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Before You Submit: He – She – They

Do you have a draft of your novel or short story and are thinking of submitting to an agent, publisher or writing contest? My series called Before You Submit might help. This series contains hints and tips I’ve received from professionals in the publishing industry. Each week I’ll share a new tip.

This week I’m going to highlight advice I received last week when I posted my blog. One reader kindly pointed out my mistake, and to me it re-enforces how important it is to have someone else edit my work before submitting the words. Of course, I don’t have an editor for the blog, so I’m on my own.

The rule I broke: Plural and singular must match in a sentence.

The sentence containing my error was:

As usual, this advice is coming from an editor who knows what they are talking about.

If it’s not clear whether the editor is female or male, the corrected sentence is:

As usual, this advice is coming from an editor who knows what he/she is talking about.

I know the editor was a female. so I could also have written:

As usual, this advice is coming from an editor who knows what she is talking about.

I mixed the singular ‘an editor’ with the plural ‘they’. Even at this stage I’m making errors when I know better.

I hope this helps improve your writing.

See Before You Submit:Likeable Characters for the first blog in this series and an introduction the benefits of submitting even if you get a rejection letter.

 

Thanks for reading . . .

 

 

Farley’s Friday: A Wheaten Loses His Shoe

Farley here. I lost my shoe. It’s my fault. I’m hiking on a snow covered trail in the mountains, the sky is blue, my humans are chatting and my nose is alert to all dangers. That’s my job. I’m the protector. If there’s wildlife in the area, I’ll scare it away.

A Lynx has taken up residence in the backcountry behind my house. I haven’t seen it yet, but there are fresh tracks. The fresh tracks I found are following rabbit tracks. Now I’m not stupid. I think the Lynx is having its breakfast out here. What does this have to do with my shoe?

The scent of the Lynx wafts into my nose. It’s ripe. It’s just been here. I bound off the track – that my humans kindly packed flat with their snow shoes – jump over a mound to snow and scramble into the forest. The terrain is steep. I can barely keep my grip with these silly shoes I wear, but I manage. Then, my front paw sinks deep into the snow. I fall flat on my face. When I get up, my shoe is gone. I don’t care. There’s a lynx to catch.

You probably guessed, but I don’t catch the Lynx. I finally give up and return to Kristina and Matt. Matt goes hunting for my shoe. We’ve a long way to go to get home and my paw is cold. He tracks high in the forest while I wait with Kristina.

Now she’s a softy and my foot is freezing. I lift my paw to her to make sure she knows. She takes off her mitts and circles my paw with her palm. That keeps me warm, and we wait for Matt to return with my shoe. Farley's Shoe I ask him if he found the Lynx. He laughs and holds up the shoe. They love me, I’m pretty sure they love me. Woof Woof.

18 Thoughts: Blog Hop

Yay! The amazing Jamie Ayres ‘s final book of her My So-Called Afterlife trilogy is coming out soon, and to celebrate, she’s sponsoring a blog hop.   18 THOUGHTS is the title (after 18 THINGS and 18 TRUTHS) and what could be more fitting than listing thoughts that inspire our lives?

Thanks to  Kidbits for the lead in to this post. I “Borrowed” the first paragraph from her.

The thought that inspires me:

Be Nice1

Thanks for Jamie instigating the blog hop…

Before You Submit: Should Your POV Look

Do you have a draft of your novel or short story and are thinking of submitting to an agent, publisher or writing contest? My series called Before You Submit might help. This series contains hints and tips I’ve received from professionals in the publishing industry. Each week I’ll share a new tip.

This week I’ll write about Point of View Characters looking at things.

As usual, this advice is coming from an editor who knows what he/she is talking about. In an early draft of my novel, I had too many places where the POV looked here, looked there, looked everywhere.  The editor pointed out that if the writing describes something, then the reader assumes the POV can see it.

So a sentence like this:

Kendra submerged herself in the hot tub behind the chalet and waited for dawn. A twig cracked. She turned and looked as a cougar sauntered under the dome of light and silently lifted its upper lip, displaying an impressive array of fangs.

Turned into a sentence like this:

Kendra submerged herself in the hot tub behind the chalet and waited for dawn. A twig cracked. A cougar sauntered under the dome of light and silently lifted its upper lip, displaying an impressive array of fangs.

The second sentence is tighter and hopefully more suspenseful. This is similar to what I posted last week, but I thought I’d include the advice to reinforce checking for ‘saw’ and ‘look’.

I hope this helps improve your writing.

See Before You Submit:Likeable Characters for the first blog in this series and an introduction the benefits of submitting even if you get a rejection letter.

Thanks for reading . . .

Farley’s Friday: A Wheaten Eats Bananas?

Farley here,

I’m a carnivore. Let me be more specific. I like beef. I also like to chew sticks. Now the end of an unpeeled banana feels a bit like a  reed, which if you are honest, could be mistaken for a stick. I try a little, but Kristina won’t let me chew it.

Farley is Banana

Then–

She gives me a piece of beef and I gobble it.

Her hand is out to me a second time. I take the food without looking at it, without smelling it. A bit of a failure as a dog, I guess. I just assume it’s beef. But no! My mouth fills with something soft that tastes horrible. I spit it out and it lands on the floor in front of me.

I sniff the glob and it smells suspiciously like the banana I tried to chew. What kind of crazy owner tries to feed their dog banana? I’m going to be more careful in the future.

Woof Woof

Before You Submit: What a Character Sees

Do you have a draft of your novel or short story and are thinking of submitting to an agent, publisher or writing contest? My series called Before You Submit might help. This series contains hints and tips I’ve received from professionals in the publishing industry. Each week I’ll share a new tip.

This week I’ll write about What a Character Sees.

The advice I received is not to write that a character saw something. Just describe whatever ‘that something’ is. The reader knows you are in a character’s point of view and that the character ‘sees’ what you are describing. For example:

Kendra walked toward the office door and peeked inside. She saw her new boss throwing his phone against the wall.

The recommended change to the sentence was:

Kendra stood in the open doorway to her boss’s office. Her new boss threw his phone against the wall.

This not only shortens the sentence, thereby not wasting the reader’s time with boring details, the change gets rid of stating what the character saw.

I hope this helps improve your writing.

See Before You Submit:Likeable Characters for the first blog in this series and an introduction the benefits of submitting even if you get a rejection letter.

Thanks for reading . . .

Farley’s Friday: Wheaten Winter Hiking

Farley here,

My peeps like lots of sports, but I’m a little more particular. I love nordic skiing and snow shoeing. So do they, but they also down hill ski. I can’t go with them when they downhill, something about a chair lift that I’m not allowed on. I don’t understand why. When we go winter hiking, snowshoeing or nordic skiing I have my own boots. Kristina calls them my hiking boots. I could wear them downhill skiing. I can run fast on the snow and keep up.

Farley hiking

My peeps wear all kinds of gear to go outside, so I know as soon as the helmets come out of the closet, I’m going to be left alone. First, I cry. I give my saddest whine.

Kristina ignores my cry and does up her chin strap.

I run in circles around her legs, I wiggle my tail, and go into a submissive pose.

Kristina puts on her mitts.

I run to the front window and bark.

Kristina and Matt get in the car. I’ve lost this time, but I’ll try again next time.

Just to rub it in, when they return home Kristina shows me the view they get while skiing. Pretty Pawsome, I have to admit.They are looking down at our house where I’m alone, hiding in the basement closet. Being alone can really suck.

View

Maybe someone could invent downhill skis for dogs. Then I could go too.

Woof Woof.

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