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Wednesday, January 4, 2017

#IWSG - A New Year - New Enthusiasm

It's a new year and 1st Wednesday of that new year. Happy  Insecure Writers Support Group Day. IWSG is the brainchild Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Thanks, Alex, for starting this group and keeping it going. And thanks to this month's awesome hosts:  Eva @ Lillicasplace, Crystal Collier, Sheena-kay Graham, Chemist Ken, LG Keltner, and Heather Gardner!



I hope everyone enjoyed a great Christmas, Hanukkah, or whatever you celebrated. A new year is upon us. I always look at New Year’s Day as a time to start over. I wrote about that and my plan for 2017 on Monday. (Scroll down to the next post if you’re interested.)

Aren’t we lucky that we can start over? Or just keep on with whatever we’re doing. For me, it’s a mental adjustment. I’m disappointed that I didn’t finish the book I worked on in 2016. But I can start over with renewed enthusiasm. A new month or a new year allows us to restart our energies.

The question this month is: 

What writing rule do you wish you’d never heard?

My first impulse is to say no head hopping within a scene or even within a paragraph. We can all point to big name authors who do this all the time. But “somebody” said no, no, you can’t do that. I will admit that point of view switching can be jarring. Like many “rules” we need to know what the rule is and its reasoning before we break it.

I’m more frustrated by comma use. Just ask my editors. LOL I have a degree in English. I taught elementary school through 6th grade. I should know the rules. Well, most of them. I like using commas when I pause in a sentence, as if I were reading the sentence out loud. A period is a full stop. A comma is a pause. Makes sense to me. So although it isn’t a writing rule, per se, I wish I’d never heard of the comma rules.

Wishing everyone a year of renewed enthusiasm toward writing. Progress, too.


Click here to find others on the Insecure Writers Support Group Blog Hop. Or go to IWSG on Facebook to see who’s blogging today.



47 comments:

  1. Happy New Year!
    You know I've heard many say no head hopping but I also know of great authors who do and I follow their lead by reading their books and learning how they do it. Then, I do it myself when I need to
    Great article.
    Wishing you an awesome 2017.
    Pat Garcia

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    1. Thanks, Pat. Good idea to examine how big name authors write. Sometimes I get so wrap up in the story I forget to study. LOL

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  2. I'm with you on the comma rule :-) I'm always second guessing myself when it comes to where to put them and usually getting it wrong.

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  3. Commas. Yes, I think like you do. It's a natural break, so why not add one or two?

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    1. Lately, I've noticed some editors (not blaming the authors) are leaving out commas after prepositional phrases. Disconcerting to me.

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  4. LOL! Down with commas! Wow. Actually, I rather like the comma rules. The ones I despise are semicolons. I mean, why? Just WHY?! Ugh.

    Here's to a new year and a fresh start!

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    1. Crystal, LOL. I don't use semi-colons (or colons) in fictional writing. They don't bother me at all. :)

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  5. As a reader, I do notice head-hopping, but those darn commas! Ugh. Thank goodness for grammar checkers.

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    1. Boy, did I pick a hot topic. Who knew? :)

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  6. I head hopped so much when I first started writing. It took a long time for me to learn not to do that, and I do point it out when I edit for others. Commas are tricky little devils, indeed.

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    1. I didn't even know I was head-hopping until the judge in the 1st contest I ever entered wrote next to each paragraph whose POV I was in. A real eye-opener.

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  7. I agree with wishing I'd never heard the 'head hopping' rule...I love multiple POV's as long as the transition from one to another is smooth. JMHO of course :-)
    Good luck and God's blessings
    PamT

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  8. Ahh...where to start when I like to make my own 'rules' lol. Commas do often plague me, though ;)

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    1. LOL, Maureen. Nothing wrong with being a non-conformist.

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  9. Great blog topic, Diane. As a rule, I put commas whenever I pause in my writing, but I know some will be removed when I revise. Since their placement is an editor's choice most of the time, I just do what feel correct and move on.

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    1. Thanks, Loralee. Doing what feels right sounds goood.

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  10. I agree about commas. When I pause in reading, in one goes! Happy 2017!

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  11. "Like many “rules” we need to know what the rule is and its reasoning before we break it"

    Agreed. And after that rule is understood (like not starting a sentence with *and*), nothing is more exciting than messing with, bending, or outright breaking it.

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    1. Aha, another non-conformist. LOL And I love starting sentences with "and."

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  12. The advice/rule I hate is "Write every day." With my lifestyle and that of many, it's not always possible to write every day. In the beginning I felt guilty if I didn't write every day. Now, I'm just happy if I can find a day to write. (As for commas, I've had editors put them in, editors take them out. I try to use them the right way, but I've decided, that's something that will make an editor feel worthy of the job.)

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    1. I never thought about that one, Maris. No, it isn't always possible to write each day. I go in fits and starts. When I'm in the groove, I could write for hours. But then there are days when life is too busy.

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  13. It was so much more relaxed writing in the '80s when not even the line editors knew the rules but reading those old works now makes me teeth hurt.

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    1. LOL I know what you mean. Although I wasn't writing then, I was reading. No, make that devouring books. In light of what's available today, those books seem amateurish. Not yours, of course.

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  14. Well, I don't mind the comma rules. I wish I didn't have to pay attention to passive vs. active voice. That drives me crazy.

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    1. Me, too, Kara. I hate rewriting those sentences.

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  15. Funny. I agree with the comma thing. I teach first grade, and I tell the kids that a comma is for when you want your readers' voices to pause and a period is for when they need to stop because you've completed your idea. Happy New Year!

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    1. If you want to read about Christy new release, scroll up for her interview.

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  16. Comma's drives me crazy. I never know exactly where to put it, if its needed. When I read the sentence I can figure it out, then my editor changes it. Actually, I wonder if readers even care about them, as long as it sounds right.

    Wishing you a wonderful new year!!

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    1. Bingo, Cathrina--as long as it sounds right. Thanks.

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  17. I have a terrible time with commas! I can't ever seem to get them right.
    Happy New Year to you, Diane! I love your attitude about the fact that we get a chance to start over.

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    1. Thanks, Julie. I know it's a mental thing, but it works for me.

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  18. Ah-ha those darn commas are SO frustrating! I love the New Year because of that opportunity to write fresh goals, reset and start fresh and new. Happy New Year to you!

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    1. Thanks, Doreen. That what's I love, too.

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  19. I hate head-hopping in the middle of scenes. I know some authors do it, and I dislike those books too. There are better ways to deal with different POVs in our stories.
    Great post, Diane.

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    1. Either they don't know the rules or deliberately break them. They're probably laughing at us rule-followers all the way to the bank.

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  20. I have yet to master all the comma rules. I know some and cross my fingers that's enough not to put everyone off. Happy New Year, my friend. :-)

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    1. Our editors should find the mistakes. Now, if I could just remember them. LOL

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  21. I struggle with commas too. Its also funny how easy it is to find a best selling author who breaks many a rule like head hopping. And wandering body parts. Happy new year and happy writing.

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    1. LOL at wandering body parts. Best wishes to you, too.

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  22. The head hopping rule is one I've been pondering lately. I've called people on it when it's been hard to follow, but really, some people do it well. Personally, I stay away from it, but there are times where I think it could be good.

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    1. What's even worse for me is omniscient POV. It seems so aloof, so removed from the action.

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  23. What I want to know is who creates these writing rules in the first place. For every rule, someone has found success by breaking it.

    So who says we have to follow it?

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    1. I've often wondered about that, J>H. Women tend to be rule followers, and others can be very pedantic about rules. I'd just as soon do what feels right.

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