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Posts Tagged ‘Keystone Stables Series’

Let’s Talk Punctuation for a While

(Post Number Eleven)

MANGER08

Perky Parentheses and Bold Brackets

If you’re like me with your writing, you sometimes might be confused concerning when to use parentheses. Should you use em dashes instead? Or how about commas?

Let’s first define “parentheses” so we understand what in the world these little smiley face lines are used for.

Definition One: “Parentheses usually set off material that is less closely related to the rest of the sentence than that enclosed in em dashes or commas.” (The CMOS, 15th edition, The University of Chicago Press, 2003, p. 265)

Instead of going in to detailed descriptions of how to use the parentheses, I’m going to list some examples for you:

Example One: The judge decided that all the dogs (collies, etc.) in that division were worthy of a blue ribbon.

Example Two: The championship soccer game the Stallions won (under difficult conditions of freezing rain) was a thriller.

Example Three: The Book of John (see chapter 3) mentions Jesus as God’s Son and Savior who came to save us from our sin.

 Definition Two: “Parentheses are used to enclose glosses of unfamiliar terms or translations of foreign terms—or, if the term is given in English, to enclose the original word.” (The CMOS, 15th edition, The University of Chicago Press, 2003, p 266)

Example One: Downloading “Dropbox” (a free program on the web that allows you to transfer files from one computer to the other instantly without a flash drive) is a godsend for writers.

Example Two: In my Amish fiction book, I used the word “boppli” (baby) many times.

Example Three: The word for mother (mamm) in my Amish books occurs dozens of times.

In the CMOS, a few more examples of complicated uses for parentheses are listed, which most of us writers would not need to know. So for simplicity’s sake, we’ll stop with the perky parentheses plug here and move on to the bold brackets.

Bold Brackets

 To use brackets, or “square brackets,” properly, all you need to remember is that they are used to enclose words that are inserted by a second author inside a first author’s original work.

What? Say again?

You would use brackets if you inserted your own words in material from the following types of already printed material: quoted matter, reprints, anthologies, editorial interpolations, explanations, translations of foreign words, or corrections. Allow me give you some examples cited in the CMOS, 15th edition:

Example One: “They [the free-silver Democrats] asserted that the ratio could be maintained.”

Example Two: “Many CF [cystic fibrosis] patients have been helped by the new therapy.”

Example Three: Satire, Jebb tells us, “is the only [form] that has a continuous development.”

Example Four: “The differences between society [Gesellschaft] and community [Gemeinde] will now be analyzed.”

I believe the only other use of brackets that we might need to know is when they are used within a set of parentheses. Here is an example; take notice where the period is at the end:

Example: (For further explanation see Strunk and White’s Element of Style [1979] and Webster’s Dictionary [1984].)

I hope I haven’t totally confused you with this parentheses/bracket blog. These two little punctuation tips might not be of use to us every day, but once in a while, we do need to know how to use them effectively, so perhaps these tidbits today will refine your writing style a little more as you write your way to that next published piece.

Happy writing!

Marsha

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SOUTHERN BELLE’S SPECIAL GIFT

Keystone Stables Book 3

Foster kid Skye Nicholson befriends a spoiled brat foster girl, Tanya Bell, and teaches her the real meaning of love while they both care for an orphan foal.

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Let’s Talk Grammar and Punctuation for a While 

(Post Number Seven) 

The Flippant Ellipsis

 The little ellipsis, that is, three little periods in a row … is a quirky little punctuation form that tricks many a good writer, mainly because the writer might be confusing its use with other punctuation marks that would be more effective.

Let’s take a look at the most common uses for the ellipsis and some examples of how to use it properly. By the way, the plural of ellipsis is ellipses.

A Beginning and End of a Quote

Since it is assumed that you are taking a quote from a larger context in most cases, the ellipsis points should NOT be placed before or after a scripture verse or quoted passage unless the quote is a sentence fragment:

Example One:   “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9  (No ellipsis is placed anywhere because the verse is quoted in its entirety.)

Example Two:  “For by grace are ye saved through faith ….” Ephesians 2:8a  (Ellipsis WITH a period)

Yes that’s right. When you use an ellipsis at the end of a sentence fragment, and it is followed by either a reference, another complete sentence or verse, add a period to the ellipsis.

Fragmented Speech

This is probably the most popular use for the ellipsis. The three little dots should be used to indicate faltering or fragmented speech that implies uncertainty, confusion, distress, and the like:

Example One: “The horse … it’s running away … with the child on its back!” yelled Tom.

Example Two: “Oh, dear, … my new glasses … where did I put them?” Bill asked his wife.

Example Three: When Sue woke up she asked, “Where am I … huh … was I dreaming?”

Omissions

Use an ellipsis anytime you are writing a sentence, passage, or Bible verse that you’ve purposely omitted part. The ellipsis in this structure is used most often with scripture verses:

Example One: Psalm 30:5 states, “For his anger endureth but a moment; … weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”

Example Two: “… but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation ….”   (1 Timothy 4:12b)

 

When to Use the Period at the End of the Ellipsis (Known as the Four-dot Ellipsis)

Besides using the four-dot ellipsis at the end of a quoted scripture verse as in the previous example, remember to use it when you have another complete sentence following the fragment and ellipsis:

Example One: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for …. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.”   (Hebrews 11:1, 3)

Example Two: Jerry couldn’t help wondering why Jane was so late for her rendezvous with him at the restaurant. I hope she didn’t forget …. No, she didn’t forget, he told himself.  She’s just running a little late, as usual.

