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Archive for May, 2012

The dreaded adverb: “ly” words. My editor at Tate, Megan, has this quote posted at the bottom of every email she sends:
“The adverb is not your friend.” —Stephen King

Megan pulled me up many times saying that I was ‘telling’ not showing the emotion behind the sentence.

That got me thinking… How many is too many ‘ly’ words? So I started doing some research and found that one ‘ly’ word in 300 is okay, but if you can write with even less than that, it shows a high level of professionalism.

One suggestion I came across was to do a ‘word search’ for ‘ly’ words and see how many times you’ve used them.

Here are some examples.

shouted angrily – if someone is shouting, that says they are angry.

admitted sadly – admitted is enough to show the emotion.

tiptoed silently – tiptoeing is pretty silent.

I hope you’ve found this helpful :)

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We have a couple of bushes growing up in front of our bedroom window to protect the room from our harsh, hot Australian summers. Looking out from inside the house, it is a twisted mass of twigs and branches. The summer sun has a hard time getting though the tangled mass. It actually looks quite ugly from inside. But when you go outside and look at it, you see a mass of green leaves and red and white flowers.

Every Monday morning I fix a coffee and take a walk around my garden to see what is new or what has happened during the last week. I look at each plant, and see if there are any new buds or flowers. I make note of which ones are ready to be picked for display. Hardly a week goes by when there isn’t a homegrown flower or vase full of flowers that grace my table.

When I go around the front and look at the bush that has overgrown my window, I see the beauty of flowers dotted among the green. And I’m reminded of what I can see from the inside of my bedroom… Ugly on the inside, yet beautiful on the outside. Is there a ‘Life Lesson’ in that? I think there may be…

Happy Monday, everyone. May you have a productive and rewarding week :)

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Today my red lid dish was given back, and for the first time I felt the uncomfortable prick of tears of sadness about my daughter moving away.

We have this glass dish that passed from her to me and back again for years. Whoever had the dish, had to fill it with something and give it back. Sometimes it would contain a few pieces of chocolate cake or something like that. Other times it was filled with dinner for my daughter who occasionally worked late. She would call from work and ask if someone could pick her up from the train and take her home – then I would divide our meal into three and give her the red lid dish. She would return it with something she’d made on the weekend.

She’s moved away and I’ve been left with the dish and many happy memories. That’s what ‘family’ is all about…

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Tate Publishing (in the US) is keeping me busy. So far this month, I have done the final proofs for the print run of Operation Foxtrot Five, done the final edits of Operation Delta Bravo and done the final edits for my picture book – It Doesn’t Matter. Now it’s time to start working with the publicity department.

One thing that I’ve learned is that no matter how good you think your work is, there is always room for improvement. No matter where or who you are in the chain of production, there is always room for improvement.

For example, this is the third edition of Operation Foxtrot Five – which means that it has been edited by three different publishing companies since 2001. Each time it was edited, the manuscript became tighter and tighter, and I was given the chance to update and modernise it a little.

Everyone needs their work given the once-over by an editor. An editor is invaluable when it come down to producing professional product. Listen to your editor, consider their advice carefully, and pick your battles. Don’t challenge every change they suggest, there must be a reason for what they are suggesting. Negotiate if you feel strongly and put your point-of-view out there. A good editor will listen and work with you to find a compromise.

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I love Mondays – I always have. There is a Galic Proverb that says “Monday is the key day of the week”.

As a child, Mondays were always filled with hope. It was a new day, a new week. Who would I see at school? What would I learn? Would my teacher like my homework? I was always up early, bag packed and practically running out the door. I loved Mondays!

As an adult and mother of 4, Mondays took on another meaning. I was still up earlier than usual, had the lunches made, bags packed and notes signed. Once breakfast was over and the last child had left the house, the next six hours or so were mine! All mine… I would pick up toys and put them away and know they were going to stay there for the next six hours. I could clean without asking someone to move. I could sit outside with a coffee and know I was not going to be interrupted. I could eat that last piece of cake and not have to share it… After a busy weekend, Mondays was my ‘stay home’ day and I had the hourse to myself. I loved Mondays!

And now… guess what? I still love Mondays. I wake up Monday morning and smile and say, Good-morning, Lord. It’s Monday :)

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