Monday, February 17, 2020

Grammar: Capitalisation and Writing Numbers

Rules of Capitalisation

In English grammar capitalisation is used at the head of a word, with the first letter in uppercase and the remaining in lowercase. 

Capitalisation for professional and academic writers is a bit more complicated than just writing names and titles with capital letters.

Two important rules to remember:

Rule 1

Always capitalise the first word in a sentence and after a period.

Rule 2

Proper nouns and adjectives that have been created from proper nouns should be capitalised.


  • London Bridge
  • War of the Worlds
  • an American song
  • the Eiffel Tower

Over time many proper nouns no longer need capitalisation, and have a life of their own.


  • draconian - originally from ancient-Athenian lawgiver Draco
  • quixotic - originally from the novel Don Quixote
  • herculean - originally from the ancient-Greek hero Hercules

The role of captialisation is to bring to attention component within a particular group or people, place or things.  We can talk about a mountain in a particular country or we could be more precise and say Mount Everest which sets it apart from every other mountain earth.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Alternate Social Media Sites for Writers

Use Tumblr to Reach More Readers Online

Founded in 2007 by David Karp, Tumblr is a social media and microblogging website which can be used to host your poetry, short stories, images or even new blog posts.

A popular website for 18 to 29 year olds, 66% of the site is visited by under 35 year olds. 

Even though Tumblr hasn't reached the dizzy height's of other major networking sites like Instagram or Twitter it's still a site worth checking out for any writer wanting to get the writing seen.

Authors of YA (Young Adult) books might want to use it to market their books, because of its popularity with young people.

Here are some familiar author names and services on Tumblr:

  • Malind Lo - Ash
  • Neil Gaiman - Fragile Things
  • Lang Laev - Poet
  • Jane Friedman - Publishing 101: A First-Time Author's Guide to Getting Published, Marketing and Promoting Your Book, and Building a Successful Career
  • Emma Straub - The Vacationers
  • Jami Attenberg - The Middlesteins
  • Rosecrans Baldwin - Paris I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down
  • Leigh Stein - Dispatch from the Future
  • John Green - The Fault in Our Stars


  • NaNoWriMo
  • Bublish
  • Bookworks
  • Readers Writers Journal
  • NPR Fresh Air
Publishing Houses

  • Scribner Books
  • Chronicle Books
  • Harper Collins
  • Random House

How to Setup a Tumblr Profile

Use your author name to start your account, add your biography and the avatar you use on all of your other social media accounts.

Brand your Tumblr profile just like you would any other social media account using the same colours and fonts. 

Just like Twitter you can search for people you're already following, or look for like-minded authors, writers and bloggers.

Connecting Other Accounts to Tumblr

You can add other social media accounts to your Tumblr profile, but this isn't really necessary when you already have a presence on these other sites. 

Should I Use the 'Ask Me Anything' Feature

Many Tumblr users use this feature to their own advantage, Jane Friedman is a good example of this and offers her own expertise on Tumblr.

Settings on Tumblr

If you have a blog make sure your blog is known to the general public on Tumblr.

Posting on Tumblr

As I mentioned in the beginning you can post everything from podcasts to blog post links, poetry to quotes, images.

Like any other social media site image is everything, so customise your images using platforms such as Fotor or PicMonkey. 

Quick Tips for Tumblr

  • Create a book video
  • How to videos
  • Make it personal or tell stories
  • Tell people about what you do

Goodreads the Bolt-hole for Readers Everywhere

Original setup as a place people, both young and old can talk and share their thoughts about books.  Like most other social media sites users can link their accounts and blog to their Goodreads profile.

Goodreads allows you to share:

  • Favourite quotes
  • Blog posts
  • Your thoughts about books you're currently reading
  • Write reviews on books you've read

You don't even need to leave your home to find a book group, you'll discover plenty of them on Goodreads.  The platform isn't about propelling yourself forward as an author, but rather getting to know who reads your books.  Don't let that put you off joining Goodreads, especially if you're an avid reader.

Where It All Started

Goodreads was created by Otis and Elizabeth Chandler in 2007 that started as an epiphany, by simply building a website people could discover books in a more organic way, instead of from a bestseller list.

It would enable people to see what like-minded readers were reading, and allow them to build their own virtual bookshelves that other readers could discover for themselves, and enable them to comment on other readers' reviews.  Discovering new genres as they go along.

