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4/19/16 11:21 A

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Learn more tips for understanding the English language and varieties from around the world.
Abbreviations, Acronyms and Initialisms | View Worksheet
Learn about the difference between abbreviations, acronyms and initialisms.

Use of Numerals | View Worksheet
Using numerals is not a confusing topic if you know when to use them and when it is not appropriate to use them.

Italics | View Worksheet
Learn about italics and how they are used to show emphasis, denote titles, vehicles, foreign words and more to ensure you properly use them.

Contractions | View Worksheet
Discover why avoiding contractions in formal writing makes your writing more clear, concise and compelling.

The End of Double Spacing | View Worksheet
Learn why many writing styles have steered away from placing two spaces after sentences and why the rule ever existed in the first place.

Avoiding Future Tense ‘Will’ | View Worksheet
Learn why avoiding future tense ‘will’ in formal makes your writing more clear, concise and compelling.

British English Versus American English | View Worksheet
Understand the difference between British English and American English variations of the same word.

The Difference Between Toward and Towards | View Worksheet
Learn the difference between ‘toward’ and ‘towards,’ and discover why one is preferred over the other in American English.

When to Capitalize Seasons | View Worksheet
Learn why seasons are not usually capitalized and how to identify the exceptions to the rule to ensure you use the correct capitalization.


Metaphors, Similes and Idioms | View Worksheet

Learn about the figurative language of metaphors, similes and idioms and how these figures of speech bring more vivid imagery to your words.

Aptronyms
Learn about aptronyms in real-life examples, and discover how they are useful in fiction writing for defining something about a character.



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Ensure your writing is precise and that you are expressing your ideas clearly and accurately.
Who Versus Whom | View Worksheet
Read here about how to decide when to use ‘who’ or ‘whom’; it is a simple distinction between subject and object in a clause.

“Which” Versus “That” | View Worksheet
Learn helpful ways to remember when you should use the word ‘that’ instead of the word ‘which’ when you provide more information in a sentence.

“Complement” Versus “Compliment” | View Worksheet
Learn the difference between compliment and complement to ensure you recognize when you are praising and when you are expressing perfection.

“Into” Versus “In To” | View Worksheet
Learn the difference between “into” and “in to” to ensure you always convey the proper meaning to avoid confusing your readers.

“I’m Good” Versus “I’m Well”
Learn why saying “I’m good” and “I”m well” are both acceptable, and understand how to determine when to use “well” or “good” in your writing.

“Lead” Versus “Led” | View Worksheet
Learn the difference between “lead” and “led” and the parts of speech that dictate their use, and discover how to determine which word to use.

“Cannot” Versus “Can Not” | View Worksheet
Learn why “cannot” is usually preferred over “can not,” about the exception to this preference and how and when to use “can’t.”



Tips for Writing welcomes new members. We have changed our logo so people will know we are not only a writing board, but a weight loss one too.
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4/19/16 11:18 A

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Find articles to help clear up some common mistakes when using the English language.
Affect Versus Effect | View Worksheet
Learn how to use the words ‘effect’ and ‘affect’ correctly in different contexts by reading a few examples and remembering some easy tips.

Further versus Farther | View Worksheet
Learn the proper way to use the troublesome words ‘further’ and ‘farther’ by identifying and remembering the contextual connotations of each.

Insure versus Ensure versus Assure | View Worksheet
Learn how to use commonly confused words such as ‘assure’, ‘insure’ and ‘ensure’ correctly and prevent mistakes spell checkers can’t detect.

Then Versus Than | View Worksheet
Learn how to distinguish the difference between the words ‘then’ and ‘than’ and how to use them correctly in a sentence.

Moot Versus Mute | View Worksheet
Avoid embarrassing grammar mistakes when you learn that ‘moot’ means irrelevant and ‘mute’ means unable to speak or make noise.

Advise Versus Advice | View Worksheet
Learn the difference between ‘advise’ and ‘advice.’ You offer advice (i.e., your opinion); and if you advise, you give guidance to someone.

Their Versus There Versus They’re | View Worksheet
Discover how to use ‘their,’ ‘there’ and ‘they’re,’ and improve your writing by learning how to determine which word is appropriate in a given circumstance.

Desert Versus Dessert | View Worksheet
Distinguish between “desert” and “dessert” by using the correct spelling for the appropriate meaning to protect your credibility as a writer.

Sit Versus Sat | View Worksheet
Learn how to identify whether using “sit” or “set” is correct by looking at the definition of the verb and the function it performs.

i.e. Versus e.g. | View Worksheet
Learn the literal meanings of “e.g.” and “i.e.,” when to use these abbreviations, and discover a few tips to guide your usage of them.

Lend Versus Borrow | View Worksheet
Learn how to distinguish the difference between “lend” and “borrow,” how to use the words properly and how to determine which is correct.

Amount Versus Number | View Worksheet
Learn about amount vs. number, including the difference between countable and mass nouns and when to use each word.



Tips for Writing welcomes new members. We have changed our logo so people will know we are not only a writing board, but a weight loss one too.
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4/19/16 11:17 A

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Get help with issues such as active and passive voice, sentence structure and parts of speech.
Coordinating Conjunctions | View Worksheet
Learn how to use coordinating conjunctions to connect words, phrases and clauses, and find out if you can start sentences with them.

Wowzer! Who Knew Interjections Were So Useful? | View Worksheet
Learn how interjections can make your writing more powerful, and discover the situations in which they are appropriate to use.

Parallel Structure in Lists | View Worksheet
Read about how to improve your writing’s readability and fluency with parallel structure in lists, including when to avoid it.

Sentence Fragments | View Worksheet
Study examples of sentence fragments to learn about the specific components that create a complete sentence and convey a comprehensive thought to your audience.

Prefixes | View Worksheet
Learn the most common prefixes, and discover how to apply them to correctly spell words and when hyphens are necessary.

Suffixes
Learn about suffixes and how they can change or add to the meaning of a word, and check out spelling rules for applying them.

Infinitives | View Worksheet
Learn about the different types of infinitives, and discover why you should avoid split infinitives in most cases and how to fix them.

Transitional Phrases | View Worksheet
Create better flow in your writing by using transitional phrases to form strong, logical connections, and learn how to properly punctuate them.

Compound Nouns | View Worksheet
Learn how to recognize compound nouns and their various forms, such as closed and hyphenated, as well as how to pluralize them.

Concrete Versus Abstract Nouns | View Worksheet
Learn about the difference between concrete and abstract nouns, including how to recognize which type a noun is when it can function as both.

Gerunds | View Worksheet
Learn about gerunds, the different ways in which they function as nouns and how to distinguish them from the present participle form of verbs.

Participles | View Worksheet
Learn about participles and how they act as adjectives by modifying nouns and pronouns but still carry some features of verbs.

Dangling Modifiers | View Worksheet
Learn about participles and how they act as adjectives by modifying nouns and pronouns but still carry some features of verbs.



Tips for Writing welcomes new members. We have changed our logo so people will know we are not only a writing board, but a weight loss one too.
Come check out this wonderful group, who are waiting for you with open arms.
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4/19/16 11:16 A

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Follow basic punctuation rules and learn more about punctuation marks, including: commas, ellipses and dashes.
Mastering the Art of Comma Usage | View Worksheet
Master the use of commas by learning the proper situations that require them, and add a new level of grammar expertise to your writing arsenal.

Parentheses: More Than Just an Afterthought | View Worksheet
Learn about using parentheses to provide supplemental information that is punctuated correctly, and create more flavorful content that is engaging.

Colons: More than Just Two Dots | View Worksheet
Learn everything you need to know about colons, including how to format around them and use them in lists, salutations and more.

Defining Semicolons | View Worksheet
Learn about how to use semicolons and examine some examples of correct and incorrect uses of semicolons in compound sentences.

Use of Hyphens | View Worksheet
Find out some of the common uses for every day, garden-variety hyphens, and how to use them with self-confidence and look like a know-it-all.

Common Uses of Apostrophes | View Worksheet
Learn how to use apostrophes to show possession for nouns and pronouns to ensure your punctuation is always done correctly.

Independent and Dependent Clauses | View Worksheet
Learn all about independent and dependent clauses, from what defines each clause to how to correctly use and combine them.

Run-on Sentences | View Worksheet
Learn about the most common types of run-on sentence errors, how to spot them and the easiest way to correct them.

Commas Versus Semicolons | View Worksheet
Use a semicolon to add some variety to the structure of a sentence; it replaces a comma in a compound sentence that has no conjunction.

