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Category Archives: Literary Dos and Don’ts

The real road map. The things that people may or may not know about the world of authorship!

5 Things Authors Keep Forgetting

5 Things Authors Keep Forgetting

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Whether you’re self-published or one of the old-school traditionalists, chances are pretty high that you’ve been guilty of at least one of these at some point in your career. They’re easy slip-ups that can pretty easily leave a bad taste in the mouths of your readers and the kick-ass bloggers who make our little world go ’round.

Humility

**gasp** I know, I know. Why would an author need humility? I mean, you wrote the best novel ever, right? Everyone should recognize that and bask in the glory that is your God-like mastery of the written word. Well, chances are good that you didn’t actually write the best novel ever. As a matter of fact, statistically speaking, you probably didn’t even hit the radar for the Top 100. That’s not to say your book isn’t good, or even great, but let’s be honest here: We can’t all be F. Scott Fitzgerald. Hell, we’ll never even be J.K. Rowling.

That being said, even Nora Roberts knows the importance of humility. Staying humble and remembering that you’re just another human being trapped on a spinning ball of rock, hurling through space and narrowly dodging catastrophic collisions with other heavenly bodies, can go a long way.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: People aren’t going to buy a book just because you tell them to. People aren’t going to buy a book because the cover’s pretty (although the chances are much higher if the cover is actually pretty). People are going to buy a book because they want to support the author. Take a step back and ask yourself if you’re being the kind of person people want to like. Is your social media just link after link after link to your chosen POS? Do you give your readers a chance to get to know you?

Friends and Family are the easy sales, folks. Why would you not want your fan base to be made up of friends? Please, for the love of all things holy (to be read as “cheese”), stop chasing your own fans off!

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Don’t be this asshole!

Marketing

In stark contrast to humility, we’ve got marketing. Much like the hydra, every time you think you’ve ticked a box off the marketing to-do list, fifteen thousand nine hundred and twenty-seven more checkboxes show up to stare at you with their beady little glowing eyes of doom. I can’t tell you how many times I see authors publish and assume the book will well itself.

For most of us, this is probably the worst part of publication. Writers are, by nature, I think, an introverted species. We love to be around people, but only so we can watch them and dissect how they behave and interact with one another so that we might, one day, write that revolutionary piece of literature that strikes to the heart of human relations and rockets us onto the aforementioned Top 100 list. Alas, the moment our subjects turn their friendly gaze upon us, it’s like we’ve been pinned to the wall with razor-sharp daggers. The panic sets in and we start looking for escape routes and silently cursing ourselves for not taking note of the exits like James Bond taught us. There’s only one option left as the guy you’d been watching smiles and takes that first step toward you: Kill everyone in the room and burn the evidence.

Fortunately (or not), most authors are only trained killers in theory, not so much in practice.

As the invader approaches, your brain shuts down, overwhelmed at the idea of actually holding a conversation with another human being. You’re acting on instinct and your fight or flight kicks in. We’ve already established that fighting isn’t really an option, so you run like hell, clenching your ass-cheeks together and faking a case of explosive diarrhea. So much better than having to deal with real people.

This tactic is great for our personal comfort levels, but not-so-great for selling books. You have to be personable. Even with the backing of a major publishing house, authors need to be able to interact with their fan bases. You’ve gotta talk to people, folks. I know it’s hard. I know it’s terrifying. I also know it’s necessary.

My method is simple: I interact like mad on Facebook (the easy part) and I’ve gone to carrying business cards around in my wallet. All it takes is a simple “Hello, I just published my first (or tenth) book. What are you doing with your life?” (You can probably drop off that last part for the sake of humility, but you get the picture.)

The moment someone finds out you’re an author, there will be one of two responses:
1) “I don’t read. When does the movie come out?”If this is the response you get, all you have to do is remember the time you had to Google self-defense for that one scene and aim for the throat.
2) “You write books? Where can I get them?” BINGO. Hand them a business card, smile, and pull up your Amazon reviews on your smart phone. Chances are good they’ll pull out their own phone then and there and one-click that shiz! (I did this four times yesterday and sold four books.)

Blog

This one is my personal downfall. I forget to blog (I think it’s been almost a year since my last post) and it’s really hard to get into the habit.

My reasoning behind this little piece of advice is simple: It gives readers a free taste of your writing style and it’s a free marketing tool to get your name out there. You can’t really ask for a more effective tool.

