Tag Archives: #WritingTips

Again, with the Geeky stuff

Every once in a while I post links that I think authors who write about fighting should know of. I do not know how many unrealistic fight scenes I have read and how much idiotic protection people wear, but there have been a lot of them. Medieval fight scenes are a particular pet peeve of mine.

Writing solely for entertainment is OK. I can read stories with idiotic fight scenes and still be entertained. But I probably won’t review that story unless the author has asked me to. Although I try to phrase things as nicely as possibly, I have tell readers that the fighting in the story is unrealistic.

Snapjelly has one of the greater sites on medieval sword fighting I have found. He’ll try to answer any question. If you scroll down this link to his videos on Youtube, you will probably find answers to most questions about that kind of fighting. This video should illustrate that the dude knows what he is talking about.

 

 

15 words you should eliminate from your vocabulary to sound smarter

Guilty as charged. Perhaps you are too?

Censored-paper

Image: Masterfile/Corbis
Newsprint is on life support,emoji are multiplying faster than hungry Gremlins, and 300 million people worldwide strive to make their point in 140 or fewer characters.People don’t have the time or the attention span to read any more words than necessary. You want your readers to hear you out, understand your message, and perhaps be entertained, right? Here’s a list of words toeliminate to help you write more succinctly.

1. That

It’s superfluous most of the time. Open any document you’ve got drafted on your desktop, and find a sentence with “that” in it. Read it out loud. Now read it again without “that.” If the sentence works without it, delete it. Also? Don’t use “that” when you refer to people. “I have several friends that live in the neighborhood.” No. No, you don’t. You have friends who. Not friends that.

2. Went

I went to school. Or the store, or to church, or to a conference, to Vegas, wherever it is you’re inclined to go. Instead of “went,” consider drove, skated, walked, ran, flew. There are any number of ways to move from here to there. Pick one. Don’t be lazy and miss the chance to add to your story.

3. Honestly

People use “honestly” to add emphasis. The problem is, the minute you tell your reader this particular statement is honest, you’ve implied the rest of your words were not. #Awkward

4. Absolutely

Adding this word to most sentences is redundant. Something is either necessary, or it isn’t. Absolutely necessary doesn’t make it more necessary. If you recommend an essential course to your new employees, it’s essential. Coincidentally, the definition of essential is absolutely necessary. Chicken or egg, eh? ………..

The rest of the article can be read at The Muse

Pollard, Belinda: What is a beta reader and why do I need one?

You might have seen the term ‘beta reader’ as you’re browsing writing websites, or maybe this is the first time you’ve heard of it.

Basically, a beta reader gives you feedback on your finished manuscript, so you can adjust it before you set it loose on the world. I consider them the superheroes of self-publishing (and great for traditional publishing, too).

What a weird term!

“Beta reader” has apparently been adapted from the software industry, where programmers release a ‘beta’ version of a new program to people who will test it. The beta version comes after the alpha version (which to a writer might be the first draft). I would have thought the alpha version was the one that goes on sale, but apparently not. Confusing, huh?

Don’t worry, just remember: Beta Reader means someone who evaluates a manuscript.

Beta testers find the bugs and improve the software’s usability before the final “release” version goes on sale. A beta reader tests your manuscript (by reading it), and tells you about the ‘bugs’ so you can improve its readability, its usefulness and even its saleability.

It’s an especially valuable step if you are planning to self-publish, but can also help you in the quest to get an agent or publisher if you are planning on going the traditional route with your book.

How to say it

Unfortunately, it’s one of those tomayto-tomahto kinda words. I say it “beeta”, like most Australians and quite a few Brits. In the US, it often seems to be “bayta”. And apparently in some parts of the world, it’s more like “betta”!

I think the take-home message is: Say “beta readers” however you like, just get some! :-)

Why do I need a beta reader?

The fact is, we spend so much time on our own manuscripts that we can’t see them objectively — no matter how diligently we self-edit. These can be some of the outcomes (there are plenty more):

  • We create anticipation or an expectation early in the book, but forget to deliver on it.
  • We describe events in a way that is clear to us but not clear to a reader who can’t see the pictures in our head. (At least, we hope they can’t see them. Are you looking inside my head??? Eek!)
  • We leave out vital steps in an explanation and don’t realise it, because we know what we mean.
  • The characters in our books (whether fictional, or real as in a memoir or non-fiction anecdote) are not convincing, because we know them so well we don’t realise we haven’t developed them thoroughly on paper………………………….

You can read the rest of this article and other articles regarding Beta-readers on Small Blue Dog Publishing

A WRITER’S CHRISTMAS CAROL

Wonderful description of the addiction of writing.

Gifford MacShane

Please Say Goodnight by Gifford MacShane
Sung to the tune of “All Through the Night”

Midnight now, my head is hanging,
Time to say goodnight.
Voices in my head, stop clanging,
It’s time to say goodnight.
I know there are chapters waiting,
Characters anticipating.
I don’t need your conversating,
Please say goodnight.

Heroes have good deeds to do,
But please say goodnight.
Villains will do evil, too,
But please say goodnight.
Demoiselle is left in peril,
Terrified of all things feral,
I don’t really mean to querul,
But please say goodnight.

Night is gone, the dawn is breaking,
PLEASE say goodnight.
My eyes are fried, my hands are shaking,
PLEASE say goodnight.
If I don’t sleep I will perish,
And your story none will cherish.
Voices, please, it may sound churlish
But PLEASE SAY GOODNIGHT!!!

Not familiar with this Welsh carol? Here’s the Kingston Trio’s version of the original. Obviously…

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