by Sandy Tritt
The greatest novel in the history of the universe will
never reach publication if the author does not have a decent command of
the English language. If your grammar needs a brush up, consider taking a
grammar course at your local college, or at least invest in a good grammar
text and study it. Most of the manuscripts I see have decent grammar.
However, there are still some common mistakes that I see too often.
- Maintain tense. Changing from past tense to present
tense within a scene is (almost) never acceptable.
- Check spelling. With all the spell check features
available, there is no excuse for mis-spelling words.
- Don't always trust spell check. Many spell check
editors remove hyphens between compound adjectives that precede a noun,
such as "well-known writer."
- Punctuation goes inside quotation marks. "Learning
the correct grammar," Sandy said, "can be interesting."
- Use double quotation marks for dialogue. When it is
necessary to make a quote within dialogue, use single quotation marks.
"Sandy said, 'Watch using single quotes.'"
I also see certain words misused with some frequency.
Lay/Lie. Definitely the most common error I run into.
And no wonder. In present tense, lay means to cause to lie down or to
place. It requires an object. Example: "He laid his hat next to his
gloves," where laid (past tense of "lay") is the verb and his
hat is the object. Lie means to be or to place oneself in a
reclining position. Example: "He lies on the bed pretending to sleep."
There is no object, nothing that further explains what or who lies,
because the verb lie modifies the subject of the sentence (in
this case, he). But it is past tense that trips up 80% of the
writers I've worked with. The past tense of lay is laid. No
sweat. BUT -- the past tense of lie is lay. Ugh! (Any
wonder we get confused?) Examples:
| Present tense: She lays the
book on the table.
| Past tense: She laid the book
on the table.
| Present tense: She lies on the
sofa and enjoys the breeze.
| Past tense: She lay on the sofa
and enjoyed the breeze.
- Alright/All right. Alright is no longer
considered an acceptable word. All right is the only correct
- Then/Than. Then means a time or accordingly.
Than is a comparison.
- Affect/Effect. Affect is usually a verb
meaning "to influence." Effect is a noun, meaning "result."
Drinking does not affect his personality. If fact, it seems to
have no effect at all.
- Conscience/Conscious. Conscience is a noun
meaning having a sense of right and wrong. Conscious is an
adjective meaning to be aware of.
- Have/ Of. Use have, not of, after
helping verbs such as could, would, should, may and might. I should
have (not of) known that. I think this confusion
occurs because of the pronunciation of the contracted have: 've.
So, our example sentence could have been written: I should've
If your grammar exceeds the seventh grade level, you
make take literary license and "adjust" the grammar as you see fit as
long as it serves an artistic purpose. Such as using sentence
fragments like this one for emphasis. However, if it doesn't serve a
purpose, use correct grammar so your reader (and publisher!) will realize
that you do understand the proper way of doing it.
I will continue to add to this page as needed. There are
many websites devoted to grammar and/or spelling, so don't hesitate to
scan the Net for help if you need it. I've also added an entire tip sheet
devoted to commas, as this is certainly a problem area for just about
(c) copyright 1999 by Sandy Tritt. All rights reserved,
except for those listed here. October be reproduced for educational purposes
(such as for writer's workshops), as long as this copyright notice and the
url: http://tritt.wirefire.com are distributed with the pages. For use in
conferences or other uses not mentioned here, please contact Sandy Tritt
for permission and additional resources at no or limited charge.
Go Back in Time!...
our new all - immersion Life of Jesus (Part 1) from David C. Cook
III. You'll become a true believer. Visit...
is dedicated to the memory of David C. Cook III.
This Just In Ė From Paul the Apostle
By Kurt Schuller
inspired work recreating
New e-book on Temperament Therapy
by Dr. Rick Martin
Temperament is the God-given, inborn
nature of each person determining how
he or she interacts and reacts with
people, circumstances, environments,
situations, and the world.
Temperament is who we are on the
inside, what the Bible calls ďthe
inner manĒ (or woman, God is not
talking gender here). The National
Christian Counselors Association, in
the early 1980s, conducted seven years
of research involving 5,000 people in
regards to temperament. The research
is still continuing.
It is now possible, through the use of
the Temperament Analysis Profile
Report (renamed the Arno Profile
System in honor of Drs. Arno who were
intimately involved in this research),
to determine a personís temperament
and their temperament needs accurately
When a personís temperament needs are
being met by healthy and godly means,
stress, anxiety and the problems
related to stress and anxiety are
Some of the problems directly
connected to stress and anxiety are:
dissatisfaction, loneliness, fear,
frustration, anger, marriage and
family problems, poor work
performance, exhaustion and
inter/intra personal conflicts.
Even the American
Medical Association has stated that
80% of physical ailment is stress
related. Dr. Rick is convinced
Temperament Therapy is Godís gift to
the church to help people in the area
Temperament Therapy is Bible based and
Christ-centered. He is also convinced
that relationship problems are all
temperament rooted and has yet to find
a problem, great or small, that cannot
be solved with Temperament Therapy.
Dr. Rick wrote God Created You: A
Guide To Temperament Therapy to
provide information in a fun, easy to
understand, non-clinical format so
people could understand who God
created them to be, how God created
others and how to have happy, healthy
relationships with the rest of Godís
creatures (people; yes, God created
them the way they are also, just as He
did you). He is convinced this book
will help anyone who has any
relationship (at work or home or play)
to be the person God intended them to
be and to enjoy happier, healthier
CREATED YOU by Dr. Rick Martin
A guide to Temperament Therapy.
