Be A Better Writer -- FREE FOR ALL

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.

Moderators: mikeedwards, glorybee

User avatar
glorybee
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 2356
Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2005 11:46 pm
Location: Michigan

Be A Better Writer -- FREE FOR ALL

Post by glorybee » Sat May 23, 2015 7:59 am

I’m taking a vacation from these lessons for about two months. I’ve got quite a full schedule for the next several weeks, including two vacations (Florida and Alaska), a short-term (but full-time) job scoring standardized tests online, some family visiting from another state, and a few weekends with my granddaughter. So until the beginning of August (maybe the end of July), I won’t be posting lessons here, either new or recycled.

However, I’m not too busy to check in a few times a day, and to answer any questions or respond to any comments you may have. As always, I welcome suggestions for new writing topics. If you have some time on your hands, you might want to visit some of the previous lessons in this forum. I’ll get an email notification if you post a response, even on older threads, and if you post something that calls for an answer from me, I’ll be happy to respond.

Just a reminder, for those of you who are new-ish: I know at least a little bit about the following topics, and I welcome your questions.

1. The FaithWriters Writing Challenge—judging, entering, improving your performance
2. Editing and being edited
3. Critiquing and being critiqued
4. Common mistakes and pitfalls of beginning writers

Or you could just stop by and chat a bit, if you'd like.
Jan Ackerson -- Follow me, friend me, give me a wave!
http://www.superioreditingservice.com
Twitter: @janackerson1
Instagram: janackerson
Facebook: Jan Worgul Ackerson, Superior Editing Service, Jan Ackerson, writer

User avatar
Shann
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 3469
Joined: Wed Jan 06, 2010 7:35 pm
Location: Western NY super rural

Re: Be A Better Writer -- FREE FOR ALL

Post by Shann » Wed May 27, 2015 7:30 am

Hm, the title free for all doesn't refer to the Alaska trip does it? :mrgreen: I am so jealous. Alaska is my dream destination, and I can't wait to hear all about it. Here's a question for you about the word vicariously. Since the definition is experiencing something through another person, how do you use it? It seems redundant to say, Show me pictures so I can live vicariously through you. I suppose I could say, Take tons of pictures so I can experience vicarious joy. See, even on vacation, you're a great teacher. I've wondered about that for a while but never quite figured it out. Have a blast!
Shann

Shann's Profile

Sometimes God calms the storm; Sometimes He lets the storm rage and calms His child

User avatar
glorybee
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 2356
Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2005 11:46 pm
Location: Michigan

Re: Be A Better Writer -- FREE FOR ALL

Post by glorybee » Wed May 27, 2015 7:53 am

Shann wrote:Hm, the title free for all doesn't refer to the Alaska trip does it? :mrgreen: I am so jealous. Alaska is my dream destination, and I can't wait to hear all about it. Here's a question for you about the word vicariously. Since the definition is experiencing something through another person, how do you use it? It seems redundant to say, Show me pictures so I can live vicariously through you. I suppose I could say, Take tons of pictures so I can experience vicarious joy. See, even on vacation, you're a great teacher. I've wondered about that for a while but never quite figured it out. Have a blast!
Your first use of 'vicariously' is the one I hear most often (live vicariously through you), but there's nothing wrong with the other one, either. Thanks for asking!
Jan Ackerson -- Follow me, friend me, give me a wave!
http://www.superioreditingservice.com
Twitter: @janackerson1
Instagram: janackerson
Facebook: Jan Worgul Ackerson, Superior Editing Service, Jan Ackerson, writer

User avatar
Sibermom65
Pencil 2 (50-99 Posts)
Pencil 2 (50-99 Posts)
Posts: 61
Joined: Mon Oct 27, 2014 6:10 pm

Re: Be A Better Writer -- FREE FOR ALL

Post by Sibermom65 » Fri May 29, 2015 1:02 pm

I also dream of going to Alaska. My friend is in the process of moving there but is stuck in Edmonton where her driver for her 2nd vehicle quit on her. Instead of vicariously sharing the trip with her I'm distraught over the circumstances (I think that's empathy not vicariousness). I've tried to figure out a way to help her myself, but I'll have to just pray that someone else would like to make the Alaskan trip and God will inspire them to help.

