Capitalization Space Case – Style #2

Capitalization Space Case

I had a count of 127 errors in Style. Most of them were Unclear Antecedent’s which I covered in the last blog. If you missed a previous blog, you can click on the purple link here that is crossed out to see that blog post. I’m not sure how I can fit the word prompt in for today’s post. I don’t own a dog of any pedigree nor do I buy pedigree dog food. Oh well, I’ll just continue with today’s post about my editing and revising fun.

Within STYLE are the following issues I had in my story:

1. Unclear Antecedent .
2. Capitalization at the start of a sentence
3. Incorrect Spacing
4. Incorrect Spacing with punctuation
5. Incorrect verb form
6. Inflated Phrase
7. Wordiness
8. Nominalization

I’m going to cover three STYLE issues on this blog since they are simple and most likely typo’s. These are easy to spot and easy to fix.

Capitalization at the start of a sentence
Incorrect Spacing
Incorrect Spacing with punctuation

All the examples are real and from my new book Prophecy (Names may be changed for example purposes). I took one sentence an put all three errors in it. The error notice from Grammarly is condensed on the right and can each be expanded, which I will show before the corrections.

111aFirst is Capitalization at the start of a sentence a simple grammar rule, but easily done by a typo. All spell check programs even word processors should catch this one. Heck, even I caught them when I proofread.

111b

Ray had to get back to work. There was an angry man  in a hardhat and safety vest was calling him .

Next is Incorrect Spacing. Another easy one to spot unless it’s at the beginning of a sentence or after punctuation. They might not show them as an error but are easily spotted by a proofread.
111c

Ray had to get back to work. There was an angry man  in a hardhat and safety vest was calling him .

The last is Incorrect Spacing with punctuation. This will be caught if it’s before or in the middle of punctuation. Extra spaces after a period are not always caught by programs because some people still write with double spaces. Single space at the end of a sentence is industry standard.

111d

Ray had to get back to work. There was an angry man in a hardhat and safety vest was calling him.

There the sentence is now correct. I know these are rookie mistakes and I know I make them because I’m not an accurate typer and my brain goes faster than I can type. That’s okay, it’s foolish to think I’m perfect, I don’t.

My advice about capitalization at the start of a sentence, incorrect spacing and incorrect spacing with punctuation:

Simple errors to make and simple to fix. No big deal. They are however important, if they show up in a manuscript that is submitted to a literary agent, it will very likely get your query tossed into the NO pile.

-Sheryl

Copyright © 2018 All rights reserved
Pedigree

His Unclear Antecedent – Style #1

His Unclear Antecedent

Coming in at an error rate of 127 in my draft, next up for discussion is Style. To be fair the book is over 79000 words so it’s not like I have that many errors in comparison to say, 30000 words. Most of my errors are typo’s or me just getting ahead of my rapid fingers when writing. I tend to get the story down with the intention of going back and fixing things later. If I focus on writing perfectly as I write, I get frustrated or lose my thought. Grammerly 1Contextual Spelling: 349
Grammer: 212
Punctuation: 999+ (Um that’s embarrassing)
Sentence Structure: 19
Style: 127
Vocabulary Enhancement: 267

Within STYLE are the following issues I found in my story:

1. Unclear Antecedent
2. Capitalization at the start of a sentence
3. Incorrect Spacing
4. Incorrect Spacing with punctuation
5. Incorrect verb form
6. Inflated Phrase
7. Wordiness
8. Nominalization

An unclear antecedent in writing is a word that refers to a  clause, phrase, sentence or another word.

In my case, it’s the referral of him, he, his, her, hers etc.

With Grammarly, it provides a box to the right with the ‘issue’ often with a suggestion on how to correct the error. Once the error is corrected this box will disappear. At the bottom there are two options, ignore (Because sometimes what I’ve written is what I want despite the ‘error’)

antecedent6

In case I need more information there is a handy ‘more’ tab that will explain what the problem is. It’s also good to have some examples if you’re not sure.

antecedent7

Now for some examples of my writing that needed some TLC in the style department.

Just ignore the fact that the next example is just horrible all around. This one has three unclear antecedent’s. They and they’re. In context, it is clear who I’m referring to, but I would make it more clear and fix this entirely since it sucks.
antecedent2“I don’t need the second one. The company isn’t locking the system because they want me to snoop, and now they’re on the way.”

by replacing the first ‘they’ it became clear who I was referring to.

antecedent1This was going to be hilarious. The pigeon pecked the man’s hand hard and he

By changing ‘his’ to ‘the man’s’ it gave a better referral to whose hand it is. In that example, I cant use a name since he is a stranger being observed from afar. His name will come up later.

