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Friday, November 24, 2017

No Christmas Cliches: Nixing "reaching out!"

Too funny! Overused Christmas cliches? Not that I didn't love a little rant on this blog touted by one of my favorite book a publicist, Joan Stewart:

But we only have to put up with  Christmas clichés once a year. In another article Stewart recommended, the writer used "reached out"  to introduce the rant to introduce his essay. Now, that Clive really bothers me  because it has begun to  lose its original meaning– – Yes, I am old enough to remember when "reach out" became popular. There was a touchy – feely aspect to it.  It him ply deed on the part of the reacher, or on the part of the reachee.  It imparted the notion of giving and receiving. In the process good old words that have always worked for us got neglected. Words like "interviews" or "asked." They are old words– – not very fancy or poetic– – but they are basics that need no dressing up to get the point across.

Just thought I would share with you my own little cliche rant today.  Find this fun article on Christmas cliches that are often inspired Christmas songs where they sounded just fine at: http://m.ragan.com/Main/Articles/10_clichs_to_ditch_this_holiday_season_51955.aspx. 

MORE ABOUT THE BLOGGER

 Carolyn Howard-Johnson edits, consults, and speaks on issues of writing and publishing. Find her at http://howtodoitfrugally.com. Find the second edition of her multi award-winning The Frugal Editor: Do-it-yourself editing secrets for authors: From your query letter to final manuscript to the marketing of your bestseller. (HowToDoItFrugally Series of Books for Writers). Learn more about her other authors' aids at www.howtodoitfrugally.com/writers_books.htm , where writers find lists and other helps including , Great Little Last-Minute Editing Tips on the Resources for Writers page. She blogs on all things publishing (not just editing!) at her SharingingwithWriters blog. She tweets writers' resources at www.twitter.com/frugalbookpromo . Please tweet this post to your followers. We all need a little help with editing. (-:

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Confirmed! No Cussing May Be Treacherous for Writers

Many who know me—personally or as a writer--think of me as that sweet woman with the silver hair (platinum, if you please, but not gray!). However, I can on occasion—and sometimes more frequently—let loose with language you would unfriend me for. So I was thrilled to see an article in AARP: The Magazine titled “In Praise of Cussing.”

It turns out that a few carefully chosen zingers can be “an indicator of intelligence” according a study from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and Marist College in New York.

Yay!

And expletives can help “reduce and endure physical pain” as well. That’s from Keele University in England. Yep. And “forge better teams in the workplace” and “communicate more persuasively.” 

One survey even says I am in good company (meaning the majority!). Fifty-seven percent of workers swear on the job. (I do try to avoid doing that! And I also almost never swear when I am driving! So there!)

So, I don’t think you’ll ever find an unsavory expletive in this newsletter, but you are sure to find idioms and colloquialisms everywhere. I do try not to let even my foulest fictional characters cuss beyond what is needed for their character and the situation. And, yes sometimes I use words with lots of syllables, too, especially when they say things better than the short ones (which is rarely).  

All this is not to encourage writers to cuss. It is to remind them that if the words they use in dialogue are too. . . mmmm. . .staid, they may render their . . . well, let’s say unnatural? Or stilted?

One of your characters may just be the type who must have a potty mouth if she is to seem real to your reader. And sometimes that character won’t be the tough-talking dude cliché. Those who write humor know that tough-talking character may be a fragile woman with gray. . . er. . . platinum hair.




MORE ABOUT THE EDITOR and BLOGGER

 Carolyn Howard-Johnson is the author of fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. She is also a The Frugal Book Promoter and The Frugal Editor. Her latest is in the series is How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically. Learn more on her Amazon profile page, http://bit.ly/CarolynsAmznProfile . Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers is one of her booklets--perfect for inexpensive gift giving--and The Great First Impression Book Proposal, another booklet, helps writers who want to be traditionally published. She has three FRUGAL books for retailers including one she encourages authors to read because it will help them convince retailers to host their workshops, presentations, and signings. It is A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. She helps writers extend the exposure of their favorite reviews at TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com. She also blogs at all things editing--grammar, formatting and more--at The Frugal, Smart,and Tuned-In Editor (http://TheFrugalEditor.blogspot.com). Her SharingwithWriters.blogspot.com blog focuses on the writing life and book marketing and promotion. It is a Writers' Digest 101 Best blogs pick. Carolyn is also
marketing consultant, editor, and author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers including the award-winningest book in the series,  The Frugal Editor.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Join Me in My Putsch to Avoid Euphemisms That Are Bad Medicine for Authors

This is just a little quotation I found when I was updating the flagship book (2nd edition) of my #HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers, The Frugal Book Promoter.   It includes a couple of euphemisms you may want to avoid--or not! (-:

"Even as publishers shift more of the responsibility for marketing to their authors, many authors are convinced there is something déclassé about the words "marketing" our work or "shopping" our books even though we sense we must build platforms regardless of the words we use.  We know we must submit the most professional proposal, synopsis, and chapters we can, but the idea that the image we are creating is part of a promotion plan of sort gets lost in . . . well, the language."

I thought maybe you would like to join me in my putsch to avoid words that may nudge authors to lesser things rather than greater!



