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I’m probably going to be stoned for saying this, but I hate the 3-Act structure, and sometimes wonder why we writers are so hooked on using it.

This doesn’t mean a writer is free to just type away without any structure in place, because they do… But, the 3-Act structure? Really?

Talk to any screenwriter and they will tell you how important the 3-Act (or sometimes 6-Act) structure is. Same goes for theatres, which is really where the 3-Act structure was born. However, doesn’t an ‘act’ just serve as a pre-commercial cliff-hanger? And seeing as novels don’t have commercials, do we really need to use the 3-Act structure? And I’m not alone in this reasoning. Raindance and James Bonnet agree.

Now, before you all start screaming that books have chapters, which kind of serves as a commercial break. I agree. Totally. One hundred per cent. Every chapter should end with some element of a hook to make your reader keep reading… So put down those torches. I don’t need to be burned at the stake just yet.

So before I find myself declared a witch, and tied to a piece of wood centre of a bonfire, let’s break this down.

Below is a graph of how the 3-Act structure is declared to work.

Picture1

ACT ONE = Set Up

This act serves as a platform for you to introduce your characters.

Normal World – This is where you set everything up.

Inciting Incident – Something has to happen that forces the protagonist to change their normal day-to-day routine. This is where the story starts. Now the protagonist has a goal.

Obstacle – The first obstacle (or plot point one) occurs and throws your protagonist into turmoil.

ACT TWO = Confrontation

Obstacle, Obstacle, Obstacle – Your protagonist will hit problem after problem, which inevitably stops them from reaching their goal, and gives them a fight on their hands.

Midway Point – Gives the illusion that the Protagonist is close to achieving their goal.

Darkest Moment – This is where everything goes wrong. The Protagonist is at their lowest point and is ready to throw in the towel. They can see no light at the end of the tunnel.

ACT THREE – Resolution

Big Bad Battle – The Protagonist comes back (sometimes from the dead), and ultimately has to fight the baddie for survival.

Climax – The Protagonist wins the battle, or if you’re in a Nicholas Sparks story, they die.

Conclusion – Things calm down, and normality ensues.

download

Now, the reason I do not necessarily like all this 3-Act structure malarkey, is because it’s so damn confusing. The rules change depending on which website you read. Where one site adamantly spews that all your characters have to be introduced in Act One, and that the midway point actually means the lowest point; another site will report that Act Two is where you introduce the mentors and love interests, and the lowest point happens a smidgen before Act 3 begins. It’s enough to drive even the most sane writers crazy. One thing I have found that’s 90% consistent is the allowance for each Act. Act One, or the set up of you story, is usually given a quarter of your book. Act Two gets a whopping fifty per cent to fill with confrontation, and Act Three needs only a quarter to show the conclusion.

However, I DO agree that there is a formula to story writing. And I also agree that any ‘normal world’ belongs firmly at the beginning, and the conclusion’s place is most definitely at the end. That’s the way ‘life’ actually happens. The day begins like any other, then a dollop of a problem lands on your doorstep, which changes the course of your day, if only for an hour or so, and no matter how hard you try and overcome it, more problems pile up around it until you just feel like throwing in the towel. Ultimately, though, we always fight through, and win.

I’m not saying the 3-Act Structure doesn’t use this formula, because it does. I just find it too restricting, and any new writer looking to learn this craft, although getting a gist of the information, has one hell of task on their hands as the information out there is so conflicting – yes, I even found one that compares the structure to a shark.

My advice, for what it’s worth? Stick to the formula: Normal World, Inciting Incident, Obstacles, Start to win, Darkest Moment, Big Bad Battle, Climax, Conclusion, and you won’t go wrong.

So, what is the ‘traditional’ 3-Act structure you use, or do you have your own formula? Do you find the information on the website confusing? Maybe you have a site you find invaluable. Let me know below!

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plotting

You have an idea for a novel. It’s been floating around inside your head for months. It’s all you think about. You eat, sleep, and dream it. In fact, you feel like you’ve already lived it. Surely you must be ready to start writing, right?

Wrong.

Creating some two hundred plus pages of a story is no easy feat. Trust me, I know. My first novel went something like this: Get idea, open laptop, start typing. And what happened? I wrote myself into a corner on more than a couple of occasions. Sound familiar? Of course it does. That’s why, before any writing commences, we first have to plot.

