What 5 Years of Blogging Has Taught Me about Writing

by Jami Gold on July 16, 2015

in Writing Stuff

Chalkboard with text: Lessons from 5 Years of Blogging

This past weekend, I passed five years of blogging. That’s about four years more than I ever thought possible way back when. *smile*

People tend to like nice round numbers like 5s and 10s, so reaching this five-year point feels like a major milestone. As I’m still deep into vacation and sickness-brain, I figured now might be a good time to look back at what I’ve learned over those five years, and share what those lessons might tell us about the rest of our writing career…

How Our Careers Grow

  • Everyone Starts as a Newbie

My blog didn’t start off with a million hits or a thousand-plus visitors a day. I started off at ground zero, just like anyone else.

For the first couple of months, I was lucky to get views in the double digits each day. If you’ve blogged and celebrated over getting one comment? Yeah, been there, got the T-shirt.

  • Slow and Steady Growth Adds Up

It took about 3 1/2 years to reach the point where my readership growth started accelerating, and I can’t point to a single factor that created the change. There wasn’t one post that went more viral than others. My worksheets had existed for over a year by that point. I wasn’t suddenly being recommended by a big name in the industry. Etc.

I think my blog just finally reached a tipping point. The more people know we exist, the more others will hear about us too.

  • Patience & Consistency Work

However, I doubt that tipping point would have occurred at all if I hadn’t been consistently writing posts that whole time. About two-thirds of my daily traffic comes from search engines.

In other words, much of my traffic comes here because I have content people want. It takes time—and obviously writing that content—to reach that point.

I have 525 published posts here. That’s 525 chances for someone to stumble over my blog via a search or social media share.

How Our Fiction-Writing Careers Grow

Obviously, those same lessons can apply to our fiction writing as well. We all start with zero knowledge, zero platform or community, and zero readers.

Yes, we might get a big splash with a release push from a publisher, a well-known reviewer, or a write-up in a Best Of list. But we might not.

Even if we don’t have that viral or buzz-worthy push, our career isn’t doomed. Slow and steady growth works for fiction writing too.

We need to create content, and that takes time. But each book we release is another chance that readers will stumble over our work. And when they discover us, they might read our other work or tell their friends, and that adds up to success.

How We Find Ourselves and Our Passion

  • It Takes Time to Discover Ourselves

One reason I couldn’t conceive of myself still blogging five years down the road back when I first started is because I hadn’t discovered how much I loved it yet. I didn’t go into blogging knowing that I’d love sharing knowledge or tips.

I started just because it seemed the thing to do. And I certainly didn’t think I had over 500 ideas for posts.

Even if someone had put a gun to my head at the beginning, I’d have had a hard time coming up with more than 20 ideas. Most weeks, I still have no ideas. *smile*

  • It Helps to Be Passionate about What We Do

It’s only been very gradually that I realized how much I love blogging for all of you. At first, I loved it for the ability to relate to other writers and form a community, but that’s grown into a passion for helping other writers reach their potential.

Sometimes that means I share my knowledge, and sometimes that means I share my struggles. Either way, we know we’re not alone, and that’s the feeling that drives me to write a post when I’m not in the mood.

  • Writing Consistently Is Hard

Even so, it would have been much easier to not write a blog post all those times. As I said, at least half the time, I have no ideas for a post when I force myself to sit down and write.

If I waited for inspiration to hit, I’d have about a quarter of that number of posts. Just because we love what we’re doing doesn’t mean it’s easy.

RockyWaters Quote

(Like this quote?  )

  • Practice Makes Better

The usual phrase, of course, is “practice makes perfect,” but this perfectionist knows all too well that perfect doesn’t exist. Instead, practice leads to improvement. (Hat tip to a toddler speak-o I once heard for the more accurate phrase in the heading.)

Have you ever heard the claim that it takes a million words before we’re good at writing? (That goes along with the idea that it takes so many hours to be skilled at something.) Blogging helps those words add up quickly. *smile*

How We Find Our Fiction-Writing Passion

Just as I didn’t know how much I would love blogging until I tried it (for a long while), we might not know the right fiction-writing fit for us until we experiment. We might struggle to find the right fit for our genre, point-of-view, themes, or voice.

Yet with enough experimenting, we’ll eventually find a style that we’re passionate about. Or maybe we’ll know the right approach because it feels comfortable. Or we’ll discover our voice as we learn more about ourselves.

The point is that it often takes time. And while we’re on that journey of discovery, we might not get a sense of when we’re close. It might only be after we’ve been doing something for a while that we even realize how well it’s been working for us.

