Authors Answer 134 – Are Authors Organised?

I Read Encyclopedias for Fun

Are authors organised? Many authors take notes, but not all do. Some authors have colour-coded pens, post-it notes, and different notebooks for different things. Some use paper, some use computer spreadsheets. Everyone has their own way. This week, we’re talking about how we organise our notes.

Question 134 – How do you organise your notes?

Beth Aman

For my first novel, I had a spiral notebook that held everything – all my plot ideas, scenes, characters, sketches.  For actual plotting, however, I used 3×5 notecards.  Each one had a major plot point on it, and I lined them all up on a wall in my room.  Then I could add other notecards underneath with further explanations or questions, and I could easily re-arrange my plot points.  It was a great visual, and I liked it better having it up on a wall instead of having it on a computer screen. …

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Writing Glitch #431

Today’s second glitch:

There’s only one error in this example. Can you spot it?

“The hairstyle I woke up with this morning would have kicked arse in the eighties.”

Even if you insist on using the numerals (perhaps because you’re a devout follower of the Associated Press Stylebook and use it even when you’re writing fiction, where the oft-ignored-anyway “rules” of journalistic writing aren’t suitable), do not use an apostrophe between the decade number and the s: 80s, not 80’s.

(WordPress’ spelling checker doesn’t like Stylebook as one word. I’m not fond of it, either, but since that is how the title of the Associated Press style guide is spelled, it’s correct there even if not correct elsewhere.)

 

 

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Writing Glitch #429

Today’s (Saturday’s) first glitch:

Add a comma after arrived (compound sentence).

Change the period after Jerry to a comma, and un-capitalize the.

The apocalypse has arrived, and the world’s only hope is Jerry, the cashier at the local comic book shop.

 

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Writing Glitch #428

Today’s glitch:

Add a comma after highway (long introductory phrase). 

Add a comma after T-intersection (compound sentence).

The verbs are messed up, and you have two options for how to fix them. You can change asked to ask, so everything in this example is in present tense, or you can leave asked alone but change knows to knew and I’m to I was, indicating the questioning happened in the past in relation to the rest of the narration (but leave verbs such as meets and runs intact, since the old dirt lane is still there).

Add a comma after about it.

Where my road meets the highway, there is a stop sign and a T-intersection, and beyond it is an old dirt lane that runs between two fields and off into a distant forest. It’s been there all my life, yet when I ask around about it, no one knows what I’m talking about.

or

Where my road meets the highway, there is a stop sign and a T-intersection, and beyond it is an old dirt lane that runs between two fields and off into a distant forest. It’s been there all my life, yet when I asked around about it, no one knew what I was talking about.

 

 

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Writing Glitch #427

Today’s glitch:

Add a comma after light. (The sentence is compound and requires a comma before the conjunction.)

Spell out the number: two, not 2.

You buy an old house and later discover a sealed water well on the property. Curious about the depth of the well, you have the plate removed. You shine a light, and at the bottom, two people scurry away.

 

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Stupid concept: ‘How you write a sentence depends on your lung capacity.’

Perhaps the biggest lie anyone has ever told you about commas is that they represent breaths.

“Add a comma anywhere you pause to breathe,” is bad advice I see a lot from online “writing experts” and others. I saw it again yesterday, which is what triggered this post.

Commas don’t indicate a pause to breathe. Commas can’t just indicate a pause to breathe, because that would mean that a person with greater lung capacity would use far fewer commas, if any, whereas a person with small lungs or a condition such as asthma would appear to be using the Shatner comma.

If you insist on linking commas to anything the reader does physically, link them to voice inflection (real or imagined).

 

 

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Writing Glitch #426

Today’s glitch:

Change the comma after horizon to a period.

Either add a comma after ruins or add that before it.

I don’t like the latter part of the last sentence; devastation obvious and as powerful just doesn’t sound right. I can’t think of better words at the moment, though. (If I was editing this in someone’s manuscript, I’d ask the author for clarification/elaboration.)

They scanned the horizon. So many crudely made crosses rose up between the ruins that it was pointless to count them all. Whatever happened here had happened long ago, but the devastation was obvious and as powerful as ever.

 

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