30 Days to Publishing

30 Days to Publishing (8)


A participle is a form of verb that is used in a sentence to modify a noun and/or verb. You may or may not have given much thought to participles. In every day speech, participles let our listeners know the time frame in what we say.

“I went to the store.”
“She goes to the store.”
“They are going to the store.”

Just by the verb tense, you can assume what has been done, what is being done, and what will be done. This is what humans categorize, covet, and cope with–time.

I am not about to give you a lecture on English grammar, but the verb tense is very important to the structure of your story. Participles will determine what is transpiring and give a time frame for your readers.

Past Tense:  Past tense is just what it sounds like–everything in the story has happened in the past. It is history. Most stories, books, magazine columns, newspaper articles, and biographies are written in past tense for very good reason. The events being recorded have already happened and are finished.

E.g. John Doe was a curator at the Museum of Natural Art. He was in charge of bookkeeping and purchasing items for the collection. Often he traveled far distances to acquire items that could not be shipped by air mail. John Doe enjoyed the challenge of digging up old artifacts.

Present Tense: Present tense is a verb form of current action. For example, the critically acclaimed book series Hunger Games was written in first person, present tense.  Often times books in first person are written in present tense to give a feel for events happening now,  as in right now. First person can be written either in present tense or past tense, but do not feel restricted to present tense just because you want to write in first person.

E.g. 1. I am a curator at the Museum of Natural Art. I am in charge of bookkeeping and purchasing items for the collection. Often I travel far distances to acquire items that cannot be shipped by air mail. I enjoy the challenge of digging up old artifacts.

E.g. 2. I was a curator at the Museum of Natural Art. I was in charge of bookkeeping and purchasing items for the collection. Often I travelled far distances to acquire items that could not be shipped by air mail. I enjoyed the challenge of digging up old artifacts.

As you can see, both are acceptable forms of writing. Admittedly, present tense can be more difficult to write, because you might be more accustomed to thinking, speaking, and writing in past tense. If you choose to use present tense, keep in mind the verb changes, but don’t get frustrated with your writing if it proves difficult. You can always go back and edit those verbs later.

Future Tense:  Future tense is rarely used, except in rare instances of narration. It describes an event about to transpire that has not happened yet, and is looked forward to–in the future.

E.g. John Doe will be a curator at the Museum of Natural Art. He will be in charge of bookkeeping and purchasing items for the collection. He will travel far distances to acquire items that cannot be shipped by air mail. He will enjoy (we hope) the challenge of digging up old artifacts.

Future tense can be used when characters are planning a battle strategy or other event to be held in the near future. You can write your whole book in future tense, it is possible…If you like that sort of challenge. But you may find it too wordy with all the extra verbs, and confusing to boot. Your editor might not appreciate it, but then again, this is your story. And who knows, you might be the new JK Rowling. So push the boundaries and be who you want to be.

That’s all for today, friends. Have a pleasant Easter and Passover week.



In the Raw

Writing in the Raw...not that raw.

I read a lot of blogs.
A lot of blogs.
Usually the fun, entertaining ones of people rambling about their fun, entertaining lives. Mostly educational blogs involving writing, mental health living, or the latest and greatest of those blogs that becoming huge and circulate the entire planet of the English speaking cultures. You know of which I speak. You’ve probably read them, too.
I read more blogs than I admittedly realize.
You see, when you’re working at a hair salon and the phones forget how to ring and there are no clients penciled on the books, the cyberworld of blogs becomes your best friend.
Sorry, I won’t give you free hair advice. Not because I’m stingy, or uppity,
But because I can’t see what your hair looks like.
No brainer.

As a fantasy fiction writer, I often wonder what people have to write about in their average day in life. I’ve seen such posts as work drama, family drama, life events drama, boss drama, craft drama, and religious drama. A lot of stuff happens during my days….but I honest to goodness do not have the ambition to write them out. Half of the time I can’t remember what happened to start the chain of events, or how it was resolved for that matter.
I’ve always had people telling me to write about my life, but I haven’t even lived my life to know enough about writing it. Besides, I’ve tried. I can’t do it.

Ever notice how some people ramble on in their blogs? And it’s the funniest stuff you’ve ever read in your life. How do they do that? Funny stuff happens to me all the time, but I don’t write about it.
Although at work today, I made a classic blunder. My coworker asked if a client was coming in this week, because she switched her rotation to every other week. So I replied with “I feel like she called and said she wasn’t coming…”
Turned out she did come.

There are even super cool people at the salon I could write about, but I don’t.

I don’t because I know I couldn’t do it justice. Or if I forget something and try to fill it with made up drama, I feel like a liar. Because people reading it who know me (and who were there) will know that’s not how it went down.  
It’s much better to create a world of my own making in which I can do anything I please. No one will be the wiser if I forget a line and recreate it.
No one at all.

But people these days want the real deal. They want quality. They want to know there is someone just as messed up as they are or who have just as crappy jobs too. I don’t. Have a crappy job, I mean. I love my job.

Except the retail one…… Retail. Kills. Everything. (If you could read that in the evil Joker’s voice that would be great).

I think this is where today’s Christians are failing in their witness. People want to see people in the raw. Christians want to be perfect.
And let’s face it–nobody can ever be perfect.
Except Jesus. He’s awesome.
Christians strut about like painted peacocks on pretty pedistals, expecting their peers to fawn over them and their ‘lessers’ to grovel at their feet.
It’s true. I see it every day.
Non denomination. Like, is that even a thing? What is that?
Oh wait….that’s me. Hah.
If Christians washed feet, visited the lonely, ate dinner with outcasts, and did not turn anyone away, they would be living the example of Jesus. If they prayed in gardens, quoted scripture, and trained up disciples, they would model His ministry.
Instead they slander ‘the enemy’, act like bigots, riot, lynch people, cuss out their neighbors, sleep around, lie, and steal.
Self-proclaimed Christians do those things all the time. Then they go to church on Sunday and sing Hallelujah.
That leaves a bad taste in your mouth, doesn’t it?

Listen, if you could do one thing–one little thing for me…don’t…don’t listen to those Christians. They’re not Christians. They are leading you astray.
They are not good people to exemplify.

If anyone causes one of these little ones–those who believe in me–to stumble, it would be better for them if a large millstone were hung around their neck and they were thrown into the sea.