Jan 06 2017

Current Projects — Update for January 6, 2017

First Draft

I’m working on six pieces of flash fiction right now. There are a few different themes going on here, and some really interesting characters. I’m hoping to get them finished in the next week.

I’m also working on the second story in a set of children’s stories about a space dragon and the little girl it befriends. I’m hoping to have it finished by the end of the month (sooner if things go well).

Revision

I’m revising my retelling of “Snow White & Rose Red” right now. It’s slow going, but I’m confident that when I’m finished the story will be much stronger and more interesting.

Final Draft

I have one short piece that is nearly finished. I haven’t decided what to do with it yet because it’s not really a short story, but when I do I’ll let you know!

Jan 02 2017

Happy New Year!

January 2 — let’s start 2017 off with a bang, shall we?

This year, on Friday afternoons I’ll be posting updates on my personal writing
projects, and on Monday mornings I’ll post something about my editing work. You may
also want to follow me on Twitter and on Facebook, because I have plans for the year
that will hopefully be entertaining and interesting — and maybe even educational!

On top of all of this excitement, if you have a project you would like me to work on,
please contact me! Mention discount code JAN2017 in your project description, and you
will receive 10% off!

Sep 12 2016

Writing Tips :: Semicolons and Colons

This is a topic that I am not going to delve into too deeply today, but there are a few simple rules that I want to outline briefly.

A colon (:) draws attention to something and is most often used to set off a list or an example. It basically says “look at this” and it either separates two independent clauses (so you could change it to a period and it would make sense) or sets off a list, as below.

I finished the grocery list yesterday: eggs, milk, and bread are definitely on it!

I learned something new today: hummingbirds are really territorial!

A semicolon (;) is different from a colon. It still draws attention to something, but you shouldn’t use it instead of a colon. Rather, you can use it to delineate items in a list (particularly if one or more of the items uses commas) or use it to separate a dependent clause from an independent clause.

I had several stops to make before I could go home: the toy store for a birthday present for my niece; the shoe store for a pair of sandals and some new sneakers; and the grocery store for eggs, milk, and bread.

I have always loved to read; one sign is that I usually have more than one book on the go at a time!

I could get into more detail about how to know which to use, but this brief explanation is enough for now. Don’t neglect these two wonderful pieces of punctuation; they are often forgotten or used improperly, and it’s truly a shame!

Sep 05 2016

September 2016 :: Business

Back to the daily grind! September is the start of my busy season, with NaNoWriMo just around the corner and Word on the Street coming quickly! I also will be taking another course in my Publishing Certificate this fall!

If you have a project that you would like me to work on or a writing-related workshop you would like me to give, please fill out the contact form! If you quote SEP2016 I will give you a 10% discount!

Aug 08 2016

Vacation Month!

I’m taking August off from blogging and am being choosy about work, but if you want to hire me for a project please do fill out the contact form. If you quote AUG2016 you will get a 10% discount on your quote!

I’ll be back in September with all the usual content!

Jul 11 2016

Writing Tips :: Plural vs Singular

If you have more than one of something, that is plural. If you have just one of something, that is singular.

I know this seems really simple, and it is; the thing is, there are little rules that apply when you write about more than one thing.

For example, you do need to pay attention to your verb conjugation. I touched on this in the verb conjugation post back in January.

You also need to make sure you pluralize your nouns properly. Most words can be pluralized by adding an “s” to the end, but some are irregular in this regard. For example, moose = moose; goose = geese; man = men; child = children; and mouse = mice. Meanwhile, noose = nooses; can = cans; and house = houses.

Adjectives don’t need to be adjusted, though. “The green tree blew in the wind.” is just as correct as “The green trees blew in the wind.”

It’s funny how things that we think of as being really easy can turn out to be really difficult!

Jul 06 2016

July 2016 :: Business

June was a somewhat busy month and I took my toddler to Calgary at the end of the month for a nice family gathering. We had a great time and he got to ride a bus for the first time!

I’m hoping to spend July working on a couple of personal projects, but I of course will be available for any editing or writing-related projects that may come my way.

If you have a project that you would like me to work on, or a writing-related workshop you would like me to give, please fill out the contact form! If you quote JUL2016 I will give you a 10% discount!

