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Posts Tagged ‘The Long Ride Home’

Let’s Talk Grammar and Punctuation for a While

(Post Number Eight)

 The Itinerant Italics

Are you a writer who used italics frequently? Or perhaps you’re not quite sure when to use this little punctuation perk? Such was the case with me until I did a little research and study to make sure I was using italics correctly.

I’m sure you’ll agree that the most common way to use italics is mostly in fiction when using Direct Internal Discourse.

What in the world is Direct Internal Discourse?

Oh, that’s the “formal” fancy term for expressing someone’s inner thoughts. This is the most frequent use of italics. So let’s look at some examples of that plus some examples of other uses for italics:

Example One: Bill looked at Susie and thought, Now’s the time to ask her to marry me.

Example Two:   That’s just the sweater I want! Marge asked the clerk, “How much is that pullover cardigan?”

Exception: Do NOT italicize an inner thought that is indirect or paraphrased.

Example: Steve had been telling himself not to buy that car for the last week.

 

 Citing Sources

Although the AP Stylebook says to put all “composition” titles in quotation marks except the Bible and reference books, the CMOS prefers using italics for large titles:

Example One: Gone With the Wind is one of the most powerful movies ever made.

Example Two: One of my favorite books is The Christmas Box by Richard Paul Evans.

Example Three: Have you subscribed to the Reader’s Digest again this year?

Exception: Smaller components of such works, such as articles, chapter titles,

song titles, poem titles, and episodes should be in quotation marks.

Example: Barry read an amazing article about chipmunks entitled “The Nuts’ Best Friend” in this month’s Pennsylvania Magazine.

 

Animal Noises, Sounds, Ringing Phones, Etc.

In fiction, words that depict sounds other than dialogue are written in italics:

Example One:   Woof! Woof! Barney, Pete’s dog, barked his head off!

Example Two:   S-q-u-e-a-k …. “Who’s there?” Angie screamed.

Example Three: R-i-n-g …. Philip hurried to the front door, hoping he’d see Angie.

 

Foreign Words and Phrases

Unless you’re writing about Russian spies or Amish Ordnungs, this italics rule might mean little to you. However, whenever quoting foreign words or phrases, use italics. In the case of using the foreign words in fiction, they are usually italicized the first time as an introduction but are not italicized throughout the novel.

Example One: Henrietta’s German mother taught her to say ich liebe dich, (I love you), which helped Henrietta express her true feelings.

Example Two: In her Amish Ordnung, Ruth was the only alt maedel over twenty-five years who wasn’t married yet.

 

Italics for Emphasis

Often, in trying to express emphasis, writers will mistakenly use quotation marks instead of italics in a sentence. However, the italics is the proper way to go to express emphasis in a sentence:

Example One: Fritz made a very conscious effort to go on a diet this time.

Example Two: “Are you really going to drive to Florida by yourself?” Harry asked Bob.

 

Quoting a Word or Phrase

This use of the italics is probably most used in nonfiction. When citing words or discussing phrases, italicize the word or phrase in discussion:

Example One: The use of the word salvation in many of our traditional hymns has a powerful message.

Example Two: The shed blood of Jesus is one of the foundational doctrines of the Christian faith.

So, there you have the most common uses of the italics. Take a look at your own writings, see if you can incorporate a few italics here and there, and give your manuscript a little extra spice. As long as italics aren’t overused, this little punctuation perk can add some life to your work. So go for it.

Next time we’ll look at the exclamation point! This little jot and tittle is probably one of the most misused punctuation marks in the English language!

Happy writing!

Marsha

More shameless promotion:

KEYSTONE STABLES SERIES BOOK 8

THE LONG RIDE HOME

Skye finally finds out what happened to her real parents,

and it’s a real shocker!

http://www.amazon.com/Long-Ride-Home-Keystone-Stables-ebook/dp/B003QP3XEQ/ref=pd_sim_351_4?ie=UTF8&dpID=51JzncnOpKL&dpSrc=sims&preST=_OU01_AC_UL320_SR206%2C320_&refRID=0WD7GM9G0BRSCZKCKZFM

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On Writing: Let’s Talk Grammar and Punctuation for a While

(Post Number Six)

The Punctual Period

Kissy.Smiley.Face

Are you kidding me? We’re going to talk about periods? That little miniscule dot at the end of a declarative sentence that everyone knows belongs there to complete the thought? “Why waste the time?” you’re probably asking. “Let’s move on. I know everything there is to know about periods.”

Well, let’s see if you do. I’m going to list some of the most frequent uses (besides its obvious use at the end of every declarative sentence) and some of its misuses. You’ll either yawn your way through this blog post or you’ll raise your eyebrows in wow-I-didn’t-know-that surprise.

