Sunday, 8 November 2015

NaNoWriMo: G is for Grammar

Hey! Are you doing National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)? Follow me this month as I work through the alphabet of great writing tips, from creating ACTION to getting into the ZONE. 

Need a writing buddy? Email me at or comment in my daily posts. We can inspire each other to put down those daily word counts. My goal this year: 5,000 words.

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I get it — GRAMMAR can be boring.

Even though you’ve been learning about grammar since kindergarten, it’s easy to forget some of the rules when you start writing in the world of social media. I don’t know about you, but before I make a Facebook post, I don’t always think about GRAMMAR rules — actually, sometimes I’m not even great with my spelling! I need to work on that.

But if you’re going to write fiction, there are a few key things you have to keep in mind. If you already know all of this, great! For some, it might be a fairly painless refresher.

Capitalization: Capitalize the first word of every sentence, proper names, and the pronoun, “I.” Also capitalize countries, states and cities. You should also capitalize specifics. For instance, “canola” doesn’t need to be capitalized, but the specific organization does — Alberta Canola Producers Commission.

Punctuation: Every sentence should end with a period, and every question requires a question mark. You can use exclamation marks, but only in cases of extreme excitement, otherwise, it loses its emphasis. Semi-colons and colons are tricky. My language arts teacher says, “If you don’t know how to use them, leave them out.”

Apostrophes: Apostrophes are generally used to show possession — i.e.: Sam’s car. But of course there are always exceptions — like, its. If you’re not sure when to use “it’s” or “its”, sound it out. If you mean “it is” then use the apostrophe.

Grammar Pet Peeves: Okay, so I’m not a grammar expert, but here are the most common mistakes I see on Facebook, Tumblr or Instagram. Even when my spelling isn’t great, I pay attention to these:

You’re = you are (You’re fast!)
Your = possessive (Are those your nano kicks?)

They’re = they are (They’re always here.)
Their = possessive (Is that their house?)
There = a place (I’m excited to go there.)

Of course, this is just the basics, and you’re going to be learning about grammar all through school. But for fiction writers—which you all are, right?—it’s a good start.

See. Not THAT painful! And here's the catch—during NaNoWriMo, you don't have to worry about grammar at all! You can fix that in the editing phase. <grin>

Gotta jet! See you tomorrow when we talk about HOOKING THE READER from the very first page.

~ Chase Superman Duffy

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