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Posts Tagged ‘PUGS’

The MCWC Faculty Spotlight

VIE HERLOCKER

AN EDITOR’S PET PEEVES

AFTERNOON SERIES

Writers, exactly how important is it to know whether that comma belongs there or not? Do you really need to know how to spell every word correctly in your manuscript? Won’t the editor at the publishing company “fix” my manuscript?

These questions have run through every writer’s mind. Yet, the average writer, especially newbies, often think the PUGS (punctuation, usage, grammar, and spelling) aren’t that important when creating a masterpiece.

My afternoon series of classes will set the record straight. Each class will be very hands on with worksheets and handouts. Everyone in attendance will learn how really important editing your own manuscript is. Here’s what you’ll be learning in my four classes:

Day One

Formatting before beginning: margins, headers, font. Setting up Word for auto indent and no space between like paragraphs.

PUGS—specifically using commas, semicolons, colons, smart quotation marks, dashes, ellipses, plurals (with attention to plural acronym—UFOs, not UFO’s), turning apostrophes the right way (Don’t worry your noggin, just listen to Mama—an apostrophe’s simply a flying comma). Hyphenation, passive constructions, etc.

Day Two

Powerful Sentence Structures: (This is my baby)-examples of poor to good sentences and then showing how reworking them moves them to outstanding. Showing the power of end-loading or front-loading the critical information to get certain reactions from the reader. This day will also work on misplaced modifiers, awkward phrasing, rule of 3, etc. Also varying sentence structures and Whacking the Weed Words and Wonkers that weaken sentences: To be words, repetitions, overused words, adjectives and adverbs, cliches, etc. How to use “search” to help clean up your manuscript.

Day Three

PUGS specific to Christian writers: formatting/punctuating Scripture, capitalization of common religious terms. Using the tools to help you find the answers if you don’t know them. (This info can be part of the Day One PUGS stuff as well.)

Day Four

Understanding the business of writing for publication. I’ve found that most writers we contract at Sonfire have no clue how a book gets from pen to published to distribution and how royalties can be figured more than one way, so 10% one way may be just as good at 20% another way. This day will also work on IEPs. Individual Escape Plans—for hopping off that train or treadmill and taking measurable steps toward their goals. Will talk about investing in yourself, both financially and with time to study/write/rewrite/repeat.

Writers, you CAN improve your own writing!

Commit all that you do to the Lord, trust Him to help you do it, and He will. Psalm 37:5

A Little About Vie

Vie Herlocker is editor for Sonfire Media, a small traditional Christian publisher, and its fiction imprint, Taberah Press, located in Galax, Virginia. She is also a freelance editor at Cornerstone-Ink Editing. She is a member of the Christian Editor Connection, Christian Proofreaders and Editors Network, ACFW, and ACW.

While editing is her greatest love, Vie coauthored a book for the educational in-service market, ghostwrote a memoir, and has been published in compilation books and periodicals, including Penned from the Heart, Chicken Soup for the Empty Nester’s Soul, Christian Communicator, Church Libraries, Guideposts, Angels on Earth, and more.

Editorial Needs

Sonfire Media publishes nonfiction “Messages that Matter.” We like Christian living and inspirational books, including distinctive memoirs. Themed devotionals are considered, but we prefer these not be 365-day books.

Taberah Press publishes fiction with “Intrigue and Inspiration.” We are looking for YA/New Adult speculative fiction that takes readers on a journey, shows them something about life, and reminds them that there is more.

Contact: vie.herlocker@sonfiremedia.com

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I’m looking forward to seeing you at this year’s conference.

To register, go to http://www.montrosebible.org/OurEvents/tabid/113/page_550/1/eventid_550/58/Default.aspx

Marsha, Director

 

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Let’s Talk Grammar and Punctuation for a While

(Post Number Ten)

“The Quirky Quotation Marks”

“What can I say about quotation marks?” Marsha says. “If you are a fiction writer, you need to master the technique of using quotation marks. However, over the last few years, many publishing companies of nonfiction works have asked authors to incorporate ‘fiction’ techniques in their manuscript. That entails using quotation marks, mostly in dialogue, correctly.”

Of the many times I’ve seen quotation marks used incorrectly, the following example is the most misuse I’ve noticed:

Bad Example: Bert yelled to his son Raymond in the back yard, “Throw the ball, son”.

Folks tend to want to put that period AFTER the quotation marks at the end, but it is incorrect. The proper usage is as such:

Good Example One: Bert yelled to his son Raymond in the back yard, “Throw the ball, son.”

