The first chapter of a novel needs to “hook” the reader, riveting his or her eyes to the page and creating an intense desire to read on and learn more about the characters and what happens to them. This is not an easy task, but it’s absolutely essential.
AS vs. WHEN As (when used as a conjunction, as in “As this happened, that happened”) implies that the second thing occurred while (within the same time frame as, during the time in which) the first thing was in the process of happening.
Starting this week, instead of PUGS Pointers, I’m going to post some self-editing tips. Here’s the first one, on Active vs. Passive Verbs.
This week’s PUGS Pointer: Single quotation marks are used to indicate quotes within quotes. There is no other use for a single quotation mark. (CMOS 11.33) Example: “And He said to them, ‘Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men’” (Matthew 4:19 NASB).
For book manuscripts, a divorced man is a “divorcé”; a divorced woman is a “divorcée.” An engaged man is a “fiancé”; an engaged woman is a “fiancée.” For articles, do not use accent marks over the e’s in “fiance,” or “fiancee.”
US book publishers use different references than magazine or newspaper publishers do. For book manuscripts (and some popular magazines), use The Chicago Manual of Style and Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. For newspapers and journalistic-style magazines, use The Associated Press Stylebook and Webster’s New World College Dictionary.
Dates in text include a comma only if the month and then the date precede the year. Example: “On October 10, 1980, Donita submitted her fourth book in the series.”
Here are a few spelling tips, excerpts from my book Proofreading Secrets of Best-Selling Authors: An “aisle” is a passage. (“We met in the grocery store aisle.”) An “isle” is an island. “airfare” is one word. “brussels sprouts” (not “brussel sprouts” or “Brussels sprouts”).