Everyone has their own grammar secret; I have trouble with lie/laid/lay and I used to find apostrophes (with plurals that end in s) a nightmare. Don’t tell. This is my second grammar piece (the first on frequently confused words) and it offers more specific advice on prepositions and punctuation.
Many of my examples come from dailywritingtips.com. First up is the use of “absolutely” and the way it is now used instead of a simple “yes” or used to describe something more emphatically, e.g. it was absolutely outrageous. Their point, I think, is that the use of the word is so ubiquitous that it has ceased to mean anything at all. If you need help with commas or a quick revision of colons and exclamation marks, then this is for you. Or if you need help to unpick a couple of idioms, “in store for” and “in the works” read here. Further reading of common preposition mistakes can unpick “at that moment”, “accused of murder” etc.
Finally, this is a great selection of copywriting mistakes from Benjamin Dreyer (Copy Chief) at Random House. Not only does he go over everything that’s a bit tricky (enmity vs. emnity, when it’s okay to use every day vs. everyday) but it looks beautiful too.
All clear? Absolutely.
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I used to work as a Director in a London-based consultancy firm and my job – amongst other things – was to write a ton of reports for our clients. The process of running environmental projects isn’t too dissimilar from writing a book. Believe it or not they share similar phases: there’s a puzzle that needs solving (a real-life problem or a fictional story); you complete loads of research; map out the narrative; get the first draft down; discuss it with other people; edit like crazy; and complete the final document. The only difference with books is that you get to use your imagination considerably more. And dare I say it. It’s a little more fun…Continue Reading
Here’s a great article on the Books & Such blog about any last minute checks you need to do to your submission regarding common grammar mistakes. It’s a good checklist (one of many!) which can be found on the blog here. I’ve attached the full article below.Continue Reading
Found a great revision checklist on Nathan Bransford’s blog (he’s a US author and former literary agent) covering everything that needs to be considered in the revision process, e.g. pacing, voice, writing tics, descriptions, tenses, etc. It’s a really comprehensive list and completely invaluable. The blog entry can be read here but the checklist is provided below in full.Continue Reading
This is a brilliant post by Paul Ashton on the BBC writersroom blog on how to re-write, covering openings, story structure and feedback. The full article is below but you can also read it here.Continue Reading
This is a brilliant article on how to go about finishing a manuscript. Anita Nolan has written a comprehensive guide to rewriting, revisions, editing and polishing. As ever, it’s really handy to know this before you start, NOT at the end (like me!) and she offers some brilliant tips, which really help to cement ideas and streamline the end result. A Step-by-Step Guide to Refining Your Manuscript by Anita L. Nolan can be found on her blog here but this is the article in full (below).