Nominalization – Style #5

Nominalization

Last but not least for the category of STYLE. I’m wordy so this one is important to me. I tend to add unnecessary words where they’re unneeded. I find them where I could easily be restructured to become a simpler sentence. I 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

 

In the last blog, I talked about Inflated Phrase and Wordiness. Nominalization is similar to them.  I only had one incident of Nominalization show up.

I’m going to defer to Grammarly’s explanation for Normalization:

Usually, we use verbs to talk about actions. But many verbs have noun counterparts that refer to actions. These noun counterparts are called nominalizations. Using nominalizations often results in long phrases like make a decision instead of decide or put forward a suggestion instead of suggest. These phrases can weigh down your writing and make it harder for your readers to understand what you’re saying. A single verb is usually more expressive than a phrase.

nomilization1

The character is actually speaking to a group of people so I would need to keep that in mind when correcting this.

“So you state that you saw nothing.”

This would actually work for a group or just one person. This is very similar to wordiness and inflated phrase.

Since I only have one of my own examples to use I’ll give a couple more.

Wordy This instruction may cause confusion for our students.
Concise This instruction may confuse our students.

Wordy Tony gave his lover a glance.
Concise Tony glanced at his lover.

My advice about nominalization:

Simplify your writing to make it more clear. While it may ‘feel’ like you’re being professional or intelligent it’s unnecessary to complicate things. 

-Sheryl

Copyright © 2018 All rights reserved

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

Static Vs. Dynamic

There are many facets to writing characters in a story. I like to make mine as layered and real as possible and use charts and lists to ensure I know who they are from their quirks right up to major character flaws that define them.

A dynamic character is one that changes over time. They start off one way then learn and grow as the story or stories progress. Sometimes this happens by design and sometimes it happens out of creative circumstance. This doesn’t always mean for the better. A character can rise up from the ashes or descend blindly to the depths of hell. There is a caution here, having a character spontaneously change is frustrating and weird. There must be foreshadowing, cause and effect put into play. If Scott went crazy for no reason and just snapped it would be weird for the reader. Unless I’m going for shock value. Even then I would have foreshadowed it a little.

On the flip side of a dynamic character are static ones. The static character remains steady. They don’t grow and develop or crash and burn. They simply are there and stay that way.  Most often a static character is on the side or comes around infrequently. I’ve noticed the “advice givers” or wisest of characters are often static. they don’t have a journey to make they’ve already been there and done that.

Examples of typical stationary characters:
Boss’s
Parents/relatives
Best friends with no strife in their life
Teachers
Co-workers not tied to the story
The guy selling hot-dogs on the corner
The advice giving barista
Doctors and or nurses
The doorman/server/maid/concierge

Basically, anyone in a dynamic character’s life that are not directly a part of it. There have been times when a static character is pulled into the story and becomes dynamic, but I choose them carefully and try to replace them with another static character.  I’ve also had characters that are constantly around the most dynamic and still stay the same. Not everyone needs to grow and evolve or fail and de-evolve.

A static or background character runs the danger of becoming inert. They can easily have an impact on the story, good or bad. They can easily help the dynamic’s of the story move along their path. A static character isn’t a one-off appearance. They are there more than once, often a support system of sorts. They should not always be dull or invisible. I call this the cardboard cutout character. The one that is there but not.  The easiest way to give them some color is to give them humor or make them the ‘middle-man’.

Confusing growth with change is easy to do. Circumstances can change for a static character, they can react/act within that change and still remain static.  Dale is a character that hasn’t grown, rather his circumstances have changed and he adapts within his set parameters that I created. He is still the same and hasn’t become more or less of a hero, nor has he become or more or less of a villain. Scott has changed for the bad. He is slipping into an old dark shoe that has nothing to do with this story but affects his personality. This is known as back-story. His change was foreshadowed with actions, expression, and words.

My advice about Static vs. Dynamic characters
We spend a lot of time focused on the Dynamic characters. I think it’s important to give Static one’s depth too. Give them a history, purpose, range of emotion and response. They don’t need to learn, but they shouldn’t be cardboard cut-outs either.

-Sheryl

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