Keys to Effective Writing
The rules for exclamation points in publishing are simple. If it is at all possible, show excitement, emphasis, or extra emotion with words. I often edit manuscripts inundated with exclamation points, and if you are trying to get your book published, that's a big no-no. Acquisition editors will see your overuse of the exclamation point as inexperience.
So when should you use an exclamation point? If used sparingly, the exclamation point can add extra emphasis. For example, take this tag line.
"I don't know where it goes."
That seems like a simple, declaratory statement. If you want to show frustration or anger you can use the exclamation point.
"I don't know where it goes!"
However, here's another big no-no.
"I don't know where it goes!" Laura shouted.
The way this is written, it says that Laura makes her statement, and then she shouts--additionally after speaking.
In any case, use the exclamation point sparingly, and instead, as your kindergarten teacher told you, 'Use your words.'
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Who and Whom
Today's grammar lesson will be the difference between who and whom. I'm giving you the easy version. Here's how you can tell when to use YOU or when to use WHOM.
First, here's the rule. If you can replace WHO with HE, then WHO is correct.
If you can replace WHOM with HIM, then WHOM is correct.
WHO do you love?
In this instance, if you replace WHO with HE, then it would read HE do you love? That doesn't make sense. HOWEVER, YOU HAVE TO MAKE IT INTO A SENTENCE INSTEAD OF A QUESTION. So, let's do this.
You do love he.
Does that make sense? No.
What about this?
You do love him.
Yes. That makes sense. So the correct way to write this sentence would be Whom do you love?
What about this one? Who is the man in the back.
If you replace who with he, then it reads 'HE is the man in the back.'
So that would be correct.
This little trick works 98 percent of the time.
Think grammar is too much for you? Hire an editor instead. Email me at [email protected]
Interview with Grace
One of the
many reasons that I love my job is because I get to meet new people. I reached
out to Grace because I was working with a client who was considering signing a
contract with the same publishing company with whom Grace published her book. I
have found that authors are generous, friendly, and accepting. Publishing is a
tough business, so most authors are quick to offer a helping hand to one another
in this shark-infested field of work. This was definitely true of Grace. After
talking with Grace, I read a copy of her memoir, Reaching, and I was
amazed. Aptly named, Grace Peterson has tremendous talent, a fighting spirit,
and a grace for which we should all strive. If you havent read this book, you
should really check it out, as it is wonderfully written. With that being said,
Im honored to present my online interview with Grace.
Thank you Kimberly
for interviewing me. It is quite an honor.
Can you tell us a little about
Reaching for those readers who havent read it?
an insiders look at anxiety and the mind games of cult dependence.
all children, I learned early on to adapt to my environment. However, whether it
was nature, nurture or a combination of the two, I developed an anxiety disorder
around eight years of age. As a young adult, my anxiety morphed into what I
believed to be demonic possession. As readers will see, seeking help from a
modern-day exorcist caused more problems than it solved.
You and I know how tough the publishing world can be. What advice
can you give to new writers who are just starting out and trying to get
I love Bill Cosbys words: In order to
succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.
Becoming a published author takes a tremendous amount of gumption.
You have to believe that your words are worthy to be shared. Unfortunately it
doesnt take very many rejections to shatter that belief. So my advice to
newbies is, grab and hold on to that gumption, that deep desire for success
within yourself. Youll need to keep it handy, like in a top drawer or as an
icon on your desktop. Click on it and sharpen it often. Its what will fuel you
to keep at it when you get discouraged.
Lets get heavy. Being a Christian is my religion of choice, but I also think its important
to not be closed-minded about other viewpoints. It has been estimated that 92%
of humans believe in a higher being. In my opinion, we all believe in the same
powerits just our doctrines that vary. Although we creative people tend to
be more open-minded, I feel like Earth would be a lot more peaceful if we
stopped fighting over religion. I dont want to give a lot a way from
Reaching. However, can you tell us a little bit about how your views
regarding religion have changed? What are your feelings regarding religion
and/or spirituality now?
My first exposure to organized religion
was during my late teens. Of course at that time I was very impressionable and
hadnt yet developed the critical thinking skills needed to question what I was
being taught. As the years unfolded religious extremism appealed to me more and
more until I crashed and burned. It took an entire decade to recover and sort
things out. Now, there are few original beliefs that still hold true for me. I
still believe in a supreme, benevolent Creator and Im much more tolerant of
others beliefs and dont feel that compulsion to force my views on them.
Whats the most important thing you want people to know about
abuse? What about cults and those who are a part of
Abuse can be very subtle. I spent seven
years misinterpreting my inner voice and it got me into serious trouble. Dont
do what I did! Im always telling my kids how important it is to listen to your
gut and not minimize your feelings. That God put instinct there to protect you.
cults, there is always a little truth surrounding a big lie. The leader knows
how to manipulate his/her words to make them sound reasonable and logical, at
least on the surface. And whats even more insidious and pathological is that a
lot of cult leaders (including Brock) honestly believe theyre doing Gods
work. So they can appear very sincere. Sorting the reality from the distortions
can be mind boggling.
As you know, I found your book fascinating. Not only is the story
itself amazing, but you are such a talented writer. In part, I feel like it is a
story to which anyone can relate. We all want to be accepted. We all want to be
loved, and we all want to feel like we are part of something that is bigger than
ourselvesthat we are important and that we can make a difference. With that
being said, was writing Reaching therapeutic for you? In what ways do you
satisfy those desires today?
Thank you Kimberly. My aim was to write
a book with universal value. We each have our unique stories but fundamentally
we all need the same thing--affirmation and to feel a sense of belonging.
might sound strange but before writing REACHING I felt as though my
history was a foggy blob. There was no structure, no patterns, no meaning, and
no reality, just a bunch of events that popped into my consciousness on
occasion. Writing meant becoming intimately acquainted with not only the events
of my life but the surroundings, the smells, the emotions. There were feelings I
had to work through as I put myself back in some very unpleasant situations. Now
that Ive got a chronological, detailed narrative of my life, it feels real and
has substance. It took over 5 years of concerted effort but it was well worth
it. And I should mention that I was in therapy at the time and those weekly
meetings were life-saving.
As writers, we sometimes find inspiration
in the strangest places. What inspires you?
Nature inspires me. My backyard garden
is my favorite place on the planet. As an introvert, I can be perfectly content
to spend an entire day alone tending to my plants. Like most writers, Im also
inspired by good writing and as a memoirist, I find that reading true stories of
overcoming obstacles feeds my soul.
Do you think that writing is an inherent talent- or is it a craft
that can be learned?
