June 2 Writing Tips, Tricks, Thoughts

Birthdays: Marquis de Sade (1740), Thomas Hardy (1840), Karl Gjellerup (1857), Edwin Teale (1899), Dorothy West (1907), Barbara Pym (1913), Norton Juster (1929), Anita Lobel (1934), Carol Shields (1935), Helen Oxenbury (1938), Jack Gantos (1951), Jim Knipfel (1965), Sean Stewart (1965), David Bezmozgis (1973), Salvatore Scibona (1975),

Karl Gjellerup was a Danish writer and co-winner of the 1917 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Edwin Teale’s book “Wandering Through the Winter” won the 1966 Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction

Carol Shields won the 1993 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for “The Stone Diaries”

Quote: “Write the book you want to read, the one you cannot find.”– Carol Shields

Tip: Learn what writing terms mean. Genre, sub-genre, black moment, POV, GMC, etc. Knowing the jargon is as important as knowing what to do with it.

Jumpstart: You are cooking dinner for an important guest. This person can make or break you. Who is the guest? Why does s/he have such power over you? Write a scene where everything that could go wrong does. Write it first as a comedy, then a tragedy.

Personal peeve: I read a lot of books and usually enjoy them, but lately, I’ve been noticing some of them (usually self-published) are so full of grammar and spelling mistakes that, no matter how good the story, I cannot enjoy it because of this. I’m reading one right now – a quirky paranormal cozy mystery – that had five of these problems on the first three pages of the book and no, it’s not an ARC. It is a final, published copy. Please, folks, I know you want to get your stories out there, but spend the money and use a professional editor.

Second tip: Oddly enough, in the past week, I’ve seen three books that misuse the word hangar/hanger. Hangar (with two a’s) is a place to store planes. Hanger (one a) is a tool to put your clothes on in the closet. They are not interchangeable.