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Be a Better Writer--ASK ME ANYTHING

These lessons, by one of our most consistent FaithWriters' Challenge Champions, should not be missed. So we're making a permanent home for them here.

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lish1936
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Re: Be a Better Writer--ASK ME ANYTHING

Postby lish1936 » Mon Jul 07, 2014 1:56 pm

Jan,
When using a biblical reference that is a question, does the question mark come after the parenthesis like the period? Or is it included before the parenthesis and before the quotation mark?
Ex. ".....?" ( 1 Cor.3:2). Or is it, "...." (1 Cor. 3:2)?

I would also LOVE to know about your grandchildren, and totally unrelated, but what made you retire from teaching? I know a teacher who is eighty years old and gets to class every morning before the rest of the staff. :shock:


Thanks,

Lillian
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I write even when I think I can't, because I must. :-)

I love to write. Nothing escapes the crush I have on the written word. I'm hooked on words!!

"Let words bewitch you. Scrutinze them, mull them, savor them, and in combination, until you see their subtle differences and the ways they tint each other." Francis Flaherty

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Re: Be a Better Writer--ASK ME ANYTHING

Postby glorybee » Mon Jul 07, 2014 2:34 pm

I'll have to look up the answer to your punctuation question, so I'll get back to you on that one. As to your other questions--I have two precious granddaughters. Piper is almost 5, and the cutest little imp ever. Katelyn is not quite two. She is adopted; her birth mother was a substance abuser, and as a consequence, Katelyn has multiple developmental issues. But she's working hard at everything, and gaining ground every day. She's precious beyond words.

I retired for several reasons. Piper had just been born, and I was needed for part time child care. Also, NCLB had made my job nearly unbearable. We could afford it, and I wanted to try my hand at freelance editing, perhaps even writing.

My thought on the scripture question is that the question mark after the parenthesis seems wrong. I'll do some checking and get back to you.
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Re: Be a Better Writer--ASK ME ANYTHING

Postby glorybee » Mon Jul 07, 2014 2:46 pm

Okay. Here's how to punctuate a Scripture that ends in a question.

"If God is for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8:31).
Jan Ackerson

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Re: Be a Better Writer--ASK ME ANYTHING

Postby Shann » Mon Jul 07, 2014 3:18 pm

I haven't been able to find this answer in any of my resources. Basically, my dilemma is when referring to a person (name or common noun like pastor, teacher) do you use the word that or who? Which is correct:

You should respect a person who is older.
OR
You should respect a person that is older.

Grandma was the type that loved to bake.
OR
Grandma was the type who loved to bake.

My instincts say it should be who, but I find that many people use the word that. I also struggle with when to use the word that. Sometimes I think I'm overusing it like in the purple example above, but other times it feels necessary; however I can't distinguish why I feel that way.

Thank you for being so patient and dedicated even though you are on vacation. I know it means a lot to me, and I'm sure many others feel the same. :D
Last edited by Shann on Mon Jul 07, 2014 3:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Be a Better Writer--ASK ME ANYTHING

Postby glorybee » Mon Jul 07, 2014 3:21 pm

Use 'who' in the circumstances you described.
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Re: Be a Better Writer--ASK ME ANYTHING

Postby Hesalive12 » Fri Jul 11, 2014 1:36 pm

Jan, I am brand new to FW. A Newbie if you will. My interest lean toward poetry but have dabbled slightly in prose. I have an entry for the new challenge but am having trouble finding out how to post it. Perhaps you can give me some help in this matter. I am 68 yrs old and am a retired banker. I had polio as a baby and have never known ambulation as a normal child and adult. Thanks in advance for any help you may give me. God Bless, Chuck

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Re: Be a Better Writer--ASK ME ANYTHING

Postby glorybee » Fri Jul 11, 2014 1:56 pm

Chuck, I'm happy to help.

Go to the Writing Challenge home page, here:

http://www.faithwriters.com/writing-challenge-intro.php

(You might want to save that link in your bookmarks of your computer for future reference.)

Once you're there, look at the links in the left column. Under "Entries," you'll see a link that says "submit your entry." Click that.

You'll be taken to a form to fill out online. The first box is for choosing a level--you should probably pick Level 1 for now.

Then you type your title.

Then you check the appropriate circle for fiction or non-fiction, and whether you want critiques.

Keep scrolling down. You'll see a large-ish box that says "copy and paste your entry here." Do that (you don't have to include the title again).

Once you've copied and pasted, keep scrolling down. You'll see three buttons: Preview, Submit Entry, and Reset. You shouldn't need Reset. I highly recommend clicking "Preview." It'll take you to a page that shows you exactly how your entry will look once it's submitted. If you're unhappy with the spacing, you can fix it--just "X" out of the Preview, go back to the previous step, and add spaces or otherwise tidy up your entry.

When you've got it the way you like it, click "Submit." You should get a message that says "Thank you! Your entry was submitted!" If you don't get that message, you may have missed a step. Try again.

If you have problems with any of these steps, or if my instructions are unclear, please let me know, and I'll try to further clarify. Happily, you have a whole week in which to enter.
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Re: Be a Better Writer--ASK ME ANYTHING

Postby Hesalive12 » Sat Jul 12, 2014 5:31 pm

Hey Jan, Well I am logged in to the main site and the forum site separately. When I click enter on submit your entry it does not go where i can copy and paste my entry. It goes to a page that shows my username and password. Sorry about bugging you so much.

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Re: Be a Better Writer--ASK ME ANYTHING

Postby Shann » Sat Jul 12, 2014 6:01 pm

I think your time has run out so make sure you login on main site then go to the left where it says enter the challenge. That should take you to the challenge page, then once more on the left, hit the button that says submit your challenge. That should take you to a page where you can copy and paste it in the box.

