Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Grammar Queen’s Top Ten Tips for Polishing Your Prose

Myra here. First of all, my apologies. It wasn’t my first choice to invite prissy—OUCH!!! Excuse me, to invite poised and professional Grammar Queen to our 10th birthday party, but she was rather insistent. I’ve explained to her several times that this is a party, not a time to get all teacher-y and condescending about where our grammar skills may fall a bit short. She promised to keep it light, but this is Grammar Queen, remember? So no guarantees.

With that caveat, I reluctantly turn the podium over to our illustrious and outspoken guest, Seekerville’s own Grammar Queen.

~~~~~~~~~


Happy birthday, Seekerville!!! Ten whole years together! My gracious me, what a momentous occasion!!! This is certainly one of those rare circumstances when exclamation points may proliferate unhindered!!!

And please ignore Myra over there, scowling from the corner. She clearly believes I’m an old fuddy-duddy and fails to give me credit for my ability to engage in spirited celebration. However, I am more than prepared to prove her wrong.

Now, I gather I am to keep the thematic number 10 in mind while expounding upon a topic that will enlarge your sweet little minds and spur your writing to heights of glory. Since there are innumerable posts in the archives about story structure, viewpoint, characterization, and so forth, I shall confine my remarks to the area of presentation. 

As I have undoubtedly mentioned before, you would not arrive at an important job interview in torn jeans and a paint-stained T-shirt. At least I certainly hope not! So you must be no less fastidious when preparing your manuscript to submit for publication or agent representation. No matter how brilliant a storyteller you may be, if you do not present your work in the best possible light—dressed for success, as one might say—you are, to borrow another common phrase, essentially shooting yourself in the foot.

Yes, I’m sorry. Not a particularly celebratory image for birthday month. So let us dispense with further introductory statements and go straight to my ten tips, during which I shall strive diligently to (figuratively) let my hair down and celebrate with abandon.


Tip #1. Look for comma blunders. Have you inserted unnecessary commas or omitted essential commas? If you find yourself in need of a teensy bit of review, may I humbly refer you to one of my earlier lectures.

Tip #2. Have you punctuated dialogue and dialogue tags correctly? Myra did an excellent job (with my coaching, of course) of explaining how to correctly write and format your characters’ speech in this post.

Tip #3. Make sure you have used the correct word for the meaning you intend to convey. Double- and triple-check for misspelled words. And never, ever, ever rely solely on your word processor’s spellchecking feature! Once again, let me refer you to an earlier lecture in which I address several commonly confused or misspelled words. You’ll find even more in my return visit here

Tip #4. Ferret out clichés. Or, if you simply cannot avoid them, at least give them a fresh twist. Myra provided us with an exhaustive list of clichéd phrases in one of her Seekerville appearances. Especially avoid the overused romantic clichés we are all entirely too familiar with.

[Myra waves from the corner.] Excuse me, GQ, but you don’t seem to be telling us anything new. Just the same ol’ same ol’ from previous Seekerville visits.

My dear, are you unfamiliar with the adage, “There is nothing new under the sun”? While it is true that certain grammar rules have been modified over the years, the fundamentals remain. So, since we have succeeded so well in explaining things the first time, why, as another saying goes, should we reinvent the wheel?

Myra: I could be wrong here, but all these old sayings you keep mentioning sure sound like clichés to me. 

Ahem. Use clichés with purpose or not at all, I always say. 

Myra: Okay, but you promised you wouldn’t devolve into lecture mode today. Remember? The party?

I shall ignore your tactless use of the word devolve. Very well, then. Let us take a moment to revel in birthday frivolities.

Yippee!!! Happy birthday, Seekerville!!! Wow!!! Ten years!!! Amazing!!! Let us eat cake and ice cream until we explode!!!

Now, with your permission, I shall return to my lecture—er, informal and ebullient sharing of helpful tips in conversational style.

Tip #5. When you have used a pronoun, is the antecedent (the noun or proper name the pronoun refers to) abundantly clear to the reader? Read and edit carefully to avoid confusion. If you need more instruction, see my lecture here

Tip #6. Vary sentence structure and length. For instance, do you make a habit of beginning sentences with a participial phrase (a phrase using the -ing verb form)? Do too many sentences begin with a pronoun or a character’s name? Intermix simple, compound, and complex sentences for variety. Evaluate the flow by reading the text aloud. 

Tip #7. Look for redundancies, weak verbs, and unnecessary modifiers. Yes, yes, I know. GQ occasionally overindulges with adjectives, adverbs, and superlatives. But you must admit my verbosity is part of my charm. However, do as GQ says, not always as she does, especially if you are writing in hopes of publication. You may glean some helpful advice from Myra’s informative post on the topic of wordiness.

Tip #8. Make sure your manuscript contains adequate “white space.” Readers may balk at lengthy narrative paragraphs or characters who endlessly hold forth without pausing for some action, a bit of physical description, or a change of speaker.

I see Myra frantically waving her party hat. I assume she is indicating the necessity of another celebratory interlude.

Woohoo!!! Break out the sparkling cider!!! Throw confetti and streamers!!! Light up the sky with fireworks for Seekerville’s 10th birthday!!!


Now let us proceed to . . .

Tip #9. If you are preparing a proposal, have you correctly formatted and proofread your query or cover letter? Yes, my dears, even though we are well into the 21st century and email business correspondence is more and more the norm, we are not excused from presenting ourselves in a proper businesslike manner. Include a polite salutation (and always make sure you have spelled the addressee’s name correctly!), followed by the body of your letter, then a summarizing conclusion and complimentary close. End with your typed “signature” and all relevant contact information. Permit me to offer yet another reference to a prior post you may find helpful.

Tip #10. Before you send your manuscript or query out into the world, proofread everything one more time. If your computer has the capability, have it read your pages back to you. Yes, the computerized voice is rather monotonous, but hearing the words spoken as you follow along makes it ever so much easier to catch those unclear phrasings or pesky little mistakes that otherwise might slip by unnoticed. 