Punctuating Lists, Dates and Addresses | View Worksheet
Learn why consistency is important in punctuating lists, and learn the correct way to punctuate dates and addresses within sentences.

Ellipses | View Worksheet
Learn about using ellipses to edit material for conciseness, show pause or indicate hesitation and how they are used in various writing formats.

Direct Versus Indirect Quotations | View Worksheet
Learn about direct and indirect quotations, how to choose which is more appropriate for your content and how to properly format direct quotes.

Quotation Marks | View Worksheet
Learn when to use single or double quotation marks and the punctuation rules that apply in various situations that use them.

The Use of the Dash | View Worksheet
Learn how to use the dash correctly in various situations and locations within sentences, and understand how to avoid overuse.





Tips for Writing welcomes new members. We have changed our logo so people will know we are not only a writing board, but a weight loss one too.
Come check out this wonderful group, who are waiting for you with open arms.
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4/19/16 11:14 A

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Follow these basic grammar rules and read articles on prepositions, nouns, pronouns, adjectives, subject-verb agreement and more.
Verb Tenses | View Worksheet
Learn the nine most common verb tenses, how to form them and the ways in which they are most commonly used.

First Person Pronouns | View Worksheet
Learn about first person pronouns, writing types for which they are most appropriate and the correct usage of “I,” “me,” “we” and “us.”

Second Person Pronouns | View Worksheet
Learn about the 2nd person pronouns, and discover why maintaining the same grammatical person in writing is important.

Third Person Pronouns | View Worksheet
Learn about third person pronouns, the use of “he or she” and “they,” as well as gender distinction and neuter pronouns.

Singular Pronouns | View Worksheet
Replace the noun with the pronoun to accurately use this part of speech; the result is a clearly formed and sensible sentence.

Interrogative Pronouns | View Worksheet
Learn about the five interrogative pronouns, why they do not usually have an antecedent and why they are used only to ask questions.

Indefinite Pronouns | View Worksheet
Learn about indefinite pronouns and how to use the correct form of verbs and personal pronouns with them to ensure subject/verb and antecedent/pronoun agreement occurs.

Collective Nouns | View Worksheet
Learn about collective nouns, how to distinguish if they are singular or plural to select the appropriate forms of verbs and pronouns referring to them.

Prepositions for Time, Place and Introducing Objects | View Worksheet
Write and use prepositions with confidence and accuracy. Read on to discover how to use prepositions of time, place and when introducing an object.

Ending a Sentence With a Preposition | View Worksheet
Brush up your preposition knowledge, and prevent yourself from making the mistake of ending any of your sentences with prepositions.

What Is the Difference between Regular and Irregular Verbs? | View Worksheet
Learn about the different types of irregular verbs, how to learn them and whether text is a regular or irregular verb.

Avoiding Shifts in Verb Tense | View Worksheet
Learn about the importance of maintaining a consistent verb tense, and review some examples of switching verb tenses in the middle of a sentence.

Appositives | View Worksheet
Find out about the appositive, a phrase that helps describe or define another noun, and how to use it in a sentence with appropriate punctuation.

Helping Verbs: The Main Verb’s Assistant | View Worksheet
Learn the difference between primary and modal helping verbs, and how these verbs provide additional meaning and define the tense of action of the verb.

Action Verbs | View Worksheet
Discover how action verbs add power and passion to what you write, and learn how to replace overly used verbs with more descriptive action ones.

Subject/Verb Agreement | View Worksheet
Understand the mechanics of subject/verb agreement, and learn this grammar point with specific examples of how to employ it in grammatical sentences.

Run-On Sentences at Length | View Worksheet
Learn how to recognize run-on sentences and correct them, so your readers recognize your writing skill instead of discounting it because of punctuation errors.

Active Voice | View Worksheet
Learn about the functions of the active voice and the passive voice and examine some examples of how to use each effectively.

Active Verb Tense | View Worksheet
Learn about active verb tenses, and discover the difference between tenses and voice and how active tenses are used to write in an active voice.

Passive Voice | View Worksheet
Learn more about passive voice with this simple guide, including tips on proper usage and reasons why instructors and other authorities often restrict it.

Passive Verb Tense | View Worksheet
Learn about passive verb tenses and how they are used when writing in the passive voice to identify the time at which something occurs.

Articles | View Worksheet
Learn about definite and indefinite articles, the correct use of “a,” “an” and “the” and when it is correct to omit articles in writing.

Comparatives and Superlatives | View Worksheet
Learn about comparatives and superlatives as tools of comparison and how to create each by looking at the number of syllables and the spelling.

Linking Verbs | View Worksheet
Learn about linking verbs, and discover an easy formula for deciding between linking/helping verbs and linking/action verbs when the verbs can function as both.

Commonly Confused Verbs | View Worksheet
Learn more about the correct usage of commonly confused verbs, such as “lie versus lay,” “sit versus sat” and “rise versus raise.”

Direct and Indirect Objects | View Worksheet
Learn how to recognize direct and indirect objects in sentences and how to recognize the difference between direct objects and subject complements.

Subordinate Conjunctions | View Worksheet
Discover the two main purposes of subordinate conjunctions, how to recognize them and the proper construction of sentences that contain them.

Correlative Conjunctions | View Worksheet
Learn about how correlative conjunctions connect the same type of elements and how to maintain parallel structure, antecedent-pronoun agreement and subject-verb agreement when using them.

Clauses and Phrases | View Worksheet
Learn about clauses and phrases and how to tell the difference between the two by breaking down the sentence in which they appear.

Defining Clauses | View Worksheet
Learn about defining clauses, the role that relative pronouns play in them and how to know when a clause is essential to retain meaning.

Double Negatives | View Worksheet
Learn about double negatives, why you should avoid them in most cases and how they change the meaning of your words from what you intended.

Adjectives Versus Adverbs | View Worksheet
Learn how to distinguish between adjectives and adverbs by determining which part of speech is modified or considering the context of the sentence.

Appositives | View Worksheet
Learn about appositives, including how to punctuate them and different ways to use them to provide extra information about a noun, noun phrase or pronoun.

A Versus An | View Worksheet
Learn about the indefinite articles of “a” and “an,” and discover how the sound of the word, not the spelling, determines which is used.

Demonstrative Pronouns | View Worksheet
Learn about the demonstrative pronouns “this,” “that,” “these” and “those” and how to tell the difference between demonstrative pronouns and adjectives.





Tips for Writing welcomes new members. We have changed our logo so people will know we are not only a writing board, but a weight loss one too.
Come check out this wonderful group, who are waiting for you with open arms.
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ndividual.asp?gid=37762
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4/19/16 11:12 A

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What are first person pronouns?

First person pronouns are used to write a more informal piece, such as a story, essay or narrative, from the perspective of the person doing the writing, you. Many blogs are also written from the first person perspective. Singular first person nouns are “I,” “me,” “my,” “mine” and “we,” and first person plural pronouns are “our,” “ours,” “we” and “us.”

Subjective pronouns

The first person pronouns “I” and “we” are known as subjective pronouns because they act as the subjects of the verb. Consider the following examples:

Example 1: I smiled at him (“I” is the subject of the verb “smiled”).

Example 2: We walked Emily home (“we” is the subject of the verb “walked”).

Objective pronouns

The personal pronouns “me” and “us” are objective pronouns because they act as the object of verbs and prepositions. Consider the following examples:

Example 1: She smiled at me (“me” is the object of the preposition “at”).

Example 2: Emily walked us home (“us” is the object of the verb “walked”).

Possessive pronouns

“My,” “mine,” “our” and “ours” are possessive pronouns that are used to show ownership. They are usually followed by a noun, as shown by the below example.

Example: Our pay for writing assignments is fair and competitive (“our” shows ownership of “pay for writing assignments”).

“I” and “me”

When other people are mentioned in a sentence, the words “I” and “me” can cause confusion. The construction of the sentence dictates whether you should use “I” or “me.” An easy way to determine which pronoun to use is to leave out the other person in the sentence, and imagine yourself alone in the context of the sentence. Consider the following example:

Example: Andrew and (I/me) are going to the playground.

Remove the other person:

CORRECT: I am going to the playground.

INCORRECT: Me am going to the playground.

From this, you know “I” is the correct pronoun: Andrew and I are going to the playground.

The use of “I” is effective for writing introductions or sharing an interesting, personal incident. “I” is rarely used to begin a factual thesis or express an authoritative statement; it is most commonly used to express personal opinions and in more informal writing.