The success of being on Goodreads is writing a good book and being discovered.

Quick Facts and Stats (2018)

  • 80 million users
  • Women read twice as many books as men
  • 2.3 billion books added
  • 80 million reviews
  • 50% of male author's audience will be women
  • 50 million monthly visitors
  • 430 million page views

Most people sign up to Goodreads to find their next best read, and usually have a voracious appetite for the written word.

Try Out Goodreads the Bolt-hole for Readers

Simply create an account at, entering your email and new password.

Start Your Bookshelf

Go to the search bar and start looking for the books you're reading, have read, or want to read.  If you're not sure you can also search by using the ISBN or author's name.

You can create different kinds of bookshelves such as what you're currently reading or want to read.  You can edit your book books at any time.

Updating the status of your book:

Simply go to Home and you'll discover what your friends are reading.
Or go to the right column and you'll discover a widget for the book you're currently reading.  You can update the book you're reading or add new ones.

Look and Compare What Other Authors Are Reading

This is a unique opportunity to take a peek at what other authors are reading, and compare it to your own reading taste.

Try the Goodreads Challenge

You can find the Goodreads challenge on your Home tab, and add the number of books you want to read in a year.

You can look at your friends reading challenge via the Reading Challenge Badge.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on either of these social media sites, or any others that you've visited.

Share this post with your friends!

Monday, February 03, 2020

11 Fresh Writing Prompts for Non-Fiction Writers

Any writer will tell you that the best way to improve your craft is to practice, practice, practice.  This can be a task in it's self, but don't be discouraged.  When the tank is dry start thinking about using some of these useful writing prompts.

Fact-Based Information

As a writer you're constantly being reminded to write what you know.  Start by going back to past events in your life to help stimulate your imagination.

High Points in Your Life

Write a detailed description of the best moment of your life.

What were you doing and where were you at the time?
Was the moment a surprise or was it expected?
What were your feelings about it at the time? Why was it so noteworthy?
What in particular was it that made it so special?
Has it left a mark on your life?

Low Points in Your Life

Recount the lowest points in your life.  Use the prompts above along with the following below:

What made the event so bad?
Were you aware of negative emotions from this particular point in your life?
Did you learn anything from the experience? Were you able to move on with your life?
How do you view it with hindsight?

Meeting Someone Who Played a Pivotal Part in Your Life

Someone who made a significant impact on your life, but not necessarily a spouse or significant other.  This could be a teacher, mentor, or stranger that taught you a life lesson that has always stayed with you.

Give a detailed account of the mood at that time, and where you were.  Write about what time of day it was, and physical sensations you remember.  Write down your mood (if you can still remember it).

Monday, January 27, 2020

Blog Comments, Should You Deactivate Them?

You know how it feels to receive comments, and the connection you feel you've made with your reader.  If only all comments were like that.  Unfortunately their are a lot of people who like to leave as many spam comments as possible.

So is it worthwhile having that little box at the end of each blog post?  There are many popular bloggers and online marketers who have turned off their comments completely because of the high numbers of spammy and low-quality comments they receive.

The Great Comments Debate

When you start looking into this particular subject you realise that it's not just a one-sided debate.  Online marketers such as Pat Flynn and Everett Bogue examine the issue quite deeply in this article by Fizzle.

Pat Flynn contends that you should keep your blog comments turned on, where as Everett Bogue says that you should really consider turning them off.

Here's a rundown of both sides of the argument:

Reasons for Blog Comments

Pat's argument is:

"A successful blog does not come without its readers, so I feel that the least we can do for them as bloggers is to allow them to have their voice be heard if they choose to speak.  In a way, I find it self-righteous and smug to simply post content and disable the ability for people to voice their own opinion, as if to say "my content is good enough as it is and your opinion doesn't matter."

Monday, January 20, 2020

What You Need to Know About Self-Editing

When you take into consideration the way that the human brain works, and how difficult the English language is to understand, then you start to realise why self-editing is so difficult.

The English language is a hotchpotch of languages mixed together, including Nordic , Anglo-Saxon, Norman French, Latin, and various words that have been stolen from other languages over the centuries.  Most languages manage with only one or two verb tenses, the English language has ten.  With numerous rules such as "I before e except after c."

When you speak a word in English, words usually sound the way they are written.  Many foreign and native English speakers still struggle with the way a word is spelled because it sounds so different to the way they hear it.  For example the word "engineer" will be written like "ingeneer". 

