That’s A Lot Of Extra Unnecessary Words – Style #4

That's A Lot Of Extra Unnecessary WordsI had a count of 127 errors in writing Style. If you missed a previous blog, you can click on the purple link here that is crossed out to see that blog post.

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 talk about Inflated Phrase and Wordiness. Let’s start with Inflated Phrase.

I only had one of these come up, yay!verb4

If I’m concerned about word count finding these little beauties will help. From three words down to two “By means of” can easily be replaced with “using.”

How is Inflated Phrase different from wordiness? An inflated Phrase is a group of words often used together that could easily be replaced by one more efficient words.  “a number of” can be replaced with “Many” or “some” or an actual number like “six.” Wordiness is the overuse of superfluous words. A wordy sentence may be grammatically correct, but they are too full and can be annoying to read. Simplify.

Let’s look at my Wordiness examples.

wordiness1

The correction offered is okay.

Two women were checking him out as he walked away oblivious.

Except for one thing. I personally like to avoid “ing.” So I would change it further.

Two women checked him out as he walked away oblivious.

This simplified the sentence greatly. It reduced word count too. Let’s look at another.

11 words
wordiness2

The suggestion is okay, and it brings the sentence down to 9 words.

Getting too close to someone like Jim was dangerous.

Once again it is an “ing” issue for me. Sometimes an “ing” word is necessary, but I rely on them too much, and they become a “Filter Word” of sorts. For this sentence, I would keep the “ing” word. It works, and I like how it reads. I would, however, change one more word. “Was”

Getting too close to someone like Jim is dangerous.

It’s a small thing but keeping flow is important. I often swap was and is, it’s okay but for this sentence ‘is’ works better since it’s not a ‘past’ issue it’s a current or potential issue.

My advice about inflated phrases or wordiness:

Cutting unnecessary words out or replacing them with more efficient words will strengthen your writing and tighten up the sentence. It will give the reader a more pleasant experience. 

-Sheryl

Copyright © 2018 All rights reserved

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

Filtering Out Those Filter Words

Filtering Out Those Filter Words

I spend a fair amount of time talking about filter words. That is because they plague me without mercy. Some would say they are the hallmark of a bad writer, others would say even the best writers fall prey to them. So what exactly are they?

They are lazy words, extra words and useless words that creep into a sentence too often. They take the place of words with more literary value.

Here are some of the most common ones I find in my writing

  • Believe
  • Wonder
  • Thought, Think, to think
  • See, to see, saw
  • feel, to feel, felt
  • look, looked
  • Touch
  • Realize
  • watch
  • seem
  • note
  • That
  • Just
  • to be able to
  • hear, heard
  • notice
  • experience
  • sound 
  • Pretty
  • Here
  • actually
  • a bit
  • really
  • very
  • simply
  • rather
  • so
  • quite

There are lists aplenty online that have others and explanations. Basically, they can make a sentence stale and or repetitive. These little words can suck the life out of a sentence faster than you can say “I’m pretty sure I believe they seem to be actually very useless words.”

Here are some actual examples from my new story and how I fixed them.

Edna looked away from me and turned to her son. “You really have to stop bringing the stray’s home Tray, you’re not a boy anymore. I’m pretty sure you can’t fix this one.”

Fixed:

Edna released me from her trance and turned to her son. “You must stop bringing the stray’s home Tray, you’re not a boy anymore. You can’t fix this one.”

Not only did I chop out the filter words but I made Edna more of a bitch, which is good for portraying her character.

The next has a lot wrong with it.

Furious, Edna simply told me to sit and be quiet. I didn’t really get a chance to defend myself. I sat with a thud on the cheap chair that felt very lumpy and looked at my phone wondering what to do. I realized she doesn’t seem to understand and doesn’t want to listen to reason. 

That needs some rearranging and fixing for certain.

Here it is fixed;

Furious, Edna pointed at the lumpy cheap chair.”Sit and be quiet.”
She didn’t give me a chance to defend myself. I sat with a thud and scowled at my phone like a sulky child. What do I do? She doesn’t understand and won’t listen to reason. 

That’s better and gets to the point.

Filter words are best found in editing if they are highlighted. I do this all the time. I also highlight overused words like I, me, myself, said, ate, eat, drink, smelled etc… Overused words are easy to find as they are a type of filter words. I explain how I search and find them in Well colour me silly.

Not all filter words are bad, sometimes they fit into the sentence perfectly and belong there. Sometimes, rarely, but if I find myself excusing too many of them, I go back(Change their colours) and look at them again. It can be as simple as deleting them or as complicated as rewriting a sentence or even paragraph. It’s worth it.

My advice about filter words
Find them and then find a better value than them. They are easy to find once you start looking and you will be better off without them.

-Sheryl

Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved

No “Filter Word” Parking Here

Well colour me silly

Mercy

Link It And List It!