Even so, writing will still be hard. There will still be days when nothing feels right or comfortable. The words will feel like they belong to a foreign language, or the story will feel forced, or our characters won’t talk to us.

We all know. We’ve all been there. We’re not alone.

But if we keep at it, if we push to learn more about ourselves and what does or doesn’t work for us or fit right, we’ll improve. We’ll always need editing. We’ll always struggle with some aspect of our work. But we will get better. *smile*

Do you blog? If so, what aspects do you struggle with? What lessons have you learned from blogging? Have you learned about yourself by writing? Do you have lessons or insights to share?

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34 Comments below - Time to Add your own.

Amy Keeley July 16, 2015 at 6:10 am

Very encouraging! I had trouble finding a focus for my blog until I realized that scattering of topics was very much me. How did you decide on writing as a focus?

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Jami Gold July 16, 2015 at 8:41 am

Hi Amy,

“I had trouble finding a focus for my blog until I realized that scattering of topics was very much me.”

That’s a great way to put it! As I said in the post, sometimes we have to try things out for a while before we can recognize how they are or aren’t working for us. 🙂

I didn’t have a topic or focus in mind when I started this blog. I just started writing about what interested me. At first, I worried a lot about whether I was doing it “wrong” or focusing on the “wrong” things or being too scattershot.

But unlike some writing blogs, I don’t limit myself to only certain writing topics. I cover craft, the industry, promotion/social media, writing life, etc. In other words, I can talk about just about anything–and if I can relate it to writing, it fits. 😀

Like your realization, I finally decided that approach was me. My teacher-at-heart attitude has always been to turn anything and everything into a learning experience. So this blog is really an extension of that perspective. And even after 5 years, I’m not sure I’ve ever put it into so many words in my head until now, so thank you for bringing up the question! LOL!

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Kim July 16, 2015 at 7:04 am

I blog, but don’t really have a focus (much like my life!), so I jump around. The posts about my Aikido practice generate the most comments, but I don’t want to limit myself that way, so I continue to include other stuff.

You’re right about needing to sit down and write without having something particular in mind. When I wait for inspiration to strike for my blog, I end up not writing for months!

Thanks for the reminders.

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Jami Gold July 16, 2015 at 8:44 am

Hi Kim,

Yes, some advocate for a narrow focus on our blogs, but beyond my experience (that I mentioned in my reply to Amy above), I’ve found that my favorite go-to blogs are those with a broader focus as well. I think if we’re passionate enough about something to pass on a bit of that interest or excitement to others in our post, people will read about things they normally wouldn’t. 🙂 Good luck and thanks for the comment!

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Mary Kate July 16, 2015 at 8:44 am

Congrats on your anniversary! While I started my blog last year, it’s only recently I’ve decided I need to blog consistently, every day, so people know what to expect and hopefully once they find me, they’ll keep coming back. In the meantime all I can do is keep putting out quality content and sharing it where I can!

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Jami Gold July 16, 2015 at 8:49 am

Hi Mary Kate,

Exactly. It takes time–and possibly multiple exposures to our work–to get people to recognize that they like our stuff. Even in the offline world, it might take several times of meeting someone to remember their name and who they are, and the same thing applies to blogs. 🙂 Thanks for the comment and good luck!

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Crystal Thieringer July 16, 2015 at 9:38 am

Congratulations on five years. I just checked my own stats, and my first blog post was in August of 2013, so I am just coming up on the second year mark. It’s encouraging to me, then, to see your traction picked up around the 3.5 year mark. It’s also encouraging to see your discussion with Amy about how having more than one focus can be the focus. It keeps it more interesting for me as a writer. Discipline aside, let’s face it– if I’m not interested in the activity of writing, the blog won’t go anywhere.

As much as I love to learn about how to make things better, when the day is done, I am most drawn to blogs that seem to have an authentic human being on the other side of the screen. If that’s true for me, it must be true for others as well. Thanks for being one of the real ones out there. Congratulations!

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Jami Gold July 16, 2015 at 11:07 am

Hi Crystal,

I’m sure every journey will be different, but if sharing my experience can help show that yeah, it takes time, I hope that’s helpful to others. 🙂

Before that point, my blog readership was growing, slowly but surely, but at some point that growth became steeper, and like I said, I can’t point to just any one thing for that change. I’ve often heard that many authors didn’t find their fiction readership grow until they had 3-5 books out (especially in a series), so I’d guess this was similar.