I’ll be honest, I never used to be a believer of this method. And to back-up my argument, I always referred back to a Roald Dahl interview I saw (now decades ago), where he also admitted he never plotted. He just ‘kinda made it up’ as he went along. What better author to quote?

So, armed with just my laptop, off I set on my journey to write my first novel.

One thing I am a big believer in is that you have to learn my your mistakes… and boy, was this ever a learning curve for me.

Now, before I start to explain the art of plotting, let me make one thing clear. I am NOT dictating that this method is a one size fits all. As I said previously, Roald Dahl tells a different story, and if you Google ‘authors who don’t plot‘, you’ll find this quote:

“I distrust plot for two reasons: first, because our lives are largely plotless, even when you add in all of our reasonable precautions and careful planning; and second, because I believe plotting and the spontaneity or real creation aren’t compatible.” -Stephen King.

One thing I am certain about, though… For me, plotting was a life-changer.

What Is Plotting?

Plotting is your entire story from start to finish in ‘note’ form.

How Do I Plot?

There are many ways to plot your story. Some people bullet-point the entire story from beginning to end. Others split their plotting into the 3-Act structure. Regardless of the method you use, if done correctly the outcome for writing your novel should be, as Kristen Lamb puts it, like painting by numbers.”

For this post, I’ll go with how I plot.

Scenes within the 3-Act Structure

First, a quick explanation of what a 3-Act Structure is.

Act One – The Beginning Act Two – The Middle Act Three – The End

Simple, but for a more in-depth look at the 3-Act Structure, see Part Eight.

Okay, back to plotting. Now, although plotting and the 3-Act structure go hand-in-hand, we’re just going to concentrate on the plotting side of things for the time being.

First, I break each scene down into three parts that I like to call ‘Scene Structure’. These three parts involve the Character’s Goal, the Obstacle they have to overcome, and how they Resolve it.

Then, when actually plotting each scene, I work with a table. Within this table, I have four columns:

Column 1 – Chapter Number, Day, Time. Column 2 – Location, POV, Brief (Quick glance) Scene Outline. Column 3 – Scene Structure (Goal, Obstacle, Resolve). Column 4 – Scene Description.

Column 1 and 2 is purely for my own information as saves me from having to scroll back through my novel every time I need to check who did and said what, why, and when, etc.

Column 3 is my scene breakdown, which I explained less than a minute ago.

Column 4 is the all important description.

scene structure

The scenes within each Act should be as detailed as possible. Writing – *Girl works, *Girls gets attacked, *Girl survives, and *Girl is in danger, may do the job but it is the quick and lazy option and won’t help you much when the time comes to writing your novel. Instead, write in-depth scenes. Include character feelings, any dialogue you would like them to say, mannerisms – basically anything you don’t want to forget later on. By using this method, (or something similar), it enables you to easily change and alter earlier events if later events call for it, and vice-versa.

Plotting Mistakes

  • Research – With the wealth of information that is the internet, there is no excuse not to know what you are writing about. Good research equals a more realistic story.
  • Coincidences – Every character needs a valid reason to do what they do. Coincidences are convenient. Using ‘Just because’ is lazy and will annoy your reader and spoil your story.
  • Large Cast – Just as too many cooks spoil the broth, too many characters ruin the story. Asking your reader to remember every character and their cousin, from postman Pete (who appears once), to the little boy fishing by the stream, will confuse your reader and give them brain-ache. Cut those little darlings.
  • Plot Diversion – Don’t let your story drift off course and disappear into a one way street. Stick to the story. Ignore those road diversions.

So, are you a plotter or a pantser? Do you plot or do you fly by the seat of your pants? If you already plot, what kind of techniques do you use? Do you use in-depth tables and graphs, or do you bullet point simple points?

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page

Page from J.K. Rowling’s, ‘Harry Potter’

I’ve been writing for a few years now and it still amazes me at how much I don’t know. This week I was going through the edits on my novel when my good mate and fellow writer, Piper Bayard, pointed something out to me about new scenes and paragraphing. She, too, only discovered this ‘must-do’ last year.

So, I thought it would be helpful to lay out some of the things I have learned over the last few years that writers must know when writing a novel.

First things, first.

The Basics

The below points are what publishers and agents expect to see from writers.