“We” and “us”

“We” and “us” are used as collective pronouns that include you as the writer and your readers. Exercise caution when using it in your writing. It is correct to use “we” when you are discussing a common purpose or creating a feeling of equality. On the other hand, it is best not to use it to assume that everyone shares the same opinion.

When confused about whether to use “we” or “us” in a sentence, break the sentence down to just the verb and the subject. Remember that “we” is a subjective pronoun, and “us” is an objective pronoun. If the pronoun is not the subject, use “us.” If the pronoun is the subject, use “we.” Consider the following examples:

Example 1: We/us freelance writers can earn a high income level if hard work is put into our writing (the subject is “we/us freelance writers,” and the verb is “earn”).

The pronoun is the subject, so you use the subjective pronoun of “we.”

Example 2: More work comes to we/us writers who write engaging content and proofread well (the subject is “work,” and the verb is “comes”).

The pronoun is not the subject, so you use the objective pronoun of “us.”


Tips for Writing welcomes new members. We have changed our logo so people will know we are not only a writing board, but a weight loss one too.
Come check out this wonderful group, who are waiting for you with open arms.
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MANIERICHARDS's Photo MANIERICHARDS Posts: 34,807
4/19/16 11:11 A

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Affect Versus Effect

The primary definition of ‘affect’

The primary use of ‘affect’ in the English language is as a verb. It means ‘to produce an effect.’ In other words, ‘to affect’ is synonymous with ‘to influence.’

The primary definition of ‘effect’

The primary use of ‘effect’ is as a noun. It means a result or consequence. If you have a cause, it produces an ‘effect.’

How to use ‘affect’

Use ‘affect’ as a verb when you want to describe the way one item influences another.

INCORRECT: The loose rocks on the nature trail produced the affect of tripping the blond runner. (Here, ‘affect’ is incorrect. In this context, the noun ‘effect’ is the correct choice).

CORRECT: The loose rocks on the nature trail affect the blond runner’s stride by tripping up his feet. (Here, ‘affect’ functions correctly as a verb.)

How to use ‘effect’

Use ‘effect’ as a noun when you want to discuss the consequence or result of some action.


INCORRECT: When the blond man runs by in ridiculous short shorts, he effects those around him by making them laugh. (Here, ‘affects’ is the appropriate word because this context calls for the verb.)

CORRECT: The blond runner’s skimpy outfit produced a hilarious effect and his neighbors burst out in laughter at his appearance. (‘Effect’ is correct here because the context requires the noun.)

Why the difference between ‘affect’ and ‘effect’ matters

It is important to keep the difference between ‘effect’ and ‘affect’ straight because this is a very common error and it can make your writing look unprofessional. It is simple to correct if you take the time to memorize the difference in these words. To remind yourself that ‘affect’ is the verb, associate ‘affect’ with another word that starts with the same letter: ‘action.’ Also, remember that ‘cause and effect’ refers to a pair of nouns.




Tips for Writing welcomes new members. We have changed our logo so people will know we are not only a writing board, but a weight loss one too.
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4/19/16 11:06 A

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Writers Beware List.

Abacus Group Literary Agency

Allred and Allred Literary Agents (refers clients to "book doctor" Victor West of Pacific Literary Services)

Arthur Fleming Associates

B.K. Nelson, Inc

Barbara Bauer Literary Agency

Benedict & Associates (also d/b/a B.A. Literary Agency)

Brock Gannon Literary Agency

Capital Literary Agency (formerly American Literary Agents of Washington, Inc.)

Desert Rose Literary Agency

Finesse Literary Agency (Karen Carr)

Harris Literary Agency (Barbara J. Harris)

Literary Agency Group inclusive of:
· Children's Literary Agency, Christian Literary Agency

· New York Literary Agency , Poets Literary Agency

· Screenplay Agency, Sherwood Broome, Inc.,

· Stylus Literary Agency (formerly ST Literary Agency)

· Writers Literary & Publishing Services Company (above-mentioned agencies’ editing arm)

Mark Sullivan Associates

Martin-McLean Literary Associates

Michelle Rooney Literary Agency (also d/b/a Creative Literary Agency and Simply Nonfiction)

Mocknick Productions Literary Agency, Inc.

Robins Agency, The (Cris Robins)

Southeast Literary Agency

West Coast Literary Associates (also d/b/a California Literary Services)

Tips for Writing welcomes new members. We have changed our logo so people will know we are not only a writing board, but a weight loss one too.
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MANIERICHARDS's Photo MANIERICHARDS Posts: 34,807
4/18/16 11:34 A

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I appreciate all your help. I did find the genes and sent to some agents.

Well, gotta get lunch so talk to you later. Have a great day. Don't work too hard.

Tips for Writing welcomes new members. We have changed our logo so people will know we are not only a writing board, but a weight loss one too.
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4/18/16 11:28 A

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No, I meant that's how I got my agent. But thanks. :)



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4/14/16 7:28 P

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Good luck.

Tips for Writing welcomes new members. We have changed our logo so people will know we are not only a writing board, but a weight loss one too.
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4/14/16 12:14 P

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That followed my track pretty closely, but I had an advantage with RWA - chapter contests with agents and editors as the final round judges.



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4/13/16 10:43 A

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Submitting to an editor without an agent.

Lots of people have been asking about this lately, especially with the suddenly-rampant myth that you must have a book deal or an offer in order to find an agent (for the record, again: this is not true at all).

So I thought I'd tackle the topic of submitting to editors without an agent. And I'll start by saying something you might not expect to hear from an agent: submitting to editors without an agent isn't always a bad thing!

But first, and most importantly: there some serious perils involved that you should be aware of if you're considering submitting to editors directly. The biggest: If you query a lot of editors simultaneously with your agent search you may be inadvertently killing the submission process if you eventually find an agent. This is because most agents I know won't resubmit to a publisher who has already considered a project, even if it was sent to the publisher unagented, and even if it subsequently undergoes a revision (unless the editor specifically asks).

If you are hoping to find an agent: submitting to editors widely is not the way to go. An agent will be less likely to take on your project if you have already sent your manuscript to the major publishers.

That said, while bearing mind the above, there are some instances where submitting directly to editors makes sense. They are:

1) You met an editor at a writer's conference, made a personal connection, and they offered to consider your work.

Sure! You have their attention. Go ahead and send it to them.

If you are in the process of trying to find an agent, though, I'd mention that to the editor when you send your manuscript, just so they aren't caught unaware if you find one.

2) You are working in a genre that is unlikely to attract an agent because it is a niche market, experimental, or otherwise is customary for editors and authors to deal with each other directly.

There are many wonderful small presses who do not usually work with agents because it's simply not viable for agents to take the time to represent authors for niche projects that will translate to very small advances and sales. I can't provide a rundown of every genre where this applies, but do your research and find out what is customary.

3) You tried querying agents, you came up empty, and you want to try with editors directly.

Queried 50-100 agents and couldn't get a bite? Reached the end of your list? Why not try with editors who are open to unsolicited submissions?

And then, if they are interested and you get an offer, it can definitely help land you an agent. Again though, I would recommend that you keep the editor posted that you are searching for representation so they are not caught unaware if your new agent shows up to negotiate the deal. Many editors would actually prefer to work with agents because it streamlines the process and usually means less work for them.

And trust me - even if you do get an offer without an agent, having an agent to negotiate the contract alone is worth 15%. Even if you're a lawyer or have one handy, there are terms and customs that are particular to the industry, and having someone to manage the process and look out for your bigger career is worth its weight in commission.


So yes - there are times when it makes sense to send your manuscript to editors and yes, there are authors who got their first deal(s) without an agent. However, that doesn't then mean that your best chances of success will come from sending to editors without an agent.




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Step 5) Getting Your First Offer of Representation

Interestingly enough, the one agent who had specifically requested the R/R never even responded to my letter. Even when the offers started coming in and I let her know that I had several offers of representation, she simply said she was 'no longer interested.' (I wrote her back to thank her for help, by the way.) Her lack of interest didn't phase me, however, because I had received an offer. What to do in this case, when I still had another ten or so submissions out there? You want to let the agents know you have received an offer. They will either bow out (and save themselves some time) or expedite the reading of your manuscript in case they want to make an offer. I ended up with six offers in the next few weeks. (But just so we are clear, these six offers represented five years of querying, ten years of writing two different manuscripts, two writers conferences, and several laps of the earth trying to hike away my angst.) It can be done: You can get an agent through the querying process but it can only be done with a lot of hard work. Their are no shortcuts, no head starts, no tricks or gimmicks.