I dont think its either/or but a
combination of both. Its taking a desire and biological proclivity and
nurturing it. A person who enjoys writing will desire improvement and with each
success will learn more, if that makes sense.
Writers are artists, so many readers are always curious about how
an artist spends his/her free time. What are your
I love gardening.
Its such a thrill to see a plant go from a tiny thing into a voluptuous
stand-out. I love combining organic and inorganic elements to create a vignette
that looks timeless, mysterious even. While the bulk of writing takes place in
my mind, gardening takes place outside myself so the two pursuits kind of
balance each other out. Many famous gardeners were (and are) writers as well so
I think there is something universally fulfilling in both.
Who is your favorite author? What is your
favorite book or books?
Ive been asked this
question many times and I always feel a bit inadequate with my answer. Honestly,
I dont have a favorite author. I didnt read many of the classics when I was
younger and now Im much more interested in true stories than fiction. Each
author has his or her strengths
10. Are you working on any
Ill be working on
edits for my gardening memoir aptly titled, GRACE IN THE GARDEN that will
be published late this year or early next year. I also have a new writing
project that will help me avoid housework during the winter months while Im
unable to garden. Ill announce it further down the
11. How can we keep up with
you? Website? Facebook Page? Where can we buy your
blog Subplots by Grace
is where I share the goings on in my
If you haven't subscribed to our blog, please do so. We are conducting an interview with author Grace Peterson. Her memoir Reaching was awarded the Gold Standard of Literary Excellence by the Princeton Literary Review. The book is phenomenal. Not only is it just a damn, fine read, it will also alter the way you think about many subjects. Pick it up today, and subscribe to our blog so you can read her interview.
I am happy to present my interview with my friend, colleague, and fellow writer/editor, Erin Lale. Intelligent, well-rounded, and extremely talented, Erin is one of the few authors who has 'made it' in this industry. She was very candid in her interview. I hope you enjoy it.
1. I know a lot about you since we are colleagues, but many of my readers aren’t familiar with your work. Can you give us a list of your publications?
The full list is rather long. It's available on my author page LaleLibrary at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LaleLibrary/ as one of the free file downloads, which also include some free short stories and poetry. Highlights of my writing and publishing career since it began in 1985 include writing the Outdoors column for the sports page of The Sonoma Index-Tribune, publishing and editing the quarterly magazine Berserkrgangr, having my science fiction short stories in the first issue of Sterling Web and the first issue of the new Perihelion Science Fiction, 15-- or is it 16 now? -- books currently available, some nonfiction, some science fiction, and a book of poetry. I also used to own a bookstore, The Science Fiction Store in Las Vegas, back in the 90s.
2. You and I know how tough the publishing world can be. What advice can you give to new writers who are just starting out and trying to get published?
Join a writer's critique circle. The difference between a yes and a no from a publisher is often a matter of how much time it would take an editor to fix the manuscript, because you're competing against manuscripts that arrive perfect.
3. Tell us a little about Time Yarns. Why the project is so important to you? What surprises will readers find in Time Yarn reads?
Time Yarns is a shared world that I originated. It's a different kind of shared world, because what all the stories in it have in common is the way physics and "magic" and time travel work. It's truly a universe, rather than a group of shared characters and places, although writers are invited to use my characters. I publish short story anthologies by multiple authors in the Time Yarns Universe, in addition to my own books. My 7 book series Punch is a military sf / hard sf / space opera, but it's also an attempt to publish the book of the future, packed with video and pictures and sound. Time Yarns was built for fans to play in, and the Time Yarns official page has photo instructions on how to build your own alien "dej" weapon and costuming notes and links to fan fiction. Time Yarns official page: https://sites.google.com/site/timeyarns/home
4. In addition, to writing, editing, and a slew of other things, you’ve been involved in politics. Which is more difficult- the world of publishing or the world of politics?
Politics, definitely. You can become a successful author without starting out rich. Writing has a low barrier to entry, money-wise; almost everyone who lives in a first world country has access to the internet. After running for office twice, I've seen how the sausage is made in the political world and there is just no way for someone like me to win against the establishment. I learned a lot, but I'm never going to run again. Next time I'd be happy to be someone's paid staff. You can read some of what I learned the first time I ran in my 2 chapters in the book How to Run for Office on a Liberty Platform, edited by Gigi Bowman with an introduction by Tom Woods. Also, I combined my interests in politics and science fiction in my essay The Politics of Story Structure, which was published in the May edition of Perihelion Science Fiction. If you're a WorldCon member, nominate me for a Hugo in the Related Works category, and vote for me!
5. You and I both work for Damnation Books/Eternal Press. Unfortunately, DB/EP has a negative rating on Preditors and Editors. However, since that review, the company has been completely revamped. P&E is in need of an update because there are many company review that need to be updated. With that being said, can you speak a little about DB/EP and the work you do there?
I love my job! I read books all day, mwhahaha evil little laugh. Actually, I do a lot of social networking, both on the net and in person at conventions, for both my writing career and my job as acquisitions editor. The book that's been occupying the #1 bestseller spot at Eternal Press for the past few months, Autumn Leaves, I acquired by mentioning I was looking for that kind of book to a friend at a picnic in Town Square, Las Vegas, near where I live, and my friend had a friend who had a book.
I get asked about P & E all the time. I just looked up their entry on Eternal Press and it still says "A Canadian epublisher that plans to also produce print versions in 2008." Firstly, the couple who owns Eternal Press and Damnation Books live in California, secondly both imprints produce print books, and thirdly, anyone who bases their business decisions on data from 2008 probably isn't doing too well with their stock portfolio.
6. As the acquisition editor at DB/EP, what ‘gets your motor running?’ What tips can you give authors in regards to writing a great query?
Remember that a query letter is your first impression of your writing, so polish it as carefully as you do the first page of your book, don't just dash it off thinking it's unimportant. Read the submissions guidelines on our website and follow all the instructions. A lot of writers leave out important information like what genre their book is, or send the file in the wrong file format, or the synopsis is like a condensed version of the book that's a dozen pages long and lists every single action in the book, or they leave off the required marketing plan or don't seem to know what a marketing plan is. Check out the Daily Chocolate Rant on the LinkedIn group Fiction Writer's Guild, where I talk about the right and wrong way to write a cover letter. Link: http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Daily-Chocolate-Rant
7. Let’s get heavy. Being a Christian is my religion of choice, but I also think it’s important to not be closed-minded about other viewpoints. It has been estimated that 92% of humans believe in a higher being. In my opinion, we all believe in the same power—it’s just our doctrines that vary. Although we ‘creative’ people tend to be more open-minded, I feel like Earth would be a lot more peaceful if we stopped fighting over ‘religion.’ From reading your work, I know that you are very spiritual. Can you speak a little about your views regarding spirituality versus organized religion?
