 50 Shades of Grey *cough* I don’t necessarily disagree with selling it. It is an original story, the plot is all there and not in Twilight by any means. However, there are many issues with 50 Shades of Grey that happen, which occur ALL over the place in fanfic.

1) Lack of research
2) Lack of writing skill
3) Lack of editing skill
4) Not knowing that in American English “gray” is spelled with an “a” not an “e”

I beta fanfic all the time. I work with authors who write Twilight fanfic (among other fandoms: BSG, Stargate (all), Sanctuary, Supernatural, Harry Potter, Doctor Who, Closer, Major Crimes, Law and Order (all), Star Treks (all)). I have plenty experience in knowing who of those writers is an actual writer and who just wants to play around (and nothing is wrong with just wanting to play around). First off, getting a beta usually means they’re pretty serious.

While I assume that E. L. James had an editor of some sort, there seemed to be a lack of learning or desire for improvement. An editor or a beta is not just supposed to read and placate the author. We are supposed to provoke and get the author to think. To look at grammar, sentence structure, spelling, over usages, story flow and structure, continuity, research, fact-checking–it’s a huge order for just one person to do.

That’s why I have at least two people go through all my novels before I even think about sending them into an editor or publisher. I want these to be the product of the best of my ability at the time that they are sent out. In about an hour, I guarantee that I could go back and rework it and make it even better. That’s the gift of being a writer–there is always, always, ALWAYS something to learn and room to improve.

Grammar Wednesday: Quoting a quote

I was writing, and I had a question. This is how I typically come up with finding grammatical rules to remember for the rest of my writing career. In my newest novel FOR BY GRACE, there is a character, Peter, who has a bad habit of quoting scripture when he’s drunk.

So, as a college student, I certainly know how to quote within a quote. It got confusing when it became a quote within a quote within a quote. Let’s start with the first though, shall we?

To quote dialogue there is always double quote marks to open and close the speech.

He said, “Why the hell did you do that?”

Simple enough, right? I actually ran into a beta recently that had single quotes, or single for one and double for another, and my most recent beta who didn’t put quote marks in at all. It gets a bit more confusing when you add in a quote within the quote. For that you have the double quotes for the person who is actually speaking and single quotes for what that person is saying. For example:

She replied, “Well, I was told to. She told me, ‘You go out there and be strong. You are smart, you are pretty and you are strong.'”

Single quotes within the double quotes, making sure to close everything out at the end of the dialogue so that it’s all complete. Simple enough. Now, here’s the complication I ran into. Peter is quoting Scripture in his own speech, which has dialogue in it. To resolve this, it’s double quotes for what Peter says, single quotes for the Scripture, then back to double for the dialogue in the Scripture (are you starting to see the pattern?). Here’s a sneak peek of the novel, too.

“Peter is the disciple. Peter makes the revelation. Peter is the child of God who follows Jesus.  ‘Jesus went out, with his disciples, into the villages of Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked his disciples, “Who do men say that I am?”’” Peter paused.

Wow! Look at all those quote marks to close out all the quotes. It’s insane! I wouldn’t suggest going beyond what I did here, but as you might have guess it goes double, single, double, single, double, single until you’re done or don’t need anymore. If you have more than this, I suggest reworking the piece so you don’t need it. I even reworked a lot in this piece to get rid of a lot of the double and triple quote marks.

Keep it up, and remember to always edit!

Struggling Artist #indie

It’s hard to struggle. I think that, and then at the same time I think that struggling just adds that much more to the story. I have officially been unemployed since December of 2011. That’s sixteen months and heading right into the seventeenth. Yes, I currently work at a church twice a month doing children’s church but that doesn’t even pay me enough to feed my cats on a monthly basis, let alone me.

Struggling sucks. Flat out–it sucks. I have sent in dozens of applications to entry level, low level, crappy, good, educated jobs–just about anything one can think of, I’ve applied for it (except McDonald’s and Walmart, the two I will NEVER apply for).

