EWF15 – The Good Copy: On Grammar

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Every now and again I come across a truly wondrous thing that seems too good to be true, too perfect for this world.  At first it was just the cheesecake brownie I ate one cold night in Korea. Then it was the development of free open-source content management systems such as WordPress.  Then it was Sharkbanz, a waterproof electromagnetic shark force field.  And now, there is The Good Copy*.

THE GOOD COPY, is a writing studio, a shop and a school.  The Good Copy seems like an open writers studio where sometimes there is writing and other times there are parties.  They also sell writing materials, books, style guides, journals and print mags.  Writers can also sit around in the sunny front room at The Good Copy and work at their leisure, ‘like a cafe that won’t kick you out and you don’t have to buy anything.’

Last night I washed my hair and headed to The Good Copy for an EMERGING WRITERS’ FESTIVAL event called, The Good Copy; Nuts and Bolts.

If you have ever read anything on my blog before you’ll know that GRAMMAR is not my superpower.  For a long time I was actually immobilised by my mistakes.  I was so scared of writing incorrectly that I wrote nothing.  After misspelling the word steroids on my blog  few years ago I received some friendly constructive criticism from a man in America.  It went like this, ‘STUPID FUCKING CUNT’.  Grammar trolls are real.  I was frozen with fear. Continue reading

Aren’t Bloggers and Writers the Same Thing

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The Writing Festival Season is about to start and I’m absolutely thrilled to be participating in the EMERGING WRITERS FESTIVAL for 2015.

This year I’ll be joining SAM VAN ZWEEDEN and  MICHELLE McLAREN to talk all things blogging.  I’m nervous, excited and starting to wonder if I am completely out of my depth.  As the days tick by and the panel discussion looms ahead, I realise I have no idea what the hell blogging even is?

Firstly, I want to make one thing clear.  I hate the words Blog, Blogs, Blogging, Blogger and Blogged.  They sound like they’ve come straight from the toilet.  I try at all costs to never say these words out loud.

When people ask me what I do for a living I tell them ‘I write…online…for a few websites…that I own.’ Continue reading

The Oxford Comma

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Here is a little something I wanted to share with you all.  You know you are a nerd when you think that grammar is interesting.

The other day at my writers group, the issue of the oxford comma was raised.  The Oxford Comma or Serial Comma as you may know it, is a point of contention among editors.  Amanda, another member of the group showed us this video – which was wonderful. Continue reading

6 Books Every Emerging Writer Must Read

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The Emerging Writer, Writers, Writer

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1. Bird by Bird

by Anne LaMott.

This book is a really inspiring and practical book for writers.

Readers will be reminded of the energizing books of writer Natalie Goldberg and will be seduced by Lamott’s witty take on the reality of a writer’s life, which has little to do with literary parties and a lot to do with jealousy, writer’s block and going for broke with each paragraph.

Reading this book, I realised how much further I could push my writing and my characters.  It was this book that helps me to understand how shallow I was writing and how much my writing could improve if I was brave enough to be honest and write something that mattered.

Marvelously wise and best of all, great reading.

 

The Emerging Writer, Writing.

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2. The Little Red Writing Book

by Mark Tredinnick. 

(Released as Writing Well in America)

I should probably credit this book as the catalyst for my conversion from the Visual Arts to the Literary Arts.  I love the style and strength of this book, which includes a whole chapter on writing with grace.

The Little Red Writing Book is a guide to expressive creative writing and effective professional prose. The author, a poet, writer, editor and teacher, explains the techniques required for stylish and readable writing. Everyone who wants to improve their writing can benefit from this book, which describes how to: • identify topics that inspire you to write • get into the habit of writing regularly • develop ideas • construct effective arguments • choose words for maximum effect • use grammar correctly • structure sentences and paragraphs appropriately • write with integrity The book is enriched by examples from great modern writers, and includes a variety of exercises and suggestions for writing activities.

books for writers, emerging writers must reads,

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3. On Writing, A memoir of the Craft. 

by Stephen King.

Every writing blog on earth recommends writers to read this book…and you will find we are no different.  One of the most famous writing works for writers.  Need we say more?

Part memoir, part master class by one of the bestselling authors of all time, this superb volume is a revealing and practical view of the writer’s craft, comprising the basic tools of the trade every writer must have.

King’s advice is grounded in his vivid memories from childhood through his emergence as a writer, from his struggling early career to his widely reported near-fatal accident in 1999 — and how the inextricable link between writing and living spurred his recovery. Brilliantly structured, friendly and inspiring, “On Writing” will empower and entertain everyone who reads it — fans, writers, and anyone who loves a great story well told

 

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4. The Icarus Deception

by Seth Godin.

