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

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

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

Fragmented Sentence Fragments

Sentences can be complex things or simple things. It depends on what there is to say. Believe it or not, a sentence can go awry. It can become fragmented, broken, miss-punctuated, run on and more.

So what is a basic complete sentence?

Well there are three components required to complete a full sentence. It must express a complete thought so we know what the sentence is about. The sentence must have action in the form of a verb. A sentence must have a subject. A sentence must have a thing or object that the sentence is about.

That is the basic sentence. They can also contain several objects, Adjectives or adverbs and dependent clauses.

I have recently come to terms with the fact I often fragment my sentences. When I write quickly, I get excited and type too fast. This causes the technical aspects of writing fall to the wayside. Like all the time.

Editing and revision always help find and fix these little blunders.

So what exactly is a sentence fragment? Most word programs will underline said fragmented sentence with a blue line but often there is no explanation or suggested solution. It simply says Fragment (Consider reversing).

A sentence is a group of words where the first starts with a capitol and the last is followed by a period. If the sentence is fragmented, it looks like a sentence but is grammatically correct. All the words should work together or join with another sentence to make it complete.

How does one define a sentence fragment?

A sentence fragment does not express a complete thought.

Example:

1. Amber is.  (The thought is missing. What is she?)

Correction: Amber is bored.

2. Blowing Bubbles. (The subject is missing. Who or what is blowing bubbles?)

Correction: Amber is blowing bubbles.

3. A red rose. (The action is missing. What about it? Is the rose doing something? Does it smell? Was picked? What is that rose doing? Or what is someone doing with it?)

Correction: Amber smells a red rose.

4. And she stopped at the park. (‘and’ is a dependent clause. It needs to be attached to an independent clause.)

Correction:  Amber went for a walk and stopped at the park.

5. Since she hates celery. (I’m messing with the clauses again… oops. Since is like and, and needs an independent clause.)

Correction: Amber won’t eat the crisp greens since she hates celery.

Each sentence was corrected by adding a verb, a subject, completing the thought or joining the dependent clause with an independent clause.

One more example:

6.  Rachael often working late on Friday nights. Because she has too much work and tasks to complete.

Ugh gross. There are two easy ways to fix this.

Join sentences.

Rachael often works late Friday nights, because she has too much work and too many tasks to complete.

Complete each fragmented sentence.

Rachael often works late on Friday nights. There is too much work and too many tasks to complete.

I find that most of these are found during editing and revision. If not by eye then when I read them aloud to myself. Fragmented sentences often don’t sound right.

My advice about fragmented sentences.
(Yes, I know ‘My advice about fragmented sentences.’ is a fragmented sentence. Therefore, I suppose it should read… Here is my advice about fragmented sentences. There.

-Sheryl

Other posts

How did that sound?

A chance moment

Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved

 

Crisp

Stylish Quotation “.” “.” ‘.’ ‘.’

Writing dialog. I talk about it alllll the time. Why? Because for me it’s important. I love good dialogue. What I don’t love is dialogue that has poor punctuation. There is nothing worse than having your eyes zip along the sentences to trip up on something out of the norm.  Now like all things the following is what I’ve learned about dialogue punctuation. I have read some stories that simply do not follow any of the basic rules or structure and or don’t do it consistently. Any and every book published by a real publishing house has dialogue in it that is easy to read, follow and understand. Why? Because they all follow the same rules. While stepping outside the norm and being creative is amazing, sometimes being too far from the beaten path can detract from the quality and genius of your work.

There is a time for rebellion, IMO, dialogue punctuation is not one of them. It’s honestly painful to read a block of dialog and struggle to decipher it. I shouldn’t have to.

The most simple rule is QUOTATION style. In my blog it seems to always or often use/convert to the straight up and down style quotation marks (That I don’t like). In my actual novels, I choose times new roman or Garamond so that the quotation marks are properly curled into the sentence.

Like this: “Hi.” or ‘Hi.’ or It’s
Not this:  “Hi.” or ‘Hi.’ or It‘s 

More important than direction of the curl, is to be consistent with the style of quotation marks.  Whether you use the “Double” or the ‘Single’ style of quotations is mute. So long as you stay consistent and always mark dialogue with one or the other.  The style used does seem to be geographical. Some countries teach one over the other. There are of course circumstances when I would mix them. I personally use the “Double” quotation style, which means I always, always, always begin and end dialogue with the same “Double” quotation. This is what a simple dialogue would look like.

“Honestly Dale, it was insane.” Amber said.
“How?”
“Oh she was all like, Oh my god, and totally. She had to be fifty at least. Then she took my order and said, like thanks man. I couldn’t help it and laughed, but waited until I got out of the shop.”

