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:

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#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.

Grammarly

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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Author Interview, K.C. Finn

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Interview #75, with “compulsive, convoluted, and complex” writer, Kimberley Finn!

Describe yourself in 5 words:

Compulsive, Convoluted, Complex, Consistent and Complicated!

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

kimberley finn

The Atomic Circus: A Futuristic Mystery

A story is never a good story unless it starts with a murder. The more unusual the murder, the better the story, generally speaking. Meet Caecilius (KAI-KILL-EE-USS) Rex, a young detective in the not-too-distant future, a smog-filled post apocalyptic world riddled with crime and conspiracy.

When a new case quite literally falls at Rex’s feet, he teams up with his neighbour and associate Kendra Nai, an ex-army sergeant recently dismissed, to investigate. Little do they know that the events of The Atomic Circus will be the first step to solving the case of a lifetime.

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

Yet each man kills the thing he loves
By each let this be heard,
Some do it with a bitter look,
Some with a flattering word,
The coward does it with a kiss,
The brave man with a sword!
Some kill their love when they are young,
And some when they are old;
Some strangle with the hands of Lust,
Some with the hands of Gold:
The kindest use a knife, because
The dead so soon grow cold.

– Oscar Wilde, The Ballad of Reading Gaol

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

The writing process is easily the more enjoyable of the two for me. Words flow like blood when I cut open the proverbial vein of imagination, and there’s nothing better than seeing the page fill up with your newly crafted ideas, even if they don’t all get used.

As a self-published author the publication process is a double-edged sword, because it’s very easy to put your work out there and be excited by seeing your books in print, but you can often feel swallowed up in the sea with the thousands of other people worldwide trying to get their work noticed. I believe that perseverance and networking are the true keys to success here, just as they would be if I was trying to secure a big time publisher, but I would rather be connecting directly to my audience and keeping my artistic freedom to write exactly as I wish.

Nicely said! What is your definition of “good writing”?

It keeps you reading, it gives you an emotional reaction (be it good or bad!), and most importantly it never inhibits your ability to understand or enjoy the story being told, because to me the story is far more important than the writing.

Please share your #1 tip for writers:

As a teacher of writing I have five top tips that I give to my
classes, so I’ll share them all here:

* Keep going, even if you don’t think anyone cares.

* If you like what you’re writing, then there’ll be at least one other
person out there who will too, so write for them if not yourself.

* Write every day. And that’s not every day that you feel like it. I
mean every single day.

* Don’t be afraid to big yourself up and make a big deal of your work.

* Take every opportunity that comes at you to show off your work and
your personality.

Cool tips! Your websites/blogs/etc:

www.theproverbialraven.blogspot.co.uk

www.facebook.com/pages/The-Atomic-Circus/148122065353125

www.goodreads.com/author/show/7145212.K_C_Finn

www.amazon.co.uk/K-C-Finn/e/B00DT76UEQ/

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Much thanks to K.C. Finn for stopping by — do visit Kimberley’s Website for more info on her projects!

K.C.’S BIO (in her own words):

finn

Born in South Wales to Raymond and Jennifer Finn, Kimberley Charlotte Elisabeth Finn (known to readers as K.C., otherwise it’d be too much of a mouthful) was one of those corny little kids who always wanted to be a writer. She was also incredibly stubborn, and so has finally achieved that dream in 2013 with the release of her first two novellas in the four-part Caecilius Rex saga.

As a sufferer with the medical condition M.E./C.F.S., Kim works part time as a private tutor and a teacher of creative writing, devoting the remainder of her time to writing novels and studying for an MA in Education and Linguistics.

Her website is The Proverbial Raven.

NOTE: K.C. is launching a new magazine in August called Indie Book Buffet. Keep a lookout for it as there’s a cool giveaway with the debut issue!

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Self-Publishing Tips (Quick Checklist)

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*** Based on an email from an aspiring indie author asking for help with starting out with self-publishing ***

I’ll add this post to a future edition of my Self-Publishing Wiz eBook. Adding to my blog here in case anyone else finds it useful ^^.

long_term

[“Think Long Term” | Image from Canrock Ventures]

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Original Email (from a “19-year-old proud Filipino male”):

“…Oh yes! I have plans to appear as a new writer in the publishing world. I wanna have my own novel and let people know that I am writing such book. But I am pretty much confused as to how I would start my journey after I’ve written one. What will be my first step(s) after I have my novel? ”

Jess’s reply (original email = quick thinking + typing):

First step after the novel is done — I think would be to plan/design a book cover (I usually “think of it” while writing the novel). The book cover has to look good when small image (since people will be browsing it online — has to be eye-catching as a small image).

Follow the Smashwords Style Guide to properly format the eBook version. If you’d like to have a print version, there’s www.lulu.com, www.createspace.com, and www.lightningsource.com (this last one = most expensive option but most professional also).

Some reviews would be good too (like the “members giveaway” programme on LibraryThing). I like to spend more time on production side though. But the reviews are good for credibility. Your book should be “easy to find” from your blog/website/etc also (for new visitors/readers to find).

*** Publishing is pretty much a long-term thing — so I think it’d help if you think of how you want to build up your brand over time. What is your work about / what’s your message / what are the genres you work in (something to attract people to your brand / your books). For me I had/have to usually think about whether I want to write “as an art form” or “commercially.” ***

You have to write a good summary and synopsis for your book also. It must be succinct yet enticing at the same time (people have short attention spans!). Choose good keywords and categories (easier when you have “books in series,” since people tend to buy all the books in a series if they like the first book).

I would recommend first uploading the book on www.smashwords.com (that’s where I first uploaded). Amazon’s would be https://kdp.amazon.com (but I’m not sure about how the international tax forms work). Smashwords allows you to sell on Barnes and Noble and some other retailers under the “premium” programme (which is still free at the moment).

SINCE people like free samples / free things, you might want to do some freebie promos (either mini eBooks, or perhaps a short story, essay, etc.). That allows more people to find you also.

It helps to have *** clearly-defined goals *** from the start — if you want to focus solely on profits, target a commercial niche that has a large audience (thrillers; horror; epic fantasy; etc.). If you have goals that are not just money-related then it’s best to respect those goals also (making a difference; originality; etc.). The good part is that you really have full business and creative control.

Hope that’s not too confusing — I usually just charge ahead and “see what to do” along the way (no structured sequence, lol!).

P.S. I bolded and put a “***” above on the points that were “most important” to tackle, in my personal experience.