Tag Archives: Writing Projects

Novel Sneak Peek #1–Introduction

15 Aug

Introduction

“If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.”
― C.S. Lewis

Every day faded away just the same. Waking hours spent dodging mirrors, wringing hands, and keeping secrets melted into the dull shadows of night, and then sleep. Once she was asleep, her heart, mind, and soul sought out places that held no memories for her. Each new experience was a balm to soothe her past, and there was an all-encompassing presence of comfort that greeted and guided her time there. Upon waking, she always felt thankful for these respites, never questioning the nature of her dreams or the origin of that guiding presence. Breena always assumed it was God.

This is the introduction to my first novel, Acephalous, which is still in the editing/rewriting phase. Posting this for you all to read is a very exciting moment. It’s the first time anyone other than my husband is reading from the story. It’s a big deal. So, please, tell me what you think in the comments. I aim to post snippets weekly, but don’t worry; I won’t post anything that will give the ending away. As you see more of the story unfold, I’ll revise according to what you guys say works or does not work. Also, feel free to share this post via the share links below, but please do not delete information linking it to this page or claim the words as your own. This is my livelihood here.

Happy reading!

–Amanda Marsico

Editor, Proofreader, Red Ink Enthusiast

marsicoam@gmail.com

Self-Editing Tip #10

31 Jul

The Apostrophe: Ownership versus Plurals—Today’s tip covers a topic which has numerous examples both of what to do and what not to do.

Look at the graphic. Can you spot the apostrophe catastrophe? It reads, “Parent’s please do not let your kid’s stand or play with the chair’s. Thank you.”

There are actually three, and let’s not even get started with the strange parentheses or half-quotation marks going on there, or even how every “T” is capitalized regardless of its placement in the word.

All three apostrophes are placed incorrectly. In this example, they aren’t needed at all. Placing an apostrophe in such a way does not make a plural noun as the writer of this sign seems to think. It means those nouns are showing ownership of something.

Ex. Ellen’s TV show is very funny.

To make a word plural, simply add an “s.” The sign should read, “Parents, Please do not let your kids stand or play with the chairs. Thank you.” I would also argue that it should say, “stand on or play with the chairs,” but semantics is not our topic.

The only instance where an apostrophe is ever needed for a plural word is when the plural noun is also showing ownership over a plural object. In cases such as these, the apostrophe belongs after the “s.”

Ex. The butterflies’ cocoons were nearly ready to hatch.

Not shown in the image, but equally important and misused, are apostrophes for contractions. These are words like, “it’s,” “aren’t,” “can’t,” “we’re,” and so on, where two words have been merged for convenience and less formal usage. It is especially important to remember the apostrophe for, “it’s,” and “we’re,” as removing it still leaves us with valid words, but drastically different implications on the same sentence.

Ex. We’re going to lunch.=We are going to lunch.

Were going to lunch.=incomplete sentence

OR We were going to lunch.

Ex. It’s time to go.=It is time to go.

Its time to go.= incomplete sentence

OR Its time to go drew near.

For more grammar information, come back regularly for new tips. Also check out Martha Kolln and Loretta Gray’s book Rhetorical Grammar: Grammatical Choices, Rhetorical Effects (6th or 7th edition). I’ve mentioned it before and will continue to do so. It’s really vital for anyone looking to learn the nuances of Standard Written American English (SWAE) or refresh what they already know.

Self-Editing Tip #9

30 Jul

Commonly Misused/Misspelled Words

Today’s tip is more of a reference which will continue to grow over time.

Look at this list of words. Do you know the proper usages?

  • Choose-present tense verb/Chose-past tense verb
  • Loose-adjective/Lose-verb
  • They’re-contraction for “They are”/Their-shows possession of something for more than one person simultaneously/There-points out a place
  • You’re-contraction for “You are”/Your-shows possession
  • To-preposition/Too-adjective/Two-noun, the number
  • Effect-noun/Affect-verb
  • Dessert-what you eat/Desert-where there’s sand
  • Edition-one of a series/Addition-the result of increasing amount or quantity
  • Setup-noun, “The whole thing was a setup, a scam!”/Set Up-verb, “Please set up those folding chairs.”
  • Backup-noun, “Do a full backup of the computer just in case.”/Back Up-verb, “Back up the computer just in case.”
  • Ad-advertisement/Add-addition
  • A lot-This is two words. Always.

This list could go on forever. Additions are imminent.

Shorts Project Update

23 Jul

Since I’m behind in the Shorts Project anyway (due to my vacation) I’ve decided that now is the best time to put that endeavor aside and finally finish editing my manuscript. Expect to see snippets of chapters posted in place of shorts until the project is complete or Fall classes start back up at the end of September, whichever comes first.

