No, it’s not my birthday. It’s actually Always A Writer’s birthday. One year ago was when I began this blog. I started it before I knew that most writers in this day and age should have blogs and mostly because I just wanted a place to really look at and rejoice with my writing.
Since then, I have written 276 posts, and 41 pages. I’ve had 155 comments (and 444 spam comments).
Last January, I had an average of 8 viewers a month. Last month (November), we had an average of 19 viewers a month. 4,164 people have viewed parts of this website, and my busy day was March 31st, with a total of 68 people.
Maybe it’s not as busy as some people’s blogs, but I’m pretty satisfied. I’m just hoping that this continues to grow.
So, instead of me rambling on about how difficult it is to rewrite a story (I will do that though. Soon. Since I’m activity doing it right now.), I think that I will give some awards to some posts.
please know the following terms: nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, conjunctions, sentences:
This is the most popular post by far, with a total of 679 views. I honestly don’t think a day goes by when someone doesn’t find it via google or something.
The second most common page is on Character Weakness. Sometimes just finding a quick look at possible weakness helps build a character.
A few other of my more favorite posts include All Writers Have Some Mental Illness, How to be a Writer in 5 [Marginally] Easy Steps, and Six Tips on the Art of Killing Characters. The mental illness one is just plain humorous, the how to be a writer one is just helpful, and the art of killing characters is one of the more popular one again.
There are many, many other popular posts and there are just as many posts that got almost nothing, and I still thought would be helpful. Such as Building Religions (Only 9 views since April.), Cultural differences in the MidWest (5 since last December.) The Beneifit of Not Writing Often and even One Sentence Summaries (4 since October 25th)
So that’s about a summary of this past year. Hopefully, next year will be even better (I keep hoping to get Freshly Pressed to be plain.), I’ll learn more, and maybe I’ll even start doing what would be best for me to do. (Such as write synopses.)
Anything you want to see change here?
(And no, I’m not being all stalkerish with the stats. WordPress gives them to me, and I find it helpful to know what people want.)
spice up the writing
Yesterday I talked about the basic grammar of sentences and what you need to know. That’s all fine and good but in all honestly, basic nouns and verbs only go so far. Even when you add in adjectives and adverbs, you sound wonderful.
One of the things that writers need to avoid is excessively littering your writing with adjective and adverbs. They do serve a place–don’t get me wrong–but using two or three of them per sentence will not result in good writing.
Take for this sentences for example:
The girl ran across the road and entered the library.
I could go on and on how we could modify this sentence to make it sound very good with plenty of description but I won’t. (If you are interested, it can be found in The Art of Fiction somewhere.)
If I were to add perhaps two adjectives/adverbs, it’d sound okay.
The girl quickly ran across the road and entered the grand library.
However, if I litter the sentence with adjectives and adverbs, it doesn’t sound all that good.
The stocky, red-head girl quickly and directly ran across the dusty, pebble road and cautiously entered the tall, grand library.
See what I mean?
So if you can’t add in any number of adjectives and adverbs to get your point, what is one to do? This is where we spice up the writing.
I shall introduce something to you that I call strong words. I don’t know what an English teacher would call them but this is what I call them.
Strong words are words that denote a vivid picture. They are generally adjectives (combining several adjectives into one word) or verbs, although they can occasionally be nouns or adverbs. The goal of these is to create a better picture than flat words.
Here is the sentence when I insert strong words:
The girl darted across the road and slipped into the library.
See? That gives a much better picture. And now, I can still add in a few adjectives.
The ragged girl darted across the road and slipped into the elegant library.
And that still works, it still sound relatively good, and it gives a picture. Pictures, in writing, are good.
Now, something that you must understand about this is that almost every single word has a sliding scale to it. If I say I am sad, then I’m kinda down, kinda so-so, but i’ll be fine tomorrow. If I say I’m despondent, that gives a much clearer picture.
Strong words are always better than adjectives or adverbs when writing. If you need help, try creating a sliding scale. Take your word–say, happy–and insert all the possible words to describe happy from the least happy to the most happy. Then, you should be able to figure out which one fits the best.
