#GrammarSeries – Learn how to use ‘me’ and ‘I’ properly

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Welcome to another #GrammarSeries. Get ready to learn something new. Before we go on let’s ask a simple question; “Do you know that there is a way to use the pronouns ‘me’ and ‘I’ correctly in sentences and even speech?”

A lot of people get confused when it comes to using these pronouns appropriately. As a writer, you should not be trapped in a fix simply because of these pronouns.

The first thing you should understand is this: ‘me’ and ‘I’ are both pronouns—personal pronouns. However, they are used to perform different functions in sentences.

Now, in a sentence, you have the subject position and the object position. The subject position is occupied by the doer of the action while the object position is occupied by the receiver of the action. So, in the sentence below:

Tade slapped his sister.

The subject position is occupied by the doer of the action “Tade” while the object position is occupied by the receiver of the action “his sister.”

Now back to the personal pronouns. The personal pronoun ‘I’ occupies the subject position while the personal pronoun ‘me’ occupies the object position. Below are some examples to illustrate this point:

I talked to the butler yesterday (‘I’ is occupying the subject position here and is the doer of the action).

The proprietress handed the report card over to me in the morning (‘me’ is occupying the object position here and is the receiver of the action).

Grace and I went to the supermarket today (‘I’ here is occupying the subject position because ‘I’ is the doer of the action).

He gave the waste bins to Billy and me (‘me’ occupies the object position here because ‘me’ is the receiver of the action).

It really is that simple!

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Self-publishing tips you need to read

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We’d keep saying this, this is the year of making great progress with our writing career and we are here to make that easy for you.

For writers who are considering self publishing in 2018, you will find these tips useful.

Publishing your book can be a daunting task and self publishing even worse. There’s so much to look out for and here are a few you should be mindful of.

Never forget to include your contact information

This is extremely important because it would be totally ridiculous to go through the stress of publishing a book without the author’s contact information. People should be able to find you via your book.

Pay an editor if you have to

Seriously, in as much as you would love to handle everything about your book yourself, it is, nice scratch that, wisdom to pay an editor to avoid those typos that can turn the most patient reader off.

Pay attention to your cover design

If you have no knowledge of books or cover designs, then pay someone to do it for you. Cover designs have a whole lot to do with how your work will be received in the market. Let your design be ah-mazing!

We do hope these tips help you!

 

Dear writer, you are a gift to your world

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It’s the season of giving and what better thing to talk about than how precious writers are to the world?

Writers are gifts. Yes, you are a gift to the world. Take it or leave it. It is high time you began to unveil more of your words to the world and take off the wrapping sheet little by little. You know, when gifts are presented to people, they are wrapped in beautiful sheets majorly for the purpose of unveiling the content by the would-be recipient of the gift. If the wrapping sheet is not taken off, nobody gets to see what is in it. Nobody gets to ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ over the beauty of the gift.

That is our point exactly. You world is not going to know it has been given a gift if there is no unveiling or unwrapping. This is the season and this is the time for you to show your world what it has been missing. Let your words flow out of you without trying to hold them back. Give your words the chance to put a smile on someone’s face. Give your words the chance to heal; the chance to give someone a ray of hope in this depressing world. The sky is wide enough for you to sparkle and be the gift that you are to your world.

Whatever it takes dear writer, unveil your gift. Of what use would a gift be if it just remains in one corner with no unwrapping or unveiling? You are right! It would not be of use to anyone. It would just be there sitting pretty and not making ANY difference. You do not have to be that way. Write and make a difference to your world. That is how it starts.

Never forget that you are a gift. Be that gift and let your star sparkle like never before.

#WritingQuote – If you want to write you won’t find the time, you will make the time

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“Finish the damn book. You don’t know what you have until you’ve finished it. You don’t know how to fix it until it’s all down on the page. There is no magical motivation fairy. Success is 10% talent, 10% luck, and 80% blood, sweat, tears and determination.  If you want to write you won’t find the time, you will make the time.”                        Lauren Beukes,  Author of Broken Monster.

