I wanted to take a few moments to explain why I've more or less disappeared online the past month or so.
Part of it has been working on the grammar and creative writing text books I talked about last month. The rest, I haven't been able to talk about before now. You see, beyond working on textbooks, I've been hired on by Foster Academy to teach English and Science for the high school students. Having learned from past experience, as soon as the text books arrived, I started working on preparing lessons, assignments, and the like between teacher work days spent helping set up the building.
Pronouns are words that take the place of more specific nouns. Instead of naming a specific person, place, or thing, a pronoun may be used such as he, she, they, or it. They may be used to make a piece of writing more generic; however, the first rule of good writing should be remembered: clarity over beauty.
Use pronouns only when the noun they are meant to replace is clear. While they can be used to prevent redundancy, replacing most or all of the nouns with pronouns can muddy your meaning. Make sure to leave enough specific nouns in your writing to keep the meaning clear.
Remember how I said Icarus was going on the back burner for a while? Well, I still can't tell all the details about the massive project mostly responsible for the delay. Sorry. However, I've been asked to turn the back to basics grammar and composition course and the creative writing course into full workbooks for a local school.
Considering I've yet to finish writing the back to basics course and need to add lots of exercises, more in depth information, and additional articles to the creative writing workbook, you can imagine how much work this is. That's on its own without this other, larger, project I can't speak about at the moment. So I just plain don't have time to work on drafting Icarus right now, and I won't until these workbooks are finished and off to the printers.
Today’s lesson is about one of the least often used punctuation marks, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need to know when or how to use it. When used properly, colons can add impact, clarity, and conciseness to your writing.
You can think of them like a flashing neon sign that reads, “This is what I’m talking about,” over a section where you clarify a statement you’ve already made. They’re added right before a phrase or list that explains or adds to the sentence before it.
They only had two ways out: fight their way through a small army or risk waking a family of sleeping bears.
There are three states of matter: solid, liquid, and gas.
In both examples, the colon lets the reader know they’re about to be told exactly what the options are in that instance.
Our next couple of lessons will be about two seldom used but useful punctuation marks, the semicolon and the colon. When used properly, these punctuation marks can give you new ways to tweak the clarity and rhythm of your writing.
Colons and semicolons are two different things!
Although a colon and a semicolon look very similar, their uses are different. You cannot use the two punctuation marks interchangeably. You’ll see exactly why this is once you’ve completed both this lesson and the next one on use of the colon.
Have you heard the advice about taking a break between steps in the writing process? As with many things when it comes to matters of art making, there are multiple schools of thought on the practice. Some say it's a waste of time. Others say it's essential. Some prefer short breaks or "pauses," and others believe anything less than months at a time is the same as just plowing through.
Personally, I hold to the pause method. One, just because that's the way I've always worked on an instinctual level, but also because I've learned I need those pauses to produce better work.
Commas are one of the most misused and abused punctuation marks out there. I think part of this is because we’re taught in elementary school that they indicate a pause. This is correct, but people have a tendency to take this a bit too far, including commas whenever and wherever they would pause when speaking. It’s a good enough rule of thumb to get by in a pinch, but you run the risk of overusing them when putting it to practice.
So let’s take a closer look at the comma today. When is it needed, and when is it extra?
Writing their rough drafts exemplify love/hate relationships for authors. When the words come easily, and the scenes blossom full of life and color, it's exhilarating. It's a rush like no other. Other times though, each scene is hazy if you can see it at all, and the words dance just out of your memory's reach. That's when composing becomes difficult and procrastination in all its forms becomes tempting.
I've hit the point where Icarus becomes hazy. Oh, I have it fully outlined. I know what is supposed to happen, but it's all new territory. For most of what I've written in the rough so far, it existed in the old version The Writer's Hood printed back when it was still a thing, or at the very least, I'd worked through scenes in my head over the decade since the e-zine's closing. Having lived for more years and seen more of the world if only through documentaries and news broadcasts changed much of what I'd planned. The entire last half of the novel is brand new, which is just part of why I hemmed and hawed so much following reaching the halfway mark.
Parentheses and brackets are punctuation marks that get misused and abused a lot, especially in the blogging world and fan fiction. If you’re going to use them, make sure you know the rules and avoid a lot of embarrassment on your part and confusion on your readers’ behalf.
First of all, please note most of the rules for parentheses apply to informal writing. They aren’t something you want to use in formal writing except for when giving annotations. For those rules, check the style guide for whichever style you are using to write your paper. The rules for brackets will apply for both formal and informal writing, but they’re almost never needed for informal writing because they apply to quoted material. I mean, how often do you use quotes in informal writing, outside of fiction?
It's been a while since I did one of these. I've been so focused on writing lately, I haven't taken the time to read for pleasure. That's a crying shame though, and I missed it. So I dug out a book I picked up almost a year ago earlier this month.
C. L. and I had the good fortune to have a table next to Patricia Gilliam and her husband at Fanboy Expo Nashville Comic Con last year. Their company was one of the best parts of that convention for us, so I made sure to pick up Out of the Gray, the first book in her Hannaria series, before we headed home.
I already had a few books lined up to review when I got the novel, so I put it in our living room bookcase when we unpacked from the convention. It had sat there and collected dust for months. To be quite honest, I'd almost forgotten about the collection of five or six books I have waiting to be read and reviewed. I was considering checking out some from the library the next time I carry my girls before I remembered all those books at home. Now that I've remembered, I'm going to try and get back in the swing of reading and reviewing the work of other authors out there writing today.
That said, let's get into Out of the Gray.
A. B. England is a small business owner, home-schooling mom, novelist, all around geek, and avid crafter. She loves fantasy, mythology, and all flavors of science fiction.
Yekara Series Book 2
The Icarus Project
Rough Draft Progress
69061 / 75000
Myth & Science Collection
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