WONDERFUL. Here is a bit more from Erin. We hope reading and rereading these will keep you inspired because we are excited to both read and then publish your book!
Erin is eager to share a few encouraging tips and insights with you so your book flows as it should.
• Let it flow. Once you get into your document, begin writing without thinking about how something is spelled or the punctuation. Just let your thoughts flow.
An example of how this will work and can work is when Erin helped a distant family member who'd simply written her book over the course of 3 days. There were NO sentences, no punctuation, no paragraphs, no chapters. Just a book's worth of pages she was inspired to write about her childhood.
When Erin was asked if she could help, God set it up that she was far too busy—however, she felt led to show this woman's daughters how to help—and this confirmed what Erin had told everyone who said they'd like to write a book. Just write.
• Grammar. After you get your thoughts and feelings written down, whenever you feel led to reread it, you can easily begin adding punctuation, capital letters, fixed misspelled words, and attack the grammar. Gmail and Google documents have a lot built in, BUT it isn't always correct. Some programs like Grammarly will often try rewriting what you've said—so again, it may not sound like you.
It's much better not to fix something than remove the flavor from what you really want to say to your reader. Here's what you need to do, just see if what it suggested improves the readability or the suggestion helps express what you want to say. If not, keep what you have. If you'd like to brush up, or like me, you really need to learn a few things (my excuse is spending my grammar school year in the hallway as I share in my children's books.
That's funny. I just now noticed it was called "grammar school," which explains why I need so much help), then you might start here with a few short grammar lessons from this nonprofit website we've used before. It's geared towards English as a second language, so it's very basic and easy to follow.
✨ IMPORTANT, once you learn something or an editor or proofreader makes a correction—correct yourself. Never send them the same mistake they've corrected for you: "Like a dog that returns to its vomit, a fool does the same foolish things again and again."
Grammarly also has something similar, but because I know they correct me and tell me to use that when it should be who, one of the few corrections my mother taught me while my proofreader. In honor of my mother, who was RMI's first proofreader, let me show you in this sentence I used this correctly whoo hoo. "In honor of my mother who" rather than "In honor of my mother that."
Another bonus is if you're writing in English, which isn't your first language, it will pick up a common mistake if you're Afrikaans, rather than say Erin and I or Erin and me, they put themselves first "Me and Erin" that in American English, is incorrect—we put ourselves, me or I, LAST in the list.
Honestly, I decided I needed to learn this one grammatical error because I was tired of retyping, YES, on a typewriter each time she would mark this in red ink, and my page was covered!) I don't trust their corrections. It's a computer app, after all, but it's helpful to show me when I might want to try rewriting something so it reads better. It's like my GPS I know where I want to go, where He is leading me, so sometimes I follow it, but most of the time, I ignore what it says. While helping one of our authors, I noticed she, like many, used the pronoun I when it should be me. So I gave her a quick lesson on when to use I or use me (and any time you use two pronouns joined with and). Simply take the other person out.
My parents asked John and I over for dinner.
So would you say, "My parents asked I over for dinner?"
Or would you say, "My parents asked me over for dinner?"
• Don't Start with "I." I have no idea if this is true or a myth, but I heard once NEVER to begin a paragraph using I... I did this, I did that because it was amateurish. I am sure it's true, but I believe it so I searched for ways to avoid this common error when you're just beginning your writing journey.
**Part 2 of this is when listing several people, put YOURSELF LAST.
- Once again, never say "Me and Erin" or list several, "Me, Erin and Yvonne" because in American English this is incorrect—we put ourselves, me or I, LAST in the list. Erin and I or Erin and me.
- Swap parts of the sentence. Simply shuffle the first and second parts of your sentences around so the sentence that starts with ‘I’ is answering the first part.
- EXAMPLE: "I ordered coffee because coffee is my go-to afternoon pick me up" would become "Because coffee is my go-to afternoon pick me, I ordered coffee."
- EXAMPLE: "I realized I was singing as I boarded the subway" would become "As I boarded the subway, I realized I was singing!" I sang as I boarded the subway."
• Paragraphs. At some point, you can create paragraphs. Break when you change focus. What you want are small bites to urge your reader to keep reading. The easier the read, the greater your audience. A great tool is https://wordcounter.net/, which you can bookmark. When you paste your work in, you'll see a general understanding of the reading level on the right side of the web page.
Keep the reading level low, once again, for a greater audience—however, do not forfeit sounding like you talk—it needs to sound like you are telling your story.
• Chapters. After paragraphs, you'll begin to break it into chapters. When what you're saying has a more significant shift than just going onto a new paragraph or creating a subtitle, that's when you make it a chapter.
What you want are small snacks, and shorter stories within your story to urge your reader to keep reading.
**Something else that Erin still finds herself doing is creating new documents and breaking up the book before it's ready to be proofread or edited. It's much better to keep everything in one document. You can make notes or try different things, however, to make sure the book flows and to help you see where to break the chapters or even to search to see if it's something you already said before but forgot—keep your book in one document.
• Number of Chapters. If you look at the Abundant Life Series, you'll notice it consists of 4 books with about the same amount of chapters. How many or how few depends on how you're flowing and with OUR books, since they represent a journey, they may end for a season, then a new book in you emerges. WordCount can help you see how many words you have but also the level of your writing audience and a bit more.
NOVELS like our RJN are a bit different. They need to basically follow the parameters:
- Novel: 50,000 and 80,000 words.
- Novella: 20,000 and 49,999 words.
- Novelette: 7,500 to 19,999 words.
• Improve your Writing. Something I just did above was to sneak in the definition to follow a difficult word some people might not know. Even though it's easy to quickly see what a word means, adding a synonym, a similar word, following that word is actually something my older brother taught me! Shock. He is an author and a professor with a doctorate so this guy knows. And in case you missed it, I snuck it in. "Synonym" may be a word we learned but forgot or never really knew its meaning. So I quickly searched for a synonym and stuck it in: adding a synonym, a similar word, following that word.
• Chapter Titles and Book Title. Each chapter title and book title will be found within your book. You may already have a title in mind, however, this is where we at NRP can really help. Grabbing a word or a few words that simply jump off the pages that paint a picture of what the reader will want to find out about is what you want to use for your title.
You can often rename your book many times, the same with the chapters. It's nothing to worry about or fret over, not now, not ever. Just continue to write, let your thoughts and feelings flow.
• Hear it Read. Read what you wrote out loud. Erin says that she finds that reading something out loud will help what she writes to sound like it's her and also it's an easy way to find missing words that are sometimes overlooked—even by editors or proofreaders.
- TIP: If you’re a Believer like me and you want to quote the Bible, determine first what audience you hope to reach. This also helps when you ask your proofreader. If you want a wider audience then use the quote, as I did above, but leave off the scripture reference (they were added very recently and only as a means to find that passage in the Bible). Readers who have a huge aversion to “Christians” due to their mistaken belief that witnessing means being confrontational and accusatory rather than a relationship because Christianity is not a religion will see it as a wise saying. Yvonne, one of our first RJN authors, did this in her book because she hoped to reach women who were in the same frame of mind, not being a church-goer.
• Your Book Cover. We will help you find and even purchase your picture for your cover. The same is true by providing you with a local printer (we have printing companies who work for us all around the world and they're growing) and also with an ISBN, we will purchase for you. NRP and RMI will invest in you and in your book if our Ministers and current readers agree that it's encouraging and something they'd like to share with their friends.
When we can see your book is about to happen, that this IS the appointed time, we will ask you to fill out another more detailed form that covers all that we will agree on. To find out more, visit this page.