A multitude of lessons fell into my lap when I decided to challenge myself to try something new. But nothing says I can’t go back to the literary fiction where I began my journey twenty years ago. It’s never too late to realize the biggest limitation to my writing career had been sitting at my very own desk—me.
As an editor, I find ellipses and em dashes are often used incorrectly. This article lays it out in a good simplified format. I agree that Indie Authors should follow the standard rules as much as possible to be taken seriously in the world of publishing.
Image Courtesy Pixabay
An ellipsis is three or four dots with spaces in between . . . and an em dash is a long dash, usually made by typing two single (en) dashes — next to each other, usually with no spaces between them and their adjoining words. They are called en or em because of their lengths, m being longer than n. En dashes are usually used as hyphens within particular words, and em dashes are used either within sentences or at the ends of them.
Not all authors have formal degrees in English, and most certainly, not many readers do either. Readers and book clubs that aren’t also writers are very unlikely to have lengthy debates about the correct use of em dashes and ellipses. Unless something is particularly jarring to a reader, they aren’t going to care whether any particular use of an em dash is grammatically…
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Beginning and experienced writers all need to remember and heed this excellent advice.
We’ve all heard this tenet of writing. Show vs. tell. My editor always hammer me for too much telling and not enough showing. I’ve really tried to work on this aspect of my writing, but, being a learning nerd, I had to know the mechanics behind it.
For one thing, you can express traits or history for your characters more succinctly by using dialogue than can be done through narrative. Here is an example.
Joe Smith was a career criminal. He had robbed several banks and had been in jail many times since his teens. As he prepared to rob the first national bank, he reflected on his past and was amused at the fact that he hadn’t learned his lesson and stayed out of trouble.
Here is the same scenario framed as a conversation that Joe is having with his brother, Jim.
“Why do you keep doing this?” Jim…
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As both editor and writer, I keep several books at my fingertips for reference. Strunk and White’s Elements of Style, Chicago Manual of Style, AP Manual of Style, Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, and several others on editing for both fiction and nonfiction. It takes time to look up some of the guidelines and rules, so I love the most basic of rules from one of the best.
You might want to print these out and keep nearby when writing, editing, and revising.
George Orwell’s famous Six Rules of Writing:
- Never use a metaphor, simile or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
- Never use a long word where a short one will do.
- If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
- Never use the passive where you can use the active.
- Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
- Break any of these rules sooner than say anything barbarous
I agree with this blog post from Don Massenzio. Use your words to express exclamations!
This post was inspired by the book, Nabokov’s Favorite Word Is Mauve, by Ben Blatt. This book applies numbers and statistics to some of the age-old adages about writing that we have all been told numerous times. Last week, I posted on the topic of adverb usage.
Exclamation points are the bane of some writers. In his book 10 Rules of Writing, Elmore Leonard states his rule of thumb on exclamation points. “You are allowed no more then two or three per 100,000 words of prose.”
So, just like with Stephen King and his adverb ratio, Blatt sets out to see if Leonard and other renowned writers subscribe to this rule. He starts by analyzing Leonard’s 45 novels which total 3.4 million words. His rule would have resulted in the use of 102 exclamation points in his writing over his career. His actual number was 1,651 which…
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It is possible to make your publishing dreams come true! Read this inspiring post about one of my clients.
It gives me great pleasure to announce the release of We Lived It and Laughed – Tales of Chuluota, Florida by Mark Perrin. This book of personal essays recounts life in the seventies while growing up in rural Florida.
I ran into Mark about six weeks ago while I was sitting at a book booth in Tallahassee trying to sell books. He had a notebook with him, and he wanted to ask some questions about publishing. He said he had some true stories from his youth he wanted to publish. I mentioned that I was an editor as well as an author, and further, I could help him take his manuscript from Word to a published book.
And here we are a few weeks laters with those essays now published in a lovely book of humorous tales from a time and place very far removed from where most of us…
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Here on Daily (w)rite, as part of the guest post series, it is my absolute pleasure today to welcome Michael Dellert, author, editor, friend, who has imparted his nuggets of wisdom at this space before– here , here, and here. Today he talks about how writers can handle their limitations during rewr
One of my favorite things to do is to introduce authors who I consider to be exceptional writers and story tellers. Please meet my friend and author, P. C. Zick.
“Revisions are a part of the writing process for all authors, but it took a “re-vision” of my writing life to give me a new passion for my work.”
It all happened when I joined an online romance writing class several years ago. Curiosity brought me to the course because I felt stalled with my next project. I occasionally read romances, but had never considered writing one. Even after I enrolled, I considered it a lark that might spark inspiration for a new novel, but not one in the romance genre.
Up until the class, I wrote contemporary fiction and created my own form of eco-journalism within the novel form. That sounds rather snooty, doesn’t it? Someone described it that way…
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Lovely post from S.R. Mallery who makes it easy to be an editor.
I first met this versatile, super-talented writer and life-saving editor through ASMSG (Author Social Media Support Group). Through it, we knew each other only peripherally, but that all changed when I reached out and hired her as an editor/formatter for my first two books. Having had them originally published through a small press, I told her I needed help in becoming an Indie author. Her response was immediate and highly supportive. Indeed, she became nothing short of invaluable to me, as she took the time to explain basic editorial things such as POV and character development, as well as how to upload my books onto Amazon and Draft2Digital. I soon came to realize that being under her calm, steady tutelage was as if I’d gone to back to college as a writing major and snagged the best professor.
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Most writers pull ideas from real life to begin novels. This is what happened to me when I wrote Tortoise Stew. Just remember, to change names and circumstances so they don’t resemble too closely the reality.
Sometimes the muse leads us where we need to go. In early 2002, I was working on a novel set on the Suwanee River. I was also a reporter for a 5,000 circulation weekly newspaper in north Florida. I covered one of the more contentious city commissions as WalMart began doing what WalMart does best – disrupt small town America.
One Tuesday morning in February, I made my rounds of the local city police departments to pick up the police reports for the past week before heading to the newspaper’s office. When I turned the corner, police tape encircled the building, and I saw my coworkers wandering around outside.
“Don’t worry – no one was hurt,” the publisher said as he rushed toward me when I got out of my car. “They were able to detonate the bomb before anything happened.”
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