The same goes for the use of quotation marks with question marks and exclamation points:

Good Example Two: After lunch Eva asked her friend Bonnie, “Would you like to go shopping?”

Good Example Three: When Bobby saw his puppy fall off the sofa, he yelled, “Watch out, Scruffy!”

Another frequent abuse of quotation marks occurs in a series when words that need the marks are listed. The following example shows how the list should be correctly written:

Good Example Four: Last year, our writers’ conference featured workshops entitled “Write an Irresistible Query,” “Kiddie Lit for Toddlers,” and “It’s Time for an Agent.”

But what about double quotes in the same sentence? You might be thinking, How do I write them? Well, here’s how the CMOS says to use double quotes:

Good Example Five: Barney said to his cousin Elmo, “You must have heard cousin Heathcliffe say, ‘We’re going to the shore on Friday.’ ” (Note the period, the single quote, a space, and a double quote.)

I’m sure it is no surprise to you that there are exceptions to using quotation marks with other punctuation marks. The English language is one big exception, if you ask me!

Anyway, here are some examples of when the quotation marks go INSIDE the ending punctuation mark:

Example One: Harry subscribed to “The Pennsylvania Magazine”; he loves the pictures. (A work that needs quotes around its title)

Example Two: The sergeant asked Private Botting to state his “name and serial number”; he forgot his serial number and got in big trouble. (A phrase that is a direct quote)

Example Three: Which of Shakespeare’s characters said, “All the world’s a stage”? (A question asked with a quoted statement within it)

Example Four: Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit” (Matt. 5:3).  (The period follows the Bible reference.)

Example Five: I can’t believe Pauline said, “I’m leaving tomorrow at five in the morning”! (The exclamatory statement was made by “I” not “Pauline.” Therefore, the exclamation point comes AFTER Pauline’s quote.)

Example Six: How can teachers motivate students to learn who constantly say, “I hate school”? (The entire sentence is a question; therefore the question mark comes AFTER the quotation mark at the end.)

There are other uses of quotation marks and exceptions, but I’m thinking this blog is enough to confuse even the best writers in the land. If you have doubts, go online to the CMOS and check out your quotation mark question firsthand.

Next time we’ll look at perky parentheses and bold brackets, which will just about wrap up our series of blogs offering punctuation advice for writers. Then we’ll move on to another venue in the fascinating world of writing and publishing.

Happy writing!

Marsha

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Let’s Talk Grammar and Punctuation for a While

(Post Number Nine)

The Excitable Exclamation Point!

 

Today we’re looking at a “quicky” punctuation mark because its uses are quite limited.

Most writers agree that the exclamation point is not in much danger of being used incorrectly. But I would venture to say that its greatest misuse is OVERUSE!!!!!! (Case in point: Never use more than one exclamation point consecutively, no matter how emphatic or dramatic you’re trying to be!!! The second and third exclamation points in a row actually negate the effect or mood you’re trying to portray, so take it easy. Use just one!)

So, when do we use the exclamation point and how often? Well, the obvious use of the exclamation point is to inflect fear, panic, surprise, irony, pain, anger, or a command. To use more than one every several pages of your writing is also OVERUSE! So watch that excitable little mark well! (I’ve already used nine in this blog [ho hum]; are you getting the point?)

Since this mark’s use is limited, we’ll just cite some popular examples for this little guy:

Example One (Fear): “Watch out,” Susie cried. “The tiger got out of his cage!” (Note that the exclamation point is inside the quotation marks.)

Example Two (Panic): Mabel forgot to turn off the stove, and the house is burning down!

Example Three (Surprise): I can’t believe I just won that car!

Example Four (Irony): Bill boarded one plane, and his wife boarded another!

Example Five (Pain): Ow!

Example Six (Anger): “Stop kicking the door!” Jane screamed to the top of her lungs at Herman.

Example Seven (A command): Stand up and shut up!

Let’s mention one more example, which is perfectly legal, even though many “English pros” might call it into question, since it IS a question:

Example Eight (At the end of a question that is essentially an exclamation):

How could Barry possibly have lifted that!

“When will you ever learn!” Carrie’s anger with her puppy was obvious.

So there you have the eight most common uses of the exclamation point. Use it sparingly and wisely, and your writing will have an extra spark that will impress even the editors!

Next time we’ll have a look at quirky quotation marks. These can be quite confusing, especially when you have a quote within a quote, so until next time happy writing!

Marsha

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