Read

This one seems like a no-brainer, but stop and ask yourself how long it’s been since you’ve taken time away from writing to actually read. Personally, I go through a book or two a week. Primarily because it’s easier to read at my day job than it is to write.

You need to read. Especially in your genre. It’s a roadmap to better writing. It keeps your eyes sharp (“Why would you put a comma there?” or “OMG! Typo!”) and it trains your brain to think in a more natural cadence. You’ll find that the more you read, the less you’ll find yourself editing when that first draft is finished. It’s also a fantastic tool for overcoming writer’s block. My favorite thing in the world is when I finish a good book and suddenly can’t wait to sit down at the computer and bang out all the words. Nora Roberts in particular has a penchant for making me want to write.

Review

This one is a touchy subject for many authors and, honestly, I can’t say I blame them. Leaving honest reviews is hard for everyone. Leaving an honest “bad” review is even more difficult. A lot of the authors I know simply refuse to leave reviews because they’re afraid that author will send their cronies out to destroy their reputation.

Here’s my advice: Be respectful, be honest, and be constructive. This community can be brutal. There’s no denying that. However, we know that reviews can make or break an author. We spend a good portion of our time trying to convince people to leave them for us. Why would we not be willing to do the same for a fellow author?

If you find yourself in the unfortunate position of leaving a less-than-stellar review, be sure to tell the author why it didn’t resonate with you. Especially if you’re like me and pay money for your books, even if you receive an ARC. I am entitled to my opinion and, if you’re a professional, you can take a little criticism and find a way to make yourself better.

We, meaning authors, have to learn to take criticism. As nice as it would be, we can’t all win a trophy. That’s not how the world works. There are no “safe zones” and yes, words can hurt like a bitch. But they also have the power to create change. As authors, that should always be our goal. We’re in the very unique position of knowing what a bad review feels like and also knowing that we could all use a little advice every now and then. Take the bad reviews with a grain of salt and find the nugget of good advice that can generally be found in every single review you receive. Sticking your head in the sand or throwing a temper tantrum isn’t going to make it go away. It’s either going to make you continue writing poorly or it’s going to make people afraid to leave reviews altogether. Neither option is good for your career or mine.

As always, I hope these tips have been helpful! If you have an aspect of ‘The Biz’ you’d like me to talk about, let me know down in the comments! I’ve been through the process of publishing seven times now and I’m always happy to share what I’ve learned!

You can also connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, G+, and Instagram.

Oh, and BUY MY BOOKS!

Happy writing! ~D

 

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DO: Promote


This, my friends, is an endless, uphill battle. It’s also a terrifyingly fine line to walk.

You can only blast your social media circles with BUY MY book posts so many times before people start hiding (or worse, unfollowing) you, right? I mean, we’ve all done it. We all know at least ONE of those people who uses social media for absolutely NOTHING but pushing sales.

This post will, in the long run, be one of those.

For now, let’s talk about HOW you should be promoting.

Instead of scheduling posts with buy links to go live every hour on the hour and then walking away from your page, you should probably try to be a little more engaging. There are MILLIONS of books for your readers to choose from. If they were only in it for the book, nobody would ever be able to make a decision. Successful authors are the ones who remember who pays the bills. TALK TO YOUR FANS, DAMMIT!

It’s insane how often I see fledgling indie authors who don’t do this. People aren’t going to buy your book just because you tell them to. People are going to buy your book PRIMARILY because they like YOU. My fans are fans of ME first and my work second. Why is that? Well, because I talk to them. If someone can take the time to comment on my status, the LEAST I can do is like said comment. USUALLY, I end up having quite a back and forth with them. Our conversations, on a normal day, range from about 5 replies to 20 replies. 10 to 40 seconds of my day was given to that person and chances are pretty good that that alone will land me future sales.

Pretty good investment if you ask me.

Interacting with your fan base is THE most important aspect of being a successful ANYTHING.

Followed shortly by generating word-of-mouth. This is where the actual quality of your work comes into play. Now that you have your die hard 1-clickers, you need to give them something that they can talk about with their friends and family. If one of my friends says to me, “OMG! You NEED to read this book!” I’m MUCH more likely to actually pick it up VS the author of the book telling me, “OMG! You NEED to read this book!” I mean… Of COURSE the author is going to say that, right? Another relatively simple way to get some buzz going is to reach out to book bloggers.

