Friday, December 30, 2011
The prescriptive rule against split infinitives was created in response to its growing usage in the 19th century. While no one was clearly identified as the creator of said rule, there were many writers who supported the edict. According to Bache (1869), "The to of the infinitive mood is inseparable from the verb.” Of like mind, Raub (1897) states, "The sign to must not be separated from the remaining part of the infinitive by an intervening word.” There were perhaps as many who denounced the restriction. But the rule took hold of public consciousness by the early 20th century, gaining a firm toe hold in academia and the media.
Trying to correct a split infinitive will sometimes cause problems. The aforementioned “to boldly go” converts well enough into “to go boldly.” The altered phrase might not have as much panache (if only because the original is so strikingly familiar), but it does carry the same meaning.
By contrast, consider the following (with the first line containing the split infinitive “to slowly remove” and the remaining lines as possible “solutions”):
1. “She decided to quickly remove all split infinitives from her writing.”
2. “She quickly decided to remove all split infinitives from her writing.”
3. “She decided to remove quickly all split infinitives from her writing.”
4. “She decided to remove all split infinitives quickly from her writing.”
5. “She decided to remove all split infinitives from her writing quickly.”
While the meaning (making quick changes to the writing) is most often unaffected, line #2 instead describes a quick decision. Furthermore, line #s 3-5 come across as clunky.
Split infinitives might be against the rules, but sometimes they can’t be avoided. If you can find a way to omit them or rephrase them, by all means do so. But don’t alter them at the expense of meaning.
Consider this bit of sage advice from the Fowler brothers: "The 'split' infinitive has taken such hold upon the consciences of journalists that, instead of warning the novice against splitting his infinitives, we must warn him against the curious superstition that the splitting or not splitting makes the difference between a good and a bad writer" (The King’s English, 1907).
In closing, remember this overall approach to grammar:
Learn the rules. Understand the rules. Then decide when, how and why to break the rules to best effect.
Betty Dobson is an award-winning writer of short fiction, essays and poetry. She also writes newspaper and magazine articles but is still waiting for those awards to materialize. In the meantime, she continues to run InkSpotter Publishing, which has three new books available and several more in the works for 2012.
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Inside each and every one of is a small child with a creative heart and soul. Most small children have boundless energy and enjoy living in the moment. They spend their days involved in creative and imaginative play. As a result of this spontaneous way of being, children experience joyous emotions. When you tap into your blissful inner child, you are able to shift your writing in profound ways. This week spend some time observing a toddler at play. Notice how the small child unabashedly displays his or her emotions and follows his or her inner voice. Record your observations and your experience in your journal.
As we mature, we learn from those around us that our desires are not always socially acceptable. From an early age, we are urged to conform to societal norms. Others insist that we share our toys when we want to play alone, urge us be nice when we feel angry or demand that we use the toilet before we are truly ready. Misguided parents use food to reward our behavior when we adhere to their standards. This causes confusion as we begin to view food as a prize instead of life sustaining nutrition. As a result, we learn to mask our genuine emotions and our creativity is diminished. During adolescence, the voice of our inner self is further silenced as we are encouraged to constantly look toward the future instead of living in the present. Well-intentioned parents and teachers may steer us away from a profession in the creative arts and encourage us to pursue a career that will provide us with a stable income and job security. As a result of this conditioning, many adults find themselves unhappy in their personal and professional lives and turn to food for comfort.
Journal Exercise: Find Your Inner Child
This week, honor the small child within yourself by revisiting the activities that brought you the most pleasure as a child. In your journal, make a list of all of the activities that you delighted in when you were a youngster. Think of the things that you used to do that made you lose track of time. Don’t dismiss items because they seem silly or unproductive. Examples of pleasurable childhood activities include; roller-skating, finger-painting, making cookies, playing with dolls, dancing to loud music, horse back riding, and playing in a sandbox. Or maybe you enjoyed writing letters to friends or arranging parties for your dolls. After you complete your list review each item and try to recall the feeling each activity evoked within you. For example, playing with playdoh brought caused you to feel excited as you experienced the endless possibilities of your own creativity.
This week, spend at least thirty minutes doing the activity that brought you the most pleasure in your childhood. Give yourself permission to be silly and spontaneous. Leave the office a half-hour early to go for an impromptu bike ride or trip to the playground. Notice how your serenity increases and your sense of possibility expands on the page.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Aileen McCabe-Maucher is a writer, licensed clinical social worker/psychotherapist and registered nurse who has helped many people find inner peace and discover their unique
life purpose. Aileen has fifteen years of experience providing individual and group counseling to a diverse client population. She is a graduate of West Chester University of
Pennsylvania, Widener University, University of Delaware, and The Gestalt Therapy Institute of Philadelphia at Bryn Mawr College. Aileen studied yoga and the chakra system at The Yoga Lifestyle Center in Paoli, Pennsylvania. She is the author of the
book, The Inner Peace Diet, which was published by Penguin/ Alpha Books and released nationwide on December 2, 2008. Aileen can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
A sample of Aileen's first book,The Inner Peace Diet, can be found here:
You can find her at
Dogs Rule Cats Drool,
Monday, December 26, 2011
What was it about Anna that so frustrated me? So many times I asked myself that question. The funny thing was no one I had gone to had an answer. So how was I supposed to come up with it? I knew it had to be something I was doing wrong, but I just could not figure out what it was. My character was so flat and yet I had done everything that all my resources told me to do.