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Step 4) Getting Your First Revision Request

You may see this referred to as a Revise and Resubmit, but be careful: agents are very savvy about how they manage a writers expectations. You may need to read between the lines of their comments to realize you have received a revision request. What do I mean? Take my case. I worked very hard on revising my manuscript after it was rejected two dozen or so times at the submission level. I was fortunate to receive a lot of comments with the rejections, both good and bad, but let me tell you something: It is the bad comments you should be paying attention to. It is something you can work on. One agent told me: You write well, and I like the premise, but the main character isn't strong enough. That, my friends, was a revision request by my way of looking at it. So, that's what I did: I spent several months making the characters stronger and I sent it back to her with a carefully worded letter explaining that I had addressed the weaknesses of the manuscript and would she be interested in taking another look? (The key here is to be professional and polite.) In fact, I sent my revised manuscript to all the agents who had taken the time to make some comments (don't bother with the ones who sent form rejects or who didn't respond at all--they have no interest) and to the one agent who had specifically asked for a revise and resubmit. The agents who made comments were interested enough to spend some of their valuable time to help you: You owe it to them and to yourself to give them another shot. But only after you have worked hard to address the shortcomings in the manuscript.


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Step 3) Getting Your First Submission Request

After reviewing your partial, 10 agents have requested your full manuscript (this is what is called a submission request) but you get nothing but form rejections, lack of enthusiasm and, in many cases, nothing, in response. The fault here lies in your manuscript. I am not saying that your manuscript isn't any good, I am saying that it isn't good enough... yet. Getting an agent is a hard thing to do: Take a look at the acceptance rates on QueryTracker (and don't even consider the querying process without having QueryTracker on your Favorites list.) Many agents sign only one or two writers a year, some less than that. And many of the writers they sign come from referrals, not the slush pile. I am not saying you can't do it: my agent found me in the slush pile, and if I can do it, so can you. But you have to learn from the failures along the way. Kabitzing about how unfair the process is--or how arbitrary, or how frustrating--gets you nowhere. Asking yourself how you can improve is the correct approach. Go back to the comments you may have received; what are the agents telling you? Where is the weakness in your manuscript? Are your characters well-developed? Is your dialogue genuine? Is your prose tight? This is where you become a better writer: Don't waste the opportunity. Stop querying agents until you have fixed the problems with your manuscript; there are only so many agents who represent your genre. Stop querying. Start revising. Then query again. I say this from experience--this is the exact approach that worked for me in the end.


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Step 2) Getting Your First Partial Request.

A request for a partial is not a guarantee you are going to be the next James Patterson or Daniel Silva, but it isn't a bad thing either: Someone (likely an intern or an agent's assistant) Somewhere (likely in NYC or San Francisco) thinks you can write. It is a validation of what you have known deep down all along. It is not a good thing: It is a great thing. But let's take a step back for a second, and do some math. Yes, yes, I know, they said there would be no math, but it is simple stuff and it makes my point. You sent out 10 queries and received 5 requests: What can you glean from this? You did a good job writing your query letter. On the other hand, if you sent out 20 queries and received just the 1 request, your query letter isn't any good. Revise it. (Here is the link to the QueryTracker Forum, where you can get great advice on how to improve your query.)


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Step 1) Getting Your First Rejection.

Why, you ask, is this the first step? Well, consider the number of talented writers I know who have never received a rejection. The obvious reason is that none of them have ever sent a query letter in the first place. And why haven't they? The list is long--too much work, such a small chance of success, and not wanting to be slapped in the face top the list--but the reason doesn't really matter. If you are going to be a successful, agented and traditionally published author, you have got to put yourself out there--again and again--and in so doing you will be rewarded with rejections, apathy, criticism, (Sounds great, huh?) and the occasional positive response. Cherish the positive responses. Enjoying the small successes is the best way to keep on going.


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If you want to write, what is stopping you? Why don't you just sit down and do it? Is it because you don't have the time? Or is it because you can't get your thoughts together?
A lot of you started writing and then dropped off the earth, so to speak, and we never heard from you again. Why? Writing is wonderful to get your thoughts on paper and even more to see them in print. Why wait? Start now to get that book in print.

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A writer has two main signals in the brain: create and edit.

The creator, well, creates. Stories grow and bloom and take on life. The editor and her red pen prunes and cuts and shapes. But there's a reason why I'm a writer, not a farmer, so let's lose the gardening analogy and think of this another way: think green light and red light.

Green light, go—the words flow. Red light—stop. Stop and fix, stop and think, stop and just plain stop.

And stopping isn't going to help you get your first draft done.

First drafts need to be green light, all the way. Any time your word flow hesitates, it's an opportunity for the editor to take over. You'll re-read those last lines and tweak them. You'll pause, mentally discarding phrase after phrase because they're just not good enough. The writing stops. The cursor blinks, wondering if you got up and left. Red light.

But you don't have to live at the mercy of a red light. The writer controls the signal. Like every other element of writing, it's a piece of craft to be learned.

Pro-level Green Light
One way to bask in the glow of the green light is to attain a level of competency that lets you self-edit on the fly. In this article, Sean D'Souza discusses how writing competency leads to writing fluency, where editing happens so quickly we don't even know we're doing it. The red light is only the briefest of flickers in a stream of green.

How does a writer become competent? You write. And you write. You make the mistakes that come with learning a craft. You learn from those mistakes and you get better. Each mistake and its subsequent lesson is one step closer to competency.

But learning a craft takes a long time. In the meantime, we still set word count goals and deadlines, long before we attain this nirvana called fluency. How do we keep ourselves writing forward instead of deleting backwards...or stalling because you can't get past a sentence just because you can't get it down right?

Do everything you can to keep the red light from coming on.

I have a few tricks I use during first draft writing and each one contributes to green light streaming in its own way.

1). Go Analog
Notepads don't have delete keys. Plain and simple.

Writing longhand gives me a change to simply write. My handwriting is smooth enough that it all blends in my periphery--I tend not to look back over the last lines as I write. If I do need to change something, I strike it through. Unlike deleting, the original word is there so I don't obsess that I made a mistake by erasing one.

Plus, I love the flow of ink. I'm a very visible-art kind of person so writing with an ink pen is akin to painting words. Best of all, I get to choose the ink color that inspires me. When I was younger, my pen of choice was a purple Pilot ballpoint. Today, I'm partial to blue ink. So much of what I read is in black and white so the mere sight of blue taps into my creative side.

Blue is also my ideal color for meditation. Calming, serene blue. Did you know that writing is, in itself, a form of meditation? Google it sometime—when you're not supposed to be writing, of course. Which leads me to another red light reducer:

2). Remove distractions
Distractions create pauses. If you are not actively submerging in the creative flow, typing out words, focused on the story, then your brain will flip the switch to editor mode.

I have a lot of cool junk on my desk. There's a lovely collection of ravens and skulls (thanks to my endless devotion to Edgar Allan Poe) and a bunch of Dr. Who and Sherlock and Supernatural collectables (because I will go down with that 'ship) and a bunch of other nifty writer things. In fact, my desk is the reason why I don't write at my desk. Ever. Too much to play with... and if I'm playing, I'm not writing.

If I look up from the page, I might toy with a sonic screwdriver. My brain might then toy with something I'd already written. The red light comes on and the editor comes out. And that's not what I want when I'm trying to get that first draft written.

Take the time to make a list of your worst distractions. Internet. The telephone. Your hair, if you're a twister-tugger-fidgeter like me. Identify those distractions and do what you can to limit them. The less you look up from the page, the less likely you are to staunch that green light flow.

3). Plan Ahead by Plotting
Some writers love the freedom of watching a story bloom and unfold right before their eyes, with each sentence taking them further along a path toward a new undiscovered word. That's a beautiful thing, that quicksilver taste of creativity—and it's the reason many of us enjoy writing as much as we do.

But how many of us actually sit down in from of a blank screen without at least thinking where the book is going to go? Precious few, I'd wager. At the very least, we have an idea. A hook. An anecdote. Something.

But if that something isn't big enough for a pantser to go on, it's easy to bang heads with writer's block. (Pantser? Writer's block? If that's the main problem for you, read this.)

So, plan ahead. One easy way to do that is to create your plot outline.


Seems like contrary advice coming from a pantser like me but just hear me out. If you know where the story is going, you can write more freely than if you have to come up with each and every element as you go. A little planning goes a long way in illuminating the path ahead so you don't go bumbling in the dark.

