Grammar Tips

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grammarly

* I used Grammarly to grammar check this post, because I wanted to see if a subscription to the service would make a good gift for my Grammar Nazi friends.

NOTE: I’ve added deliberate spelling and grammatical errors throughout this post to show readers the effect of Grammarly ;) Screenshots included after the post.

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The editing for Bedmates (Wilde Trilogy, Book #2) is going OK. Its my first psychological thriller series and a new genre I’ve been wanting to try since a while.

I thot I’d share an excerpt from the book. This is from Chapter 4 which features the evil girl twin ripping out some Barbie doll heads.

But wait! I made a mistake up there. The chapter with the Barbie doll heads being ripped off is from the first book in the trilogy, titled Playmates.

Here’s a short synopsis of Playmates, along with the excerpt:

SYNOPSIS:

playmates

PLAYMATES (Wilde Trilogy, Book #1)

As kids, Tania and Trevor’s unsupervised play time offers a lifeline to sanity amidst the chaos of family dysfunction. When danger threatens Tania, Trevor isn’t willing to stand by and watch his sister get hurt. The instinct for survival is only rivaled by the killer instincts the Wilde siblings encourage in each other. Instincts that turn into a deadly game igniting their first taste for blood.

EXCERPT:

CHAPTER 4: Tania

The thing I noticed with my collection was that all the Kens and Barbies looked exactly the same.

The “Miss World” one reminded me of Kimi, because they both had long, very shiny hair that I couldn’t get my hair to look like even after two hundred slow, gentle strokes with the hairbrush.

There was a black Sharpie pen lying around on the floor. I remembered that show from the other day where the surgeon was drawing arrows on a porn star’s nose, face, and body.

I took off the “Miss World” Barbie’s clothes and drew arrows in similar spots. Little, little arrows. What I didn’t have was a surgeon’s knife like the one on the TV.

Was it painful, cutting a person’s skin with that cold, sharp blade?

I looked at the doll for a moment. Her face looked really ugly now with the black arrows. I tried to wipe the marks away, but couldn’t, because the ink was permanent.

So I colored two ‘X’ marks over the Barbie’s “boobies,” as Momma called them. I had seen a 19 year-old rapper from Jamaica at the VMA Awards on TV wearing that with a pair of gold pants which were very tight. So tight until her huge ass was almost splitting the seams.

Then I colored the Barbie in between the legs, because I had seen another popstar in one of Momma’s magazines with a blue sticker on that area. I don’t know why the sticker was blue. Maybe because it matched the popstar’s new hair color. Yes, that must be it.

“Now you look even uglier,” I remarked to Miss “World-Now-Undressed-And-Like-All-The-Other-Barbies” Barbie.

I placed the black pen on the floor, before flicking it with my fingernail hard across the floor, so that it spun away across the wooden floor from me. It hit the wall with a sharp thud.

I was suddenly filled with hate at the ugly doll—that was where I was going to end up, lying on a hospital bed unconscious with tubes down my mouth, if I wanted to be “pretty” like Kimi and the Jamaican rapper with the big butt, and everybody else who was on TV getting arrows drawn on their faces and bodies at a doctor’s office.

I grabbed the doll’s head. I ripped it right off. It took a bit of effort with getting the twisting angle right.

But I felt good when the head actually came off. Because it made me feel like I had “won.”

I might not have been the prettiest girl on or off TV. But I knew then that I wasn’t as ugly as the hideous doll.

I reached for a pair of scissors from the tabletop. The edge of the tip of the blade was perfect for slowly cutting along the jagged, arrowed lines on the beheaded plastic body.

Playmates (Wilde Trilogy, Book #1), by Jess C Scott / jessINK

Now I will let some screenshots do the talking re: my experience with using Grammarly.

SCREENSHOTS:

grammarly

#1: Screenshot of Grammarly platform processing the first two paragraphs. The program caught one spelling error (“thot” instead of “thought”); missed out “its” in the second line (“it is” is different from “its” as in “belonging to something”). Refer to Screenshot #5 below.