And there you have it! As you were promised, no pop quizzes, just GQ’s brief but humble words of advice plus an abundance of fun, fun, fun! 

Myra: Humble? Fun??? I’m still not convinced you even know————[mumbles through party hat smashed onto head] 

There, there, darling. Do chill out, won’t you? [rolls eyes]

Now then, where was I? Oh, yes! I’m so delighted I could participate in celebrating Seekerville’s 10 years of writing instruction, encouragement, and camaraderie. I hope my post today has enlightened you while serving as a teensy but important reminder of the multitude of excellent posts to be found in the archives. 

Let’s chat, shall we? Gather around the tea table and help yourself to scones and chocolate-dipped strawberries. While I’m pouring tea, why don’t we each share a favorite memory of Seekerville—an interesting guest, a tidbit of advice you found especially useful, or possibly a post that turned out to be just what you needed to read that day.  

As my gift to you on this auspicious occasion, I am pilfering Myra’s expansive array of inspirational romance novels and putting together a lovely selection, which I will happily box up and mail to the winner of today’s drawing. As we enjoy our tea and conversation, please let me know if you would like me to drop your name into the royal party hat.


Until next time, I remain your devoted queen of all things grammatical. May Seekerville reign as a quintessential resource for writers everywhere (and those dear readers who love visiting with writers) for many years to come!

About Grammar Queen: A longtime resident of author Myra Johnson’s brain, Grammar Queen tends to make her presence known at the most annoying moments—during casual conversations, while reading the morning paper or the Sunday church bulletin, as Myra and Project Guy are enjoying a favorite television program or movie. Any grammar faux pas is fair game for GQ, who is incapable of restraining herself from correcting the offender, either silently or—often to Myra’s great chagrin—aloud. GQ would be delighted for you to follow her on Twitter, where she tweets as @TheGrammarQueen.

If you’re curious to know a bit more about Myra, she invites you to visit these links:

Sign up to receive Myra’s e-news updates here!



184 comments :

  1. Oh, GQ, I love this softer side of you. Pass the tea, dear.

    My favorite Seeker posts are those where Seekers and Villagers sailed off Unpublished Island. Many of those posts can be found by going to the labels column on the far right -> and looking under First Sales.

    GQ, I love your party outfit. Very festive, indeed.

    Oh, and for the record. Jack. I miss Captain Jack. Sigh.

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    1. Good morning, Miss Tina—always the early bird! Yes, it’s true that I do have a softer side, and thank you for noticing. My subjects—er, students—rarely do, sadly.

      So true about those lovely first-sale stories. How delightful to know Seekerville played a part in so many!

      But Captain Jack? Really? He is so uncouth!

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    2. Definitely some favorites of mine as well, Tina!

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  2. I plan to have Twinnings Tea with breakfast.

    Last night I dressed as a lady pirate for an early Halloween party with my granddaughters. Going through the gate, the guard told me to stay away from Jack Sparrow. Little did the guard know my husband dressed as Jack Sparrow. I hope you have better luck with your costume. Haha!
    Thanks for sharing, GQ!

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    1. I’m sure you made a lovely pirate lady, Jackie! But the guard was correct. Jack Sparrow is not one I would recommend spending an evening with. However, since it was your husband in costume, I’m sure the evening was delightful.

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    2. Jackie, that is SUCH a hoot!! And actually a wee bit romantic being accompanied by a pirate ... as long as he's your hubby! ;)

      Hugs,
      Julie

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    3. My hubby is the only pirate I'd hang out with! I hope y'all have a great evening!

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  3. Ah, yes I see GQ breaking out with the highfalutin words and expounding on the quintessential verbs, adverbs, nouns and other words I don't tend to know the meaning of! BUT...I see she loosened up a bit with all those exclamation points...look at that, she does have a fun side (shhhhh, don't tell her I said that). ;-)

    So I shall keep my stiff upper lip, sip some Earl Gray tea, pass on the chocolate dipped strawberries (I do not care for chocolate covered anything) and generally be quiet as a church mouse sitting at the tea table like a proper lady I am....ahem....(rolls eyes)

    Well, my favorite memory of Seekerville is when I joined the party about 2 years ago. I had commented on a post and said something to the effect of "I'm just a reader, not a writer"....Miss Tina over there encouraged me and said "There are no such things as JUST A READER". That right there told me I was in good company & I've been here ever since :-)

    Fun times ahead!!! Happy 10th Birthday Seekerville!!! I love the exclamation points!!!

    Thank you GQ for invading Myra's stack-o-books and offering them in a very generous giveaway, I shall be ever indebted to your kindness (curtsy's or is that curtsies?)

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    1. P.S. Lest I offend GQ, this all in the spirit of fun my dear! I shall let you have my share of chocolate covered strawberries to make up for it ;-)

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    2. Oh, my dear, Trixi! I am not in the least offended, since today is all about fun, fun, fun!!!!!!!!!! (There, see? Lots more exclamation points.)

      And truly, where would writers be without their loyal readers? Readers are the other half of the equation, as I’ve heard it said.

      Readers . . . Grammar Queen . . . We are essential!!!

      And just for you, my dear, a dazzling array of fresh fruits, muffins, and tea cakes. No chocolate involved.

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  4. Grammar? I don't need no stinkin' grammar. I speak gooder* English. Well, most of the time. More or less. Or is it more or fewer?

    My first 'real' job after college was working as a technical editor. I was privileged to be on a team of eight editors, working with about sixty writers. That job was a real eye-opener. The women I worked with were all sharp-eyed and vigilant. Even so…

    I edited content that these other editors had already worked on. Sometimes, I worked on content that had gone through two different editorial passes. With each editorial pass, new errors were discovered. These editors were all top-notch, but even so, everyone of them missed SOMEthing, which another editor then caught.

    Everyone needs an editor. And then a proofreader.

    *That sound you just heard was my former manager wincing.

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    1. hahaha! Does everyone know that Evelyn has her first release coming out January?? His Forgotten Fiancée (Love Inspired Historical)Jan 1, 2018 by Evelyn M. Hill

      Woo hoo, Evelyn!

