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

Messy, Messy, Messy – Sentence Structure #1 (Missing Verbs)

MessyMessy, Messy, Messy Sentence Structure

Let me start with a housekeeping note: No I’m not talking about washing floors or windows. I’m going to be trying out some new things with my blog and posts. Bear with me as I try out some new looks etc. I’ve been looking around on some blogs, and I think mine could be put together better. I may be wiping this one and starting over. Not sure about that yet. I might need to remove and repost my old blogs. If I do that I’ll be improving them.

Now onto today’s post.

No matter how perfect I think, my writing is, it’s still messy. I have all kinds of errors, some obvious and some not. To work this out, I wade through the swamp of editing and revision. Prophecy Ink is coming along well. I thought I would share some of the mess and what I did to fix it.

At this point, I had the book revised twice.

I talked about this in my last post. I’m using Grammarly to edit and below are some stats on what I have to work on.

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

Okay so I promised I’d be honest from the start, and this is… embarrassing. Or is it?  No, I suppose it’s not really since I know I’m not perfect and I’m not a professional writer(Yet).

When Grammarly underlines all of these issues, the page gets messy. It seems a daunting task to cover all of these issues and fix them. It is, but it’s not at the same time. This is my book, my work of art and my passion. So perfecting it is part of the process. It’s like raising a kid, it’s not always pretty, it can get hectic, tedious, and even boring at times but it’s also exciting, amazing, rewarding and even fun.

When I find a sentence that is just crap, focus on it and repair it to perfection it’s rewarding.

For today I’ll look at Sentence structure since it’s the least abundant.

The first example is a short paragraph. It has 4 issues.
Sentence structure: missing Verb
Vocabulary Enhancement: Overused word Bad
Punctuation:  , and
Vocabulary Enhancement: Overused word wide

structure 1

Normally I do my edit with Grammarly with all features turned on. For this example, I’ll show what the Sentence structure feature helped me with.

To address the issue of the missing verb, I added “It’s a” to the sentence. Or

Grammerly 3
I took the sentence out completely and melded it with the first sentence. Editing isn’t about only fixing the immediate issue, it’s an opportunity to write a better sentence. I read the sentence before and the one with the problem and the one after. After two changes I came up with “I nodded and rubbed the small scrape on my forehead.” I covered all the information I wanted to convey, with fewer words and ended up with a sentence that is structured better.

Here are some common sentence structure problems found.
Incorrect word order
Missing Verb
Squinting Modifier
Incorrect Adverb Placement
Missing _____ in emphatic sentence
I will cover these corrections in future posts. And yes I will be using real examples from my new book.

My advice about Missing Verbs:

A great opportunity to fix the entire sentence not just plop in the missing verb. Sure sometimes all you need to do is add the verb and that’s okay too. 

-Sheryl

I couldn’t think of how to fit today’s prompt in other than to say I’ve been listening to classical and string quartet music while editing lately along with a bunch of other genres. Music helps keep my mind from wandering off task. 

Copyright © 2018 All rights reserved

Quartet

The Editing Dead End

The Editing Dead EndWell I know I’ve been MIA for a bit, life is unexpected and full of… well life. I have been editing my new book Prophecy Ink, and I have to say it’s fun and frustrating all at the same time. I hope everyone had a fantastic holiday and New Year.

I have taken the editing for Prophecy as far as I can on my own and with Microsoft word’s ‘help’ (that’s a loose term it’s limited)

I feel as if I hit a dead end. I know there is work needed to it so what to do?  I started looking at editing programs as a live human one is still way outside my budget. After months of research and thinking it over I decided on Grammarly. Now I’m not being paid to talk about it, and this is not a product review in any ‘professional’ sense.

It is the program I’ve decided to use and therefore I will show some of its features, benefits and cool things I’ve encountered so far. It is a big program. I will focus on one or two things at a time. For now, I’ll explain what it is.

Grammarly is a live program that you download to your computer. It can run in windows, which will check online documents like blog posts and emails. It can also be run in word documents or on the Grammarly site itself.  In a word document, it appears as a tab when you click “enable Grammarly.”

The free version is a bit limited but still extraordinarily helpful for blogs, emails and word documents.  It offers the following:  Contextual spelling, Grammar and Punctuation.

I hesitated and tried out the “free” version for months before paying for the full version. It is pricey.  With the full or “premium” version you have access to all things shown in the tab below.

grammerly what it does

As you edit, those little red numbers drop. If while writing you make a mistake it lets you know by highlighting. This far, I have found the program to be easy to navigate and user-friendly.

I’m excited to use this program to polish my manuscript further and will break it down and show just how much it goes beyond what is built into the usual “word processing” program such as Microsoft office.

My advice about The Editing Dead End.
If you feel stuck and know it’s not perfect yet, search for programs that might suit you. Or if your budget allows, find an editor or copy editor to take a crack at your work. Turn that dead end into another fruitful path to take. 

-Sheryl

Copyright © 2018 All rights reserved

Identical

“Inside.” — “Not out”.

I recently mentioned in a post on how to use Quotation styles. Basically, pick one and stick with it. “Double” or ‘Single’. Recently I’ve been looking at some basic rules, the roots of writing. (Yes, there are those out there that will disagree. That’s your right to.) These rules are not fly-by-night however. They are tried and true. They are found in most properly edited works.

The one rule break I’m most irked by is not keeping punctuation in it’s proper place regarding dialogue. To me this is important. Once I’ve decided which quotation style to use. (Always double for me) then it’s important to keep the dialogue punctuation with in the quotations.

For example:

Incorrect: “Hey Amber”, Dale smiled. “How’s it going”?
Correct: “Hey Amber,” Dale smiled. “How’s it going?

Incorrect:
“This is the worst day ever”! Scott shouted.
“It could be worse”. Dale rolled his eyes. 
“How”
“Losing your car keys and spilling your coffee is minor”. Dale chuckled. “Amber puked on me, slipped in it and cried for an hour this morning”.

Correct:
“This is the worst day ever!” Scott shouted.
“It could be worse.” Dale rolled his eyes.
“How?
“Losing your car keys and spilling your coffee is minor.” Dale chuckled and slapped his knee. “Amber puked on me, slipped in it and cried for an hour this morning.

I don’t enjoy reading dialogue punctuation outside the quotations.  Sure, this happens to me by mistake when I get in a groove and grammar and punctuation take a side line as I hammer away at my keyboard. However, it’s corrected the moment I start editing and revising. (Ideally).

*Amendment to this post. Other countries such as Great Britain use outside punctuation for dialogue. It’s not what I’m familiar with since I’m in North America. Books published from British authors are sometimes converted to the North American standard when published internationally. This blog and all that I write about are based off North American standards.

My advice about Dialogue punctuation.
“Keep it inside the quotation marks.” (Unless your from Great Britain or other countries that keep it on the outside) 

-Sheryl

Other dialogue related posts

That’s So Simile

Redundantly Redundant Redundancies

Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved
Roots