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#2: Screenshot of Grammarly platform detecting a “plagiarized” paragraph. The program correctly identified where the paragraph was originally from, and suggested some references, including — [APA: Wilde Trilogy: Psychological Thriller Series. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.jessink.com/wilde.htm]

Grammarly

#3: Screenshot of the available “paper type” options on Grammarly (nice!). I selected “Creative” to proofread the excerpt from my psych thiller, since the book was written in a more creative than academic vein.

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Screenshot #4: According to Grammarly, my excerpt contained 7 writing issues and 4 enhancement suggestions (I clicked through the suggestions, all of which were sensible and/or helpful recommendations). The score was 83 of 100 (adequate, can benefit from revision).

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Screenshots #5 and #6: I had faith in the Grammarly platform, so I pasted my blog post again to see if Grammarly would catch the “its” error this time. And it did! As you can see in the right screenshot, the score is 67 of 100 (weak; needs revision). I might have clicked something wrong the first time, since I was still familiarizing myself with Grammarly’s editor interface.

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VERDICT: YES — a subscription would make a great gift for my Grammar Nazi friends!!

I write *a lot*, so programs like Grammarly do make the proofreading process a little less painful and tedious (and that’s coming from someone who doesn’t loathe editing).

If you’d like to try out Grammarly, you can sign up for a free 7-day trial on their website at www.grammarly.com. Let me know how you find it :)

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Interview with Joe Perrone Jr.

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* Interview #74, with mystery writer, Joe Perrone Jr.!

* Note from Jess: Joe was AUTHOR #1 to be featured on this blog in Jan 2010. He’s back with another book in his “Matt Davis” mystery series! One of the books in the series was recently awarded an Indie B.R.A.G. Medallion — you know you’d like to find out which one…

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joe_perrone

Describe your latest book in 5 words:

Victim, no suspects, no motives.

What inspired the plot?

For years, as a guide on the Beaverkill River in Upstate New York, I passed what appeared to be an old abandoned hotel. Finally, I got the idea for the plot from the thoughts of that old hotel.

Ooh, exciting! Share a short excerpt and blurb of your work (10-100 words):

* Joe’s Comments: In my new book, Broken Promises: A Matt Davis Mystery, an 86-year old woman is found shot to death on the grounds of an abandoned, burned-out old hotel. There are no witnesses, no suspects, and no apparent motive. Here’s an excerpt from when it happens:

broken_promises

“I’m here!” she shouts at last, a broad smile spreading across her face. “I’m so sorry I’m la–”

The man turns and starts toward her, but Maggie doesn’t recognize him. As he moves forward, he trips, and suddenly there is a flash of light and a loud crack like a tree being struck by lightning. Maggie feels a dull thud, then a burning pain in the center of her chest; and in just seconds, nothing.

Share some of your favorite quotations (10-100 words): 

“It’s better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.”
—Uncredited

“It was beauty that killed the beast.”
—Carl Denham, from the movie King Kong

“The coin don’t have no say. It’s just you.”
—Carla Jean Moss, from the movie No Country for Old Men

“Shut the f**k up, Donny.”
—Walter Sobchak, from the movie The Big Lebowski

“Leave the gun, take the canoli.”
—Clemenza, from the movie The Godfather

What is your definition of “good characterization”?

Good characterization is when an author creates a character that is so three-dimensional and real that the reader actually cries when that character is killed in the book. Really great characterization is when you, the author, cry, too!

What is it about mystery that you find most appealing?

I guess I find writing mysteries appealing because they permit me to use my imagination to the fullest, and they genuinely challenge my inventiveness.

Neat :) What are some of your plans for the rest of the year?