Lauren gives it to you straight from the heart and we absolutely love that about her!

First, if you do not actually write and finish your book, all you have is NOTHING. It is when you sit down to write that you have SOMETHING that you can fix and tweak. You can’t edit what is not written down already.

Secondly, there is no such thing as a magical motivation fairy. You have got to learn how to speak to yourself and encourage yourself really. You know we say this, ALL THE TIME.

Thirdly, talent is just a small part of the jigsaw puzzle when it comes to writing. The bulk of the puzzle is “blood, sweat and determination.” The process is not going to be all rosy.

Finally, there is never going to be enough time. All we have is twenty four hours. We know you wish we had thirty six hours in a day, don’t we all do? Sadly, that is never going to happen. Just like Lauren says, if you really want to write, you will not “find the time.” You would have to “make the time.”

PS: Lauren wrote her novel at night when she had a three-month old daughter and a full time job. You absolutely have no excuse!

 

Writing is a craft; treat it as such

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Do you know that there has always been this argument about the difference between art and craft? Well, it has often been said that writing cannot fall into the category of craft because it does not produce something tangible like pottery, sculpting and wood-carving would produce.

It has also been mentioned that art comes as a result of a person’s innate talent while skill in craft can be acquired with experience. How wrong! 

You see, writing is art and craft all at the same time. It is true that writing, irrespective of whatever genre, first begins with your innate talent. However, it does not end there.  You’ve got to put in the work. Someone who carves wood for instance becomes skilled with experience. No wood carver becomes a legend overnight, irrespective of how talented he or she maybe. It takes time, lots of work, practice and experience to become a better crafts-person. The same happens with writing. Don’t see yourself as someone who just puts down whatever he feels like. You are a skilled person, setting hearts free, bringing joy and hope with your words.

It is high time you began seeing your writing as a craft. When you do this, it takes on a new shape. It becomes something tangible. You begin to see yourself as a crafts-person using his or her tools, which in this case are not concrete, to carve out images that people can relate with.

How do you get to that point where your writing becomes so tangible and real that your audience can almost touch your message? The answer is to keep writing to gain mastery of your craft.

One thing you should always remember is this: it is a good thing to be a talented writer. However, without practice and determination, you will never be a skilled crafts-person. Talent is just never enough.

Writers are listeners. Are you listening?

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How much of a listener are you? This is your question for today.  So, we hear that you want to be a good writer which is awesome, but we are asking you just how much of a listener you are. Have you noticed that there are too many talkers in the world but few listeners? Yes, people are more interested in being heard than lending a listening ear.

Good writers are actually good listeners too. It really does not matter if your niche is fiction or non-fiction or just plain journalistic writing. The point is if you do not listen to people or the world around you, you will not have any material to work with. If you want to do “how-to” posts, for instance, you have to understand the specific problem that people would like to get solved. You would have to listen to their needs and their wants so that your writing would align with their needs. If you are a fiction writer on the other hand, listening to the people and the happenings around you would help you create real characters that your readers can actually relate with.

Ever read a book that made you laugh or cry and then you went, “Oh my God, that is the exact same thing I would have said if I was in that character’s shoes?” Well, that is the point exactly. Do not wade through the solitary waters of life simply because you are a writer. Listen to other people, like really really listen too. You would be amazed at the depth of information you would glean from just listening. Interesting characters abound in real life. All you have to do is keep your ears and eyes open to hear and see them. 

We know life is happening fast but you have to pause and listening to the world around you.

4 practical tips to help you improve your productivity as a writer

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Hardwork sometimes is not good enough as writers. The more clients or writing gigs we get, the more important it is for us to understand productivity and how important it is to our growth. Being busy and not meeting deadlines doesn’t spell productivity.  

With the hustle and bustle of life especially if you stay in Lagos, other responsibilities and for those who work a 9-5, these practical tips will show you that we care about your productivity as a writer . 