I belong to a disorganized religion, myself. Read a short introduction to it in my book Asatru For Beginners. There are of course great advantages to organized religion. To take a non-random example, in the county in which I live, the Las Vegas wedding industry is a huge money-maker for both the local economy and the local government, and local government allows Elvis impersonators to perform legal weddings, but not the clergy of my religion because we aren't ordained by a church that owns property in the county. It's about owning property, not about being recognized as a religion, since the Flying Elvi aren't a religion. There are enough Asatruars in my local area to combine to buy property for a religious building if we all got together, but we don't because we aren't organized. All the advantages I can think of to organized religion are like that, though; they are all about living in the world, not about one's relationship with God. Spirituality as distinct from religion is purely about relationship, it's internal rather than external, and focusing on spirituality rather than worldly advantage is one of the things I love about my personal belief system.
8. Greater than the Sum of my Parts was enthralling, informative, and ingenious. By reading it, my respect for you multiplied. Due to modern dramatizations, there are lots of ‘myths’ and ‘assumptions’ regarding Dissociative Identity Disorder. Can you tell us a little about how you overcame those stereotypes? What’s the most important thing you want people to know about Dissociative Identity Disorder?
Thank you, I'd like for people to read the book to find out about how I triumphed over this. I get a lot of submissions in my inboxes at EP and DB featuring a character with DID, and the authors always make this person the killer. I am tired of it. Having a mental health label does not make a person more likely to commit a crime, it means they are more likely to have been the victim of a crime. Mental health labels from the DSM exist for one reason only: to get insurance companies to pay for treatment. They aren't an excuse for murder or even for just being a jerk; people still have the ability to choose whether to do good or evil regardless of what labels have been put on them.
9. As writers, we sometimes find inspiration in the strangest places. What inspires you?
A lot of my story dialogue and poetry is literally inspired; I wake up with poetry running in my head. I get these fragments of dialogue between characters who just pop up fully formed, and then I try to figure out how to string it all together into a coherent story. I sit down at the computer and start typing and it just comes. This even happens in some of my nonfiction. I've been working on a new nonfiction book, American Celebration, which started out to be a happy smiley book of how to celebrate holidays with friends and family of different faiths, and has ending up being full of political ranting, without any intention on my part. For example, I was writing about American rites of passage and started to talk about prom dresses, and my fingers just started going and out popped a screed that left me wondering when I became a feminist. They say that highly creative people are "mad geniuses;" perhaps they are right.
10. Do you think that writing is an inherent talent- or is it a craft that can be learned?
Mostly craft. My "talent" basically consists of exactly the same elements that got me labeled with a mental health diagnosis. A ton of writers hear their characters' voices; "we're all mad here," as it says in Alice in Wonderland. Everything else is plain hard work.
11. Writers are artists, so many readers are always curious about how an ‘artist’ spends his/her free time. What are your hobbies?
Cats, gardening, cooking, swimming, martial arts, hiking, meditation, drum circles, quilts, and of course going to sf cons and filking and costuming, although now that I am going to cons as a pro guest I usually don't get to do any costuming anymore. At LepreCon, I had both professional and costuming panels on the same day and thought I'd change outfits in between but didn't have time and ended up showing up for an indie publishing panel at which I was: 1. the only woman among 12 panelists, 2. the only person representing indie press rather than self-publishing, 3. dressed as a hobbit, including a Pendragon corset and hand-made wig-hair hobbit feet. That was not an experience I cared to repeat, so when I went to SpoCon last week and had both costuming and professional panels on the same day, I showed up to the costuming panel in a normal-looking outfit where each separate piece could be used in costuming.
12. Who is your favorite author? What is your favorite book or books?
I have so many favorite authors and books, but if I had to pick just one I'd say my favorite living author is Lois McMaster Bujold, for the Vorkosigan saga. I reviewed her latest book in Perihelion and managed not to squee too much.
13. Are you working on any new projects?
In addition to American Celebration, I've got some new sf books in the Time Yarns Universe in the works. Planet of the Magi, and The Will, are books that I've been holding for later publication because I extracted short stories out of them which were published in Perihelion Science Fiction and are still under contract. Sometime soon I'll be putting the final polish on them and will publish them as soon as I can. Magi will come first because it's more ready, with cover art and everything, and needs less polishing than The Will. Also I recently "heard" some dialogue between two elves, and I may turn that into a short story.
14. How can we keep up with you? Website? Facebook Page?
Yes, in addition to the above links, I'm also on these social media:
15. Where can we buy your books?
Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Here's a link to my Amazon Author Page, which lists all my books:
Interview with Author BrianaLawrence
Today, I bringyou another online interview. I interviewed Briana Lawrence, author of Treatme Kindly. As you may know, I was Brianas editor, and I loved this book. Asan editor, you know the book is good when you STOP editing and just startreading to see what happens. With this book, I had to force myself to edit,instead of just getting lost in the story. After I began reading Brianas book,I was shocked to learn that this was her first published novel, as she is one ofthe most talented authors with whom I have ever worked. With that being said, Iam thrilled to be able to present this interview on my blog. Being Brianaseditor, I had the privilege to get to know her a little, and she is outgoing,humble, and incredibly thoughtful. Ive told friends of mine to buy her book,add her on facebook, and send her an email because even though she is a newauthor now, Im pretty confident that she will be famous one day. She is thattalented. With that being said, heres my interview. I hope you enjoy it.
1. How long have you beenwriting?
I always tell people that Ive been writing since I wasnine years old. I have two clear memories about writing back. When I was infourth grade, we were told to write down what we wanted to be when we grew up. Iwrote down WRITTER, and the class laughed at me because I couldnt spellwriter. The second memory I have is of creating pop-up books with farmanimals. I dont quite remember what the stories were about, but I remembermaking the pop-up books out of construction paper and crayons and glue. My dadprobably still has them. This is why I always say that Ive been writing since Iwas nine.
2. Whatinspires you to write?
Pretty much everything! I get all sorts of ideas from allsorts of places. It could be from driving around and eating ice cream whilelooking at fancy houses. Ill look at a house and say, Oh wow this is the kindof house that my character wouldve grew up in. Or, Ill see a person with acool haircut and be like, Oh wow see thats the haircut I want my character tohave. It comes from watching things on T.V., or playing a new video game, ortalking with family and friends. All sorts of things inspire me and make theirway into my stories.
