Hard-to-read writing and how YOU can avoid it.

I’m reading a new book by a fairly prolific writer, and I must say I’m losing confidence in this particular author.

The first 100+ pages were dedicated to introducing many characters who may or may not become important, and setting the scene.

That is just too much! Get to the point, already!

Just so you know, very few people will stick with a story that has too many characters (especially if they are all introduced at once), and too much vague scene-setting.

A publisher or agent will not read that far, hoping it will get better. They will chuck that onto the reject pile and move on to the next manuscript.

Do you want this to happen to you? No?

Well, then. Get some tension or something for the reader to wonder or worry about right away! There’s nothing worse than slogging through a story hoping it will grab your attention.

I hope that helps at least one person avoid this pitfall. I sure hope so.

ChristineGuest blogger

http://www.bespokewriterchristine.com

bespokewriterchristine@gmail.com

Stationery or stationary?

These can be confusing, so a quick way to remember is E for envelope. That way you will know that stationEry refers to things you’ll need to write and send letters – envelopes, paper, pens, stamps, etc.

The other one, stationary, means not moving.

Now, here’s an offer I’ve developed just for you.
For one week only, September 21-28, 2021, when you book editing or coaching you will receive 25% off the entire thing!

You write a lot of words, so you know that savings like this can add up quickly. Contact me to find out just how much you can save!!

You can book as much or as little as you like. Could you use a hand getting started or finished? Do you need someone to bounce ideas off? Are you looking for clarity on direction? Whatever you need, when you need it!

If you book a day or half a day, you still get the 25% off. Wow!

I know you have something that could benefit from a little expert help so why not book now and get this deal while it’s still good?

Thanks for reading.

ChristineGuest blogger

http://www.bespokewriterchristine.com

bespokewriterchristine@gmail.com

Imply or Infer?

While at work one day I overheard my boss on the phone asking “Is that what she’s inferring?” I knew she meant implying, but I didn’t want to embarrass her by correcting her.

So, in order to save you any potential embarrassment, here’s the difference:

To imply is to hint at something – “He implied that he had his doubts.” (Past tense: implied)

To infer is to make a conclusion – “From what was written, I was able to infer that it was more political than it seemed.” (Past tense: inferred)

An easy way to remember these is the speaker (or writer) implies; the listener (or reader) infers.

Try not to mix these up as that can really make the narrative stumble.

(Want more? Contact me as outlined below.)

ChristineGuest blogger

http://www.bespokewriterchristine.com

bespokewriterchristine@gmail.com

Happy Labor Day

Story Empire

Hello, SEers! It’s Labor Day in the US. From all of us here at Story Empire, we’d like to wish all of our hard working friends a happy and restful day.

Happy Labor Day

And now, we leave you with a few inspirational quotes about work:

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” —Confucius

“A man is not paid for having a head and hands,but for using them.” —Elbert Hubbard

“Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.” —Aristotle

“Whatever you want to do, if you want to be great at it, you have to love it and be able to make sacrifices for it.” —Maya Angelou

“Though you can love what you do not master, you cannot master what you do not love.” —Mokokoma Mokhonoana

“If you care about what you do and work hard at it, there isn’t anything…

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More Genre Clichés

This is suck a great post today on Story Empire.

Story Empire

Ciao, SEers! Last time, we talked about clichés in horror and how to fix them. This time, we’re going to look at stereotypes in two more genres and ways to turn them around.

Mystery

  • Title of the book is “the character in the place (often vantage point)” i.e. The Woman in the Window
    • Solution: Find something more appealing to name your book. Often a word or line in the text will pop.
  • Bad guy sees the voyeur investigating what they saw
    • Solution: This is overdone. If you want to have a voyeur, don’t let the villain see the voyeur. Let the voyeur approach the villain. Maybe the voyeur is worse than the villain and blackmails him or becomes inspired by him and becomes a supervillain.
  • Washed up grizzled alcoholic detective who lost someone and comes out of retirement to solve the crime even though competent cops can’t
    • Solution:…

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The English language is doomed! Doomed, I tell ya!

So this week I gathered some writing samples from the internet to showcase how far some writers (and speakers) have fallen. I know I shouldn’t read that stuff, but the collapse of the English language is fascinating; aggravating and infuriating, but fascinating.

Here we go:

1. “Manitoba’s Highway 75 is part of Canada’s National Highway System and a network of highways that connect cities in central areas of North America. A.k.a., it’s a major highway and a major nuisance when it closes on rare occasions.” (Randi Mann the weather network)

Problem: a.k.a. stands for ‘also known as’. In the previous statement, aka is meaningless.

