How to strengthen your writing

By removing and replacing “distance verbs.”

We’ve all heard about too many adverbs, but another thing we need to watch for are verbs that put distance between the story and the reader.

Getting the reader to feel your character’s pain or joy is hard if you’ve used words that act as roadblocks.Words that block us

Want to know which words put distance between character and reader?

Click and read the article below by Amy Rose Davis. She gives us a word list and a fix to pull the reader closer.

STRENGTHEN YOUR PROSE: DISTANCING VERBS by Amy Rose Davis

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How to avoid writing like a newbie

Use the right word in the right place!

Know your Homophones!

Ah, English class 101. Ugh. Hated diagrams, homophones, spelling and confusing pitfalls of a word choice. All I wanted to do was read and write stories. You know, fun stuff.

But alas since I didn’t memorize all the hard stuff, refresher courses are required from time to time as the article by  reminds me.

Melissa wrote a piece on the homophone compliment vs. complement. One letter (e) changes the entire meaning of the word.

Homophone

To make our life a bit easier I’ve found a few links for homophones. Check these out below and bookmark them for the future. Because if you’re like me one day you’re gonna get caught with a homophone in the wrong hanging out in the wrong place.

PS:

I thank the Gods for Spell Check because I’m terrible at spelling. But, do remember Spell Check programs will not pick up on homophones because they are spelled correctly. So watch out for these pesky minefields.

As usual, meet me at the water cooler and tell me what’s on your mind.

Do you remember all lessons from your English classes?

If homophones aren’t your biggest problem, what does trip you up?

 

 

Click and read.

Homophones: Compliment vs. Complement  by 

List of Homophones

The world’s only complete homophone list

Grammarist

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Are you writing hyphens in the wrong way?

Writing with hyphens can be tricky business. 

As with the word was, hyphens is another Achilles heel. Sometimes I sprinkle hyphens about like scattering rose petals at a wedding. Too many!

  Even some of the grammar programs disagree. But if you’ve ever published an ebook you’ll see what I mean. And a strayed hyphen can get left behind in print books too.

Hyphens can throw off the formatting until the reader becomes confused as to the meaning of the word. Don’t make the reader turn back pages to figure out what’s happening. 

So what to do with compound words?

Hyphen or not to hyphen that is the question.

Wikipedia

And the answer can be found in a terrific article by Connie J. Jasperson which is filled with lots of do’s, don’ts and tips. Plus, she provides extensive words to remember. This is a definite bookmark.

What did I learn about using hyphens?

  • Even when using “made up” words, tread carefully.
    • Don’t use unless your make-believe world will explode without it. (Oops)
  • Single words and don’t need a hyphen.
  • Only use a hyphen to ensure the meaning of a word.
    • Like, roundup as in a rodeo, or round up as in a review or the next highest round number
  • Some compounds are improvised to fulfill a specific need.
  • There are permanent compounds and temporary compounds. (Who knew.)
  • When in doubt leave it out. Unless…
    • Your intended meaning is clear without the hyphen, leave it out.
  • Add special words and names to your manuscript style sheet.
    • Especially made up words.
    • This will help ensure consistency in your manuscript.
  • Oh, and a hyphen is not an En dash or an Em dash.

So much is packed in her article, I encourage you to click on her link and read the entire thing.

Hyphens #amwriting By Connie J. Jasperson 

 

Do you use hyphens Willie-Nillie?

What do you think?

Is this all old stuff to you?

 

Keep reading, here is another article on using this little devil.

The Punctuation Guide, Hyphen

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What to do with old obsolete grammar rules?

Do we throw them out?

Or do we realize some rules are made to be broken?

 Hooray! At last, a common sense post about what to do about hard and fast rules that make no sense in this day and time.

6 Old Grammar Rules That Are Finally Going Out of Style by 

Here is my take on her 6 rules:
  1. Ending sentences with a preposition.
    • Guilty, but I didn’t know this rule was attributed to Winston Churchill
  2. Starting sentences with a conjunction.
    • Oh yes, guilty. This gem was apparently courtesy of teachers in the 19th century.
  3. Sentence fragments.
    • Now honestly, I write like I talk. And well…
  4. Split infinities.
    • This one drives me nuts. But what a relief, Kelly gives us permission to use as needed and explains why.
  5. Who vs Whom
    • I love her suggestions. Just avoid if unsure. But realize the word “whom” is for formal writing.
  6. Pronouns.
    • What about “they?” Turns out it’s not one but what else is a writer to use?

Click the link above to read more about Kelly’s thoughts on these obsolete grammar rules.

Questions:

Do you agree, some rules are made to be broken?

Is there another grammar rule that drives you nuts?

Are you guilty of breaking these six?

Do you have any tips to help writers with grammar rules?

Please share, let’s become better writers together. 

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