These people LOVE to read and they LOVE to talk about reading. 99.9% of the time all you have to do is go to their Facebook page, read their “About” section to see if they do promo stuff for authors, make sure they cover your genre, see if they have special submission guidelines (EXTRA IMPORTANT!!!), etc… More often than not, the admins names will be in there as well. If you can send them a message that starts with their name, it shows that you actually took the time to go out of your way and get familiar with their blog. That goes a LONG way in beginning a positive, beneficial relationship. Trust me: These people are the people who will make or break you. You WANT them to love you.

Kiss. Their. Asses. It’s worth it. Believe me.

Not to mention most of them are actually REALLY awesome people!

And that leads us into blog tours. You will want to start setting these up MONTHS in advance. Try to get promo posts set up with your participating blogs leading up to release day. Ask them if they do author interviews (these are my FAVORITE things in the whole wide world), character interviews, takeover events, guests posts, etc… ANYTHING that will get some hype going pre-release.

You’re also going to want to get your ARCs (Advance Reader Copies) out to them AT LEAST a month in advance. I don’t recommend going much further out than that, but a solid four weeks gives them enough time with your manuscript to read through it, write a well-structured review, and if they loved it, they’ll be talking about it while they wait for release day. This is what you want. Remember, these people are SUPER busy and they do all of this for FREE. Don’t pester them about it. Don’t freak out if they haven’t sent you an email the day before release day. Most of them won’t. Just watch your POS (point of sale) site on release day and wait for the reviews to roll in.

THEN SHARE THEM.

Most bloggers put a considerable amount of time into their reviews (we’re talking PARAGRAPHS, folks) and they LOVE when you share that hard work for them. It’s WAY better than a “thank you” note. Share the review and tag them where you can. That increases traffic to their page and keeps all of us in business.

I’ll even recommend a few of my favorites to get you started:
Books, Chocolate and Wine
Glass Paper Ink Bookblog
WhirlwindBooks
FMR Book Grind
Wicked Reads
2 Girls Who Love Books
Hopelessly Devoted 2 Books
PBC
These are just a few of the MANY blogs that have supported me throughout my career and they’re honestly an absolute joy to work with. I could go on for DAYS, but these ones came to mind most readily.

I’m not going to blow sunshine up your ass and tell you this stuff is simple. It’s not. It requires a LOT of work and a calendar on your phone that will send you notifications to remember that you have things to do. What I WILL tell you is that it’s worth the time you have to put into it. I WILL tell you that it’s going to take away from your writing time and your family time and your “real job” time. I WILL tell you that even if you do ALL of these things, there’s no guarantee that your book will hit Bestseller (none of mine have yet, but I’ve come VERY close this last time around). And I will also tell you that if you DON’T do these things, your career as an indie author will be very short lived.

Oh, by the way, you NEED to read this book!

Final Porter Cover (filter) - Front for jpeg

You can read it for FREE if you have KU or Prime!
US: http://amzn.com/B00YDVCK50
UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00YDVCK50
CA: http://www.amazon.ca/dp/B00YDVCK50
AU: http://www.amazon.com.au/gp/product/B00YDVCK50?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

I also do interviews, guest posts, takeovers, and happily let you cry on my shoulder if you’re having a bad day. Feel free to email me at author.david.michael@gmail.com or hit me up in the comments below!

You can also follow me on Facebook and Twitter!

As always, Happy Writing!
D

 
 

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Do: BE PROUD!


It’s been an INSANE ride for the last few weeks around here! Today is the first crest of the first wave scheduled to roll over me in the next year. As I spend every waking hour cramming for finals at school, I also juggle blog posts, Facebook Fan Pages, Tweets, my social live (however diminished), my family, my work, my writing, cover designers, formatters, two cats, a dog, two “wives” and my needy best friend and roommate.

Then days like today happen and it makes it all worth it!

Today, I reveal the cover of my first book.

Today, I have something tangible to show the world.

Today, my writing is real.

Not to toot my own horn, but toot-motherfucking-toot! (thanks, Lola!)

Heaps of thanks go out to my wifey (and minion) Simone Nicole and her sister-wife Lola Stark without whom, I would be floundering. These two women are amazeballs and if I could give them the world, I would in a heartbeat.

**Cover Art and Design Copyright Louisa Maggio. All cover images remain the property of David Michael.
 
~SYNOPSIS~

Her twenty-first birthday was supposed to be the beginning of a new chapter. She had been preparing herself for the moment she would be a real adult for months.

There was no way she could have prepared herself for what happened instead.

As her nightmares became more real with each night and her behavior became less like her own, Ardra fought to stay on the path she had so painstakingly planned for herself with very little success.

