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Is the phrase "Once upon a time..."
Overused
33%
 33% [ 1 ]
Underused
67%
 67% [ 2 ]
Total Votes : 3
Monthly Writing Prompt
For this month's writing prompt write a scene using the following sentence to start;

The streets were deserted. Where was everyone? Where had they all gone?

Writing Tip
Our monthly writing tips are written by our very own TerishD. You can read more in Terish's Blog located in "The Abstractions" area of the forum.

Look Back

When not able to write ahead, it helps to look back. In my case I had written a paragraph ahead of the story. What I needed to do was add a section of exposition (talking) presenting some facts. In going back, I realized that I could insert a section where a 'tour' of the surroundings could be done. This allowed for character interaction, story development, and other things that enabled me to present the facts in an entertaining manner.

One should not face a writer's block with the mentality of bursting through it. I have found in my own experience that a writer's block is usually due to my mind indicating that it has a problem in 'channeling' the story. One reason might be a re-imagining of certain story points. Another reason however is that there is a problem in where you are at in the story, so you need to look back and find out the problem with the 'journey' that prevents the tale from advancing.

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 Do you have problems with...

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Do You Have Grammatical Issues While Writing?
No, I have no problems at all.
14%
 14% [ 3 ]
I'm pretty good, only a few minor problems.
24%
 24% [ 5 ]
Average, no more or less then normal.
43%
 43% [ 9 ]
Somewhat bad, I edit a lot.
5%
 5% [ 1 ]
Horrible, I just don't understand it.
14%
 14% [ 3 ]
Total Votes : 21
 

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Kellycakes


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PostSubject: Do you have problems with...   September 5th 2008, 9:55 pm

If there is one thing that will destroy my chances to be published, it would definitely be grammar. The one thing they try and teach you in school, and I never payed much attention to. Normally when I write, my thoughts just transcend onto the page.

So do you have problems when you write out of your head? Or do you write a few sentences then review them to fix any grammatical errors right away?

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PostSubject: Re: Do you have problems with...   September 5th 2008, 9:57 pm

I think I'm average, but I'm really bad at catching my own mistakes. I can literally read and re-read something five to ten times and still not see my mistakes.
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PostSubject: Re: Do you have problems with...   September 6th 2008, 4:07 am

Never been much of an issue. Rereading once or twice usually picks the difficult ones, otherwise I usually don't run into too much trouble.
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PostSubject: Reply   September 6th 2008, 8:05 am

Well, I never was an English or Literary person. Still, my grammar was never horrible, but it was not 'proper.' I thus began learning all those lessons that I really never cared for in school. I can now pretty much catch most of my mistakes, and those of others.

Let me say that I kept writing. It helped me learn when I could bring in sections of my writings to an English person and ask what was the error (somebody on the internet complained, Microsoft Word flagged it, or a comment was made in a rejection letter). I believe that the fact that I was active as I learned helped the knowledge sink in.

Some notes:

1) Passive sentence structure is BAD. It shouldn't be, as modern writing is from a perspective, and often I write a passive sentence BECAUSE of the perspective. It does not matter how I prove that the sentence is correct, modern editors notice passive sentences and do NOT like them (most word publishing programs do too, and I have learned that if a sentence is correct, but being flagged, then I probably wrote a passive sentence).

2) BE verbs are BAD. If you don't know what BE verbs are, rush to an English person and ask. You need them, even modern publishers will admit that you need them, but use them seldom.

3) Word publishing programs are a start. Grammar correction in word publishing programs are not wonderful, but they are a start. If you word publishing program is griping at you, learn why. If your writing is not AT LEAST up to word publishing quality, you are not serious about your writing.

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Adult Christian fiction quite different than all the usual lame stuff in that market.  "Dilemma of Dreams" now in hard back.
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Kellycakes


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PostSubject: Re: Do you have problems with...   September 6th 2008, 3:06 pm

That is just it, in high school the 11th and 12th grades were much a blur but once I got to college I hunkered down.

Maybe it is just Michigan high schools but high school seem very easy; I breezed through English classes without any major problems. A few red marks for grammatical errors on term papers didn't make me want to correct them with A on top of the page. S

o then I went on to college and my first paper was returned to me and it looked like my professor's red pen coughed, vomited and suffered from nasal leakage over every single page. Yes college is supposed to be harder then high school, but that first paper told me; I didn't learn shit in high school. So I picked up a second English class (101) to relearn the basics of grammar.