There is something I’ve been wanting to bring up about writing. It has nothing to do specifically with writing a manuscript, novel or book. But about how chapter stories are posted on blogs. How does a successful blogger keep readers coming back? I haven’t posted a chapter story on my blog yet, but have been thinking about it. So I’ve done some research, taken a blogging course from WordPress and done some digging through other bloggers’ stories to see what they’ve been doing to keep the readers returning.

I love reading serial and Chapter stories on blogs. There are some out there that have hit it on the nose as far as organization goes. I figure not everyone is aware of some simple tricks that can keep a reader reading and help them navigate your story with as little frustration as possible.(I wasn’t)

The following have been observed on a few blogs I follow and I think they are great ways to keep a story organized for your long-term followers and for new friends that stumble into your blog space.  (These are suggestions, not rules.)

Each Chapter would ideally get their own blog post. You can include a picture or just a standard title all the tricks you need to post and edit blogs can be found here:  http://learn.wordpress.com/

The blue arrow is pointing to the icon to click on to add content or a picture into the body of the post. The purple is what you select to add a featured image or the post’s image(What shows up in the feed or reader)

aa add picture

First, post a chapter or two of your story by creating separate posts.  Now you’re ready to make it easier for a reader to navigate your stories. This is very important if you have other posts in-between or if you don’t post regularly.

So in each chapter, you can do one or two things to make this easy. One add a “Start from the beginning” and link the first chapter or you can link(I will explain how in a moment) this to a Story Chapter Page (I will explain this shortly)

And/or at the end of each chapter, you can put a link to the next chapter of the story(See orange arrows below). This allows for continuous flow through your chapters so the reader doesn’t have to jump around. To add this one you have to wait until the next chapter is posted and physically go back to the previous chapter and add this to the body. (Note this link will appear as a pingback and you need to approve it in your comments)

aa story links.jpg

To Add links to the body of the post:  you can write the text and highlight it or you can create it during the link in the link options(C).

Red A – click this to open the URL-link creator
Red B – This is the URL that will link. This will fill in automatically when you select Red D
Red C – This is the link text. You can fill this in manually or if you highlighted text before clicking ‘link’ that highlighted text will become the clickable link on the page.

AAA ADD LINKS.jpg

To add a page link and not a post link copy and paste the URL into the URL line(Red B)  you can get this by opening the page and copying it from there. I found it easier to open the page in a private window or “incognito window”. Once I’ve added the link(which I would recommend testing) I like to make the link Bold and change the color to make it obvious. Many other bloggers do this to make them stand out. The default is an underline and light blue which doesn’t stand out when posted.  The bold option is shown below by the orange arrow and the option to change the color of the text is indicated by the blue arrow below.

aa colour

Okay so now we can add links to the post. How about creating a “Story Chapter Page”?  This is a page for the story with each chapter listed and links to each(That you can easily add with the link button now) So your reader can now come to this page to continue on where they left off instead of being adrift, lost in a sea of posts.

To add a new page to your blog. This will appear in your blog banner. From your main menu screen click “ADD” beside pages.

aa adding a page

This next example shows that a new page will come up for you to create a new page for your blog.

aa new page

Enter the title of your story and any information you want in the introduction
Then make a chapter list so you can add links to each chapter. This page is the page you will link to at the beginning of the story if you want to have a link to the chapter page as I mentioned above.

1 in yellow shows chapter one with a link (Bolded and color changed)
2 in yellow shows a chapter title highlighted and ready for a link to be added
3 in yellow is a chapter not yet posted. I’ve seen one blogger add “coming soon” to add anticipation for upcoming chapters.

aa chapter links on page.jpg

So now each post has a link to the Story Chapter Page dedicated to the story with a clickable linked list to each chapter. AND each chapter has a clickable link at the end of the chapter to bring the reader to the next chapter automatically(Done after the following post is posted by going back to the previous already posted blog and adding the “next chapter” link)

This isn’t necessary but I find it makes it a whole lot easier when you want to binge read a bloggers story easily without having to fish through their posts to find the next one.

Yes, this is extra work, but a happy reader is a repeat reader.

Here are some examples of Fantastic blogs that have agreed to let me use their pages as examples for how linking stories or chapters in a list on a separate blog page can help a reader. I couldn’t include everyone I love following, some said no and others don’t have the specific page-link formats I’m looking to use as examples. Because chapter stories are best started from the start these bloggers clued in and made it easy to find the start.

CLICK ON THE BOLDED NAME TO SEE THE PAGE EXAMPLE
(Don’t forget to look around they have some fantastic stories)

Lost Property – Serials Super fun stories, both short and long that are deep and captivating.  The link I have here goes to a list of short stories that are easy to navigate. I have been reading these stories and the chapter stories in the daily prompt and have enjoyed them immensely.