The following is out of context. In this conversation, they are explicitly talking about the main character’s sister.
antecedent4
I actually ignored this since I don’t need to change it. This is why it’s important to think about what changes are being suggested and why there is an ‘ignore’ option to the Grammarly check.

If I were going to change it, this one is simple.

“No, I do not. I’m sorry, but this is hard. Close or not Anne was my sister.”

It’s easy to fix an unclear antecedent. This was the most common mistake I made in Style. A lot of them I ‘ignored’ because within dialogue it was clear who I was referring to, however by grammar standards it wasn’t clear on a sentence by sentence basis. Something horrible would happen if I corrected all of them for the sake of ‘rules’ I would have characters saying peoples names in every single sentence. I would have names in every sentence of narrative. That is annoying especially if within the conversation or paragraph I was already clear.

My advice about Unclear Antecedent:

Not easy to spot without a proofreader or program to find them. They are not all necessarily bad or actually unclear. Read and reread out loud before making these changes and always read the entire paragraph, conversation block or the sentence before and after to determine just how unclear it actually is.

-Sheryl

Copyright © 2018 All rights reserved

Rapid

Do Write An Emphatic Sentence – Sentence Structure#5

Do Write An Emphatic

On my last 4 Sentence Structure posts, I showed how messy my Grammar is by Grammarly’s standards. This is the final part of the Sentence structure issues I faced with my first draft.  

Grammerly 1Contextual Spelling: 349
Grammer: 212
Punctuation: 999+ (Um that’s embarrassing)
Sentence Structure: 19
Style: 127
Vocabulary Enhancement: 267

Here are some common sentence structure problems found. If you missed a previous post, you can click on the crossed out links here.
Incorrect word order  .
Missing Verb  .
Squinting Modifier  .
Incorrect Adverb Placement  .
Missing _____ in emphatic sentence

Missing _____ in emphatic sentence The ___ is the placeholder for a word that is suggested. I’ll be honest I didn’t know what this was when I first saw it. I did only see it once in my revision, so it didn’t stand out.

I’m not going to go into great detail on this since most people write emphatic sentences and don’t realize they are. I guess I’ll start by explaining what an emphatic sentence is. Emphatic in a sentence is to form a momentary emphasis in the story. To be clear and forceful. They are usually short, to the point and generally, do not need exclamation points. If the words matter the only punctuation needed is typically a period.

Emphatic sentences usually use a form of Do, does, did, will, what etc.

These are sentences that show:

Desperate actions: Stop, or she will drown. Light the fireworks now they’re getting rowdy.
Pointed or abrupt questions: Are you joking? Did you lie? (Unless in dialogue I’m not a fan of these)
Spontaneous action: The crowd did scream the moment TriX came on to the stage.
Intense commands: Stop what you’re doing. Do your homework now.
Tension: The car veered into the oncoming traffic. Do not pull the trigger.

Grammerly 11

The grammar checker wants me to change the sentence to: What one save was half a link. Which made no sense at all. I actually ended up removing this sentence altogether and working that information into another.

My advice about emphatic sentences: 

To convey emphatic keep the sentence short, and direct! It is tempting to use exclamation points. I’ve talked about this before! Limit their use and let the writing express the empathic sentence instead! Emphatic is not yelling! Don’t yell in the narrative! If the person is yelling, set it up, show it with words if you can. Geesh I must stop yelling! I will stop yelling. I did stop yelling.

-Sheryl

Copyright © 2018 All rights reserved

Abrupt

The Editor Adventure

The Editor Adventure

The Editor Adventure

I’ve just begun my astonishing adventure into the world of editors. I will go more in depth on this subject because I had no idea how deep the editing pool is. When I first started out on this journey with BiaAtlas, I was new and shiny and had the idea that an editor is unnecessary. I can do it myself and save myself the money.  Yes and no. Back then it was just me and my handy dandy word processing program and a good dose of naiveté. While I can comb through line by line carefully I will miss mistakes, even big ones because I wrote them to start with. Word processing programs such as Word perfect, windows word or any that generally come with an office suite or your computer when purchased are not good enough. They don’t recognize incorrect correctly spelled words such as though instead of thought. Currently, I’m using a secondary editing service one that I tried for free and found it to be the easiest and most useful of the bunch. I am now paying for the editing service from Grammarly, and I’m thrilled to bits. 