I don’t know who wrote these next two gems, but they get included.

2. “… we laughed, we cried, we were kind of sometimes scared.”

Problem: What does that mean? “Kind of sometimes scared”? HUH?? There’s no need for these two modifiers; one or the other will do.

And, last but not least:

3. “… the perfect encapsulation of every politician’s wet dream.”

Problem: Unnecessarily crude. You can make your point without that.

Yes, I’m picky. Yes, this stuff annoys me. And yes, I will share it with you when warranted.

Then again, maybe it’s not doomed. Maybe I can fix it. Maybe this type of post will help. Maybe.

(Want more? Contact me as outlined below.)

ChristineGuest blogger

http://www.bespokewriterchristine.com

bespokewriterchristine@gmail.com

Pedant or smarty-pants?

When does a smarty-pants become a pedant?

I was in a washroom at a gas station today (I don’t recommend it) and saw a paper sign over the mirror that read:

“We’re on septic. Please take consideration into how much paper you flush.”

Well, I couldn’t stand it, so I got out my pen and corrected it. I circled the word “into” and drew an arrow from where it was to where it should have been, which is between “take” and “consideration”.

My honest motivation was to improve the sign.

So, what do you think? Am I too pedantic and should I bite my tongue (or in this case, my pen) and mind my own business?

If you saw that would you laugh, argue, not get it, or be annoyed? No, I really want to know your reaction.

One more question: would you have done something similar?

ChristineGuest blogger

http://www.bespokewriterchristine.com

bespokewriterchristine@gmail.com

How to Properly Format Your Manuscript

Getting ready to send your book to the publisher? Great, but DO THIS FIRST!

Whether you start formatting from the first word or when you’re done writing, the rules are the same.

When you format is up to you; How you format matters much more.

These standard formatting practices and common submission guidelines apply to fiction and non-fiction so follow them closely.

1. Font: Your font should generally be Times New Roman 12 point; that is the industry standard. There are some agents and editors who prefer different serif or sans serif fonts like Arial or Courier New, but your safest bet is Times New Roman 12 point.

2. Margins: Your pages should have a one-inch margins on all sides (top, bottom, left, and right). These should be the default margins in MS Word and other word processors. If not, set them manually.

3. Indentations: The first line of a new paragraph, should be indented half an inch. For most word processors, you can do this by hitting the tab key once. Do not hit the space bar five times.

4. Line spacing: The entire manuscript should be double spaced. Set that early so you don’t forget. Double-spacing your lines makes the manuscript easier to read and mark up. Do not add an extra space between paragraphs.

5. Alignment: Use left align. Do not justify or y o u w i l l g e t t h i s, and that looks silly.

6. Page numbers: Page numbers are sequential and begin on the first new page after the title page. Pages in the front matter, such as the table of contents, copyright page, or ISBN info are numbered with Roman numerals.

7. Scene breaks: For scene breaks, add a blank line with a hash mark or three asterisks in the center to indicate a new scene.

8. Italics: In the past, writers used to underline words that they intended to italicize. Nowadays, writers simply use italics.

9. Sentence separation: Use one space between sentences after a period. Though many writers still hit the space bar twice to put two spaces between sentences, this is no longer accepted practice.

10. Ending: To indicate the end of your manuscript, write the word “END” and center it after the last line.

11. Page size: You should use the standard page size of 8.5 by 11 inches.

Whew! That seems like a lot, doesn’t it? However, it’s necessary and you’ll be so glad you did it!

I hope you enjoyed this post and tune in again soon for more great, useful stuff!

ChristineGuest blogger and editor

http://www.bespokewriterchristine.com

bespokewriterchristine@gmail.com

MOTION DURING DIALOG

Great post. #readmore #writingcommunity #writing

Story Empire

Hi SEers! Denise here to discuss what happens when people talk to each other and how to apply that to writing.

Have you ever watched people talk? Do they sit and speak without moving or any expression? In my family, I’m surrounded by Italians. Hands are always flying around during conversations. I know who not to sit next to during a meal if knives are being used. It’s dangerous!

Besides hands, heads are moving, faces change expression, bodies are constantly in motion, and tone shifts can take the spoken level from high to low. The speaker’s mood comes out in not only their words but their body language.

Yet, when I first write a dialog for a story, I only put the conversation. I barely tag who’s talking. Later, when I’ve completed the story, I go back and add all the movement that accompanies the words.

Have you ever read…

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