I am putting the finishing touches on the print and Ebook versions of Broken Promises, so I can publish it as soon as possible (hopefully by the end of July). Then, I will be listening to auditions for the narration of the audio book version. Then, my wife, Becky, and I are going to take a two-week vacation through New England and out to Lake Ontario. Rest. More rest. Then I will resume work on a literary novel I began seven years ago while I was in Charlottesville, Virginia. Of course, I am constantly working with other authors, assisting them with editing, formatting, and book cover designs.

Jeez, I’m tired already!

Your websites/blogs/etc:

My website is: www.joeperronejr.com

My author email address is:
joetheauthorATjoeperronejrDOTcom

My Facebook pages are: Author Joe Perrone Jr. and The Matt Davis Mystery Series.

On Twitter, I am @catsklgd1

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Much thanks to Joe Perrone Jr. for stopping by — do visit Joe’s Website for more info on him and his projects!

JOE’S BIO (short bio):

Opening Day was recently awarded an Indie B.R.A.G. Medallion, and in 2011, As The Twig Is Bent was translated into Portuguese as Pau que nasce torto by Rafa Lombardino of Word Awareness, Inc. of Santee, CA. Plans are underway to translate Opening Day and Twice Bitten into Portuguese in the very near future.

All of Joe’s books are available in paperback or in Kindle editions on Amazon.com

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Author Interview, Clayton Bye

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Interview #67, with writer/editor/publisher/reviewer, Clayton Bye!

Describe yourself in 5 words:

Driven, Contrarian, Writer, Teacher, Friend.

Share a short excerpt and blurb of your work (10-100 words):

clayton

The Town of Me

My days have been
the passing of dreams,
not quite real clouds
built of smoke and dust,
marking each pained
but gritty footstep
with rasping laughter
to steal away
the life-blood of
this aging ghost town,
while colourless
thoughts raised without form
walk through my halls,
echos of silence.

Copyright © Clayton Clifford Bye 2012

Share an excerpt of your favorite author’s work (10-100 words):

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leafs a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

– Robert Frost

Comment on the writing versus publication process, in your experience:

Writing is easy and Publishing is easy. It’s what comes after each event that’s hard. I typically write for 3 months, but then edit and construct for 9. I send the manuscript to the printer and I’m published. Now I must spend a year marketing the book.

Some might say, well…that’s because you self-publish. They would be wrong. The process is identical for all successful writers.

Yes, it’s non-stop work (lol!). What is your definition of “good writing”?

Good writing evokes — new thoughts, strong emotions, and it touches and brings to the surface deeply held beliefs.

Please share your #1 tip for writers:

Write every day, or at least work on a writing related activity.

Your websites/blogs/etc:

www.claytonbye.com

www.shop.claytonbye.com

www.thedeepening.com

And you can find me everywhere on social media.

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Much thanks to Clayton Bye for stopping by — do visit Clayton’s Website for more info on him and his projects!

CLAYTON’S BIO: Clayton Bye is a writer, editor and publisher. The author of 9 books and a varied collection of short stories, poems, articles and hundreds of reviews, he recently published an anthology of excellent short stories by some great talents from around the world. Mr. Bye also offers a wide range of writing services, including small business management for writers.

Poet Interview, Lisa Taylor

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Interview #54, with poet, Lisa Taylor!

Describe yourself in 5 words:

lisa_pic

Intelligent, imaginative, perceptive, reclusive, open-minded.

Share a short excerpt and blurb of your work (10-100 words):

lisa_book

It wasn’t revenge
It was only pretend.
The gun at my temple,
True, it’s the end,
But just of the story
Just of the game.
I’ll pull the trigger
But I’m not to blame.

(Last stanza of “I’m Not to Blame” by Lisa M. Taylor, part of Book of Dreams and Nightmares)

Share an excerpt of your favorite poet’s work:

Astrophobos by H.P. Lovecraft

In the Midnight heaven’s burning

Through the ethereal deeps afar
Once I watch’d with restless yearning
An alluring aureate star;
Ev’ry eve aloft returning
Gleaming nigh the Arctic Car.

