Category Archives: Lessons Learned

Lessons Learned #36

This is the last time I’ll be rambling on about commas! I hope I have made things a bit clearer about the comma and you won’t have a problem conveying what you want properly in a sentence now 🙂 .

That Crucial Comma – Part 3

Use a comma near the end of a sentence to separate contrasted coordinate elements or to indicate a distinct pause or shift / to offset negation in a sentence

 Example: I saw a dog, not a bird, when I went walking.

In this case, you still need the comma if the negation occurs at the end of the sentence.

Example: I saw a bird, not a dog.

Use a comma to separate a statement from a question.

Example: I can leave, can’t I?

Use a comma to separate contrasting parts of a sentence.

Example: That is my stuff, not yours.

Also use commas when any distinct shift occurs in the sentence or thought process.

Example: The cloud looked like an animal, perhaps a puppy.

Use commas to set off expressions that interrupt the sentence flow (nevertheless, after all, by the way, on the other hand, however, etc.).

Example: I am, by the way, not sure about this.

Use commas to set off all geographical names, items in dates (except the month and day), addresses (except the street number and name)

Example: March 15, 2013, was a scary day.

Even if you add a weekday, keep the comma after ‘2013.’

Example: Friday, March 15, 2013, was a scary day.

Example: Friday, March 15, was a scary day.

You don’t need to add a comma when the sentence mentions only the month and year.

Example: March 2013 was a scary month.

Example: I work at 666 Park Ave. South, New York, N.Y. 60606.

Example: Cleveland, Ohio, is a wonderful city.

Use a comma to shift between the main discourse and a quotation

If attribution comes before the quote, place the comma outside the quotations marks.

Example: The walker said, “I saw a dog.”

If attribution comes after the quote, put the comma inside the quotation marks.

Example: “I saw a dog,” said the walker.

If the attribution is within the quote, put the first comma within the first quotation marks and the second comma immediately after the attribution, outside of the second quotation marks.

“Why,” I asked, “won’t you tell me?”

If a quotation functions as a subject or object in a sentence, it might not need a comma.

Example: Is ‘I don’t mind’ all you can say to me?

If a quoted question ends in midsentence, the question mark replaces a comma.

Example: “Will you still be my friend?” she asked.

Use commas wherever necessary to prevent possible confusion or misreading

Example: I called you my darling.

Example: I called you, my darling.

Use a comma after certain words that introduce a sentence, such as well, yes, why, hello, hey, etc.

Example: Why, I can’t believe you!

Example: No, you can’t have a raise.

Use a comma before and after certain introductory words or terms, such as namely, that is, i.e., e.g., and for instance, when they are followed by a series of items.

Example: You may be required to bring many items, e.g., sleeping bag, tent, and a mat.

A comma should precede the term etc. Many authorities also recommend a comma after etc. when it is placed midsentence.

Example: Sleeping bag, tent, a mat, etc., are required.

Use a comma to set off the name, nickname, term of endearment, or title of a person directly addressed

Example: My boss often asks, “Jody, is that article up yet?”

Example: Will you, Aisha, do that assignment for me?

Example: Yes, old friend, I will.

Example: Good day, Captain.

Traditionally, if a person’s name is followed by Sr. or Jr., a comma follows the last name.

Example:  Martin Luther King, Jr.

This comma is no longer considered mandatory. However, if a comma does precede Sr. or Jr., another comma must follow the entire name when it appears midsentence.

Correct: Al Capone Sr. is here.

Correct: Al Capone, Sr., is here.

Incorrect: Al Capone, Sr. is here.

Similarly, use commas to enclose degrees or titles used with names.

Example: Al Mooney, M.D., is here.

Use commas before every sequence of three numbers when writing a number larger than 999

(Two exceptions are writing years and house numbers)

Example: 10,000 or 1,304,687.

Have a Wonderful Writing Weekend!

