A well-placed, strong and evocative adjective can add great detail to a word, phrase or scene. However, too often they come across as contrived and unnecessary.
The beautiful, bubbling river sparkled in the golden sunlight, its silvery ripples reflecting the brilliant, blazing rays that played on the shivering surface.
Too much, far too much. What’s wrong with:
The river sparkled in the sunlight, silvery rays playing on the shivering surface.
(That’s still too much).
And be very careful of ‘broad’ adjectives like ‘beautiful’ in the first sentence. ‘Beautiful’ like ‘nice’, ‘wonderful’, etc. is a broad term – it’s subjective and means different things to different people. It adds nothing so is best avoided, except in dialogue. Also be wary of the thesaurus. It is useful and can help you describe things in a fresh, new way. But be careful. You don’t want to sound like Joey from Friends!
on Mental Floss:
Here’s an ambiguous sentence for you:
“Because of the agency’s oversight, the corporation’s behavior was sanctioned.”
Does that mean, “Because the agency oversaw the company’s behavior, they imposed a penalty for some transgression,” or does it mean, “Because the agency was inattentive, they overlooked the misbehavior and gave it their approval by default”?
We’ve stumbled into the looking-glass world of contronyms—words that are their own antonyms.
On CMOS Shop Talk:
From the perspective of writers and editors, URLs do their best work behind the scenes or just off the page, in a browser’s address bar. In that role—as an internet address that will take you to a specific page online—it doesn’t matter all that much what a URL looks like so long as it works.
Looks do matter, however, when you need to mention or cite a URL in the text or share it with someone. Most domain names are easy enough to deal with (think Amazon.com). It’s when URLs go beyond the home page that they tend to get messy.
But just because it’s been copied from an address bar and takes you to the right place doesn’t mean you’re stuck with it. Whenever you’re dealing with a URL that isn’t reasonably short and readable by humans, you should look for alternatives.
on Publishing … and Other Forms of Insanity:
This August there are more than six dozen calls for submissions.
All of these are paying markets, and none charge submission fees.
As always, every genre, style, and form is wanted, from short stories to poetry to essays.
One of the most important elements of any successful ad campaign is the targeting. Reaching an engaged and relevant audience is critical to driving clicks and sales, as well as keeping your ads cost-effective.
With BookBub Ads, you can target BookBub and Chirp members by their preferred reading formats, book categories, retailers, regions, and authors. While it’s up to you to identify ideal readers and research targets for the particular books you’re promoting, we can help you avoid some of the most common mistakes we see advertisers make with their BookBub Ads targeting!
on Publishing … and Other Forms of Insanity:
This August there are nearly three dozen writing contests calling for every genre and form, from poetry, to creative nonfiction, to completed novels.
Prizes range from $20,000 to publication. None charge entry fees.
Some of these contests have age and geographical restrictions, so read the instructions carefully.
on Just Publishing Advice:
Can you start a sentence with because? Yes, of course, you can.
You probably won’t use it very often. But when you do, you need to be careful and make sure you use it correctly.
There is a simple way to check that your grammar is correct when you use the word because.
Just ask yourself if what you wrote is a complete sentence or a sentence fragment.
Posted by Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware®
I’ve written a number of posts about scammers impersonating literary agents and publishers. Writers should be aware that they’re also impersonating major motion picture studios.
Here’s one example, from a scam that does business under at least three names: Orions Media Agency, Fox Media Studios Agency (note the way these scam names reference real companies), and PageTurner Press and Media. Despite their apparent US addresses and phone numbers, all are based in the Philippines (you can read more about the huge proliferation of overseas scammers here).
This is the initial pitch–which arrives, as always with this type of scam, out of the blue:
This is not the way things work: literary agents aren’t “assigned” to represent you without your knowledge, and major film studios don’t randomly stumble on books and reach out to agencies you never heard of, which then cold-call you. In…
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