Great point about authenticity being key. Another category of blogs I tend to read regularly are of those I’ve met in person, even if I’m not super-invested in the topic, and I think that’s for the same reason. When we feel like we know someone–either online or from meeting them in person–we care more about what they have to say.

I think that’s why sharing what we’re passionate about is so important. If we care about the topic, hopefully we can get across that enthusiasm to our readers. 🙂 Thanks for sharing that insight!

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Celia Reaves July 16, 2015 at 10:36 am

Congratulations on reaching the 5-year mark! My one-year anniversary is tomorrow, and your discussion of what it took and what you’ve learned is a real inspiration to a newbie like me. Thanks for sharing!

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Jami Gold July 16, 2015 at 11:17 am

Hi Celia,

You’re welcome! Sometimes we look at those who have reached a certain level of success–like reading a fantastic story–and we despair of ever matching that. But we didn’t see the oodles of rough drafts and revisions along the way. 🙂

If sharing the sausage-making helps with correcting that misconception, all the better. LOL! Thanks for the comment and the congrats!

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Elle Lee Love July 16, 2015 at 10:51 am

Hi Jami,
Congratulations on five years of blogging! I’m glad to know I’m not the only writer whose characters give them the “silent treatment”. It’s so frustrating when my characters stop talking to me. I always write dialogue first and then the action. But right now, I’m not writing anything. Do you have a post on how to get back on speaking terms with your characters? I would appreciate any wisdom/advice you have to offer. Thanks.

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Jami Gold July 16, 2015 at 11:27 am

Hi Elle,

Hmm, good question! I don’t have a post specifically about that topic, but I can noodle it and see if I come up with anything. My initial thoughts…

  • Go back to a scene when they were last speaking to us. Sometimes we zigged when they wanted to zag, and they’re pouting over that mismatch.
  • Ask another character what happened, even if they’re not the POV character. Sometimes we just need a foot in the door to get everyone speaking again.
  • Start writing anyway, even if we know the details are wrong. Sometimes the character might get so mad at us for getting it wrong that they’ll tell us all we need to do to fix it. 🙂

I have this post about getting unstuck in general, which might help as well. 🙂 Thanks for the comment and for the congrats!

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Denise Covey July 16, 2015 at 10:05 pm

Hi Jami!
I always read your posts but rarely comment as I tend to think blogs like yours don’t really post for comments. But I’ve enjoyed reading the comments and your replies here.
I’ll take this opportunity to say thank you for how you’ve helped me in crafting my novel. I love your beat sheets!

Thank you,

Denise 🙂

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Jami Gold July 17, 2015 at 8:10 am

Hi Denise,

I can understand that perspective, in that rather than “begging” for comments for the sake of comments, I typically strive to open up the conversation. However, I definitely enjoy comments (as my encouragement of long comments and conversations–even off-topic ones–and the fact that I reply to all comments shows 🙂 ), and when a post doesn’t get any for hours and hours, I worry the post was a misfire. (Self-doubt never fades–there’s another important lesson. LOL!)

Thanks for kind words–and the comment! 😀

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Stacey Campbell July 17, 2015 at 1:49 am

Hi Jami,
What an inspirational post, I love hearing about how other people’s journey’s have gone for them, the ups and downs, the surprises and how sticking at something and consistently showing up builds a readership and your own knowledge of writing.

Thanks for your fantastic blog posts, I really enjoy them – so keep them coming.

Stacey

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Jami Gold July 17, 2015 at 8:11 am

Hi Stacey,

Thanks for the kind words! I hope my brain keeps coming up with ideas, and I’m always open to questions for post topics. LOL! Thanks for stopping by!

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Paula Millhouse July 17, 2015 at 4:53 am

Thanks for this post among all your others, Jami.

I think you’re right – consistency is key. And it is hard, but worth it. Some weeks I’ve sat watching the cursor blink, but once I get going the words start flowing.

How long on average do you spend composing a post?

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Jami Gold July 17, 2015 at 8:31 am

Hi Paula,

Ugh. I’m not sure I want to figure it out. LOL! That’s a hard question, actually, especially as many of my blog posts are epic-length. 😉

I’d guess that from opening up the New Post screen to being done-done (all formatting, editing, blog image, etc.) and I’m can-go-to-bed done is usually about 3 hours. A bit over two hours of that would be the drafting and initial revising/formatting of the post (assuming a 1000-1500 word post–i.e., short for me 😉 ), then a bit less than a half hour for the backend stuff (finding and formatting the blog image, creating an excerpt, setting up links and images, etc.), and then the last half hour would be the reread for editing/proofing.