MORE ABOUT THE EDITOR and BLOGGER

 Carolyn Howard-Johnson is the author of fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. She is also a The Frugal Book Promoter and The Frugal Editor. Her latest is in the series is  How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically. Learn more on her Amazon profile page, http://bit.ly/CarolynsAmznProfile . Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers is one of her booklets--perfect for inexpensive gift giving--and The Great First Impression Book Proposal, another booklet, helps writers who want to be traditionally published. She has three FRUGAL books for retailers including one she encourages authors to read because it will help them convince retailers to host their workshops, presentations, and signings. It is A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. She helps writers extend the exposure of their favorite reviews at TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com. She also blogs at all things editing--grammar, formatting and more--at The Frugal, Smart,and Tuned-In Editor (http://TheFrugalEditor.blogspot.com). Her SharingwithWriters.blogspot.com blog focuses on the writing life and book marketing and promotion. It is a Writers' Digest 101 Best blogs pick. Carolyn is also
marketing consultant, editor, and author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers including the award-winningest book in the series,  The Frugal Editor.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Graduation Grammar: Alumn, Cum Laude, Ermeritus - - - And More

June is upon us. Greeting card racks remind us that graduation is here. But knowing the niceties of acceptable academic language is a skill that editors need year round.  Ahem!  I won't hurt the rest of us to bone up on it--and maybe retain it for the next cap-and-gown season.


Graduation Grammar: Alumn, Cum Laude, Emeritus … And More

Guestpost by Kathleen A. Watson, M.S. 

Spring brings graduations, along with confusion about use and misuse of related terms. Let’s clear up a few.

Do you say: “Seth graduated Harvard University last week.”

What about: “Becca will graduate Clemmons High School in May.”

Neither is correct. Why?

Because Seth is not graduating Harvard; he is not causing Harvard to graduate.
Nor is Becca graduating the school named Clemmons. Harvard University and Clemmons High School are conferring graduation status by awarding a degree to Seth and a diploma to Becca.

The correct way to express these accomplishments is:

Seth is graduating from Harvard University.
Beth is graduating from Clemmons High School.

Graduating with honor

There are three levels of graduating with honor (cum pronounced koom; laude pronounced loudy):


  • Cum laude: Graduating with honor (grade point average of 3.5–3.7)
  • Magna cum laude: Graduating with great honor (grade point average 3.8–3.9)
  • Summa cum laude: Graduating with highest praise (grade point average of 4.0+)
Post graduation

Moving on, once Seth graduates, he will become a Harvard alumnus.
When Becca graduates, she will become a Clemmons alumna.


  • Alumnus refers to one male graduate.
  • Alumna refers to one female graduate.
  • Alumni is the plural of alumnus, but it also can refer to a group of mixed-gender graduates.
  • Alumnae is the plural of alumna, referring to a group of female graduates.
  • A shortcut and easy way to avoid errors when using these Latin terms is to use alum for a graduate of any gender and alums for any group of graduates. However, I recommend using these generic terms only in informal contexts.

Post retirement


  • A retired university professor is referred to as a professor emeritus.
  • A retired female university professor often is referred to as a professor emerita.
However, not every retired professor is granted this honorific; the educational institution from which a professor retires decides to whom it grants this honor.
Nor does everyone agree that it is necessary to distinguish a male from a female when it comes to retirees from academia. Professor is a gender-neutral term, so some claim that emeritus is appropriate for any gender.

Note: Emeritus designation can be applied to other retired dignitaries such as a pastor, bishop, pope, director, president, prime minister and others.
As it does with other titles, Associated Press style suggests using capital letters for those that precede a name and using lowercase for those that follow a name:


  • Harvard University Professor Emeritus Seth Simon will address our group on Tuesday.
  • Seth Simon, professor emeritus of Harvard University, will address our group on Tuesday.

If your organization has a style guide, check it for recommendations. Gender designations are changing, and there might be updated ways to use these steeped-in-tradition Latin terms.

Honor & Respect: The Official Guide to Names, Titles, & Forms of Address will tell you everything you want to know about how to properly address those in society with titles. Author Robert Hickey has for decades been teaching at The Protocol School of Washington.

If you’re graduating this spring, sincere congratulations! If you’re attending a graduation, best wishes to you and yours. I’m sure your support has been vital to the success of your friend or family member.


And please don’t say or write that a graduate “received” a degree. Honor the accomplishment with the appropriate verb: Graduates “earn” a degree. 