If you do get there, a few things to consider is sometimes it will change the formatting of your story so always hit the preview button so you can see how the article will look to readers. You may need to go back to the other window where you are submitting and manually enter the spacing. (It's a good idea to double space in between paragraphs to give the reader more white space.)

When it looks like you want it to, then hit submit. Sometimes, it you take too long, you may time out and need to login again. If that happens press the back button don't click on submit again because it will erase your story. To be safe, I'll copy the entire thing, then if I do need to login again, I can just paste it in the box.

Lastly, you should get taken to a thank you for submitting page. If you don't see that page, your article wasn't submitted. I hope this helps.
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Re: Be a Better Writer--ASK ME ANYTHING

Postby glorybee » Sat Jul 12, 2014 6:26 pm

Actually, it seems to me that you're being stopped before the point that Shann and I were talking about. Since you're very new, I suspect that the issue may simply be that your registration hasn't been processed yet. I believe it takes 24 - 48 hours. Go to the bottom of any FW page and click "contact us." Mike or Bea should be able to help you.

Still plenty of time to enter, so don't worry!
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Re: Be a Better Writer--ASK ME ANYTHING

Postby glorybee » Sat Jul 12, 2014 10:35 pm

Hesalive12 wrote:Hey Jan, Well I am logged in to the main site and the forum site separately. When I click enter on submit your entry it does not go where i can copy and paste my entry. It goes to a page that shows my username and password. Sorry about bugging you so much.


I'm camping, and I finally got a good enough signal to respond to this again. Chuck, first of all, there's no need to apologize for asking questions. That's what this forum is for!

A question--what happens when you are taken to the page that asks for your user name and password? Have you entered them? If so, what happens then?

Thank you, too, for being transparent about your health history. I have an adult daughter with a mobility handicap, and I can certainly empathize with your daily struggles.

If following the steps I originally set forth in response to your question does not work in by tomorrow, let me know, and I'll contact Mike and Bea. They are always eager to be sure that everyone can use this site to its fullest, and will do whatever they can to help. I hope it's just a matter of waiting for your registration to go through, or a matter of learning the ropes (which can be complicated at first).
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Re: Be a Better Writer--ASK ME ANYTHING

Postby Shann » Wed Jul 23, 2014 11:24 pm

I thought I had this rule down pat, but someone questioned me recently and I looked it up. Unfortunately it was pretty much definitive within most sources, but not all agreed. I'm curious Jan how you feel about using italics for thoughts, silent prayers and something like a journal entry or letter, especially if the MC is reading silently. I've always used italics for an internal dialog unless it went on for pages.

Keep in mind, my main genre is children's books and there might be time in there where it might not work, but usually does. I also do flash fiction, testimony, and devotions. I do encourage people to use italics, especially if they avoid taglines like he thought (I tend to discourage he thought to himself, but I guess that's a different question,.)

So in writing do you put thoughts in italics? What about when editing? Lastly, what do you (and I'd love to hear from others, if you don't mind) prefer when reading?

Thoughts in italics?
Prayers?
Bible verse (short passages)?
Journals or notes?

Thanks for taking the time. It's interesting because I was certain that thoughts or inner dialog should be in italics with few exceptions, but now I'm not sure. There have been some sites that say never, others that say sometimes, and a few that say pretty much all the time.

If the experts don't agree, it's no wonder we all struggle from time to time.
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Re: Be a Better Writer--ASK ME ANYTHING

Postby glorybee » Thu Jul 24, 2014 7:57 am

Shann, you've pretty much answered your own question--experts disagree, and there's no "rule" about using italics for thoughts and prayers. It's very common to do it that way--and in most cases it's what I'd prefer--but some writers put thoughts in quotation marks. I've also seen writers who use neither italics nor quotation marks for thoughts, when they were going for a certain literary effect.

You didn't ask, but I'll add these instances when italics should be used, but many people do not do so:

1. when using foreign words or phrases (unless those words have become very common in English usage)

The ballerina performed a perfect brisé.

2. when using onomatopoeia

A box fell from the shelf with a loud thump.

3. when referring to words as words

Some people use myriad incorrectly.

Additionally, some people are still clinging to the old typewriter rules and using underlining when they should be using italics in titles of books and other long works.

Italics for emphasis should be used sparingly. If your writing is good enough, readers will know what words are important--and what words are not.

Finally, you asked about when characters are reading passages--scripture, letters, journals, and the like. That can be handled in any of several ways, including italics. If possible, a longer passage, such as a journal or a letter, could also be set aside from the narrative with a different font, or by using wider margins and tighter spacing.
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Re: Be a Better Writer--ASK ME ANYTHING

Postby Shann » Thu Jul 24, 2014 11:01 am

Thanks Jan, I've learned a lot about italics these past few days. It makes me feel better that you think it's okay to use them for thoughts. I agree that just like exclamation points, ellipses, and em dashes, these devices need to be used sparingly. I often tell people let the words make your point, not the punctuation.
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Re: Be a Better Writer--ASK ME ANYTHING

Postby lish1936 » Mon Jul 28, 2014 2:26 pm

Jan, I had a chance to use the word attorneys today and realized it was not spelled with an "ies" ending.

I'm sure somewhere around the time I was in grammar school, I learned the rule about when to put a s after y but do you know why the rule exists?

Also just checking that I was right about not putting a comma after today. :D

Lillian
E-Book - Retirement Lane - How to Celebrate Life After 60

Fortunate 500


I write even when I think I can't, because I must. :-)

I love to write. Nothing escapes the crush I have on the written word. I'm hooked on words!!

"Let words bewitch you. Scrutinze them, mull them, savor them, and in combination, until you see their subtle differences and the ways they tint each other." Francis Flaherty

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