Resource Review

Resource Review – Elements of Style

Elements of Style
by William Strunk and E.B. White

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Why I picked it up: This book actually is listed as a recommended resource in The Copyeditor’s Handbook, and I’d been curious ever since I heard of it. I finally made an excuse to buy it (it’s inexpensive, but if you don’t know already, I’m fairly spend-conscious) and I’m really glad I did. I purchased the paperback copy, because when it comes to reference books, I like to be able to flip back and forth easily.

Elements of Style gets straight to the point. It is a nice reminder–or introduction, depending on who you are–of the rules of writing in the English language. It deals with punctuation, clarity, concision, and effective sentences, among other things.

Once the examples were introduced as the incorrect/less-preferable on the left, and the correct/more-preferable on the right, I felt like sometimes I needed a reminder as to which was which, especially if I took a break in reading it for a while. I could have used some more examples and more thorough explaining of the existing ones.

Elements of Style is not the be-all-end-all definitive guide to the English language, and certainly not a guide on how to write fiction, but it is definitely a good resource to have on hand.  As a guide, Strunk and White may have some views on writing that not everyone agrees  on, but the basics are there for the easy taking.

 

Have you ever used this resource? What others do you suggest?

Resource Review

Do More With Your Kindle!

Did you know that you can do more on your Kindle than purchase and read e-books from Amazon/Overdrive/Smashwords/etc.? I’m here to offer another way to utilize this beautiful piece of technology.

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Please note: my experience is based on personal use of a Kindle Keyboard and a Kindle Paperwhite. Other brands and devices may vary.

The following is based on using one simple feature: emailing documents to the device (instructions and link further on).

As a college student, I used this to view the many documents my professors liked to share with us. Not only did it save time, money, and paper, but it was also much lighter and easier to carry around.

As a beta-reader and editor, this feature is super convenient. My experience with Word (.docx) files is pretty easy. Once it has arrived on my device, the highlight and notes features work well for me to record short thoughts or highlight problem areas. While this system isn’t perfect (I haven’t yet seen a way to export the document with highlights and notes), it’s still very convenient. I am able to make my first read-through of a client’s manuscript without being attached to my computer. This has an added benefit: I read their work on more than one type of screen, which is good for catching a better percentage of errors (I am human, after all).

Here’s the technical part of sending documents to your Kindle.

Your Kindle has its own unique e-mail address. On the Amazon website, go to the “Your Account” menu, “Manage Your Content and Devices,” and click “Settings” (the far right choice). Scroll down a bit, and Amazon will list your Kindle e-mail address(es) and their associated device. Recently I’ve found that as long as I send it to one of my kindle addresses, the document is available in the cloud for whichever device I decide to use.

Wait! This isn’t the only information you need. Scroll down just  a little more. “Approved Personal Document E-mail List” contains a list of the e-mails that your Kindle can ACCEPT e-mails from. If you don’t add your address (or wherever your documents are coming from), they won’t get to your Kindle! You really don’t want to know how long it took me to figure out why they weren’t sending at first…

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Amazon’s help page for “Kindle Personal Documents Service” has specific instructions and file types supported.

I hope this has been a helpful tip on another way to use your Kindle. Happy Reading!

Resource Review

Resources! Punctuation and Capitalization in Dialogue

Have you ever said a word over and over again until you aren’t even sure what the word is? Until it loses all meaning and you begin to question the meaning of words at all, to question the meaning of life?

Well, maybe that’s an exaggeration.

Dialogue is one of those things for me. I know how to capitalize and punctuate dialogue, but when I think about it too much, I start to second-guess myself. It’s one of the things I find myself looking up from time to time because my mind has warped my thoughts to the point of feeling like I’ve never known a single thing about it. Usually, when I do look it up, I’ve been doing everything correctly, but it sure is crazy the power of the mind to make you second-guess something you know you know.

This post, Punctuation in Dialogue from The Editor’s Blog by Beth Hill is one I keep coming back to. In a single article it answers most of the questions I find myself asking, and is written clearly. I love that I can easily discern between examples and explanation.

There are some follow-up posts, More Punctuation in Dialogue–A Reader’s QuestionsEven More Punctuation in Dialogue–A Reader’s Question, and a downloadable Punctuation in Dialogue (PDF). I haven’t invested the 99 cents for the PDF, the articles are usually sufficient for my needs.

So, if you find yourself, like me, sitting cross-eyed and contemplating dialogue, I think these articles are a good place to start.

Book Review

Review – Conviction by S. Usher Evans

You guys I am so excited to let you know that Conviction releases tomorrow! Of course, I’ve already got my hands on a copy, and I just have to tell you all about it!

In case you missed it, I brought back my reviews of Double Life and Alliances last week in my From the Vault post.

Find more information about the lovely S. Usher Evans here.

Clink.

Razia is in trouble. Captured by a fellow pirate, she now finds herself back on probation with a bounty worth zero credits. In the cold reality, she begins to question herself and everything she has been working towards all of her life–and what she’s willing to do to reclaim her glory.

Conviction is the third book in the Razia series.

Piracy is a game. What do you stand for?(Goodreads)

So far I think this is my favorite book in the series. I give Conviction 5 stars!

