To Infinitively Split

If you play Trivial Pursuit, you know about the grammatical error featured in the opening credits of Star Trek. The famous line “to boldly go where no man has gone before” contains the split infinitive “to boldly go” (where the adverb “boldly” splits the infinitive “to go”). While the line remains mostly unaltered throughout Star Trek’s many incarnations, it gets “corrected” in the first episode of the series Enterprise, in a recorded speech by warp drive inventor Zefram Cochrane: “To go boldly where no man has gone before.” Doesn’t have quite the same ring, does it?

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.

NOTE: A tip of the virtual hat to Wikipedia for the quotes used above.

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.

Reawaken Your Creativity By Revisiting Your Childhood Pleasures

Revisit Your Childhood Pleasures to Spark Your Creativity

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.


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

A sample of Aileen's first book,The Inner Peace Diet, can be found here:

Inspiration and Motivation for Your Writing

The rush of the Holiday season, with all of the shopping, the wrapping, food preparation and dinner parties, can drain one emotionally and leave little time, if any for your own writing.  When all is over and done and the presents and dinner are but a memory  As you recover and rest from your busy shopping days, let the following writers give you inspiration for your writing.

“Only those that risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”
T.S. Eliot

“You are never to old to be who you might have been.”
 George Eliot

“To be a goodwriter, you not only have to write a great deal but you have to care.”
Anne Lamott

“I heard an angel speak last night, and he said, ‘write’!”
Elizabeth Barrett Browning

“In the end, the best thing a writer can do for his society is to write as well as he can.”
Gabriel Garcia Marquez

“Anyone can become a writer. The trick is staying a writer.”
Harlan Ellison

“I nearly always write just as I nearly always breathe.”
John Steinbeck

Rebecca Camarena is a virtual book tour coordinator with  Pump Up Your Book.  She is a freelance writer in Southern California with a background in Journalism and Literature.  Her published articles cover a variety of topics from health, weddings, book reviews and animals.
You can find her at
Hollywood Daze
Paperback Writer,
Writing Daze,
Dogs Rule Cats Drool,


To Tell the Truth, my first novel, started with a character, and from that character a story began to develop. I wrote the whole story dissatisfied with something about it that I could not quite pinpoint. I rewrote it several times, had people read it and give me their input, and read every book and article pertaining to writing. I went down the list of things needed in order to make your character more dimensional. I took it to my critique group so many times they told me to forget the book and go on to something else. But there was something within me that just would not let me give up on my book. I believe in my story and needed to believe in my main character, Anna Kayce.

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

A Book Writers Will Just Naturally Love!

I very occasionally run reviews for books I think will help writers in my Sharing with Writers newsletter. I thought I'd share this book with writers who read this blog, too. The review was also published on a great site for readers,

Subtitle: Our love affair with euphemisms
By Ralph Keyes
Little Brown and Co.
ISBN: 9780316056564
Nonfiction/ (Writing/Language)
Contact Reviewer:

Reviewed by Carolyn Howard-Johnson originally for
If you don’t love language, it’s a good bet you aren’t a writer. But if you’re a writer, reading more about language (linguistics (?)) may not be high on your list of priorities. It’s so integral to the way you think, you believe you don’t need it.

I believe that Euphemania by Ralph Keyes will change your mind. Written with humor (because euphemisms are just naturally funny?) this book will certainly entertain. If you’ve ever wondered about the intricacies of our euphemisms—the origins as an example—this is the book for you. But who would have guessed that it also might be the perfect book to hone the skills of writers of dialogue and humor? 
Academic writers? Use it as a quick-study on how to write a book that will sell to a wide market. The secret? Voice. Humor. Colloquialisms. Yep, and euphemisms. A book does not have to have the lack of moisture content (dry!) of a text book to be a textbook. I know about academic expectations. My daughter is a Ph.D. candidate. She explains it to me all the time. Having said that, if you’d like to actually sell something rather than giving everything away to unappreciative academic journals, try rewriting your brilliant theory for the general public!
Anthropologists and linguists will love this book, too. But mostly, it’s just fun learning why we use asterisks for words like sh*t and the euphemisms like the f-word. It’s also tons of fun to identify phrases we’ve stopped thinking of as euphemisms (love handles, anyone?), just because they are so part of our everyday language.

If I were rating this book for an Amazon review, it would give it a true (not a fake) five-star rating. For usefulness. For fun. For the love of language.

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.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success covers writing successful query letters and includes helpful hints from twenty of the nation's top agents. Purchased it at Amazon, Learn more at her Web site

Christmas Gifts for Writers

Writing about Christmas gifts for writers on Christmas Eve may seem the ultimate in last minute advice for late, late. late presents. But there are always those which fail to turn up on time and need urgent replacements. There are always the gifts you bought in advance and now find your writer friends have bought for themselves. And what about treating yourself to a well-deserved Christmas extra to reinvigorate your own routine after the festivities are over?

Fortunately, the Internet is the ideal source for insta-presents, any of which can earn bonus points for the savvy giver.

