I want to give new authors a chance

I want to give new authors a chance, I really do but you’ve got to meet me halfway and have a decent book to give me. If there are too many problems I’m likely to spit the dummy and send you an email listing some of the problems I’ve noticed with a recommendation to get some lessons in grammar or writing structure or even how to structure a book and also with the recommendation that you spend the money to get it proofread and possibly edited.

I’m now too busy so what I won’t do is to continue trying to torture myself by reading it. I used to endeavour to finish the book and try to write something but sometimes you have to know when to quit.

If it’s just not knowing how to use apostrophes correctly then I might be able to work through them and I’ll finish the book and send you an email, if there are other errors then I probably won’t. This goes hand in hand with my rant from last week.

Apostrophes

Sometimes challenging to identify when you need one and when you don’t. You’ve got your contraction apostrophes and then you’ve got some possessive ones.

No, I do not mean you’re having a contraction and about to deliver a baby, I mean the word is made up of multiple words and you get to use an apostrophe to show that. An example is “won’t” which is the word “will” and “not” sandwiched together any old how with an apostrophe signalling that it can be written as two words.

When it’s possessive then there’s ownership involved and you need to look at your object and see if it owns something. The “doctor’s husband” is a bad example of ownership as you don’t actually own people but it fits the rules of ownership and apostrophes. In other words, the husband belongs to the doctor. If you prefer then we could look at “Agency’s office”, the office belongs to the agency, if we were talking about multiple agencies then you’d pluralise it dropping the letter “y” and adding “ies”.

There’s a lot more to apostrophes, if you’re following the above and still getting told off then let your fingers take you over to Grammarly for a lot more information.

Spelling

Be consistent with your spelling. If your character is called Kevin then you need to make sure he’s spelled that way all the way through.

Capitalise your proper nouns

A proper noun is a name and it needs to be treated as if it’s a little more important than a regular noun, do this by making the first letter a capital. A capital idea!

Learning to trust the reader

Learning how much information to give the reader is a little harder and you’ll need to put together a group of beta readers and/or a writer’s group for help. Just knowing how much information to give them and how much to leave out is tricky but your writing will be better when you’ve learned when to trust that your readers will figure out the information and when you need to give them a helping hand.

Courses

There are courses in many countries aimed at helping you to become a better writer. I suggest you look locally first, but then branch out if you can’t find one to suit you. Many places now let you study off-campus (a fancy word for studying from the comfort of your own home so you don’t have to get dressed). There are also websites with lots of information, I mentioned Grammarly earlier, much of what you can get from them is free.

Why?

Why do I want you to become a better writer? That depends on why you write. If you’re the sort of person who is likely to email a book blogger and request they read your book then you sound like you want to make money. You’re more likely to make money if your writing is good. You do need a good story as well but I’ve read (or started to read) many good stories or novels that are let down by their writing. The story idea is good and there’s some other good stuff in there but it could be ever so much better.

Always strive to be better, that’s why I’m studying…to be better. I’m not Shakespeare.