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Watch for agreement in correlative conjunctions

One common 00000000000000000ttgrammar issue occurs when using a structure consisting of two parts: the correlative conjunction.

A correlative conjunction connects two equal grammatical items. Examples of correlative conjunctions include: either...or; neither...nor; and not only...but also.

Notice that a correlative conjunction consists of two parts. Because of that, if a noun follows one part of the correlative conjunction, then a noun must follow the second part. To wit, He will order either pizza or nachos. The noun pizza follows either and the noun nachos follows or.

Two agreement problems can arise when using correlative conjunctions.

Verb agreement
The noun following the second part of the correlative conjunction must agree with the verb that comes after it. So, if that verb is plural, the noun must be plural. For example:

Every game so far this season, either the running back or the wide receiver is the leading scorer.

In the example, wide receiver is the noun following the correlative conjunction’s second part, or. The verb is comes after that noun. Since is is singular, the noun must be singular; you wouldn’t write wide receivers. If you mean for the noun to be plural, then the verb also must be plural, as in:

Every game so far this season, either the running back or the wide receivers are the leading scorer.

Note that the noun following the correlative conjunction’s first part (running back/either) can be singular. All that matters is the noun following the correlative conjunction’s second part (wide receivers/or).

Pronoun agreement
In addition, pronoun agreement can be an issue. Remember that both nouns following both parts of the correlative conjunction must agree with the pronoun that refers to them. For example:

Either fresh roses or chocolates would win Laura’s heart, because they make girls go all gushy inside, he told himself.

Fresh roses and chocolates are both antecedents to which they refers. Both Fresh roses and chocolates are plural. So, the pronoun referring to them also must be plural.

A common reason for pronoun agreement errors is that one of the antecedent nouns is singular and the other is plural (Either fresh roses or a box of chocolates). In such cases, use different nouns so they either are both singular or both plural.

Professional Book Editor: Having your novel, short story or nonfiction manuscript proofread or edited before submitting it can prove invaluable. In an economic climate where you face heavy competition, your writing needs a second eye to give you the edge. I can provide that second eye.



5 Fantastic Science Fiction Novums

Science 00000000000000000xxfiction stories typically arise from a novum, a scientifically plausible concept that is a “reality” in the tale. The novum might be an mechanical device like robot servants, artificial intelligence, or faster-than-light spacecraft; it also can be a hypothetical idea such as “The Earth is a scientific experiment run by aliens to determine the meaning of life” or “The government outlaws books.” The author then asks “What if?” exploring how the world with this novum is different than ours.

Among the problems of many novice science fiction writers is instead of introducing a new novum they rely on used furniture – that is, they borrow novums from popular SF series. After all, how many novels have you read that use starships exploring the galaxy for the Earth-based Federation? Barely changing names to appear as if you are not appropriating – a starcraft seeking M-class worlds for the Earth-centered Alliance – still doesn’t cut it as original or fully using the potential that science fiction offers to examine our culture or humanity.

To help SF writers, here are some novums of potential near-future inventions from which stories could be built:

Drone hives
What if drones, which are ubiquitous is so many aspects of our lives – taxis, security patrols, ambulances, weather/pollution monitoring, and more – could dock on the side of a skyscraper called a hive, where robots maintain and program them for their various missions? How would this hive affect the lives of people in a city?

Epsilon Eridani colonization
What if a future interstellar expedition settled the asteroids of the inner dust ring orbiting this nearby star? What challenges would the colonists face in a system with no planets boasting an oxygen atmosphere and a star that is slightly dimmer than ours? http://ourstellarneighborhood.blogspot.com/2007/07/epsilon-eridani.html

Iron seeding
What if to reduce global warming, the oceans were seeded with iron to stimulate plankton growth, as these organisms remove carbon dioxide (the main cause of global warming) from our atmosphere? How will the resulting increased acidity of the oceans affect ecosystems?

