Monday, November 21

Book Progress Update

Still revising!

I made the "mistake" of buying Grammarly, and it found about 4500 issues! I went "pro" so I could better tune it to my writing style. I selected "Informal" and "Creative" and for a "Knowledgable" audience ("General" seemed like it's for Kindergarteners). About 50% of the suggestions I accepted. In the "Correctness" category it was more like 98%. My biggest problem is comma usage. It made a lot of suggestions for re-writing sentences for greater clarity, which I liked a lot.  It also found all the typos, I think. You know, those typos where the spelling is correct, but it's not the correct word. They have a plug-in for MS Word which looks to be sort of going away, but still works. I don't get how it's usable without that, as it needs to remember suggestions I've already rejected, and that wasn't happening with the normal version. All in all, a good experience. Like having a very detail-oriented proof-reader over your shoulder.

But anytime there are big changes, I need to go back to pdf, put it on my iPad, and read through it again to clean it up. So I did several passes like that. In some cases, I changed away from the formally correct comma usage, because it just reads awkwardly. For example, in the sentence you just read, Grammarly would have me change it to: "Sometimes, I changed away from the formally correct comma usage because it just reads awkwardly." I liked my extra comma because it gave you a pause where it was needed. And "sometimes" does not carry quite the same nuanced meaning as "in some cases". English teachers: debate!

After a few passes, I found myself going back and forth on some issues like that. Editing it first one way, then back the other, then back again! In those cases, I settled on Grammarly's advice, or just re-wrote the sentence entirely, or just deleted it if I could!

Along the way, I could not resist adding just a bit more kinky content in certain places. Places where I saw a huge missed opportunity. I tried to restrain myself, though.

When I can essentially read the whole book through and not find any issues, I'll be done. It's getting very close to that now. I'm on page 100 of 440 now with no issues found at all. Zero. When it's just a few minor adjustments, less than 10 with none of them absolutely required, I'll make those changes and publish.

I've read my book so many times now that it's ridiculous! But it's still sexually exciting, even more of a page turner, flows beautifully, and there are some true masterpieces of kinky writing in there, if you ask me. Still get a huge smile on my face at those parts. Feels like "The Muse" wrote those, not me.


47 comments:

  1. What a process! Looking forward to the finished product, hopefully just in time for Xmas?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! Great Xmas Gift 🎄 đŸ€¶ 🎅!!!

      Delete
  2. Julie....rest assured your English and Grammar are excellent.
    Once or twice in the past I said if a Noble prize for Erotic literature exists you have my vote....besides it is more in the spirit and narrative than the grammar.
    Try to run paragraph of Shakespeare in this program you mention and I am sure it will come back with corrections.
    So go ahead and publish and stop teasing and perfecting.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Writer & Editor here. (We have interacted before!)

    Based on the sentence you cite, your instincts are correct. I'm always dubious about these apps, and they aren't 100% correct. They're also clumsy in dealing with differences between US English/ UK English/ Canadian English/ International English, and so on.

    That said, they're great at catching basic mistakes.

    As I've said before, I'm happy to proof the thing, but I'd need 2-3 weeks as a turnround -- I'm really busy.

    Your writing already avoids the basic howlers, paragraphs are mostly good, and (I think) all I ever queried was the plotting.

    W&E

    ReplyDelete
  4. English teacher here. No debate needed. A comma before 'because' is only needed when the sentence would otherwise be unclear.

    E.g., "He didn’t run because he was afraid."
    If you mean the reason he didn't run was because he was afraid, a comma is needed. As it is, it means the reason he ran was not because he was afraid, but presumably some other reason.

    YOUR added comma is just plain incorrect, young lady. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.

    Give me a few hours with you, and a stout wooden ruler, and I'd drill the comma rules into you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ok, ok, that's the RULE, I'm sure you're not wrong, but is there no room for creativity in punctuation?

      Delete
    2. Oh... and about the ruler... yes please sir...

      Delete
  5. I don’t think I’ve ever met a person into kink and BDSM, whether Dominant or submissive, who isn’t a freak for attention to detail. I’m sure you’re no different Ma’am. Articulate, meticulous, creative and intelligent. Can’t wait to read!

    russell xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  6. Your informal, natural style is the key to your success - screw (peg) grammerly!! Over all these years youve had time to perve around the web & you are obviously a sharp kitten so you must understand that you are the apex, the unrivaled queen, of DD kinklit. Your transition from top to bottom (ima go so far as to call you switch) cements the deal. I can only imagine what your straight fiction would taste like since your porn is the internet equivalent of an Anais Nin (little birds) or Anne Rice (sleeping beauty). Do it any way you please but keep cranking it out because, as you know, we will never be satisfied ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow! Thank you!!!
      I will always go with my instinct. I'll take Mr. Grammarly's advice, but if it doesn't feel right to me, I'll take my own advice!