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    2. Yay!! Congratulations, Evelyn. I look forward to reading His Forgotten Fiancée.

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    3. Congrats, Evelyn!! I'll be looking for it!

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    4. Evelyn!!!! Congratulations upon your upcoming debut novel! How thrilling!

      So very, very true—we need our editors. When it comes to proofreading, more eyes mean a cleaner manuscript. We all have our blind spots, don’t we? I’m so proud of you for stepping up to the plate in your former technical editor position.

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    5. Congratulations, Evelyn! I'm so happy for you!

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    6. WHOO-HOO, SUPER CONGRATS, EVELYN!!! Love that title and the cover is great too!!

      Hugs,
      Julie

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    7. Congrats, Evelyn! I'm now following you on Goodreads and added your book to my TBR pile. The cover is lovely, and I can't wait to read it!

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  5. I never knew that grammar could be so much fun to read about.

    I'm a reader, not a writer, so all bets are off re any grammatical errors here.

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    1. Yes, dear Mary, GQ does make grammar fun, doesn’t she? If only all educators were as charming and entertaining as I.

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  6. I always love it when GQ visits Seekerville as I always welcome refresher courses.

    There have been such wonderful posts on Seekerville through the years that it would really be hard to single one particular post out. I will say that some special moments for me were when my dog died and then this year when my Mom passed away. The Seekers were there for me with prayers, sympathy, encouragement and much more.I appreciate each and every one of the Seekers and Villagers. Thank you for all you have done to help me through some tough times.

    Blessings,
    Cindy W.

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    1. Oh, Cindy, I am deeply touched to read your comment. The Seekers are truly a caring group of ladies, and all the Villagers, too.

      Well, they must be, to have welcomed moi (mostly).

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  7. I haven't been here very long, perhaps a few months. I have loved every post, though not every one is applicable to me as a reader. It's still fun to read about the writing and publishing process though. I love GQ! I believe this is the first time I'm meeting her; looking forward to more visits with her soon!

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    1. MH, if you have missed my previous lectures, I do hope you will visit the archives. There is never a dull moment when I stop in. Just ask any of my students! Hope to see you again soon!

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  8. Thanks for not giving a pop quiz, GQ! My favorite Seekerville memory was when Tina invited me to be guest after I sailed off the island. After years of lurking and finally getting up the nerve to comment, what a thrill. Happy birthday!

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    1. What a special day that was, Jill! There have been so many Seekerville success stories. Congratulations on joining that special group!

      Oh, I can’t resist. POP QUIZ: Do you know which Seeker was the very first to sail off Unpubbed Island?

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    2. Correct! Since you have proven yourself such a whiz, in the future I shall attempt to make my quiz questions a bit harder.

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  9. I am never bored when GQ shows her hat in Seekerville. Somehow I imagine her wearing an elegant, gray felt fascinator with black+gray feathers and gray mesh (affixed to the right side of her head as is fashionably correct).
    My favorite part of Seekerville is the ability to use the "search box" and type in "synopsis" or "Novella" and see the amazing number of archive posts that reappear. What a fabulous repository of knowledge! Throwing my own hat (a breast cancer #metavivor baseball cap) into the ring for the book giveaway. Not an easy feat while sipping Darjeeling!

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    1. Another tea lover! So lovely to see you this morning, JennaVictoria! Yes, I do love those fascinators when I’m not wearing my crown. One must present oneself suitably for the occasion, however.

      So glad you have discovered the convenience of the search box for finding topics in the archives. Truly a handy little thing!

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    2. Love that visual. Sounds like you are a kindred soul with our GQ. GQ with friends. I am stunned.

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    3. I have many friends, I'll have you know. Why, there's . . .

      Um, and of course . . .

      Well, I'm pretty sure Janet likes me! She's nice to everyone!

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    4. And Audra, of course. However, that Ruthy--my word!!!

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  10. Good morning, GQ. Thank you for another excellent post. I especially appreciate the links to previous posts. I didn't discover Seekerville until four years ago, so I'm always afraid I missed something important.

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    1. Rhonda, my dear! Lovely to see your smiling face here this morning! Yes, rest assured, there is plenty to be discovered in 10 years of archives, which are always at your disposal.

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  11. Well I love the part where Myra argues with GQ, good example of how to write a psychotic break I AM ONLY KIDDING. Seriously, good points with a lot of humor. I can relate to the constant need to correct grammar. Worked as a copy editor for several years and find myself mentally editing menus, billboards and even those signs homeowners hang out, i.e. "The Smith's" or "The Nelson's." Atrocious use of the possessive which even educated people seem to fall into, don't ask me.
    I have some craft books, but admit I haven't consulted them for a while. It's easier to check out the Seekerville archive. In fact, I consulted a bunch of archived stuff just last week when I was writing a synopsis. You guys have been lifesavers.
    Don't enter me in the drawing, my TBR pile is fairly high and I just got my gift copy of the last "Flowers of Eden" yesterday. I also have Glynna's Christmas story, which I picked up at Walmart, making my trip to Walmart bearable, don't ask, and I plan to read that on our upcoming trip. I also have my $15 gift card to cash in. Some days it's great to be me.
    KB

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    1. KB, you are a girl after my own heart! But really—psychotic break? That implies I am not exactly a real person.

      Except . . . Sometimes when I look in the mirror . . .

      No—NO!!!! I cannot think such frightening thoughts!!!!

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  12. Good morning, Grammar Queen!! Thanks for the helpful hints! My husband and numerous friends all call me the Grammar Nazi because I usually find grammar mistakes everywhere. Even my son's teachers hate me grammatically checking their notices and emails. I check legal documents and refuse to sign them if they are grammatically wrong!I think it is like a treasure hunt. Anyways, I love Julie Lessman's post and Tina's. I especially LOVE when you do a post that targets something I'm struggling with. Really don't understand Deep POV. Need to. I'm encourage to keep writing because of this blog. Thanks!

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    1. Ah, Kelly, another grammar aficionado. Well, we can’t help ourselves, can we?