The biggest inspiration, however, is my older brother whopassed away when I was thirteen. I looked up to him so much, and I always wantedto do well for him. I always wonder if hed be proud of what Im doing and Idlike to think that he is.
3. Describeyour writing process.
Theres a process? Im kidding. I know theres a process,but I just never seem to keep on track with mine. When I have a story idea, Ialways write up an outline. I map out chapters and character descriptions andthings, and have a clear picture as to what I want to happen in the story.However, my stories never seem to follow the outline! For example, I had anoutline for my book, Treat Me Kindly. Did I end up following the outline? Yesand no. In the beginning, Alex wasnt a detective at all! I changed it when hecame in during the second chapter. I also changed when he was introduced;originally, he was in the first chapter. So that differed from the outline.However, I always knew how I wanted Matthews relationship to be with hisfather, which stayed true to the outline.
Some strange quirks with my process: I cannot write in quiet. Im not surewhy. However, it cant be too noisy either. I cant go to a Panera or somethingand write, not unless if I have headphones so that Im in control of the noise.I write best to music or even to the T.V. being on, but it has to be somethingIve watched before because if its something new, I want to stop and payattention.
I also always have someone read over the story before Ieven think about submitting it somewhere. This usually ends up being my partneror my mother, who will make suggestions and edits. I swear, they are the bestmuses! They have the best ideas that always seem to take my stories to places Inever even considered going. My partner is the reason why the antagonist ofTreat Me Kindly formed in such a unique manner! That was her idea, and mymother is the reason why Alex is his age, and why hes somewhat sarcastic and isthe seasoned detective. After they read something Ive written, I always goback and reread it one more time before I send it off.
4. Do youthink that writing is an inherent talent- or is it a craft that can belearned?
I think its a mix of both. I think the creativity andthe imagination need to be there. However, I think there are plenty of thingsyou can learn in the classroom. My writing techniques have changed so much overthe years thanks to writing classes in college and professors who pushed me towrite in ways that were unique. They guided me in the right direction with allof those assignments and meetings in their offices. And the red pen. Oh, so muchred pen used on my works!
Sure, Ive always been a creative person, but the whole,Hook them with the first sentence, Showing versus telling, and things likethat came from writing classes. I can tell you the shirt Im wearing is striped,but thanks to those professors, I know how to show you the colors of thosestripes, and not just use red yellow green and brown, but maybe thecolor of freshly crushed cherries for the shade of red it is. Those classroomassignments helped hone my craft, and so did those hours of writing fan fiction.College was full of writing classes and fan fiction about Gundam Wing pilots. Ifound any excuse I could to write and used it as a way to practice.
5. What doyou do in your spare time?
Oh god I am such a nerd! I watch anime. I play videogames. I go to anime conventions. I cosplay. I woodburn. I paint. I collectfigurines of all sorts of characters, from comic book to video game to anime toDisney to fairies. I also collect stuffed animals. I have since I was a kid. Forsome reason, I always wanted a new stuffed puppy, kitty, or pandaor whateveranimal I thought was cute.
You can see this geekiness in my writing because therealways seems to be a geek in my stories. Ive been immersed in this geeky worldsince I was about six. At six, I discovered Super Mario Brothers. At 10, Idiscovered Vampire Hunter D and Dragonball. Seriously, my idea of a goodtime is ordering pizza, watching anime, or trying to level up in an RPG or beatthe crap out of someone in a fighting game.
6. Forreaders who are not familiar with your book, tell us a little aboutit.
"Treat Me Kindly" is a supernatural murder mystery thattakes place in current times. Mild mannered Matthew Sharpton is having the worstexistence possible. He lives in his parents' basement after his fiancée upgradedto a better man. To make his father happy, he goes to a charity auction hostedby the company for which the old man works. While there, he ends up bidding on abeautiful bird and taking it home. It's here that he discovers that this isn'tan ordinary bird. The bird has the ability to turn just as human as Matthewdoesminus the thinning hair. The woman is more than happy to belong to Matthewas long as he does one simple thing. "Treat Me Kindly," she says.
Meanwhile, Alex Sampson is a detective assigned to a casewhere Frank Marko, an ex-rock star, has been found dead in his home. The onlyevidence is a small butterfly that was found by the body. The strange thingabout the butterfly is that it's an extinct species. After some investigating,Alex discovers that the butterfly came from the same charity auction thatMatthew attended. The auction whispers promises of "rare" and "exotic" animalsunlike any other. Those words ring true in a deadly manner as more people in thecity are killed in bizarre ways.
Once Alex discovers the truth about the animals, hesstuck in a sort of moral dilemma. On the one hand, killing is absolutely wrong.On the other hand, the animals only kill if they arent treated well. Is itwrong to defend yourself if someone is mistreating you? The animals are morethan happy to belong to a person, but if theyre being hurt or abused, shouldntthey be able to fight back?
7. Animalsare a big part of your novel. Are you an animal lover? Do you have anypets?
I am a huge animal lover! Currently, I have three cats.The oldest is Puppet, who is about two years old, and my partner and I recentlytook in two kittens: Carter and Clayton. Weve always had cats, and beforePuppet and the two kittens, there was Isis and Loki. We tend to get pets fromthe Humane Society, except for Carter and Clayton, who we got from a friend whofound kitties in her yard. Fortunately, Puppet gets along with Carter andClayton and even bathes them. Someday, I would love to have a dog. I grew upwith themparticularly big ones (Great Danes and then later a Boxer). I need amuch bigger house for a dog, though. I would also love a red panda, ha ha!Theyre so cute! Im kidding. I wouldnt keep one as I pet, but theyre myfavorite animal at the zoo.
The funny part about the book is that I quickly discovered that there are animals that I dont like. Snakes creep me out so muchin real life. I also dont do well with insects, especially spiders. I amdefinitely the, Honey, theres a spiderkill it-kill it! wife.
8. For thoseof us who have read and loved the book, can you give us a little hint? Willthere be a sequel?
Definitely! Thanks to, again, my mother and partner forgiving me ideas. I have an outline written up for it already, so I know what Iwant to do with the plot. I know that I really want to go into the world wherethe animals originated. Treat Me Kindly currently teases at it, but I want togo deep into their world. I have really lush, beautiful images in my head. Atsome point, Id like to be well off enough that I could take trips to differentlocations for inspiration.
