Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Punctuation in Classic Books



Attention all Grammar Nerds, and Readers of Classic Fiction.

Wow! This is absolutely fascinating article comparing the punctuation in various classical books and how punctuation has changed over time.
A must read for every grammar nerd.
http://www.bustle.com/articles/142818-the-punctuation-in-classic-books-tells-a-story-all-of-its-own


Helen Woodall
helen.woodall@gmail.com

Helen is available to line edit and/ or content edit fiction and non-fiction. Rates on application.



Wednesday, March 23, 2016

7 Reasons Why Readers Hate Your Book Blurb



Book Daily has an interesting article on writing book blurbs. They list seven main fails.

The first sentence is incredibly important. A blurb is short, the shorter the better, so wasting the opening sentence with an introduction is a bad step. Jump right in with a catchy hook.

They also advise against using clich├ęs or rhetoric, and also against introducing too many characters, too many place names, or too many plot points.

From my own observation a major problem I see with blurbs is that they give away too many plot points or twists. They should hook the reader to buy the book. Why bother to read the book if the reader can already guess exactly what happens just from reading the blurb. Remember, keep it short, punchy, and intriguing.

To read the complete article go to: http://www.bookdaily.com/authorresource/blog/post/1802306


Helen Woodall
helen.woodall@gmail.com

Helen is available to line edit and/ or content edit fiction and non-fiction. Rates on application.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

14 Quotes About Reading That Make All the Sense in the World


The Literary Site blog has collected fourteen quotes from authors about reading. I have to agree with Jim Rohn. “The book you don’t read won’t help.” His quote makes a lot of sense.
Or Joseph Brodsky. “There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them.”

All of them are worth a moment of your time to read. http://blog.theliteracysite.com/reading-quotes-list/

Helen Woodall
helen.woodall@gmail.com

Helen is available to line edit and/ or content edit fiction and non-fiction. Rates on application.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Stop was verbing



Care needs to be taken by an author using the present continuous tense (-ing verbs).
For a start, using several together frequently results in an impossible action.

John was admiring the cute frog and eating an ice cream. The frog was singing to him and he was singing back to it.

Hang on a minute. John might be able to admire the frog, eat an ice cream and listen to it sing all at once, but how does he sing back to it? Does he stop eating his ice cream first? And can he really concentrate on admiring, eating and singing all at once without losing his train of thought, or spilling his ice cream? How can he sing without choking on his ice cream?

See what has happened here? The reader is pulled right out of the story, waiting for John to choke, or trying to see if they can do all those things at once. It’s much better for the author to use the past tense here.

Writing in the past tense also avoids all the “was” verbs in the sentence. They just clutter it up making the action less fresh and immediate.

“John admired the cute frog and ate an ice cream” is a much punchier sentence than “John was admiring the cute frog and eating an ice cream”. So my advice is to ditch the present continuous tense and aim to stick with the past tense for narrative.

Helen Woodall
helen.woodall@gmail.com

Helen is available to line edit and/ or content edit fiction and non-fiction. Rates on application.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

How to Write a Better Query Letter



In this day of self publishing, I’m not sure how many authors still send out query letters to agents and publishers. But if you do, The Writer’s Circle has some tips on how to make your query eye-catching.

Their suggestions include personalizing your letter. Never ever send the same letter to more than one publisher/agent. Each one should be targeted directly at the company you wish to work with.

Don’t oversell yourself. Paint yourself in your best light, yes, but don’t lie.

Just as with your book, start your letter with a hook. These people are busy and get hundreds of unsolicited approaches. You need to prove you are worth reading.

Don’t talk about your kids, your cats, your garden or your hard life. Talk about the book and why it suits their company.

Finally, READ the submission guidelines and follow them absolutely. If you think they are stupid or unnecessary, chances are that’s not the right company for you or your book.

The full article is here:
http://writerscircle.com/dear-writer-5-tips-to-better-query-letters/

Helen Woodall
helen.woodall@gmail.com

Helen is available to line edit and/ or content edit fiction and non-fiction. Rates on application.