By G. Miki Hayden
Instructor at Writer's Digest University online and private writing coach
firstwriter.com – Thursday December 27, 2018
Well, I don’t think the verbs are actually happy. I only said that to attract your attention. But verbs do have moods. And I used the word “moods” to draw your attention, too. But it’s true that verbs have moods, though we also call them modes.
If the following seems boring, jump down to the subjunctive part because that’s the really significant element, which most people don’t seem to understand.
Indicative mood is a fancy name for the ordinary declarative mood. Joe pays his agent 15 percent of his earnings. His mother takes 20 percent for his room and board.
Imperative is the verb mood used to give a command. Go into the house and get me something to eat. Spotting an imperative verb is sometimes important so that you realize the subject is understood (you), and you can recognize an independent clause when you see the use of an imperative verb without a subject. (Or is that too much information?)
Interrogative mood is, as you might guess, used to ask questions. These are really declarative verbs turned around and often with the assistance of a helper verb. Will you go away? Waiting for someone? (Yes, the subject is understood.) Can I help you? (Well, the subject and object are both given.)
Conditional mood puts a condition on the execution of the verb action by using a helper/ancillary verb. The dog might bite you. I would do that if James came with. We could go if you invited us.
Now comes the real reason I put all this together because here’s where all the mistakes are made...with subjunctive, which is a kind of conditional mood.
Subjunctive mood is the (conditional) mood used when what is being described is actually and obviously unreal or impossible. Subjunctive is generally used with an “if”—but not always, and not all “if” subordinate (dependent) clauses will use subjunctive. Here goes:
If I was the man in the moon, I would bring you up to live with me there. Incorrect because the verb should be in the subjunctive mood. The statement is obviously mere fantasy.
If I were the man in the moon, I would bring you up to live with me there. Correct. That’s the subjunctive for the “to be” (singular) past tense.
If I was an undercover agent, would you like me less? Correct if we don’t know whether the “I” individual might be an undercover agent and he/she might be—or we (the readers) may know that he is.
That’s the most important subjunctive use in terms of mistakes often made, though we have a few others that I refuse to go into. I started to, but writing about it got too complex, and I hardly see any mistakes in the other formats, making the question merely academic. So there.
If I were the head of the English department of a large university, I would make everyone taking an English class buy my recently released third edition of Writing the Mystery: A Start to Finish Guide for Both Novice and Professional. Correct. I would, but I’m not. You can go to Amazon anyway.
G. Miki Hayden is the author of the award-winning guide for mystery writers, Writing the Mystery: A Start-to-Finish Guide for Both Novice and Professional, available now from JP&A Dyson.
"Whatever your habitual errors are, punctuation, writing style, or even not understanding what the agents/editors are looking for, if you'd like to correct your flaws, take a class with me at Writer's Digest: https://www.writersonlineworkshops.com/. Or for some less-expensive guidance, you might want to download The Naked Writer for your Kindle at Amazon. Yes, I work with clients privately. Find me on Facebook."
G. Miki Hayden always has a new class starting at Writer's Digest. The feedback she gives is personal, thorough, and actionable.
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Some of this month's news for writers from around the web.
hollywoodreporter.com – Friday January 18, 2019
Literary agent David Lubliner has left WME and joined UTA, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.
A source also tells THR that Lubliner is bringing with him the following clients: About a Boy co-writers and brothers Chris and Paul Weitz, Beatriz at Dinnerdirector Miguel Arteta, Detective Pikachu director/co-writer Rob Letterman and Juliet, Naked co-writer Jim Taylor, among others.
Writers' Handbook 2021 - Out Now!
thebookseller.com – Wednesday January 16, 2019
Kate Burke has joined The Blake Friedmann Literary Agency as a senior agent and will focus on commercial fiction.
Burke previously worked as an agent at Northbank Talent Management for six years, and before that spent 10 years as a fiction publisher, at Headline, HarperCollins and Penguin Random House.
thebookseller.com – Wednesday January 16, 2019
Curtis Brown is to celebrate its 120th birthday with a series of events spearheaded by a team of young agents, culminating in the Curtis Brown 120 Novel Writing Prize.
Founded in 1899 by Albert Curtis Brown, one of the UK’s longest running independent literary agencies. This year Curtis Brown plans to “celebrate its heritage and offer a unique opportunity to the future.” Agents including Lisa Babalis, Becky Brown, Catherine Cho, Lucy Morris and Norah Perkins will help lead the year's events.
The celebrations will culminate in the Curtis Brown 120 Novel Writing Prize, a mission to find the voices of the future, launched in partnership with the Curtis Brown Creative writing school. The prize will be open to novels both finished and unfinished, across all genres of adult fiction. Details of judging panels, process, prizes and submission dates will be revealed in April.
|Click here for the rest of this month's news >|
A selection of the new listings added to firstwriter.com this month.
firstwriter.com – Thursday January 17, 2019
Handles: Fiction; Nonfiction
Areas: Autobiography; Cookery; Historical; Humour; Lifestyle; Sociology
Markets: Adult; Children's; Youth
Treatments: Commercial; Literary
No science fiction, academic books, scripts, or poetry. Submit online through form on website. No postal submissions. See website for full guidelines.
firstwriter.com – Monday December 17, 2018
Handles: Fiction; Nonfiction
Areas: Autobiography; Biography; Business; Crime; Historical; Lifestyle; Psychology; Science; Suspense; Thrillers; Women's Interests
Treatments: Commercial; Literary; Popular
No science fiction (unless literary) and no fantasy or children's. Submit via website submission form.
|Click here for more of this month's new listings >|
Some of this month's articles for writers from around the web.
inc.com – Tuesday January 15, 2019
Last year I wrote two novels. One has already been published by a small, independent publisher based in the Midwest. The second is another novel that will be published by a different publisher based in Austin, Texas.
Writing novels is a strange and incredibly difficult way to become a published author. There is no feeling more awkward than having to lie to your friends and family about what's based on real-life events and what isn't. That said, regardless of what type of book you write, writing books is really, really, really hard.
If you want 2019 to be the year you become a published author, here are a few things you need to know.
culturedvultures.com – Saturday January 12, 2019
A lot of people make New Year’s Resolutions to write more, and some even decide that they are going to submit for publication. Each type of writing has its own rules and norms when it comes to submitting to magazines and websites, but the more you practice, the better you will get at it. Here are our top five general tips for submitting creative writing and poetry – these apply to our Short Stories department here at Cultured Vultures, but they will also set you up for sending your work to all sorts of places.
forbes.com – Saturday January 5, 2019
In the opening days of 2019, the publishing industry is looking towards the future. Popular predictions include the continued rise of audiobooks, political non-fiction, books clubs and the niche subscription service model. But the past still has a lot to say. Here are what fascinating publishing industry insights were just revealed by a new list of the U.K.'s top 100 print bestsellers across fiction and non-fiction alike.
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