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Posts Tagged ‘Karen Gridley’

Grammar and style pet peeves; don’t we all have them?

A friend sent me a list of someone’s “Top 10 Grammar Peeves” the other day. I agreed with some; others weren’t that big a deal to me. Interesting, what sets off one of us another can brush away with a shrug. I was motivated, though, to come up with my own little list. Granted, most of these are grammar issues – but one or two style snafus snuck in because they also drive me nuts.

1. Me and him

INCORRECT: Me and my partner went to lunch at noon.

CORRECT: My partner and I went to lunch at noon.

Of all the grammar errors going – and there are clearly WAYYYYY too many to list here – this is my biggest pet peeve. “Me” is the object, the receiver of the action. “Me” can never DO anything. “I” is the subject, the doer. Only “I” can do things like go to lunch. How did this horrible construction ever make its insidious way into our regular usage? When I heard David Letterman and West Wing’s John Spencer use it about a week apart from each other, I knew I’d lost the battle on this one. But it still pierces every time I hear/read it.

2. Using apostrophes to create plurals

INCORRECT: The boy’s and girl’s played on the swings.

CORRECT: The boys and girls played on the swings.

I did an entire post about this one.

3. Confusing it’s/its and they’re/their/there and you’re/your

PROPER USE: It’s Tuesday and I checked the mailbox, but your letter is not there yet. I await its arrival so I can share your news with the family when they’re home. I want to get their opinion on whether you’re still the first stop on our vacation.

“It’s” is the contraction for “it is,” just as “you’re” is the contraction for “you are” and “they’re” is the contraction for “they are.” ‘Your,” “their,” and “its” are all possessives. Depending on its use, “there” is an adverb or a pronoun ( in this case, an adverb).

4. Confusing choose/chose and loose/lose

Jane will choose whether to leave her hair loose because last time she chose to wear it up she was a loser in the pageant.

“Chose” is the past tense of “choose;” however “lose” means not to win, while “loose”  means not tight, two completely unrelated words.

5. Unnecessary random capital letters

This one just makes you look like a moron. Really. If there’s no reason for the caps, don’t use them.

6. Using random quotation marks

Less moronic than random capitalization, but only by a hair. Again, if there’s no reason for the quotation marks, don’t use them! And what reason could there possibly be to use them below?

Also was asked by the same friend who sent the grammar peeves list about when to use single quotation marks. This is reserved for a quote within a quote – although the Brits appear to reverse this.

AMERICAN USAGE: Eric said, “I told her I didn’t do it, but she said, ‘You’re a liar.’”

BRITISH USAGE: Eric said, ‘I told her I didn’t do it, but she said, “You’re a liar.”’

7. Unnecessary use of .00 when writing monetary amounts; unnecessary use of :00 and lack of periods in a.m. and p.m. when designating time

This is an issue of correctness if you’re following the AP Style Manual, but I think everyone should adopt this style. Those extra zeroes at the end just take up space and make the writing look cluttered.

LESS PREFERRED: The concert begins at 8:00 pm and costs $20.00.

PREFERRED: The concert begins at 8 p.m. and costs $20.

8. There are/there is constructions.

LESS PREFERRED: There are many doctors who advocate drinking less soda.

PREFERRED: Many doctors advocate drinking less soda.

This goes back to my college days. The “there is” construction is not grammatically incorrect, but it makes for weak writing. You will likely find unavoidable occasions for using it – but generally, reworking the sentence will improve it.

9. Literally means something actually happened – it is not a way to describe something figurative.

http://theoatmeal.com/comics/literally

10. Using only a close parenthesis to create a numbered list.

11. Using two hyphens instead of an en or em dash.

SLOPPY: We no longer work on typewriters – – double dashes are unnecessary in the day of word processors.

PROFESSIONAL: We no longer work on typewriters — double dashes are unnecessary in the day of word processors.

The use of an em dash (—) or en dash (–) [so called because they are roughly the width of an “n” or an “m”] is really a stylistic preference, as is whether to use spaces before and after, although certain style manuals indicate that no spaces before and after an em dash is correct. Using one or the other in place of double dashes is the sign of a professional, versus a lazy writer or, worse, typesetter.

Happy grammar checking!

Laura

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

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Visit the Write | Market | Design Facebook page to meet other authors and aspiring authors who have a sincere interest in writing, publishing, and selling the best books they can. And if you need a self-publishing consultant in your corner for anything from advice on structure to developing a marketing strategy, drop us a note at MarcieBrock@WriteMarketDesign.com or give us a call at 602.518.5376!

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The fastest way to QUIET THE GREMLIN in your head is by acknowledging it!

The other night, I was having a hard time falling asleep because the song “Everybody Have Fun Tonight,” by the mid-80s powerhouse group Wang Chung, continuously played in my mind. You haven’t lived until you’ve danced to the lyrics, “Everybody Wang Chung tonight.” I kept waking up my husband, because as soon as I would settle down and get quiet, there came that goofy tune, tiptoeing back into my head. Finally, I decided to fight fire with fire and successfully headed off the British New Wave duo by whisper-singing my personal rendition of a song I actually like from another 80s supergroup, “Heat of the Moment,” by Asia.

