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Thread: Sara's 10 Basic Writing Tips

  1. #51
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin bookworm107's Avatar
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    Wow! These are some pretty amazing tips, though not exactly things you havn't heard in one way or another before. Its nice to have them pointed out though...
    Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia. ~E.L. Doctorow

    WIP--Timeless

  2. #52
    figuring it all out
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    Hi, Sara,
    I posted this question in the "Ask Editors" area but got no response. I would like to know what format to use when submitting a rhyming manuscript (think "I'm Gonna Like Me" by Jamie Lee Curtis). Do I single space the two rhyming lines and double space between stanzas or use / to indicate ends of lines? Thanks for any guidance.

  3. #53
    carpe noctem Sarita's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jiggs View Post
    Hi, Sara,
    I posted this question in the "Ask Editors" area but got no response. I would like to know what format to use when submitting a rhyming manuscript (think "I'm Gonna Like Me" by Jamie Lee Curtis). Do I single space the two rhyming lines and double space between stanzas or use / to indicate ends of lines? Thanks for any guidance.
    Hi Jiggs,

    My best advice is to just follow submission guidelines to the letter. If they say double spaced, then go for that. Most prefer everything to be double spaced. If you do that, then your standard spacing between stanzas will be bumped up to quad spacing (I think.)

    I haven't had any experience submitting rhyming manuscripts, though. It might be best to shoot an email out to submissions at the agency in question and ask for their preference if you're unable to find the appropriate information on their website or writer's market listing.

    Thanks and good luck!!


    ~Sara

    "There are moments when, whatever be the attitude of the body, the soul is on its knees." ~ Hugo

  4. #54
    figuring it all out
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    Thanks so much, Sara. I'm thinking I don't want too much space in between lines especially when submitting via e-mail. It would make for a long, skinny letter. I'm not confident that publishers actually respond to questions about format but since this is an issue that I have not seen addressed anywhere I may give that a try. Now I'm wondering how poetry (versus a picture book manuscript) is submitted to publishers. That might give me a clue.

  5. #55
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    These Tips are great, how we can manage our words in sentences, and suing special words for my love anyway, I often do better starting from a small detail or phrase and build outward, rather than trying to write to a larger topic.

  6. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saritams8 View Post
    Read. Read. Read. In a variety of genres and styles. Fiction writers can learn from everyone, fiction and nonfiction alike.
    This is such a good tip. I read so much as a child and I learnt about sentence structure and the mechanics of good dialogue without even thinking about it. It's only looking over my old stories that I can see how much I was influenced by what I read at the time. My reading material is a lot more varied now and I'm getting so much from it.

  7. #57
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin DecSigns12's Avatar
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    I have a question , hope this is the proper place to ask or mods can move this to the correct place.

    My situation is when writing a paragraph for example about college. When you list the courses are they in capitals or lower case?

    For example: I am taking geography , algebra 1, world history and English.

    Thanks bunches!

  8. #58
    carpe noctem Sarita's Avatar
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    According to the MLA, you should capitalize course titles.


    ~Sara

    "There are moments when, whatever be the attitude of the body, the soul is on its knees." ~ Hugo

  9. #59
    The new me oneblindmouse's Avatar
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    Great thread! Thanks for all the advice.

    "Strange Destinies" by Guillermo Rubio Arias-Paz, translated from the Spanish and out now on Amazon and the Endless Bookcase.

    Goodreads

  10. #60
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin DecSigns12's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saritams8 View Post
    According to the MLA, you should capitalize course titles.
    This is reply to my question? If so, that's what I thought. Thanks smile

    I am a Sign Language Interpreter, my assignment is in an English class. The instructor said, to my deaf student don't capitalize these titles. English being a second language to my deaf student was puzzled as why the instructor said that. I was puzzled too as an Interpreter.
    Last edited by DecSigns12; 11-11-2008 at 11:56 PM.

  11. #61
    It's green they say FennelGiraffe's Avatar
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    Capitalize course titles. Don't capitalize general subject areas used as shorthand to refer to a course. (Unless the subject is capitalized for a different reason, such as English or Latin.)

    For example, if "Fundamentals of Geography" is the official course title, write either "I'm taking geography" or "I'm taking Fundamentals of Geography." On the other hand, if "Geography" is the exact title, do capitalize it.
    In a science fiction novel, if I describe what's on a desk, the reader will use this to figure out the level of technology in the society.

    In a mystery novel, if I describe what's on a desk, the reader will understand that one of those objects is a clue.

    In a literary novel, if I describe what's on a desk, the reader will understand it to be a metaphor for the protagonist's mental state.
    - James D. Macdonald, discussing Reading Protocols, 6 Apr 2009

  12. #62
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin DecSigns12's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FennelGiraffe View Post
    Capitalize course titles. Don't capitalize general subject areas used as shorthand to refer to a course. (Unless the subject is capitalized for a different reason, such as English or Latin.)

    For example, if "Fundamentals of Geography" is the official course title, write either "I'm taking geography" or "I'm taking Fundamentals of Geography." On the other hand, if "Geography" is the exact title, do capitalize it.
    If I said, in general, In college you can take geology, computer science and Spanish. Leaving the other two lower case?