Still to this very day I just don't get it; I have a major problem with tense jumping and when others try to explain it to me and I think I got it, I'll post something and find out, WRONG AGAIN.

By the way I do have a Word Program, and it does catch some errors but not all. If Word is griping at me I will rewrite the sentence 2/3 times until the program is happy, if then it is still not happy I delete the sentence all together.

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TerishD


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PostSubject: Re: Do you have problems with...   September 6th 2008, 4:09 pm

Kellycakes wrote:
By the way I do have a Word Program, and it does catch some errors but not all. If Word is griping at me I will rewrite the sentence 2/3 times until the program is happy, if then it is still not happy I delete the sentence all together.
Kellycakes, print out that page and take it to an English person. They do exist. Check your local high school or college. As long as you have only a paragraph or less, they really don't mind -- in fact, many LOVE to talk grammar, tenses, and other stuff of such. They are busy, so keep your sections short, but they are usually more than glad to help someone that WANTS to improve (most students are simply trying to get a decent grade).

I am that type of person. If something bothers me, I go look for answers. I will walk on a college campus, stride into the English department, ask for some professor, knock on their door, introduce myself, then present my problem. If I could find them in their office, I left with an answer (again, keep it short -- don't walk in with a 100+ page document for them to look over).

What is really nice is that most can handle confrontation. I am math/science, so I write something in a certain way for a reason. After I thus hear their answer, I tell them why I wrote it the way that I did. I have gotten some really good information and advice. I thus fully encourage people to make use of the resources that are available to them.

_________________
Fantasy puts more requirements on the writer than any other fiction, because the world must be made as real before anything else can be real.
Adult Christian fiction quite different than all the usual lame stuff in that market.  "Dilemma of Dreams" now in hard back.
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PostSubject: Re: Do you have problems with...   September 6th 2008, 4:49 pm

I never had problems in German grammar. In English does it stuck a bit. Mostly I see the mistakes by myself. Well if I look back to when I started writing in English I think, 'Dang what was I writing'?

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PostSubject: Re: Do you have problems with...   September 8th 2008, 9:34 am

Kellycakes wrote:
If there is one thing that will destroy my chances to be published, it would definitely be grammar.

hi kelly;
let me ask you this...or, rather, let me make a statement and then ask my question...publishing...getting published...is just like any other thing in this world. you've got to have a plan and work that plan with dilligence and intensity. what type of work do you write? where have you submitted it? how often have you submitted it? do you keep records of where you've sent things and what your responses were? to become an active working writer you have to understand that beyond the art, this (like any other endeavor) is a business and has to be approached like a business. once you understand that...once you fully appreciate that...the rest is easy.
that's why you'll read stuff from some writer in your field and you'll say "hell, i can write better than that!"...and chances are that you can...but the edge they have over you is that they understand the business side of this a little bit better.
just yesterday i had a meeting with a successful children's book author...and i can't begin to tell you how competetive THAT field is...she sells books hand over fist not necessarily because her books are better than anyone else's...she sells books because she understands the business behind selling those books. seriously, as much as each and every one of us would like to deny it...the writing is almost secondary. as in all things real and practical...the business comes first.
so, that being said...if you feel you have shortcomings with the grammar...i'd work on it...but i'd also start putting together a workable and realistic business plan.
poets...painters...carpenters and accountants. it's all one and the same. once you understand that, you've got it made.
john
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PostSubject: Re: Do you have problems with...   September 8th 2008, 10:34 am

Hi John, I agree that business is a big part of becoming a published author but grammar is still of the utmost importance. I want to understand, I have books and usually educational matters come easy to me, except the 'grammar' part of literature and high level math, but that isn't the point. I have read plenty of bestselling authors and what they are selling doesn't seem 'best' to me.

Business, although important doesn't seem as important if I'm trying to sell crap. I don't want my name on something that has grammatical errors every other page. I wouldn't want to read it and I don't expect anyone else to.

You do make a good point however, business is important. My point is I don't want to be published because of commercialism, I want to be published because I've developed a great piece of work that I believe others would enjoy reading. Don't get me wrong, I desire success but success isn't success if all that I have is an idea and great business concept.

