Sunday, July 23, 2017

Editing tip: Ensuring all quotation marks are in your manuscript

Quotation marks

You most likely know the definition, but here it is from Merriam Webster

Quotation Mark

One of a pair of punctuation marks 

“ ” or ‘ ’ 

used chiefly to indicate the beginning and 

end of a quotation

So now that we have that out of the way . . . 

When writing a lot of dialogue, it's easy to miss the occasional quotation mark, or even to add an extra.  When editing that dialogue, it's easy to miss it again.  In fact, more missing quotations can appear when you're rearranging sentences.

Readers tend to notice those missing and extra quotation marks, bless their little hearts.

While discussing this problem with a good friend, she mentioned a method to catch all of the mistakes with quotation marks.  It's a bit tedious, but highly effective.

ctrl-f, or the find function.



Here is a screenshot of my first book in which I have 4649 quotation marks (I'm currently re-editing it).  That alone is an indication that there's an error.  As you may have deduced, there should always be an even number of quotation marks.

So far, I've only found 2 missing quotations in the first 1000 words, but there will be more.  In my last 2 books, I had 23 errors in over 7000 quotation marks and 37 errors in over 6000 quotation marks.

How to perform the search

Now as you might imagine, 5,6, or 7 thousand is a lot of quotation marks to do a search on.  I developed a rhythm of double tapping.  That was better, but still not efficient enough.  I then developed a rhythm of multiple double taps.  taptap, taptap, taptap, taptap.  At the end of each double tap, I should be at the end of a sentence and the search number should be an even number.  If not, then I know I missed one or have an extra.  I go back over the last few sentences and fix it.

This is still tedious and takes a half hour to an hour to complete.  I switch from right hand to left hand about every 1000 quotation marks.

That's all there is to it.

It's fairly simple, but that's it.  It's the very last step I take before formatting and publishing.  It's one of those details that sharpens the quality of your book.  It will improve the readability and make it so the reader is less likely to put your story down and go off to do other things.


All my best,

John H. Carroll



Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Smashwords July Sale

All but my most recent 2 books are on sale @smashwords for at least half off, including a couple of freebies. A lot of other authors have their books on sale.  Click here to follow through, and feel free to shop for others too. :)







Enjoy!

All my best,

John H. Carroll

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Sidetracked, Book 4 of the Wyvern Series

"Sidetracked" is now available!

Book 4 of the Wyvern Series and the 10th book set in the world of Ryallon.  This is a continuation of Pelya's story from the Dralin Trilogy.





Book 4 of the Wyvern Series

War is an everyday fact of life for peasants in the Kingdom of Paruth. Ghosts of soldiers remember battles nobody won. Skeletons of abandoned houses mourn the echoes of families long gone. Smiles are few and far between on the faces of peasants. And none of their wise sayings make any sense.

Constant, dreary rain dampens Pelya’s spirits as she rides Honey through these forlorn lands. Her mission for the Cloudswept bank fell to a dead end in the dungeons under Riell Castle. Recovered papers may hold clues to the fate of the Rojuun named Rruum Tarrrii, but they’re written in an ancient language and only readable with the use of an enchanted monocle.

The influence of the Black Scale Guild is far greater than she ever imagined. Their leader, Tyeromaythan-Devourer of Gods, knows who Pelya is and wants her captured. The plots that banished her from Dralin and the Blue Wyverns are directly linked to the guild, as is her current mission.

Of greater worry to Pelya are her new friends Verna, Calren and an energetic wyvern by the name of Nervy. In the past, she has led friends to sorrow and death. Now, with a price on her head and her inclination to take on ever more dangerous missions, Pelya has every reason to believe she will bring these idealistic new adventurers to their deaths too.

Adventure is everything Calren had hoped and more. He had more treasure than he had ever dreamed of. They had plans to visit places he had only dreamed of. He traveled with the two most beautiful women in the world. However, neither show any interest in him. And no one had ever communicated how terrible killing someone felt.

Verna has begun to regret her excursion into human lands. Humans are cruel and violent. How they tolerate never-ending war is incomprehensible. If not for Calren and Pelya, she might despair of hope. Now she just needs to convince them to end all war and bring peace to the world. That shouldn’t be too hard.

Nervy wasn’t thrilled with his name. He adored Verna and her friends though. Traveling with them was far more interesting than flying around the forest and running away from dragons.

Clues lead the group to the lands of Lord Boagberll and his Huntmaster where the peasants have suffered worse than any other part of Paruth. They will find answers to the Black Scale Guild, the Cloudswept Bank and the Rojuun. They’ll discover even more questions. And maybe in the end, they’ll figure out how to do something about the war.

The Wyvern Series is a swords-and-sorcery series following the journeys of Pelya Jornin. After leaving Dralin, she travels the world searching out injustices and her purpose in life. Along the way, she makes many friends and even more enemies.



All my best,

John H. Carroll


Monday, June 26, 2017

Movie Review: Logan

Three Grumpy Old Men and a Violent Child


My Review


I recently forced my son to watch Logan with me.  Pretty sure that makes me a horrible father.

This is a horrible movie.  The good guys are miserable and really not worth rooting for.  The basic premise of the movie is that this world sucks and it's going down from here, so let's just slash everyone.  We should set a fabulously bad example for the only children left like us while we're at it.

The actors in this movie are far too good to give such a horrible script to.  If I was Wolverine, I would have slashed the script and stabbed the producers through the chin like he does to the bad guys no one really cares about.  If I was professor Xavier, I would have mentally convinced everyone not to waste their money.

My expression while suffering through the movie

I have no idea what the critics and fans who said this was good were thinking.  Maybe the little girl in the movie threatened to shove them in a locker after school and stab them through the door if they said anything bad.  Hard to tell.

I've been a comic book fan since before I could read.  I enjoy most of the movies related to comics and I'm not even too worried about whether or not they stick to canon as long as they're entertaining.  This was not entertaining.  I realized I've become immune to seeing fake blades and blood all over the place and it's become more of a yawn than it is impressive.  There's no shock value left to the gore.  They just do it to hide the fact that there's no real plot or decent dialogue.

I suppose I could go on, but I've already wasted my money.  I have no desire to waste further words.


All my best,

John H. Carroll