bigwords101 — Punctuation and the Law


Close on the heels of the recent post about the Oxford comma (You can have my Oxford Comma when you pry it from my cold, dead, and lifeless hands) we highlight this blog by the Grammar Diva about our necessary friend, the comma, and how getting it wrong can lead to legal ramifications!

Last week the Oxford comma made big news: a Maine trucking company was forced to pay overtime after the lack of a comma in a law was interpreted in favor of the truckers. Here is the blog post that talks about that article.

I researched a bit and found that there are several famous stories where punctuation has been crucial to interpretation of a law.

First, there is the “comma defense.” Was it going to be life in prison or the death penalty for Clifford L. Robinson? The federal sentencing code reads, “. . . death or life in prison, or a fine or both . . .” A fine for murder?  Read more…

Source: bigwords101 — Punctuation and the Law

[SWP: Behind the Book] Fast-Track Advice for New Authors – She Writes

After two years and two novels published, I’d like to share my top tips for new authors, with the hope that my experiences will save you time and minimize stress! Feel free to comment and/or add your thoughts!

Good editorial advice is precious. The editorial process can be long and painful, but a good editor will skillfully fine-tune your story so it resonates with readers. When faced with… [more]

Source: [SWP: Behind the Book] Fast-Track Advice for New Authors – She Writes

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Top 10 Editing Tips for your Final Draft – She Writes

You’ve read all the great editing books, went through the manuscript at least a dozen times, fixed the largest gaping plot holes and checked your grammar (manually). The beta readers have even given their blessing. Think your epic novel is finally ready? Before you hit the send button, check out these ten pointers to ensure your novel is really ready for publication…

Source: Top 10 Editing Tips for your Final Draft – She Writes

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How To Make Your Content Ebook-Friendly in Word


We released our first ebook resource today Formatting Ebook-Friendly Word Documents & Manuscripts, a handy guide which addresses the issues that can come from using Word content as a source for ebooks. MS Word is a powerful program overall and an easy to use word-processor but it wasn’t designed as a tool to prepare content for ebooks, so there’s a number of normal practices and methods authors employ using Word features which appear perfectly fine in Word, but can lead to problems down the line when the content is used as a source for ebooks. This guide helps you keep your content clean of hidden dangers! It’s aimed at both beginners and seasoned Word users.

The selling price is $5.99 but you can get Formatting Ebook-Friendly Word Documents & Manuscripts for a wallet-pleasing $3.99 till the end of February, exclusively from!

Out now! Formatting Ebook-Friendly Word Documents & Manuscripts by @JimandZetta Click To Tweet

What It Takes To Become A Writer – She Writes

Virginia Woolf is famous for having said that to be a woman and a writer, one needed a room of one’s own and five hundred pounds a year. In essence, she was advocating for space and time. Of course she was correct. Of course these are two essential components of a successful writing life. It’s better to work uninterrupted and undistracted, isn’t it?But our dear Virginia didn’t have any children, and so didn’t really know the fine art of juggling time and competing demands. Her words still ring true, despite that. We all need that quiet, secure place to say…

Source: What It Takes To Become A Writer – She Writes

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Doing Social Media When You Don’t Want To – She Writes

Author Takes a Break from Social Media and You Won’t Believe What Happened Next!

You’ve seen those headlines before; they’re the lifeblood of the Internet. Click on this link! Come to our website! Read this amazing, yet mainly insubstantial, article and our site will win the Internet! Clicks and links and counters and imprints, that’s the language of today’s marketing…

Source: [THE WRITER’S LIFE] Write Something – She Writes

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How to Get an Original Story Idea

One thing some authors will struggle with for many days (or years) is trying to come up with an “original” story idea. Authors debate why they should or why they should not bother being original–but is the quest for originality worth the headaches and heartburn?

When it comes to writing an “original” story, people are cynical and say that there is nothing original left to write, everything has been done.


This may be true when it comes to general themes found in a story, but there is plenty of material available to develop an “original” idea. I love to read stories that leave me thinking: “Wow…I wish I’d written that!”

If you can’t find anything new under the sun to write about, try changing your point of view. Click To Tweet It’s not a new concept. Romeo and Juliet is a love story about sixteenth century teens in Italy, and centuries later, their tale gets a face lift and becomes West Side Story about twentieth century teens in New York City.

For example, say that you want to write a story from the point of view of a cocaine “tooter,” those thin, little pipes that addicts use to snort coke. Look at these two samples:

  1. She sticks the cocaine tooter—a tooter is slang for those little tubes used for snorting coke—into her nose and snorts a line of coke. It’s dark and wet and sticky inside here. I don’t like being a tooter. I don’t like the feel of boogers on my body.
  2. She strokes my hard shaft and guides me inside her where I shoot her with my white stuff. She takes what I deliver deep into her body and sighs in ecstasy. She loves me. I could care less if she lives or dies. I’ll just move on to the next one.

Which would you rather read? Which of the above samples compels you to read more to find out what is going on? Not only that, which one doesn’t have a POV shift? It’s not enough to have an original idea if the writing is poor or bland or unimaginative.

Granted that you may or may not be able to support a whole novel or series from such a viewpoint, but you see how it is possible for you can take something totally mundane and create a story that’s original.

Try it. Leave a comment with your original idea.