9. DamnationBooks published your book, which is a small publisher. Have you enjoyed theprocess with DB?
I have. They seemed to understand that I was new at thisand still learning the ropes, but they were patient and have a great team ofpeople. I feel like they really want this book to sell, that theyre in mycorner rooting for me. Were sort of here for each other, you know? Theywouldnt have picked up the book if they didnt think it was a good story, and Iwouldnt have gone with them if I didnt think that they had my best interestsin mind. Im learning a lot about the publishing world, about how the work isntover once the book is published. Now, its time to get it out there, and theyreworking hard for me, and Im working hard, too.
10. Whatadvice do you have for new, unpublishedwriters?
Never stop trying. Im not going to lie, and Im notgoing to sugarcoat it. Writing is hard. Those people who say things like itsnot a real job or all you have to do is this, this, and this, are completelywrong. The creative field is one of the hardest things you can plunge into, andits risky as all hell. Theres no guarantee that your book will sell, theresno guarantee that people will like it, and theres not even a guarantee thatitll be picked up right away. Its also hard to entertain people. Its hard togage what a crowd will like because peoples tastes are constantly changing.Its difficult, and it always will be. Despite all of this, I say to never stoptrying. When you have that story idea in your head, when you have thosecharacters and those universes swimming through your head, you absolutelyhave to get them out there, be it writing, art, or whatever. You dontwant them to stay trapped in your mind, you want everyone to enjoy them and lovethem as much as you do. So I say go for it!
I was scared to jump into this field despite my parentstelling me to do it, especially my mother. She believed in me so much, but I wasscared to do it. My father is an artist but ended up working at the Post Officefor most of his life, so he always tells me not to waste my talent. Instead oflistening to them, after college, I worked retail for six years and told myselfId be manager at GameStop and have my own store someday. However, towards theend of those years, I was so unhappy. But it was a guaranteed paycheck, aguaranteed way to pay my bills. People would say, You should be lucky you havea job, and I would agree. The economy is bad, right? It would be crazy to gointo such an unpredictable field. But writing makes me happy; it always has, soI had to try. And let me tell you, I didnt make it at first. I have therejection emails to prove it. I even had cases of almost making it, ofplaces that wanted to read more and then decided, No... Sorry. And itsfrustrating, and it hurts, because you put so much into your writing. This isyour work, your creativity. These are your characters, and youre attached tothem, so when someone says, No, its as if theyre putting down yourchildren.
Let yourself feel bad about it for a day. Feel sad orangry. Do NOT respond to the email on that first day, and dont send the storyout to other places on that first day. That first day of rejection is your sadday. Do something that makes you feel better. My fix was chicken nuggets fromMcDonalds and driving around with my partner. We would do that, and talk, andspend time together, and then I would go to bed feeling better then wake up witha clear head. Then, Id go at it again.
There is someone out there who will appreciate yourstory; you just have to find that person. You might not think that there is, butthere is. However, do NOT jump into the first place that says yes. Do yourresearch. Look them up. Make sure they have your best interests in mind. Thisgoes for big publishers, small ones, or self-publishers. Do your research onthem. Look before you leap. Writing itself is a big enough leap. The last thingyou want to do is to go with someone who is going to mistreat you and yourstory.
11. Whatuniversal messages would you like to convey with yourstories?
I actually didnt think I had any! The stories ratherended up having them on their own. When I finished writing it and looked at itagain, I had this moment of, Wow... theres some meaning here! Treat MeKindly is literally about that: treating people kindly, no matter what theirbackground is. Animal, human, male, femaletreat others with respect, andtheyll do the same for you. I think since I have such a diverse background, Ifeel that this message is extremely important. Race, Gender, Sexual Preference,Weight, the fact that I prefer video games to partying, I know Im differentfrom the norm in about five million and three ways. I just want to be treatedwith respect. Im not here to hurt anyone; Im just living my life. I just wantto be able to be with who I want to be with, and do what I want to do. I thinkthat makes its way into my stories somehow, even when I dont realize it.
Just because someone isnt the same as you doesnt meanyou get to treat them like crap. Also, even if you are above someone thatdoesnt give you the right to hurt them. In the book, just because these animalsbelong to these characters doesnt mean they should sit there and be hurt bythem. And these animals take a lot of crap, too, because, theyre my master,and I have to. But everyone has a breaking point, and if you do decide to pushtoo far, that thing youre hurting will bare fangshuman oranimal.
12. Iveasked about a sequel to Treat me Kindly, but are you working on any otherprojects?
Always! Lets see, currently my partner and I have ajoint story being published. We plan to make it a series. The overall series isThe Hunters, and the first book is, The Hunters: Seeking the Storyteller.Its being published by Alpha Wolf Publishing. This series isnt as dark asTreat Me Kindly, at least the first book isnt. Who knows whatll happen inthe future? In this series of books, there are a group of humans calledHunters who work to keep our world safe from demons. Demons come from anotherworld, think of those monsters our parents assure us arent hiding in ourcloset. Alix DeBenit is one of these Hunters, and he takes his job veryseriously because his family was killed by an inhuman fire years ago. However,when one of the demons he captures tells him about a creature called TheStoryteller, Alix starts changing his tune.
The Storyteller is a creature that is said to live in alarge library. Inside that library are books on every single being in our world,the demon world, and everything else that lies between. The Storyteller can readeach persons life like a book and change anyones story, even if the event hasalready happened. This can give Alix the chance to get back what he has lost.However, in order to even get close to the Storyteller, he has to learn how towork with the demon he has captured along with the others he ends up runninginto because of it. To top it all off, the Storyteller has been captured by anextremely powerful demon that has plans that could put both worlds indanger.
Another project I have going on is a book called DoubleHue. Its a gay romance novel with a supernatural murder mystery twist (thisseems to be a trend with my writing). It takes place in the modern day TwinCities of Minnesota. I dont have a publisher yet, but I have been sending itplaces. Im currently working to promote my current book so I havent sent thisone out as much as I should. Sadly, Ive gotten two rejections, but Im going tokeep pushing. I do plan to send it to Damnation Books romance line though; Ithink the occasional horror twist might fit with their site. In this story,Gable Peterson gets an unwelcome visit from detective Maurice Ashford. Mauricetells him that his boyfriend, Avery Blair, has been found dead. Gable falls intoa deep depression and goes to sleep, dreaming of a time when Avery was stillalive. Much to Gables surprise, when he wakes up, hes gone back to thebeginning of the week, and Avery is, in fact, stillalive.
As the story progresses, Gable has to try to getaccustomed to this strange ability. He has to go back in time while trying tostop Avery from being killed. Each time he goes back, he gets another piece ofthe puzzle, coming one-step closer to figuring out what it is that kills Avery.It turns out to be a serial kill that targets gay men, defacing their bodieswith derogatory words. The twist is that along with the bad words, there aresmall compliments written, as if the killer is apologizing for his actions.Gable has to try to outsmart a killer, but things take a turn when he ends upbeing the killers next target.
