One of those dastardly little conundrums of self-editing is the apostrophe.
Our writing center at the institution where I taught had a handout titled “Rogue Apostrophes,” in recognition of the way these nasty squiggles had a way of popping up here and there in student papers, wherever the mood seemed to strike them.
As with many punctuation marks, misplaced apostrophes don’t always get in the way of a reader’s understanding. But they can. When readers encounter something that looks as if it was a possessive but turns out not to be, they’ll mentally backtrack to clear up the confusion. Sometimes the reader doesn’t even notice the glitch in his or her attention, but it’s there all the same.
And even the slightest glitch in attention means that the reader has been kicked out of your story, even if just for a moment. Not good.
There are only
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The English language uses many forms of word abbreviation.
We use shortened forms increasingly for text messaging to reduce a word or phrase.
Very often these are acronyms using initial letters such as LOL, ROTFL, BRB.
Other forms also use a capital letter from the start of each word but are pronounced as words. A good example is the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, which forms the word, NATO.
Many common abbreviations, however, are pronounced letter by letter. The United States of America is most commonly referred to as the US or the USA, and the United Kingdom as the UK.
Varnon Drane, more than any of his siblings, broke new ground when seeking a way to make a living. As a child he had always watched with fascination as his mother cut the hair of various members of the family. Eventually he took over the role and soon reached such a level of competence that the children of neighbours would come to him rather than let their own mother loose near them with scissors.
Now the cutting of hair is one of those areas where the deeper one looks into it, the more interesting it becomes. Across the city it is normal for a man to have his hair cut by his wife or his mother. I’ve heard many wives comment that it would be ridiculous to spend good money getting a man’s hair cut. Children get their hair cut by their mothers. Again, thrift wins out over artistry. But…
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Procrastinating? Here’s how to break the pattern of putting off your writing.
When the year begins, all fresh and shiny, we tend to make promises to ourselves.
When we first took over the Institute for Writers, I wanted to help our community of writers––our students––so I polled them. I asked, “What do you think the top two reasons are for not starting (or continuing) your book?”
I thought the big answer would be “getting an agent” or “lack of publishing knowledge”, or something like that. The top answer by far was procrastination. Procrastination can grab hold and become a habit. It can allow you to play mind games with yourself.
When I started writing my own books, I realized I also needed to format them. At first, I worked with a graphics artist who handled that for me and sent me a PDF file, ready for upload to CreateSpace.
A few weeks after uploading the manuscript, realized I needed to make a few changes. Readers had noticed a few typos and notified me. I had made a couple of extra changes myself. And later on, I decided to change the numbering of my books.
It soon became clear I couldn’t bother my poor designer every time I needed to edit something. So, I started looking into ways to edit my PDF manuscript myself. To my surprise, there didn’t seem to to be an easy, affordable way of doing so. Adobe’s own software, Acrobat DC, is priced at almost $20/month; a deal that was unaffordable. I don’t like subscription-based software in general, and…
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New authors often think it is so easy to self-publish with Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), Smashwords or Draft2Digital.
It is true that uploading and publishing a Microsoft Word file and a quick homemade book cover is insanely fast and straightforward.
You can do it in under five minutes and have your book published and on sale in less than twenty-four hours. On top of that, you can do it all for free.
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