That time obviously goes up for my more-typical long posts of 1500-2000 words. Those would usually take 4 (or 5 or 6…) hours.

Part of the reason I often wait until the last minute to write blog posts (rather than spend a day writing all the week’s or month’s posts at once) is because of the truthism about a job taking up whatever time you have. The earlier in the day I start a post, the longer it tends to take–and instead of getting “free” hours at the end of the day after I finish, the post just takes up the whole day. LOL!

Anyway, all that to say that it’s definitely a time commitment. No argument there. Part of the reason I started with my Tuesday/Thursday schedule right from the beginning–even though the trend at the time was for daily or M/W/F posts–was because I wanted to be a “writer who blogs,” not a “blogger who writes.” I know several successful blogs that do just one post a week, and I now think that’s a good approach as well.

Does that answer your question? Or did that open up new questions? 🙂 Thanks for asking!

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Serena Yung July 18, 2015 at 12:23 am

Hey Jami!

Yay, I started reading your blog even before it reached the tipping point! :D. Makes me feel privileged, lol. I remember it was the plot-driven vs. character-driven story post that was the first one I read; yeah I was for some reason searching for that topic, so yay discovery via Google!

On that day or the day before, I remember commenting on another blog on the same character vs. plot-driven stories topic. The author of that blog replied to my comment as well, but the reason why I followed your blog instead of his, was that though he was friendly too, I felt that you were even friendlier! He sounded somewhat more formal, but you sounded more informal and therefore more warm and approachable! Actually I find that the vast majority of blog authors seem to reply in a more formal, though still friendly and polite, style. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I’m personally more comfortable with informality, haha! :D.

Yes, I agree that sharing your struggles with us is good. In fact, I think that when blog authors talk about their personal experiences and life, this makes them feel more like a flesh and blood, relatable human being, rather than just an expert you consult. It’s like how I like it when our uni professors talk about themselves and their lives, because this makes them sound human, so they aren’t just a prof, lol.

As for myself, you know I don’t have a blog, but I think I will write one in the future, perhaps sharing my personal writing experiences and life experiences, especially the ones that might be helpful to others. I wasn’t aiming to let people other than interested family and friends read my books at first, but it dawned on me sometime I think a few months ago, that my specific target audience may not be my friends and family, or only a few would be my “target audience.”

Okay maybe that’s a bit pessimistic to say, because when I published my sci-fi novel and gave it to friends, quite a few said they really liked it, and some were VERY flatteringly enthusiastic about it. I don’t think it’s because they like me (though that could have been a factor!); I think it’s because the type of plot, characters, themes, genres, and story world, or a combination of these appealed to these friends. Two of these friends specifically mentioned that they loved the characters, plot, and very detailed story world. So okay it might not be as impossibly difficult to find target audience readers as I thought, haha.
But anyway, yeah I could try to reach more target readers e.g. by blogging, participating in writer communities, and even advertising on specific book promotion Facebook groups! Yes, I have actually discovered the latter and joined several, and I know that these FB groups that allow authors to post ads for their books DO work, at least sometimes, because I scrolled down some of these FB groups and already found two books that interested me and I promptly bought them, lol.

And participating in writer communities does work at least sometimes too, because I was scrolling through the comments on a blog post on self-publishing, and saw that this guy wrote romantic comedies! I know there’s Shakespeare, but male authors writing romantic comedies goes against the gender stereotype, and you know how much I love gender-atypical stuff, and so I clicked to see his blog. I read the first bit of one of his blog posts, and I really liked what I read and thought it was very sweet. And so I went to Amazon to search for his books. For some reason, the title names and book covers didn’t really appeal to me, but I LOVED the blurbs!

So I bought my favorite one of the books he published so far. I recently finished reading this book and liked it enough to buy the other book he had published too! And I also saw that he recently published a third book, and a fourth is coming, but I will order them in the future.

Moreover, I liked the author’s personality and sense of humor so much, that I wanted to subscribe to his newsletters so I could get updates when he publishes new books. But unfortunately for some reason, the subscription button didn’t seem to work…. -_- Oh well, I’ll have to check from time to time myself, haha.

And I believe I mentioned this before, but I believe in the idea of “yuan fen”, which is a Chinese (Buddhist, I think) term that basically means “being meant to meet someone”. As a Christian, that translates to “you will meet person X according to God’s plan.” So same with books, their authors, and readers. A friend rightly says that there are so many books in this world, that we would never be able to read them all. However, I’m no longer that bothered about that, because we can just read the books we “were meant to meet and like”, lol.