I’m a writer. I’m even a published writer. It’s like people think that once published, everything takes off. Well, it doesn’t. To live off my royalties the amount of books I would have to sell is a number so large that my brain can’t compute it. My goal is to sell 60 ebooks a month. Which would be totally awesome if it did happen (and it did, for at least the first month). But the problem is that it still takes anywhere from four to six months for me to see that money. There is a gigantic lag.

This is the not so pretty side of publishing. The money isn’t instantaneous, there is a seriously long wait to get it. And getting it right now would be awesome! This is also why so many authors and writers have day jobs. People think it would be awesome to write all day and to only worry about the damned loud characters in my head that shout at me second after second to get their story written, but I’m not so sure about that. It gets pretty boring to sit by myself in my apartment all day, writing. I’ve done it–for the past sixteen months. It ain’t so pretty at all.

The day job gives me time to think, time to work through problems and people to talk to. Now, it doesn’t have to be the day job of my dreams or one that takes over my life. Something that is sufficient enough to give me something else to think about–that’s what I want. Something to ease the tedium of writing (never thought I would say that).

Now, go write and read peoples!! Support those indie authors!

Grammar Wednesday: COMMA SPLICE–rearranging

I realize that this post is going to be short, as it should be pretty self-explanatory. However, next week I will be concluding the comma splice regime with how to find comma splices. My cohort Amy is a comma splice nazi, particularly in my own work. Check out her blog, she’s awesome sauce!

Rearrange the structure of the sentence

4. Adrian is writing a forum on comma splices, she is sitting in class.

RESOLUTION:

Adrian is writing a forum on comma splices while she is sitting in class.

As I said before, resolving comma splices is very stylistic.  Here is another option for resolving this comma splice.  This is by changing the structure of the sentence. Be careful when doing this, as it can change the meaning of the sentence.

6. “I’m Adrian, I’m a word-guru, according to my best friend.”

RESOLUTION:

“I’m Adrian and a word-guru, according to my best friend.”

Rearranging this sentence with a conjunction to make an independent clause with a dependent clause does not change the meaning of this sentence. It actually makes it read more like one would speak.

Abundance of ideas…

I have an abundance of ideas. This is not abnormal for me. I’m currently in the middle of three novels, two being edited and one that I just started writing. I am also working on, in my head of course, the sequel to Forever Burn, called either Ashes Fall or Blaze, Fire, Blaze and the sequel to For by Grace, called Fallen from Grace.

But I’m here to talk about the newest novel, which I am writing with Sirena Robinson (she’ll yet at me later for starting that sentence with a conjunction). This novel is not like anything either one of us has written before. First off, it’s taken on a sci-fi element. It’s happening on a space ship and a space station. OH MY! (please say that in your head like George Takei). Secondly, this novel is a complete erotica. Although, the first chapter does not have sex in it yet.

This novel is my “on the side” novel, the one that I will only work on one day a week because I do not want it to detract from my other writing. That seems to be working rather well thus far. I think it helps to have someone else who is writing something else and keeping me on track with it. I would love to share more with you about this piece; however, I’ll leave it to you to guess. I don’t want to spoil it or have anyone steal my ideas. We will probably self-pub this novel under a combined pseud. I’ll keep you updated!

Getting back into it

I have not worked on FOR BY GRACE since last Monday. Oh. My. God! It’s insane! I had one whirlwind of a week between class assignments and extra events. My friend had an art show in Friday night, then two of my friends got married on Saturday (to each other, not two different weddings), then Sunday was filled with church, job applications, and going to Ennis, TX to look at the blue bonnets.

But…today is Monday. This means editing (which I should be doing right now instead of writing this blog post) and writing group tonight at the Gingerman. I’m so excited for this writing group.

I’ve also started to explore the world of online dating…now, I’ve done this before and it’s just as tedious now as it was then. I’m sure I’ll be able to tell many stories of the dates or conversations I have with these individuals. I mean, things can get pretty freaky. =P Maybe I’ll put it into a book sometime.