Quantum cloud
What if all of the information for our Internet was stored and manipulated on the quantum substrate of space itself? How does this change the way we access and interact with information?

UV exposure monitor
What if you could wear a patch that changes color to tell when you’ve been exposed to too much sunlight on the beach or whenever outside? Under what scenario would this become a necessity in our population?

Professional Book Editor: Having your novel, short story or nonfiction manuscript proofread or edited before submitting it can prove invaluable. In an economic climate where you face heavy competition, your writing needs a second eye to give you the edge. I can provide that second eye.



Book client publishes novel set in occupied Japan

A recent The Brass Rail LD Robisonediting client has published his first novel. LD Robison’s “The Brass Rail” tells how two generations, both tested and ravaged by war, lift the other up. At the end of World War II, most of the veterans who valiantly defended our country’s freedoms left the military and returned home. Some of these gallant men chose to remain in the service and – along with those few who stayed in uniform because they had nowhere else to go – found themselves in Japan. When war breaks out in Korea, a new generation of men and women arrive. As the war rages, a different dynamic arises in occupied Japan, one that will shape and mold the future lives of this new generation. This novel tells the story of their experiences, trials, disappointments, loves, wants and needs. It is available online in both paperback and on ebook.

Professional Book Editor: Having your novel, short story or nonfiction manuscript proofread or edited before submitting it can prove invaluable. In an economic climate where you face heavy competition, your writing needs a second eye to give you the edge. I can provide that second eye.



5 Great Quotations to Inspire Writers

“You never 00000001l have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write.” - Saul Bellow

“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.” - William Wordsworth

“You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” - Jack London

“I don’t wait for moods. You accomplish nothing if you do that. Your mind must know it has got to get down to work.” - Pearl S. Buck

“I only write when I’m inspired, and I make sure I’m inspired every morning at 9 a.m.” - Peter DeVries

Professional Book Editor: Having your novel, short story or nonfiction manuscript proofread or edited before submitting it can prove invaluable. In an economic climate where you face heavy competition, your writing needs a second eye to give you the edge. I can provide that second eye.



How to come up with story ideas

Suffering from writer’s block? Self-doubt about your talent?
With Writing Affirmations: A Collection of Positive Messages to Inspire Writers, you can reclaim the pleasure of writing and pen the book you’ve always dreamed of through uplifting, meaningful phrases that can be read aloud or internalized weekly over the course of a year. Writing prompts and tips follow each affirmation, giving you the inspiration and motivation to keep writing.



8 Tips for Authors Making a Video

A poorly-produced Camera-2008489_1280 video for YouTube or your authors website actually can harm your book sales and business more than help it, so you want to put in the time to get it right. Learning the craft of filmmaking will take a while, but you just have to know some basics to get started and come out with a good video.

Here are several great filming and production tips to help ensure you make a high quality video.

Use good light when filming
If you don’t have any lights for filming, only make the video during the day. Indoor lights won’t begin to provide enough light to film at night. If you must film during the evening, add a couple of additional lights to help achieve the brightness of natural daylight. These need not be expensive; a couple of worklights available at a hardware store can get you started.

Discover your best angle
Always use your best side (left, right, front on) for speaking to a camera. The best time to determine this is when you’re practicing your very first video in front of the camera. Rehearse the video three times, each time using a different angle; preview the videos and then stick with the angle that looks best.

Speak loudly and clearly
Your voice must be louder than any background sound, such as music. That means no whispering or mumbling. Also, pronounce your words clearly.

Watch your background
If outside, don’t stand so that a pole or tree in the background sticks out of your head. In addition, make sure there are no mirrors are reflective services that can appear in your video’s background lest sometimes unintended material ends up in your shot, which can be distracting at best and embarrassing at worst.

Employ a backdrop
Anytime you film in a busy place, a number of distractions can appear in the background. If your video must be done in such a location, add a backdrop so that viewers will focus on you rather than passing bicyclists, flashing police lights, people trying to photobomb the video, and so forth.