Just a note too. Question of the Week due by Saturday night. That’s two days left.
please know the following terms: nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, conjunctions, sentences
I have been writing for almost eight years now, I’ve taken an English class at school (and did well enough that the teacher recommended that I apply for a tutoring job) and I have worked at the writing center editing students’ papers for a whole semester. So I have some clue about grammar.
The fact is that you don’t need to know everything in grammar. Who cares what a complex-complete sentence or a past perfect verb is? (Well, I do, but I don’t know off the top of my head. And honestly, very few people who came to me at the writing center cared to know either.)
However, there are some basic parts of grammar that you need to know in order to edit your paper.
Nouns: Simply, an noun is any visible object. A name is also a noun (properly called a noun of direct address). However, nouns can also be things like virtues and emotions. Nouns are what do the action in the sentance.
Two things to understand with nouns. Although not always, nouns can either function as subjects or objects in a basic sentence. In general, subjects come before the verb and objects come after the verb. (They also function quite commonly as objects of the preposition, but, because I don’t think you need to know what a preposition is, I won’t go there.)
Verbs: Verbs, simply, are action words, like jump, type, listen, talk, said. Other verbs, called passive verbs, are words like was, were, has, had, ect. A passive word means the action was not done by the subject. (“My comb was broken,” vs. “Someone broke my comb.”) Whenever I mention avoid passive words, I particularly mean you should delete “was/were” from your writing.
Verbs and nouns are the basic building blocks of sentences.
Adjective: Adjectives modify or describe nouns. Take a noun–girl–and put an adjective on it–tall girl, short girl, fat girl, skinny girl. Adjectives almost always go before the noun. Sometimes adjectives will come after the noun in a prepositional phrase, such as, dashboard of the car. These should be changed to read “car’s dashboard.”
Adverbs: The difference between adjectives and adverbs is that adjectives describe nouns while adverbs describe verbs. So if we take a verb–typed–and put an adverb on it–typed quickly. in general, the way to recognize an adverb is if it ends in -LY. Also, adverbs, unlike adjectives, can be found in a variety of locations, from the beginning to the end of a sentence. Examples:
Quickly, she ran to the store.
She quickly ran to the store.
She ran quickly to the store.
She ran to the store quickly.
Although adverbs can go anywhere, as seen above, most people agree that adverbs are better the closer they are to the verb.
Conjunction: These combine two similar thoughts or phrases together to form one unit. Coordinating conjunctions are simple: For, And, Nor, But, Or, Yet, So. However, there are also subordinating conjunctions, which are much more common as you shall soon see.
Now, let’s put this all together. In order to be a reasonable proofreader, you need to be able to recognize a complete sentence.
Sentences: In a sentence, you need a noun and a verb. If you have more than one of either of those, you need a conjunction, a semi colon or a period. Confusing? Yeah, probably. Just hang with me.
You can have something called a very simple sentence which is five words long at most. An example would be:
She ate the cake.
She (noun, subject) ate (verb) the cake (noun, object)
Or you can have a very long sentence.
Sue ate the cake and Bob drank the soda while they walked to the park.
Sue (noun, subject) ate (verb) the cake (noun, object) and (conjunction) Bob (noun, subject) drank (verb) the soda (noun, object) while (conjunction) they (noun, subject) walked (verb) to the park (noun, either subject nor object. It’s actually an object of the proposition, like I mentioned earlier. To can be an preposition.)
Why is this important? Because say I have a sentence:
The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog, he ran across the field too.
You think it might look right but just to be on the safe side, you decide to check it.
The quick (adjective) brown (adjective) fox (noun, subject) jumped (verb) over the lazy (adjective) dog, (noun) he (noun, subject) ran (verb) across the field (noun) too.
When you analyze it like that, you find that you actually have two subjects, two verbs and no conjunction. You need to place a conjunction in the sentence, or a period, and make it two separate sentences or else you have a comma splice. (Two sentences joined with a comma.)
The other reason why you need to know these parts of speech is because once you realize that one word is an adjective, if you decide that you don’t like that particular adjective, you can replace it with any other adjective found in the dictionary. It’s very much like the mad lib idea. But, you can’t replace one type of word for another type of word.
So now perhaps you understand not only why your teacher cared so much about nouns and verbs but how to use them while writing.