When, where, and how should you use quotation marks in your writing? It's a question that confuses people and causes a lot of problems for them and not just when it comes to writing dialogue. Today we'll discuss the proper usage of quotation marks in fiction and non-fiction, formal and informal writing.
How do I quote someone in an essay?
First, you need to decide if you're going to quote them word for word or if you want to paraphrase what they said. If they were long winded in their explanation of something, paraphrasing might be best. Otherwise it looks like you are using the quote to bump up your word count without presenting your take on the subject, which can hurt your grade. The best quotes to use in school papers are short, to the point, and given by experts in the topic you're discussing in the paper.
One of the most common things I've seen writers be asked is what their writing schedule looks like. Do you write at set times? Do you have a daily word count goal? Do you write every day or when inspiration strikes?
Each writer has a different answer. We're all different people, so what works for one might not work for another.
Still, I've recently made a slight alteration to my writing schedule that's made a huge difference in my productivity, so I thought I would share.
When and why should you begin a new paragraph when writing? It’s one of those basic writing skills that can still be tricky off and on for even experienced writers. While the rules are fairly simple for formal writing, the added freedom when composing fiction can cause a bit of confusion.
Once again, today’s topic is one where errors tend to make me cringe. It’s to the point where C. L. makes subject verb agreement or comparatives errors on purpose to pick at me because he finds the faces I make in response hilarious. However, these kinds of mistakes irk me for a different reason than negative concord (double negatives) like we spoke about last time.
Each language has its own unique rhythm. The spoken word has been compared to music for good reason. Listening to someone speak well or reading a bit of good writing aloud plays over the ear like a melody. In that context, grammatical errors stick out like sour notes.
At least to my ears, mistakes with subject verb agreement and comparatives sound more like a woodwind squawking than a simple wrong note.
Is your story driven by its plot or by the characters? Does this make a difference? To some, perhaps not. However, some readers prefer one over the other.
What's the difference? It comes down to character development more than anything. Take Battlestar Galactica for example since it's been told both ways. Classic Battlestar was plot driven. Each episode had its own self-contained plot with the search for Earth tying it together, and there wasn't a lot of character development. The characters were there more or less to serve the plot. The 2003 remake was more character driven. Oh, it had plots and subplots to spare, but the plots served more as vehicles for driving character development than the other way around. You have those who love the classic and hate the reboot, and there are plenty of folks who feel the opposite. Those who enjoy both seem fewer in number.
We all have them. Whether it's in our speech or our writing, all of us have words we use again and again without thinking like verbal ticks. For some it's "like." Others, it's "just" or "little" or "almost." It's one thing that makes us sound like us. However, it's also something that can lower the quality of your writing if you don't watch out for it.
Think about it. Have you ever been reading a book or article when a word or phrase starts jumping out at you, simply because it's repeated every few sentences? It kind of diminishes the enjoyment just a bit doesn't it?
You might have heard "don't waste your time editing" before, but make sure you don't take that bit of advice out of context. It is almost always talking about when you're in the thick of writing a rough draft. What is meant is, "Don't use editing as an excuse to never finish." Although it can be used as a method of procrastination, editing is never a waste of time.
If you go back to the tired old metaphor of writing a book as having a child, you can look at it like this. Writing the rough draft is like carrying and birthing the story. Doing the rewrites is like raising it. You're taking the "child" and molding them into the "adult" they will become. Editing is sending that "child" to school. It gives them their best chance at being successful out in the real world. Formatting, the cover art, and back cover blurb are basic grooming and hygiene skills you teach the "child."
If you've been paying any sort of attention to the word count ticker to the right of this page, you may be asking if I just up and deleted most of the rough draft of The Icarus Project. The answer is yes and no.
As sometimes happens, I realized the place where I needed to start the novel was a chapter or two into my rough draft. This time it wasn't because those first chapters were boring, but what's the point of a couple chapters if you're going to end up rehashing them repeatedly on into the book? I took the original first chapter and published it as a short story, which was the original idea when I first started working on this story back in 2004. If interested, you can find "Icarus Awakens" in Daydreams and Myth.
The other half a chapter was deleted in the interest of starting at the best place. So as of today, my rough draft word count is back 4559 out of a goal of 80,000. Between the rest of the week and NaNoWriMo, I'm going to see how close to my goal I can get before December 1.
Who else is planning to participate this year?
New? Begin with lesson one.
You may believe you completed this step when editing, but take the time, and you'll find proofreading your finished and polished manuscript is still needed. You may be amazed at how many nit picky things slip through the cracks during the editing phase. Proofreading is where you go through your manuscript with a fine toothed comb to find all the grammatical, formatting, and spelling errors left in it.
Once again, there are no short cuts for this, admittedly tedious, task. Skipping it isn't a good idea at all. Modern tools such as spell check help, but you cannot rely on them to find all your mistakes and typos for you. However, there are some tricks of the trade to make things easier and maximize your efficiency.
New? Begin with lesson one.
If you can find beta readers you can trust to give you honest and full feedback, between finishing rewrites and beginning edits is a good time to do so. If not, I would suggest setting your manuscript aside for a week or so again before making a couple of read throughs. This will once again give you time to clear your mind and take a step back from the story, thus preventing your mind's autocorrect from overwriting the things you hope to find and correct.
The last time you went through your manuscript, you were looking for the big issues. This time around, you need to still keep those things in mind to make sure they were fixed, but you should be ready to start looking at the details: phrasing, typos, redundant text, grammar, punctuation, spelling, and word choice. These things might be small, but lots of errors sprinkled throughout your work can add up to a big problem. You want to clear your text of all the errors you can find. Otherwise, they can distract your readers from the story.
The Icarus Project
Rough Draft Progress
Myth & Science Collection
Yekara Series Book 2
Icarus Trilogy Book 2
Yekara Series Book 3
Myth & Science Collection 2
Intent Only at this Time
Icarus Trilogy Book 3
Supers Collection 2
Intent Only at this Time
Yekara Series Book 4