Research special effects
A lot of people in the film and television industries decades ago perfected how to make certain special effects look realistic. Rely on their expertise rather than reinvent the wheel. For example, if you are a horror author who wanted to use blood in our video, like the pros, use food coloring not ketchup (which doesn’t look real).

Stick to copyright free music
If you use music in your video, be sure not to include copyrighted material. YouTube usually will remove it. There is plenty of copyright free music that can be used; to find it, just type royalty free music into a search engine.

Keep the videos short
Expect your viewers’ attention spans to be limited. Indeed, almost half of all viewers will tune out after just a minute into your video. Given this, keep videos to less than 10 minutes in length.

Professional Book Editor: Having your novel, short story or nonfiction manuscript proofread or edited before submitting it can prove invaluable. In an economic climate where you face heavy competition, your writing needs a second eye to give you the edge. I can provide that second eye.



Generate income from book via teleseminar

Especially if Podcast-2665179_1280you’ve penned nonfiction, a great way to use your book to generate additional income is a teleseminar. This involves using a teleconference line or a live audio link via the Internet; it also is known as a teleclass.

There are plenty of good reasons to offer a teleseminar. First, it helps build your credibility as an expert in the field you wrote about. You didn’t just a book, after all, but now are sharing your expertise directly with individuals who are willing to pay to listen to you. Secondly, it helps build trust in you and your expertise. There’s no better way to develop trust than making a personal connection, and a teleseminar is a way to interact with your fans or those considering your services. Third, a teleseminar can help expand your client list. Promoting your teleseminar opens a new door for people to discover your books and services, and after participating in your event, at least a few likely are to join your mailing list if not purchase your services. Finally, a teleseminar can boost book sales. Some participants will purchase your book in advance of the teleseminar, but the real boost comes afterward when those you’ve impressed during the presentation decide your titles are worth the money.

Putting on a teleseminar largely involves five steps: selecting a topic; preparing your presentation; setting up the technicalities; promoting the presentation; and delivering the presentation.

Selecting a topic
Draw from your book but don’t just replicate what you’ve already written, at least not fully. Instead, springboard from it so that you provide new and interesting information. The topic should be one that your readers ask a lot about. You can come up with a topic by participating in discussion groups on your various social media platforms. What you write on the topic for your teleconference can become the kernel for your next book!

Outlining the presentation
Once you have a topic, outline how you will cover it during the call. Most teleseminars last about 45-60 minutes. During that time, be sure to include a welcome and a brief introduction of yourself at the beginning. Also include time for questions at the end. Just in case there are none, include some additional, supplementary material. At the end of the presentation, always thank everyone for joining you. Don’t forget to practice your presentation a couple of times before it’s show time!

Setting up the technicalities
You’ll need a conference line for making the call. Believe it or not, you can get free ones online. You even can find services that allow listeners to access the teleconference online via a webcast. Always test the line before going live. You’ll also want to ensure you have a way on your website for participants to sign up for, know how to access, and to pay for the teleseminar.

Promoting the presentation
Promote the event just as if it were a book release – blog about it, post about it at each of your social media sites, send emails about it to everyone on your mailing list (Always use an attention-getting subject line in your invitations so it isn’t overlooked!), target media and bloggers with press releases about it.

Delivering the presentation
Be sure to speak clearly. Stay on track and avoid speaking off the cuff about tangents. Don’t go over the allotted time, as that’s disrespectful of your participants. At the end of the presentation, dangle more: When the teleseminar is over, offer for sale a special coaching program or other product that is exclusive to those who’ve participated.

Once the teleseminar is completed, take some time to assess what went well and what didn’t. Be honest with yourself and make adjustments for the next teleseminar so it’s even better!

Professional Book Editor: Having your novel, short story or nonfiction manuscript proofread or edited before submitting it can prove invaluable. In an economic climate where you face heavy competition, your writing needs a second eye to give you the edge. I can provide that second eye.