Font: Always use Times New Roman. It is easy on the eye and makes it easy for the reader to read.

Size: Although it’s commonly said that size doesn’t matter – this time it does. 12pt is the size everyone wants.

Line Spacing: Some use double line spacing, most want one and a half. This allows room for any notes and editing.

Margins: Leave one inch for both the left and right margins. Again, this space is for any notes or editing.

The Cover Page

The cover page is a blank sheet of paper that, when asked for, usually lists the title of your book, your name, contact details, and the word count. When submitting your novel you must read the guidelines as sometimes agents and publishers require different information.

Headers and Footers

It is imperative that you use your header to display your name, novel title, and page number. Without this information, if your novel is dropped how will the reader be able to put it back together again?

The Layout

Chapter Heading: Space down six (one and a half) lines. The heading can be in capitals or underlined.

Sub-Title: If you want to add a sub-title of a place, time, year, etc., then add it before you begin your story. This can be underlined, typed in italics, or in bold. There is no indentation.

First Paragraph: For the first paragraph in a chapter, there is no indentation.

Further Paragraphs: Following paragraphs are indented one inch throughout the scene.

Justification: Never justify your work. Aline your type to the left.

For example (and due to formatting issues with wordpress *bangs head on desk*, I have added in … to show the spaces):

CHAPTER ONE

Almalfi Cathedral, Campania. Italy – Monday.

The uncomfortable harness cut into his groin.

……….The thief shifted position, tried to ignore the dull ache as best he could, and listened.

……….Three bloody hours he’d been hanging here in the dark, just listening.

N.B. New Scenes: If starting a new scene in a chapter, then as at the beginning of a chapter, no indentation is needed.

For example:

……….Eliza rest her head back against the pillow. Her head hurt and she no longer had the energy to argue anymore. The young boy nodded and disappeared from sight. Her father waited a second, as if to bask in his triumph and remind her who was boss, then also left the room.

It was just before lunch when Nate made it to the records office. He parked in the unusually empty car park and got out. Removing his sunglasses, he strolled along the brick paved path to the front of the building and pulled the doors where they shuddered and remained closed.

Well, these are the basics to laying out your novel and enough to get you started.

And now it’s your turn. What are your pet hates? What is the worse mistake you’ve ever made when typing and submitting a manuscript? Maybe you have a question to ask about the manuscript you are currently writing, so feel free to type it in the comments.

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Wow. Has it really been over a month since I blogged? Man, I am slacking… and way too busy!

And now here we are in 2013, making all sorts of resolutions from promising to blog more and sticking to a more healthier diet, to reorganising our desks and determined to make more time for ourselves – HA! Yeah, right…  So, what have I done so far?

Diet and Health: Well, I purchased the ‘Insanity’ DVD. Not sure if this was a wise first step but I am determined to finish the course before it finishes me 🙂

Reorganise the desk: Done. I’ve rid of two laptops, tidied that messy pile of paperwork, and put all the pens back into the caddy. Now my desk is tidy.

More time for myself: Hmm… I am putting 45 minutes to one side every day to work out to ‘Insanity’. Does that count?

To blog more: Well, you’re reading this so that proves I’ve started on that goal, too. Although, I may have cheated just a little. Today’s blog is an interview I did last year with awesome writer, Julie Glover.

Hope you enjoy.

Over to you, Julie.

Jess Witkins, Me & Donna Collins
at DFW Writers’ Conference

At the DFW Writers’ Conference back in May, I had the pleasure of hanging out with two fabulous Brits, Nigel Blackwelland Donna Collins. Over the weekend, a few phrases they used had to be translated into American English. As George Bernard Shaw asserted, “England and America are two countries separated by a common language.” In a previous post, I pointed out some British words that we Americans don’t often recognize.

But today it is my pleasure to welcome Donna Collins to my blog to help us clear up a few British slang words and phrases that we Yanks don’t have a clue about.

Julie: Welcome, Donna! This blog idea occurred to me after you offered to let another conference goer “bung his bags” in your hotel room. After hanging out with romance authors all weekend, some of us wondered what on earth that could possibly mean. What does it actually mean to “bung your bags”? 

Donna: LOL. ‘Bung your bags’ means exactly what it says…. To bung (put) your bags in my hotel room. Looking at it now, I can see how it made me look like a dominatrix mistress.