And I really take to heart now this idea of a target audience, rather than the general audience. When I scrolled down the Facebook pages promoting lots of authors’ books, I ignored most of them because they didn’t seem like the type I was REALLY interested in, due to their covers, titles, genres, or blurbs. YET a few of these books, especially their blurbs, “spoke” to me personally, and so I bought them!

The cool thing is that this is so personal, since I’m sure not everyone would have the same “heart reaction” to these books as I did. One of the books I bought spoke to me, because the story echoes one of my most important personal life experiences. :D. So personal and targeted indeed!

Back to blogging, I agree with you that it would take lots of effort and commitment to keep writing. Derek Murphy recommends for instance writing one post a week, but you write two posts a week, so extra congratulations to you for such dedication to your blog and readers! 😀
When I come to writing my own blog in the future, I would have to improve my time management (for example by shortening my comments XD, though they are so fun to write…) to be able to write that much. Before, I didn’t plan on writing a blog because I didn’t know how I was going to make time for it, but I think it is possible if I try hard enough and strategize! Even if I can’t manage once a week, I could still try to update the blog as often as possible. Ah, time management is tricky. :O

Yet, I’m motivated to write such a blog in the future since it would be fun to write about personal writing and life experiences, especially the former! I actually talk a lot about my writing discoveries and experiences to some close friends, so I can share them with strangers as well. I especially want to share writing experiences that are not covered, or usually not covered, by story writing guides.

I remember you saying that you aim to write posts on things that aren’t already blogged about by other people, so more different and “not normal” (yay paranormal!) things. This would also be wise advice, because though it’s not “bad” to write about something many others have already written about, since this is likely an important topic, it would be more interesting to blog readers to see more original ideas, or at least some different perspectives and thoughts on a common topic.
It’s nice when I see someone with a different or more “unorthodox” opinion on a writing topic, haha, though “orthodox” opinions are okay too and can be helpful to those who have never heard of them before. It’s also very helpful that you give reasons and explanations behind certain tips and advice, because they enhance our understanding of pieces of advice. It isn’t helpful when some people simply say “telling is bad! Showing is good!”, lol, so I’m glad you don’t do that. I liked your posts talking about the pros of “telling”, as it’s a great complement to all the negativity towards “telling” in the writing community, and shows us that writing has a lot of nuances, that no writing rule is absolute.

So when I write about my writing experiences, apart from sharing my personal interesting/quirky writing discoveries, I would really like to talk about “the other sides of the arguments.” When the vast majority of the writing community seems to believe that X is the way and Y is bad, I would like to point out the instances when Y is good and X not so good, and I would use specific examples because you know I’m very fond of (maybe too fond of) using examples, haha.

But I do personally find arguments with examples more interesting and enlightening to read, than the arguments without examples that just look like theory or sometimes mere blanket statements. Like I would find an article using Batman as an example to talk about the Mary Sue issue more intriguing, enriching, and substantial to read, than an article that simply discusses the Mary Sue without illustrating any of the blog author’s points with examples. It’s much easier to understand and apply concepts when you’ve seen actual examples too.

The other main thing I would like to write about, are my…bilingual writer experiences. Maybe I haven’t been searching hard enough, but I haven’t really found any communities or blogs talking about authors who write bilingually. There was this article talking about some authors who wrote in two or more different languages, but the blog writer didn’t say much about them or their experiences…So it would be fun to talk about this topic of novelling in two or more languages since very few people talk about it, it seems. And it would especially be cool to find other people who also write bilingually through my blog; I would feel less alone in my struggles.

My main bilingualism struggle is that though I seem to be able to write Chinese novels that sound written by a first language speaker now, my Chinese is still…rather lacking compared to the average author who writes novels in Chinese. 🙁 Of course, I’m trying my hardest by reading lots of Chinese books (I sort of alternate between English and Chinese books), but argh, I still see so much that I lack especially in terms of vocabulary!

It’s not that I know very few words; in fact, my mom says I probably know more Chinese words than the average Chinese person (thanks to my assiduous checking of the dictionary), but compared to the average Chinese WRITER, I am so far behind. OTL. Also, KNOWING lots of words and idioms doesn’t mean I know how to use them all naturally and fluently. I find my Chinese writing way too repetitive in word choices, sigh, whereas in English, I would be much more capable of varying my expressions. When I read a book by one of my favorite Chinese authors, I would admire the variety and strong expressiveness of their word choices, and feel my lacking even more intensely, argh.
Thanks for listening to my long rant, lol! But it really is challenging to write in two languages. 🙁 I do have one friend who wants to write in both English and Chinese in the future, though at the moment he’s only writing in English. It’d be nice to get to know more bilingual authors who struggle with these same issues. And yes, I know I’m greedy for wanting to become a fabulous writer in both English and Chinese, but…uh, yeah, I’m greedy. Well, at least I’m not aiming to excel in French too, lol!