‘Make Something Happen’ They are the words on Seth Godin’s homepage.

Everyone knows that Icarus’s father made him wings and told him not to fly too close to the sun; he ignored the warning and plunged to his doom. The lesson: Play it safe. Listen to the experts.  But we tend to forget that Icarus was also warned not to fly too low, because seawater would ruin the lift in his wings. Flying too low is even more dangerous than flying too high, because it feels deceptively safe.

In his book ‘The Icarus Deception’ Godin talks of the obligation we have towards ourselves and the world, to make art.  Godin discussed the issues we face when we fly too low, under achieve and ignore our potential.  This book speaks of Art and Society and the World and Life…. great read if you need to be pulled back on track.  But it is not just a book about what you are doing wrong, it also give practical and real advice on how to make sure you don’t fly too low.

A great read…actually now that I think about it, you should probably read ‘Tribes’ as well.

Emerging Writers, Manuscrapped

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5. Story

by Robert McKee. 

I put off reading this book for a long time because I believed it was just for screen writers.  It is not.  This book is for every Story Teller!

Story is a complex and thorough break down of ‘Story Craft’ with a focus on excellence and quality.  McKee demands excellence from every word you write.  He wants you to be good, better, and the best.  I found it great to be driven to such high standards.

Robert McKee’s screenwriting workshops have earned him an international reputation for inspiring novices, refining works in progress and putting major screenwriting careers back on track. Quincy Jones, Diane Keaton, Gloria Steinem, Julia Roberts, John Cleese and David Bowie are just a few of his celebrity alumni. Writers, producers, development executives and agents all flock to his lecture series, praising it as a mesmerizing and intense learning experience.

Click here to Purchase

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6. The War of Art

by Steven Pressfield.

If you find yourself asking yourself (and your friends), “Am I really a writer? Am I really an artist?” Chances are you are. The counterfeit innovator is wildly self-confident. The real one is scared to death.”

Are you paralysed with fear? That’s a good sign. Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do. Remember one rule of thumb: the more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.

A succinct, engaging, and practical guide for succeeding in any creative sphere, The War of Art is nothing less than Sun-Tzu for the soul. hat keeps so many of us from doing what we long to do? Why is there a naysayer within? How can we avoid the roadblocks of any creative endeavor—be it starting up a dream business venture, writing a novel, or painting a masterpiece? Bestselling novelist Steven Pressfield identif ies the enemy that every one of us must face, outlines a battle plan to conquer this internal foe, then pinpoints just how to achieve the greatest success.

Happy Reading Emerging Writers!

 

 

 

Criticism; And what to do with it

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Receiving criticism, emerging writers diary, writingCriticism.  I always knew it was coming.  Every writer, every writing book and everyone tried to prepare me for it.  I have been writing full time for about a year now.  I have been posting content on this, and another site regularly for a long time.  Mostly I have received quite positive feedback, but nothing could prepare me for the wave of nausea and doubt that puled the floor from under me, when I posted an particular article a little while ago.

Over the last year I have learnt a great deal and have loved watching my skills progress – slowly but surely.  I am proud of how far I have come and I am excited for the future… But when I received messages like this one – I had to wonder ‘What the hell was I doing?’ 

Nothing can prepare you for the first time you put your work out there and you receive a barrage of negative, or should I say ‘constructive criticism’.  Logically you know how to handle it, but emotionally and physically, you can’t help reacting.

Receiving Criticism, emerging writers, The emerging writers diary

From Reddit

You might be thinking this comment is is not that bad.  Well, there was a lot more than this. This comment was the best of it.

What is the worst part in all of this, is that they are right!  I am wondering if I am just not good enough to be a writer.

So what do you do with Criticism?
  1. Receiving Critcism, emerging writers, the emerging writers diaryFirstly you need to make two columns on a blank piece of paper, for sorting out your criticism into two categories
  2. Title those two categories as follows – Bullshit Hater Nonsense – & – Helpful Tips Just Worded Badly

After the initial shock, or receiving criticism, start to sort through it.  Which catagory does it fall into?  It is just Bullshit Hater Nonsense?  Or is there a Helpful Tip in there that has just been worded very badly?  Either it is wrong – and you can fuck them off – or it is right and you have the chance to learn, change and improve.

Because of the messages I received about my grammar, I went straight to the shops and brought the little Green Grammar Book and started to read it.  Wow, I still have so much to learn about writing, but that’s ok.

Why Criticism is Great!

Having your writing criticised is the best thing that can happen to you.  It means you’re a writer.  Every writing student will go through this at one point or another.  It is a right of passage through to the other side – Professional writing.  

