Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Needless Words
Perhaps no one has ever captured (in 63 words!) the essence of brevity in writing as well as Willian Strunk, Jr.; "Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, paragraph or unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that every word tell,"

Redundancy occurs when a writer needlessly repeats a word or idea. It is redundant to speak of a "beginner lacking experience". The word "beginner" by itself implies lack of experience. Redundant words or phrases can eliminated without changing the meaning of the sentence.



advance notice          notice
any and all                  any
ask the question        question
big in size                   big
combined together    combined
completely full          full
end result                  result
past history               history
reiterate again          reiterate
reflect back               reflect
repeat again              repeat
sadly tragic                tragic
true facts                    facts
until such a time         until
return back                return
sink down                   sink
whether or not           whether
young juvenile           juvenile

Excerpt from: The Little Red Writing Book
By: Brandon Royal
Writer's Digest Books Copyright 2004

Friday, May 27, 2011

Lose the Muse...
Of all the ways writers find to waste time, waiting for the muse to show up has to be the most common, and fruitless of them all.
So if you're waiting for her, too, stop it right now.
The muse--the embodiment of inspiration, usually portrayed as a comedy woman loosely draped in a diaphanous gown--is what every writer longs for. Once she appears, you're supposed to able to write effortlessly, at the height of your powers, with an unequaled command and energy and zest.
Must be nice.
As anyone who actually writes on a regular basis can attest, the muse is a very unreliable creature. Sometimes she shows up at noon, raring to go; sometimes she shows up at midnight, just when you're ready to call it a day. And sometimes, no matter how many times you put out an SOS, she doesn't appear at all. She doesn't return your calls, she doesn't come to your door (that you've left conveniently unlocked); she's simply missing in action. 
Gone without a trace. 
No forwarding address.
Which is why you cannot build your writing life around her.
Sometimes you'll feel inspired when you sit down to write--and sometimes you won't. That's just the way it is. But sit down you must, and write you will, and if there's one thing every writer learns over time, it's this: The muse is most effectively summoned by the clicking of your keyboard or the scratching of your pen. 
Once you stop worrying about where she is, and focus instead of doing the work at hand, she is most likely to put in a surprise appearance. Most of the time, you'll be so absorbed in your work that you won't even notice when she's slipped into the room.
You'll just keep on writing, your head down, you fingers flying, and only when you finish and sit back with satisfaction to read over what you've done, will it dawn on you that she was there after all. The evidence is right there, on the pages in front of you.
The muse may come and go at will, silent and unseen, a woman of unpredictable habits and mysterious ways. But there is one thing every writer does get to know about her over time: She is irresistible drawn to the aroma of hard work.
Excerpt from: Robert's Rules of Writing
By: Robert Masello
Writer's Digest Books  Copyright 2005

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Skip the Starbucks!
For many writers, nothing goes better with a laptop than a double cafe mocha at the closest Starbucks. At the rate they're opening, there may soon be one in your own living room--but for now, we'll assume you still have to leave the house.
Which is largely the point.
The theory behind the Starbucks School of Writing, to which countless aspiring writers subscribe, is simple--you'll do your best and most concentrated work when you're out of the house and losing yourself in a crowded cafe, surrounded by deafening cappuccino machines, swinging doors, and tiny tables jammed with equally striving strangers.
Of course, the theory is wrong--what you really get out of a trip to Starbucks is a nice caffeine buzz and the heady impression that you've been working when in fact you haven't.
Starbucks is where writers who want to be seen in the act of creation go, who treat writing as if it were some kind of performance art. They want to be admired, they want to soothed by the ambient noise and the occasional glance from an attractive patron. They want to be asked, "What are you working on?" so they can sit back and talk about it. 
Or scowl importantly and say, "Sorry, I can't be disturbed right now."
When, if they really and truly wanted to be undisturbed, they'd stay home in the first place, make a cup of Folgers instant (for about a nickel), and concentrate.