Julie: Keeping in mind that this is PG-13 kind of place, I have noticed that body parts are not always called the same thing in England. What should we know before we travel to England and put our feet in our mouth? (Feet and mouth are the same there, right?)

Donna: The term is ‘foot in mouth’ and we’re not talking about the cow disease. Okay, body parts. Arms and legs are the same regardless of what side of the Atlantic we live. I think you guys call a ‘bum’ a ‘tush’? In fact, what we call a ‘bum bag’, you call a ‘fanny pack’, which is funny because a ‘fanny’ to us Brits is a ‘mooey’ (front bum to put it politely).:)

Julie: Another interesting phrase you introduced me to was “pissed as fart.” Around here, “pissed” means angry, but what does that phrase mean in England? And do y’all have any other colorful words or phrases for that state of being? 

Donna: Ah, yes. ‘Pissed as a fart’.

Somehow, angry as a fart doesn’t sound quite right. Do farts get angry?

Well, in the UK pissed means drunk and fart means… er, fart. I’m not quite sure why we all think of ourselves as stale body air when we’re drunk, but hey-ho. ‘Pissed as a fart’ means you are really, really drunk.

Now, other terms? Let me think. Okay. I do have a funny story that happened to me a year or so ago. I was storm chasing with a group of Americans. Now, I must just explain that when you go storm chasing you are advised to go to the toilet whenever the chasing vehicle stops – you never know when it will stop again! So, gas stop = toilet break. Every time we pulled into a gas station and chasers got out to visit the loo, I’d say, “I’ll see if I can squeeze one out’. I repeated this phrase four or five times a day from Monday thru Thursday. Finally one of the girls asked what I meant. I explained that ‘squeeze one out’ simply means to go a wee wee (or tiddle). I then find out that to you Americans, ‘squeeze one out’ means going ‘number two’. I was horrified to think they thought I was doing number twos five times a day for a full four days. That I had one hell of a diarrhea spruge, no doubt.

There is also the comment “you couldn’t organise a piss up in a brewery”, which basically means you are crap at organising. :)

Julie: A few streets from where I live are neighbors with two donkeys in their yard. Sometimes I can hear them braying (the donkeys, not the neighbors) in the morning. What was that phrase you used that included the word “donkey”? And what does it mean?

Donna: Donkey? Oh, you’ve got me thinking now. We say ‘Donkey’s Ass’, meaning you are a fool, but I don’t really use that one. That’s all I can think of.

Oh, was it ‘Donkey’s years’? I use that term all the time. It means absolute ages. Like, “I was twenty-one donkey’s years ago.” :)

Julie: What about foods? Where do we Americans go astray with British terms for common foods?

Donna: Ha ha. Oh, this has caused many problems. In the U.S. if we ask a waitress for chips, we get crisps when we really wanted fries.

Your crisps are potato chips.

Jam is Jelly.

Jelly is Jello.

I once asked for a buttered roll. Nobody knew what I was talking about. I explained that it was like the cheese and tomato roll they sold… only without the cheese and tomato in it. That really confused them.

My husband once tried to order a cheese and tomato pizza. Now us Brits pronounce tomato as ‘t’muto’. You guys pronounce it ‘to-mado’. The poor girl on the end of the phone just could not grip what we were asking for until hubby put on a really exaggerated American accent. We got our pizza. :)

Julie: What about you? Did you find us Americans to be confusing at times? What phrase or phrases did we use that struck you as odd?

Donna: There isn’t much, really. I think we have had American films and TV for so long in our lives, we just know what you guys are saying. We do have to be careful when talking about cigarettes. In Britain, they are called ‘fags’ for short. We got quite a few looks when my friend once said, “I’m going outside to have a quick fag.”

Julie: Finally…you came to Texas and did some shootin’ while here. Rumor has it that you are a great shot. What does a British lady yell when she hits her target?

Donna: “&@#%! Did I just do that?” I guess I have just lost the title ‘lady’.

I was amazed at how well I shot. Piper took me out on Kristen’s ranch this year – the second time I had ever held a gun. I did okay that time, too. She’s nicknamed me the ‘Spawn of Doc Holliday’.

[For evidence, head to Donna’s blog post about the week’s adventures HERE.]