When she becomes the owner of a creepily-human dog named Kaiser, she finds herself oddly at peace with the unexpected addition to her household and clings tightly to him when tragedy strikes and shatters her world.

As she fights to put the pieces back together without losing herself in the Darkness that is building inside of her with each terrible step off of her path, a rag-tag band of supporters rally behind her. Each one of them prepared to go to the ends of the earth and back

She must find a way to defeat the Chaos that has consumed her life or risk losing everyone and everything that she has left. Including her soul.

Add to your Goodreads

 

 
Add the rest of the series to your  TBR List
 
~ABOUT THE AUTHOR~
 
 
 

David Michael currently lives in Salt Lake City, Utah with his three best friends, two of which are his cats. He has written several unpublished short stories, and over 200 poems, some of which have been published. He comes from a large family, with three siblings and three step-siblings. He’s a firm believer that there is inspiration in everything, you just have to be willing to see it. He firmly believes that there is nobody more amazing than his mom, Traci.

 
 
 
~ Follow links ~
 
 
 
 
 
 
Don’t forget to go to David Michael’s Cover reveal Party
 
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Posted by on December 12, 2013 in Literary Dos and Don'ts

 

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Don’t: Defeat Yourself


Do or do not There is no try.

Do or do not
There is no try.

It amazes me how much this little green Jedi has influenced my life with his wisdom. The line quoted in the picture above has been a bit of a personal mantra for me since I was knee high to a grasshopper (thanks in LARGE part to my grandmother who is a little obsessed with this diminutive Degoba dweller).

“Do or do not. There is no try.”

A more powerful statement in so few words has not been made in the history of ever. Entire books have been penned on this very matter and can be quite lucrative—Jordan Belfort, Author and Motivational Speaker, has a net worth of $100 Million.

How can people make so much money driving home such a simple idea?!

Well, it’s because most of us are hell bent and determined to give up before we even get going. How many times have you found yourself thinking, “How can I even compare with XYZ?” or “I’ll never be JK Rowling, so why even try?” My answer to this is simple: Stop trying and just DO it.

You may not ever be as successful as Rowling or Tolkien or even Stephanie Meyer, but if you don’t sit down at that keyboard and pound away at those keys, you’ll never know now will you?

The only way you’ll ever become a successful writer is to write. Every day. Even if it’s only a single page of garbage, at least you’re writing. Nobody produces perfection without practice. It’s just not possible. Stephen King was once quoted for saying

“When asked, “How do you write?” I invariably answer, “One word at a time,” and the answer is invariably dismissed. But that is all it is. It sounds too simple to be true, but consider the Great Wall of China, if you will: one stone at a time, man. That’s all. One stone at a time.
But I’ve read you can see that motherfucker from space without a telescope.”

It’s crude and unrefined (King isn’t one for “polite society”) but the man makes one hell of a point. It is WAY too easy to become overwhelmed when you sit down and say to yourself, “Okay! Only two hundred and ninety pages to go!”… Knock that shit off. Write a thousand words per day. End of story. Some days you’ll be hit by divine inspiration and kick out ten thousand words (and then crawl in a whole and die of emotional exhaustion for several hours), but I beg you: Write at least one thousand EVERY day. When I’m in creative mode, I average about 21 WPM. 48 minutes of my day to hit that one thousand mark is a very small price to pay for the sake of honing my talent. At that rate, I could have a word count worthy of a novel in 60 days.

Either do it or don’t. Just stop telling yourself that you’ll try it tomorrow.

As always, happy writing!
D

 
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Posted by on July 24, 2013 in Literary Dos and Don'ts

 

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Do: Network


Seriously. Network. I cannot stress this enough. Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, WordPress, Blogger, book signings, conventions, the coffee shop, wherever you happen to work, school, your kids’ school, ANYWHERE. Each connection you make is one more possible reader. In the world of writing, our readers are our number one priority. Whether you write a blog, school papers, novels, poetry or anything else, if you don’t have readers, you can’t be successful.

Social Networking sites are an amazing tool for writers. I am a member of a group on Facebook called Novel Publicity which is a conglomerate (4,291 members as of this moment) of people from all walks of the writing world; Authors, readers, bloggers, editors, critics, publishers, you name it.They have several lists where you can post links to your professional materials (your Facebook Fan Page, your blog, your Twitter account, your website, etc) and members go through those lists and connect to your materials. Sure, some of them go through, like your page, and then hide all posts by you. Some may even post their info and not go through and like anyone else’s stuff. Personally, my experience with them has been fantastic! I’ve broadened my target area considerably and gained 100+ “Likes” on my author page from that site alone. Even taking out 75% (WAY overshooting here) of them for people who blocked posts as soon as they “liked” my page, that’s still 25 people who will see the post when my book hits the shelves. Sure, only 10 of them might actually go out and grab a copy, and only 5 of them might tell a friend or 2 who might do the same, but as an author trying to get started, everything counts. Especially that free publicity.

