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

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

Building the Next Generation of Readers

There was a great blog post today (August 28, 2021) on Building the Next Generation of Readers |

An excellent author, Steve Hooley, wrote about Building the Next Generation of Readers. Mr. Hooley suggests we need to build the next generation of readers out of today’s youth and offers some good points and tips.

Mr. Hooley has also asked his reader today three questions.

 1. What factors encouraged you or made you a reader?

2. What has worked with your children or relatives to create an interest in reading?

3. What suggestions do you have to build the next generation of readers?

I thought I would blog my answers here

1. What factors encouraged you or made you a reader?

There isn’t one factor that made me a reader. I would say that I became an avid a reader when I moved into a profession, and reading was a necessity. I liked books, but not as a favorite pastime in my youth. I have one of those day jobs where I’m stuck in a book, doing research or reading reports for at least six hours a day, minimum. That necessity combined with my creative side led me down to path to be a storyteller.

2. What has worked with your children or relatives to create an interest in reading?

I have three kids. One boy, age nine and twins, which are seven. They all read but not as independent as I would like. However, the most successful things have been talking with their teachers and tutors (we hired one of those to go over reading and writing skills with our kids every week). Those discussions have led me to buy books for the kids based on suggestions that educators know will work. “Dragon Masters” and “Ivy and Bean” are book series that I would have never found on my own. I also find that books written in the last ten years vs. books when I was a kid in the 70’s and 80’s, seem to connect better with today’s youth.

3. What suggestions do you have to build the next generation of readers?

I suggest you don’t force kids to read. It’s all about balance. Think of work-life balance that in your job you should have balanced out your work with your downtime. It’s the same for kids and reading is a stressful thing for those who are beginner readers. It’s hard when a little brain is firing all its nerves to comprehend subject materials that they have yet to experience. Letting kids watch TV or play video games in my opinion is a short-term distraction that allows them the break so they will happily go back and read the books they love.

What do you think? I would love to see your answer. Feel free to comment here or head over to TKZ.

Thank you,

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


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…

View original post 367 more words

Assure, Ensure, and Insure

Some of you have no trouble with these, so you can skip this if you like.

For the rest, these are only confusing until you get the hang of them.

So here we go.

ASSURE means to tell someone that something will definitely happen or is definitely true.

Jane assured John that she loved him and would marry him soon.

Oxford English Dictionary definition:

1. Tell someone that something is definitely true.

2. Make something certain to happen.

ENSURE means to guarantee or make sure of something.

John took great pains to ensure that his writing contained no plagiarism.

Oxford English Dictionary definition:

1. Make certain that something will definitely be so.

2. (ensure against) make sure that a problem does not occur.

INSURE means to take out a policy against something.

Jane insured the rink against fire, flood, and vandalism. She wanted to ensure (see what I did there?) that they were covered for any untoward event.

Oxford English Dictionary definition:

1. Arrange compensation in the event of damage, loss, illness, or death, in exchange for regular payments to a company.

2. (insure someone against) protect someone against a possible event.

So did that help, or are these still clear as mud?

I have about a million of these, so stay tuned or contact me for editing wherein I will take away the headaches by doing it for you.  (I’ll also explain why.)

Christine – Guest blogger

Lay or Lie? Which one should you choose?

It depends on what you’re saying.

These two words are so often confused, I thought I’d put together a little something to help.

Lay vs Lie

To lay means to put or to place. One way to remember this is that there is an A in both to lay and to place: Sally will lay out her outfit before she goes to bed.

To lie means to recline. One way to remember this is that there is an E in both to lie and to recline: John is going to lie down for a nap.

In short; A is lay or place; E is lie or recline.

(Side note: The Australian and English vernacular of “have a lie down” or “a lie in” can come in handy if you’re writing about people from (or in) one of those places.)

Now that you’ve got that all figured out, here come the past tenses, which will confuse things all over again!

The past tense of to lay is laid: Sally laid out her outfit. The past tense of to lie is lay: John lay down for a nap over an hour ago.

I hope you enjoyed this and it helped.

ChristineGuest blogger

Want to talk about how I can help you with more like this? Come over the my website or send an email.

#writing #grammar #writer #author

Scammers, Cyberstalkers and Trolling Book Reviews

I saw this subject recently come up on Twitter this week that Internet Trolls are targeting authors. I thought at first, “interesting” but maybe it’s just something to Tweet about in the #writingcommunity for the sake of tweeting.

As the days went on, this story was getting traction. I also found an article that might back up these claims. Check out the story on

What would you do if you woke up and saw an email like this?


It would devastate me. However, (scammers, cyberstalkers and trolls) it’s not worth it to pay a ransom in my case. I’m really not sure something like this would end my writing career, but I’m not in it for the money.

This also got me thinking about the random emails I get and the links on Twitter—those that wish to guarantee me an excellent review. I guess these are potentially scams as well and could backfire on those who go that route as well. Some messages say that these services that could boost your book can also be the very trolls that are now ruining the lives of hardworking writers.


We might have to change our purchasing practices and not rely on reviews. In my case, if a book intrigues me, I read the first page and then decide to try—then I’ll read the first 5 pages to decide to buy.

Happy reading and have a safe weekend.

There, their or they’re

Repost (by popular request)

Some people have trouble distinguishing between these three words.

A quick way to remember the difference is to memorize these (very short) sentences:

That’s their house (it belongs to them). They live there (at that place). They’re nice (they are nice).

For the more formal explanations, see below.

Their is the possessive determiner. It means belonging to them.

(Note: to pluralize ‘their’, just add an ‘s’, as in: that is theirs. “Theirs” is a possessive pronoun. No need for an apostrophe.)

There is an adverb with several uses.

1) in, at or to that place or position.

2) on that issue.

3) used in attracting attention to someone or something.

4) (there is/are) used to indicate the fact or existence of something.

They’re is the contraction of ‘they are’.

I hope that helps clear up a little confusion on that issue.

Christine – guest blogger

Please email or go to my website for more information or to book an edit