Writing and Marketing Workshops

For budget gifts, you can't beat the Writers on the Move Workshop Packages   Priced from 99 cents to under 3 dollars, they are packed full of useful information and tips on how to go about creating books for e-publishing, using paypal, podcasting, and marketing techniques. Brilliant stocking fillers or replacements while you're waiting for a delayed delivery.

More expensive options are the innumerable courses always on offer at Savvy Authors. Look through the lengthy list of January workshops or for an extra-special gift for a friend who has completed at least a first draft, invest in a subscription to the 20i2 Editpalooza . It's a truly hands-on course where writers work on their revision with the help of am accredited editor or publisher for a month.

Or just buy a gift certificate and let friends choose for themselves .

Books, Books, Books

E-books are now freely available for download for reading on computers and e-readers. If you are actually buying a book rather than sending a gift certificate, check what format your friend uses for reading. I prefer e-pub versions as they are more or less universal and work with the magnifying feature on my iRiver reader where a pdf does not.

That Special Free Christmas Present

Design your own gift certificate and choose any one of the ideas supplied  by Beth Daniels in her Gifts for Writers list. I can see more than a few  ideas there that would truly appeal to me--managing my Facebook page once a month would be a brilliant way to keep updated yet free up time for more writing.

And I'm a committed Vistaprint fan, though beware--those few extras like adding the cover of your book pic to your visiting card can really add up.

What I'd like from Santa? An uncluttered head, an organized manuscript and a free month with nothing to do but write.
How about you?

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.

Essential Marketing Terms

I thought I'd put together a few terms that I've come across regularly since I began marketing my YA series "The Chick friends rules". I'm sure there's tons more but these are the terms I've come in contact with most often.

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.

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. 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.

Before Setting Goals…Plant Seeds of Joy

As the year comes to a close, many people begin setting goals for the New Year.  If you are a goal setter, I challenge you to delay creating your writing goals until you engage in what I call “Planting Seeds of Joy”.   In a writer’s life, there are many facets to the writing process.  Some parts are easier and then there are the aspects that we’d rather avoid.  If you really want to nurture your writing life, try the following exercise.

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.
Mary Jo Guglielmo is an intuitive life strategist that helps clients push through their blocks, envision their path and take the necessary action to live their true north.  If you are interested in an Artist Breakthrough session or a Personal Mentoring Program go to

For more information check out
or folllow her at:

Do you have a Writing Buddy and do you need one?

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.

Robert Medak

Writer, Blogger, Editor, Marketer, Poet, Proofreader, Researcher, and Reviewer.

Robert J Medak Writing & More

Setting Writing Goals for 2012...How are Your Goals Working for You?

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
 This is just an example, but you get the idea.

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.

Query Letter Quandary

I’ve found that many writers are intimidated by a query letter. Some tips that can help you get over that”
1.     Use a font that is easy to read like Times New Roman. If you’re sending it to an editor in hard copy then be sure to use a 10 or 12 point font. Editors suffer from eye strain and are looking for more reasons to not publish your book at first. If the query letter is not easy to read, then it goes into the rejection pile mostly unread.
2.     If you are sending this to one of the large publishing houses have you researched and verified who the editor is and do they take unsolicited manuscripts. Small and mid-size publishers are more likely to take a new author and may not require you to have an agent. Agents act as screeners for the publishers and are a great ally in negotiating for you if they like your work. Only use agents who work strictly on commission of no more than 15%.
3.     The letter needs to be addressed to a specific person. You can call the publishing house and ask to confirm that the editor is still with the company and the address that it needs to be sent to. The receptionist can give you that information.
4.     The best sources for research of agents and publishers is the annual Writer’s Market. Realize that much of this information is six months old when the new book is released at the beginning of each year. You can purchase it online, which is a better deal because they update it throughout the year. However, still confirm that the person is still there and in that position. People change positions quit often in the publishing world.
5.     The best book I’ve found on book proposals is W. Terry Whalin’s Book Proposals That Sell: 21 Secrets to Speed Your Success. It focuses on nonfiction, but some of the same rules apply to fiction. Fiction must be completed when you submit a query and proposal whereas nonfiction only needs the first three chapters, outline, and synopsis. Each agent and editor has specific guidelines that they expect us to follow to the letter.
6.     Make your synopsis complete but brief. Include main events and characters.
8.     Include a thank you at the end of the letter. An editor wants to be grabbed by the first couple of sentences or he will move on to the next letter.
9.     Be specific as to who your audience is. It is a mistake stating that your market is all ages or everyone. Research who reads your type of book to find out.
10.   Briefly give your background, knowledge of your platform, savvy marketing ideas, and willingness to work hard at selling your books.
11.    Read successful examples in magazines like Writer’s Digest or get a good book on how to write a query letter.
Dianne G. Sagan
Author of Tools and Tips: What Every Writer Needs to Know to Go “Pro”

Active vs. Passive Writing: Energize Your Prose!

 by Suzanne Lieurance Ever feel like your stories and articles are a bit slow-paced and wordy?   If so, that’s probably because you’re using...