Excerpt from: Robert's Rules of Writing   
By: Robert Masello
Writer's Digest Books Copyright 2005

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Throw Out Your Thesaurus!
How many times, when you're telling a story, do you stop dead to search for a bigger, better, or more impressive word than the one you were about to utter?
Unless you were planning losing your audience, probably not very often. So why do it when you're writing?
The best writing is the writing that flows naturally, without impediment or hesitation, from the mind of the writer. It's writing that appears to have come effortlessly (however much effort actually went into it behind the scenes). It's writing that sounds like its author--you--and that uses your rhythm, your sensibility, and your vocabulary.
The minute you pick up a thesaurus, you've muddied the waters. Into the clear running stream of your prose, you've introduced a foreign agent. Nothing sticks out in a piece of prose like the words you've plucked from those long lists of synonyms, each one more obscure than it's predecessor.
Thesaurus words are words you would never use on you own. The fact that you had to resort to the thesaurus just to find them proves it. They aren't words that come readily to your mind or rest comfortably in you working vocabulary. Suddenly, you start sounding like William F. Buckley--and unless you're William F. Buckley, that's not a good thing. (Even if you are, it's debatable.) It's as if you've swapped your customary Hawaiian shirts and shorts for a three-piece suit and a watch fob. If you think people won't notice, think again.

The voice you write in is the voice your reader hears and, ideally, grows to trust.

It's the voice the becomes accustomed to, the one that makes a sort of pact between the two of you. When you stop writing with your own words--the words you would or could summon up on your own--you break that pact and you propel the reader out of your world and straight into Mr. Rogers'.
It's no different than if you were writing fiction and you put into a character's mouth words the character could never have called up or spoken on  his own. If you wrote about a farmhand and had him talking like a college professor, a a cultivated diplomat sounding like a stevedore, you'd be shaking your reader's belief not only in the character, but in the entire fictional world the character inhabits.
Whatever it is you want to say in your work, find a way to say it not in words you've borrowed for this special occasion but in words you already own. Those are the words your readers will find the most convincing.

Excerpt from Robert's Rules of Writing  by: Robert Masello 
Writer's Digest Books Copyright 2005

Friday, May 20, 2011

Check out this site for Indie Author tips

Review Etiquette

After visiting several forums and watching the talk around other blogs, I thought I would address the subject that seems to be a very prominent part of every author's career...

The question is: Should there be rules of etiquette when giving book reviews?

The answer is without a doubt: YES!

I remember when I was growing up, my mother would always tell me "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all."

I think that saying holds just as much truth today as it did back in my mother's day when her mother said it to her!

I recently researched many reviews that are on amazon right now, and you would be surprised at the terrible bashing of books and authors that go on.

It's one thing if you personally do not care for a book, but if you take it a step further and say it is the worst book you have ever read and you wouldn't force it on your worst enemy, I think that is truly uncalled for...

Then...there are the reviews that personally attack the authors themselves. I've seen reviewers actually call the author names and use profanity on blogs, writing in their reviews that the author has no talent, they suck, they should stop writing, they should just kill themselves because their writing is so bad, etc. etc.

These reviews are obviously troublesome to say the least. All I can say to those book reviewers out there that have only venom to spread...if you hate books that much, STOP READING!! 
Or at least keep your opinions to yourself. 

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Use Your Imaginarium...

Imagine, if you will, the most dynamic way to market as an Indie Author.
  • What would it consist of?
  • Would it be user-friendly and FREE?
  • Would it be accessible to all Indie Authors?
The answers are as simple as Book Blogging! Book blogging, blog tours, and blog hops are all FREE forms of advertising for Indie Authors. The great news is that these forms of marketing are far more cost-effective than the traditional book signing in a lot less time, and it reaches thousands of potential book buyers in a shorter time span with little or no out-of-pocket expense to the author! Most book bloggers will feature your book on their blogs and review it simply for advancing them a copy of your book. You can provide an ebook or paperback, depending on the guidelines of the blog host, and before you know it, your book is being placed in front of an entire world of virtual buyers!

If you would like to know more, or would be interested in having your book featured on this blog, please email me at ZoeNY77@gmail.com.


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