Now to answer your questions. I began writing at a very young age. My first novel was close to 65,000 words and I'd thought I'd done an excellent job. My grades in school were top notch, valedictorian in fact so I figured I'd had it all figured out. I did my research; read the writer's market over a few times, developed a perfect grammatical query letter and sent it out to 20 different publishers. Less than 2 weeks later I began receiving rejection letters. My confidence was shot and I was only 19 years old. I tried 2 other times; and received the same comments. One publisher told me my story was 'to fresh'. What the hell does that mean? It was hard then but I've been through tougher things.

Now however I'd rather spend my time developing the best quality I can, so instead of just going over it 5 times, I'm going over it 50 and then what? I find out what I thought was correct, my grammar level is that of a high school graduate and nothing more. Its just a bit hard for me to grasp because like I said I didn't have to put much effort into understanding things.

I am going to try Terish's idea to seek the advice of a English Professor. I actually had a lovely relationship with one of my professors and I'm going to try and look him up. Maybe he will be willing to give me a little advice or at least suggest some reading and research materials.

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John Yamrus




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PostSubject: Re: Do you have problems with...   September 8th 2008, 2:00 pm

Hello;
it sounds to me like you have both a clue and a plan! that's fantastic. don't get me wrong, doing the best, most polished, accomplished work you can is of utmost importance...the point i was trying to make is that it's not always the best writers getting the best deals or even getting published at all. oftentimes for novels it's mostly about coming up with a sellable title. that's how it is with perfumes...the name...the packaging...the marketing...all that stuff takes precedence over how the shit smells!
if you haven't yet done so, please read in the General Discussions thread my article SO, YOU WANNA GET PUBLISHED. that was originally published in ART WITH WORDS magazine and was intended primarily for aspiring writers of poetry...but it's also useful to people who write any form of work who hope to one day publish.
as far as you sending query letters to 20 publishers and getting rejections from all of them. welcome to the real world. obstacles like that are only put in the way of folks in order to weed out those who can't cut it. if you read my article, you'll see that over the course of my 38 year writing "career" i estimate i've rec'd about 3,000 rejections. get up near that number and then we can talk. it's all a numbers game. the more doors you knock on as a writer, the more success you'll have. the trick is to not let yourself get discouraged or to lose sight of your goal.
it's as simple as that.
take care...
and thanks for your input.
john
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PostSubject: Re: Do you have problems with...   September 8th 2008, 3:40 pm

thank heavens for spell check I always say.
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PostSubject: Re: Do you have problems with...   September 9th 2008, 5:04 pm

No worries Kellycakes, I don't understand it either. Once I think I've got a grasp on the situation I find out otherwise. So what I think I know I don't know. It's very hard for some to understand.
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PostSubject: Re: Do you have problems with...   September 9th 2008, 5:06 pm

Yeah I have the same problems too. Not so much as the little stuff, like spelling and such. Its more about the tense of a current sentence as compared to the entire work.
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PostSubject: Re: Do you have problems with...   September 25th 2008, 12:46 am

Really, for me, grammar just kinda comes natural. I write the odd thing that makes me go 'huh?', but most of the time, generally, it goes pretty smooth for me. My problem is info-dumping. :P
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PostSubject: Re: Do you have problems with...   September 25th 2008, 4:53 am

I have a few issues with grammer. For me, its hard to catch my own mistakes, and I have the made habit of using too many commas for some reason. Also, I end up writing sentence fragments quite a bit. Sad
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PostSubject: Re: Do you have problems with...   September 25th 2008, 5:33 pm

I like to think I'm average. I mean the first time I just write out of my head, but when the idea is passed I go back and read it.
Usually I can find all my mistakes, usually, but since English isn't my first language.
Sometimes I don't catch all the problems.
I end up with a paper with so much typos and grammar mistakes.
I cry because I have to edit over twenty pages.
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PostSubject: Re: Do you have problems with...   September 26th 2008, 5:33 pm

I just get confused over what grammar really is. I picked regular because I figure if I let 100 people read my book 50 will say the grammar is terrible and 50 will ask, "What grammar problems?" I catch some of my mistakes in re-reads, other times I don't.
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PostSubject: Re: Do you have problems with...   September 26th 2008, 9:33 pm

Me grammar good not so much.

In truth I am very bad at writing. My Grammar is heinously bad.
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