      Isn’t it amazing how the topics in Seekerville seem to come up at the most opportune times in our lives? Myra has often mentioned the very same thing.

      Speaking of Myra, I must rouse that girl. She appears to be sleeping in this morning. Such a lazybones.

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    2. Kelly, I know someone who is was on the school board for several years. He had a big pet-peeve when the superintendent would hand out papers to the board littered with mistakes. LOL.

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    3. LOL, Kelly -- The Grammar Natzi -- LOVE IT!!

      And DOUBLE LOL ... I don't understand deep POV either, Kel, so I'm waiting for someone to explain it to me reallllly slow and simply. ;)

      P.S. Not kidding!!

      Thanks for your sweet comment on my posts -- glad somebody gets something out of them as long and rambling as they can often be! ;)

      Hugs,
      Julie

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  13. Welcome Grammar Queen! Thank you for stopping by to celebrate with us--your posts are ALWAYS keepers!

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    1. Why, thank you, Miss Glynna! I must say, I enjoy your lovely posts as well.

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  14. Hi Grammar Queen.

    You look very GQ in your picture!

    BTW-I love Microsoft Speak! It helps me catch errors that my eyes would have glazed over while I was reading the page aloud. It is my part of my final proof process now.

    Thanks for your ten tips! Rose says sneaking a wave to Myra so she doesn't get rapped with that ruler for not paying attention!

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    1. Good morning, Rose! Very GQ??? I hope I should take that as a compliment. Ahem.

      Yes, those programs that read your pages aloud are amazingly helpful. And while saving your own voice, you can select the computerized voice of your preference and also vary the speed at which the voice speaks. Fascinating!

      Myra is still prying her sweet little eyes open. If she doesn’t come around soon, I shall have no choice but to startle her awake with a dash of cold water in the face.

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  15. Good morning Grammar Queen. Great post.

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  16. Grammar Queen (and Myra, standing by in the wings, biting her tongue at times), Indeed, there is nothing new under the sun. Wish I'd said that, but another very well-known writer beat me to it. Nevertheless, thanks for the reminders. And happy birthday.

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    1. Lovely to see you this morning, Dr. Mabry! I understand we have you to thank for the fact that Myra does not snore. A true blessing, for which I shall be eternally grateful!

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    2. Glad to hear it (or perhaps not to hear it).

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    3. For the record, I do not and never have snored (much).

      However, Project Guy is another story.

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  17. Good morning Grammar Queen.

    I'll continue to sit at the back of the classroom while you're holding that ruler.

    What a great day for a party!
    There are so many great posts from Seekerville.
    Yes, I love first sale stories.
    I continue to use Seekerville for reference. From query letters to looking up my favorite editors to see what they have to say.
    How to write faster (BIAW) posts are also at the top of my list.

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    1. Now, Connie, surely you won't do anything to merit a tap with my ruler?

      But truly, what excellent reminders of the many encouraging and instructional posts in Seekerville!

      I think perhaps I must refer Myra to a few of those BIAW posts. She's been quite a slacker of late.

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  18. Grammar Queen, always so good to see you! Your 10 tips are timeless. You bring such style and grace whenever Myra invites you to join us. Please come back soon!

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    1. Why, thank you, Audra! Good to know someone here appreciates me. You are such a dear!

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  19. I'm just a reader but I often write reviews so I do need to be reminded of some these GQ tips. Just not going to divulge what books I've recently reviewed in case the Grammar Queen is on patrol doing surveillance! Thanks for a fun post.
    Blessings!
    Connie
    cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Connie dear, the authors of Seekerville are just so delighted to know you are posting reviews that I would never deign to surveille and correct.

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  20. Oh my, GQ. I had no idea you were such a party animal!! What's next? Dancing on tables with a sombrero? Exclamation marks? I'm shocked, but I suppose it is a special occasion. Happy birthday, Seekerville!!!!!!!!

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    1. Sombreros . . . table dancing . . . hmmmm. I shall add those items to the proverbial bucket list. One never knows where GQ will turn up next!

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  21. How funny! You're too cute, GQ.

    Happy Birthday, Seekerville.

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    1. Cute. Humph. Never a word I recall being applied to me.

      Clever.
      Brilliant.
      Charming.
      Sophisticated.
      Poised.
      Even stunning, perhaps.

      But cute? NEVER!!!!

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  22. Oh, wow, I see GQ is already up and at 'em. Guess I should thank her for letting me--heh heh--sleep in.

    As if!!! With her rattling teapots and dessert trays while gracing everyone with her (so-called) charm?

    Somebody find Jack Sparrow quick! Maybe we can bribe him to spirit her away to a deserted island somewhere!

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    1. I heard that! Oh, my dear, you are in trouble now!

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  23. I love when the Grammar Queen visits! I'm afraid she has me at #6. I was just rebuked for having too many sentences starting with -ing. As always, GQ is spot on! Please put my name in the hat. Is it a pirate hat?

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    1. No, no, no, my dear LeAnne. It is a party hat. Why on earth would GQ have anything whatsoever to do with a pirate hat??? My word!!!

      Well, dear, at least you have recognized the error of your ways with too many of those -ing words introducing your sentences. Go forth and rewrite!!!

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  24. Dear Grammar Queen,
    I brought my second cup of coffee to the computer this morning feeling free and peaceful after finishing my temporary last edit on a ms. Now my tension has returned and my nightmares about commas will revisit tonight. I'll skip the light weight Earl Grey this afternoon and go straight for the strongest Irish Breakfast tea in my cabinet. Editing is never completed. It's like walking down the pasture fence line and getting smacked in the face with all the new single-strand cobwebs those stupid little spiders have spun.

    I don't have a favorite post, although this one is a huge help as are all of Grammar Queen's posts. I do, however, love the list down the right hand side of this page. I consult it frequently and usually first thing when I have a problem.

    Happy Birthday to my favorite web site. Long Live Seekerville! "Here, here," reply all the imbibers with their mugs held high.