So back to editing. But I’ll leave you with a picture from yesterday looking at blue bonnets. Btw, my friend I went with, Amy Bush, is a photographer. Check her out here. Or on Facebook, here.

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Grammar Wednesday: COMMA SPLICE–Em dash

Use an Em dash

An Em dash will strongly connect the two independent clauses.  Em dashes to resolve comma splices are most commonly found in dialogue, where semi-colons and colons are avoided.  This is for flow of voice of the character and for flow of reading.

3. “I didn’t know you could do that, you can do that?”

RESOLUTION:

“I didn’t know you could do that—you can do that?”

Using this form of resolution strongly connects the two independent clauses.  In dialogue, it is easier to use an Em dash to separate the two clauses.

10. Writing fanfiction is stress-relieving, it is a world of its own.

RESOLUTION:

Writing fanfiction is stress-relieving—it’s a world of its own.

Using an Em dash here creates a flow for the sentences.  The two sentences go together.

PS There is a difference between an em dash and an en dash. To make an em dash (which is the one you want to use just about all the time), type the word, make to hyphens, type the next word and hit space.

Roger Ebert

Reading a story on Roger Ebert. Check out this quote:
“Just write, get better, keep writing, keep getting better. It’s the only thing you can control.”
He passed away today at 70.

Grammar Wednesday: COMMA SPLICE–new sentence

C. Start a new sentence

Starting a new sentence when encountering a comma splice will put more emphasis in both independent clauses and will create a larger break.  When you have a long run-on sentence (as in example 5), then you will most likely want a new sentence start.  This gives the reader a break when reading.

EXAMPLES:

5. The bat cracked as the ball collided, the sound echoing through the field, the crowd roared and stood on their toes as the ball arced and landed neatly in the outfielder’s mitt.

RESOLUTION:

The bat cracked as the ball collided, the sound echoing through the field.  The crowd roared and stood on their toes as the ball arced and landed neatly in the outfielder’s mitt.

I started a new sentence after “field” as this sentence is a run-on.  It is long: two independent clauses with one including a participle phrase.  Making this into two separate sentences breaks the reading up for the reading and allows for better comprehension and flow of the story.

10. Writing fanfiction is stress-relieving, it is a world of its own.

RESOLUTION:

Writing fanfiction is stress-relieving.  It is a world of its own.

Splitting this with a new sentence start allows for the two sentences to stand apart.  They are two descriptions of the same thing, but they are both equally as important.

You are also going to want to use this method to resolve a comma splice when in dialogue, as you want to avoid semi-colons in dialogue in general. A new sentence start or an Em dash (next week) will resolve the comma splice in dialogue without giving into the issues that can be caused by semi-colons.

Inspiration

I had an ex. OMG, I know. I had an ex. Anyway, my ex used to complain about never writing even though it was a favorite hobby and we both loved to do it together. This particular ex, used to say that she could only write when inspiration hit her on the head.

My typical response was always, “Inspiration will never come without an invitation to the party.”

I do still stand by this. Many aspiring writers talk about inspiration and waiting for it to come, or never being able to write without it. Well, I’ve got some news for you (if you’re one of those people), it doesn’t ever come when expected, but you can still do good work without it. It’s just a tad bit harder to get those words onto the page.

Writing is all about work. Hell, if I got paid hourly for the time I put into a novel, I would be so fucking rich right now, it’s not even funny. In order to write, and to write and complete something, one has to actually do it. My advice to aspiring writers who always as how I do it, is that I write every day. I might not write 12k words or even 1k words in a day, but I do write something. Whether it’s a blog post, a facebook status that is amusing, a tweet I find funny, or changing words around in an edit. I am constantly thinking and doing writing. This is the most important advice to me. This is the invitation for inspiration to come and take a hold of my hands and dance away like it’s 1923 and we’re at a speakeasy.

Wow, did I get carried away for a second.

So, go write. Specially, go write that invitation to inspiration and tell them that you’re throwing a party in its honor. I bet it’ll show up sooner or later. Inspiration isn’t one to miss opportunities.