Sources:

http://www.grammarbook.com/punctuation/commas.asp

http://www.businessinsider.com/a-guide-to-proper-comma-use-2013-9?IR=T

Lessons Learned #34

That crucial comma

Even though the comma is such a tiny thing, it holds enormous power, able to completely change a sentence.

Just before I put my novel ‘Living Like A Vampire’ online on Amazon, I threw it through Grammarly. So glad I did. And do you know what? About 95% of the problems that needed to be rectified were comma placements. I got so frustrated with it, that I went online and did some research. I now have four pages of info on when and where to place commas. This is a bit much, so I’ll split the info. The first lesson will be on the placement of commas between independent and dependent clauses.

Use commas to separate independent clauses when they are joined by any of these seven coordinating conjunctions: and, but, for, or, nor, so, yet.

Example: I had a coffee, and I had a donut.

If the subject does not appear in front of the second verb, a comma is generally unnecessary.

Example: I had a coffee and had a donut.

But sometimes a comma in this situation is necessary to avoid confusion.

Confusing: I saw that he was leaving and had a donut.

Clearer with comma: I saw that he was leaving, and had a donut.

Without a comma, the reader is liable to think that ‘he’ was the one who had a donut.

Some writers omit the comma if the clauses are both quite short.

Example: I drink and he eats.

Many inexperienced writers run two independent clauses together by using a comma instead of a period. This results in the dreaded run-on sentence or, more technically, a comma splice.

Incorrect: He ate all the donuts, he drank all the wine.

There are several simple remedies:

Correct: He ate all the donuts. He drank all the wine.

Correct: After he ate all the donuts, he drank all the wine.

Correct: He ate all the donuts, and he drank all the wine.

Use commas after dependent clauses and introductory clauses, phrases, words or adverbs that come before the main (independent) clause.

When starting a sentence with a dependent clause, use a comma after it. A comma is usually unnecessary when the sentence starts with an independent clause followed by a dependent clause.

Example: If you aren’t staying for dinner, let me know now.

Example: Let me know if you aren’t staying for dinner.

Follow the same policy with introductory phrases.

Example: Having finally decided on the menu, we ordered our meals.

Example: We ordered our meals having finally decided on the menu.

However, if the introductory phrase is clear and brief (three or four words), the comma is optional.

Example: When in town we go partying.

But always add a comma if it would avoid confusion.

Example: Last Sunday, evening classes were cancelled.

(The comma prevents a misreading.)

When an introductory phrase begins with a preposition, a comma may not be necessary even if the phrase contains more than three or four words.

Example: Into the sparkling pink champagne she gazed.

If such a phrase contains more than one preposition, a comma may be used unless a verb immediately follows the phrase.

Example: Between your red wine on the left and my white wine on the right, the man’s beer glass stood proudly.

Example: Between your red wine  on the left and my white wine on the right stood the man’s beer glass.

Also insert a comma when “however” starts a sentence, too. Phrases like “on the other hand” and “furthermore” also fall into this category. Starting a sentence with “however,” however, is discouraged by many careful writers. A better method would be to use “however” within a sentence after the phrase you want to negate, as in the previous sentence.

Many adverbs end in “ly” and answer the question “how?” How did someone do something? How did something happen?

Example: Majestically, he walked up to me.

Have a Wonderful Writing Weekend!

Sources:

http://www.grammarbook.com/punctuation/commas.asp

http://www.businessinsider.com/a-guide-to-proper-comma-use-2013-9?IR=T

Lessons Learned #31

Ergonomics for Writers

Because it’s important!

http://theworldsgreatestbook.com/writing-ergonomics/

http://productivewriters.com/2011/09/12/writing-ergonomics-posture-alignment-writer/

https://windr0se.wordpress.com/2014/01/13/ergonomics-for-writers/

Ergonomics for Writerly Folk

 

 

Lessons Learned #30

I had no idea what to write all week in my Lessons Learned, until I reached the point in my book where girl gets boy. And they go to bed for the first time. And they have sex. There, I’ve said it, the ‘S’-word. Sex! It has been such a taboo, until ’50 Shades of Grey’ came out and now it’s okay to read and talk about it (thank you, E.L. James!).