Mystic waves of beauty blended
With the gorgeous golden rays
Phantasies of bliss descended
In a myrrh’d Elysian haze.
In the lyre-born chords extended
Harmonies of Lydian lays.

And (thought I) lies scenes of pleasure,
Where the free and blessed dwell,
And each moment bears a treasure,
Freighted with the lotos-spell,
And there floats a liquid measure
From the lute of Israfel.

There (I told myself) were shining
Worlds of happiness unknown,
Peace and Innocence entwining
By the Crowned Virtue’s throne;
Men of light, their thoughts refining
Purer, fairer, than my own.

Thus I mus’d when o’er the vision
Crept a red delirious change;
Hope dissolving to derision,
Beauty to distortion strange;
Hymnic chords in weird collision,
Spectral sights in endless range….
Crimson burn’d the star of madness
As behind the beams I peer’d;
All was woe that seem’d but gladness
Ere my gaze with Truth was sear’d;
Cacodaemons, mir’d with madness,
Through the fever’d flick’ring leer’d….
Now I know the fiendish fable
The the golden glitter bore;
Now I shun the spangled sable
That I watch’d and lov’d before;
But the horror, set and stable,
Haunts my soul forevermore!

Did reading a poem first spark the desire to write poetry, or was it an experience?:

I guess it was reading a poem, though I don’t actually remember which poem. I was nine years old and my family had just gotten internet. I was on the computer browsing. I don’t even remember what I was searching for, but somehow I came across www.poetry.com. I read that people could submit poetry and if they won the contest could win money. Well, I got all excited that I could make a fortune (don’t we all miss the days when a hundred dollars was a “fortune?”) right there off the internet. So I browsed through a few poems on the website and thought, “I can do that!” So I opened Microsoft Word and wrote my very first poem, called “Healed.”

It caused quite a stir, especially when poetry.com decided to send a copy of the poem to my house in the mail and my parents got it. The dark nature of the poem (which you’ll find in most of my poetry) concerned them a bit. But it didn’t matter…after that I was hooked. I wrote sometimes a poem a day, and that’s also what led me to start writing stories later that year.

I remember those days too! I’ve discovered many great literary websites since then (such as dVerse and Word Riot). What goal do you seek through your poetry?

Well, in general, to share my inner world with the outer world! Many of my poems tell stories of epic fantasy or science fiction, and have much the same goal as books I write; to help my readers fall in love with a great story. Other poems are a way of expressing emotions or ideas that people are afraid to talk to each other about because it might be unusual or seen as weird. Come on; even if you don’t talk about your moments of insanity…we all have them. Why not share? My published collection, Book of Dreams and Nightmares, is comprised of poems that describe extremely vivid and interesting dreams and nightmares I’ve had.

Please share your #1 tip for poets/writers:

Be patient. Unless you’re already a well known author with a big name, try going the traditional route before self-publishing. You don’t need to start making royalties tomorrow. Take the time to edit, re-edit and edit again. Then send it to some agents, see what they think. Contact some traditional publishers. Your work deserves all the time in the world if that’s what it takes to make it perfect.

Your websites/blogs/etc:

My author website: http://lisamtaylor.net

My book blog: http://www.writersparty.com

My facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/authorlisataylor

My twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/AuthorLMTaylor

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Much thanks to Lisa for stopping by!

Lisa’s Bio:

Lisa graduated from West Point in May, 2010, with a degree in physics. Soon after, she was medically discharged from the U.S. Army, and following a short time at graduate school, she found her calling in an old passion; writing.

Lisa began writing poetry and stories when she was nine years old, and never quit. Her first publication was Book of Dreams and Nightmares, a horror poetry anthology that was published in December of 2010. In June 2011, Lisa’s debut novel The Hour of Tiamat, a paranormal fiction, was released for sale in print and ebook versions.

Currently Lisa is writing a Young Adult epic fantasy trilogy, which she is super excited about. She also works part time and the local library, and lives with her sister in Kentucky. Her website is http://lisamtaylor.net