Put your phone on silent

This is the first rule to getting any serious work done. We don’t know if it’s just us but there’s this thing about when it’s time to work, the phone alarm goes off, text messages, both the wanted and the unwanted ones, keep coming in. Let’s not talk about the emails and those calls. You may not be able to prevent them from coming but you can prevent them from disturbing you. Just put the phone on silent. 

Mute your email with Gmail pause 

It’s good that you’ve put your phone on silent but you must know that it is not enough. If you’d be working with your laptop which is most likely the case, you need to take it a step further by muting your email so that you don’t keep getting distracted from that end.

Sort out your to-do list 

It is no longer enough to have a to do list . You need to prioritize work that needs to be done. Most times we just write out tasks for the day and eventually do the least important ones leaving the most important ones for another time. That needs to stop. Highlight your tasks by must do, should do and want to do and start with the must do obviously. 

Smile and be happy

When you are getting it right, smile and when you are not and it feels like you are getting overwhelmed take a deep breath and smile more. Don’t panic, don’t get nervous; it only makes things worse.  Everything will be fine

 

 

 

 

Writing quote: “There are no laws for the novel. There never have been, nor can there ever be.”

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 “There are no laws for the novel. There never have been, nor can there ever be.” – Doris Lessing 

If anyone ever ever told you that you can only write in a certain way they are not speaking the truth. 

Writing novels should never look like a chore or bore you because you do not have to follow a particular pattern or write like another novelist to get your own audience.

That’s the thing about them; the more creative your novel is the better for all of us. You set the laws for your novel – how you want it to start, progress and how you want it to end. As long as it makes sense to your readers the rest of the world has no choice but to go with it. Novelist write stories that they wish they could find on the shelf, stories that keep circling in their head, the ones that make them smile in the midst of a large audience. 

Writing novels and following ‘rules’ will restrict you. As long as you are a writer you must commit to giving your best to your readers every time you pick up a pen. No excuses, no going back. 

#GrammarSeries – What’s the big deal with grammar?

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What’s all these grammar talk we read every Tuesday on The Sparkle Writer’s Hub? What’s the big deal? Grammar is actually pretty important and if you’ve ever wondered why we keep insisting that you follow the Grammar series on Tuesday, this will convince you. 

Imagine if we all just talked and nobody understood the next person because each person decided to go with his or her own grammar rules? What will happen to the world? Definitely a lot of chaos. 

The reason that the rules of grammar exist is to give all speakers of the same language a playbook to make sure that they understand each other.

If you decided one day to stop pluralizing anything and just use the singular form for everything, that’s great for your personal journaling or expression. Most other English speakers will need some guidance if they have to read and understand what you wrote. 

Some might argue that rules are made to be broken. In the case of writing, bending some of the rules can be a form of expression. However, rules should not be broken for the sake of breaking them. You’re not going to keep the attention of an audience if they have to struggle to make sense of what you’ve written.

Your book will first be judged by its cover, make it awesome!

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No matter how you want to rationalize it, potential readers and the audience at large will judge your book first by its cover before they open it and read the pages.

The cover is what everyone sees first. If we don’t like what we see, there’s no point opening it. We just move on. If you do not take out time to create a striking design alongside your publisher or graphic designer, your book will automatically lose a large percent of its potential readers. 

Our brains are wired to process images faster than words. When we see an image, it makes us feel something. A great cover can help your reader instantly recognize that your book is for them.

Bookshops display books with their covers facing the reader. It’s the first thing a reader sees. It is the reason a customer picks up the book, particularly in a supermarket setting where every book is front facing.

When a reader sees an amateur cover on a book, they will expect the content itself to be amateur. If it looks cheaply produced, then they will expect the inside quality to be cheap also or that there has been little or no editing, proofreading or it contains bad prose. If a reader sees a cover and has that expectation, why should they buy the book? And it’s not just about someone buying a book, but about them investing their time to read it. 

Poor designs on the other hand can be a huge turn off. With millions of books for readers to choose from, the first “sales pitch” is the cover. If it is not striking enough to draw attention, it will be passed over for something more interesting on either side.

Don’t ruin your book’s chances of success.