Jun 27 2016

June 2016 :: Personal Projects

I’ve decided to put How to be GLAD on hold come July 1. July is Camp NaNoWriMo, and I’ve decided to use it to do prep work for the novel I’m going to be writing this coming November. I’ll reveal bits and bobs that tickle my fancy periodically, don’t worry!

I’m also going to start working on the newest rewrite of Tumbling on July 1. I really want to get that squared away, so it’s time to just buckle down and get it done. This will be my second-last draft, so it’s an important one!

The other words-based project I’m working on this month is A Child’s Guide to the BAS. The BAS is the Book of Alternative Services, one of the approved books for the Anglican Church of Canada. The goal of this project is to make it more child-friendly, with more understandable language and some explanations of why we do certain things.

I’m still working on music but haven’t posted anything new just yet. It will happen though!

Jun 20 2016

Word Addiction :: Systemic vs Systematic

I see people saying “systematic oppression” when I am pretty sure (based on context) they men “systemic oppression.”

Systemic oppression is oppression by the system, due to the way the system works.

Systematic oppression is oppression that happens regularly in a particular way.

So systemic oppression can be systematic.

But yeah, when you’re talking about ableism due to the way society thinks of disability, that’s systemic oppression because it’s from/by the system.

I know, confusing. And go ahead and keep using the word that works for you. I just know some people will care and will appreciate the information. 🙂

Jun 13 2016

Writing Tips :: Commas

A few years ago I realized that I was a chronic comma-over-user. Since most of the things I edit are written by people who have the opposite problem, I didn’t really notice it until someone else pointed it out to me. Now I check whenever I want to put in a comma. They aren’t always necessary, though there are a few instances where I will always add them.

Commas and lists

Commas are great in lists because they show where each list item ends and begins. I can take a grocery list like this:

eggs
milk
cheese
macaroni

and turn it into a sentence like this:

I need eggs, milk, cheese, and macaroni.

Commas and ‘and’

One mistake I see a lot is people putting a comma before the word “and” no matter what. That’s actually incorrect. “And” is a conjunction, so it is often preceded by a comma, but it isn’t always necessary. Also, while I am a fan of the Oxford Comma (the comma that goes before the last item in a list — see my above grocery list for an example), you do have to be judicious about where that final comma really goes.

Let’s take a couple of examples.

I closed the door behind me and checked my pockets to make sure I had the keys.

Sarah wrote her name at the top of her paper, opened the test booklet, and began to answer questions.

Billy wasn’t sure he wanted to go on the airplane because it was so loud, and besides, he didn’t need to go to Florida anyway.

Okay, so the first example doesn’t need a comma before the “and” because the two actions are connected. The second example does because it’s a list of actions. The third example does because “and besides” is an interjection; if you took out “besides” you might not need the comma!

Commas and ‘but’

“But” is also a conjunction, but it almost always has a comma before it (like in this sentence).

The computer started to boot but it hung on the loading screen, as usual.

The cat was purring loudly, but its bristling tail indicated its discomfort with the situation.

Commas for breathing

The most interesting advice for commas that I have ever been given was to put them in where I expect the reader to breathe. That’s not actually how to do it, but it’s an interesting idea and why I’m adding it here! If I did that, I would probably use commas even more rarely. I think if you’re going to do this, you should save it for when you’re writing dialogue.

In reality, the proper use of a comma (aside from marking items in a list) is to indicate the end of a clause. A clause is part of a sentence that has a subject (the noun that the sentence is about) and a predicate (the verb and something about the subject). There are two types: independent and dependent. An independent clause can be its own sentence, but a dependent clause can’t. So a comma (often with a conjunction) is used to connect two clauses. You can connect an independent clause with another independent clause, or you can connect an independent clause with a dependent clause (the dependent clause can go before or after the independent one, but you don’t need a comma if you put the independent clause first). Here are some examples:

Peter drew a tree, and it was green. [Independent clause, Independent clause]

Sally ran home with her new puppy. [Independent clause Dependent clause]

Although the bell rang on time, Faith stayed in her seat to finish her work. [Dependent clause, Independent clause]

Clear as mud, right? Happily I am here to help! If you need help understanding commas in your writing, fill out my contact form and let me know!

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