Déjà vu

If this post seems familiar to some of you, it should do. I originally posted it on the 15th of February, 2015. Later I reblogged it. But as you know WP only allows a post to be reblogged once by any given individual. Hence the repost today with a couple of additional points included. Why? Because in these days of don’t read anything longer than a tweet, its message is still relevant – probably more so…

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woodchuck

How much wood could a woodchuck chuck
If a woodchuck could chuck wood?
As much wood as a woodchuck could chuck,
If a woodchuck could chuck wood.

If you are of a certain age, chances are that you learnt that tongue twister in primary school, just as I did back in the early nineteen-fifties. It is a perfect example of the overuse of specific words, even though in this case it’s just a fun thing for kids to learn and to attempt to recite.

Many emerging writers tend to rely on a limited vocabulary, even though most words have perfectly acceptable alternatives. How many times have you seen specific words endlessly repeated by a new writer? Either that, or the incorrect versions of words.

Chances are you will come across examples of words when writing, which while sounding similar when used in actual conversation between two people, are completely wrong in a given instance within any piece of writing.

Note to self – hmm, a lot of words beginning with ‘w’ in that last sentence. Must watch that. Damn, there’s another one!

If you want an example of similar sounding words think about there, they’re and their. They all sound exactly alike. But in each instance they have a totally different meaning. Even simple words we all use such as and, can and do become seriously overused by most writers. I’m no different in that regard. I’ve even been known to start a sentence with it on occasion, for example the one word question – “And?” But only during a conversation between some of my characters.

What I’m about to say, I’ve said in previous posts here on my blog. But just for you, here it is again – once you have written that first draft, go back over it many times during its edit phase. Make sure that one of your editing sessions is solely dedicated to deliberately finding alternatives of those words you are so fond of using.

How? Use the synonym function incorporated into your writing software in conjunction with a dictionary and thesaurus. Even better, why not rewrite certain sentences using completely different words, that convey the same meaning as the original one?

Before some of you feel an attack of righteous indignation coming on, and are thinking of going on the offensive, I am fully aware that I have used several words in this post more than once. In this instance I am completely justified as I’m merely pointing out that every one of us needs to pay heed to the way we write.

In short folks, do your darndest to avoid using certain words too often. Here are some more similar sounding words that writers tend to get wrong – your and you’re, to and too. Allowed is yet another example of a word that sounds the same when spoken even when spelt differently. Its cousin aloud has a completely different meaning. The list is endless. Is it any wonder that so many people find the English language hard to come to grips with?

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Next, I would just like to point out something to all of the various types of literary cowards who insist upon hiding behind pseudonyms, such as a number of the armchair critics, pedants, grammar nazis, literary snobs etc, who inhabit the darker recesses of the Internet, each of them purporting to know far more about the written word than most writers.

None of us likes a smart arse who deliberately sets him or herself up as a scathing critic.

To all of the above – I can only surmise that what you appear to be suffering from is the literary equivalent of penis envy. Remember this, apart from being counterproductive, jealousy tends to feed on itself. Never forget that. It’s the only reason I can think of for why you deem it absolutely necessary to be so vicious towards not only the newcomers, but also seasoned writers, whether Indie or traditionally published?

First of all, may I suggest that you get over yourselves. Secondly, instead of endlessly criticising new and seasoned writers, by issuing those interminably boring, often repetitious one and two star reviews you are so fond of placing in the public arena, in your pathetic attempts to destroy a writer’s reputation, as some of you still tend to do on Goodreads and Amazon (you know who you are), why not actually try to write a book yourself. Maybe you already have, which probably accounts for the way you behave. But go on, give it another try. Far better to occupy your time by writing a book. Once you do, prepare yourselves for when it is torn to shreds by your fellow trolls. In other words, I’d think long and hard if I were you before you feel the overwhelming desire coming on, to rubbish someone else’s work.

Like most writers, I always refrain from reviewing some books, especially those written by new writers, if they did not succeed in gaining my full attention by drawing me into the story. Believe me when I say that it’s always better to do that, rather than to publicly condemn, and by definition, earn yourself a reputation as yet another vicious troll.

Just cast your minds back to the so-called review of my historical story Autumn 1066 , which I posted here on my blog a few weeks back… If I ever feel the need to offer criticism, it’s usually in the form of advice offered privately, well away from the gaze of the general public, either by email or when chatting to my fellow writers on Facebook.

All disenchanted individuals should try doing the same thing instead of attacking…

😉

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Please Do Not Spam!!!

rules-opinionatedmale-com

Sorry about this folks, but it appears that I need to repeat myself once again…

To all of those who are new to any form of ‘Social Media’, in particular blogs, there are certain rules of etiquette that must be strictly observed, particularly when offering a comment for consideration. New writers please take note – if you wish your comment to appear on my blog, or any other, never ever include a link to your book. There are lines that must never be crossed when it comes to good manners on the Internet. Doing the aforementioned breaks just about every unspoken rule of commonsense and etiquette.

I don’t do it, and neither should you!

While you may see nothing wrong in engaging in a bit of spam promotion on sites like Facebook when commenting, believe me when I tell you that what you are doing is guaranteed to turn people off. Should the owners of the posts consider that your comment is nothing more than spam, all they have to do is report it to Facebook to ensure that you lose your account!

Take a moment here folks. What do we do with all that unsolicited junk mail that comes through our letter boxes at home, or in our email Inboxes? We consign it to the bin – right?

So don’t inflict your internet equivalent on others…

As for adding a ‘buy my book’ link to any comment on any blog, not just mine, it ensures only one outcome – the offending comment will end up where it belongs in the Spam Bin. Even though this is only the third day of a new month, already I have consigned five offending comments there.

There are appropriate blogs for any form of advertising, or in some cases, what appears to be nothing more than sheer desperation, or ignorance, by certain individuals new to the writing game. I mentioned two in yesterday’s post, specifically set up for the purpose.

Once again just for you, here are their links:

Whizzbuzz

Owned and operated by Derek Haines, where for a fee he will do a sterling job in promoting your book or books. The other is Chris Graham’s

The StoryReadingApe

Start by clicking on both of those highlighted links. They are not the only ones. There are many more out there. All you have to do is engage your brain for once in your lives and do a Google search to find them.

PS – If I consider your book worthy of my advertising it by adding its link on any post of mine here on my blog, I will.

Rant over…