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Before we go on, I’d like to make you understand what  the difference is between erotica and porn. Absolutely nothing. If you Google ‘erotic definition’ you get “relating to or tending to arouse sexual desire or excitement.” If you Google ‘pornography definition’ you get “printed or visual material containing the explicit description or display of sexual organs or activity, intended to stimulate sexual excitement.” So apart from the display of sexual organs perhaps, both are intended to stimulate sexual arousal. By the way, the letters in the heading are letters from the ‘nineteenth-century erotic alphabet,’ to be found on Wiki Commons. If you take Google literally, this is actually porn. A few descriptions of the difference of the two that sprung out in my research were ‘the height of the book shelf,’ ‘what he wants and what she wants’ and ‘it depends on the lighting.’ You decide what you call it.

Should you write about sex? Absolutely! It happens in everyday life, it’s the essence of our existence; no sex, no life. I must admit, I like to call my sex scenes ‘love scenes’ as I think that is what I write about. I don’t put it in as something gratuitous to rake up the audience numbers, as so many tv series seem to do nowadays. My son of fourteen has seen more sex on tv than I had when I was twenty-one. The business of written erotica also has never been so good! Since we can read whatever ‘anonymously’ on our tablet, without the tell-tale cover visible to all around us, the world is your oyster.

So how to write a good sex scene? That takes just as much thinking as any other scene in your story. Obviously there are the clichés to be avoided, like naming the sexual organs (unless you write hard core porn perhaps). Less is more. Don’t forget we are writing, not making a movie. The reader has their own imagination and all you have to do is to suggest, leave it up to them on what it looks like. Reading up on how to film a sex scene a while back, they said that close-ups of body parts are more arousing than the actual deed. Her hand gripping the sheets, his halter of breath, her moan as his head went below her navel, that kind of stuff. As the majority of erotica readers are older than forty-five, explicit description of the deed is like telling somebody how to eat.

VenusWillendorf.jpg

Another thing that is important in sex scenes is reality. People have sex as an affirmation of their emotional attraction to each other, no matter their looks. Well, normally, so let’s stick with that. While making love they explore each other’s bodies, so why not describe that. Not everybody is perfect and that’s okay. Let your protagonist caress that mole, tickle that flabby belly, kiss those stretch marks. It makes it all more believable. Readers should be able to relate and feel good about themselves, not feel too ugly to have sex themselves!

Last but not least, if what you write doesn’t do anything for you, the writer, it’s not working. If you can’t feel anything, what makes you think your reader would feel something? I live and breath my characters; I am happy when they laugh, I mourn when they die, and I get aroused when they make love. My husband isn’t complaining, if that is anything to go by 🙂 . Give it a try, it may spice up your love life too!

Have a Wonderful (and Sexy) Writing Weekend!

Lessons Learned #29

American vs. British English

When I decided to set my novels in Maine, US, I had no idea yet that I had to change my UK English to US English as well. When I sent my first draft (first fifteen or so chapters) to a friend of mine, she noted that I needed to ‘Americanize’ my English. For example, I had used ‘pound shop’ instead of ‘dollar shop,’ which of course needed to become ‘thrift store’ to be more accurate to what I had in mind (also known as ‘op shop’ for the Australians amongst us). There were many more words I needed to change, like mobile phone needed to become cell, drive needed to become driveway and car park needed to become parking lot.

america-vs-uk.jpg

According to an article I found on a website, the American English differs from British English in vocabulary (of which I just gave a few examples), grammar and spelling. One of the grammar issues I noted in this article (of whom the name of the writer eludes me) is that of differences in possession. Apparently it is very British to say ‘Have you got any wine?’ The Americans would say ‘Do you have any wine?’ There were so many times I put the word ‘got’ in my own text! It came as a bit of a surprise to me how British I am 🙂 .