Okay, for other things: I like your emphasis on patience and gaining a readership bit by bit, rather than expecting a sudden surge of readers via a post going viral. Working steadily to gain an increasing number of readers and followers, certainly sounds a lot more stable and reliable than having just ONE super popular post or work, which sounds too short-term to me, like a fad that will pass.

Cool, I have for some reason have not heard of the “it takes a million words before we’re good at writing”. But LOL I have actually already written more than 1,200,000 words in my story (though they are Chinese characters, not English words), but I still have a great deal to improve on, and there are countless things I’m dissatisfied with! :O.
So I don’t know if I could call myself a “good writer”. Yes, my friends tend to like my stories and think highly of my writing abilities, but does that mean I’m a “good” writer? Some friends have even praised my Chinese writing abilities, but that’s because they think I’m really good for a Chinese person whose first language is not Chinese, lol. I.e. they are using lower standards to judge me in the first place. OTL.

But I have heard of this Chinese idiom saying “when you read and ‘penetrate/break deeply into’ ten thousand books, your writing would look like it’s been written by a divine spirit.” Oh man, not a great translation, haha, but I hope you get what I mean, lol. I most certainly have not read 10,000 books, let alone ‘penetrated’ them! By penetrating/ breaking deeply into, I think they mean thinking and understanding in great depth.

P.S. After counting the total of my Chinese and English words in story writing, I’ve actually written more Chinese words than English ones… Er, I really didn’t expect that, haha. Must be my crazy long Chinese story I’m writing right now; I didn’t write that much for my other two incomplete Chinese stories. My English wordcount is only about 770,000 words. Overall, I have a total of over 2 million words, but I still feel FAR from a great writer, haha, partly because I don’t have much editing experience. I wrote a lot, but I still need to edit A LOT of it! So I think it’s better to say “it takes one million FULLY EDITED words to make a good writer”. 😀 “Fully edited” includes developmental editing as well as line, copy-editing and proofreading.

(Despite having much more “wordcount experience” in Chinese story writing than in English story writing, my skills in writing English stories are still much superior to my Chinese ones, though, due to the above reasons.)

P.S. 2: I started using Wattpad–for reading–and I’m pleasantly surprised that they have fanfiction as well. Yay, fanfiction reading is a lot easier now that they have a phone app, and you can read downloaded stories offline. One big reason why I didn’t bother reading fanfiction now, is because it’s quite inconvenient and kind of a pain to read stories on my computer. Oh, speaking of fanfiction, I forgot that I actually do have one co-authored story–the pokemon fanfic that I’m writing with my best friend right now, haha; but it’s not a very serious story, so. There were two Chinese stories that started off co-authored too, but after a short while, I was the only person still writing…Co-authoring as in we would each take turns writing as much as we wanted to, so a “pantsing co-authorship”.

P.S. 3 (last one!): :I noticed that for your book covers, the male paranormal characters are on the right, and the female one (Elaina) is on the left. Is this intentional to put male supernaturals (if I may call them that) on the right and the female supernaturals on the left? Or are you just alternating between left and right for each successive book?

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Serena Yung July 18, 2015 at 12:35 am

(Yikes–sorry, my paragraph spacing got a bit messed up there. I actually wrote it all on my phone, then put it on MS Word so I could use Grammarly on it, lol. But the enter spaces all disappeared so I had to manually space it. Argh, that I for some reason missed several. >_< Eek I added the P.S.'s afterwards in this box, and didn't use Grammarly on it. Sigh, I read it over already but still didn't catch the double colon…Hopefully there aren't any more mistakes! BTW, I wish there was a Chinese version of Grammarly too; it would be a huge help, lol.)

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Jami Gold July 19, 2015 at 10:49 pm

Hi Serena,

No worries! Those are very minor things that people wouldn’t notice. 🙂

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Jami Gold July 19, 2015 at 10:48 pm

Hi Serena,

LOL! Yep. And wow, you remember the first post you read here? That’s amazing. 🙂

Thanks for confirming the idea that authentic and genuine is the way to go, and that means we don’t want to hide our personality online. We might choose to show the best parts of our personality, but still…personality that is genuine to who we are wins. 🙂

I love that you’re recognizing that your target audience might be bigger than you thought. We never know where we might find people that enjoy our work, so it’s good to not limit ourselves too much.

