Twitter Hashtags for Writers

Found these at: Aerogramme Writers’ Studio

Books and Reading Hashtags

Book Industry News and Publishing Tips Hashtags
#IAN1 (Independent Author Network)

Hashtags to Connect With Other Writers
#1K1H (write one thousand words in one hour)
#MyWANA (writer’s community created by Kirsten Lamb)
#NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month is held every November)

ePublishing and eBooks
#KPD (Kindle Publishing Direct)

Genre and Specialty Hashtags
Find readers and other writers who share your interests
#MGLit (middle grades literature)
#PoetryMonth (Each April in the USA)

Promotion, Networking and Marketing Hashtags
#99c (to offer or pick up an eBook bargain)
#Novelines (to quote your own work)


Review: The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr.

As a teen and young adult studying English, language, and literature classes in high school and University I never thought I would find myself 20 years later reading books to refresh my memory about grammar. After recently reading Stephen King’s On Writing, I tackled The Elements of Style second edition, by William Strunk, Jr., and E.B. White. Elements of Style is concise, only 78 pages, and yet I wrote 13 single-spaced pages of notes. It is a necessary tool for students in high school, college, or university; best friend to writers.

In Elements of Style you will learn about:
-7 Elementary Rules of Usage
– 11 Elementary Principles of Composition
– A Few Matters of Form
– Words and expressions to avoid
– 21 points concerning style

The two biggest points that will forever be stuck in my mind are:
1. Use definite, specific, concrete language
2. Omit needles words

Two simple rules, that will be going through my mind as I write, and edit.

I laughed to myself when Strunk adamantly announces to always avoid the phrase “the fact that”, because it is one I use often. His example effectively demonstrates how a sentence is better without this phrase:
Instead of “Owing to the fact that” use “since”.
Instead of “In spite of the fact that” use “though” or “although”.

Another phrase I am guilty of using is “who is”, such as: “His brother, who is a member of the same firm”. Strunks offers this solution: “His brother, a member of the same firm”. I was shocked to see the uselessness of “the fact that” and “who is”. It was truly an AHA! moment for me.

The same rule is applied to using “whether” instead of “as to whether”, and “yet” instead of “as yet”. OMIT needles words!

I use “but” too often, and was happy to learn of a simple solution: “A loose sentence using but can usually be converted into a sentence using although.”

Strunk gives a long list of words to avoid: each and every one, enthuse, factor, feature, finalize, hopefully (oopsy guilty of that one too), importantly, interesting, literal, literally, meaningful, personalize, possess, the truth is, the fact is, utilize  :[
Most of the words he says to avoid are words I use often. I’m sure they do have their proper time and place in writing, but would have to agree with Strunk that avoiding them often creates a stronger sentence, and more believable writing.

Some of my favorite quotes:

“Writing is, for most, laborious and slow. The mind travels faster than the pen; consequently, writing becomes a question of learning to make occasional wing shots, bringing down the bird of thought as it flashes by.”

Ideas are birds flying by. Such a beautiful thought. Fast and fleeting. One must scratch the idea down on paper before it soars away.

“The use of language begins with imitation. The infant imitates that sounds made by its parents; the child imitates first the spoken language, then the stuff in books.”

Our thoughts are what we know – inspiration comes from what we read, hear, see, taste, and touch. King and Strunk agree the first step to becoming a good writer is to be a good reader.

Many of the words and phrases that King and Strunk say to avoid are used by writers who doubt their skill, or doubt the reader’s intelligence. I have never thought of it that way before. As a writer who used those words and phrases often, I do see now how I used them due to lack of confidence.

I’ll leave you with this thought:

“If one is to write, one must believe – in the truth and worth of the scrawl, in the ability of the reader to receive and decode the message. No one can write decently who is distrustful of the reader’s intelligence, or whose attitude is patronizing.”

I believe Strunk has helped to improve my skills. Have you read this “little book”? What did you think of it? Have you learned anything from this blog post? I would love to hear your thoughts.

5 Star Review “On Writing: A Memoir Of The Craft” By Stephen King

As a fan who grew up reading Stephen King’s stories, I enjoyed this book so much that I read it twice, one right after the other. Let me make it clear, I have never read a book, flipped back to the beginning, and read it all over again. That’s how much I loved this book.

During the first read, I took my time savoring every word, and didn’t take any notes. The second time around, I took 6 pages of single-spaced notes.

“On Writing: A Memoir Of The Craft” is not just for writers. It provides interesting back story on King’s life and career as an author. Learning about his challenges as a struggling author was quite refreshing, and a good reminder that we all start somewhere.

When King had his accident in 1999, I was graduating from high school, and remember hearing that he had been hit by a blue van. I thought it was some lunatic who had hit him on purpose, had no idea how badly King was injured, and knew nothing of his lengthy healing process. It was heartbreaking to read about what happened, but it was also eye opening. I saw King’s struggle and triumph, and was inspired.

At 288 pages it’s not a long book. As King says, “Fiction writers, present company included, don’t understand very much about what they do – not why it works when it’s good, not why it doesn’t when it’s bad. I figured the shorter the book, the less the bullshit.” I will attempt to omit needles words, leaving the bullshit out of this review.

If you are like me, you have wondered, “Where do good stories come from?”

King says, “Let’s get one thing clear right now shall we? There is no Idea Dump, no Story Central, no Island of the Buried Bestsellers; good story ideas seem to come quite literally from nowhere, sailing at you right out of the empty sky: two previously unrelated ideas come together and make something new under the sun. Your job isn’t to find these ideas but to recognize them when they show up.”

King reviews his Toolbox contents, including tips on vocabulary, grammar, and elements of style. I rather enjoyed his opinion on adverbs, “I believe the road to hell is paved with adverbs, and I will shout it from the rooftops.” HAHA! If you have a sense of humor, you will have a few good laughs.

King discusses dialogue, offering tips, and examples on good and bad dialogue. He shares the three parts that every story or novel should contain, and provides a story exercise to help “plotters” to let go of the control. I don’t have mine complete yet, when I do, I will be sharing it. If you do the exercise please let me know, I would love to read it.

One of the most helpful sections was the process of writing first draft, second draft, polish (or third draft), and what an author should be focused on during those drafts. King shares points on how to find an agent, get published, and gives an example of a cover letter to include when submitting your work.

My biggest takeaway: “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”

Find the time to read this book.