Now while my writing and editing has improved vastly with the help of Grammarly, it is still not perfect. Even with the help of a professional, there is no guarantee it will be perfect. Heck, I find typos in published books from well-established authors and reputable publishers. My point is editing is a murky, complicated business and the more outside eyes on the project, the better. 

Things I’m currently looking into and will share more detail once I’ve sorted it all out. 

  • There are different types of editing services and editors out there

  • Various editor-preditors are lurking to scam (Sad but true)

  • There are many editing packages and options available

  • When it comes to editing everyone with a word processor thinks they can charge you for their service. Thus there are the good the bad and the ‘are you kidding me’ editors vying for business. Seriously found one that had so many mistakes on their blog and could barely string a sentence together declaring they were a freelance editor and ghostwriters. 

  • It is hard to part with money and separate the ego(I can do this on my own) from the understanding that if I’m serious,s I need to invest to succeed.

It’s kind of like a treasure hunt to find an editor worth investing with. Trust, experience, testimonies and overall first impressions show an editor’s worth. Not to mention contracts. 

I spent countless hours(I seriously lost count) Querying and combing through literary agents only to discover that my query letter was the problem. One would think a writer can write a query letter easy peasy, they wrote the book, right? Not so easy, and seriously not so peasy. I also now know that my query process was blunt and needs some finesse. So now I am diving into the world of editors and while I learn to swim, I’ll share my findings so that perhaps someone else out there who might be as stubborn as I was might learn a thing or two. It’s also a lot of research so wish me luck. 

FYI before I edited this post, there were(From mostly typo’s) 25 critical issues and 14 advanced issues that needed to be fixed. I’ll be back with more info as I go.

My advice about editors.

For now, it’s pretty slim, do some research, and as with all things in life, you get what you pay for. So when everyone is falling in around $200 for one page and someone offers $25, chances are they are running it through a program or have no idea what they’re doing. 

-Sheryl

Copyright © 2018 All rights reserved

Astonish

Incorrectly Placing Adverbs – Sentence Structure#4

Placing adverbs Incorrectly

Incorrectly Placing Adverbs 

On my last 3 posts, I showed how messy my Grammar is by Grammarly’s standards.

Grammerly 1Contextual Spelling: 349
Grammer: 212
Punctuation: 999+ (Um that’s embarrassing)
Sentence Structure: 19
Style: 127
Vocabulary Enhancement: 267

Here are some common sentence structure problems found. If you missed a previous post you can click on the crossed out links here.
Incorrect word order  .
Missing Verb  .
Squinting Modifier  .
Incorrect Adverb Placement
Missing _____ in emphatic sentence

Incorrect Adverb Placement.

Oops, this only happened once in my draft. I know I’m not the only person in the world to do this so I won’t bother myself with being too embarrassed.

I’ll start with a refresher and elaborate on what an adverb is.

Adverbs are words that modify a verb, an adjective or another adverb. An adverb qualifies or modifies a verb and it tells us more about the verb.
(The man ran quickly).
Here are some examples. The adverb is in red and the verb that it modifies is in green.
  • Anne speaks softly.
  • Afterwards, she danced with Tony.
  • Anne shops locally.

These sentences can work without the adverb in red, but they are better with a modifier that gives the verb a who, what, where, how description. Sure Anne shops. But to say shes shops locally gives her shopping more value.

Adjectives can also be modified by adverbs. However, most adjectives fall into the filter word category and are ‘boring’ here are some examples of adjectives and how I would fix them further

The verb in the sentence is meowed.

The cat meowed.

How did the cat meow? Add an adverb to the verb

The cat meowed loudly.

To give a ‘when’ to the sentence add another adverb…

Yesterday, The cat meowed loudly.

To add depth to the cat, add an adjective

Yesterday, The white cat meowed loudly.

White is boring, let’s beef it up. Now to add an adverb to modify the adjective

Yesterday, The soft white cat meowed loudly.

Last but not least to add an adverb modifying the adverb. This is a filter word and I would normally leave it out.

Yesterday, The soft white cat meowed very loudly.

I only had one Incorrect adverb placement from my book. Placing them incorrectly seems to be a typo or me just writing too fast. I would catch this on my “ing” search-and-destroy edit.

Grammerly 11

This one is an easy fix by simply reversing ringing repeatedly to repeatedly ringing. Now on a side note ringing is “ing-ing” and I would probably rewrite the sentence. Also, I could hear is more of a tell, not show.