4). Allow Necessary Roughness
A first draft is often called the rough draft. However, writers forget that they are allowed to be rough when writing them. Sometimes, we set unrealistic expectations for ourselves and our writing and feel pressured to make the first draft the only draft.

When I was in college, my freshman lit professor told me she loved my first drafts. I wasn't a budding writer or an English major. I had no thoughts about writing novels. I was a first year pharmacy student who felt more at home in the humanities department and I simply loved my reading and writing assignments. Lit classes were a brief escape from chem labs and white coats.

These days, I still haven't escaped the white coats, but I do still try to put out competent first drafts. It's a weird way to pay homage to my old mentors back in Philly—the pharmacist who writes as if her freshman lit teacher was watching. But these days, there is a big difference.

I'm not going for a grade. I've given myself a lot of breathing room. I allow myself to write imperfectly. I permit roughness in my drafts.

For instance: I use brackets (like this article describes.) If an element makes me stumble, I close it off, skip over it, and keep going.

Skipping the unwritable parts keep the green light going. You can go back and write those spots later, after you've had time to work them out. (That's what second drafts are for, right?)

In fact, I love skipping things. In my current WIP, one chapter has only three words: SOMETHING BAD HAPPENS. The next chapter picks up the narrative once more, with actual scenes and sequences. I'm able to pull this off because of the previous tip about plotting. I know where the story is going so it doesn't matter if I have trouble somewhere.

I just gun the gas and speed past it, blasting through that potential red light. Skipping stuff can be such a rush.

5). Avoid Criticism
It's not enough to allow myself to write roughly in a first draft. I know what I'm writing is not the final product. I know it's going to get better, and deeper, and less riddled with thinly-developed ideas.

But would someone else know that?

Beta readers and critique partners are a writer's best friends. Seriously. We all need a set of impartial eyes on our stories to see the flaws we can't. But a first draft is no place for that kind of critique.

Not only is the story not yet at a place to be properly critiqued—neither are we. A first draft is a place of discovery and experimentation, a place where creativity needs to flow unimpeded. Criticism, at this point, slams the writing light to full red. It forces us to rethink our work, to go back and change. It intentionally switches us to editor mode.

It also does something to our confidence. Even when the critique is gentle and constructive, it makes us doubt ourselves and where we thought our story was going. You might think a critique is necessary at the beginning, that it will save us unnecessary work down the road. I think that's premature. I think that there's a bigger risk of squelching a good idea before it has a chance to be fully developed. That's the worst kind of editing—it's censoring.

That's why I keep my first drafts to myself. I might give a sneak peek of a scene to one of my inner-sanctum betas, just for a taste of what I'm writing. But I never give enough to inspire criticism and I never hand a red pen over with it.

Green Light... Go!
The next time you find yourself stuck in first draft traffic, don't despair. The writer in you has the power to switch that signal and turn that red light green again. You don't need a miracle. You just need to learn how to take back that control.

The switch is all yours. Learn to use it to your advantage.


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Five Ways To Switch Off Your Internal Editor


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How are all the beginners doing in writing? Do you have any questions you want answers to?
What have you written lately? Have you sent anything out?

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Abby would love to be in my mid 40 again. I am 82 heading for 83 in May, God willing.
Try to keep young by hanging around with young people. My son is 50 and married with two kids, one l3 and another l6, which I babysat. I remember 40 was my worst year, but after that nothing bothered me. LOL

I was looking up some children publishers and found a lot in England, but do not want to go that route. I don't know how that works out moneywise, and what happens for income tax, if it is a hit.

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Camey, I love that cover so hard. Better than my NY-published books. ;) And I'm in my mid-40s, so not YOUNG young.

Sheila, that's fun! A lot of work, but I think the end result will be worth it, for you and for others. I hear a lot of GF people gain weight because french fries are gluten free. Good luck!



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Corkie, I wrote a children book with a bunch of short stories. The paperbacks today seem to be coming out with two stories in them. But there are still books with only one. So you have a choice which way you want to go. If you have questions someone here will try to answer it for you.

As for weight, if you have lost weigh in at Benefits for Weight Loss. There are 3 of us now and we could use more. Love to hear how you are losing, from anyone. We all need ideas to help us. Sometimes, the scale stands still and other times it goes up, very slowly down, so any new ideas are welcome.

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I am very creative when cooking. If it works out good I will do it again, if not that is the end of it. I have thought of a cook book but it takes a lot of time, which I don't really have. Just working on a novel took me a year before it was finished. I worked on it after work, but now being retired for many years and slowing down because of being 82, and almost halfway to 83, things go slower getting done and sometimes not done, depending on how I am feeling that day.

I think it is a good idea to talk about your weight because someone else may have the same problem but too shy to post about it. You would be helping them and maybe they would start to ask questions.

If you lost weight you should also put it on Benefits of weight loss. Elf, myself and Cyndie are on there now and losing. I remember being on Weight Watchers, or Diet Workshop, a while back and they said to eat fish 5 times a week. Well, unless you love fish it is hard. I like fish and yesterday I created a wonderful recipe and when I asked dh how he liked it he said it was good, so I know it was as he usually says it is ok. Today was another stir fry one, so I am going to write them down but as far as the cook book goes, it will take years. LOL

We had the salmon yesterday and today we both lost a lb. so who knows, maybe it works. Worth a try.

Abby I did get over to Amazon and read your stuff. Nice pic. You are so young.

Haven't heard from Marian so think she must be on her trip home.

Dot is so busy with a roof and new ac and sickness she hasn't had a minute to come on.

As long as we keep posting we will be here. One board I was on only has the leader as nobody is left there and it is a shame. He is trying to keep it floating. Just hope it doesn't happen here but if we post I am sure it won't.

It was nice hearing from you on the board. I am sure others will respond to your comment.

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I am writing a Gluten Free Cookbook for those who want to lose weight. I know that's not a creative story but it's a book that I believe some folks (like me) need. So I am a bit intimidated signing in here, but I'm dipping my toe in the water so to speak. Maybe I need to put a small bit of myself into the book (I haven't really done that so far) perhaps explain why I am writing the book ...i.e. my own frustration in eating Gluten Free yet lower calorie, high nutrition foods and losing weight. It's not easy to do. I started the book last year and have been too busy with other things to make it a priority and so it has been on the back burner -- okay -- not even on the stove at all -- for the past 11 months. I do want to complete it and have lots more material to put into it.

It's not like writing any other kind of book as one has to test the recipes (and take photos) unless you plan to just put things in that don't work -- or don't taste good. My goal is to revise recipes that are either too high in calories & fat to lose weight or even maintain on and also to make them gluten free. My own allergies drive my interest in this book of course and I have begun cooking and collecting and revising recipes just to survive.

I am encouraged to see others writing and perhaps that will get me moving ahead on my own book. Thanks to you all!

Sheila emoticon emoticon

“Continuous effort — not strength or intelligence — is the key to unlocking our potential.”– Liane Cardes

"If you want to know your future look at your present actions."
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Hi, CorkieMike! Welcome aboard!

what type of story is it? Are we walking My Sister's Keeper with five characters and one main story line, or Robert Jordan with 20 million characters and so many storylines you can't remember them all?

Good luck!



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Most books I have read only have two stories in a paperback book. But they are short stories.
Read up on some publisher guidelines and find out what publishers are looking for in a book.
Some want only 55,000 words, others want 60,000 to l00,000. I went with one story on my first book and the same on my second, which is being sent out to publishers now.

Good to hear from you. How is your weight doing. We have a chart benefits of weight loss in the weight topic section. Be sure to go there if you lose, and also some topics you might want to talk about are there.

Hope you like this group.

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Hi There!! I am new to SparkPeople and I am excited that there is a support group for writers as well as for weight loss. I am often so wrapped up in my weight that I forget that there are other things in life too! I have just started writing after a break of a few years. I had a lot of fun with my first blog and realise how much I have been missing writing. I have an idea for a story and it is turning into a book. So... I need to decide on wether I want a group of short stories in the same setting or if I should incorporate the stories into one. I think I'll start with the first story lol.No more research required.

We are all here to enjoy life, and the people we meet along the way.


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MANIERICHARDS's Photo MANIERICHARDS Posts: 34,807
4/24/15 10:07 A

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How are you new writers doing? Is this board helping you? Are there any questions you need answers to? It is always nice to hear from new writers and how they are getting along with their writing. Some like to write their everyday things in a journal, others short stories, or novels, or poems, or even songs. What are you writing? Let us hear from you.