Just when I was about to give up on my book, I received my Writer's Digest magazine in the mail, and in it was an article that was to change everything for me. It was an article on creating characters. As I went down the list of things you can do to develop your character in a dimensional way, I came to one suggestion on that list which really struck me: Do an interview with your character. I felt my heart speed up and my breath quicken. As is usual with me, I had to mull over this; but it wouldn't go away. It kept nagging at me. So with much excitement I put pen to paper and wrote a five-page interview with my character. For the first time since I created her, I began to feel as if I knew and understood her. There was a connection between us, an emotional connection which just grew from there.
I was able to get inside of her, feel her emotions and needs, and anticipate her moves and thoughts. And that was what had been missing, the emotional connection.
So if you are having problems giving your character personality and dimension, do an interview of your character.Describe your character's physical appearance, give a backstory/history of your character, even learn his/her favorite foods, hobbies, movies, etc. Explore his/her dreams and ambitions. Don't miss anything, but don't get too carried away either. Think of your character as a real person, and I don't think they will let you down.
Faye M. Tollison
Author of: To Tell the Truth
Upcoming book: The Bible Murders
Sunday, December 25, 2011
By Ralph Keyes
Little Brown and Co.
Contact Reviewer: email@example.com
Reviewed by Carolyn Howard-Johnson originally for MyShelf.com
PS: If you would like to subscribe to Sharing with Writers, an interactive newsletter where writers come together to promote and to learn, send me an e-mail with SUBSCRIBE in the subject line and I'll do it for you. HoJoNews@aol.com.
Saturday, December 24, 2011
Writing and Marketing Workshops
Books, Books, Books
That Special Free Christmas Present
Anne Duguid is a senior content editor with MuseItUp Publishing and her New Year's Resolution is to blog with helpful editing and publishing tips at Slow and Steady Writers far more regularly than she managed in 2011.
Thursday, December 22, 2011
ARC- Advanced Review Copy. Usually a free copy of your book sent to reviewers.
Bar code-That's the row of lines on the back of your book where they will place your ISBN# which will identify your book title.
Blog-Personal digital diary shared with the masses.
Blogger-The author of the personal digital diary that is essential for a word of mouth campaign.
Copyright - Protecting your property. Back in the 80's I would mail a copy of my books to myself as a cheap version of copyright protection. I also remember if I wanted to submit a book to the Library of Congress I had to get an application, print out a hard copy of my book usually at $0.2 per page, get a money order for the processing fee, carry the thick stack to the post office and pay hefty postage.Phwwww! Now I can go directly to the Library of Congress website and upload my book directly from my laptop for $35.00. The process takes 15-20 minutes. Now that's progress. Super simple, easy breezy. http://www.loc.gov/index.html
CPC- cost per click. If you decide to go the paid advertising route, you will see this term used often. It's what you're paying every time a potential customer clicks on your ad that takes them to your designated landing page. The typical rate can range anywhere from $0.15 per click to $0.45 per click. I usually don't go over $0.45
DRM- Digital Rights Management provides the software locks put on information distributed digitally to prevent unauthorised distribution. Every time I upload a book I'm asked if I want this feature. Hell yeah,I want it.
ePub - format used for B&N and others.
eKindle - format used for uploading to Creatspace. Genre- where does your book fit. Mine is YA (Young Adult).
Giveaway- A necessary marketing tool. Giving your baby away for free.
ISBN- International Standard Book Number. It's your books birth certificate. Awww.You don't necessarily need one if you're going through Creatspace; they will provide you with one for free but it's only good for Createspace. But a batch of 10 isbn codes can be purchased as well from Bowker. http://www.isbn.org/standards/home/index.asp Month-to-date sales unit- Tells you how many books you've sold within the month. I get butterflies every time I click on this link. But, lately...not bad.
Review- Submitting your book to a reviewer and waiting for a analysis of your literary talent. It can be nerve wrecking.
Tags- keyword or term best used to describe your book. For example, my tags are usually; YA, teens, realistic fiction, social issues,peer pressure, sexual abuse.
URL destination- What website address you want your customers to be directed to. A quick copy and paste will do the trick for this one.
This is all I can come up with off the top of my head. Feel free to share more useful terms by leaving a comment.
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
First, take some time to contemplate what part of writing brings you joy. I love generating new ideas, finishing that first draft, sharing my work, seeing it published. I’m not too fond of revision number 75, but I’m thrilled when I am happy with a final draft. You get the idea. The things that you enjoy about writing are your “Seeds of Joy”. Now plant these seeds by jotting them down and posting them where you write.
Later when you are feeling frustrated with your progress, act on one of your “Seeds”.