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    1. I agree Barbara--sometimes a day of writing and editing requires something a bit stronger. I personally enjoy a cup of English breakfast tea now and again. Irish is fortifying, too.

      And Myra has this handy little gadget on the kitchen counter and all these interesting little pod things that you pop in and out comes a steaming cup of something delightful!

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  25. Grammar Queen, thank you for this lovely tea! After seeing the party side of your persona, I don't understand why Myra labels you as stuffy.

    Thanks for all the important grammar tips and crafting those amazing memes. My question: Is it acceptable to start a sentence with a participial phrase as long as it's not overdone? I've become so leery of that construction that I find I'm starting too many sentences with pronouns. Any advice, my dear?

    I love Call stories and leaving unpubbed island parties, but we've had some wonderful, emotional posts in Seekerville that impacted me greatly. I wish I had time to go through the archives to find them, but alas, I must go to my YMCA fitness class.

    Janet

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    1. So proud of you, darling, for attending your fitness class. I daresay Myra could use a bit more exercise.

      Well, of course, do start the occasional sentence with a participial phrase. Just remember that the noun closest to the phrase is the one it should modify. (We've been over this many times in previous lectures, so review as necessary.)

      And--oh my--those wonderfully emotional and inspirational posts! I'm tearing up, myself!

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    2. Grammar Queen, I'll mention this program to Myra but she looks in great shape to me! As do you. Whacking contrary students with that ruler you carry around must be a good workout. Oops, now I'm afraid that sentence wasn't proper grammar.

      Sigh.

      Janet

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    3. You are quite safe, my dear Janet. Especially after your kind remark about my "great shape."

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  26. OH.MY. GQ brought her A-game today! I'm going to go read and enjoy a cuppa until Captain Jack arrives....

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    1. Enjoy while you may, Miss Caryl. I shall polish my royal cutlass and be ready should that miserable excuse for a sea captain dare to show his face!

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  27. GQ, these are great tips for preparing a manuscript for sending out! I love your "light" way with words. And I am glad there are no quizzes today. They always leave me feeling like I know nothing. ;) But, I also always learn from you, which is good.

    I'm enjoying Seekerville's birthday month. :) I am truly thankful for each lady in this group. They have been hugely encouraging, helpful, and uplifting. Thank you, Seekers!!!!!

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    1. Learning is definitely a good thing, Jeanne. And imparting from my vast store of grammatical knowledge is my very reason for existing.

      I suppose I should admit my gratitude for Seekerville as well. The kind ladies have given me such a pleasant forum for dispensing my instruction.

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  28. Love the picture, GQ! I think I actually had a teacher who made you hold out your hand to get swatted with a ruler. Hahahaha! I'm laughing now but it was terrifying then. Oddly enough, I don't remember anything she taught except for that ruler. So, thank you for your ten whips, I mean tips. I never forget you now. {{{Quaking in boots}}}

    ~ Yvonne

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    1. My dear Yvonne, I have yet to harm any of my students with my ruler. It is primarily a reminder of who is in charge. Now, stop quivering! Help yourself to a scone. It will make you feel better.

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    2. Yvonne, that's awful that you had a teacher who did that! And you're proof it doesn't work (since you don't remember a bit of what she taught)!

      Delete
  29. Welcome back, Grammar Queen! (I tremble in your presence!)

    Favorite post??? Ohhh, it's too early to ask such a hard question. Seekerville's blog posts are all motivating and informative. It's hard to choose a fave. :-)

    Something that's interesting - to me, anyway - is how language (and books) have evolved. What was publishable 20-40 years ago may not stand a chance today. Sentences are shorter and descriptions are brief. No longer do we have prolific tomes (probably reflective of publishing costs). Now, it's all about story and word count, which is a good thing for the most part. Though, I must admit, I still love a great classic, and I enjoy reading some earlier fiction from previous decades. The dialogue and nuances may seem a little strange, but the stories spirit me away to simpler times, I suppose.

    Please toss my name in for your fabulous stack of books. (...And please don't look as I help myself to another scone. ;-) )

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    1. It's true, Cynthia--writing styles (and what readers prefer) have evolved over the centuries.

      However, if you are in search of a "prolific tome," may I point you in the direction of Seekerville's own Julie Lessman, queen (as if we needed another one) of the tomes!

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    2. LOL Grammar Queen. Yes, I concur. :-)

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    3. Cynthia, I couldn't agree more, my friend. When I love a book, I don't want it to end, so give me the long-winded tomes!! ;)

      And THANK YOU, Grammar Queen, for the illustrious title, but perhaps "prolific door-stopper" might be more accurate? ;)

      Hugs,
      Julie

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    4. Julie... *smoosh* That's a hug.)

      Delete
  30. GQ the Party Girl! Who knew?!

    Thanks so much for celebrating with us--even if in snippets. :)

    I'm still considering your advice to listen to my manuscripts being read to me. I haven't yet tried that. But if you say I must then I must!

    Favorite memory... that's nearly impossible to choose. We've had so many wonderful guests! And I have really enjoyed the New Year's Eve parties.

    Ten wonderful years!

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    Replies
    1. Yes, those New Year's Eve parties do go on and on! Poor GQ can hardly bear to stay up so late. I prefer to celebrate during daylight hours.

      Do try having your pages read aloud to you by one of those charmingly monotone computer voices. I believe there are four to choose from, and you can alter the speaking rate as well. Quite handy!

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  31. Goodness, a favorite post in Seekerville? 10 years worth of daily posts... that's like 3,600 to choose from! Not happening! lol

    Myra, have you ever considered partnering with GQ to write British fiction, maybe cozies? Between the two of you, I predict a smashing success! :)

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    1. Wow, Pam--collaborate with GQ? I'm beginning to feel kind of nauseated. Bad enough I have to put up with her reading over my shoulder constantly!

      But a research trip to England? That's quite tempting!

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    2. Myra. Must you pretend I'm not in the room? Honestly.

      Delete
  32. Thanks Grammar Queen and Myra. I love Seekerville and couldn't possibly come up with my favorite post but I especially like the ones where people tell how they manage their writing time.