These are the two main projects I have, but I have awhite board filled with ideas. I also have half-written things that I may get tofinishing. The two things I just talked about, however, are actually finished. Ishould also mention that I had a short story featured in a gay romanceanthology. Dreamspinner Press had an anthology called, Make a Play, which wasall about gay romance and sports. My story, Press START to Play, focused onvideo games. I want to try to write more things for their anthologies, if I havetime.
13. How canwe keep up with you? Website? Facebook Page?
Theres a couple of differentways!
14. Wherecan we buy your book?
Again, theres a couple of different ways! These linksshould be for both physical and eBook copies of thebook.
Thank you for the interview:)
15. Asyou may know, 'civil rights' is my platform, and Im very passionate about it.You are a gay, black, woman, so that's a triple whammy, and let's face it, thereare some cruel people out there. Can you share with your readers your thoughtson discrimination and how you handle adversity regarding thisissue?
Thebest part about all of this is that my partner is a white girl, so I guess I'mall about making things difficult! I've discovered that no matter how hardthings seem to be, there's always someone on your side, especially these days.There are so many projects and groups that are here for us now, and that'swonderful. I've been one of those lucky people who hasn't been discriminatedagainst that much. There are things that come up that upset me, like the factthat it has taken so long to have the option to marry my partner, who I've beenwith for 11 years, but overall, no one has really messed with me. Sure I've hadthe dumb," Dur, girls don't play video games," or, "You don't look like alesbian," and things like that, but I haven't had a terribly hard life. I'mlucky to have parents that let me be who I wanted to be. I grew up differentfrom the kids around me. In high school, I was all about "Dragonball Z" and theinternet instead of school dances and things of that nature. Yet somehow, I hadfriends who were completely different from me but who still treated me withrespect. My best friend was the exact opposite of me (and still is, even now),but she and her family treated me like a sister. They didn't mind that I stayedup at their house playing "Resident Evil 2" or that my Saturday mornings werefor cartoons.
The sad thing I learned, however, is that there really isdiscrimination everywhere. I've been lucky, as I've said, but I've seen allsorts of discrimination that makes absolutely no sense to me. There'sdiscrimination in the geek community, which I always felt was a safe go-to placeto be yourself, but I've seen black girls get hate for dressing up as certaincharacters, or overweight girls being told not to dress as certain characterswhile skinny girls get called "attention whores" for wearing certain outfits.
Outside that circle, I've seen gay, black people getweird looks because, you know, how can you be both? Do they even exist unless ifthey're incredibly flamboyant? I've seen women hate on other women, or blackpeople hate on other black people, and it's just sad to me. I've also seengroups not welcome the majority. "You're whitewhat do you know about mystruggle? Yes, it's true, there are struggles for black people, gay people,women, and all sorts of people. But that doesn't mean that you should excludesomeone because you think they won't get it. In the end, EVERYONE has their ownstruggles. That white person you're shunning may have had a terrible life, for avariety of reasons. How can a group who is judged for being differentdiscriminate against someone for being different?
In the end, I learned that, as people, we all have ourbattles. I try not to focus on the hardships and focus on the good. It has takenseveral years to get to the point where I can consider marrying my partner. Wasit frustrating? Yes. But I didn't let it stop me from being happy with her. Westill have our house, our cats, our geeky things, our friends, our crafts, ourwriting, our familywe have so many good things that I don't have time to thinkabout the bad. I once told someone that I could be really bitter. I could be angryabout many things. But why? Why do that when I have so many positives right now?I've published a book. I've published a short story. I'm going to conventionsand crafting and having fun. I have a house and a car. I have cats. I have afamily that accepts me and great friends. I've gone to L.A., to Florida, toVegas, to London. I certainly haven't forgotten the struggles in my life, but Iwant to live the best life I can to show the meaning behind those struggles. Myancestors fought for me to have this happiness, and I'm going to enjoyit.
My advice on discrimination is that yes, it's there, andit's terrible, but try and find the positives in your life. If you don't haveany, then find a group, online or offline, be it a support group or even a groupthat likes the T.V. show you do. There is something out there for you, somethingpositive for you to turn to. Find it and have fun with it. The struggle andfight will always be there, has always been there, and it's important to standup for what you believe in, but it's equally important to enjoy the life youhave.
16.Thoughthere are gay characters in 'Treat me Kindly,' you don't target gay and lesbianreaders as your primary audience. In fact, it's a book that anyone would like.For example, you and I are completely different. You're black- I'm white. You'regay-I'm straight. You are a self-proclaimed nerd who watches anime, reads, comicbooks, etc. I wouldn't recognize an anime character if she slapped me in myface. Smile emoticon The point is, you appeal to a large audience, and yourwriting is so good that it is a stand-alone piece that surpasses culturalstereotypes. That's a very difficult task for an author to achieve. Can youspeak about that a little? Can you give advice to other authors who are tryingto appeal to a large audience- instead of targeting a small, individualisticgroup?
Ha ha ha! I wasn't even trying to do that. I was just writing. Mymind works really weird when I'm writing. Originally, there were more gaycharacters, even Alex was into guys in the beginning of writing this book. Then,as I wrote, I was like, "Alex is definitely straight, but he's comfortable withpicking on Nicholas. His sister, I see her as an older, pretty lesbian womanwho knows what she wants. There's also the fact that Alex has no romance in thisbook. At first he did, but then it felt too forced so I took it out with someeditorial guidance. He's the main character, but he hooks up with no one, whichI was a bit worried about, but then I realized that he has so much going on thatthe last thing he needs is romance.
Nicholas was gay right from the start. I wanted to have him andMyles, and I wanted them to have a good relationship. There's a fewrelationships in the book that aren't happy, but I wanted theirs to be happybecause I didn't want them to be some tragic gay couple. I've read a lot ofmanga (Japanese comic books) where the gay couple is tragic, or struggles, orhas this hardship. I didn't want that. I just wanted them to be normal andhappy. Not every gay couple you see has some terrible back-story, and not all ofus were discriminated against, or confused, nor are we all so extremelyflamboyant that you can tell by looking at us that we're gay.