Turns out, mine was one of several methods recommended for combating a stuck song, also known as an earworm. The others, according to researchers at the University of Cincinnati, are:

  1. Play another melody on an instrument.
  2. Switch to an activity that keeps you busy, such as working out.
  3. Listen to the song all the way through.
  4. Turn on other music to get your brain tuned in to a different song.
  5. Share the song with a friend (but make the caveat before you do that it’s not your fault if the earworm jumps from your brain to theirs).
  6. Picture the earworm as a real creature crawling out of your head, and imagine stomping on it.

All of this got me to thinking about the other kinds of things that get stuck in our heads – specifically the doubts and negative self-talk we can habitually repeat, particularly when we’re feeling unsuccessful, less than skillful, or otherwise dejected regarding our book projects. The thing is, we’ve all been there. No matter how much positive reinforcement we give ourselves or how many affirmations we recite, sometimes we let the gremlin run amok.

My coach, Karen Gridley, gave me a great solution for the incessant grumblings of our gremlins. First, she suggested that we recognize that the gremlin’s main job is to protect us. When we’re trying to grow, develop our skills, and push our personal boundaries, the gremlin gets freaked out and just wants everything to stay the same. So it starts jabbering to us in ways our conscious brain can understand and will buy into: “You’re silly for even trying.” “Who do you think you are to write a book?” “There are a lot better writers than you out there.” “You don’t know the first thing about marketing.” “What do you mean you want your little book to be a best-seller?” I’m pretty sure you can fill in the blank for the things your gremlin says to you.

Second, we need to understand that the gremlin is just going to keep on jabbering until we acknowledge it. I work from home, so my coach recommended I actually do this out loud. So the other day, when a particular doubt began to nag at me while I was washing my lunch dishes, I heeded Karen’s advice and talked back to the gremlin. I told it:

OK. I hear you – and I want to thank you for your input. I know you’re just trying to protect me and keep me safe, but here’s the thing. Right now, I’m OK with the progress I’m making, so while I hear what you’re saying, I’m choosing to go in a different direction today. You can either get on board with me, or you can go back to bed. Your choice.

Seriously – I said something to that effect out loud to myself in my kitchen with only the dogs to hear me.

And you know what? The gremlin left me alone after that. No more repeated refrain of the nagging doubt. Just quiet, peace, and the ability to refocus on the mantra I always pull out as soon as I remember to use it: “Everything is perfect exactly the way it is.”

Self-doubt is a real thing. And the longer you’ve been conditioned to listen to the negative self-talk, the more likely you are to buy in and believe it. But it is possible to overcome it. Write some affirmations. Create a vision board. Get a coach or an accountability partner. Just know that you are worthy and that your book contains a valuable message that needs to be shared. If you get stuck, call me up or send me an e-mail. I’m happy to listen and give you a support inoculation!

Happy gremlin busting!

Laura

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

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Visit the Write | Market | Design Facebook page to meet other authors and aspiring authors who have a sincere interest in writing, publishing, and selling the best books they can. And if you need a self-publishing consultant in your corner for anything from advice on structure to developing a marketing strategy, drop us a note at MarcieBrock@WriteMarketDesign.com or give us a call at 602.518.5376!

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Interested or COMMITTED – what’s the difference when it comes to book marketing?

(Please click on image to enlarge.)

Good morning, SBM’s and SBM’s-in-training!* I want to begin with a little question today:

Are you interested in marketing your books,
or are you committed to marketing your books?

As my friend Karen Gridley, the Excuse Removal Expert, says, there is a HUGE difference between being interested (“Yeah, I might pursue that if nothing more intriguing crosses my path in the meantime”) and committed (“I will do WHATEVER it takes to accomplish this goal.”)

Book marketing is not rocket science yes, that old cliche. But the words really apply here, in that marketing your book is neither terribly complicated nor difficult. It doesn’t even necessarily require a huge budget. The thing about book marketing the process of getting your books in front of readers who will buy them is that it does require creativity, strategy, and a significant commitment of time and energy.

The sooner you get started, the more effective you will be. Whether your book is still on post-it notes all over your dining room table or rolling off the presses tomorrow, NOW is the time to start forming your marketing plan and building your platform.

Are you simply interested in marketing your books, or are you truly committed to getting them into the hands of readers who will like them, recommend them, and anxiously await your next release? Only YOU can decide…

See you Monday!

MARCIE

*Savvy Book Marketer

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PREVIOUS POSTS

Monday, June 20 – Take a page from the Boy Scouts: Always be PREPARED!

Thursday, June 16 Are you using the 80/20 RULE when it comes to marketing your books?

Monday, June 13 – RELATIONSHIP marketing is the only way to SELL something personal like a book

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