Fortunately there are many websites that will give you the American version of British words. The only thing I wasn’t sure of was the saying of ‘The car didn’t move and inch.’ Do the Americans still use this expression, even though they use the metric system for distances?

Fortunately you can switch to US English in Word and all your British ‘mistakes’ will be pointed out for you, in particular the verbs that need to have a ‘z’ instead of an ‘s’ in the past tense, like ‘legalized’ and ‘motorized.’ It looks weird at first, but soon you get used to it and it becomes automatic. It surprised me that I am now able  to write American without thinking about it. It’s like writing in another language; you do or you don’t, there is no mix up of the two. Sure, I don’t know every single word, but hey, long live the internet!

doors-shut-and-open

I heard some people don’t like reading American English, or British English for that matter. Why? Wouldn’t it be incredibly strange to read a cowboy saying ‘see you in a jiffy’? And when somebody in London talks about their ‘cell,’ the first thing that comes to my mind is a terrorist group. Stick to your culture, I have no problem with that, but be open to others’. Not wanting to read in the ‘other’ language is like shutting down half the library. What a waste!

I had hoped to embed a little You Tube video of Michael McIntyre here, where he explains why American English is different from British English, but my free wordpress subscription won’t let me. It is very funny though and I don’t want to deprive you of it. Just go to You Tube, type in or copy ‘Americans Don’t Understand English – The Jonathan Ross Show’ and enjoy!

Have a Wonderful Writing Weekend!

Lessons Learned #28

When I began writing I ‘told’ the reader about the inner emotions of my characters, instead of ‘showing’ them. I would write ‘I was feeling anxious’ or ‘I was so angry!’ I have learned that this is not the way to go. I am currently going through my first book and trying to pick out those situations where I ‘told’ and try to convert them into ones where I ‘show.’

I found that my vocabulary is rather limited. I use the word ‘look’ a lot. He looked at me, I looked at him, we looked each other in the eye… Eyes are a big thing in my book 🙂 . I realised that I needed to widen my scope and write something more varied to keep my readers (and myself!) happy. So I downloaded lists of alternatives/synonyms from Pinterest. Never would I have thought that Pinterest would come in so handy for a writer…

Although I found a list with about 150 different ways to say ‘look,’ I found that most of them were unusable. Who writes ‘he looked askance’ or ‘my eyes had a gander’ (or however you’re supposed to use this word). Most of the words didn’t portray what I wanted to say, which was ‘look.’ There were a few though, like ‘saw,’ ‘glance,’ and ‘glimpse,’ which are okay, but four words don’t mean variety.

So here I was, stuck in my re-write. I knew what was wrong, but I didn’t know how to fix it. Then the lightbulb appeared above my head. I needed to use more body language! I needed to integrate the whole face, the whole body in the description. Which meant I needed to know what people did, how they changed, when showing certain emotions.

Now I’m not the best emotional expert. I can’t read people like a book and usually people find me very blunt in return. So I needed help, lots of it. I tried to study people when I was out and about, which isn’t very often. Unfortunately my brain doesn’t always cooperate and kept drifting off instead of doing its homework.

Then today, after cursing at my slow internet connection and not getting the websites on body language as fast as my impatient self wanted, I remembered I once bought a book called ‘Body language at work,’ by Peter Clayton. It isn’t the most varied piece of work, but it does the trick for me at the moment. It talks about zones and clusters, about trust and assertiveness, about doubt, disbelief and lies. Even about attraction between the two sexes. All the things that I need for my book!

Frog.jpg

I’m not saying that you need to buy this book. However, if you are like me and a bit of a frog in the ’emotion’ department, buy a book on body language and read it. It is extremely interesting to read about how people conform to standard principles. And most amazing when you see it happening in real life around you! It’s almost as entertaining as reading a book…

Have a Wonderful Writing Weekend!