Also, while I was writing, the black characters just kind of justappeared. Suddenly, Cassandra was black, and so were her masters. Suddenly,there was a black old cop towards the end of the book. Then I realized that Iwanted a diverse cast of characters, where, some of the black characters eventalk differently from one another. Actually, so does Frank Marko, and he'swhite. There's a small nod to something I do. Tamera goes from proper dialect tomore slangy dialect when she's around her husband. This is something I actuallydo in real life. Not intentionally, it just happens when I go back home toChicago sometimes or if I'm around certain family members. Suddenly, I'm dropping letters when I talk!
I always want to try to write something for everyone. The currentproject I have that I'm trying to get published, "Double Hue," is primarily gayromance, but it's also a supernatural murder mystery. It's a couple that I wanteveryone to relate to, even if they're gay. The situation they go through wouldbe hard for any couple, gay or straight. The labels don't matter. You want themto make it through the crap they're going through as you're reading (at leastthat's the feeling I hope I'm conveying) The joint story with my partnerhas a diverse cast, too. There's white characters, black characters, one of themain women is a lesbian. I just think it's more realistic like this. People aredifferent. Not everyone is white, or straight, or attractive. I mean some of thecharacters in my book are super attractive, but others aren't. Alex is a bitpudgy and out of shape because hes a detective. He has terrible hours and liveson cheap food and beer. He's not going to be super fit and gorgeous even if he'smy main character. Claude is good looking, but he's a jackass, so when Nicholassees him, he's not attracted to him anymore because he's a terrible person. Ithink we all know someone like that, right?
I think it's important to create realistic characters, people youwould see on a normal basis in your life. I think that reads better to anaudience. You might not read gay romance, but you read supernatural stories.Nicholas and Myles are a gay couple in my book, but the book isn't about theirgay romance. I wanted them to be seen as individuals, not just, "that gay couplein that book. I think that's important in a book. You want your characters tobe memorable because of who they are, not because they're in a relationship, orbecause "that's the black guy" "that one chick" "that gay dude" and whatnot. I'msure that'll still happen with Nicholas, but hopefully what goes along with itis, "that gay dude, the one who found out about the Tasmanian Tiger and had tofigure out how to explain it to Alex without sounding crazy. But you don't wantit to feel like you're putting in different characters for the sake of beingdifferent. You don't want it to feel like the horror movie stereotypes of "thejock" "the pretty girl" "the innocent girl," etc. ect. You want your charactersto feel real. How do you do that? Just write them, I'd say. Don't try to beclever about it, "Har har this is going to be my minority." Just write themnaturally. It doesn't need to be "THE BLACK GUY." It's just a guy who just sohappens to be black. Don't force him in your story if he doesn't belong. Don'tforce him in there because you're trying to bait a certain audience into yourbook. Let it come to you. There's all sorts of people in the world, and there'splenty of room for them in your book, but only if you let them come to you.Don't drag them in, just leave the door open, and see what happens.
ThePersona tarot is a craft example, it's woodburning Pac Man wall andPortal wall are part of a room my partner and I hand painted Geek Roomthings, Fighting games, and SMT collection are just examples of the geekycollections of things.
PrincessTiana, Princess Peach, and Flo and the General are cosplay examples. Mypartner makes all of our costumes. Puppet the cat and Clayton and Carter arecurrent cat pictures
Most of the work I do involves narrative
publications such as novels, biographies, and such. Unfortunately, today's
publishing world is all about money. In order to publish, the work has to be
marketable. For poets, that isn't very good news. I've said this before. Poetry
is a dying art. Sure, there are people who still enjoy poetry, but the hoards of
people rushing out to buy books of poetry is slowly diminishing. That isn't to
say that no publising companies publish books of poems. Some do. However, if you
think it's difficult to publish a novel, then publishing a book of poetry is
I'm a big proponent having patience and
using the system. I tell my clients to polish their manuscripts and send query
letters to agents and publishing companies. I tell my clients to 'keep at it.' I
tell them to self-publish as a last resort. However, with poetry, I have
different advice. I think it's very prudent to self-publish poetry. Your work
can be distributed to those who know you best, and if you're work is good
enough, friends will give your book to friends. It's a great way to get you name
out there and have your words live on 'forever.'
I suppose I need to take my own advice.
My grandmother was a talented poet. Though she never published her work, she did
have her poems printed into booklets that she distributed to family and friends.
Her poems are magical. I've been told that I need to publish them, but I fully
know the daunting task that comes with publishing poetry. I have been thinking,
however, about self-publishing her poetry. I think that's a great idea.
What are your thoughts on the art of
poetry? Do you think it's difficult to publish poetry? Do you believe that self
publishing poetry is a good idea?
In honor of today's blog, I'll post some
of my grandmother's spring poetry
In after days when Im
no more may one recall the days before and say, 'With love, she penned her
lines in memory of another time.' And may that one go on to say, what satisfies
my soul today, 'In God she chose to put her trust, thus penned not lines of shame
or lust but lovely thoughts and
lovely lines in memory of another time.'
Hallelujah it is
The gardeners with their
Are turning over the
Preparing beds for little
That soon will sprout in birth.
The children of
Felt the earth between their
As they followed Daddys
Up and down the garden
When his plow overturned the wiggle
Of a redworm twas a
Then and now, to shout and sing,
Hallelujah, it is
Oh Herald the Spring
With the coming of
There are songbirds and
But when I was a
We spent many
Down on the creek
With old tin pails
We found without
Where a fall in the
From a crossing
Was just part of the
For capturing a frog.
Our captives were carried
In fruit jars to
Where they swam round and
Like fish in a pool.
As tadpoles lost tails,
Growing legs very soon.
O herald the
Songbirds and bright
But when tadpoles compete,
Try not to look sour.
The Merry Month of May
Spring is calling my
To the merry month of
Where out in the rural
Wild daises have their day.
Clusters of pink
Climb old fences here and
And white magnolia
Are seen most everywhere.
The woods are lush and
Where wild life romps and plays.
I think of Sherwood
Featuring Robin Hoods day.
The songbirds are a
Each sings a different way.
Queen Annes lace blooms in
What a lovely display.
Yet theres something that I
In the merry month of May.
Could it be the bare-foot
Playing games of yesterday?
A lot of my business comes from editing. I'm good at it. I know what publishing companies want, and I can polish a manuscript so that an agent and/or a publishing company will take notice. With that being said, I did a general search today for editing services and prices. Wow. There are millions of editors, and each editor seems to charge different prices for manuscript editing.
So, today, I'd like to give some information about editing. What is a 'fair price' for editing a manuscript? Would I like you to hire me to edit your manuscript? Absolutely. However, if you know me personally, then you know, beyond my own selfish intentions, I want no one to be duped.