  13. #63
    It's green they say FennelGiraffe's Avatar
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    Exactly.
    In a science fiction novel, if I describe what's on a desk, the reader will use this to figure out the level of technology in the society.

    In a mystery novel, if I describe what's on a desk, the reader will understand that one of those objects is a clue.

    In a literary novel, if I describe what's on a desk, the reader will understand it to be a metaphor for the protagonist's mental state.
    - James D. Macdonald, discussing Reading Protocols, 6 Apr 2009

  14. #64
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin DecSigns12's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FennelGiraffe View Post
    Exactly.
    Thanks

  15. #65
    practical experience, FTW scriptor's Avatar
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    Smile Drinking

    Quote Originally Posted by kristie911 View Post
    Drink alcohol. It makes enjoying the process much easier.

    Great advice, Sara...thanks for sharing!

    Thanks Kristie.... yup yup yup... a good stiff whisky is always a great "ice breaker".....
    Scriptor

    "Integrity: what is done, performed or thought, when there is no one around to see, judge or steer your morality."

    I have nothing to fear about getting Brain Damage.... Ya gotta have a brain for that.

  16. #66
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    really nice tips. very helpful. you may also check on the following blog site that i stumbled upon http://wordsbreathlifeagain.blog.com/4129546/

  17. #67
    figuring it all out dropsofjup2's Avatar
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    Smile Reflections

    Thank you for your guidance. It all sounds practical, especially from Maryn and Cassie. Putting knowledge into practice gets a bit tricky for me but, experimenting and creating good habits of those tips that work best is a winning formula for me.
    Carol A. Miller
    Writer/Storyteller
    C. A.Communications
    c.a.communications10@gmail.com

  18. #68
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Its really very nice tips here. It really works.
    spam sigline removed

  19. #69
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    Talking

    Quote Originally Posted by DWSTXS View Post
    So, Kristie, let me get this straight, you are the naked novelist, and you're drinking alcohol.

    Hmmm, well, in my world, that makes you the perfect woman!


    Yes Sara, good stuff !

    HAHAHA... could not have said it better !!! Yup, Yup, Yup.... now I just have to convince my wife... hehehehe..... though she does have an occassional drink.. naked would be better...


    Yea, I can't help it though..... slow and a bit rough... sand paper and I have alot in common....
    Scriptor

    "Integrity: what is done, performed or thought, when there is no one around to see, judge or steer your morality."

    I have nothing to fear about getting Brain Damage.... Ya gotta have a brain for that.

  20. #70
    practical experience, FTW CharlotteAmbrose's Avatar
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    Informative - thanks!
    Jealousy differs from envy in that jealousy is about something one has and is afraid of losing, while envy refers to something one does not have and either wants to acquire or to prevent another from acquiring.

    "I planned to murder the new age Romeo." - Alexandria

  21. #71
    Writer
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    Wonderful tips! I would like to add: Drink lots and lots of tea

  22. #72
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    This is very helpful! I know reading helps, but sometimes it's hard for me to find my own voice and style.

    Thanks again

  23. #73
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin lovemyoldhorses's Avatar
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    Wink In order to move forward, drop your guard at the door!

    I wrote a little story for children and even drew the corresponding pictures many moons ago and let my brother in law read it. He told me I should take lessons in grammar. My own kids liked it, but I stuck the draft in a drawer and have left it there ever since!

    Another time I wrote a few chapters and at a conference let an editor read it. He handed it back and said it was too "contrived". I stuck it in a drawer and have left it there ever since.

    I wrote a full novel and let my friend read it. She said she loved it. Then a member of the writing group I was in read it - a historical writing "expert". She said my facts were screwed or scued . . . I stuck it in a drawer and have left it there.

    To date, I have the makings of a good murder mystery/light romance outline.

    My point? I'm not letting others decide what I should or should not do during the draft processes. I'm finishing this one if it kills me or I die first. I'm not so thinned skin any more and if I ask for an opinon, I'm asking those who know something about the industry, which is why I'm here now, and I'm thinking this too is a "basic writing tip", that is, write and don't worry so much about it and don't be so afraid of the results.

    Wasn't Jaws rejected like 20 times?

  24. #74
    practical experience, FTW scriptor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DecSigns12 View Post
    I have a question , hope this is the proper place to ask or mods can move this to the correct place.

    My situation is when writing a paragraph for example about college. When you list the courses are they in capitals or lower case?

    For example: I am taking geography , algebra 1, world history and English.

    Thanks bunches!
    That is a bit tricky and I have had problems with it myself, Like Sara said the MLA is a great and handy tool to have. I had to go and buy a MLA handbook just to have it on-hand when I need it.
    Scriptor

    "Integrity: what is done, performed or thought, when there is no one around to see, judge or steer your morality."

    I have nothing to fear about getting Brain Damage.... Ya gotta have a brain for that.

  25. #75
    Sheriff Bullwinkle the Poet says: RJK's Avatar
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    I'm not an expert, but I did sleep at a...
    If you are describing a subject i.e. geography, earth science, english, you would use lower case. If you were describing course titles i.e. History 304, Algebra 212, etc. you would use the upper case. I could be way off base.

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