Purchase your copy now! Just $15. Click
Lynette's creative Writing Website
(type both lines in one)
Read... Move Over Maharishi
By Dee Landerman
An ordinary housewife is catapulted into the unknown. For over twenty-five years with one foot in the other dimension, experiences visions, apparitions, and visits from the divine. As a Christian Intuitive with the ability to see into a personís spirit, she experienced first hand where the departed go.
She shares her life
openly with you, with the intent to
give answers and direction for you to
find power, peace and acceptance in
your own life. Dee reveals the ĎHeart
Of Godí about organized religion and
todayís churches, sharing Godís
concerns and desires for America and
About the Author
Accepting Godís terms, Dee Landerman
committed her life to Jesus Christ,
in exchange for the abuse and misery
she was enduring and found herself
the recipient of divine visitations,
messages and visions. Teaching
Sunday school, teen classes and a
womenís group., she was always
guided by the Lord with lessons and
Click here for more info...
Becoming a Known Writer
by The Shadow
Writing for two years
has taught me that itís not easy to become famous. Well, Iím not trying
to depress you here; I just want you to know how much it is important to
take care of your talent.
Any talent, no
matter what it is, needs continuous practice, care, faith, hard work and
patience. You know why? Because we werenít born with the knowledge of
anything, even the things we like, so we need to be patient to know enough
in whatever we want and to be good at it.
is not something that we should be ashamed of (as some people think), and
itís not something you donít need.
practicing is a kind of knowledge. In writing, as the best example (which
is my purpose of writing this), each time you write a new story, poem,
articleÖetc., youíll learn something new; a writing technique, a fact or a
new format, or, or, or... Anything could be learnt. Even if you donít
notice any change, it happens.
Just try what
I say and youíll see that by practicing, youíre helping yourself to get
better, and eventually publishers will like your work.
When I say
that learning more is very important, I donít mean by reading useful books
and practicing only, of course not! I mean learning from every source that
you could learn from:
you know a journalist, a reporter or a writer, you could ask for some tips
you find a good course in an institute or on the web, then register and
if you find a website that gives you a chance to show your work to others
and get feedback (like AuthorMe.com) then make sure you have a piece of
your work published there.
are my thoughts on Becoming A Known Writer. As I believe in what I said
and Iím doing all of it, I believe that this way leads any ambitious young
writer to publicity. Who knows, maybe it leads to becoming a bestseller
The Shadow (The Shadow)
Instructor Name: Lynette Rees [Dip. Couns]
What is Writing Therapy?
Writing Therapy is a way of connecting with your emotions via pen and
paper, or the keyboard. I devised this course after studying the research of
James W Pennebaker, Head of Psychology, University of Texas. Pennebaker's
research shows that writing helps to lift the mood of depressed people. He
also found that students who wrote about how they were feeling coped better
with their exams.
I have devised 9 lessons in all - taking you from what writing therapy is
to covering the basic emotions we feel such as anger, grief, love, fear etc.
I've also added a lesson on dreams and how to interpret yours, and a bonus
lesson on creative writing. Each lesson has an appropriate assignment to
match the lesson's content.
Write your way to emotional health!
This is Dianne Ochiltree's
site for children, parents,
teachers and writers for
young readers. Dianne is an
author of books for young
readers (birth to teenage)
and she is also a children's
book reviewer. She's been
writing professionally for
over 25 years---about 18
years in public
and the last 7 years as a
children's writer. Dianne
has two books published to
date, with Scholastic and
with Simon & Schuster.
http://tritt.wirefire.com The Inspiration for Writers website offers help and encouragement to writers of all levels. Tips and Techniques give practical advice about frequent writing blunders. The Writer's Prayer, inspirational quotes, and essays about the writing life add insight and inspiration. The Fiction Showcase offers short stories for the reader's enjoyment. And, for those serious about improving their writing skills, manuscript critiques and coaching services are available. Visit http://tritt.wirefire.com today!
- Limited time special, one cent per word. Just mention Publishing
New Writers Newsletter (October, 2002).
Critiques by Sandy Tritt
- Unlike most editors, I consider my role to be a mentor or a coach.
Instead of just telling you what is wrong, I explain how to correct the
problem, and I work with you to teach you how to write effective prose.
More than 50% of my business is repeat business, and I relish
establishing long-term relationships with other writers.
- Treat you with respect and compassion. All criticism will be of the
"constructive" sort. My purpose is to improve your writing, not to
destroy your confidence.
- Mark your manuscript, correcting grammatical and spelling errors and
suggesting alternative wording where appropriate, line-by-line.
- Highlight areas that are especially well-written, so you will know
where your strengths are.
- Where appropriate, offer suggestions for plot development, character
development or other areas that could be strengthened.
- Return a two-to-four page written analysis of your work. This will
include evaluation of: plot, setting, characterization, dialogue,
special effects (flash forwards, flashbacks, etc.), voice, point of view
and any other areas particular to your work.
- If appropriate, recommend reading or resources to strengthen your
areas of weakness.
- Answer any questions you have via email.
- Provide my telephone number for a personal follow-up, if you desire.
For Sandy's success stories, see
Write Sandy at firstname.lastname@example.org
(See Sandy's article above.)