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And here we go.

Posted by on Aug 30, 2011 in Tips and Tutorials | 1 comment

Not long ago our teachers warned us never to start a sentence with a conjunction. They actually meant never start a sentence with a Coordinating Conjunction.

Coordinating conjunctions are the following:

F = for

A = and

N = nor

B = but

O = or

Y = yet

S = so

The differ from subordinating conjunctions through their use.  Coordinating conjunctions are used to connect phrases or clauses as follows:

Main Clause, <coordinating conjunction> Main Clause

Main Clause <coordinating conjunction> Phrase

For example:

  • They could not each, for the cupboard was empty.
  • He walked across the room, and sat in a chair.
  • He can’t sing, nor can he dance.
  • She likes oranges, but hates orange juice.
  • I will either choose history or biology.
  • I’m nice to him, yet he still doesn’t like me.
  • I got tired, so I left.


Note that you insert a comma when joining clauses, not phrases. If you see a verb in the second clause then add the comma.

As you can see, with Coordinating Conjunctions the clauses are emphasized equally.

When using clauses for subordination, the main clause has more emphasis than the subordinate clause .

Main Clause <conjunction> Subordinate Clause

Sub Clause, <conjunction> Main Clause

For example:

  • I said I’d go with Jane, and Mike agreed he’d go with Kelly <- Coordinate
  • I said I’d go with Jane if Mike agreed he’d go with Kelly. <-Subordinate


Now that we’ve gotten that our of the way, back to the original premise: should we start sentences with a Coordinating Conjunction?

The answer is: sometimes. While it’s often better not to, starting sentences with conjunctions can emphasize a point. But if you start a sentence with a coordinating conjunction then don’t include a comma unless an interrupter immediately follows it. So, although you shouldn’t do it often, starting coordinating conjunctions are allowed.

Keep these things in mind when you’re thinking of starting a sentence with a coordinating conjunction:

  • Make sure that the main clause follows the coordinating conjunction.
  • DO NOT use a coordinating conjunction to begin every sentence UNLESS you are intentionally trying to create a flow of ideas in this manner
  • DO NOT use a comma after the coordinating conjunction UNLESS an interrupter immediately follows it

Why shouldn’t you use coordinating conjunctions to start a sentence? If not done correctly, your work will turn out choppy, and you are likely to create obvious sentence fragments or run-on sentences.

When in doubt, remember that you can always rewrite the sentence to not start with that conjunction:

But I still wanted to eat it.

Can be:

  • However, I still wanted to eat it.
  • Still, I wanted to eat it.
  • I still wanted to eat it too.


And I enjoyed it thoroughly.

Can be:

  • Also, I enjoyed it thoroughly.
  • In addition, I enjoyed it thoroughly.
  • Furthermore I enjoyed it thoroughly.


I hope this helps with your writing!


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The Hunger Games Trailer

Posted by on Aug 30, 2011 in Trailers | 1 comment

Check out the first official trailer for The Hunger Games.


What do you think?

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Advance with Faith

Posted by on Aug 29, 2011 in Inspirational | Comments Off on Advance with Faith

This week we look at part three of When am I Going to Get Published? Last week I told you to be others focussed. It’s a practice most of us are into for some of the people around us, but not in a big way. Now let’s look at the next step…

3) Advance with Faith

I’m not trying to get religious on you, but you do need to have faith that you’re going to achieve the goal you’ve set. If you don’t then will you really keep at it? When trying to achieve something new, especially something big, there will be many challenges that come your way. Most authors will shrink from these challenges. Getting rejection letters is a normal part of the process. Don’t let them dishearten you. However, take note of the ones that aren’t form letters. Do they give any insights on problems with your book?

As I stated, ADVANCE with Faith. It’s not just a matter of believing you’ll get published, and it’s not just a matter of believing in your book. We all believe our books are great. That doesn’t make them great in everyone else’s eyes. I know an author out there with unwavering faith in his book, but the truth is that the book isn’t that good. It has potential. With a good developmental editor, he could produce a great novel. But, he believes he’s done. The book is perfection in his eyes. This is where humility would serve him well.