While that reads okay, I like to separate ‘mocking’ or quoting dialogue within dialogue. Most often I’ll do this with ‘single’ quotations (use doubles if you prefer marking dialogue with singles) Just be consistent. I also accent mocking or quoting by using italics. This is totally a personal choice. Yes, well-published authors use this too. That is where I learned it.

So done this way it would look like this:

“Honestly Dale, it was insane.” Amber said.
“How?”
“Oh she was all like, ‘Oh my god, and totally.’ She had to be fifty at least. Then she took my order and said, ‘like thanks man.’ I couldn’t help it and laughed, but waited until I got out of the shop.”

It’s most important to be consistent. You can just as easily choose only italics to accent mocking or quoting other dialogue.

Some might say this is superficial, but if you pull out any professionally published book and take a look you’ll see that dialogue quotation consistency is never broken. Being ‘creative’ or ‘fancy’ is unnecessary. Don’t try to separate speakers by mixing quotation styles. If you structure it correctly you shouldn’t need to.

My advice about Quotation style.
A classic little black dress never goes out of style. The same goes for quotation style consistency. If you want to be taken seriously, leave the creative-ego at the door and quote dialogue properly. Show your creativity in the story telling instead.

-Sheryl

Other dialogue related posts

Creative Dialogue Tags

Talking Trivial

Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved

Zip 

Over used and oft abused.

Ah, the word shiver. Over used and oft abused. This is on my personal list of filter words. One that is injected into a sentence to replace showing an emotion. I find it in plethora among the words of a romance, horror or mystery. Or just dumped in to lazy writing, like I’m guilty of. 😉

At first I used this word freely, it’s a great way to express an obvious feeling right? Well yes and no. People shiver for different reasons, it’s those reasons that suggest this blanket word can be stretched out or removed altogether.

Example 1.

Billy’s fingers gently brushed the back of her arm sending pleasant shivers across her body. (15)

Not a bad sentence really. A few unnecessary words. If I’m also worried about (word count) I would remove gently and pleasant, they are implied anyway. Three words doesn’t seem like much, but it adds up quickly.

Her skin tingled as Billy’s fingers brushed the back of her arm. (12)

Example 2.

Elouise shivered suddenly for no reason whatsoever. “Someone must have walked across my grave.” She muttered to herself. (18)

Meh, it could use a little trimming and rewording.

Elouise frowned and rubbed her arms. “Someone must have walked across my grave.” (13)

Example 3. (I still write like this.)

Tod had never felt so bone achingly cold in his life. He was shivering so hard his teeth chattered loudly. (20)

Now I know enough to rewrite it to this. FYI the word felt is a super filter word.

Tod wrapped his arms around his aching body, unable to stop his chattering teeth. (14)

Do I never use the word shiver? No, it’s a fun word that evokes a personal response. I do use it sparingly or try to anyway. Sometimes a plain ole shiver is just what the story needs, especially if there is no established reason for it.

My advice about overuse.
Overuse can happen with any word, shiver is just an example. Make a list of ‘important’ words you see too often in your writing and then see how often you actually use them. Then see if you can switch it up or swap it out, but don’t jeopardize the story or the flow if you can’t think of a way to change it.

-Sheryl

 

Other related Posts.

No “Filter Word” Parking Here

Show and tell

Tag! You’re it.

 

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved

Shiver

Obvious

Jeopardize

Read, revise and repeat. The shampoo process of editing.

Read revise and repeat

The many facets of writing a book from start to completion and submitting for publishing is a wild ride. This is just one of the itsy-bitsy shiny edges I experienced.

Editing and revising, it’s a dirty job but it needs to be done. The first draft of my manuscript was a mess and it needed to be cleaned up. Even so, I took a chance and let a couple people read it. It was strange how nerve-wracking it was to wait for opinions. They liked it except for the errors and sentence flow.

I can fix that.

The idea of paying a copy editor to revise for me was tempting except for the cost. I thought it would be frustrating and arduous to copy edit my own book. I was wrong, it turns out when it’s your story it’s exciting and rewarding.

As I read, I found errors galore. At first, I thought perhaps I’m not cut out for this after all. That self-doubt lasted only a minute when I reminded myself that regardless of the outcome, I did this, I wrote a book and I love it. Spelling was a revision on its own, as was grammar, repeat phrase check, flow and of course there were details to add and take away.

Around revision eight I was optimistic, removing and trimming the loose ends, setting up foreshadows and making sure all the characters have a voice. Word count became an issue that helped me find the way to polish the story. I washed away the crap words that made the story flow frizzy and tangled.

My advice regarding editing your own work.
It is a long and rewarding process. Nobody likes dirty greasy hair, and nobody likes dirty greasy sentence structure. Take the time to read, revise and repeat.

-Sheryl

 

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved