Tag Archives: River



Does any of my fellow writers frustrate themselves about the placement of commas as much as I do?

As a soon to be self-published author, I am undecided about which punctuation standard to use: US, UK or Caribbean. I am an Island Girl, but most of the books I have read use the US standard. My books will be available online to anyone, anywhere in the world, and since I expect an audience from the US and UK as well, I wonder:

How much of a difference does punctuation style make, especially to the readers?

Today, punctuation is a clash between rules and style. I never underestimate the importance of rules because a comma in the wrong place can change the meaning or readability of a sentence.

It is a good practice to stick to the rules of one country. If a writer is fortunate to have their work published in a subsequent country (e.g. US author also published in the UK), the UK publisher may change the punctuation to suit their rules. This brings me to another question:

How should a self-published author choose a standard if they market mainly online?

In the Caribbean, we do not put commas before conjunctions, even if they separate two clauses. We follow the general rule of separating words in lists with commas. However, we do not put commas after the second-to-last item on a list, if a conjunction follows it. E.g. basketball, football, tennis and swimming.

Examples of other rules for commas

– Commas after sentence introductions. YES
E.g. As you are well aware,
On a beach in the Caribbean,

– Commas after transitional phrases. YES
E.g. Therefore,

– Commas before speech marks. YES
E.g. He told her, “Please leave me alone.”
Annie asked, “Could you be quiet?”

Good Writing

One attribute of good writing is that it should be easily understandable. A reader should not have to reread a sentence to understand what the writer meant. For this to happen, it is important to follow rules. On the other hand, a writer’s style is distinct by the words they choose, the length of their sentences and how they punctuate and structure their sentences. Their style is usually influenced by the genre or the purpose of their works.

Please comment on this post. I would greatly appreciate some advice.

Diary Post 10: LOOKING UP

GE DIGITAL CAMERAMy last post was pretty depressing. I was a mess. But, that post received encouraging comments that helped shape the premise of my week.

Worrying and stressing was slowing me down. I’ve been working steady since. My editing process was overboard. Constantly, I reviewed the same chapters. I decided to close the chapter on those chapters (1-9, after one last review). I haven’t tackled the rest of the book for the year. The integrity of the storyline has been maintained. I’ve been working on diction. In that, I became obsessive. So much so that I would count adjectives and adverbs. Ridiculous!

I’ve finished chapter ten and am currently wrapping up chapter eleven. Amen for the weekend and two holidays next week. Reading chapter eleven got me very excited. Usually, I use Twitter to promote, but I began tweeting about the chapter. I’ve been away from the story for a while, and it has turned out to be a good thing. Honestly, even though I have quite a few chapters to go through, I don’t expect it to be difficult. Of course I’ll make changes, but for the most part I like the way the book reads. It doesn’t need an overhaul, just some sensible adjustments. Also, most of the later chapters aren’t very long.

I will pass the last chapters to my friend, when she has time. I feel good right now, and I am confident that I will make my deadline.

I made the arrangements with Writers Digest for the first four chapters to be edited. I will be assigned an editor soon. [will do a separate post on that experience]

A special thank you to all my readers

who take the time to comment

You have no idea what your kind words mean to me, whatever mood I am in. I’ve been working on this novel sporadically for almost two years. This year, I had more time to put into it, and it’s been an experience that I wouldn’t trade if I could. I think its change me. I have something to look forward to. Something I’ve created. Little things in my life have improved. I definitely feel like ‘I am coming into my own.’ That’s why I was mad at myself for getting depressed two weeks ago.

Sometimes it doesn’t matter how hard you work, you don’t see progress. You have to be really dedicated to stick with a race when you don’t know where the finish line is, or you can’t see the finish line. I can see mine, and it’s going to be a thousand times better than what I could ever hope for.

A girl tweeted me that she can’t wait to read my book. Weather she meant it or not, it is encouragement. Kind words are like gifts. They put smiles on people’s faces. I’m sure we all can make someone smile, without spending one dollar. Let’s do it!


Chapter 1 and 2Throughout my journey in writing this novel, there were months that I did not write a single line. Sometimes it was pure laziness, other times I was crippled with worry. I question if I’ll type ‘The End,’ let alone get it published. I’ve been working on this novel for about a year and eight months, and it has been a great experience. Not only am I pursuing something that I love, and will be able to check ‘become a writer’ off my bucket list, I’ve been privy to learn from some wonderful people.

One of the most rewarding things I’ve experienced this year was that one of my school friends started a blog. She blogs her short stories, and credited me as an inspiration. Another welcome effect of writing a blog is to experience support. Family support is wonderful, but there is something special about a stranger cheering you on.

Writing is so subjective. It takes courage to expose your thoughts to others. It’s not just your view or imagination that you expose; it’s your grammar, punctuation, vocabulary, and style. I take refuge in the fact that I put great effort into my posts, and I accept that even people who are the best at what they do are criticized.

Last week, I mentioned that a friend of mine agreed to review my book, and that I sent chapters one and two to her. She sent them back on Monday, much sooner than I expected. She did a fantastic job. I accepted most of her suggestions. I have since made the changes and am currently working on chapters three and four. I will forward them to her by next week, because I want to send the first four chapters for a final edit by the end of this month.

I think chapters three and four will go by faster, because of all the practice I got making changes to the first two chapters. The story line is the same, but I thought it lagged and needed to read better.

‘Writer’s Digest’ is a reputable organization. I will be using their 2nd Draft Critique and Editing Services. Their minimum submission is fifty pages, which is just about my first four chapters. I will review their service in a separate post. If anyone knows of a better option, please send me a link.

My goal for this coming week is to send chapters three and four to be reviewed. However, I’m hoping to surpass my expectation.



Work in Progress 1This week was all about the countdown to the four day, Easter holiday. Usually, I go to the beach, as does everyone else in the country. This year I plan to relax at home, and work on my novel. Maybe go to the Cinema. I’m just glad for the consecutive days off.

I was disappointed that I didn’t have more progress to report in my last post. From last Friday, I made a greater effort. I began editing chapters one and two again. After I read Stephen King’s ‘Carrie’ a few weeks ago, I combined my first three chapters into two. In ‘Carrie,’ he exposes Carrie’s telekinetic woes, and an intense bathroom scene very early in the book. My novel does not need that type of shock element. Nevertheless, I was compelled to ‘tighten up’ the writing. I introduced one of the main characters in chapter one rather than in chapter two, in order to entice readers with one of the more significant scenes earlier in the book.

It is always recommended that writers write and read often. Of course, you will not change your story every time you read a book. However, because ‘Carrie’ began in such an intense and captivating manner, it forced me to notice that my story lagged a bit.

In my opinion, Stephen King is the King of writing. I never liked reading until I read ‘The Green Mile’ several years ago. He knows how to hold your attention, and drag you into his world.

My favorite part of reading is creating my own visual version of the story. No two people see a story the same way, until it’s made into a movie.

Chapters one and two will get you acquainted with the protagonist and her situation. Four main characters are introduced. You will begin to form your opinions and choose sides.

Chapter three encourages imagination. It is one of my favorite chapters throughout the book.

The essence of the first chapters is the same. The story just moves along more quickly. Every time I rewrite, I feel better about the story. I made this last change after I finished chapters one and two, thinking they were ready to be edited professionally.

To conclude, chapter one is semi-finished. I’ve printed it twice. This means that I’ve edited it three or four times. It’s off limit for a week, and then I’ll pick it up again.

I’ve started chapter two. It’s printed, but I haven’t begun editing. For me, once I have typed the story the way I want it to read, the final analysis has to be done using a printed copy.

Not bad for a week’s work.


The Fairy - Quiet and Beautiful.

The Fairy – Quiet and Beautiful.

Until I was seven years old, I lived in a small fishing village. They were the happiest years of my life.

I first learned what mermaids were when my grandfather told me a story about them. He said that there was a river at the end of Las Cuevas beach that the locals dubbed ‘The Ferry.’ Many years ago, people claimed to have seen mermaids when they sailed through in fishing boats or ferries.

According to the locals, the river was named ‘The Ferry’ because ferries frequently sailed through it. Papa called it ‘The Fairy’ and it became a fairytale for me.

My grandmother told me my second mermaid story. She said that in the forest, there was a river where a girl found a beautiful comb. When she combed her hair, she got terrible migraines. As soon as her grandmother saw the comb, she told her that it belonged to a mermaid, and that she must take it back. She did, and the headaches stopped. When she went back to the river, the comb was gone.

Another significant person in my life, my favorite teacher, took me to spend a weekend at her home when I was about six years old. There I saw the movie ‘Splash.’ She gave me a pink sweater with ‘Splash’ written in glitter, and the ‘S’ was a mermaid’s tail. I don’t have to say how much I loved that sweater.

Children having fun in The Fairy.

Children having fun in The Fairy.

My father was unaware that mermaids dominated my fantasies. He rented ‘Splash’ so often that my siblings came to love it almost as much I did. We were all fascinated by how real Madison’s tail appeared to be.

Hopefully, everyone has a childhood fantasy. Mermaids are mine. I am working on a novel that incorporates mermaids, but they are not the only focus. Like I said, it’s not going to be ‘The Little Mermaid.’