Tips for Writing welcomes new members. We have changed our logo so people will know we are not only a writing board, but a weight loss one too.
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ABBYSHARPE's Photo ABBYSHARPE SparkPoints: (15,341)
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4/14/15 10:43 A

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So often when I help newer writers and suggest they cut their back story, they usually say, but the reader needs to know this about my character! How else will they know about it?

Readers need to know far less than you think they do. It's okay if every single question raised isn't answered right away. Readers will trust that you'll answer it eventually.



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MANIERICHARDS's Photo MANIERICHARDS Posts: 34,807
4/9/15 11:30 A

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How not to introduce a character in your story.


Cut Your Backstory

Backstory is simply what happened before the story. Writers often use backstory to introduce you to new characters. You get to know where they live, what they do, their habits.

Backstory is like a coffee date with your character.

However, backstory doesn’t move the plot forward. It doesn’t hold any conflict. Basically, backstory is boring.

Here are three reasons why should you cut your backstory.

1. It adds mystery.

Here’s an example of how you should be introducing characters from Marcus’ “What Have You Done.” Notice how he introduces Andrea:


[Paul’s] mother would never, thank God, see him or his abused overfed body for what it was. Even Andrea, at home, had to admit that Paul was not exactly handsome, per se, though when she was being affectionate she told him that he looked serious. He had a fair-minded face, she would say.

Question: Do you think Andrea is important to Paul and, potentially, to the plot of the story?

It sounds like it, right? It sounds like Andrea is his girlfriend or lover or wife. But all we get is clues, hints, like “at home,” or “when she was being affectionate.”

The truth is Andrea is Paul’s wife, but we don’t find this out for two more pages, when she calls to check in on him. Since we don’t know, it becomes a mystery. It makes us want to read on to find out who this Andrea person is.

2. It respects the reader’s time and intelligence.

I once read a genre mystery novel where the first fifty pages were backstory. I quit reading. I didn’t really care what the protagonist’s apartment looked like or what she talked about with her neighbors.

I felt like the author had wasted my time.

Instead of spelling it out for us, Marcus throws us into the story. He doesn’t introduce us into the world he’s created. He doesn’t tell us what everyone’s favorite food is or what they like to do on a Saturday night. He lets us figure it out on our own.

You must have conflict, and if your backstory has no conflict, save your reader’s precious attention and chuck it.

3. You just don’t need it.

Some writers think you can’t sympathize with a character until you get to know them intimately. However, short story writers like Ben Marcus have proven that backstory is non-essential.

You do get to know Andrea, but you don’t get to know her through boring backstory. Instead, you get to know her through what she does.

In the end, it’s the difference between showing and telling. Backstory is telling. Instead, introduce characters by showing what they do.


PRACTICE

Pretend you see five different people you know while shopping at the grocery story. Two are friends, two are former co-workers, and one is your arch-nemesis. You have to introduce each person without giving backstory.

What do you talk about? What do you do? How does your handshake and greeting describe your relationship?

Write for fifteen minutes, and post it in the practice when you’re finished.

And if you post, make sure to comment on a few others.


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4/9/15 11:26 A

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When your reader/audience first meets your characters in a story, it has the same effects as when you are introduced to someone in real life. First impressions have a tremendous impact that you can use either to establish or mislead your reader/audience as to the true nature of each character.

You might tell your reader/audience all there is to know about a particular character right up front. But for another character, you may drop little bits of information over the whole course of the story. And, of course, you want to note how a character's outlook and feelings change as the story unfolds.


Then there is the question of who shows up first? Joe, Tom, Sally, or the Monster? Characters introduced early on become more important to the reader/audience at a personal level, even though their roles may not be as significant in the story at large.

To elevate an interesting character who is not a major player, you may wish to introduce and follow him or until he or she latches up with a major character down the line. Or, you might reveal several characters together in a group activity to give them equal footing at that point in the story.

Who is your Main Character? Do you want to involve your audience immediately by bringing that character in first, or would you rather have them look more objectively at the characters and plot, introducing the Main Character later?

You know all about your characters while your audience knows nothing. It's okay to reveal more about your characters later in the story, but you must lay the groundwork and reveal personality so that your audience can sympathize with them and feel for them as the story progresses. For complex characters, it may take the entire story before all their subtleties are revealed.

Sometimes an author may want to have a character with a dark side, or a hidden side that will be revealed only later in the story. Don't avoid introducing the character, but rather try to introduce their facade as a complete character, making it that much more shocking when they reveal their other face.

Remember, first impressions are lasting, and an audience with the first impression of someone as a good guy, will resist thinking of them as a bad guy for as long as possible. So, don't give hints to the truth right off the bat.


Tips for Writing welcomes new members. We have changed our logo so people will know we are not only a writing board, but a weight loss one too.
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MANIERICHARDS's Photo MANIERICHARDS Posts: 34,807
4/9/15 11:21 A

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Introducing the Main charactersEdit

If you're writing a piece of prose fiction, you want to give a few details that will identify that character

This section of this article is about introducing your main characters (hero, protagonist, antagonist, villain, love interest, ect.)

Example: "The woman in the yellow trench coat.", "Dan always wore a cowboy hat".

Show don't tell. This should be a practice you adopt for your fiction. What that means is; instead of directly telling your reader what your character is doing. Here is an example of telling V.S. showing.

Telling

Mary opened the door. She hated Todd and now she had to be nice to him or she couldn't go on the big school trip.

Showing

Just as she predicted, there he was sitting in the back row on the left. Her legs felt like bricks as she made her way toward that no good snake.

Giving her best fake smile "Todd, I was wondering if you wouldn't mind -of course- make an exception and let me go to the museum on Friday with my friends?"

Tom, grinding his teeth, approached the door. His legs felt like bricks as he turned the knob. This is a great description of a old man called Tom who lives alone and rarely goes out. And one day a newcomer/person knocks on his door."Great idea when character description comes up in homework!"

Notice the use of description in the showing example. "Grinding his teeth" lets us know Tom is not happy about something. Other descriptive words adds to this feeling of dread; grinding his teeth, legs felt like bricks, no good snake.

It is important when introducing your character to do the same. Your reader won't feel anything for him/her if they can't share in the experience with that character.

Having a long list of background information about your character even before the story begins is an easy way to lose your readers. You don't want to bog down your readers with a lot of extra information when they meet this character. Its better to give out details about your characters slowly.

Sometimes the information you want to let the readers know about your character is better off shown through an action. If your character is a pick pocket though his family doesn't know this about him, show him picking a ladies pocket at the playground while he is watching his son on the jungle gym.

Show with action.

Try introducing your character through an action. Describing an action can be more telling of a character’s personality then trying to describe who your new character is to the reader. If your character is an evil person, introducing your character as a 'low down scoundrel' isn't as affective as he or she kicking an old man in front of a bus to save him or herself .

Introducing your new character in the middle of a situation will also make that character shine. If you're writing about a Super hero with super strength, introducing him by having him catch the tractor trailer before it smashes into a little kid will leave a lasting impression in your readers mind.


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2/26/15 5:58 A

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I believe that the best way to become a good writer is to write often.
Let's find something to write about!



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AMARANTH13's Photo AMARANTH13 Posts: 2,246
2/25/15 10:09 P

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I am not a native speaker of English, so that is an extra challenge sometimes. And I tend to mix up British colloquialisms with American slang, or even just get confused between British and American pronunciation. I have asked my friends to point out the proper pronunciation for a word if I mispronounce it for both British and American English, I see no reason to adjust ways of saying words for which people in Britain would not give me a hard time. But a lot of people here in the US have no idea that there are other options in pronunciation.

And there/their/they're is still confusing too, but thankfully I can see I'm not the only one struggling with that ;)

My original language is Dutch, and it's amazing when I listen to the really old Saxon being read or spoken, like Beowulf, I can make more sense of it if I try to listen to it as Dutch than as English!

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MANIERICHARDS's Photo MANIERICHARDS Posts: 34,807
2/25/15 7:00 P

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Jstetser, sometimes, a person typing fast mis-spells and does not re-read. Other times, they will go to edit. But, I do not care if a person mis-spells or grammar is not correct on Spark.
A lot are lonely and may not have the knowledge of grammar and have a hard time with spelling. I just enjoy hearing from them.

But, if they are writers then they should be posting correctly, otherwise, they will get into the habit of doing it wrong, thus spoiling there chances of getting published.