Before we get into prices, let's talk about manuscripts, first. For a new, author, a manuscript, fiction or non-fiction should be 80 to 100 thousand words. If your manuscript is over 100 thousand words, then it is too long. This is an issue that many professionals will skirt around, not giving a definite stance. However, I can assure you that a first-time author will very rarely be offered a publishing contract for a manuscript over 100 thousand words. A manuscript that long is reserved for seasoned authors who write epic novels, and even those may not sell well.
Word count is important because editors charge in various ways. Some editors charge per word. Others charge per page, and most editors charge per hour. If an editor charges per page, then that fee is based on a page of 250 words, which is the typical word count per page for a published novel.
Secondly, the cost of editing is determined by which type of editing that your manuscript needs. Many editors use various names for the types of editing. Typically, you will see the following words: light editing, proofreading, copy editing, heavy editing, developmental editing, etc...
Basically, what you need to know is that the more work your manuscript needs, then the more the editing job will cost. In my opinion, most manuscripts need some type of heavy editing. Light editing is usually reserved for proofreading for grammatical errors and typos; however, most manuscripts will need more extensive work. This is not to say that you're not a good author. All published authors have editors, and if you asked a famous author how much work his/her editor performed on his/her original manuscript, the author would probably tell you that the edit performed significant edits. It's just the way it is.
Okay. So those are the fundamentals. Also, you need to keep in mind that most editors will not CHANGE your manuscript. In other words, they will tell you that a specific paragraph is unclear, that it needs to be written in active voice, or something of that nature. When that is the case, the editor will give you suggestions. Then you will rewrite that portion of the manuscript and resend it to the editor. Sometimes this takes a LONG time- and multiple exchanges. IF you hire an editor that you trust, then I recommend that you allow your editor to make changes to your manuscript. In any professional edit, the editor will utilize some sort of track changes element, so you'll get to see the specific changes that the editor made. However, if you don't allow your editor to make changes to your manuscript, specifically, then you're looking at a longer, and possibly more expensive process.
So let's take a typical manuscript. We'll say that it's 80,000 words.
Now, we'll look at an editor who charges per word. IF you can find an editor that charges a penny a word, then you have found a CHEAP editor. At a penny per word, your edit would cost you 800 dollars. Typically, a good editor will charge anywhere from 3 to 50 cents per word. If you do the Math, then that's a LOT more money.
Now, let's examine edits per page. A CHEAP editor may edit your manuscript for $3.00 per page. At 250 words per page, an 80,000 word manuscript would be around 320 pages. That's a total of 960.00 dollars. A good editor will charge anywhere from 5 to 15 dollars per page. Again, there is a significant price difference there.
Finally, let's look at editing per hour. A CHEAP editor may charge you $25 per hour for manuscript editing. In that case, an editor would read 2-6 pages per hour, but for our experiment's purposes, let's say that the editor could read 5 pages per hour. It would still take your editor 64 hours to edit your manuscript. That's a total price of $1600 for editing. A good editor will charge 30 to 70 dollars per hour for heavy editing, which costs much more.
So all in all, what's a fair price? In my humble opinion, if you find an editor who will edit your manuscript for LESS that $1000 dollars, then you do not have a very reliable editor, and even though the price may seem fair, you'll be wasting your money on a poor editor. However, if an editor offers to edit your manuscript for $5000 or more, then you are probably getting duped. In my opinion, a fair price for a manuscript edit is anywhere from $1500 to $3000.
That may sound like a lot of money. It is a lot of money. However, if you're serious about publishing your manuscript, then this cost is an investment that is well worth the price. A publishing company and/or agent is much more likely to accept a manuscript that has been prepared for publication by a professional editor.
Whatever you do, make sure you choose an editor with experience, knowledge, candor, and empathy. Ask your editor for a list of references. Ask your editor which editing style he/she uses. Ask your editor about his/her experience and what he/she knows about publication. Do your homework. There are a lot of great editors out there, but there are also some pimply, snot-nosed college students who are posing as editors to make a little extra beer money. You don't want to entrust your life work to the wrong hands.
I own a writing business, but for years, I was a secondary school teacher in Mississippi's public school system. I also taught college courses, and yes, I taught English, Literature, and Composition. As an editor, I must make important decisions regarding slang, dialect, and clichés. This is a topic on which most writers and editors have a specific stance. I, however, do not have a specific stance on the topic. I can see both sides of the coin. (See, I even use clichés in my writing).
I'm a writer and an editor, and I'm a damn fine one. I am not, on the other hand, better than anyone else. I have a passion regarding civil rights and equality of all people, no matter a person's race, religion, gender, or occupation. For that reason, I also believe that doctors are not 'better' people that janitors. Are there occupations that are more prestigious than others? You bet, but we are people. We all breathe, bleed, and shit the same way. We have skills in different areas. Some of us make better decisions than others, but in the bigger scheme of things, we are all on the same level.
I make that point because some writers are 'snobbish' regarding their occupations. That may be offensive to field, but I believe it to be true. This is not to say that all writers are snobs. I certainly know a lot of writers who are down-to-earth, funny, and well-rounded.
When I taught school, I came across many teachers who would correct students who used slang or dialect. The word 'Ain't' was a common word used that teachers would correct. I, however, find it a bit snobbish to tell someone how to talk. Here's why.
If Johnny's mama, daddy, grandma, and great grandma talk a certain way, then Johnny certainly will talk that way as well. And just because they don't use 'proper' English, then should I be the one to correct them and tell them that they sound ignorant? I don't think so.
I'm not naive. I know that there is a standard for proper English, and the expectations for proper English should be maintained in business, job interviews, etc. I know what proper English is, and I know how to use it. I also think that all of our youth should be taught proper English. I, although, still say 'yall,' and I've been known to be heard saying, 'She don't know nothing." Do I know that y'all is dialect? You bet. Do I know what a double negative is and how to avoid it? Of course, I do. But when I am comfortable, I speak the way I've always spoken- the way my family and friends speak. And there isn't anything wrong with that.
There is nothing worse than reading a book that contains dialect that's not 'authentic.' In the South, we say 'y'all.' We use clichés and southern sayings, and to read a book set in the South that doesn't incorporate those details would be unappealing at best.
When it comes to writing, my best suggestion to writers is this: write about that which you know, that which you enjoy, hate, or love. Write in authentic manner. If your manuscript, as a whole, is authentic, memorable, and unique, then your editor will handle the small stuff.
And if there are any 'snobby' writers out there reading, please quit correcting everyone's English. We are the melting pot of the world, and our diversity, even in speech, is beautiful. If you're not a teacher, then it isn't your job to teach the world proper English.