I would rewrite this to:

The simple word justice repeatedly rang in my ears.
Or
The word justice repeatedly rang in my ears.

My advice about Incorrect adverb placement:

These are pretty easy to find if you read the sentence aloud or have someone else read it. They chop up the sentence or make them awkward to read. I still recommend having a professional or a program to help find them. The ones that are built into word processors are usually not enough.

-Sheryl

Copyright © 2018 All rights reserved

post selection

Elaborate

Tidy Up Time

Tidy Up Time

While I edit and revise my new book, I’ve been taking small breaks to write my next one(I’m very excited about this) and to tidy up my Blogsite. I’ve changed the look and layout and I’m happy with the outcome. It’s not perfect, but it’s much better than the elementary one I had before. 

Lately, I found that I was receiving a lot of vague spam comments and emails. I just spent the last two hours cleaning up and managing my subscriptions to blogs. I had to unfollow and follow a few as there were double follow links for some odd reason. 

I’ve been trying to catch up with some of the serial stories, articles and poems being written by some fabulous bloggers, and I know I’m missing a few. (Which is why I tidied up my subscriptions) All of this takes time, and my brain is bogged down so it’s taking longer than I would like.

I’m not sure how I’m going to proceed with my blog posts, at the moment the ‘what I’ve learned’ posts will be once a week. I’ll be checking in with a more personal post(such as this one) to say hi and update on progress, randomly.

I do have exciting news, I’m looking into a professional Editor/copyeditor to review my first 50 pages, my query letter and synopsis for Prophecy Ink. After a 100% rejection for BiaAtlas, I figured I would take a step back and revisit some ideas about editing. This is and will be an investment for Prophecy Ink which is a smaller more action-packed book than BiaAtlas which is more in-depth and character driven. 

I’m curious to see what they will say and do to my work. All of which I will share for those interested. I’m letting BiaAtlas sit(Much to my fan’s chagrins) for a little while before I pick it up and revise it again. I feel that the fault is in the query and synopsis. Hopefully, when I get Prophecy Ink done, I’ll have a more clear Idea where to take BiaAtlas. 

If you’re wondering why not get a professional edit on BiaAtlas, the person investing the cost to edit, likes Prophecy Ink more. I’m not complaining, both books are good. That’s not to say I won’t be thinking about it in the future for BiaAtlas. 

This all stems down to live and learn, the query is the most important part of the road to publishing. They are the toll-gate, the barrier through which you can only pass if you get it right. Perfectly right. In every way. As frustrating as that may be, I get it, with hundreds and thousands of people querying their books it’s tough competition. The agents can say nay a lot easier if there are blaring or simple errors. If it’s not catchy or perfect, they can move on to someone else’s query. Just like job interviews, if you don’t nail it, there are hundreds of others lining up for a shot. The market of queries is not in the writer’s favour. Sounds super negative, it’s not. They demand perfection(despite what some might say), and they get it. The trick is to be that writer giving perfection. 

It’s hard to please and easy to get a no. There is something called a slush pile, the imaginary place where all rejections go. Since submissions are digital, that delete button is super duper easy to press. 

So here I go again, preparing for the query battleground. I have some experience, more knowledge(Thanks to some lovely books and articles) and I’m going to tackle it again. This time I’ll go slower, and I’ll share my advice, mistakes and efforts along the way.

-Sheryl

PS, my thanks to a good blogging friend for helping me learn how to create nicer looking links. My next project will be to make my blogs easier to navigate.

 MPFTS.png

Copyright © 2018 All rights reserved

Vague

Squinty Squinting Modifiers Sentence Structure#3

Squinty Squinting Modifiers

On my last 2 posts, I showed how messy my Grammar is by Grammarly’s standards. These are mistakes that the basic word program missed or it is not able to identify. There are days when I wish I had a magic book editing Genie to magically make the book perfect. Since wishes are a fantasy, I’ll have to do the work myself.

The example from my book is from the rough draft of Prophecy Ink. Before I did my readthrough to correct the worst and most obvious. I’m using these examples because they were there and it’s how we learn.

Grammerly 1Contextual Spelling: 349
Grammer: 212
Punctuation: 999+ (Um that’s embarrassing)
Sentence Structure: 19
Style: 127
Vocabulary Enhancement: 267

Here are some common sentence structure problems found. If you missed a previous post you can click on the crossed out links here.
Incorrect word order .
Missing Verb .
Squinting Modifier
Incorrect Adverb Placement
Missing _____ in emphatic sentence

Something that came up a time or two was Squinting Modifier. What is that?

