Category Archives: grammar

Urgh growing as a writer

Someone emailed me some typo locations yesterday from Second Chance Romance. I cringed as I fixed them. I am so unhapy with it. I have grown so much since I wrote that book. It needs a total overhaul, but i don’t have the time or energy.

I had a long conversation with my husband about it. I wanted to delete Summer Fling, it’s my weakest book.

I’ve read author comments where they say they wish their first book would disappear or it was right to be rejected. I get that. I just don’t know what to do. I stand by the story, just not how it was told.

On the other hand:

Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.”
— Marilyn Monroe (Marilyn: Her Life in Her Own Words)

Making mistakes means I’m doing what people are scared of. And so what if I don’t become rich, most authors do not. The only place I can go is up. I have to go write I had a terrific historical erotic idea. There are not enough of those.

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Why you should be imperfect

I wrote a long post justifying my imperfection in my novels.

When what I wanted to say was this:

Imperfection is okay.

At least I’m out there letting people read my words. And while I let people read my attempts so far, I’m working getting better. Everyday.

I would rather have 100 people tell me my grammar isn’t perfect but my stories and characters are great (which all my feedback so far has said) than to have my novels sitting on my hard drive.

Writer’s have a great opportunity before us. We can write something and put it out there. Chances are at least one person will read it. Or we can sit with our thumbs up our butts and in 10 years look back with regrets.

My husband has a theory that when people feel crappy about hitting 30 or 40 it’s because they feel like they having accomplished enough. If you want to be an author, then be an author. If you want to start a business, do it. Whatever you want to do, you can do it.

Now is the time.

Not everyone can deal with my writing “mistakes”. Not everyone will like my writing. (If you buy something you don’t like there is a period in which you can get a refund from most retailers).

You know what? Not everyone likes Twilight or Harry Potter or whatever. A lot of people do. Should we deprive the world of them because one, a hundred, a thousand people don’t like them?

I won’t even go into the people who run around going “but who is checking on the quality?” Woe is me the sky is falling because someone published some crap. People have been publishing crap for ages.

Some people like the crap (Quentin Tarantino keeps making movies, I know a lot of people who live for the reality series the Bachelor save us from the world where love is a contest and bad writer’s get published by “the big six legacy publisher’s).

So I say, fuck everyone who demands perfection.

They might be people who are afraid of failure.

Failure and imperfection mean you are doing something. You are trying and you aren’t afraid to do things that might not work. I’m not suggesting that if you release a novel you edited yourself that you’ll be the next bestseller. Lower your expectations. You might not even pay your electricity bill for a summer month with the proceeds.

And people might give you crap for promoting the image that indies aren’t professionals.

We try to teach children not to worry about what other’s think about them. And then we are too afraid to try for our dreams because of what other people might think of us. do what you are afraid to do.

Releasing a book that has a misspelling or grammatical error is not a matter of life and death. No one is going to come to your door and yell at you. The grammar police may have a little tantrum in the corner. A reader or three might ask for refunds. (No one has asked for a refund of anything yet). But not following your dream can have a huge impact on your life.

No one can stop you from trying. Let’s see what happens when they see us coming.

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New Blurb for Second Chance

I joined a writer’s forum. And they have a new indie section and a discussion ensued about writing a good blurb. Which Konrath et al say is the corner-stone to sales.

This is my old blurb:

12 years ago Kip Turner let the girl of his dreams go to pursue his dream of playing hockey. Kip and Mandy were opposites in high school. He was popular and good-looking. She was unathletic and shy. Despite their differences they fall in love. A year after high school, Kip is drafted into the NHL. He’s going to a play across the country. Mandy is pursuing her dream of becoming a teacher and she refuses to go with him while insisting that Kip follow his own dream. Kip goes to follow his dream and they break off their relationship. 12 years later … They come into contact again. Mandy is a single mother and Kip has been playing hockey. But fate has moved them to neighboring Albertan cities. Could they renew their old relationship and have a successful end? Or is Mandy going to let him go all over again?

What went wrong:

Kip is the main focus. I admit I focus on the males more. Romance is more about the female’s journey. Also a lot of passive words in there.

It is longer than a paragraph. Blurbs are a quick hook. This is not quick. It rambles.

It lacks a strong hook. Again rambling and missing strong, evocoative langauge.

Enter Karen McQuestion’s method for crafting a blurb. Great advice.

Following her advice I went to Mandy as the main character and her situation:

Mandy Green is happy juggling her life as a single mom and her dream job as a third grade teacher.

Then what changes

Her world is knocked on its edge when her high school sweetheart connects with her via Facebook.

And what occurs next is:

Mandy decides on one, last date with Kip to finally move on. Kip isn’t quite so ready to let go.

Hype. I failed with this one. I consider my blurbs Work-In-Progress. I have to work my longer version. Maybe.And i have to remove the passive voice.

strong verbs and specific nouns I used:

juggling her life

single mom

dream job

Her world

high school sweetheart

connects

dare

second chance

first love

The final product:

Mandy Green is happy juggling her life as a single mom and her dream job as a third grade teacher. Her world is knocked on its edge when her high school sweetheart connects with her via Facebook. Mandy decides on one, last date with Kip to finally move on. Kip isn’t quite so ready to let go. Will Mandy dare to take a second chance with her first love?

Better? I think so. And it will get better from here.

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Passive and was

I’m learning this writing thing. And one thing I’ve noticed recently is my passive verbs. I don’t know if readers take note or not, but when I do a grammar check thing it tells me I’m using the passive voice a lot.

I never thought much about it. But it keeps coming up in blogs I read. I feel like the universe is beating me over the head. Universe if you are listening, you can stop now, I got the message.

I do the ‘was’ thing a lot.

As in:

She was trembling

blah. So, what did that look like authoress?

When ‘was’ is used, it’s mainly telling not showing.

Her hands shook so bad her arms moved.

or

Her whole body vibrated.

So, universe, I got the message, I will edit the was out of everything. Tone it down just a little so I can finish the first draft. If it isn’t polished, the world won’t end. I will go and edit all my writing later.

After this draft of Baggage. Please.

(WordPress only found one instance of passive voice in this blog post. I edited it out.)

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