  1. You are brave enough to put your writing out there.
  2. You are working as a writer.
  3. People are engaged enough in reading your work to respond to it.
  4. You are engaged enough with your audience to hear any criticisms.
  5. You have the chance to learn something fantastic from it.
  6. You have the chance to reaffirm your writing style and your voice.
  7. You are more advanced than every other person claiming to be a writer that has never shared a single word.
  8. You might not know everything on earth – Who Cares!!

I have since gone back and read over all of the other criticisms I received.  I read them over and over again until they did not have any power anymore.  Some where helpful and I have learned from them.  Others I have already forgotten.

If you have got any great words of encouragement to emerging writers we would love to here from you.

 

 

IMG_0493Meghan Brewster is a Blogger, Freelance writer and general spinner of Fiction. She is the founder and editor of The Emerging Writers Diary, as well as Itp & Me, a website dedicated to managing the rare platelet disorder, ITP. To learn more about Meghan Brewster follow this link. By making purchases through links on this website you are helping to support a young emerging writer. Thank you.

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Grammar; who or whom made up all these strange rules?

As you probably know I am currently struggling with grammar.  I couldn’t help but laugh when this happened!  All the programers and all the grammarians working for Microsoft Office Mac OS are still undecided about a few rules.  It’s moments like this that help me relax about getting everything perfect.  I think I’ll go a little easier on myself for the rest of the day.

 

Grammar, who or Whom, emerging writer

who or whom, grammar, emerging writer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Buy Little green Grammar book online.

If you are looking for help with Grammar, I recommend The Little Green Grammar Book.  I am currently using it everyday and loving it.  Though I still get confused, just like Microsoft.

 

IMG_0493Meghan Brewster is a Blogger, Freelance writer and general spinner of Fiction. She is the founder and editor of The Emerging Writers Diary, as well as Itp & Me, a website dedicated to managing the rare platelet disorder, ITP. To learn more about Meghan Brewster follow this link. By making purchases through links on this website you are helping to support a young emerging writer. Thank you.

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The Little Green Grammar Book; Mark Tredinnick

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This is a writer’s grammar book.  It’s a grammar book by a writer for writers.  I don’t want to put anyone off, but I am neither a grammarian nor linguist; I’m just a writer who’s thought a fair bit about grammar – and taught a fair bit of it too.  This book describes most of the grammar that’s taught me how to write.  I’ve written it down in case it helps you, too.’ Tredinnick.

The Little Green Grammar Book is a non Fiction book about grammar.  It is more than just a reference book. It’s a study on grammar as a craft and why it matters.  Beginning with the ‘natural history of the sentence,’ this book breaks down the elements of a sentence, in a clear and contemporary way.

How Did This Book Come to Me?
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I purchased this book after receiving some negative feedback about my grammar.

I ordered this book at a book store.  I waited for it to be back loaded onto a truck traveling down the south coast from Sydney.  I checked in with the book store lady every few days, despite her promise to call me as soon as it came in.  I wanted this book very urgently as I had suddenly and scarily became aware of how terrible my grammar was.  I had become immobilized in my writing.  I was frozen and I could not have written another word until I had The Little Green Grammar Book in my handbag.

I had known about the book for a while, having read the Little Red Writing book many times, but it wasn’t until I found out just how bad I was, that I decided to finally buy it.

Why Will I Finish It?

‘The comma as pause has been oversold and under –explained.  We need a smarter notion.’  Tredinnick.

It is not really a book that demands that it be read cover to cover.  But I will.

I would like to read this novel slowly, so that I can pause and reflect at the end of each chapter.  I would like to learn, as I read.  It is very clear and easy to read.  It is light hearted, honest and somehow personal, while still being about and for grammar – interesting.

The little green grammar book, mark tredinnick, the emerging writer, grammar, writing first novelMore.

Published in 2008 by University of New South Whales Press, this book is part of a series on writing – The Little Red Writing Book, The Little Green Grammar Book and The Little Black Book of Business Writing.  There is a fourth title that can be found by Mark Tredinnick on writing, ‘Writing well: The Essential Guide,’ which is the US and UK title of The Little Red Writing Book.

I know it will take a while before I can see the improvements from learning proper grammar.  I know I have a long way to go.  I know that I will need to practice this every day.  I know that I will need to re write a lot of everything I have just written.  And I know that when I read over this article in only a few months, I will want to re write it all, correcting all the mistakes I don’t even know I am making

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IMG_0493Meghan Brewster is a Blogger, Freelance writer and general spinner of Fiction. She is the founder and editor of The Emerging Writers Diary, as well as Itp & Me, a website dedicated to managing the rare platelet disorder, ITP. To learn more about Meghan Brewster follow this link. By making purchases through links on this website you are helping to support a young emerging writer. Thank you.

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