Lessons Learned #27

Quote on Learning.jpg

I’m sorry, but I have not ‘learned’ much this week as I have been very busy on my re-write (following Jim Rohn’s suggestion 🙂 ). The odd bits and bobs that I did find remarkable are the following:

  • I write best in the morning. My evening writes are almost always corrected the next day
  • I can write with and without music in the background
  • I am a sucker for television. Whenever my son asks me to come watch Dexter (love that series!)  I’m off
  • After I re-write a chapter I throw it through ProWritingAid and only use the following nowadays, which I think does help improve my writing:
    • Vague and Abstract Words Check (to make my writing more interesting)
    • Overused Words Check (ditto)
    • Repeats Check (ditto)
    • Writing Style Check (to get rid of passive verbs)
    • Pronoun Check (to prevent three or more sentences starting with ‘I’)
  • I eat more whilst editing than when I’m writing 🙁
  • I used the word ‘got’ an awful lot of times when I wrote my first book. I’m 100% sure my vocabulary has improved since!

That’s it this week…

Hope you have a Happy Writing Weekend!

Lessons Learned #26

Character Planner App

This past week I have made an effort to work on my re-write more than ever. I want it finished (and hence the few ‘extra’ posts)! This doesn’t mean I am completely closed off to the outside world though and I do follow up on any posts if I see something that can enhance me as a writer. One of those things I checked out this week is the Character Planner app, which a fellow author on FARG suggested earlier.

It’s a free app for your mobile and I think I am definitely going to use it when I will be writing my third book. You can fill out many characters, including their backgrounds, but it has many more options. I’ll give you the first three categories as an example.Character Planner App Story.png

Basic:

Name

Nickname

Age

Gender

Date of Birth

Place of Birth

Ethnicity/Species

Occupation/Job

World/Verse

Once Sentence Description

Appearance:

Height

Weight

Skin Tone

Facial Shape

Eye Colour

Distinguish Feature

Other Facial Feature

Hair Style

Body Type

Posture

Dress

Something always carried/Weapon/Tools

Accessories

Other Physical Appearance

Life:

Skills

Incompetence

Strength/Talent

Weakness

Hobbies

Pets

Area of Residence/Environment

Home Description

Neighbourhood

Organization Involved

Income

Job Satisfaction

Health

As you can see it is very detailed. There are also the categories of Attitude, Past, Story, Relation and Custom. If you fill in all of these, you’ll have a very good idea of what your character is like. It may even reveal something about your character that you didn’t realise yet!

What I like about this app is that I can have it handy while I am writing. As it is on my phone I don’t have to sacrifice screen space to see it on my computer, or flick from one document to another. It keeps me on track of what my characters are like and I (will) use the app to make them unique, come alive. I doubt that your characters have the same looks, birthplaces and hobbies as mine, so they’ll all be different.

It can help you in making character arcs as you can jot down short term goals and long term goals. Their habits and character traits will influence on how they achieve these goals and how they cope if it doesn’t go as planned.

In my second book my MC ages ten years and at the end of it many things have happened to her and have changed around her. For my third book I can then make a new character sheet for her with the adjusted details, or just edit them in the ‘old’ file. It’s up to me what I want to do.

Yes, you could make your own document with the information, but why do so if somebody already did it for you? Give it a go, it’s free!

Have a Happy Writing Weekend!

Lessons Learned #24

My first use of ProWritingAid

First of all my excuses for not posting last week. What can I say, life has been hectic. Kids and DH home with holidays and activities for the film group… I haven’t been able to do any writing (for my books), but I had started the week before with ProWritingAid (PWA), so I want to let you know my first impression on it.