Since I know that for me working on the 20th revision can at times be tiresome, I intersperse my revisions with a writing activity that makes my fingers dance on the keyboard. For example, when I’m really feeling bogged down, I’ll take ten minutes and generate some new picture books ideas. This revives my enthusiasm and helps me get back on task and work on one of my goals.
If you “plant seeds of joy” in your writing life, you’ll be amazed at how much easier it is to watch your writing goals grow. You might even consider “planting seeds of joy” in other areas of your life.
For more information check out www.donorth.biz
or folllow her at:
Monday, December 19, 2011
Many people have no idea what a writing buddy is or if they need one.
What is a writing buddy?
My definition of a writing buddy may vary from others. To me a writing buddy should have certain traits, those being:
- Have a personality that matches or compliments the writer
- Be honest with the writer offering constructive criticism
- Be honest with any critique
- Be committed to contacting the writer on a schedule that is agreed upon.
- Someone to keep the writer honest and working on their writing
- Someone to motivate the writer
- Someone to act as a reader
Writers should have a writing buddy keep them on track and writing, and to help them with their manuscript, blog posting, or anything related to writing.
It is hard to find the right person to be your buddy. It takes commitment to be a writing buddy, but finding the right one can make a huge difference for both the writer and the writing buddy in accomplishing a first class manuscript.
It is this freelance writer’s opinion that writing groups should have a page of contacts for writing buddies, perhaps even a mentor page for aspiring writers, newbie writers to help them with confidence, or questions about writing they may have.
If someone makes the conscious choice to become a writing buddy, they are making a commitment to the writer to be there to help, motivate, critique, and answer questions about the particular piece the writer is working on.
Do not take a writing buddy position lightly, it takes work, and commitment when you choose to become a writing buddy. Will it take time away from your own writing? Yes, but this writer is of the opinion that if may just make the buddy a better writer in the process.
The opinions expressed are those of freelance writer, Robert Medak.
Writer, Blogger, Editor, Marketer, Poet, Proofreader, Researcher, and Reviewer.
Robert J Medak Writing & More
Sunday, December 18, 2011
Writing takes planning and implementing, reviewing and revising. In nursing we learn to assess, plan, implement, and evaluate for a patient problem. That process can apply to many things outside of delivering nursing care. It can also apply to your writing goals for 2012.
Assess: Sit down and make a list of what you have accomplished in 2011 against what you wanted to accomplish. This activity is the time for assessing what has worked for you this year and what has not related to your writing goals. Assuming we want to be published and to sell our work means the honest assessment of how much we published and how much we sold. This is crucial to setting goals for 2012. After you have assessed where you are and where you want to be as an author, list 3 or 4 major writing/publishing goals for the New Year.
Plan: Now to make a workable plan, your smaller action steps must be actions that work towards one of your major goals. The actions you took in the past year that led to more submissions and acceptances needs to be placed in the plan again. The marketing actions that you took that produced successful sales needs to be added and tweaked for the coming year. The things you assessed that did not work or that hindered your writing need to be deleted. Sometimes that means deleting an activity unrelated to writing but that takes time away from your writing. Keep in mind if the actions you want to take don't move you towards your goals, they are not part of this plan.
Implement: January 1st will be here before you know it so try to have your assessment and your plan figured out before the first of the year, or at least the first week of the New Year. Then decide what day your plan will start and begin implementing the actions you have decided on. If I want to monetize my blog for instance, I may put something in my plan that lists the actions I will take to do this. Here is a sample for January if one of my major goals would be to monetize the blog-
- Week 1- research products to incorporate on the blog/affiliate products
- Week 2- add links to my blog with 2-4 affiliate links with posts about each product
- Week 3- post at least once about the products, send out newsletter to remind readers about products
- Week 4- post at least once about how one of the products has helped me with my writing career
Evaluate: Set up time in your writing schedule to evaluate your goals and your actions steps at least 3 or 4 times a year. Many writers evaluate weekly and set up a new plan for the next week. Awesome if you can do that, but realistically many of us are lucky to jot a few notes every week. In some ways we evaluate every day about what we did and what we need to do. A serious evaluation every 3-4 months includes looking at what you have circulating out with publishers, what you need to resubmit, what needs revisions, and what are the next target markets on your list. However you decide to evaluate your goals, make sure the new changes will be action steps that will make your writing soar.
Keep in mind that the rule for goals is this:
Goals should be specific.
Goals should be realistic.
Goals should be attainable.
Goals should be measurable.
Remeber that you also may need to hone your skills as one of your major goals in order to make your writing and publishing goals attainable and realistic.
Now, looking at your goals for last year, be honest in deciding what is working for you. Can you expand your career this next year? Do you need more education? Do you need to focus on submissions? Do you want to attend a conference? Do you want to become active in a critique group to help hone your skills? Do you want to publish a novel? Be specific in what you want and go for it. There is no time like the present to take actions steps towards making your writing and marketing career soar for 2012. My writing mentor, Suzanne Lieurance always tells us to write like the wind, and I will add soar like an eagle. Make this next year your best.
Saturday, December 17, 2011
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