      Delete
    2. And you have customer service skills!! A reply in under an hour without a department in India!?! Do a piece on how to coax the inner subbie out of one of these uptight english teachers & you'll cause headlines one day at a major uni im sure

      Delete
    3. Short leather skirt at office hours should do it 😊

      Delete
  7. I agree about the “sometimes” vs “in some cases;” however, that’s just personal choice. Unfortunately, your second comma is simply incorrect. That is a dependent clause. Those types of clauses are not separated via a comma from the rest of the sentence. I’d recommend not overdoing the commas. Best of luck.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. I do admit to being torn on that example. With the "in some cases" up front, I feel the sentence got too long without the "incorrect" comma (that WOULD be correct if there was ambiguity, which there isn't in this case, I know). But with the "sometimes" I think it's short enough that I prefer it without the comma.

      The things we go through for our art!

      Delete
  8. I don’t think I’ve ever met a person into kink and BDSM, whether Dominant or submissive, who isn’t a freak for attention to detail. I’m sure you’re no different Ma’am. Articulate, meticulous, creative and intelligent. Can’t wait to read!

    russell xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  9. Translation is an interesting and fun way to read a book.
    One of your French-speaking readers periodically complains that Amazon does not translate your books.
    He could have fun doing it himself.
    Apart from the idioms, the way in which the words must be arranged in each of the two languages ​​produces additional pleasure
    I tried it on your preface (pre-published in March but maybe it has changed since...)

    J'avais dix-huit ans, étudiant en premiÚre année dans une grande université, et pourtant j'étais là, puni au coin, comme un vilain garçon de six ans, par ma trÚs stricte tante Sue, sous le regard de sa compagne Chrissy.

    Je reniflais. Mes joues étaient mouillées de larmes. Mon pantalon et mon slip aux chevilles. Fesses nues et rouges. Complétement exposées.

    J'étais puni, et chez tante Sue, cela signifiait généralement une paire de fesses trÚs douloureuses suivi d'une heure de contemplation silencieuse le nez dans le coin, exposé cul nu.
    Et ça, si vous aviez de la chance...
    La pudeur Ă©tait un mot sans signification pour tante Sue. Elle fessait sur le champ, peu importe qui Ă©tait lĂ .

    La compagne de tante Sue, Chrissy, Ă©tait soumise au mĂȘme rĂ©gime et pouvait aussi bien se retrouver dans la position oĂč j'Ă©tais actuellement, voire pire. Cette fois, cependant, c'est moi qui Ă©tais au coin et je savais que Chrissy avait pitiĂ© de moi. Elle savait Ă  quoi ressemble un passage prolongĂ© sur les genoux de tante Sue.

    Tante Sue avait la quarantaine. Chrissy, Ă  vingt-sept ans, se situait entre elle et moi.
    Cela crĂ©ait une dynamique… intĂ©ressante….

    (trad j.stern)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Excellent traduction!
      Yes, translation is very hard.

      Delete
  10. I appreciate good writing - clear, concise, compelling - and as a technical writer and editor for over 30 years, I particularly appreciate good writing that follows the basic rules of grammar.
    That said, you are creating art, not instructions on installing software or a dry, dusty dissertation on subordinate clauses. A misplaced comma here or there, a unique word choice, a run-on sentence will not detract from your message.
    Your readers are looking to be aroused, their satisfaction derived from the potency of their erections - and for the distaff readership, the dampness of their panties - not your adherence to some obscure rule of grammar some pedantic popinjay takes great delight in pointing out.
    TL;DR Write like you fuck; imaginatively, passionately, wholeheartedly, with complete commitment, and you'll never go wrong.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, great advice.

      Ideally, I like to know when I'm breaking the rules, and then choose to. So having Grammarly suggest the "correctly written" alternative allows me to understand what I did wrong, and to consider the alternative. If the correct version does not "spark joy", I'll keep to my incorrect one, or maybe modify it halfway to something that is more correct yet still sparks joy. All else being equal, I'll go for the more correct one.

      Conciseness is very much the same. A long, flowery sentence may seem better in isolation, but if there's too much of that it bogs down the writing and makes the whole thing less engaging. Only rarely will I keep the longer sentence. It really needs to earn itself in.

      My first drafts are very much as you TL;DR. Then the trick becomes not losing that energy as you improve the writing.

      Delete
  11. Dear Julie, few years ago I nominated you for a NOBLE PRIZE in Erotic literature....
    My nomination still stands, for writing style,spirit,and imagination.As for grammar I am sure if you put Shakespeare through this program you used it will come back with suggestions and corrections.
    We perfectly understand and enjoy you.
    Stop tormenting yourself about grammar and teasing us ...go ahead and publish.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I've been using Grammarly Pro for over two years. It's indispensable as well as annoying as hell. It plugs into my Firefox browser and keeps watch on my blog too. The MS Word plugin is wonderful. Though, as the program gets improved, new suggestions pop up. That frustrates me. Meanwhile, I am also struggling with my book. Right now my biggest problem is writing a hook to get agents interested. I can't wait to read your new book.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes. But I also think it can force the writing to be TOO correct. Too dry. As someone above said, I wonder if it would "correct" an author like Jane Austen or Evelyn Waugh to the point where the writing is dull.