Unique definitions: Discreet vs. discrete

Sometimes, 00000000000000000zz flipping a letter in a word can lead to quite radical results – like an entirely different definition. Such is the case with discreet vs. discrete.

Discreet means to conduct oneself in a prudent or judicious manner. To wit, Jane always was discrete about their liaisons when her lover’s spouse was with him.

Flip the last e with the t, however, and you get discrete, which means distinct or separate. For example, The introduction, body and conclusion paragraphs are discrete sections of an academic essay.

Here’s a quick memory trick for spelling the words: “The e’s are seperate in discrete.”

Professional Book Editor: Having your novel, short story or nonfiction manuscript proofread or edited before submitting it can prove invaluable. In an economic climate where you face heavy competition, your writing needs a second eye to give you the edge. I can provide that second eye.



5 More Scifi Novum Writing Prompts

Science fiction 000000000000000000yy stories typically arise from a novum, a scientifically plausible concept that is a “reality” in the tale. The novum might be an mechanical device like robot servants, artificial intelligence, or faster-than-light spacecraft; it also can be a hypothetical idea such as “The Earth is a scientific experiment run by aliens to determine the meaning of life” or “The government outlaws books.” The author then asks “What if?” exploring how the world with this novum is different than ours.

Among the problems of many novice science fiction writers is instead of introducing a new novum they rely on used furniture – that is, they borrow novums from popular SF series. After all, how many novels have you read that use starships exploring the galaxy for the Earth-based Federation? Barely changing names to appear as if you are not appropriating – a starcraft seeking M-class worlds for the Earth-centered Alliance – still doesn’t cut it as original or fully using the potential that science fiction offers to examine our culture or humanity.

To help SF writers, here are some novums of potential near-future inventions from which stories could be built:

Bathroom physical
What if physicals at the doctor’s office became a thing of the past as you received one every time you entered your bathroom? The rug would measure your weight, pulse and blood pressure, the toothbrush check your saliva, the mirror track your height, and an auto-analysis of your waste in the toilet bowl will examine what you ate and drank to recommend diet changes. How does this change our personal health or health insurance rates?

Colonizing Lalande 21185 moon
What if an interstellar expedition locates a habitable moon around one of the gas giants orbiting Lalande 21185, a M-type star about 8.3 light years away? How would the colonists overcome the many challenges facing them, such as the dim starlight, radiation from the gas giant, and blocking of the starlight when the gas giant eclipses the main star? 

Dynamic earpiece
What if we wore earpieces that could filter out specific noises or amplify specific sounds? For example, we might set the earpiece to tune out advertising but raise the volume of teachers in the classroom.

Space cloud
What if to reduce global warming, a reflective mesh of a trillion ultra-thin mirrors (a “space cloud”) were placed around the Earth to reduce the amount of sunlight hitting the planet? At what point will the space cloud have to be constructed?

StarChips
What if a thousand nanoscale spacecraft, powered by lightsails, were accelerated to 100 million mph and sent on their way to our nearest neighbor, the Alpha Centauri star system? Depending on the StarChips’ destination within that star system, they could be there in 20-30 years.

Professional Book Editor: Having your novel, short story or nonfiction manuscript proofread or edited before submitting it can prove invaluable. In an economic climate where you face heavy competition, your writing needs a second eye to give you the edge. I can provide that second eye.



5 Ways to Make Your Writing is More Descriptive

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Use sensory details rather than internalized ones 
Mimic sounds to appeal to sense of hearing 
Improve descriptions by appealing to 'touch'  
Appeal to sense of taste in descriptions  
Add color to your fiction manuscript 
• BONUS: “There are many rules of good writing, but the best way to find them is to be a good reader.”

Professional Book Editor: Having your novel, short story or nonfiction manuscript proofread or edited before submitting it can prove invaluable. In an economic climate where you face heavy competition, your writing needs a second eye to give you the edge. I can provide that second eye.