There are people today who try to champion spelling reform in English, but with little to no success. 

This is Your Brain on Writing

If you've ever written for hours at a time, you know the toll it takes and the feeling of sheer exhaustion like you've just run a marathon.

Monday, January 13, 2020

70 Best Websites for Writers 2020

Are you struggling to get your book finished?  Just starting out as a writer and not sure about the rules?

These are valid questions that need to be answered, and that's why the 70 best websites for writers 2020 is here to help you on your writing journey.

Writing Communities

1. Yeah Write

Yeah Write presents weekly writing challenges for fiction, non-fiction, poetry and micro stories each week. The community gets to vote on the most impressive stories and discover new favourite writers.

2. Wattpad

A social platform where "stories are made social". The world's largest community of writers and readers, all members are free to post and read original stories as well as engage in conversation with other members.

Monday, January 06, 2020

Copywriting: How to Recognise Your Reader

Understanding Your Audience

To really understand what your reader wants, and how they feel when they read your advertisement.

Who Are You Writing For?

When you're writing copy, you're not writing for everybody just a handful of people that are genuinely interested.

When it comes to advertising you can't be all things to all people because you'll end up with no customers.  Rather appealing to the people most interested and who will appreciate your product at the end of the day.  These are the people who are easiest to persuade.

Monday, December 30, 2019

Why Simplicity is the Key to a Successful Blog

The digital age has given life to so many voices via social media, and is expressed in as little as 280 characters.  When you put blogging into perspective it all boils down to being able to grab the attention of your audience.

Blogging is a hard nut to crack when you see how so many people have reached mammoth audiences with social media campaigns, and got thousands of visitors to boot.  But don't be discouraged, all is not lost.  With time and thought you can turn your blog readership with next to no viewers into a thriving influential force to be reckoned with.

Why Less is More When It Comes to Blog Images

A blog or website is boring and plain without images.  Even scholarly websites include some kind of imagery.  As reported by Business2Community, websites with images pull-in 94% more page impressions than that of their text-only counterparts.  To make your blog standout and improve your SEO you need to make your website more visibly enticing, and this is what you need to know.

Monday, December 23, 2019

15 Gifts for Grammar Lovers

For many users of the internet bad grammar can be really annoying.  If you see yourself as a devoted defender of the English language you'll love these fun gifts for grammar geeks.

All of them can be purchased, just follow the link.

I Judge You When You Use Poor Grammar is a book full of real-life pictures from restaurants, stores, parking lots, and road signs gone awry that reads just like a proofreading bloopers real.  This book is sure to get a few laughs.

If you can't win an argument, correct their grammar instead mug.  Individually boxed, and printed on both sides, this coffee mug is sure to put a smile on your face.

If you like books on language and history you'll also like David Crystal's books.  You could try The Stories of English, or Making a Point for starters.

If you're looking for a book full of witticism and wise-crack look no further than The Official Dictionary of Sarcasm by James Napoli, the executive vice president of the National Sarcasm Society.

Let's Eat Grandma Commas Save Lives sweatshirt.  A great gift for anyone obsessed with proper grammar and punctuation.

I Enjoy Eating My Cat funny grammar quote mug.  For any cat lover or grammar nerd, this cute mug will have your friends in stitches.

Any books by William Safire, for those unsure of his work The Right Word in the Right Place at the Right Time and How Not to Write.

Eats, Shoots & Leaves made quite a stir when it first came out.  A half grammar how-to and half historical tomb on language, with 100% Wit, and a #1 New York Times Bestseller to boot.

Another great word game is Taboo.  A game about what you don't say. When you're handed a card you have to use one word, but not use of any of the extra listed words below.  You can get this game in a handheld version Taboo Buzz'd for word fun on the go.

Monday, December 16, 2019

The Skills Required to Copyedit and Proofread

Copyediting Basics

Not Fiction But Everything Else

The world of writing is more than just fiction writers, it includes professional writers such as freelance writers, copywriters, technical writers, and business writers.  Writing is the lifeblood of  many of these writers, after studying long and hard for years, gaining degrees from prestigious universities and colleges.

Many professionals take for granted the fact their occupation is based in and around writing.  Writing important reports and documents meticulously day in day out.

If writing is part of your profession you probably don't give it a second thought, it's second nature and part of what you do.  In order to become efficient, productive, and effective at what you do you need to understand your own personal behaviours.