by Steven Capps To start, this post is really intended for those who’ve completed a book and are wanting to traditionally publish. With that said, I’m not going to address anything in the revision stage since I’m assuming the manuscript is as good as you can possible make it. Seriously, jumping the gun […]
Dangling whatevers, I always struggle…
Originally posted as the Dun Writin’—Now Whut? series on this blog, EDITING 101 is a weekly refresher series for some of you and brand new for others.
Courtesy of Adirondack Editing
Split Infinitives and Dangling Participles
Editors frequently correct both of these, but one is actually ok to use, while the other is not. Care to make a wager on which one is which before I get started?
What is a split infinitive, after all? It’s a sentence where a word, usually an adverb, interrupts a full verb (or full infinitive). A full infinitive is the verb with the word “to” in front of it—to run, to walk, to spit. The most famous split infinitive is “to boldly go.” Editors and teachers used to mark this as incorrect, but it’s all right to split an infinitive. Some examples are:
Lyn continued to quickly run toward the burning building.
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Personally I’m glad of the shake-up!
Am I the only one thinking “That’s interesting. I’ll have to see how they turn out.”?
But then, I tend to have that reaction to any new Doctor announcement2. Generally I haven’t heard of/encountered the new actor before, so I don’t have any particular preconceptions before I see them in action. It’s hard to judge how good a Doctor someone will be beforehand3, as it’s not just a matter of who the actor is, but what their “style” is going to be (both costume and manner), and where the writing team take them.
Doctor Who is at rather an advantage in this regard, having not just a built-in mechanism for cast changes, but an
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HEY EVERYONE! HULK HERE! PLEASE NOTE THAT THERE IS A FULLY RE-WRITTEN, UPDATED VERSION OF THIS COLUMN RIGHT HERE: http://badassdigest.com/2013/12/11/hulks-screenwriting-101-excerpt-the-myth-of-3-act-structure/
PLEASE CHECK IT OUT! HULK THANK!
* * *
HULK HEAR IT ALL THE TIME: “PROBLEMS IN THE FILM’S SECOND ACT.”
ALL… THE FUCKING… TIME.
NOW HULK UNDERSTAND THE INTENTION OF THE STATEMENT, IT USUALLY IMPLY WHEN FILM TREADING WATER, OR LOSE TRACK CHARACTERS, OR RUNNING OUT OF STEAM, OR CRAMMING STUFF IN, OR WHATEVER. HULK GET HOW COMMENT INTENDED. THE PROBLEM WITH THIS GENERIC “SECOND ACT” DESIGNATION THAT REALLY IT CAN IMPLY A PROBLEM WITH ANYTHING IN THE “MIDDLE PART” OF STORYTELLING. IT BEYOND VAGUE. SO WHAT CREATE SUCH WISHY-WASHY STORYTELLING? AND THE EVEN WISHY-WASHY-IER WAY OF EXPLAINING IT?
IT BECAUSE EVER-POPULAR NOTION OF THE 3 ACT STRUCTURE = THE MOST ABOMINABLE WAY TO EXPLAIN STORYTELLING IMAGINABLE. EVEN IF SOMEONE WROTE A STORY USING THE MODEL AS GUIDE, IT…
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It’s July! That means it’s Camp NaNoWriMo for me! So far, I’ve been lucky to find the time to write so that I am, on average, hitting my word and plot goals. This month I plan to finish off the first draft to my novel, and I’m trying to do that in around 50,000 words. […]
by Helena Fairfax This is another topic that has made me take a good look at my own writing. My first thought is that it’s vital to have an opening that hooks the reader. Some people say a killer opening is even more important now, since online stores like Amazon have a facility to “Look inside” […]
See part one here
Artists sauce: http://www.fearfuladventurer.com/why-the-internet-is-making-us-all-fing-insane/
Disclaimer: I don’t always practice what I preach, but I do preach what I hope to practice and what I genuinely belief will help!
In my first post on this subject I wrote about some reasons that writing is hard on the brain, since then I’ve worked out a few more things to avoid to keep your brain from actively escaping your skull:
Comparison is natural thing to do, in fact its kind of necessary to vaguely make sure that we aren’t going completely nutso against the grain of society, that we aren’t letting ‘the team down’ so to speak and be able to relate to other people.
But it can definitely get out of control in many areas as well as writing. I’m sure its not a new thing that people can develop FOMO (fear of missing out) and downward spirals of negative comparisons when looking at others life, but I feel that this sort of thing has worsened since the profilication of social media. Now I can see just how many follows J.K. Rowling is, all the blogs dedicated to Game of Thrones, learn everything I wanted to know about E.L. James. In small doses this information isn’t too harmful but in mass amounts it gets hard to ignore.
