Understanding Parallel Structure in Sentence Construction

A lack of parallel structure in sentence construction can lead to confusion. Make sure statements are built correctly to convey the intended meaning, as explained and demonstrated in the discussions to and revisions of the following sentences.

  1. The poll found that 24 percent of voters said they would either abstain from voting in the general election rather than vote for Trump or Clinton or vote for a third-party candidate.

The meaning of this sentence is ambiguous. As written, it implies that 24 percent of voters would vote neither for Trump or Clinton nor for a third-party candidate, but it could mean that 24 percent of voters would either abstain from voting or would vote for someone other than Trump or Clinton. If this is the case, the wording should be “The poll found that 24 percent of voters said they would either abstain from voting in the general election rather than vote for Trump or Clinton or would vote for a third-party candidate.”

  1. The act requires the removal of any personally identifiable information not relevant to threat identification or protected by privacy laws.

As written, this sentence implies that not applies both to “relevant to threat identification” and to “protected by privacy laws.” However, the removal requirement applies to information that is not relevant or that is protected, so the language should emphasize this distinction: “The act requires the removal of any personally identifiable information that is not relevant to threat identification or that is protected by privacy laws.”

  1. You will learn a new method for weight loss without neglecting your work or rearing your children.

The implication of this sentence is that the new weight-loss method will not require one to neglect one’s work and will absolve one of the chore of rearing one’s children. But the meaning is that adopting the method will not affect one’s abilities to work or to raise children, and the wording should reflect that meaning: “You will learn a new method for weight loss without neglecting your work or your parental responsibilities” is one possible revision.

From: Daily Writing Tips, May 9, 2016

Add Emotions to Your Story

Add emotions to your story. There has to be an emotional pull to get your reader to stay for the whole book. The reader has to relate to the characters in your story. If the reader doesn’t feel a reason to be curious about what happens to your main character he closes your book. He has to care about what happens to him so much that he can’t put the book down. He has to feel this burning desire to find out what happens to him. If the manuscript you’ve written isn’t the best seller you had in mind, perhaps emotion is missing from it. Revamp your manuscript and let the emotions come to the surface.

Think about how you would feel if you were actually the main character in your story. What would you be afraid of? What would make you sad? What would make you so angry you’d lose your temper? What would disappoint you? What would make you so happy that you’d dance around your house seven times? Put these emotions into your story. It’ll come alive. The emotions give your reader a reason to like the character and care what happens. It pulls your reader into your story at the beginning and he’ll stay with you to find out what happens along the way. He’ll turn the pages and anxiously anticipate what happens at the very end.

Writers know in their heads what the characters are feeling. The problem comes in describing it in the story so that readers know without a doubt what’s going on and can relate to them. You want them to have compassion for them. Be angry with them. Cheer them on through their next problem until they reach their goal. The reader wants to hear more and more about that character in the story, as if he was a real person.

Donald Maass in a workshop at the Pike’s Peak Writer’s Conference in 2010 said you must have tension in your story. The dialogue and the descriptions have to show both sides of the picture. Your story must show how the character is pulled in two directions. First, believe they can get the job or goal. Second, believe there is no way they can get the job or reach the goal. The main character may have doubts because of the way he fouled it up last time.

Inside our heads every day, we have at least 50,000 thoughts. We have these opposite points of view that creates tension in our lives. So do the characters in your story. Show they’re human. Share their thoughts. Their thoughts depict their emotions. Give your character one big strength and one big weakness, or give them one small strength and show its growth through your story. Each of us has strengths and weaknesses. Our humanity is what we have in common with other people. Readers are hungry to interact with the characters in your story. So fill your story with tension and emotion.

Joan Y. Edwards

Book Promotion Checklist

1. A short book description

There are a handful of reasons you’ll need a short, compelling book description (one or two sentences at most): as a soundbite in interviews, as a teaser on your website, as the hook in your press materials and communications with folks in the publishing industry, and maybe even as the tagline in your email signature!

2. A longer book description

Once you’ve hooked ‘em with the sound-bite, they’ll want to read more. Give them another paragraph or two to really sell the book. But don’t get long-winded or you risk losing their interest.

3. Your author bio

So, what’s your story? It’s time to tell the world — in the 3rd person. 2 – 4 paragraphs should be plenty if you tell your story well. If not… well, 2-4 paragraphs might be painful.

4. Web content

Start putting together all the web content you’ll need well in advance of your release.

This includes some of the things mentioned above (bio and book descriptions), but also blog posts announcing the book launch, behind-the-scenes content that gives your readers a glimpse into your writing process for the book, any study-guides or accompanying material that you’ve envisioned for readers, your book trailer, links to retail sites where your book and eBook can be purchased, etc.

5. A good author photo  

In fact, try to get a few good shots. A headshot, a casual shot, one with lots of space or landscape that you can use as a wide header image for Facebook and/or your website.

6. Hi-resolution .jpg of your book cover 

Ask your designer for a hi-resolution .jpg file of your book cover. You’ll need to both display it and make it available to download on your website (for any bloggers, media folks, or book critics who write about your book).

7. Banners/ads

While you’re talking to your designer, and while your book design is fresh in their mind, ask them to put together any banners, headers, or print ads you think you’ll need in the first 3 months after your book is released. You’re going to be very busy at that point, and you don’t want to have to wait for your designer’s schedule to clear up when you’re in the thick of things.

8. Business cards

They’re old-fashioned. But if you attend writers conferences, they’ll come in handy. We’re talking about writers, after all.

9. Signage 

If you plan on doing signings, readings, or getting a booth at a book fair, you’ll want to invest in some eye-catching, portable signage. It could be a pull-up banner (for big shows) or as simple as an 8×11 laminated sign, but make sure you’ve ordered it long before the event.

10. Press materials

Your press materials (press kit, press release, etc.) will be comprised of some of the things already mentioned: bio, description of the book, plus some of the story behind the book and author, contact info, any standout praise you may’ve already garnered from the press, etc.

When you’re gathering all these elements together into a press kit or press release, keep asking yourself these questions: “Why should anyone care about my story and book, and have I clearly communicated that here?”

11. Book trailer

Book trailers are important. In a world where YouTube is becoming one of the most-used search engines, it sure helps to have some video content available. Plus, book trailers are great content for your own website, for other bloggers, and to mention in your press release. Besides, it gives the impression that you’re really in tune with the times.