It was easy to install and I was surprised that it is actually an ‘add on’ to Word. But very handy to have it there in the top right of the tool bar. The first thing I did was to block a section of my text,  clicked the ‘general’ button of PWA and then the ‘full analysis’ one. Why wouldn’t I want to use it all? It took my computer a while to think about this a bit, but it wasn’t doing nothing. In my intro, which is only one-and-a-half page long, it found one-hundred-and-twenty-three issues. One-hundred-and-twenty-three! My heart sank. Was my writing really so bad? So I planted by butt a bit firmer in my chair and went through the list on the right hand side alongside my text to find out what these issues were.

PWA Issues ListAs per the list you see here (this is the one after I corrected all the issues it found in the first place, with only 82 issues left), they dissect your text big time. I found it more bearable to go through it when you start from the bottom. No idea why, but it seemed less daunting. But to be more clear I will start from the top here.

When you click the Overview Report you get a list of all the things that you did okay (green ticks, yay!) and red crosses, 🙁 ). I consistently get red crosses for sticky sentences and a too low glue index. I tried to work on this, but as my text often has dialogue in it I can’t get around the low glue index. The sticky sentences is also something I try to limit, but sometimes my re-wording just makes it worse.

Overused Words Check gives me ‘were, was and had.’ What do you expect? It’s written in the past tense…

The Writing Style Check I find very handy as it tells you where the passive verbs are. When it finds these I always try to make them active where possible. It also tells you if you have overdone it with the adverbs, a good one to keep in check. It also gives you ‘readability enhancements.’ I’m still not sure if these are good or bad. Anybody who could enlighten me on these?

Sentence Length Check is obvious. I don’t have a problem with these overall. The Clichés & Redundencies Report consistently tells me that using the word ‘sucker’ is cliché. Sorry, it’s about vampires, what can I say…

I have some issues with the Grammar Check. I had high hopes for this one, as English is not my first language. But all it does is tell me I’ve used words that it doesn’t recognises (made up place names, etc.) and that it blocks a complete paragraph purple and tells me there is an issue with it. However, it doesn’t tell me which issue! Very frustrating.

I tend to ignore the Sticky Sentences Check as making them shorter/different consistently means my writing becomes boring. The Dialogue Tags Check is another one I tend to ignore. There is dialogue or there isn’t. I usually use the word ‘said’ to tag dialogue, so they’re happy with it.

The Repeat Words & Phrases is one I highly appraise. I often find when reading indie author books this is one check they should have used. Even when half a book along, I find that using the same phrase is annoying. I hope I can get them all out of mine, but I guess that if they’re spread wide and far the only way to get them out is to read the book from start to finish as I’m not sure if PWA can check a whole book at once.

Corporate Wording Check occasionally says I’ve used the wrong word. Diction Check repeatedly tells me not to use a preposition at the end of the sentence and to not use the word ‘actually.’ Well, actually, my sentence structure holds up, so I’m keeping them in.

Vague & Abstract Words Check comes up with words like ‘all, like, would and (again) actually.’ Sometimes I can replace the words, but usually I can’t.

The Acronym Check lets you know if you are consistent with abbreviations (TV vs. tv). The Transitions Report is one I struggle with on a regular basis. They want you to have more than 25% transitions (a percentage of what I don’t know). I never get there. I even printed out a list with transitions words for me to use, but I just can’t fit them in. I don’t know if that is because of my limited vocabulary or not, but my text doesn’t seem to lend itself for a lot of transitions. And I bet if I could use them that my sentences would become ‘too long and sticky’ 🙂 .

I’m not sure if the Complex Words Check tells you how intelligent you are, but it reports how many words there are with four or five syllables. The NLP Predicates Check lets you know what percentage are visual or auditory-digital words. Apparently I am more of a visual person.

The Homonym Check is great if you have problems with there, their, and they’re. The Pacing Check tells you about the pacing of your text. Great if you are checking large pieces of text, I guess. I have never used the House Style Check as you need to set this one up first with your own style.

The Consistency Check gives you all the spelling, hyphenation and capitalisation consistency numbers. I like the Alliteration Analysis (note; not the Alliteration Check!) as it gives you an idea of the rhetoric index of your text. And who would have thought that the word ‘whatever’ is an alliteration?