Julie: What else, Donna?!!! Is there anything else I should include?

Donna: Here are some Cockney rhyming slang terms used in London. They were born donkey’s years ( :) ) ago, but are still used today.

Apple and Pears = Stairs
Dog and Bone = Phone
Jam Jar = Car
Rub-a-dub-dub = Pub
Quid = One Pound
Score = Twenty Pounds
Nifty = Fifty Pounds
Ton = One Hundred Pounds
Adam and Eve it = Believe it
Trouble and Strife = Wife
Ruby Murray = Curry
Hank Marvin = Starving

Julie: Hope all is well in the UK. I’d love to cross the Atlantic and spend some time in my ancestors’ homeland someday. Cheers and all that good stuff!

Donna: Thanks so much for this, Julie. I really enjoyed it. I take these terms for granted so it is funny to see you guys so confused when we use them.

And, it would be so cool for you to come to London. I can show you around!

****

Okay, now it’s over to you guys. What stories do you guys have where the language barrier has caused a problem? What is your favorite rhyming slang? Come on, you know by now I love to hear your stories.

If you want to read more of Julie’s post, head over to her blog.

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There are many ways to publish your book. Years ago, our hands were tied. Nowadays, it’s different. We now have the power to do what we used to rely on the publisher for.

Self-publishing opens up a whole new world of options for the authors of today. And one of those options is audio books.

Terry Kate knows all about this, so much so that she’s running a WANA International class to show you how.

I’ll let Terry explain…

Audio Books are NEW to You

Well not as listeners, but as authors. Audio has not been an option for any and all authors till now. The possibility is there for every author, as long as they hold their audio rights there is nothing stopping you. Which I think as a listener and audio producer is the greatest jump start and opportunity in publishing now.
So to help those ready to take the plunge I am teaching a class through WANA International. There are rumors everywhere about this and that element, the process, and it is a whole new world. How do you pick a narrator? How much does it cost? Where do I go? Well, to my online class might be a great first step.
I throw out the pros and cons on all sides as the class is also open to voice talent. How does the business work and how to make your move? When? Now, now, now! Get in the game early, carve out your place in the market, and if you light that fire under your bum you could have an audio book for the holidays!
So join me Wed 10th  8:30pm EST – http://wanaintl.com/?page_id=13&ee=55
Or Sat 13th 12:30pm EST – http://wanaintl.com/?page_id=13&ee=62
Catch the sound wave people! Get the best voice talent by moving fast and get in on the ground floor.
Donna, thank you so much for having me on your blog! I look forward to any questions your readers have for me.
Okay guys, what are you waiting for? Go and book your seats now. And as Terry’s thrown down the gauntlet to answer any and all of your questions, why not ask some?

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Okay, today I have been busy finishing my novel, and now I have to go pack for my holiday. So, I’m passing the reigns.

Now, I won’t tell you how I stumbled upon Peter Koevari’s post, Authors and Piracy, eBooks on the high seas,  – but it was funny.  Anyway, I really liked it and wanted to share it with you guys. So, I illegally downloaded it for publication here. Later on I’ll be touring London, selling it on printed flyers for the small fee of 99p. Just to be clear, the author will be receiving none of this fee…. but Shhhh – don’t tell anyone.

I couldn’t think of a better titled that Peter’s, so I stole that too.

Over to you, Peter.

I am going to tackle what I think is a very important topic for Authors and creative artists. I’m going to talk about Johnny Depp piracy!

It’s a funny thing, piracy (aaaarrrg!), as we live in a world where it is very easy for people to jump onto torrent and release sites and download whatever they want, for free. Most people accept that this is the case and at some point in their lives, have likely done it themselves.

What if we got you as a reader, and a room packed full of people and asked the question, “Raise your hand if you have *never* downloaded absolutely anything illegally or broken copyright laws. Never copied a movie in a VCR, photocopied copyrighted material, bought anything pirated, downloaded an image and used it on a blog from google images, or absolutely anything that can be considered a breach of copyright?”

I would be surprised if any hands went up, and I would be floored if a number of hands went up. Do I endorse it? Absolutely not, but you can’t change the world… you can only adapt.

Lady Gaga was quoted to say that she is happy for people to download her songs, as she makes all of her money from touring anyway. This is not such a case for us as authors, is it?