Devil Doll Musings – Short chapter, chapter stories that are imaginative and captivating. A little on the naughty side but a wild ride. Poke around on this website to see how fantastically it’s laid out. This link is to Rock Star a whirlwind romance worth reading. The chapters are listed in link form and it’s easy to follow. At the bottom, this blogger uses “continues HERE” to make it easy to keep reading.

WriteMeBad – Romantic and smutty stories that are so beautifully written they captivated me instantly. Each story has their own page and chapter listed from top to bottom. (First to last) I started you off with the link to the first story Jay & Dee that made me an instant fan.

All in all ,I enjoy the effort and creativity that I keep coming across on different pages. If you have a trick or technique you use that you want me to blog about(Relevant to writing advice please) Please either private message me or leave it in the comments below. I hope I didn’t miss anything. This was a fairly long post. (Sorry)

I don’t have a chapter story to try this on, but I did create a page using all the tips above to create a click-able link to every post I’ve posted (Minus award posts). I don’t expect anyone to actually use it but it’s there in case someone does. Oh and I’ll make sure to update it regularly. My Posts From The Start

My advice about creating chapter links in a post and separate Story Chapter Pages.
It’s never too late to go back and add them. Once you get the hang of it (I tested this on a non-published page) It’s actually easy. Tedious? Maybe but is it worth it? I think so. It would definitely be easier if done from the start.

-Sheryl

Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved

 Adrift
Organize

It’s not, not negative

Two wrongs make a right, right? No it’s still wrong. Well what about two negatives? In writing putting two negatives in the same sentence is called a double negative. We learn this pretty early in school. However the lesson is often lost at time goes on. For some.

Double negatives. I have been seeing these puppies popping up more and more in literature. Mostly in self published pieces that are poorly edited/revised. Not only do they make a sentence harder to interpret than necessary they are often wordy (You all know how I like to keep my word count down).

I can’t think of a single reason I’d purposefully put a double negative into narrative. It would be like saying I can’t think of no reason to put double negatives into narrative. Blech. Dialogue is where I’ve been spying these parasites. Not only do they harsh the sentence, they affect what I call ‘reader reception’ The act of how a reader receives the words written and whether they enjoy them or not.

Basically a double negative is a very round about way to say something positive.

There are more than one type of double negative.

Double Negative Examples

  • I can’t take you kids nowhere.
  • She never goes with nobody.
  • I’ve not seen neither Bill or Bob play baseball.
  • I can’t do nothing about this. 
  • He didn’t want no one to see him cry.

Prefix Double negatives.  Forming a negative using in-, non-, ir- and un.

  • This behavior is not uncommon.
  • The damage was not insignificant.
  • She wasn’t irresponsible with her dog Spike.
  • It’s not unnecessary to lie.

Negative word double negatives. Using a negative word to form the double negative.

  • I can’t barely eat another bite.
  • They seldom don’t often go out to play.
  • I hardly have no patience left.
  • The news scarcely made no impression on me

Are you cringing yet? I am.

I know what you’re thinking. Some people do talk this way. That is true. If, and this is a big fat if, I was going to use double negatives in dialogue because this is how I want a person to speak, I’d be careful to only have one person talk this way and not a major character. If every person in the story spoke this way it would turn me off very quickly. I’d close the book and probably never give it a second chance. Readers automatically expect a higher level of grammar regardless.

Here is an example of how the flow and ‘reader reception’ is altered by double negatives.

Amber scratched her head looking at the nail-polish poster layouts and the opinion data. “This data doesn’t make no sense to me. I can’t just do nothing to fix this.”
Dale looked around the divider between their desks. “It’s not rocket science. That advertisement scarcely had no feedback in the preliminaries. You need to run some more focus groups. I say target the younger ages.”
Amber nodded looking at the three potential layouts. “It worked for the colour changing shoes, It isn’t right not to try more groups.”

I barfed a bit in my mouth, I’m not going to lie. Okay so that was extreme, however it show’s the awkwardness of the double negative dialogue. It becomes stilted to read and hard to interpret. When I read. I dislike when the pace is slowed down unnecessarily.

Amber scratched her head looking at the nail-polish poster layouts and the opinion data. “I’m confused over this data. I need to fix this.”
Dale looked around the divider between their desks. “It’s not rocket science. That advertisement had scarce feedback in the preliminaries. You need to run some more focus groups. I say target the younger ages.”
Amber nodded looking at the three potential layouts. “It worked for the colour changing shoes, I definitely need to to try more groups.”

When I edit and revise I search for negative words. Negative sentences can leave a gloomy feel and with a little tweaking they can come out sounding more natural.

My advice about Double negatives in writing.
I didn’t not want to be clever with my advice about leaving double negatives out. Leave them out. There, I wasn’t irresponsible with my advice.

-Sheryl

Other posts

The Runaway

All that glitters…

Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved

 Spike