Squinting modifiers are also called Ambiguous modifiers(Fist example not from my book)

Eating too much ice cream quickly gives me a stomachache.

The modifier is ‘quickly’. Am I eating ice cream quickly or is it quickly giving me a headache? It’s not clear. The Modifier is misplaced. To fix this I need to reposition it to make it clear what is happening “quickly” 

When I eat too much ice cream I quickly develop a stomachache.
Eating too much ice cream quickly always gives me a stomachache.

It doesn’t matter how it’s fixed or rewritten as long as it is made clear if it’s a headache or the action of eating ice cream that happens quickly.

Now in my book, I had this one.
Grammerly 6

Okay, so to begin with that’s just a horrible sentence. Filter words abound and it drags on. here is the fix:

“Oh lovely, you’re awake dear.” The nurse’s kind tone broke my heart.

Squinting modifiers are often hard to catch as the writer. I missed this blaring one. I ended up rewriting the entire paragraph to make it flow better. This was just one of many errors in the paragraph.

My advice about Squinting Modifiers:

I hate squinting at squinting modifiers. Most of them were easily fixed by punctuation or a simple sentence rewrite. Take the time to have someone review your work or use a program that can identify them for you. FYI the basic word program I used did not catch any of them.

-Sheryl

Copyright © 2018 All rights reserved

Genie

Incorrect Order Words – Sentence Structure #2

I continue my quest for editing and revising, Prophecy Ink, my newest novel. I sit with a lovely cup of tea or frothy cocoa and scrutinize my work. Did I really make that mistake? I could feel inept or embarrassed, but there’s no point. I’m not the first person to make simple mistakes or complicated ones, and I won’t be the last. Which is why I’m sharing my journey so you can rest assured that it’s all okay.

Incorrect Order Word
– Sentence structure

On my last post, I showed how messy my Grammar is by Grammarly’s standards. I’m not afraid to admit to mistakes. If I didn’t have any then I’d have less to blog about. I learn a lot as I go and sometimes it’s gentle “Duh” reminders of something I should know, did know, and maybe forgot… temporarily. To recap, I had 19 sentence structure errors. Not bad, not bad at all.
Sentence Structure: 19
Here are some common sentence structure problems found in my draft of Prophecy Ink. In pink is today’s subject, in purple crossed out has already been covered. Missed it? No problem just click on the purple crossed out word and it will take you to the post.

Incorrect word order
Missing Verb √ 
Squinting Modifier
Incorrect Adverb Placement
Missing _____ in emphatic sentence

Continuing with Incorrect word order. I do this all the time. I find that a big reason for this is simply local jargon, dialect or phrases. Now if found in dialogue, I think carefully, do I want it to be bad since people talk that way? Sometimes. Too much can be irritating to a reader. Outside dialogue, there is no excuse and they all need to be fixed. Here are some examples and what the Grammarly program shows me.

Grammerly 4

I smiled as the funeral director came to tell me the room was set for my guests and me.

I do this a lot. Meh. It’s easy to fix. I can rewrite the sentence or with Grammarly, I click the offered green correction and it fixes it for me with its suggestion. Easy peasy.

Grammerly 5.jpg

There was the chance that he would run but why he would?

This example is one that doesn’t work. (Yes there are other issues with the sentence including the extra word ‘the’ that I took out and replaced it with ‘that’. I’ll leave the rest for other examples.) The reason for this ‘weird fix’ is because I’ve put a rhetorical question in the narrative. It’s a good idea to avoid this as much as possible. To fix it I would rewrite the sentence completely or remove the rhetorical part of it.

The Grammarly suggestion was silly and wouldn’t make sense. Instead, I cleaned up the messy sentence with a simple rewrite.
There was the unlikely chance that he would run.

Incorrect word order is easy to do, it’s also easy to spot and super easy to fix. Sometimes It’s me typing too fast or my fingers not keeping up with my brain. Sometimes it’s as simple as me making a mistake. Stressing about it won’t help. It does need to be fixed and it will be.

My advice about Incorrect Word Order:

Happens it does, fix it you will easily. Haha, I sound like Yoda. Pay attention to the suggested fix it may point out a bigger problem. As always every mistake is a chance to correct it and a bigger opportunity to make it even better. 

-Sheryl

Copyright © 2018 All rights reserved

Froth