Spacing with an Ellipsis

Although I’ve seen differences with this rule at different publishing houses, I believe the most popular rule is whenever using an ellipsis in the middle of a sentence, put a space before and after it:

Example: “You may go out for recess … if you’ve finished your seatwork,” the teacher told her class.

Whenever using an ellipsis at the beginning or ending of a quote, do NOT insert a space between the ellipsis and the quotation mark:

Example One: “Well, I believe so ….”

Example Two: “… as I said before.”

So, there you have examples of the most common uses for the ellipsis. Just remember that when using it at the end of a sentence or a quote, the ellipsis indicates confusion or uncertainty. If you’re trying to portray a character’s speech abruptly interrupting another character’s speech, then use an em dash, not an ellipsis:

Example: Fred chased after his little brother Tommy in the yard and yelled, “You little brat! I’m going to—”

“You’re going to what?” Tommy sassed back.

(And remember to put your quotation mark at the end first then backspace to insert the em dash or your quotation mark will be backwards.)

Using an ellipsis at the end of Fred’s dialogue would indicate that he was thinking about something else to say and had time to do so. But that’s not the implication here. We want to imply that Tommy cut Fred’s words right off.

I trust this will help you to decide to be a little more daring in your writing and use an ellipsis once in a while. Different punctuation marks do make a difference. They bring your writing style to life and keep your readers hooked!

Next time we’ll look at the itinerant italics.

More shameless promotion:

KEYSTONE STABLES SERIES BOOK 7

WHISPERING HOPE

Skye must train a wild Mustang and befriend a wild foster kid who hates everyone… all at the same time.

 Book 7. Keystone Stables

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HOW TO HANDLE REJECTION

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Dear Sir/Madam:
We have reviewed your proposal and have found that it does not meet our editorial needs at this time.
Good luck as you search for the one lone publishing company in the world that is looking for an Amish horror paranormal romance.
Yours truly,
The Mean Old Editor
The Mean Old Editor

************************************************************************

How many times have you received a letter from a publishing company that read so much like this one? Did you want to take your precious manuscript, draw it to your bosom, and then go jump off a bridge? Or did you want to start a bonfire in your back yard using your five hundred pages of blood, sweat, and tears you just pumped into your best-selling novel for the last year that can’t get any editor’s second look
If you’ve been there, then join the rest of us odd ducks, who constantly receive rejection letters. And I’m talking about us who have been widely published too.
It’s really tough when you get the nasty letter that feels like the editor just stabbed your new-born baby or slapped you in the face. But take heart. It’s not personal; it’s business. And take a second good hard look at your manuscript and the market. It’s a word jungle out there, and sometimes it takes years to find a publisher who is willing to pay you for your work. I’m sure that’s the reason so many authors I know are self publishing today (now better known as “indie publishing.”) Of course, the only problem with that scenario is that you’re putting your own money up front, and if you don’t have thousands of dollars for a good edit and a reliable, reputable vanity press, you could get the shaft of your life along with a product of which you will not be proud. You also are the sole marketer of your book with no support from a publishing company. And promotion takes A LOT of time and money, which most authors don’t have!
Here are several tips to remember as you prepare to send that query letter or proposal out again to royalty publishing companies. And remember that, if your writing is well done, there is a market for you—somewhere. The key is to find the company that wants your work.

Tips to Handle Rejection

1. Go online to find publishers’ guidelines or buy the Writers’ and Illustrators’ Market Guide to make sure you’re submitting to companies who publish your genre.
2. Don’t let your manuscript die in a file cabinet. Keep sending your query or proposal out as soon as you get a rejection.
3. Keep a record of your rejections and the dates. Editors become irritated if they see the same query or proposal five times over a year’s time.
4. Revise! Revise! Revise! Just like a painting, our writing is never done to perfection. Make sure that critique group reviews important sections of your work.
5. If you’ve written short stories or articles, change the titles and names of the characters and/or rewrite the main plot or theme of the works and send them all out at the same time to different companies.
6. Read! Read! Read! Read the genre of which you are writing. Learn from those who are already published. Compare your work to those who already have their byline. Be willing to change your work and write clearer and cleaner.
7. Attend writers’ conferences to make that personal connection with editors of publishing companies or agents. Of the book contracts I’ve received, I acquired all but one by meeting editors and/or agents at writers’ conferences.
8. And this is so important, I’ll mention it again: Go online to publishers’ websites or buy the Writers’ and Illustrators’ Market Guide to make sure you’re submitting to companies who publish your genre. I’ve heard editors state that the number one reason they reject a manuscript is because it really doesn’t “meet their editorial needs.” Wrong genre? No sale.
We all become discouraged over time, but the thing to remember is that you are working at a highly-skilled craft with thousands of other writers trying to win an editor’s heart. Keep on writing and revising. Never give up, and one day you’ll see your byline under that article title or your name on the cover of that book.

Keep on writing!
Marsha
Director Montrose Christian Writers Conference

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THE LONG RIDE HOME
KEYSTONE STABLES SERIES BOOK 8

book-8-keystone-stables

In the strangest way possible, Skye finally finds out what happened to her real parents .

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MONTROSE CHRISTIAN WRITERS CONFERENCE MEMORIES

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Look for more MCWC photos in Facebook!

I look forward to seeing many of you again next year!

Keep on writing!

Marsha

http://www.marshahubler.com

http://www.horsefactsbymarshahubler.wordpress.com

 

 

(More shameless promotion)

WHOLESOME, SAFE BOOKS FOR TWEENS

THE KEYSTONE STABLES SERIES

Keystone.Stables.Composite

8 exciting adventures about Skye Nicholson and her show horse, Champ

Book One

A HORSE TO LOVE

Keystone Stables Book 1

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002U80FZK/ref=series_rw_dp_sw

 

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