Back when I first started blogging, every day or 3 times a week was the normal blogging schedule, so my twice a week was already cutting back by quite a bit. If I were to start over now, I’d probably do a once-a-week schedule, which is more common now.

Oh! I think blogging your experiences as a bilingual writer would be awesome. I had someone contact me several months ago in fact, asking if I had recommendations for resources about writing in a second language, but I didn’t know of any. So that’s a definite need. 😀

And yeah, I agree with you that just writing a bunch of crap words wouldn’t make us good writers. We won’t automatically improve without knowledge and skills we pick up through other sources like feedback, editing, classes, etc.

To answer your question, the first couple of stories in the Mythos Legacy just happened to alternate between male and female paranormal characters, and I thought that was cool, so now I’m doing it on purpose during planning/drafting. And yes, we decided to make the left/right thing on the covers echo that. Good catch! Thanks for the comment!

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Serena Yung July 21, 2015 at 9:35 pm

Haha yeah hurray, my memory isn’t always bad! XD Sometimes I believe that I have a bad memory for everything except for exams and tests (I think I mentioned this before), but of course this is too pessimistic a view of my memory, lol! You know, I think I could call myself “an optimist who often thinks pessimistically”, lol! Meaning that I’m optimistic in general, but can be ridiculously, even ludicrously, pessimistic sometimes, haha.

Hurray for being genuine! Yeah, we don’t want potential blog readers to think we’re a bit distant, so I like the warm and friendly approach better too. Lol yeah we may be showing our best sides, but our best sides are still genuinely a part of us. 😉

Hmm I wonder why the norm has changed from so many blog updates a week, to only once a week now.

Oh my! I dream of the day when I can find online resources, websites, and communities for bilingual writers, because I couldn’t find any. (I could try again.) I also asked on three different writer Facebook groups, including ALLi, whether anybody knew of any online communities for bilingual authors, but nobody had any answers. 🙁

For Chinese and English writing specifically, one reason why it’s so hard to find fellow bilingual writers, is that, from what I’ve seen, most Chinese people are either the type who are great in Chinese but not that great in English (for writing, specifically), OR they are fabulous in English but don’t know much (or any!) Chinese. There are few people who are great at both.

And no, of course I’m not implying that I am great at both (I wish, lol! ), but that at the very least, even though Chinese is sort of a second language to me, I am good enough to read Chinese novels and even some literary classics, and have enough Chinese vocab and specific genre reading experience (the martial arts genre) to write long novel series in Chinese.

That said, just because I can do it, doesn’t mean I can do it well, at least not yet, haha. But at least my mom thinks my prose looks like it’s written by a first language speaker, lol, even if the writing is still on the average/ high average level; my mom said it’s definitely not on the low average level, so yay that’s encouraging!

However, it was kind of discouraging when a girl I chatted with online in Chinese said, after I told her my first language is actually English, “Ah! No wonder your Chinese sounds like it’s from a translated novel. The grammar is kind of different.” (She said that in Chinese, of course.) So 🙁 eek, I still can’t pass off as a native yet, haha.

It may be of interest to some that even though I’m ethnically Chinese, I feel a lot more comfortable and at home in the non-Chinese English-speaking communities, than in the Chinese Chinese-speaking communities. It’s just that there are a lot of things in the modern Chinese language (including slang) and culture that I don’t know, so I feel a disconnect between me and them, and I feel like the way I express myself can be so…archaic and formal (since I read mostly historical Chinese novels), so that people would recognize immediately that I’m not one of them. OTL

Yeah there is something so important about being familiar with the modern (not historical, lol!) culture and language, that makes you feel more or less accepted by that community. Not saying that the Chinese community would “reject” me, since there are a lot of nice people there, but I feel a great divide between me and them due to my unfamiliarity with the modern Chinese language and culture. 🙁 On the other hand, I feel I fit in a lot more with English speaking communities, since English is my first language, and I’m much more familiar with the modern North American culture than with the modern Chinese culture, since I was educated and raised in the former.

I don’t generally care very much about “belonging” to and “being accepted by” certain groups, but this is one of those instances where I do sort of care, haha! Hey, at least I do feel like I belong to the “writers’ community”, lol, even though it seems most people there are so much farther ahead than I am in their writing career, haha. I do feel like a baby in online writing communities sometimes. D: But I’ll get there eventually! ^_^”

Sorry for such a long rant! But I do have insecurities about my Chinese, even though I clearly have the ability to make myself understood in Chinese and to understand others, even online where I can’t rely on facial expressions or gestures.