ABOUT THE GUEST BLOGGER

Kathy has a love/hate relationship with grammar; she loves words and the punctuation that helps them make sense, yet she hates those pesky rules. A self-proclaimed ruthless editor, she blogs weekly. Her easy-to-use Grammar for People Who Hate Rules helps people write and speak with authority and confidence. She encourages and welcomes questions and comments: Kathy@RuthlessEditor.com



Kathleen A. Watson, M.S. 
Author: Grammar for People Who Hate Rules
NOW AVAILABLE ON Amazon
For FREE twice-monthly Killer Tips from The Ruthless Editor, 
send request to: Contact@RuthlessEditor.com








 MORE ABOUT THE BLOGGER

 Carolyn Howard-Johnson is the author of fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. She is also a The Frugal Book Promoter and The Frugal Editor. Her latest is in the series is  How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically. Learn more on her Amazon profile page, http://bit.ly/CarolynsAmznProfile . Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers is one of her booklets--perfect for inexpensive gift giving--and The Great First Impression Book Proposal, another booklet, helps writers who want to be traditionally published. She has three FRUGAL books for retailers including one she encourages authors to read because it will help them convince retailers to host their workshops, presentations, and signings. It is A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. She helps writers extend the exposure of their favorite reviews at TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com. She also blogs at all things editing--grammar, formatting and more--at The Frugal, Smart,and Tuned-In Editor (http://TheFrugalEditor.blogspot.com). Her SharingwithWriters.blogspot.com blog focuses on the writing life and book marketing and promotion. It is a Writers' Digest 101 Best blogs pick. Carolyn is also
marketing consultant, editor, and author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers including the award-winningest book in the series,  The Frugal Editor.t 101 Best blogs pick.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Frugal Editing and Writers' Conference Package!

Wow!  Until now, I had no reason to inform subscribers and visitors interested in editing, but now, Now, NOW . . .

The conference I will be speaking at in Philadelphia in November #IndieAuthorsCon is now adding a 15% off on editing services (and you know how I am about editing!)  in addition to earlybird discount of $99 for a three day conference. LESS my 10% discount using "Carolyn" code. This makes it the best bargain I have ever seen for a three-day day writers' conference!  You must do this before June 15 to apply all the discounts. 

Here's the sign up page for #IndieAuthorsCon:    


PS: I would love to meet you there. If you decide to come, be sure to introduce yourself to me!  

PPS: No, I am not an affiliate. I just believe in supporting anything that will help authors with their careers! 

MORE ABOUT THE BLOGGER

 Carolyn Howard-Johnson is the author of fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. She is also a marketing consultant, editor, and author of the multi award-winning #HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers including the award-winning second editions of The Frugal Book Promoter and The Frugal Editor. Her latest is in the series is How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically. Learn more on her Amazon profile page where all her books--from poetry to the Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers is one of her booklets--perfect for inexpensive gift giving--and The Great First Impression Book Proposal, another booklet, helps writers who want to be traditionally published. She has three FRUGAL books for retailers including one she encourages authors to read because it will help them convince retailers to host their workshops, presentations, and signings. It is A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. She helps writers extend the exposure of their favorite reviews at TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com. She also blogs at all things editing--grammar, formatting and more--at The Frugal, Smart,and Tuned-In Editor and you can subscribe while you are here! Her SharingwithWriters blog focuses on the writing life and book marketing and promotion. It is a Writers' Digest 101 Best blogs pick.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Great Dialogue Help: In Case You Didn't Know Americans Speak Different Languages

Because people in America speak different languages--even when they are speaking English--they may not understand each other. East or West Coast. Buffalo, Orleans, or Chicago. Phoenix. I've lived in them all and, trust me, I've had my linguistically challenging moments. 

When I moved from my home state (Utah)  to work as a publicist in New York, there were days when I thought I spoke an entirely different language than New Yorkers. Perhaps it was vice versa. That was several decades ago, but apparently, that hasn’t changed. Josh Katz lists a few definitions in his Speaking American that makes those east of the Mississippi think those of us in the West “talk funny”—and vice versa.  Here are a couple from his book:

·       In the East they say “sneakers.” Westerners call them tennis shoes.
·       In the East they say “scrap paper.” Westerners say “scratch paper.”
·       Easterners say “skillet.” Westerners say “frying pan.”

Back in my New York days, I had to remember to say “light bulb” rather than “light globe” if I expected to find one at the grocery store and to say “highway” rather than “freeway” because the big roads around New York City were most decidedly not free.

PS: If you write fiction or use dialogue in your nonfiction, you need Katz's book. You can buy Katz’s book on Amazon.




MORE ABOUT THE BLOGGER

 Carolyn Howard-Johnson is the author of fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. She is also a The Frugal Book Promoter and The Frugal Editor. Her latest is in the series is  How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically. Learn more on her Amazon profile page, http://bit.ly/CarolynsAmznProfile . Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers is one of her booklets--perfect for inexpensive gift giving--and The Great First Impression Book Proposal, another booklet, helps writers who want to be traditionally published. She has three FRUGAL books for retailers including one she encourages authors to read because it will help them convince retailers to host their workshops, presentations, and signings. It is A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. She helps writers extend the exposure of their favorite reviews at TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com. She also blogs at all things editing--grammar, formatting and more--at The Frugal, Smart,and Tuned-In Editor (http://TheFrugalEditor.blogspot.com). Her SharingwithWriters.blogspot.com blog focuses on the writing life and book marketing and promotion. It is a Writers' Digest 101 Best blogs pick. Carolyn is also
marketing consultant, editor, and author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers including the award-winningest book in the series,  The Frugal Editor.

Great Editing Is Great Marketing

Your First Marketing Offense: Write and Edit Great Query Letters