Positives:

  • Lyssa/Razia is as hard on herself as ever, and she finds herself asking the questions I think we all ask ourselves at some point in time.
  • We really get to see some of the guilt that she carries around, afraid to share because she’s afraid of everyone’s reaction. What she thinks will happen, is of course blown out of proportion to what actually does, as is usually the case when we dwell on things.
  • Razia in a dress!
  • A Pirate Ball!
  • Razia trying to work while inebriated.
  • A little bit of time spent with all of my favorite characters, including another Lizbeth scene that made me laugh.
  • Great friends give tough love, but they accept you.
  • CHAPTER SIXTEEN (you now have to read the entire thing to find out what this is)!

Negatives:

  • I really want to slap a character. I guess really that’s actually a positive, but still…Jukin is just terrible.

Other:

  • Overall I felt like there were more little details, more little conversations, that helped to build a fuller and richer picture than the previous two books.

*I received a free copy of this book. That does not affect my review.

Personal

This Week’s Five!!!

Fall This Weeks Five

Five things I enjoyed this week:

  1. Our health is back to normal!
  2. The Creative Penn’s post – Writing And Editing Fiction: 7 Things To Fix In Your First Self-Edit.
  3. The rain! Ok, so I know it’s been a bit much in some places, but rain really does make me happy, so I’m thankful we’re finally getting some (more).
  4. My son woke himself up by laughing one day this week.
  5. There’s an entire bag of candy in the kitchen.

And you know what? Five isn’t enough this week, so here’s some more.

  • I’ve been listening to a “Relaxation” radio station that has been playing mostly piano music, and a lot of them are the hymns we used to sing in church when I was a kid. The songs transport me back in time 20 years, and I’m back in that small sanctuary, listening to the voices all mix and mingle together. It’s a very distinct and peaceful feeling.
  • I got to witness a friend’s novel make it to #2 in Amazon’s Science Fiction > Space Opera best sellers (free), and it has also made it’s way to #12 in the general Science Fiction best sellers. I love seeing others’ success!
  • I’ve decided to do National Novel Writing Month, and this year there are a lot of people I would consider friends doing it, too, so maybe I’ll actually “win” this time because I won’t be all alone.

I could probably go on with some more, but I like to try and keep these short and sweet.

How was your week? What are some things you enjoyed? Anything exciting in the close future?

Resource Review

Resources! National Novel Writing Month – NaNoWriMo

November is National Novel Writing Month. Also known as NaNoWriMo, the idea is to challenge yourself to write a 50,000 word novel within the 30 days of November.

When I first heard of NaNo, I thought it was a great idea, how could there be any cons to such a productive month!? While I find myself planning to attempt this idea again, I thought I might share some of the pros and cons that I’ve come across in the time between first learning of NaNo and now. I think that ultimately, it comes down to who you are and how you work that determines whether NaNo could be right for you. So here are some things to consider:

Pros Cons
  • An opportunity to form a daily writing habit or set numerical word count goals
  • Both online and local writing communities to engage with/in
  • Pep talks and tools to help increase creativity and productivity
  • Feeling of accomplishment at having finished the challenge
  • For some, numerical goals are more harmful than good–they can stunt creativity and productivity
  • Focus on quantity over quality
  • An added amount of stress to daily life that can become unhealthy
  • Feeling of inadequacy if you don’t finish the challenge

When I set out to write this, I felt like I had a lot more to say on the subject…

How about you? Do you participate in NaNoWriMo? Why or why not? Do you agree or disagree with the points above? Do you have anything to add?

Personal

Wandering Souls – A Poem

Hello! In lieu of the usual activities this week, I’ve decided to share one of my more recent pieces of poetry. I hope you enjoy it!

wanderingsouls

Feel free to link back to this post, but please contact me for permission to use the image. Thank you!

Resource Review

Resources! – Twitter Chats

twitter-311922_640Twitter chats have quickly become one of my favorite aspects of social media. They’re a great way to connect with others, talk about a topic, and make new connections you might have never found otherwise.

In “real life” as some might call it, I don’t belong to any local communities–I don’t know the neighbors, I don’t have any “groups” to go to (book clubs, exercise classes, etc.), and I don’t have many local friends. So Twitter chats are a great way for me to engage in online communities gathered around specific interests, learn something new, and make online friends.

Here are some of my favorites:

  • #k8chat – K8chat was also my first chat. Hosted by @k8tilton, this chat usually has a guest and features some topic to do with writing, reading, or publishing.
  • #NAlitchat – hosted by @EJWesley, @CarrieAButler, @KatGirl_Studio, and the @NextLitChat account. This chat features topics about writing/reading New Adult, as well as just hanging out.
  • #10minnovelists – coordinated and also hosted by @10minnovelists, sometimes there are guest hosts, as well. Another group about writing.
  • #StoryDam hosted by @MDragonwillow @TuiSnider @plynne_writes and the chat account @StoryDam. Topics include writing, creativity, marketing, publishing and more. There’s also a website.
  • #NewAdultIRL – hosted by @BookBaristas, this chat talks about topics important in “new adulthood,” with people sharing their thoughts and experiences, and supporting one another.
  • #RQWN – Random Questions With Nori – hosted by @readwritelove28 (and her other account, @rwl28, for when she gets put in “Twitter-jail”). While this chat does not necessarily revolve around any specific topics, you can bet it’s bookish and there’s at least one question about food! A really fun group of people to find yourself interacting with.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of the chats, literary or otherwise, found on Twitter! (I know you know this, but I felt compelled to point it out.) Simply some of my favorites. Jump in! You might just find a friend or community that you’ve been looking for!

Do you like Twitter chats? If so, which ones are your favorites?