Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Six phrases a writer should NEVER use

Why would you say something that’s “needless to say?”

Every time I see these words as they introduce a statement, I’m tempted to skip anything that follows them.

After all, if something is “needless to say,” why say it?
Do we really need to write “for example?”

Admittedly, I do it all the time. I know if my words are clear, concise and comprehensive, I don’t need to tell someone I’m citing an example.
I guess the usage goes back to my high school English teacher who insisted we use examples in all our writing. I vow to stop using these two words together again.

Do you really mean you “could care less?”

If I hear this phrase one more time, I might slap myself on the forehead. If I see it on a blog or in an article again, I will definitely respond.

Think about how the phrase breaks down. If you COULD care less then you must care.
Here’s one I find strange: “Let me state …”

No! I’ve already allowed you to state numerous things. Why do I have to give you permission now?

Who’s saying (writing) it anyway? “If it were me” (also known as “If it was me”) I already know it is you.

Finally, this one bothers me: “Plan on.” From what I know about the English language, “on” needs some kind of contact. You can put your plan on something but you plan to do something.

Redundancy lives. It breathes – in books, articles, blogs, columns, practically anywhere a writer writes. We’re probably all guilty. I know I am. At least, though, I won’t uses these six demons again.

Monday, May 23, 2011

A new vocabulary for ebooks

Now that I’ve successfully formatted and uploaded two novels for the Kindle (see the links on the sidebar), I’ve started researching ways to get people to read them. Of course, the first step is to use a search engine to look for advice from other (successful) ebook writers and publishers.

That’s when the first two problems crept into my journey.

Naturally, I expected the results to bring a ton of links to Amazon and the gazillion ebooks already online. These were rather easy to cull.

What I was surprised to find is many references to methods for publicizing and selling how-to publicizing nonfiction works aimed at making money. Too many of these touted affiliate marketing and reselling the rights to tired old manuals.

This directed me to an idea.

Why don’t we get more specific when we refer to our work?

Why not call our work:


These can be further delineated into subcategories that reflect genre or content. For example:


Now when it comes time to research methods to promote a ebook novel, the engines might be more amenable to returning results targeted at the specific request.

Just a thought.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Gaga teaches an old broad new tricks

I’m a writer first but I have a passion for art, for exploring my universe and for music. I’m not a big fan of television, especially when any interesting program has to be interrupted by up to a dozen commercials, and when the network has to float previews and banners on top of a show I’m watching.

This week I will end my cable connection, won’t install an antenna and will use my high-def TV for watching videos and music that appeal to me.

To celebrate the upcoming event, I decided to spend yesterday with the set running as background noise. That’s when I stumbled upon a network called fuse and a show called the Gaga-Thon.

Now I’m fully aware of the presence of this performer, Lady Gaga, and I’ve heard her music on the radio. But like many people of my generation, I dismissed her as a show woman on a roll. Honestly, she clothes herself in meat, wears high heels that would give most women a nosebleed and presents herself in some very provocative videos, all of which separates her from the accepted ethics of most of us who are over the age of thirty.

Gaga talked about the reasons behind her “outrageous” look, her suggestive videos and her evocative lyrics. She is, in essence, a woman with a mission, a woman who represents a movement via popular culture to bring attention to important social issues.

The program captivated me and taught me a lesson every writer should learn.

Open your mind a well as your eyes and ears. Don’t dismiss anything until you’ve had time to research, investigate and experience it. Use BOTH side of your brain.

Maybe you won’t fall in love with Lady Gaga but you might. And if you don’t, you’ll still have some new tricks to add to your writing.