In a world where you can get your hands on more free e-books than you could imagine reading in a lifetime, being a successful author is becoming exceedingly difficult. Good networking becomes more vital with each passing day. Connect with your potential readers and do everything you can to find those readers in places that are likely to do you and your business good. We are, after all, chasing that “J.K. Rowling Dream”! She didn’t get where she is by handing out free copies of her books to anyone holding out a hand. You’re going to run into people who are only out to get their hands on a free copy of your stuff. It’s inevitable. Before you go giving away your money, be absolutely sure that you will get something out of it. A mention in a Facebook status at the very least. If you’re going to give away free copies, book bloggers are the way to go. Just be careful. Again, make sure that you’ll get something out of it. Don’t give your romance novel to a critic who covers sci-fi. They will most likely just delete it or toss it in the nearest garbage can. They have plenty of people sending them books from their preferred genre in hopes of getting a good review on a popular site. If you can, contact them and get some info from them. Ask if they have time in the near future to do a review, ask about their preferred genre, try to get them to promise a review, good or bad, when they finish reading your work. Bad reviews are not only publicity (I know people who will only read a book if it was given a bad review just to see if it was really as bad as they say) but if you’re smart, you’ll read what the critic has to say and take notes. Not only are they readers, but they are pipelines to immense numbers of people every day. If they say that your flow was wrong in places or that “the voice” we all hear so much about was lacking, note it down and pay close attention to those things as you write and edit your next manuscript. Don’t give them the chance to say it twice!

Having 1,000 “likes” (views, friends, what have you) of your book before you even land a publishing deal can (I imagine) be a MAJOR bargaining chip when it comes time to publish. That’s 1,000 people who, if you do your job properly, will be more likely to read your book and tell their friends to do the same. That means a faster recoup time for the publisher that picks you up which means your royalties will start rolling in faster and they’ll be begging you to release your next book as soon as possible. Which they will pay you even more for.

First, you need to get your book written! You should probably get on that right about now! Happy writing!

D

 
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Posted by on August 2, 2012 in Literary Dos and Don'ts

 

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Do: Make Yourself Accountable


Oh man! What can I say about accountability? Well, I guess I can say this, IT WORKS! For years (and YEARS) I would lock myself in my bedroom for hours and hours and write in secret, not wanting to get people pumped and then fail and let them all down. Well, needless to say, I never finished a manuscript during those days and it fed my fear of people knowing what I was doing. Finally, one day, I told my family and all 200+ of my Facebook friends, that I was going to write a book. Scared the ever living crap out of me. The first time someone “liked” that status, I almost cried. Then the comments and “likes” started pouring in and suddenly I had all of these people, whom I care deeply for, supporting me and cheering me on. Suddenly, it wasn’t about me being afraid of letting them down. Instead, it was about making damn sure that it didn’t happen. I began posting my daily word counts on Facebook (sometimes it was more like an hourly word count) and people couldn’t get me to stop talking about the crazy stuff my characters were doing without my permission.

Not only did I finally finish an entire first draft of a novel, but I did it in 30 days. Yup! A whole first draft in a measly 30 days (thanks in large part to NaNoWriMo). It was the most intense experience I have ever had in my life. The next year, I did the very same thing. Massive amounts of Facebook posts, crazy amounts of avoiding the real world and LOTS of coffee later, I suddenly had the first draft of the second book in my series. Now, I don’t even have to post about it on Facebook and people ask me when they will be published and when they will get to read my work. That interest and support from my friends forced me to take the next terrifying step in this adventure: Editing. Suddenly I realized that I had only kept half of my promise to myself to not let them down. I wrote the first draft and then, knowing full well that the first draft was VERY rough, I dug in my heels, closed my eyes, covered my ears and screamed at the top of my lungs (metaphorically speaking, of course) as soon as the thought of editing entered my mind. However, I had a promise to keep.

