Tuesdays with Terry – part 5

Notes From a Twenty Year Almost Career. The guest musings of Indie Author Terrance Foxxe

Part Five

Ignore the rules.


And there are so many of them. Sentence construction, punctuation, grammar, format. Did you know my The Random House Dictionary of the English Language, The Unabridged Edition is 12 x 9 ½ x 3½ inches thick? My Illustrated Oxford Dictionary by DK Publishing, Inc., isn’t as impressive in height or length, but it is two and a half inches thick, with hundreds of sweet illustrations. I use both of them each and every day. You should see my arms.

It’s one thing to know the word you want to use, it’s another to actually spell it and use it in its proper context. I want each sentence to be understood. Everything together takes the reader from the beginning to the end of your story. The skill of the writer is to impart meaning and emotional impact.

I’m published, intelligent, and it has taken me years of working completely and utterly alone to learn how to choose or spell most of my words correctly, punctuate for clarity, and not make a grammar goof. I won’t go into the many, many mistakes I’ve embarrassed myself with, but there have been a few. I still make mistakes, mind you. Nobody is perfect.

During my journey I had to figure out what I was doing wrong, and what I was doing right. To that end, there are eleven books I think are worth the money I paid for them.

The Random House Dictionary of the English Language, The Unabridged Edition



The Illustrated Oxford Dictionary by DK Publishing, Inc.

The Elements of Grammar

by Margaret Shertzer. Collier Books. This nifty little tome takes your across good grammar’s landscape. Chapter headings are as follows: Recognizing Good Grammar, Points of Grammar, Capitalization, Punctuation, Expressing Numbers, Spelling and Choosing Words (including words most often confused) and Signs and Symbols. Punctuate It Right!

by Harry Shaw. Harper Perennial. Subtitled: A complete, authoritative, quick-reference guide to modern punctuation and related mechanics of writing, showing what marks to use, when, where, how, and why, including a detailed glossary of “punctuation for clarity.”Webster’s New World Thesaurus

by Charlton Laird. Warner Books.Thesaurus of Alternatives to Worn-Out Words and Phrases

by Robert Hartwell Fiske. Writer’s Digest Books. Which, to me, is a good way to keep clichés out, or think up new clichés to replace the old and worn out.The Elements of Expression

by Arthur Plotnik. Henry Holt and Company. A must-have read if you want to understand the force words can have, and the voice lurking inside of you. Self-Editing for Fiction Writers

by Renni Browne and Dave King. Illustrations by George Booth. Subtitled: How To Edit Yourself Into Print. Harper Perennial. This book can teach editors what’s what.

The Writer’s Digest Handbook of Short Story Writing.

20 Master Plots (And How to Build Them)

by Ronald B. Tobias. Writer’s Digest Books.Make Your Words Work

by Gary Provost. Writer’s Digest Books. It’s one of the easiest books to read and understand. The man walks you through everything, and gives you homework. Do your homework, write well. Have fun, write well. Never be afraid to tear it loose and write well.

Eleven books out of thirty-five. Eleven books that will make you a literary hero.

Those books are the only books I want to read again and again, because they helped me the most. They helped me understand punctuation, grammar, plotting, editing and voice. Tools of the trade.


Terrance Foxxe is crazy enough to share everything he knows about catering to readers, because readers matter most to the Indie Author of today, and tomorrow. He had two books published under his real name, only to discover publishers really suck. After being royally ripped off and then some, he is the Indie Author of A Post-apocalyptic Story of Love, $2.99 USD & In The Dreaming, $0.99, both for the Kindle. Links provided. He’s now a happy man. Buy his books. Read them. Write reviews.

Post Apocalyptic Love Story

The Dreaming

He blogs at http://terrancefoxxe.blogspot.com/

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1 Comment

  1. I don’t even know what most of the rules are so I am feeling pretty good right now.


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