The Dog Walked Down the Street

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Fiction writers have few options since readers want the story told straightforward, no messing around. Still, lusty abuse of punctuation marks appears in manuscripts. When a line of dialogue ends in multiple exclamation marks or question marks between exclamation marks, the problem is with the words not having enough weight. What is being said needs attention and the addition of multiple screamers! Read any contemporary novelist with a highlighter in hand, mark any appearances of the screamer, and count them up. Not often, right? Follow their lead. Nonfiction writers as a rule throw any pack of legibility rules out the window as they craft a manuscript.

For reasons known only to them, the MicroSoft Word ruler of Document Elements and SmartArt must be used in order to get their ideas across. Throw in italic and bold in an assortment of typefaces and sizes, and what comes out is the digital equivalent of a ransom note.

Parts of Speech

Making everything important makes nothing important. The reader will be immediately lost on account of so much crying out for attention. Say an agent or editor decides to pick up the manuscript, regardless of its condition. Most of the word processing gewgaws refuse to translate into design programs and someone, likely low-paid, will have to strip out the formatting nonsense.

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They will not like you or the book, and will tell their friends and colleagues about the mangled condition of the manuscript. Since books are sold primarily by word of mouth, you want to avoid hearing these words. Keeping it simple gives the reader room to enter. Discipline is needed to save the eyesight of the human race. Looking at a page of text set in one typeface and size may seem boring at first, but their job is to give voice to the story, not to be the story.


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The best typography is always invisible, so get over your problems about their not being enough variety on the page. The life and energy of a book is always in the text. Warm-blooded creatures that we are, the winter months drive us inside to huddle by the steam radiator the landlord refuses to fix. Finally getting down to hands and knees to scrub the grout growing between the octagonal tiles in the bathroom can only generate so much body heat.

Boot up your computer and zip to www. The umbrella stand is waiting for you, along with helpful clerks to cheer your selection. Right about now is time.

Introduction

NOTE Are you poor, forlorn and hungry? Millions of words in thousands of languages float from ear to page to eye. The choices available to the modern writer are enough that repetition should rarely occur, but it does, and too often.

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This frustrates the modern reader in search of good writing. Instead of clarity, the reader has to wade through the mush of generalizations caused by words so over- and misused they have lost their original sparkle and intent. Finding the right word for the right place is never easy. Know your word before you use it. When you are absolutely, positively, hands-down, thumbs-up sure of the meaning and usage of a word, check it again before whacking at the keyboard.

Before your fingers start to type out this word, stop and think about specifics. You could mean highways, byways, streets, and roads, or strategy, practice, and order. The more concise the writing, the bigger thrill for the reader.

With all these steps, it sounds like every reader is expected to climb a staircase that keeps reaching further from the stated goal. Nonfiction writers take note: Readers are fed up with steps.

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Give them more than this dull, hackneyed word. Laziness always shows itself, and yours should be kept hidden from the reader. Sleep late instead. Conspiracies are in government and against the present government, between friends, and wherever money can be found, like banking and big business also known as collusion when it comes to trial. No matter if you have seen the word appear in journalism or high-priced hardcovers, it is wrong. Knowledge of the tools of writing, the words, helps fiction and nonfiction writers say what he or she wants with precision. Think of words as a treasured resource to be celebrated in every sentence.

Create your own standards of what constitutes clear and accurate writing, and follow them. Be ready to change these at any time; usage is affected by time and genre. Never settle for less than your best.

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A holiday that involves naked cherubs is bound to be disappointing. Eventually you will hit the right combination. Push your cursor over to www. By the bag or by the box, this is the best investment for your romantic future. Too many cooks crowd the kitchen. A constant, or at least regular, reader writes in: Can you point me in the right direction?

I just finished my first novel, had a friend do an edit, and gone over it again myself. What is my next step? The greatest pleasure in the making of books is writing, and even greater is the completion of your very first novel. You may have gone through the agony of quitting halfway through others, but this manuscript is finished and able to stand on its own wobbly legs.

What comes next will decide its future. Be prepared for lots of work. Discover new books on Goodreads. Sign in with Facebook Sign in options. Join Goodreads. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Christian McKay 's review Feb 12, Recommended to Christian by: Suzie. There's some fantastic advice here for those going through the humbling process of becoming a professional writer. From how to properly woo an editor, to picking apart a contract, to performing anti-eyestrain massages, it is without any bullshit.