Off to Office Depot I went. Palms sweating, heart racing and jump drive in hand, I walked up to the print counter, paid my $13 and my book became a reality. As the printer monkey handed over the giant stack of paper, I had to fight the urge not to vomit. I was terrified of the creature that I had brought to life. I was ecstatic over the fact that I had officially created something. I was proud of myself for having the courage to bring my baby into the light and one step closer to being available for public scrutiny. I sped home, dug up a three ring binder, a hole punch and a red pen and got to work.

For most of the first chapter, I cringed at some of the stuff I had written, but by the end of it, I had finally convinced myself that it really wasn’t bad considering it was not only my first novel, but that it had been written in 30 days. By the end of the third chapter, my writing had improved IMMENSELY and more than once, my characters made me actually laugh out loud (not always at the most opportune times!). By the end of the first round of edits, I was biting at the bit to get a second draft printed off so I could do it again, all the while, keeping Facebook posted on how the process was coming along and letting the comments and “likes” drive me to continue. And continue I did. I am now preparing to begin the process of searching for a prospective lit agent and mailing off inquiries. All because of one little Facebook post.

As you can see, accountability did WONDERS for me. It’s what finally broke the bonds of the fear that were holding me back and let me move forward with my dream. Not only am I on the verge of taking a very big step forward in that dream, but I’m doing it without fear. The reason I’m not afraid is because I know that no matter how bumpy the road is, I have to see it through to the end. Not for me, though. I’ve got to do it for my friends, family and fans. My personal accomplishment is just an added bonus.

I leave you with this: If you’re still in the metaphorical closet with your writing, reach up, grab the door knob and kick that door off of its hinges. Your passion should NOT be kept a secret! Share it with those you love! Let THEM carry you to that finish line, whether it be having an entire first draft of a manuscript written just so you can say you did it, or having a novel published and sitting on the shelves of book stores around the country or world. Your friends and family will help you, even if they don’t know that that’s what they are doing. Even the naysayers (if you’re like me) will just make you want to prove them wrong!

Happy writing!

D

 
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Posted by on May 25, 2012 in Literary Dos and Don'ts

 

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Don’t: Throw Grammar to the Wind


I realize that times are constantly changing and the ways that we speak and write aren’t immune to these changes. It’s a sad truth and it makes me die a little on the inside when I see that people don’t have time to type “you” instead of “u”. However, as with most things in life, there is a time and place, I suppose.

Personally, I prefer to be the grammar nazi who goes around Facebook correcting people and if you’re dumb enough to send me a text that I have to hire my little sister to translate, I sure hope you don’t expect a response from me. I’ll send the extra text message (or 3) to make sure that my grammar is in tact.

Social networking aside: Your writing is no place for bad grammar. Your characters may be modern and use slang, but you should never ever EVER make your dialogue look like a Facebook post.

For example:

The dude walked up to me and said, “Maaaaaaaaaan, I dunno wut yer thinkin talkin to me like that, but you betta git on out of hear before I buss a cap in u!”

Instead, try:

A young man approached me and said, “Man! I don’t know what you’re thinking talking to me like that, but you better get on out of here before I bust a cap in you!”. The words were so heavily accented and distinctly “hood” that I had to slow them down and consciously dissect each of them in order to understand their meaning.

This not only leaves your readers free to give the character a voice of their choosing, but it’s also easier to read, process and retain. Overall, proper grammar is a better, more professional way to handle your dialogue.

There are very few exceptions to this. One of them being a character with a pronounced speech impairment. If you have a character who pronounces their “V”s like “W”s, then it MIGHT be acceptable to type them as such. However, you could also just inform the reader that the character has a pronounced Slavic accent. If you are writing a character with a disability, it may be best to type the words out exactly how they sound.

The character, Duddits, from Stephen King’s “Dream Catcher” comes to mind here. He carries around his “Oobie Doo” lunch box in several scenes from the book and Mr. King chose to type it out just like that and then have one of the other characters in the book translate it over to “Scooby-Doo” for those of his readers who may not pick up on the pop culture reference.

Beyond dialogue, you have all the usual rules of grammar and punctuation to follow as well. As far as I can tell, there is never an instance where punctuation and sentence structure should be forgotten. The flow, or “voice”, you give your book can make or break you. Following the simple rules lain out for us in Elementary school and built upon throughout our academic careers can and WILL give your work the professional “sheen” it needs in order to land an agent and, eventually, a publisher.

So dust off your grammar, take a crash course on Google if you must, practice good grammar on your social networking sites and dive head first into the world of grammatically correct literature! Your readers will thank you for it!

Happy writing!

D

 
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Posted by on April 20, 2012 in Literary Dos and Don'ts

 

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