We don’t “go on tour” to sell out tickets to our shows and make a huge packet, do we?

So, why did I bring this topic up in the first place?

Because I googled my book title with a timeframe of the last week, and discovered that my books have been pirated. Was I happy about it? Of course not, although the attention is flattering.

The funny thing about everyone who pirates is, it doesn’t bother them and they have all sorts of justifications for pirating… and that is all well and good, until it’s *their* work that is being pirated. They don’t slave over manuscripts for many years to write a novel, pay editors, cover artists, work every day to promote their novels. No, they enjoy reading the books that other people produce… just like we all do as readers.

After all, pirates are just regular people, but with a different perspective and values. Do I consider them criminals? No. Do I want to run out there and track down everyone who downloaded my book illegally and persecute them? No.

You may be looking at me in shock and horror, but why on earth would I want to ruin someone’s life over copyright laws, for wanting to read my books?

Let us face the reality about the argument of potential sales: It’s flawed.

I put pirates into a few categories:

A) Pirates who NEVER buy what they download

B) Pirates who download to try without paying, and then go ahead to buy what they really like

C) Pirates who buy what they really like, and pirate what else they can, because they can and they may want to look at it later.

D) Pirates who (for whatever their circumstantial reason) cannot afford to buy the things that they want.

E) Pirates who cannot buy what they want, due to restrictions

The pirates who are in category A, will never pay for our books. Are they a lost sale? No. Are we losing money because they download our books? No. Are they still ripping us off as authors? Yes… but what exactly can we really do to change it?

The best we can hope for is that they tell their friends and families about our books (if they enjoy them) and some of them may want to buy them.

Pirates in category B, will try our books without paying for them first. If they like them, they will probably purchase them… but likely not.

Category C is similar, but the stuff they hoard and download will likely never be seen or read, but will definitely be shared.

Category D is a tough one. I mean, at the end of the day… just because we can’t afford to have something, doesn’t give us a justification to take it without paying because we want it. However, people do what they need to do and although we don’t like it, there are some real reasons why people would like to genuinely buy something, but the way they need to purchase it deems it “not viable”. Does it excuse it? No… but we can understand it. We can hope that those readers do help us as authors by spreading the word about books that they like, and when they get into a position that they can afford it, they support us as authors.

Category E concerns me greatly, and the fact that people can’t buy ebooks over the Internet, due to restrictions is just ridiculous. We should all push for any companies who do that, to change.

Whatever category these pirates are in, it does not matter, they are going to do what they do, regardless of what we try to do about it. People who would buy our ebooks and paperbacks will still do so, even if the availability of our books on pirated channels would make them more accessible for free. Not everyone pirates, and lots of people out there like to support authors and keep them writing.

For any pirates out there that think all eBooks should be free, I would like to ask you… would you go to work from 9-5 for no paycheck at the end of the day? I doubt that you would, but if you are happy to work all your life for no money, then you can stand tall with that argument.

For those Pirates that say that Authors are the real pirates for controlling their work and restricting what you can do with it… I really question that. If you buy my paperback, you can sell it, share it, sleep on it, use it as a paperweight, throw it in the air… I really couldn’t care less what you do with it… but I do hope you share it with your family and friends.

eBooks are usually considerably cheaper than paperback editions, and I have not put DRM on my ebooks (Can’t change the kindle Legends 2 edition when purchased from Amazon, they wouldn’t let me undo it). Although I don’t encourage emailing my book to every man and their dog, I see no reason why you couldn’t share the read in the same manner as a paperback.

As for the analogy of people buying ebooks and that they can’t sell it as they would a car, that is an interesting one. There is no real “second hand market” for digital works. Like second hand video game stores, further sales only profit the people trading in them… not the makers of the game. The same applies with eBooks.

Why would someone want to buy a second hand eBook when they can just buy it online themselves? We’re not talking cars worth huge money, are we?

Writing books is hard work and we work for nothing until we make any sales on our books. I am an indie author, what does that mean? We don’t get fat pay cheques from publishers, and we have to pay our own way and promote our own way for my books to be successful. Unlike movie studios, we don’t make millions or hundreds of millions in sales.

As much as the world is what it is for pirates, it is what it is for authors. We write for you, the reader, to enjoy our stories. If we all stopped writing, there would be no more books to read.