The problem is that in writing in particular the race/journey is actually with ourselves. Too often us aspiring writers see getting published a bit like auditions for American Idol; and the existence of younger hotter more talented people makes us feel like our shot is getting further from a real possibly.
Truth is we’re all, all over the place. I see published writers who are miserable and full of regrets, I see fanfic authors who couldn’t be happier. Online I see people of all ages and all levels of writing with similar and different struggles, some people can’t find moments to write, some people are too full of anxiety to write anything. I guess my point is comparing yourself to anyone is fairly meaningless, BUT the more you do it the more likely you are to hurt yourself. Sure some people are highly competitive and thrive off getting ahead of others, in the end however negativity has a way of sticking worse than positives, and if writers spend too much time starting into the abyss of comparison sooner or later some younger, better whatever person is going to make you feel like arse.
Just to clarify I’m not saying to avoid other writers, or not getting to know them! What I’m saying is don’t look at others and measure them against yourself wondering whether you’re doing better or worse, the race is against yourself – to get better and better at your craft.
Be sensible with goals
Did I mentioned this one already?? Well something I’ve learn only recently about online blogging etc is anything worth saying is worth saying again, words aren’t one tricky ponies.
Anywho, when it comes to goals I’m a shocker. I don’t know if its a delusional imagination, or just a lack of predictive skills, but when it comes to setting word count or other material goals I tend to overblow it dramatically. Luckily for me I’m aware of this and know to either tone my goals down or not be too hard on myself if I don’t meet them. Of course there is slight catch-22 here where of course if you go easy on yourself for not meeting goals you might not do anything.
My advice on the subject is to set minimum and dream goals. This year I’ve finally managed to settle into a consistent writing routine (a goal which has eluded me for years) and I attribute this to having very achievable minimum goals. At first I just vowed to write anything at all towards my novel per day, then I set 500 words (which is a comparatively quick amount to produce if you’re vomit drafting) which I’m still maintaining today, allowing myself to stretch if I have the time and inclination.
At least that all works for me, we all have a different relationship with goals and progress, I recommend getting to know yourself and what works (I’ve definitely talked about this before surely?).
One final word on this topic – don’t reflect too hard on the length of time it takes to produce a novel length work. It’s hard to feel good about crawling and inching towards a big goal like a novel and you’re much better focusing on the behaviour that will lead to the eventual product not ruminating on the final goal overmuch.
Don’t seek compliments
I’m going to tell you something odd about compliments. They are only a dim reflection of your real worth, not to mention the ones you do get are probably not that genuine.
HUH? (Thomas are you saying I’m a jerk???)
Not at all! See here’s the thing. How often do you actually tell people the real genuine positive things you think about them?
And when it comes to writing how many times have you said nice things to writers because they’ve put you on the spot and/or you feel you have to say something nice to not hurt their feelings?
I could go on, I guess my key point is to realize that the quality of your work is not well communicated by the compliments you get. In fact oftentimes people will be more critical with work that is good than not.
Hear me out. When you critique a piece of work that’s a complete mess how often do you find yourself struggling to work out what even to feedback to the writer. Yet when you pick up a compelling work, the content is clear and exciting and prompts far more in depth consideration to critique a writer about.
Maybe I’m off on a tangent here. My overall point is that compliments feel really nice because we treat them as evidence of something good about ourselves, but the reality is there are probably dozens, millions of good things about you that people simply aren’t complimenting you about. So when it comes to writing don’t seek compliments, you’ll just feel disappointed when you don’t get them, and misled when you do. Not to mention other people will feel awkward AF when you shove your work under their nose and stand their like a puppy waiting for a treat.
I’m not saying that tough love critique is the only way to go, but just keep a good perspective on what compliments really are.
In general people seem to like this topic so it’s likely I’ll do a part 3 (using myself as a case study for the most part 😉
What ways do you keep your sanity intact as a writer, creator or artist?
What ways do you go nuts (forgive my un-PC language) on the subject?
Any thoughts on the topic in general, chuck us a comment!
Whether traditional or self-published one of a writer’s most important supporters is the editor. They’re often invisible to a reader, especially if they do their job right, but nonetheless play a crucial role in the development of a story and much more.
Where do you fit in (I do more than 5 but less than almost all the others)
Scott Fitzgerald once wrote to a close family friend and aspiring young writer: “nobody ever became a writer just by wanting to be one”. It takes time, and effort. You have to put the hours in. You have to actually, well, write (surprising, huh?).
We’ve previously asked whether there is such a thing as the ‘perfect’ daily routine for writing. But if there is no such thing as an average writing day, is there any guidance on how much you should be at least aiming to write as you start to pen that epic poem or finally look to finish that novel you’ve been working on?
R.F. Delderfield, the English author of family sagas, wrote 33 pages each day, and he wrote until four o’clock in the afternoon. If he finished a novel at three o’clock, he rolled a clean sheet of paper into his typewriter…
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