Encourager
Pencil 1 (1-49 Posts)
Pencil 1 (1-49 Posts)
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Jan 16, 2011 12:18 am

Re: Be A Better Writer -- FREE FOR ALL

Post by Encourager » Mon Jun 01, 2015 10:28 pm

Hi Jan,
I am getting back into the swing of things here at Faithwriters after months of not writing and I find myself feeling stuck. I used to write in the "Challenges" but I find trying to write an article in one week is a challenge, even though I enjoyed it. So I am working on devotionals instead because there is more time for me to write. I struggle a lot with grammar and I get discouraged when I don't get feedback from other writers. Shann has told me that I try too hard when I write and she is correct. I probably could write in the "challenge" if I would make it simple, relax, and have fun. I would like to brush up on my grammar too but I don't know where I should start. I just feel overwhelmed by all the choices and I desire to keep things simple. :?

Thank you for your help,
Mary

User avatar
glorybee
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 2356
Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2005 11:46 pm
Location: Michigan

Re: Be A Better Writer -- FREE FOR ALL

Post by glorybee » Mon Jun 01, 2015 11:49 pm

Encourager wrote:Hi Jan,
I am getting back into the swing of things here at Faithwriters after months of not writing and I find myself feeling stuck. I used to write in the "Challenges" but I find trying to write an article in one week is a challenge, even though I enjoyed it. So I am working on devotionals instead because there is more time for me to write. I struggle a lot with grammar and I get discouraged when I don't get feedback from other writers. Shann has told me that I try too hard when I write and she is correct. I probably could write in the "challenge" if I would make it simple, relax, and have fun. I would like to brush up on my grammar too but I don't know where I should start. I just feel overwhelmed by all the choices and I desire to keep things simple. :?

Thank you for your help,
Mary
Hi, Mary--

I'm not sure what kind of help I'm being thanked for... :D

I do think that people tend to overstress on the Writing Challenge. If you work hard on not worrying about rankings or ratings on the Challenge, and just use it as an immersive experience in learning to write well, you'll find that the Challenge has considerable benefits. And although there are plenty of places on this site where you can park your writing, it's the Writing Challenge where you'll get the most feedback, especially if you post a link to your entry once the "all clear" has sounded.

As far as brushing up on your grammar--again, that's a bit too general for me to address here. Enter the Challenges and ask for feedback, or put something in the Critique Circle, and you may get some specific feedback on a targeted grammar issue.

If you have a specific question that I can help you with, I'll be glad to give it a shot. If I don't know the answer, I'll find someone who does.
Jan Ackerson -- Follow me, friend me, give me a wave!
http://www.superioreditingservice.com
Twitter: @janackerson1
Instagram: janackerson
Facebook: Jan Worgul Ackerson, Superior Editing Service, Jan Ackerson, writer

Encourager
Pencil 1 (1-49 Posts)
Pencil 1 (1-49 Posts)
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Jan 16, 2011 12:18 am

Re: Be A Better Writer -- FREE FOR ALL

Post by Encourager » Tue Jun 02, 2015 10:12 am

Thanks Jan. I was thanking you in advance because of the grateful reply's you have gotten in the past from other people and I had faith you would guide me in the right direction as well. :idea:
Much regard,
Mary

User avatar
Cinnamon Bear
Pencil 4 (150-199 Posts)
Pencil 4 (150-199 Posts)
Posts: 156
Joined: Fri Nov 03, 2006 12:35 am
Location: Massachusetts

Re: Be A Better Writer -- FREE FOR ALL

Post by Cinnamon Bear » Tue Jun 02, 2015 1:51 pm

Encourager wrote:I just feel overwhelmed by all the choices and I desire to keep things simple.
Mary, I second Jan’s advice. I think participating in the Challenge is the best way to improve writing.

Learning to write publishable pieces is a lot of work. No doubt about it. So I recommend focusing your efforts on the things that are most likely to bring results in a relatively short period of time:


1) If you haven't already done so, find a Challenge buddy or form a buddy group or join an existing group—probably not more than four members. You can advertise for a buddy on this thread:

http://www.faithwriters.com/Boards/phpB ... m.php?f=90

Buddies can help with grammar and punctuation and spot errors caused by “writer’s fatigue”. Also, if you work with the same person or persons over a period of time, they can detect patterns in your writing—some of the patterns may be strengths; some might be things to improve. :)


2) I can't recommend Jan’s lessons enough. Of course since you are on this forum, you may already be using them. But if you perhaps haven't read them in awhile, I recommend starting with her lessons that discuss each of the eight criteria upon with the Challenge entries are judged. Here is the link to the lesson on the first of the eight criteria—how to nail the topic:

http://www.faithwriters.com/Boards/phpB ... 67&t=37777


3) Finally "Ann's Grammar Basics" forum contains many lessons that address specific points of grammar:

http://www.faithwriters.com/Boards/phpB ... m.php?f=69


Cinnamon Bear (Virginia Bliss)
Last edited by Cinnamon Bear on Tue Jun 02, 2015 2:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Encourager
Pencil 1 (1-49 Posts)
Pencil 1 (1-49 Posts)
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Jan 16, 2011 12:18 am