Having said all of this, what disappoints me the most… is that if any of these pirates bothered to come to my site and contact me, asking if I can give them my ebooks for free… I would have offered them an honourable deal of giving them my ebooks in return for an honest review. The act of pirating my ebooks is an unnecessary exercise of breaking copyright laws and using torrents or hosting sites.

I would love for pirates to consider buying my books and sharing them with their friends and families, but it is their choice if they wish to support me as an author, or not.

As a result of all of this, I stand by my words and I have put up a page on this very website that clearly offers review copies of my first book, Legends of Marithia: Prophecies Awakening (Uncut and Extended Second edition) to anyone willing to show some class and honour, and review my books for me on Amazon, Goodreads, etc. No need to break laws or illegally distribute my books!

It shows that you respect me as an author, and I will… in turn, respect you as a reviewer and respect your opinion. I don’t care if someone is a pirate or not, the offer is open to you equally.

If you decide to change your approach and buy my books (before or after you have read them, and however you have obtained them. eBook or paperback), then you have my gratitude for supporting me as an author.

Do you have an opinion on this? Have you had this happen to you? Comment and talk about it.

Follow Peter on twitter @Peterkoevari

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Someone over on my WanaTribe recently asked what the difference was between Who’s and Whose, so I thought I’d dedicate today’s post to all those common and annoying little grammar mistakes that spell-check isn’t so good at spotting.

Like with all my posts, I like to make these explanations as simple a possible without resorting to the use of crayons and picture books, which I regularly use 🙂

So, without further ado, lets start with the one that brought us here…

Who’s vs Whose:

Who’s is an abbreviate and used in place of ‘who is’, or ‘who has’.  Example – Who’s going to the party? Who’s this? It would also work at Who is going to the party? and Who is this?

Whose is the possessive of who.  Example – Whose book is this? Whose side are you on?

Basically, if ‘who is or who has’ does not fit the sentence, then use ‘whose’.

Who vs Whom:

Who, like I, he, or she, is a subject and is the person performing the action. Example – This is who gave it to me.  Is Paul the one who wants to know?

Whom, like me, him, and her, is an object. It is the person to whom the action is being done. Example – To whom do I send this letter? This is the man whom I told you about.

Basically, who and whom is the same difference as I and me. Try re-writing the sentence and change who or whom with another pronoun. So,

This is who gave it to me — He/she gave it to me – OR –  Him/her gave it to me? She how he/she sounds correct, so ‘who’ would be used.
This is the man whom I told you about. — I told you about him/her – OR – I told you about she/he. In this instance him/her is correct so whom would be used.
To whom do I send this letter? – Do I send this letter to he/she? – OR – Do I send this letter to him/her? Again, the latter him/her is correct and whom is used.

Which vs That:

That is used in a restrictive sentence. Example – “Cars that are red are more sexy”. You are restricting the sentence by saying that only red cars are sexy.

Which is used in a non-restrictive sentence. Example – The red cars, which went on sale yesterday, are now half price. If you omitted which went on sale yesterday it wouldn’t actually change what you want to say, which is that red cars are now half price.

All Right vs Alright:

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, alright is a frequent spelling of all right. Now, although the dictionary lists the word ‘alright’, you be hard pushed to find somewhere that agrees with the spelling ‘alright’.

What should you do? Although the ‘alright’ usage is growing, it’s probably best to stick to ‘all right’.

Like vs Such As:

Like is used when you are comparing. For example – Can you take me somewhere nice like Paris or Rome? Here, the person is not asking to go to Paris or Rome, but somewhere like it.

Such As is used when you are including. For example – Can you take me somewhere nice such as Paris or Rome? Now they are making it clear they want to go to either Paris or Rome.

One vs You:

Using either one or you is classed as grammatically correct.

One, however, is often used when one is being more formal. It gives the impression of a higher standing. For example – One has to conduct oneself in a certain manner. However, you would not use ‘one’ when you are the object. For example – The maid lay the blanket over one’s lap, and one thanked her. This just sounds awkward.

You is much more relaxed. For example – You have to conduct yourself in a certain manner. See how the same sentence holds a different weight? It’s not as formal. Basically, using you is more acceptable in the world today.

So, what version of words do you get stuck with? What are your pet hates. Let me know…. Don’t be shy 🙂

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