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More Practical Tips from a Grammar Goddess

In the past I’ve referred to myself as “Grammar Nazi” and “Grammar Police,” but I much prefer a recent moniker given to me by one of my talented authors: “guru goddess of editing and formatting,” which I’ve shortened to Grammar Goddess. This title implies benevolence and forgiveness, so it suits me quite well. (Stop laughing.)  And it flows off the tongue better than the other terms. Now I just need to create a logo. 😉

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s continue my “Mind You’re Grammar” series. Part I is HERE and Part II (Deux) is HERE. And HERE is a related post about why you shouldn’t be the only editor of your own work. If you haven’t read them already, go ahead and do so. I’ll wait for you to catch up.


By Amador Loureiro

Photo source: Unsplash.com/Amador Loureiro


All finished? Ready for the next lesson? Here we go then.

  • “They both” and “We both.” When there are two people in a scene and both are doing the same thing, there’s no need to say “they both” or “we both.” There are only two people. The “both” is implied by “they/we.” Like so: “We decided to go to the movies.” Instead of: “We both decided to go to the movies.” You can USE “both” in this case, but it’s redundant, and if I’m your editor, I’m going to edit out that word. Just so you know.
  • “With his hands raised in the air…” Yes…of course…”raised” implies they’re in the air. If he’s going to hold his hands straight in front of him, you would say “With his hands held in front of him, palms facing me…” or some such. Or if his hands were hanging down by his sides, you would say, “His hands were relaxed, his arms hanging at his sides.” See the difference?
  • Awe vs Awww. I see this SO often, my fingers literally itch to edit…even Facebook posts, which is where I see it most often. Since the “e” is silent in any case, I understand how it can be confusing. That’s why I’m talking about it. 🙂 Awe is an expression of reverence. Aw (followed by how ever many ws you want to add (Awwwww) is used to express disgust or disbelief, sentiment or approval.
  • Flea vs flee. I know they sound the same and there’s only one letter difference, so it can be tricky, but a “Flee Market” is so much different than a “Flea Market.” The latter is where you purchase new and gently used goods that other people want to get rid of. The former is a market that I imagine only law enforcement would be interested in attending. (I don’t know why it’s referred to as a “flea” market, since, as far as I know, no one has ever tried to sell actual fleas at a market before.)affect
  • Affect vs Effect. Sneaky words. Only one letter different, but it can make or break the meaning of a sentence. Affect is a verb. Effect is a noun. Like so: “Together, we can affect the world.” And: “The law goes into effect at midnight.” And because the English language just CAN’T be that simple to understand, there are exceptions for both words. Affect can be a noun: “The suspect displayed no affect when confronted with his victims’ accusations.” And effect, when used with an object, can be a verb (this is usually political terminology): “We will effect those changes next week.”

Got all that? Are there any words and/or phrases you have difficulty with in your writing? Feel free to ask questions or leave comments. 🙂

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I’m now a PUBLISHED AUTHOR! Happy dance! My debut novel, SERPENT ON A CROSS, a medieval fantasy, has been epublished by Northampton House Press under the pseudonym Darya Asch, and is available on Kindle, Nook, and Kobo. This is my shameless self-promotion, and plea for you all to go buy the ebook (it’s $3.99), read it, love it and review it – even if you don’t love it. My new author website is here.

I’ll be participating in NaNoWriMo, working to complete the first draft of the sequel. Wish me luck!

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(Re-)Discovering the Magic of YA Novels

I used to avoid YA novels on principal. Many moons ago, when I was a teenager, the Young Adult novel market was a small one and many of the books I came across were romance, which were great until I realized real life doesn’t work that way and in my disappointment, turned to fantasy – still my favorite genre – which hadn’t yet exploded onto the YA scene. (One author I discovered who DID write YA fantasy even back then, who I still read today, was/is Mercedes Lackey.) So I deliberately avoided the YA section in bookstores.

Then four years ago, I heard about this phenomenon called “Twilight.” The movie posters interested me – yes, I’m just that shallow – and I’d seen the first three novels fly off the shelves at my local Barnes and Noble and wondered what all the hype was about. This was a Young Adult novel. I didn’t think it held any magic for me.

I read the book anyway. And then I read the next one, and the third and the fourth. After seeing the movie, I reread the entire series. Then re-watched the movie. Several times. I’ve watched every sequel – own them, in fact – and greatly anticipate the final film – come on November! My cadre of writer acquaintances for the most part view Stephanie Meyers as a red-headed step-child of the writing market. And after writing my own novel – which took me two years instead of Meyer’s reported three months – I concede that they may have a point. But the woman is making big bucks on her series, not to mention the royalties she earns on the movies and all the movie merch.

I remained skeptical, however, of YA novels in general, despite the recurring recommendations of my best friend, a fellow writer. When one of my mentors suggested that my debut novel might be a good fit for the YA market, I adamantly refused to consider the possibility.

Last year I began seeing articles and cast announcements about The Hunger Games movie, a full year before its theatrical release. I held out on reading the novel until February of this year – not only was it YA, but also post-apocalyptic dystopian (try saying that fast!), a sub-genre I’d never been a fan of. The Hunger Games only lasted three days. By the end of one week, I’d completely absorbed the trilogy. Those three novels grabbed hold of me, shook and slapped me around, and evoked emotions I rarely feel even reading adult sci/fi fantasy novels. I laughed, cried, snickered and yelled at the characters. I wanted to BE Katniss Everdeen – another state of emotion I rarely feel with my beloved adult sci/fi fantasy novels. And experiencing the movie only drew me deeper into the disturbing magic of The Hunger Games.

In the last five months, I’ve deliberately haunted the YA sections of bookstores and scooped up every novel that attracted my attention – as finances have allowed. I’m trying my hand at writing reviews – some of which will appear in this blog – to share my love for these novels, to increase my writing/reviewer creds, and to increase my reading-as-a-writer acuity…And I’ve slowly thawed to the idea that my novel might be a good fit for this  market.

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