YOU Can Have Perfect Grammar Too!

Grammar has never been my thing.

I loved diagramming sentences in middle school, but the finer details have always escaped me.

I suppose that’s par for the course as I also have a tendency to skip directions, skim long descriptions in novels, and not put the last book/cup/stray sock in its place. When I weed a garden, a bucketful of weeds usually linger beside the garden long enough to kill the grass beneath it.

I’m an idea person.

idea

So, the bigger grammatical elements I can handle; it’s the nitpicky stuff that trips me up.

Which is why my favorite person in the publishing process is the copy editor. The copy editor keeps me from sounding like I barely passed sixth grade English.

I recently received the proof for my book that’s coming out in August and there were over 400 marks on it. (YES, that’s a lot, even for me.)

And yes, the book had already been copyedited. The proofreader, though, seems to be a zealous person. A nit-picker of nit-pickers, which, I suppose you want in a proofreader.

Many of the nits she was picking pertained to my voice, so my editor and I decided we’d stet most of her marks, which is a fancy way of saying we’d ignore them. (stet= Latin for ‘let it stand’)

Many more of the marks were additional commas she’d added to make my overly long sentences clearer. Okay, maybe.

I’ve spent the better part of my week considering those commas. I’m only more confused, but at least Frankie has finally realized I’m not talking to him as I read sentence after sentence out loud with and without a comma. He no longer jumps off the futon in hopes of a treat each time he hears my voice.

IMG_4338

The marks that pushed me over the edge, though, are the commas placed before the word ‘too.’

Everywhere the word appeared, the proofreader had inserted a comma preceding it.

For example-

I spent the entire day learning about commas, too.

Until a month ago, I had always put a comma before the word too, too.

But during the copy editing process, the copy editor had removed all my commas proceeding the word too at the end of a sentence. When I saw that, I thought—wait, wait, I don’t know much about grammar, but I KNOW there should be a comma before the word too!

A little research turned up the cold, hard, truth – my middle school English teacher was wrong.

That. Rocked. My. World.

Do you know how many times I’ve written a comma before the word too incorrectly? Do you know how many times that incorrect comma has been published?

Now, here was this proofreader reinserting every comma the copy editor had removed.

AGH! Who to trust? I posed the question to my editor and she said, The copy editor.

To prevent you from ever losing sleep over the use of a comma before the word too, let me set the record straight:

From no less than Grammarly, my go-to and permanently installed editor (which is a FREE Chrome extension- YOU should download it now!):

When using the word too, you only need to use a comma before it for emphasis. According to The Chicago Manual of Style, a comma before too should be used only to note an abrupt shift in thought. When too comes in the middle of a sentence, emphasis is almost always intended since it interrupts the natural flow of the sentence.

I, too, like bananas.

When a too comes at the end of a sentence, however, a comma is almost never needed.

I like bananas too.

So, now you know.

Always trust the copyeditor.

Hey, thanks for reading. I know you’ve got lots of options, so thanks for sharing a few of your minutes with me.

Honored,

Cara

If you’d like to know more about me, my books, and where you might run into me, check out my website, CaraWrites.com.

If you’d like to subscribe to my (sometimes) monthly e-newsletter, click here.

If you’re a dog lover, check out my other blog, Another Good Dog.

I’d love to connect with you on Facebook, twitter, or Instagram, and I’m thrilled to get email from readers (and writers), you can reach me at carasueachterberg@gmail.com.

COMING AUGUST 2018 FROM Pegasus Books (available for preorder now):

Add subheading

 

Advertisements

1,000 True Fans: Myth or Legend?

If you’re an artist or entrepreneur, you’ve probably heard Kevin Kelly’s famous assertion:

To make a living as a craftsperson, photographer, musician, designer, author, animator, app maker, entrepreneur, or inventor you need only one thousand true fans. (Kevin Kelly)

I went back and read his original blog post from 2008 this morning. While his words make complete sense, as a traditionally published author, I think I’d need more like 100,000 true fans.

Here’s my math logic: Continue reading “1,000 True Fans: Myth or Legend?”

Embrace the Yuck

Last post I was ready to take on the world.

This post, I’m thinking maybe it would be best if I just slunk away and holed up somewhere with my dog. Maybe on a mountain, out of cell-phone range.

mountain

Writing, especially publishing, is much like ping pong.