Hail the Pronoun Check! With this beauty I found that in one paragraph I started every single sentence with ‘I.’ Big no-no! Never use the Combo Check though, it’s depressing…

So, overall I like PWA. You have to accept that your writing will never be perfect and that you only use PWA to check the issues that you struggle with and to get silly mistakes out. I notice that I’m getting faster and faster using it and it isn’t as daunting now compared to when I first opened the can or worms.

Have a Happy Writing Weekend!

Lessons Learned #22

Editing quote.jpg

Edit, edit, edit!

I started re-writing my first novel last week. Finally. I had postponed it way too long, but now I have the Winterland book fair as a stick behind the door I had to do it. And boy, did I need to…

Time between edits

They always say to take some time between edits. They never say for how long though. Well, that’s not entirely true, they do suggest lengths of time, but they all vary. So that’s no help at all. I wrote my first novel in August 2015, as good as a year ago. For me, at this moment in time, that is a good time between edits. Only because of the fact that during this year I have learned an enormous amount of English! I had a steep learning curve in grammar, in particular the (past) tenses. I learned about rhetoric. I learned about punctuation and formatting. I learned about  the three-act structure and character building. I learned about sub-plots and suspense building. I learned so much. I suppose that the length between edits will become less in time, as I (hopefully) will learn to write better from the start.

Kill your darlings

So what have I been editing so far? As I may have mentioned before, I have let go of the chronological timeline. The first seventy pages of my book were information dumping and setting the scene. I learned that readers don’t like this. They want action, murder on the first page so to speak. So in the new version I started the story from where things start to happen. Now I had seventy pages of information that I needed to weave into the new structure. Seventy pages of ‘darlings.’ I managed to incorporate some flashbacks as whole chapters. That was the easy way. Half of what was left I managed to put in here and there, also as flashbacks or thoughts, memories, but shorter ones. I still have 2.5K words left over, so still some work to be done as some of those are important information for the story. I can’t ‘kill’ them.

Talk to yourself

Other edits were re-writes of sentences. I haven’t been re-writing scenes as a whole, as I was quite happy with them. Quite a few sentences needed revising though. They didn’t flow well or they didn’t convey the feeling that I wanted them too. Over the past year my vocabulary has grown and I feel that I can express myself now better than before. It’s still no literature, but a shuffle in that direction I suppose. How do I know a sentence doesn’t flow? Because I notice it when I say them out loud, in my head. Gotcha! No, I can’t make myself talk to myself out loud. So I pretend I’m doing it in my head. Works for me. I pretend to have another person’s voice, like that of David Attenborough, and read as if I was reading for an audio book, full of emotion and ups and downs of my voice. You should try it, its fun 🙂 !

Grammar, Punctuation and Formatting

I’ve got ProWritingAid to help me with the grammar, which will help me pick out those odd sentences, re-usage of words in a paragraph and the true grammatical mistakes. I haven’t used it yet, as I still have one last chapter to get through, but this is next on the ‘to do’ list. I will keep you updated on this one.

And there are the punctuation mistakes. Even though I had my work read by a proof reader, I still picked up the odd mistake here and there. We’re only human, so I will throw my work through Grammarly for that. It should be better than any human eye. This will be done after using ProWritingAid. Maybe it’s not necessary after this, but just to make sure (it’s free anyway).

Then I will have to put my text into Word to re-format. I don’t mind doing this. As I suspect I have an OCD streak in me, I like making things ‘smooth.’ I don’t like it when things ‘stick out’ and spoil the overall look. I’m actually looking forward to this part!

Print and Read

After the formatting is done I will print out my work; two pages on one A4 sheet, 1.5 space in between and narrow margins (to save paper). This will show me any formatting errors. I will read my work from front to back, with a red pen in hand to make notes and corrections.

Re-edit

And after I have finished this… I will start all over again!

Have a Happy Writing Weekend!