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Excerpt: A Novel Approach (To Writing Your First Book, or Your Best One), by Jack Woodville London

Title: A Novel Approach (To Writing Your First Book, or Your Best One)
Author: Jack Woodville London

  • ASIN: B00KVR0V9M



Book description:

Characters. Conflict. Dialogue. Story arc. Editing. You can do this! In many respects it’s like building a home or raising a child, efforts of love and patience that are hard enough in their own right but almost impossible without a blueprint or the example of some devoted predecessors to show the way. The goal is to write a novel or a story, not to type a lot of pages and bind them. It sounds like work, and it is, but you can do this!

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Author bio:
Jack London is the author of the award-winning books French Letters: Virginia’s Wars and French Letters: Engaged in War and most recently, A Novel Approach (To Writing Your First Novel, or Your Best One). He has published some 30 literary articles and more than 50 book reviews. Prior to his career in fiction writing, London was a courtroom lawyer and spent over 40 years writing technical legal articles. While in law school, he served as editor of the University of Texas International Law JournalLondon grew up in small-town Texas before earning degrees at the University of Texas and West Texas State University. He also earned certificates at the Fiction AcademySt. CéréFrance and Ecole Francaise, Trois PontsFranceLondon lives in AustinTexas, with his wife, Alice, and Junebug the writing cat. For more information, please visit www.jwlbooks.com.

Excerpt:

Forget the spell checker — Activate the read checker

CAUTION CHILDREN, EXCITING

What’s going on here? Is this statement really about warning youngsters to beware of some unidentified tantalizing something? It could be. The ab- sence of a colon, a hyphen, or a comma after ‘caution’ turns it from a warn- ing into a directive.

Worse, however, the sign also could be about pedophiles who may not know always where to stick their commas. In that case the creep should have written ‘Caution, children exciting.’
However, it is more likely that the person who composed the sign made a combination of errors in attempting to warn cars in the neighborhood that children would be getting off the school bus. That message should have been written: “Caution: Children exiting.”

Despite, or perhaps because of, the wonders of spell-check and gram- mar correction functions in word processing programs, errors in gram- mar, punctuation, and spelling ultimately hole more boats than a renegade submarine. Spelling errors, contractions, commas, and mistakes in word selection are common buggers for writers. They also are the easiest to dust up without the author having to suffer the red marks of humiliation that editors love to scribble on manuscripts. Your word processor will not catch these. It is your job to catch them.

Take a few minutes to read Eats, Shoots & Leaves, a wonderful little book by Lynn Truss. It might be about the diet of pandas, who eat shoots and leaves, or it might be about a renegade marsupial that rides into town, gob- bles up the food, then uses a six-shooter to gun down the waitress before departing. (The panda eats, then shoots, then leaves....) Regardless, her book is about the devil in the comma, not the least of the imps that cause confusion to writers and readers as well.

Here are a few examples of easily-made, easy to correct errors:

Bee ware. Your in. Sorry for the incontinence. Man eating tiger. And, my favorite advertisement on a billboard at a rather inexpensive motel: ‘Free wife for your lap top.’

Be hard on yourself in your quest to make your writing clear to readers.
Look for uncertainty in every punctuation mark and synonym. By the time you are ready for someone else to read your story, you’re riding will be reddy two.


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