Let’s play “Which one is correct?” Below are samples of different uses of periods. In each set, one use is correct; the other is not. Choose one from each set that you think is the right one. The correct answers are listed at the end of the blog. If you’re a period genius, and you get 100%, let me know, and we’ll brag about you on Facebook. (Today you’re getting a taste of what it’s like to be an editor):

Sample One:

A.) When John wrote, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1), he was referring to Jesus Christ.

B.)   When John wrote, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1), he was referring to Jesus Christ.

Sample Two:

A.)   When God asked Adam where he was after the fall, Adam said, “I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.” (Genesis 3:10 KJV)

B.)     When God asked Adam where he was after the fall, Adam said, “I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself” (Genesis 3:10 KJV).

Sample Three: (A block quotation)

A.)     Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths (Proverbs 3:5-6).

B.)     Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Sample Four – a postscript after the salutation in a letter:

A.)   P.S. Tell Susie I’ll be at the game on Friday.

B.)     PS  Tell Susie I’ll be at the game on Friday. (No periods after the “P” and “S.”

Sample Five – abbreviation of the state of North Carolina:

A.)   N.C.

B.)   NC

Sample Six:

A.)     The Smithsonian Institute is in Washington, D.C., for many years.

B.)     The Smithsonian Institute is in Washington, DC, for many years.

Sample Seven:

A.)   Brian’s new third grade teacher is Ms Batdorf. (No period after Ms)

B.)   Brian’s new third grade teacher is Ms. Batdorf.

Sample Eight:

A.)   Margie just moved to 678 N.W. Lane Street in Albany.

B.)     Margie just moved to 678 NW Lane Street in Albany. (No periods with the abbreviation for North West)

Sample Nine:

A.)     The time period “Before Christ” is represented with the letters B.C. on legal documents.

B.)     The time period “Before Christ” is represented with the letters BC on legal documents. ( No periods with BC)

Sample Ten:

A.)   Herbie’s appointment at the dentist was for 11:00 am, but he forgot all about it. (No periods with the abbreviation for ante meridiem)

B.)   Herbie’s appointment at the dentist was for 11:00 a.m., but he forgot all about it.

Answers:

Letter B is correct for all samples except for samples five and six; both answers are correct for samples five and six.

So, do we have any period geniuses in the crowd? If you think any of my answers are wrong, then you’ll have to argue with 15th edition of The Chicago Manual of Style, over which I labored for over an hour, studying these period options. There are many other period issues addressed in the CMOS, of which I have not the time nor the space to mention. So if you’re into mastering the Period Technique, get your CMOS out of the closet and start studying!

Hopefully, this little bit of information I’ve shared will help you handle the little speck of ink we call a “period” more skillfully the next time you tackle one of your writing projects. If you’re brave enough, go to the Writers of Any Genre group on Facebook, and let us know how you did.

Next time, we’re going to look at the flippant ellipsis.

Happy writing!

Marsha

Watch for updates concerning next July’s Montrose Christian Writers Conference. We have a dynamite faculty lined up, including film actor Torry Martin, Jim Hart from Hartline, four editors/authors from publishing companies plus eleven other best-selling authors and the music specialists, Donna and Conrad Krieger.

http://www.montrosebible.org/OurEvents/tabid/113/page_550/1/eventid_550/58/Default.aspx

www.marshahubler.com

P.S. If you haven’t been receiving my periodic Montrose Christian Writers Conference newsletter and you’d like to be on the mailing list, please contact me. A tremendous faculty has committed and promises to present dynamite classes for all aspects of writing.

More shameless promotion:

KEYSTONE STABLES SERIES BOOK 8

THE LONG RIDE HOME

Skye finally finds out what happened

to her real parents.

 book-8-keystone-stables

http://www.amazon.com/Long-Ride-Home-Keystone-Stables-ebook/dp/B003QP3XEQ/ref=pd_sim_351_4?ie=UTF8&dpID=51JzncnOpKL&dpSrc=sims&preST=_OU01_AC_UL320_SR206%2C320_&refRID=0WD7GM9G0BRSCZKCKZFM

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HOW TO HANDLE REJECTION

Detective.w.Spy.Glass.Cartoon

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

More shameless promotion:

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 .

http://www.amazon.com/Long-Ride-Home-Keystone-Stables-ebook/dp/B003QP3XEQ/ref=pd_sim_351_4?ie=UTF8&dpID=51JzncnOpKL&dpSrc=sims&preST=_OU01_AC_UL320_SR206%2C320_&refRID=0WD7GM9G0BRSCZKCKZFM

 

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