      Delete
    2. That's a real risk. However, a bigger risk is a manuscript that isn't well copy edited. As writers, I think we can decide if a correction makes sense.

      Delete
  13. critic ? You can write !!! share... all of it!!! Kind Julie, spanked Julie, spanking Julie, creative julie....thank you !!
    chris

    ReplyDelete
  14. Had you learned proper grammar, spelling and word usage in school you wouldn't need to rely on a computer crutch.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes Sir, or Ma'am.

      It's because they stopped spanking us children. Maybe better psychologically, but made us all worse spellers.

      I would love a live-in editor who was a great writer who really knew all the rules. My bottom would be soooo sore, but I'm sure I would learn.

      Delete
  15. You have probably already figured this out, but:

    I think that treating commas as a "breathing space" is the wrong approach -- people reading "in their heads" are not doing the same thing as people reading aloud. People reading "in their heads" don't stop for breath.

    Try thinking of punctuation as a "signalling system" that gives readers information they need in order to read your sentence the way you wanted them do. In your sample sentence the word "because" does everything necessary to tell the reader what to do in order to read your sentence as you intended. Assuming, instead, that one of the tiniest punctuation marks in the world will add something that the word "because" does not is putting an awful lot of work on one of the tiniest punctuation marks.

    If you go look at stuff written in the 1700s you'll find authors used a lot more punctuation marks than authors do now. The reason is that our general audience is a lot more literate than it was back then and, as a result, needs a lot less guidance in figuring out how to read text. And very few people have to sound out what they read any more.

    To replace the "breathign room" approach, try thinking of commas (and parentheses) as establishing a 'hierarchy of information". The sentence, with the stuff between commas and parentheses removed, is the primary set of information The material between commas is "secondary" and could, if necessary, be omitted. The stuff between parentheses is even less important.

    One test is to delete all the material between the opening and closing commas -- does the sentence still make sense? Or, for a comma that sets off an initial phrase, delete the part of the sentence between the start of the sentence and that first comma -- does the sentence still work in some basic sense? If the sentence still makes sense then you've positioned your commas correctly.

    That's not to say that the stuff between the commas doesn't enrich or clarify what you wanted the sentence to convey -- it's just that the part between the commas is 'secondary' and, while it adds to the sentence, is (in the end) expendable.

    Having said all that (and that was a great deal to say), rewriting or deleting is almost always the better solution. Every rewrite makes the text better -- you don't stop rewriting because your text is perfect; you stop either because you've hit your deadline or you can't bear to go through the document again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great comment and great advice. Thank you! Re-read it several times to absorb it all. I detect an excellent writer here! Your style seems Tolkien'esque, whose writing I admire greatly.

      Though isn't it nerve wracking writing about commas and parentheses and dashes (oh my) while using them :-)

      Delete
    2. I hear tell that thar Tolkien done ripped off Wagner,and I reckon he's right what says that.

      Delete
  16. Your writing style is exceptional, always great detail and personal honesty that make your readers feel your emotions and the electricity of the moment.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! Kind of you to say. I do my best!!!

      Delete
  17. Has anyone ever helped you get on a horse by running one hand over your stomach in front and the other between your legs from behind? Funny feeling...

    ReplyDelete
  18. Congratulations on your progress.

    I’ve recently published a (technical/political/environmental) document which I reread to many times to be sure there were no errors. I think I did a good job, but it’s hard to be excited about it. Hoping to interest Congress.

    But I’m a very slow writer and I have to work each sentence. You have a very nice Detailed and whimsical flow.

    Rosco

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd love to read it, Rosco, sounds interesting!

      Delete
    2. Perfect grammar isn't necessary, Rosco and Julie. Show us your passion and it will be embraced. Not to be all old school but I am, will a paperback/written version be available of your next book? Was/is one available of the first one ?
      Kind regards, encouragement
      Chris

      Delete
    3. I think there's an option on Amazon to make it available as a custom-printed paperback. I'll look into it.

      Passion is great to a point, but if the grammar is truly atrocious, or if too many words bog things down, it needs improving!

      Delete
  19. I've started writing spanking / sex stories a few years ago and while it's fun, it isn't easy! I think I've written about 40k words at this point, but mostly unfinished stories though I plan on finishing them eventually. I'm satisfied about the quality of my writing (though it's no where near as good as yours!), but I'm quite the slow writer and I do lack the motivation to write consistently. I'd like to write about 2k words per week in 2023, that would be a nice goal as I have a lot of stories / projets that I'd want to write, I'll see how that goes. Anyway, I'm curious, how much would you say your writing has improved since you started this blog and also since you wrote your first book? Despite having written fairly little, I can already see a good progress compared to when I first started so I imagine for you the progress should be quite significant.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nice! I'd love to read your stuff.

      My stats are that I wrote about 100K words over 3 months, or about 7K words per week as I was gushing out the first draft. Then I spent the next 5 months tinkering with it, so effectively 2K FINISHED words per week. Ha ha!

      Delete