Writing-is-like-ping pong

You’re amazing – You suck – You’re brilliant – You’re an idiot – You’re happy – You’re devastated.

Maybe it’s the nature of an artist (is that what I am?) to feel such high highs and such low lows.

Today it is gray, cold, unwelcoming.

My agent informs me that my re-written manuscript (the one in which I was certain I’d finally nailed it) is still not up to snuff.

I began to re-read my in-progress manuscript, remembering how fabulous I thought it was when I started and realized it’s horrible. Plain horrible. I don’t even want to read it.

The article I’m working on keeps spinning in circles. I can’t find a flow, a structure, or even, really, a point.

Several of my latest efforts to ‘try something new’ to get my books out there, have been met with technicalities, false hopes, no-thank yous, and hidden (impossible) costs.

Facebook, Amazon, and Goodreads, the major marketing tools of most authors, have once again, changed the rules and I’m too untechy-savy/late-to-the-game/old to figure it out.

Ugh.

I need a pep talk.

I can (still) do this.

But maybe for today, I’ll need to embrace the yuck. Let it have its way. Eat the leftover apple cobbler, stay in my jammies, and lay around reading books written by real writers who know what they’re doing.

Just for today, I will not try. I’ll hang out with my dog. Embrace the suckiness of my situation in all it’s awful glory.

Tomorrow, I’ll get back at it.

Promise.

Hey, thanks for reading. I know you’ve got lots of options, so thanks for sharing a few of your minutes with me.

Honored,

Cara

If you’d like to know more about me, my books, and where you might run into me, check out my website, CaraWrites.com.

If you’d like to subscribe to my (sometimes) monthly e-newsletter, click here.

If you’re a dog lover, check out my other blog, Another Good Dog.

I’d love to connect with you on Facebook, twitter, or Instagram, and I’m thrilled to get email from readers (and writers), you can reach me at carasueachterberg@gmail.com.

 

Hometown prophets

They say a prophet is never welcome in his hometown.

Okay, I’m not Jesus.

But the book festival I attended last month was in my hometown. That’s the main reason I went.

That, and the fact that I’m a fan of the woman who organized the York Book Expo. For all the times that Demi has lifted up me and my writing, I couldn’t not go the Book Expo.

As an author, promotion is unavoidable. But there is a cost not only to your pocketbook, but to your time and family and happiness. I’m still figuring out which events are a good investment, which are necessary evils, and which waste my resources and time. I do think it’s important to evaluate your promotional efforts and learn from them. Hence, these posts I’m foisting upon you, hoping you’re learning from my experiences.

This was the third time I’ve attended The York Book Expo, which is well-organized and professionally run. The past two years it has felt very worth my while. It’s been fun to talk to other writers, put faces to names from Facebook, and I’ve even sold enough books to ‘make my table’ even if I didn’t make any real profit.

This year was different, though. Continue reading “Hometown prophets”

Book Festivalling

Book festivals are not everyone’s thing. I get that.

Okay, maybe I don’t. What’s not to like? Books? Authors? Festivalling?

This month, I traveled to three different festivals. The first festival I attended was in Williamsburg, Virginia. I traveled there with a dear friend, beta reader, book & wine lover named Gina. I had no expectations for this festival, I told Gina. In doing my research, I’d talked to three authors who attended in years past. One was enthusiastic about the experience, saying it was well organized and the crowd was lovely. She sold many books.

The second author I contacted said it was awful. She was stuck in a side room and no one could find her table. The people who did were just looking for free stuff. Hmmm. Continue reading “Book Festivalling”

The Difference Two Weeks Makes…

“When you woke up this morning were you still a big shot author with a new puppy?”

That was the text I got from my husband who was out of the country on business this week.

And it does feel like a ‘pinch-me’ kind of week. My memoir, Another Good Dog, sold to Pegasus Books for publication summer 2018, and after fostering 95 puppies and dogs, I’ve finally decided to ‘foster fail’ and adopt a puppy from our current litter.

Rewind two weeks. Continue reading “The Difference Two Weeks Makes…”

Writing Without a Net

It’s a bit of gamble, this writing thing.

I write and write and write and write.

And then I edit and edit and edit and edit.

writing

And then I edit even more.

And when my latest masterpiece is all shined up and ready, I send it out into the world.

Sometimes (okay, many times) it comes back to me with words of rejection.

It feels like judgment. Probably because it is judgment.

And I say – Continue reading “Writing Without a Net”