    Please throw my name in the royal party hat for the drawing!

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    1. I agree, Sandy. Time management is a topic one can never learn too much about. The key, of course, is to find a system that fits your needs and that you will be able to stick with.

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  33. I love the Grammar Queen! There, I said it lol. I read this before I got up to get ready for work. This post was just what I needed after a crazy weekend. Thanks, Grammar Queen and Myra.

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    1. Oh, my sweet, sweet Sally!!!! GQ loves you, too!!!

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    2. Sally, continuing to pray heaps of blessings on you!

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  34. So nice to meet you, Grammar Queen (as I'm fairly new to Seekerville). :) I enjoy inspirational posts but my favorite posts are those that help me elevate my craft...and there are so many here on Seekerville (love the archives)!

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    1. Lovely to meet you, too, Karen! We are all so glad to have you as a Seekervillager! Yes, the archives are simply overflowing with excellent craft instruction. And with a variety of perspectives, one is certain to find an approach or explanation that will turn out to be exactly what one needs.

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    2. Karen, aren't the archives fun?! It's like a decade of writers conferences in one spot. :)

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  35. Hello GQ:

    I always draw comfort when you are here because that insures that there is at least one adult in the room. It's almost impossible to read one of your posts and not finish smarter than you started!

    BTW: I love the list of 100 clichés! One of my ways to reward readers is to create new clichés -- especially if they sparkle. I suggest keeping this list with you or on your phone and when you have time, like on line at the post office or in a waiting room, try to create new ways of saying these clichés. New clichés are like flowers breaking through a bed of March snow -- an unexpected pleasure.

    Vince

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    1. Ah, Vince, a man of literacy and astute insight!

      I agree--it is always more effective (not to mention entertaining) to turn a cliché on its head with a unique twist. And what a clever suggestion for how to use one's waiting time!

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  36. BTW, GQ, I drink Dirty Chai. Chai tea and espresso blend. But I do it with my pinky in the air. Does that count as being genteel?

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    1. Whatever makes you feel better, darling. GQ is not checking pinkies today.

      Dirty chai. Sounds rather . . . naughty, I must say!

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    2. SNORT!!!! That was me inhaling tea into my nostril.

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    3. Perchance you should ask Dr. Mabry if such a practice is advisable.

      Delete
    4. Well, how about that. Tina, you answered my question about what a dirty chai is! I've always heard that term and wondered. :)

      Delete
    5. Some times Dirty Chai is a Chai tea and espresso blend and some times it's just dirty Chai tea.

      Delete
  37. I always draw comfort when you are here because that insures that there is at least one adult in the room.

    On the floor (like a non adult) laughing.

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    1. I'm with you, Tina! I was trying to just ignore that comment, but seriously??? I mean, how many adults do you see walking around wearing gigantic crowns, let alone with party hats on top?

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  38. Oh my aching stars.... GQ!!!! YOU HAVE OUTDONE YOURSELF TODAY, AND I'M ABOUT THE HAPPIEST I'VE EVER BEEN!!!!

    You tucked that old Myra right in her place, and I say good for you! It is essential that we remember our goals, our missions, our vision of what Seekerville is and ever shall be: A PLACE THAT HELPS TEACH THE LOWLY AMONG US THE TRICKS OF THE TRADE WE LOVE SO WELL...

    And who better to perform this task than your sanctimonious self????

    WELL DONE, GQ!!!! WELL DONE! :)

    I am a bit envious of One Little Thing.

    You never age, witch.

    WHY IS THAT?????

    Okay, I'm grabbing a party hat, and I did see a conga line starting around the room with GQ heading it up.

    So much for adulting!!!!! (When did the noun become a verb??? Is this a millenial thing, GQ????)

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Remaining ageless is one of the blessings of royalty, I suppose. Although I must say, Queen Elizabeth isn't exactly a spring chicken anymore!

      Now, GQ must ponder certain terminology used in your comment. Sanctimonious? Witch??? How is it possible that both compliments and veiled insults can flow so freely from the same keyboard?

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    2. Snort! Needed a spew alert there. :)

      Delete
    3. I agree, Missy! I would NOT want to be in the same room with Ruthy and GQ!

      Delete
  39. I've been waiting for Grammar Queen to make an appearance. I have a question. Did the word gym used to be spelled gymn. I remember learning it with an n. Just curious. I have never been good with spelling. To me since egg has two g's then so should leg. Anyone know the answer to this.

    Thanks, I lost my own Grammar perfectionist when my mom went to heaven. She always was my go to source. We had no choice but to use proper grammar in her presence.

    I'll be printing this off as a guideline for polishing a book. Thanks.

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    Replies
    1. Hello, Wilani! Gymn? This "gymn" question is completely new to me, and a brief search on the internet has not provided any clear answers. However, as we all know, our language is continually evolving, so the accepted spelling might well have changed over time.

      As for words like "egg" and "leg," well, some things we simply have to accept.

      I'm sure I would have enjoyed knowing your mother. We might have spent hours chatting about grammar over tea and scones!

      Delete
  40. I started a comment and went back to read something a second time. There must be a time limit here, because my comment was gone...
    I did ask if there is a gluten free scone, and then wondered if it should be gluten-free since it's used as an adjective.
    Also, can anyone explain why it's so easy to find another's grammar errors and overlook one's own? I need to stop writing, or that ruler will find my knuckles.
    My first memory of Seekerville involves Speedbo because I wrote my first draft without editing.
    Great post, as usual, and Happy Birthday wishes.

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    Replies
    1. Good afternoon, LoRee! Yes, you are correct. Used as an adjective you would hyphenate "gluten-free." Good catch, my dear!

      Sad but true, we do become blind to our own grammatical slip-ups. That is why GQ always recommends having a trusted acquaintance proofread your work. And, as Evelyn mentioned above, even several sets of eyes can still miss errors!

      Ah, Speedbo, another much anticipated Seekerville event! Kudos to you for completing that first draft!

