November 25, 2006

Grammar-1:11 Common Mistakes

According to JunketStudies, here are the 11 rules of grammar that are most often broken (or is it "broken most often"?):

1. To join two independent clauses, use a comma followed by a conjunction, a semicolon alone, or a semicolon followed by a sentence modifier.

2. Use commas to bracket nonrestrictive phrases, which are not essential to the sentence's meaning.

3. Do not use commas to bracket phrases that are essential to a sentence's meaning.

4. When beginning a sentence with an introductory phrase or an introductory (dependent) clause, include a comma.

5. To indicate possession, end a singular noun with an apostrophe followed by an "s". Otherwise, the noun's form seems plural.

6. Use proper punctuation to integrate a quotation into a sentence. If the introductory material is an independent clause, add the quotation after a colon. If the introductory material ends in "thinks," "saying," or some other verb indicating expression, use a comma.

7. Make the subject and verb agree with each other, not with a word that comes between them.

8. Be sure that a pronoun, a participial phrase, or an appositive refers clearly to the proper subject.

9. Use parallel construction to make a strong point and create a smooth flow.

10. Use the active voice unless you specifically need to use the passive.

11. Omit unnecessary words.

What does all this MEAN? Go here, and click for details:

How They Do It-2: Robin Lee Hatcher

Robin Lee Hatcher describes herself as an "intuitive writer," explaining: "I write to discover what will happen next just as my readers read to discover what will happen next. I don't know what will occur in chapter ten until I have written chapter nine."

I've discovered this is how I write fiction, too. So, how to keep the plot organized when you're not working from an outline?

Robin's way:

"I keep what is called a "rolling plot" notebook. Basically, I journal before beginning to write for that day, determining, based on what I wrote yesterday, what needs to be accomplished next. Sometimes, of course, I write down what needs to happen in the future. I keep an 8.5" x 5.5" spiral notebook for each book, and some pages are flagged and highlighted as I go along, knowing I will have to backtrack to some of my comments."

For software help, Robin's recommendation - coming by way of author James Scott Bell: Inspiration8. "I've used it now on two projects, and I highly recommend it as a way to get the juices flowing." A free version is available at

Robin Lee Hatcher has written over 50 novels, and includes among her accolades:
winner of the Christy Award for Excellence in Christian Fiction (Whispers from Yesterday), the RITA Award for Best Inspirational Romance (Patterns of Love and The Shepherd's Voice), and the RWA Lifetime Achievement Award. Catching Katie (Tyndale) was named one of the Best Books of 2004 by the Library Journal.

For all of Robin's article, see:
For Robin's writing blog, go to: