Making a Mad Dash — or is it a Hyphen? A Grammar Owl Post

Although the difference between dashes and hyphens may not seem to fit neatly under the heading of grammar or word use, the Grammar Owl and I are in agreement that formatting is very important when creating a manuscript, and learning the difference between dashes and hyphens is part of that. They’re just little lines, aren’t they? What’s the diff which is used? They are indeed little lines, but they differ in length and in purpose. Whether you’re submitting your manuscript for consideration by agents and/or publishers, or you’re self/independently publishing, using the appropriate little line at the appropriate time helps to make your manuscript look professional. There are actually three… Read More

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A Different Take on Mentor Texts

I have a very short post for you today, but I hope it will give you something to think about as you continue to read to learn about writing. Last month, I talked about choosing books in the same genre and even the same topic as the one you’re writing for the mentor texts you use. Sometimes you may be surprised, though, and will discover a mentor text in a style, genre, topic or category that you would never think of writing. So last month’s post isn’t everything there is to say about mentor texts. Keep an open mind, and be prepared to find mentor texts anywhere. As an example,… Read More

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Novel-Revision Workshop Coming Up at Janice Hardy’s Fiction University!

Do you have a first (or second or third) draft of a novel manuscript? Are you unsure how to proceed with your next draft? Do you find the process of revision daunting? Many people struggle with revision: how to evaluate their draft, how to deepen the character development, how to enhance the plot arc, how to deal with comments from critique partners — how to bring all the necessary elements together to make a successful finished manuscript. There are many ways to address this. I’ve recently learned about one that intrigues me, and I thought you might find it interesting and potentially helpful, as well. Janice Hardy is a novelist… Read More

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On Your Marks — A Grammar Owl Book Recommendation

Have you ever heard an owl chuckle? They do. Well, to be accurate, what sounds like a chuckle usually expresses annoyance, but our Grammar Owl is definitely chuckling with amusement today. (To hear what an owl chuckle sounds like, listen to this.) He’s been reading a delightful book called On Your Marks: A Package of Punctuation by Richard Armour, a poet and humorist. The book is out of print, but it’s worth looking for (I found it in a small town library — I am grateful for our wonderful library system that makes books available all over the province, free of charge.) On Your Marks is a light, poetic look… Read More

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More About Mentor Texts — What to Read? How to Choose?

With so many books out there, how does a writer choose appropriate mentor texts to read? (If you missed my initial post about mentor texts, you can find it here.) Here are some hints for choosing good mentor texts. At the end of the post, I’ll suggest some links where you can find more assistance. 1. Choose CURRENT books. No matter how much you may love a classic you first encountered years ago (or last month), literature — and particularly children’s literature — has changed quite a bit in recent years. Look for books that have been published within the last 3-5 years. 2. Usually you will look for books… Read More

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