Self-Editing Tip #7

12 Jul

Idea Organization when Writing by Hand—Last installment I promised all those writing by hand a tip for getting notes and comments more organized without a computer and Microsoft Word.

Remember rolodexes? Still have one lying around? Put it back to use by taking notes on the rolodex cards. Use the alphabetically ordered dividers as ways to separate your writing projects. Divide by title, by school course, business project, whatever suits your needs. The letter can refer to whatever key word that will help you remember where you put your notes. If this isn’t the kind of organization that works for you, put a white label sticker over the letter and write in your own heading. Keep the notes that correspond to each project in its own section.

It’s no problem if you don’t have a rolodex or can’t find anywhere that sells the refills anymore. Get generic note cards. Make a point to keep your notes only on note cards. Get one of those latching boxes made specifically for the note cards and the dividers meant to accompany them. Labeling follows same process as above. With either method, all of your notes for all of your projects are in one container, organized by subject or title.

Still looking for a solution?

  • Get color-coded. If you like sticky notes, use a different color for each project.
  • Highlight with a color code in books read for research and reference purposes. Maybe green means a good resource to keep at hand, orange means quotable material, and yellow signifies items worthy of a second look later.
  • Get a multi-subject spiral notebook. Dedicate each section to a separate project or an individual aspect of a project. It keeps your ideas together, eliminates the scraps of paper littering your desk, and is portable.
  • If portability isn’t a concern, mount a large cork board to the wall, use yarn, twine, or ribbon to section it off in segments, then use each portion to pin the notes in relevant groupings.

Have more ideas to add to this list? Is there something you do to organize that’s practical, original, and would help others? Tell me about it in the comments section!

Short Story #5

11 Jul

Personal Taste

“There’s always that moment, early in the morning, where I want nothing to do with the coming sun and everything to do with the blankets wrapped around me. I’m not an introvert. I’m not even depressed. I just like my own company that much. Narcissist? Nah. Well, maybe. I prefer, “Self-Expert,” or, “Curator of Personal Tastes.” I know. I know how buzz-wordy that sounds, but hey. Who can cater my likings better than, well, me? Some pricey girl that looks great on my arm, but can’t flip an omelet? No. Some less pricey personal chef who flips omelets with his eyes closed, but won’t do a photo op with me (and why would I want him on my arm?)? No. And don’t get me wrong. I didn’t mean pricey like a whore. Excuse me. Prostitute. I simply meant high maintenance. I digress. My point is that I am my own best company, and in the dull blue of pre-dawn, I am my only company. After that, my corner of the world wakes up to join me in competing to find out who’s best at what. What they don’t realize is that I already know that I’m the best… They don’t know me. They don’t try to know me. They just assume what they’ve got is the best of that particular thing, or that what they think I should do is really what I should do. So, no, I am not a narcissist. I just know what I like, and it happens to be me.”

John straightened his tie and blinked at the now-speechless reporter. The camera men stopped filming and a few crew wandered off.

“Now what?”

“Wouldn’t you know best, John?” the reporter quipped.

Short #4

2 Jul

Worthwhile Travel

Smog, fog, rain—Ellen thought of it as her cozy blanket for years. It kept her delightfully secluded even when surrounded by people. “Alone together.” That’s how she’d described city life in one of her calls home. After she finally broke away from her childhood town, it never occurred to Ellen that there was any place else for her. Why would she leave the comforting urban canopy of carcinogens and clouds?

Apparently, “Because I said so,” still worked. When Ellen’s mother called to tell her that Pops passed, she preemptively refused all invitation home. Ellen found herself on a jet, a puddle jumper, and then a bus back Snoreville anyway. The bus stopped in front of the law office where Ellen was destined. The corner where the office and the pharmacy met the main road was the only bus stop. No special treatment.

The welcome from her family was stiff and forced.

As her family filed out of the office, the lawyer grabbed Ellen’s shoulder. “The will instructed me to give you this envelope privately. Go to his old place and open it somewhere peaceful.”

“Oh, Ok.” She stuffed it into her purse.

The bewildered look on her face must have been severe because the lawyer went out in a hurry.

In the breeze and sunshine of her grandfather’s land, she opened the envelope and read:

The address to my safety deposit box is on the back of this page with the password you’ll need to access it. Go. Get the money. It’s yours. You’ve got the courage and love the rest of this family is missing. That part of you always stays the same. Use the money for the rest of your surgeries. Ignore what the family says. It’s your body. I love you, Alvin. Ellen.

-Pops

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