I should clarify what humility is. It is not the downplaying of yourself and your skills to other people. Humility is the acknowledgement that you don’t know everything there is to know even if you’re an expert on a subject. Humility means accepting that you are flawed and that your work may be in error, and doing this without throwing a hissy fit. You may have finished your book, but that doesn’t mean that your book is finished. Seek expert counsel, continue learning, improve your skills, and make changes as needed as long as it doesn’t compromise the story you want to tell.

There are other ways to advance as well. Lesley Livingston, a long time friend of mine, could not get her book Once Every Never published. After listening to her frustrated complaints about it too long, her boyfriend, Jon, to her to shut up and write something else. Being a wise woman, she took his advice and wrote Wondrous Strange which got picked up by Harper Collins and ended winning  the Canadian Library Association Young Adult Book of the Year for 2010, the CBC Best Book award, was nominated for the 2011 Stellar Award and shortlisted for the Sunburst Award for excellence in Canadian Speculative Fiction. She followed it up with Darklight and Tempestuous, creating a trilogy I recommend reading. And now, Once Every Never has been picked up by Penguin Books. Lesley may have stopped work on her book, but she never lost faith and she continued to take action that moved her toward her goal.

The great thing about goals is that, even if you don’t know how you’ll get to your goal, that how will eventually show up if you keep advancing with faith.

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Being Others’ Focussed

Posted by on Aug 25, 2011 in Inspirational | Comments Off on Being Others’ Focussed

This week we look at part two of When am I Going to Get Published? Last week I told you to set a goal. That seems obvious, but if your read the article you would have seen that there’s more to it. Now let’s look at the next step…

2) Be others’ focussed.

Bob Proctor once told me that how much we receive is in direct proportion to how many we serve. There are many ways to serve. The first is just by getting a job and doing it. You can also create jobs thus giving people gainful employment. You can do charity work. You can volunteer. We, as YA writers, love to entertain. And entertainment is a kind of service; it brings people pleasure, and they’re willing to pay for that. The catch is that your story really has to be entertaining, not just something YOU think is cool, not a great idea that’s filled with bad grammar and plot holes and main characters you wouldn’t mind seeing die. This also doesn’t mean you should write a story that you think will sell based on current trends and analysis of compelling main characters from other works. That’s not serving people that pandering to them.

If we reach inside we all have a great story to tell. Start by telling it. But while you’re getting it ready, any other ways you can be others’ focussed will only help to bring your goals to you. So do that charity work. Support a friend. Help a stranger. Do you job better. Go out and make a contribution. It doesn’t have to be a financial one. Leave everyone you meet feeling better after having been with you. It all adds up. And when we’re others’ focussed it actually makes achieving our goals a little easier. Helping others puts us (and them) in a better frame of mind. The trick here is to give unconditionally. Don’t give with the expectation to get, especially form the ones you’re giving to. Don’t even give with the expectation of gratitude. The best way to give is in a way that you don’t expect credit for it. The Universe always sends back what we give out only it’s multiplied. It’s called the law of compensation. Some call it Karma. Give unconditionally, knowing how the universe works. I know this isn’t what you were expecting to read on a young adult writing site, but it applies no matter what your passion. Sadly, not enough people know it.

Give and you will receive, though not necessarily in the form you gave or from the source you gave to. But watch as you experience less stress, more fulfilment, better health, greater joy, and more. Don’t believe me? Try it for one month. Just one month of your life. You WILL see results. Continual use of this principle also increases your confidence. It improves your relationships as your actions help you to understand and accept others. Something as simply as a hug can make a huge difference in someone’s life.

Go make that difference now.

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Cool Quote

Posted by on Aug 16, 2011 in Personal | Comments Off on Cool Quote

I saw this and just had to share because I can definitely relate.

“I write because, if I don’t, my characters will murder me in my sleep.” Astrid Cruz

Who else feels this way?

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