Tips for Writing welcomes new members. We have changed our logo so people will know we are not only a writing board, but a weight loss one too.
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2/25/15 4:49 P

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It should be noted that rereading all materials before posting is important! Spell Check does not pick up every dangling modifier and bring it to your attention!
I have become acutely aware of poor grammar and spelling on the Spark!



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MANIERICHARDS's Photo MANIERICHARDS Posts: 34,807
2/24/15 9:34 A

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Dangling Modifiers



What are modifiers?

To understand what dangling modifiers are, you must first understand what a modifier is in the first place. Modifiers are adjectives or adverbs that modify, limit or provide additional information about something. They are also phrases or clauses that provide additional information. These groupings of words are often found as dependent clauses or introductory phrases at the beginning of sentences; although, modifying phrases or clauses can also appear at the end of a sentence.

How does a modifier dangle?

A modifier describes, limits or provides additional information about a word. For a modifier to work properly, it must have the word it modifies present in the sentence. When this word is missing, a modifier is dangling. The word modified is essentially the person or thing doing the action, so a missing modifier is when the person or thing doing the action is not in the sentence. While catching a dangling modifier is an easy correction in short sentences because it is easy to spot, it proves a more common grammatical error in longer, more complex sentences. You can identify dangling modifiers by locating the first noun that follows the modifier and determining if it makes sense. Consider the following:

Example 1: The sad is very young.

In Example 1, there is a very obvious dangling modifier. “Sad” is the modifier, but worded in this way, the sentence leaves your readers asking “the sad what?” The person that is sad is added to the sentence to correct the grammar mishap, so the sentence is written as “the sad boy is very young.”

Example 2: Planning on making the trip safely, the car is given a thorough inspection prior to the trip.

In Example 2, the modifier is “planning on making the trip safely.” When you ask the question “who is planning on making the trip safely,” the answer the way the sentence is written is “the car.” The car obviously cannot make plans, so a dangling modifier exists. See the below section on correcting dangling modifiers to see the three ways to correct this example.

Ways to correct them

When dangling modifiers appear within your writing, they cause confusion and create unintended, often illogical, meaning. There are three ways you can correct a dangling modifier to return the sense to your sentences.
1.
Combine the modifying clause or phrase with the main clause and add the missing person or thing to create one longer main clause to eliminate the dangling modifier. Reword the sentence as necessary.

Example: She gave the car a thorough inspection prior to the trip to help ensure the trip is made safely.

2.
Keep the modifying phrase intact, and add the person or thing that is modified directly after it. The modifier is no longer dangling when you do this. Reword the sentence as necessary.

Example: Planning on making the trip safely, she gave the car a thorough inspection prior
to the trip.

3.
Rewrite the sentence with the person or thing doing the action in the modifying phrase or clause to keep the modifier from dangling. Reword the sentence as necessary.

Example: When she is planning to make the trip safely, the car is given a thorough inspection prior to the trip.


Ways to identify them

There are four questions you can ask yourself when you are checking to see if you have a dangling modifier. They include:
1.Does the phrase or clause modify the closest noun?
2.Is the sentence logical?
3.Is the noun that follows the modifier capable of performing the action?
4.Is the person or thing performing action identified?

These four questions help you identify dangling modifiers, so you can more easily know when you need to correct them. The questions are especially helpful when you are dealing with more complex and longer sentence structures. When you can apply the correction of this common grammatical error to your writing, you return the sense to your writing and help prevent your readers from growing confused


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2/24/15 9:32 A

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Participles Worksheet

Category: Mechanics

Practice your sentence mechanics with this Participles Worksheet that focuses on recognizing particles and particle phrases. The exercises also require you to identify the noun or pronoun that is modified by the use of participles in each sentence.



Instructions

For each of the following exercises, add parentheses to enclose supplemental information, acronyms and dates or letters and/or numbers in a series. Add or remove any punctuation as needed to use the parentheses correctly.

The recumbent senator firmly squashed any hope the competing candidates had for winning the election when the voting exit-poll statistics were made public.


Rich sees all the animals on the planet as simply sharing his world; he does not view himself as superior to them.


Americans who find themselves propelled into poverty by governmental policies usually harbor resentment.


Mesmerized by the dancer’s breathtaking performance, the opening-night audience held its breath until the music stopped playing.


Having a photographic memory upon which you could recall for any information you needed would feel much like having an internet search engine built into your head.


The onlookers continued hanging around the crime scene hoping to catch a glimpse of something ghastly.


Her car fully loaded with Christmas presents, my sister finally showed up to help prepare for the family gathering.


Since we had not played Monopoly in quite some time, we reviewed the rules pertaining to the purchase and sale of houses and hotels.


The performer was very small in stature, but her powerful voice enveloped the crowd and stunned many people.


My paper is finished, and I have already turned the completed version in for grading.



Tips for Writing welcomes new members. We have changed our logo so people will know we are not only a writing board, but a weight loss one too.
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2/24/15 9:31 A

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Gerunds Worksheet

Category: Mechanics

Check out this Gerunds Worksheet with exercises that test your ability to recognize these verbals. Improve your sentence mechanics by practicing the ability to identify whether each gerund is acting as a subject, object or subject complement.



Instructions

For each example below, identify the gerund. Next, write whether it is acting as a subject, an object (of the verb or of a preposition) or a subject complement.

Two hours of working out every day left Tanya exhausted by the end of the week.
Gerund = ______________
Is the gerund acting as a subject, object or subject complement? _____________


Hanging the photo frames symmetrically proved more difficult than Tom thought.
Gerund = ______________
Is the gerund acting as a subject, object or subject complement? _____________


You should still join us; try sneaking away for an hour while your husband is still at work.
Gerund = ______________
Is the gerund acting as a subject, object or subject complement? _____________


Tim enjoys jogging a few miles every morning.
Gerund = ______________
Is the gerund acting as a subject, object or subject complement? _____________


Winning at strategy games is something at which Tracey excels.
Gerund = ______________
Is the gerund acting as a subject, object or subject complement? _____________


My younger brother found himself grounded for three weeks after disobeying our parents.
Gerund = ______________
Is the gerund acting as a subject, object or subject complement? _____________


Tanner’s favorite winter activity is snowshoeing out to the Eben Ice Caves.
Gerund = ______________
Is the gerund acting as a subject, object or subject complement? _____________


Sometimes simply knowing is better than trying to come up with all the possibilities, even when it is not what you want to hear.
Gerund = ______________
Is the gerund acting as a subject, object or subject complement? _____________


Without practicing as much as you have in the past, you cannot expect to do as well.
Gerund = ______________
Is the gerund acting as a subject, object or subject complement? _____________


Trisha is enjoying every second of her vacation on the Virgin Islands.
Gerund = ______________
Is the gerund acting as a subject, object or subject complement? _____________





Tips for Writing welcomes new members. We have changed our logo so people will know we are not only a writing board, but a weight loss one too.
Come check out this wonderful group, who are waiting for you with open arms.
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2/24/15 9:29 A

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Concrete vs. Abstract Nouns Worksheet

Category: Mechanics

Test your recognition of different noun types in this Concrete vs. Abstract Nouns Worksheet. Ten exercises require you to identify which nouns are concrete and which are abstract to help improve your mechanics with an ability to recognize the difference.



Instructions

For each of the following exercise, indicate whether each noun is a concrete or an abstract noun.

Noun: aroma

Type of noun: __________________


Noun: ceiling fan

Type of noun: __________________


Noun: puppy

Type of noun: __________________


Noun: energy

Type of noun: __________________


Noun: thesis

Type of noun: __________________


Noun: satisfaction

Type of noun: __________________


Noun: love

Type of noun: __________________


Noun: friendship

Type of noun: __________________


Noun: student

Type of noun: __________________


Noun: greed

Type of noun: __________________





Tips for Writing welcomes new members. We have changed our logo so people will know we are not only a writing board, but a weight loss one too.
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2/24/15 9:21 A

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Compound Nouns Worksheet

Category: Mechanics

Utilize this Compound Nouns Worksheet to practice your ability to recognize this part of speech to facilitate stronger mechanics in your writing. The exercises have you identify any compound nouns contained within the example sentences whether they are one word or more than one word.



Instructions

In each of the following exercises, circle any compound nouns. Remember that compound nouns sometimes form one word and sometimes form more than one.

While Chad could not decide whether a dragonfly or a goldfish was a cooler pet, his cat wanted him to choose the goldfish.


While her preferences are a little baffling to me, Carrie’s favorite foods include grapefruit and eggplant.