      Delete
  41. I love grammar rules! I would always edit my husband's college papers :) A missed grammar mistake is something I always notice in a book. thanks for sharing the great tips! I'd love to be entered in your giveaway!

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    1. A girl after my own heart! Bless you, Heidi! Oh my, yes--grammar mistakes and typographical errors in published books! So distracting for those of us with discerning eyes.

      Delete
  42. GRAMMAR QUEEN!!!!!!!

    I am soooooooo proud of you using so many exclamation points!!!!!!! Happy sigh ... I feel so much closer to you now, which may or may not be a good thing (for either of us!). ;)

    I do love this new wild side!! However, I would ditch the suit for something a little more sparkly!!!!

    And, goodness, as far as a favorite Seekerville memory or post, there are way too many to call any single one a "favorite," I think. But at the risk of being a suck-up, I will say that your posts are among my faves, as are the spiritual/inspirational messages we've had over the years, because to be honest, I can always use a spiritual shot in the arm. :)

    As far as a a favorite "tidbit of advice," again, WAY too many to count. Ironically, though, I am working on posting Susan May Warren's post for tomorrow, and it has proven to be incredibly helpful in my current WIP, on which I had hit a wall, so it's a definite tidbit keeper!

    Hugs and more hugs,
    Julie

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    Replies
    1. Oh, my dear Julie!!!!!! Certain occasions do call for a multitude of exclamation points, don't they?

      Yes, I know, my apparel may not be the best choice for a gala such as we are celebrating this month. But I couldn't easily change into something more appropriate without mussing the royal hair and upsetting the crown. Priorities, my dear. Priorities.

      I'm truly honored that my visits are included among your favorite posts. And I'm sure all of us are looking forward to Ms. Warren's visit tomorrow. It should prove most educational!

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    2. Julie, I look forward to tomorrow!

      Delete
  43. Welcome GQ!!! Love when you visit! My kids always gave me all their papers in high school and college to proofread since I was a college English major. I love grammar! We could be dear friends! Your post was fun to read! I try hard not to "proofread" when I read a book but, alas, it's just a bad habit that's born and bred in me so it comes naturally! Thanks for sharing your talent with us!

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    1. Valri, it's always a pleasure to chat with another grammar aficionado! Do have another scone and a cut of tea! And believe me, I understand completely about the inability to read ANYTHING without proofreading and correcting the writer's grammar errors.

      Delete
    2. Alas, GQ made a typo! I meant a cup of tea!

      Delete
    3. Valri, I've read all my kids papers, too! First for high school and now college and grad-school. I think maybe I need to tell them they'll have to return the favor in the future. They should be my first readers after my critique partners. :)

      Delete
  44. Thank you Grammar Queen and Myra. I went through school in the hippy eta and free writing was more important than grammar. My inate knowledge comes from reading and not from instructions. I wish I had learned more at an early age. Too bad I didn't know the GQ.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Era...should proof read when using a phone.

      Delete
    2. Oh my, those pesky little phone keyboards! One never knows for sure what one is typing!

      Bettie, you must never discount the value of reading as an educational medium. Where on earth do you suppose the world's knowledge has been stored all these years? Why, books and reading material, of course! Libraries and bookstores are our friends!

      Delete
  45. GQ, you are such a party animal...er...girl...er...love your post!!!!!! EPs Rock!!!!!!

    I love the archives. I allow myself two a day after I read the current post. I've learned so much here on Seekerville, that I'm thinking of donating all my craft books to my library. They would have to build a new wing! Lol

    Loving the tea party. I just finished a pot of Forest Fruit, a deep red blend that's yummy!!!

    Might as well throw my name in the party hat, I still have room in my new bookcases.

    Blessings,

    Marcia

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Marcia, Marcia, Marcia! (Is that the Brady Bunch theme I hear?) Kudos to you, my dear, for making such practical use of the archives!

      Forest Fruit. I shall make a note of it and try it one day soon. Thank you for the recommendation!

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    2. It's a loose tea that comes in a tin, and I purchased it at Smith's. Do you have a store near you?

      I am a tea connoisseur as I've never acquired a taste for coffee. I love experimenting with new flavors, and have a cupboard full to prove it.

      And, yes, even though I had the name first, one of my nicknames is "MMM".

      Delete
    3. I don't recall seeing a Smith's store in my area. But I am not averse to searching online. In fact, I have just discovered several brands available on Amazon! Oh happy day!

      Delete
  46. You are both hilarious and helpful, Myra :)

    Yes, please do drop my name into the royal party hat.

    May God bless you and all of Seekerville!

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    Replies
    1. Dear Phyllis, I shall assume you meant to say that Myra is hilarious, while I am helpful. I forgive you for the minor slip of the tongue (or keyboard, as the case may be).

      Delete
  47. Myra and The Grammar Queen, thank you for these great tips regarding grammar, especially the tip about pronoun usage. I'm targeting this one as I'm editing my latest WIP.

    I'll share three blogs from Seekerville that I reference all the time. The first is Tina Radcliffe's boot camp. It's a great all around tool to examine where I'm at in regards to writing.
    The second is Ruth Logan Herne's ten tips about writing. I loved them so much I printed them out (and I put at the top - From Seekerville and Ruth Logan Herne). No whining is a great reminder for me, and I felt it was important to remember these tips so I look at them whenever I'm at my desk.
    The last is a thank you to all the authors who've written blogs on synopses, tag lines and hooks. I reference these blogs on a regular basis.

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    1. So glad to be of assistance today, Tanya! And thank you for sharing some favorite posts that you have found helpful. Our Tina is quite the drill sergeant, isn't she! And Ruthy simply never lets us off the hook about whining!

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    2. I agree with you about Tina's boot camp, Tanya! She never fails to inspire me with her timely posts!

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  48. I've learned a lot on Seekerville, most of what I know as a writer I've learned here. One specific thing I've learned is the importance to write a little bit every day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good advice always, Nicki! Writers cannot improve if they are not consistently writing.

      And I daresay the same holds true for practicing one's grammar.