Re: Be A Better Writer -- FREE FOR ALL

Post by Encourager » Tue Jun 02, 2015 2:02 pm

Thank you so much Cinnamon Bear. I appreciate you dropping in and encouraging me, as well. All of you, including Shann, Mike and Bea are getting me so excited to move on to the next level in writing!
:thankssign
Mary

User avatar
oursilverstrands
Pencil Plus (Over 500 Posts)
Pencil Plus (Over 500 Posts)
Posts: 777
Joined: Sun Aug 01, 2010 9:21 pm
Location: Georgia
Contact:

Re: I Wish I Could Say I Know I'm Right, But I Can't

Post by oursilverstrands » Mon Jun 08, 2015 4:20 pm

..."but the theme of the story focuses on risk taking and how each of us, toddlers and adults, deals with risk in our own way.

Okay, Jan, do I pass or fail with the above sentence as it relates to subject and verb? Is "each of us" plural or singular? I took the risk based on what I think I know and chose singular. "Each of us deals..." But then the phrase "toddlers and adults requires the plural "deals," and they fuel my uncertainty; make me think that I could be wrong.

So which one is it? I'm sure there's a link to a lesson on this somewhere. Thanks.

Lillian (trying not to grow rusty during my writing hiatus :-)).
E-Book - Retirement Lane - How to Celebrate Life After 60
https://grammyspen.com
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

User avatar
glorybee
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 2356
Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2005 11:46 pm
Location: Michigan

Re: Be A Better Writer -- FREE FOR ALL

Post by glorybee » Mon Jun 08, 2015 4:40 pm

Lillian, this one is beyond my expertise. Post it to Ann's forum, maybe, and since I speak with her several times a week, I'll let her know to look for it. Sorry I can't help on this one.
Jan Ackerson -- Follow me, friend me, give me a wave!
http://www.superioreditingservice.com
Twitter: @janackerson1
Instagram: janackerson
Facebook: Jan Worgul Ackerson, Superior Editing Service, Jan Ackerson, writer

User avatar
oursilverstrands
Pencil Plus (Over 500 Posts)
Pencil Plus (Over 500 Posts)
Posts: 777
Joined: Sun Aug 01, 2010 9:21 pm
Location: Georgia
Contact:

Re: Be A Better Writer -- FREE FOR ALL

Post by oursilverstrands » Mon Jun 08, 2015 8:47 pm

Oops! I forgot. You did direct us to Ann for grammar questions early on.

Lillian
E-Book - Retirement Lane - How to Celebrate Life After 60
https://grammyspen.com
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

User avatar
dmbowman
Pencil 1 (1-49 Posts)
Pencil 1 (1-49 Posts)
Posts: 20
Joined: Fri Apr 18, 2014 12:10 am

Re: Be A Better Writer -- FREE FOR ALL

Post by dmbowman » Tue Jun 09, 2015 10:22 am

Is there anything incorrect about this statement?

The boy had neither candy nor gum, yet his mouth was full and I could only suppose it was dirt, as a brown substance leaked from the corners of his lips.

MS word has a problem with the 'neither' in it.

User avatar
glorybee
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 2356
Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2005 11:46 pm
Location: Michigan

Re: Be A Better Writer -- FREE FOR ALL

Post by glorybee » Tue Jun 09, 2015 10:30 am

dmbowman wrote:Is there anything incorrect about this statement?

The boy had neither candy nor gum, yet his mouth was full and I could only suppose it was dirt, as a brown substance leaked from the corners of his lips.

MS word has a problem with the 'neither' in it.
It sure looks fine to me! (Also, ewwww).
Jan Ackerson -- Follow me, friend me, give me a wave!
http://www.superioreditingservice.com
Twitter: @janackerson1
Instagram: janackerson
Facebook: Jan Worgul Ackerson, Superior Editing Service, Jan Ackerson, writer

User avatar
Cinnamon Bear
Pencil 4 (150-199 Posts)
Pencil 4 (150-199 Posts)
Posts: 156
Joined: Fri Nov 03, 2006 12:35 am
Location: Massachusetts

Re: Be A Better Writer -- FREE FOR ALL

Post by Cinnamon Bear » Tue Jun 09, 2015 2:17 pm

Hi, Diane and Jan! :)

"The boy had neither candy nor gum, yet his mouth was full and I could only suppose it was dirt, as a brown substance leaked from the corners of his lips."

Should there be a comma after "full"?

Cinnamon Bear

Post Reply

Return to “Jan's Writing Basics”