The drummer desperately needed new drumsticks, so his band played a trick on him and brought him a bucketful of Kentucky Fried Chicken drumsticks.


Her grandmother was dating a fellow almost 20 years her junior, which put the gossip mongers on full alert.


The hidden classroom was out of use for so long that cobwebs lurked in every corner.


The computer’s output capacity exceeded even the IT department’s expectations.


The Halloween teddy bear was so adorable that I could not resist buying it for myself, even though I was shopping for a birthday present for my nephew.


Eating cranberry sauce is my niece’s favorite part of Thanksgiving.


Her jack-in-the-box was Donna’s favorite toy as a child; she could play with it for hours and never grow bored.


When my parents were in high school, they had fewer classmates than most students seem to have today.



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2/24/15 9:20 A

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Transitional Phrases Worksheet

Category: Mechanics

Practice your sentence mechanics with this Transitional Phrases Worksheet. Two different types of exercises help you master making proper transitions through fill-in-the-blank and sentence writing learning tools.



Instructions

“For exercises 1-5 below, fill in the blank with an appropriate transitional phrase (or word), so that the connection between the two sentences is clear.

For exercises 6-10 below, rewrite the information into two sentences. The sentences can stand alone, or you can connect them with a semicolon. Use a transitional word or phrase to make the connection between the sentences. Condense and/or omit information to shorten the final two sentences as you see fit as long as a transition is shown with an appropriate transitional phrase.

Tammy went to the bank to cash her pay check; _________________, she realized her wallet with her identification was still at home.


My mother always believes in staying prepared for any emergencies; _________________, our basement always has plenty of bottled water, canned goods and other emergency supplies.


The right footwear is vital to workout safety; _________________, anyone who engages in a vigorous workout runs a higher risk of feet, ankle and leg injuries with it.


When you smile, you use 17 muscles; _________________, you use 43 muscles when you frown.


Tom always takes a short nap after work because it alleviates any stress from a long day at work; _________________, it gives him more energy to spend the evening playing with his children.


Retirement is a rite of passage after a life of hard work. Too many people view it as punishment for growing old.


Very few people enjoy solitude. Even when they find themselves alone, they flick on the TV, hop on a computer or turn to their cell phone. They let the whole world in, destroying the silence of the solitude.


Claire’s boyfriend loves trying new foods. Claire is extremely picky when it comes to trying new things out on her palette. Cooking for them proves difficult when planning a dinner party.


The recent college graduate was apprehensive about finding a job after sending out more than 50 resumes and not getting a response. Almost five weeks after he mailed the last one, he received several phone calls for interviews.


The list of books I want to read is constantly growing. All my favorite authors keep writing new books faster than I can keep up with them. I rarely have time to read even though I love doing it.



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Infinitives Worksheet

Category: Grammar

Use this Infinitives Worksheet to test your ability to recognize full and split infinitives. These exercises allow you to practice correcting split infinitives to improve your sentence mechanics through rewriting sentences when necessary.



Instructions

For each of the exercises below, identify any full infinitives by underlining them. If there is a split infinitive, circle it, and rewrite the sentence to correct it, underling the corrected full infinitive in the rewritten sentence. Finally, identify whether the full infinitive in each sentence functions as a noun, adjective or adverb by circling the correct part of speech.

To dance on Broadway is the only dream to which she aspires.
Rewrite (if necessary):
The full infinitive functions as (a noun, an adjective, an adverb).


My parents taught me to always believe in myself.
Rewrite (if necessary):
The full infinitive functions as (a noun, an adjective, an adverb).


As the clock ticked, I tried to quickly complete as many answers as possible.
Rewrite (if necessary):
The full infinitive functions as (a noun, an adjective, an adverb).


The manager was known to approve most raises proposed by the division supervisors.
Rewrite (if necessary):
The full infinitive functions as (a noun, an adjective, an adverb).


In order to do well on the exam, you must strive to fully understand all the complex theories.
Rewrite (if necessary):
The full infinitive functions as (a noun, an adjective, an adverb).



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Prefixes Worksheet

Category: Mechanics

Use this Prefixes Worksheet to practice forming new words with appropriate prefixes that improve the mechanics of your writing. These exercises require you to add a prefix and define the new word created by the addition.



Instructions

For each of the exercises below, use the word given to form a new word by adding a prefix. Write the meaning of the word you form below it.

Original word: read
◦New word formed with a prefix:
◦Meaning of new word:


Original word: start
◦New word formed with a prefix:
◦Meaning of new word:


Original word: meaning
◦New word formed with a prefix:
◦Meaning of new word:


Original word: understood
◦New word formed with a prefix:
◦Meaning of new word:


Original word: possible
◦New word formed with a prefix:
◦Meaning of new word:


Original word: belief
◦New word formed with a prefix:
◦Meaning of new word:


Original word: fill
◦New word formed with a prefix:
◦Meaning of new word:


Original word: emotion
◦New word formed with a prefix:
◦Meaning of new word:


Original word: inform
◦New word formed with a prefix:
◦Meaning of new word:


Original word: weekly
◦New word formed with a prefix:
◦Meaning of new word:



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Sentence Fragments Worksheet

Category: Mechanics

Tackle the exercises in this Sentence Fragment Worksheet to work on your sentence mechanics. First identify any fragments and whether the subject or action is missing, and then practice turning sentence fragments into complete sentences.



Instructions

Identify whether the sentence fragments below are missing the subject or the action. Once you have identified what is missing, turn the sentence fragments into complete sentences, rewording when necessary.

Driving on the expressway during lunch hour.


The girl who sat in the corner during the dance.


Whether you want to admit you were wrong or continue to stay belligerent with your unsupported theory.


To prove to everyone else that he could do it.


The doctor, who had just finished his surgical residency.


If no one else has a problem with the decision.


Dancing gleefully across the room to celebrate her unlikely victory.


The football player with his head in his hands in shame over the fumble that cost his team the possession.


All the ideas, thoughts and theories compiled from each student’s notes.


The actress who played the boxer in Clint Eastwood’s “Million Dollar Baby.”



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Interjections Worksheet

Category: Mechanics

Keep your writing mechanics top notch with this Interjections Worksheet. Identify interjections in the exercises provided as a learning tool. Mark each one as a strong or mild interjection, and start recognizing interjections more easily.



Instructions

For each sentence, underline the interjection, and identify whether each is a mild or strong interjection.

Shh! The baby is finally sleeping.


Sure, I’ll go to lunch with you – if you’re paying!


Wow! It is hard to believe she was so totally clueless that she had no inkling her job performance was so poor.


Did you want some cheese with that wine, eh?


Ugh, I am truly sorry, but I cannot make it later tonight.


Hurrah! The NY Giants won the Super Bowl.


Well, I guess my answer depends on what you want as well; as much as I’d like everything to stay focused on me, you are part of this, too.


Uh huh, I’m sure that is exactly what you meant.


Oops! I dropped the carton of eggs on the floor and made a huge mess!


Maybe I am way off base here, but you must feel that way sometimes too, right?



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Coordinating Conjunctions Worksheet

Category: Mechanics

Improve your sentence mechanics with this Coordinating Conjunctions Worksheet featuring fill-in-the-blank exercises. Through writing in the correct conjunction, you learn how to better connect words, phrases and clauses.



Instructions

For each of the exercises below, fill in the blank with a coordinating conjunction that correctly completes each sentence. Sometimes, more than one coordinating conjunction can complete the sentence; however, you only need to write in one of them.

I plan to hit the bookstore this weekend ____________ pick up the new John Grisham book.


She ate lunch about 20 minutes ago, ____________ it is unlikely she is hungry enough to eat a muffin at the coffee shop.


Jonathan’s parents do not know about their anniversary party, ____________ make sure you do not mention it ____________ ruin the surprise.


Since Shelly turned 30, her parents have reminded her that it is about time she settles down ____________ starts a family.


Greg did not want to sell his collectors’ Star Wars toys, ____________ he really needed the extra cash from doing so.


It is snowing heavily; you probably want to wear your boots, ____________ your feet do not get wet.


The secret to happiness is not about making as much money as you can, ____________ is it about what kind of car you drive ____________ how big your house is.


Brent had the highest score on the test, ____________ he did not feel like he knew the material very well.


My weekend was pretty uneventful; mostly I just sat around the house ____________ watched television ____________ read.


Brad left exceptionally early to try to beat the rush-hour traffic, ____________ he still ended up catching the tail end of it ____________ arriving a bit late



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