      Delete
  49. Seekerville reminds me that I'm not the only author going through the authorish problems in life.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Absolutely true, Boo! We are all in this together.

      Even if at times I completely annoy Myra because of this unavoidable phenomenon.

      Delete
  50. Great advice and always timely. :) Now, I'm off to make sure I've got no cliches.

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    Replies
    1. Good evening, Sharee! Should you come across a cliché or two, simply try to give them a fresh twist.

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  51. I love Grammar Queen.
    And I appreciate her long suffering answers to my same questions about lie, lay and lain and lying and laying and.............oh, you know, all of it.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. My dear, are we still beating the same dead horse? (There’s a cliché for you, Sharee!) The poor thing has been lying there long enough, don’t you think? Let’s lay this subject to rest!

      Delete
  52. Hi Grammar Queen,
    I love your party hat! For some reason, when you visit I find myself sitting straight with my shoulders back. Thanks for your post.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Lyndee! I would be happy to refer you to my milliner. And if I have contributed in any small way to your lovely good posture, I am honored!

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  53. I'm tardy today, Grammar Queen, but hopefully you're in a festive mood with the party going on. (Ooops! I think I ended that sentence incorrectly---my apologies). It's always lovely to see you in Seekerville and we appreciate your expertise. I do worry that you're a wee bit rough on poor Myra, though, and she's such a sweet lady!
    Thank you for this post today, and for setting such a wonderful example for us. :)

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    Replies
    1. No apology necessary, my dear! I'm so grateful to be appreciated. But don't feel too sorry for Myra. After all, she is the one who is always attempting to lock me in the closet!

      Delete
  54. Grammar Queen, I'm so sad I missed you today. Its been a long time since I've seen you. Looks like you had a great day. I was on the road all day and driving so couldn't get online to say hi. Have a wonderful week and thanks for dropping by during our birthday month.

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    1. Ah, Sandra, our traveller! So glad you could pop in for a moment. In the words of that famous pair, Roy and Dale, "Happy trails to you!"

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  55. GQ,

    Thanks for the great tips - never hurts to be reminded.

    Edwina Cowgill (on Dave's computer because my NEW laptop is NOT WORKING!!!) Sorry GQ for all the capital letters and exclamation points!

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    1. Oh dear, Edwina!!! What a shame about your new computer!!! I would be using all kinds of capital letter and exclamation points!!!! Hope you getting it fixed quickly!!!

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  56. Yes my dear, I would love my name trown into the royal party hat! And may I have a spot of tea too? ;)
    Loved the humor in this post. :D

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    1. So glad you have been entertained as well as enlightened, dear Abigail!

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  57. I'm an editor, so I'm always thrilled to see Grammar Queen stop by!

    I'd love to have my name put in the drawing. Thanks!

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    1. Of course, dear Leslie! It's always a delight to see you, too!

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  58. Great tips, Grammar Queen!

    and, Happy Birthday Seekers!!

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    1. Thank you, Janet! Lovely to see you in Seekerville!

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  59. This post is hilarious! I have to admit that I usually avoid posts by The Grammar Queen because I have sadly forgotten everything I knew about grammar terms. I do know when something doesn't look right and then I struggle to figure out what it is. Since I am not a writer, just a humble book reviewer, I don't beat myself up too much about that.

    I would love to have my name thrown into the party hat for this prize package. I don't remember if this is one of the sites that wants our email address or not. So here it is just in case: debbiewilder (at) comcast (dot) net

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    1. Glad you could pop in, Debbie! And there is no reason whatsoever to avoid my classes. I am not nearly as frightening as certain others would claim.

      All the best to you, my dear!

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  60. Thank you for such a fun post. If I were a teacher, I'd have so much fun with a red pen.

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    1. I'm sure you would, Jeanne! GQ is elsewhere today, but she sends her appreciation!

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  61. Enjoyed reading the article.
    It always bothers me when people say O in place of zero.
    jwisley(at)aol(dot)com

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  62. Thank you for the smile on my face LOL

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  63. Congrats for 10 years with your blog! May you have many more sweet years to come. Please pass me some delicious scones and add me to your royal party hat.

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    Replies
    1. GQ is occupied elsewhere today, but she's happy to include you, Stephanie!

      Delete
  64. A day late on this, but an interesting tidbit from my memories in Seekerville? I would have to say that I loved being asked to appear in Seekerville a couple of times. Those days I was the host have stayed with me...as well as the time I got asked for a full on for LIH on a three-sentence query.

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    1. A three-sentence query--wow!

      And so glad The Samurai's Heart found its way to publication. A wonderful story!

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  65. I would love to be in the hat to win. :-) Enjoy your day.
    Becky B.

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  66. Well the Grammer Queen has written some great tips for all the wannabes and the writers. I'm just a reader and I know I make mistakes but the authors can't. Oh well I will put up with quite a bit from my favorite authors. Just kidding y'all! I very rarely see if there is a mistake because I read books from wonderful authors!

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    Replies
    1. A good story trumps (almost) everything--right, Brenda? Thanks for stopping by. GQ sends her regards.

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  67. Such a cute post, I loved reading it! I have to say that I sometimes wonder if authors have multiple personalities, to switch so easily between characters. However, since I love ya'll, I shall conclude that it is just an amazingly creative imagination.:)
    I know my grammar isn't perfect, but I do tend to catch typos, so I'm thankful for the extensive editing process. As of now, I'm only a reader, but I hope to write when life slows down a bit.
    I'm enjoying my favorite jasmine tea with the delicious strawberries, thank you! If you'll please include my name in the giveaway, it is much appreciated!! :)

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  68. Hello, Grammar Queen. I’m a reader, not a writer except that I make myself review books on Goodreads and Facebook before I go on to the next one. I’m a self proclaimed Grammar Nazi. Or if you prefer Grammar Princess( since Queen is taken) or maybe Countess? I’ve been reading Regency again! I would love to have my name thrown in the beautiful prize hat! Thanks for a hilarious post. The comments were so funny, too!

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