Recently I joined this Facebook group on the martial arts genre, and you could say that I’m practicing and trying to gain more self-confidence in Chinese there, haha. The people in this group are really nice and welcoming. 🙂 There was a post by an older guy saying that he’s happy to join this group, but hopes that group members won’t mind him being a lot older than them. Many people came to comment on this post, saying some really kind things like “people of all ages are welcome!”, “there are no generation gaps in discussing the martial arts genre!” (all said in Chinese, of course.) So I thought that was quite sweet. 😀

At first, I was only confident enough to ask and answer simple questions, like someone’s question: which main character from Louis Cha’s books do you think is the most powerful (in martial arts)? LOL the few word answers. But today I pushed myself to dare to ask a more complex question. There was this guy who thought that though he loved all the main characters in Louis Cha’s stories, he thinks that the protagonists in Cha’s later works are more interesting in personality, and gave some examples.

Now as a writer, I was very intrigued by this topic, so I asked (in Chinese) whether he thought the later works’ characters are more interesting because their personalities are clearer and easier to pinpoint than the characters in the earlier works? I gave examples of characters too. Of course, I wrote a disclaimer at the bottom of my question that though my favorite character is one of the later work protagonists, I love the other characters too, just in case some people think I’m denigrating some characters, which I’m not, haha.

So I’ll see how the guy (hopefully) replies, but I’m not too worried since he seems to be quite a nice and diplomatic person, lol, so he’d probably not laugh at my Chinese, at least not publicly, haha! (See my lack of confidence? XD) It also feels weird that the vast majority of group members are guys…A lot of them do seem to be quite friendly and warm people, but it still feels weird when your gender is in the minority, er…LOL!

And I wonder if any of them would find it funny that my profile picture, as well as cover photo, are in the Chinese martial arts genre too, lol. If any of them clicks to see my timeline, they’ll see it filled with drawings of my characters from the martial arts genre and they might think: Hmm, this girl appears to be obsessed with our Facebook group topic, lol!

Oh for the writing one million words topic, just in case my previous comment caused any misunderstanding for others who read it, I wasn’t trying to boast about having written that number of words. Quite the contrary! I was using myself as an example that having written over a million words does NOT mean you are now a magnificent writer, unfortunately.

In fact, maybe I should even feel somewhat ashamed of myself that I wrote this much without editing that much of it yet. ^_^” I do really look forward to editing my to-be-published works, though, and feel much more confident in doing so thanks to having much more experience in writing, reading, and from learning things from blogs and websites like yours. 🙂

Ooh! Yes, I do see that Ironclad Devotion will have a female paranormal. 😀 Yay! (Not that I dislike male paranormals; they’re cool too!)

And uh, if you don’t mind, I thought of two writing-related questions too:

1. What’s your opinion on semicolons? I only realized recently when I read Edittorrent that there’s actually a heated debate on it…

From what I know, some readers (and writers) hate semicolons, feel that they make sentences harder to read, and would like the writer to use as few (or no) semicolons in the story as possible. However, I do know that some modern bestsellers use a lot of semicolons, like Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments series and Alison Croggon’s Pellinor series (I think Christopher Paolini’s Inheritance Cycle–Eragon–too.) Yes, I know they’re all young adult fantasy books, haha, which is one of my favorite genres.

When I see a work with many semicolons, I automatically have a higher opinion of the writing style, lol! Yes, semicolons are actually my favorite punctuation, haha; I know I’m weird. Semicolons aren’t just some fancy punctuation to me, though. Rather, semicolons create this more complex rhythm that I really like in the prose. The rhythm sounds more…layered and structured too with these semicolons that are between a period and a comma in their “pause intensity”.

As you probably already know, I care tremendously (maybe too much!) about prose rhythm, so I’m very happy to see authors use semicolons in a skilled way to create those beautiful sounds and rhythms. :D. Of course, I’m not saying a work can’t sound pleasing to the ear if they don’t use semicolons. For instance, I think Treasured Claim didn’t use many semicolons (do correct me if I remembered wrong!) but the prose most certainly was euphonic and lovely! 😀

I also asked a reader friend yesterday who is not a writer how she felt about semicolons. She said she feels neutral towards them. As long as the sentence isn’t too long (no page-long sentences, please!), she’s fine with it.

So, it’s interesting to see how different people feel towards this punctuation mark! What are your views on semicolons? 😀

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Serena Yung July 21, 2015 at 9:39 pm

Sorry, silly me forgot to copy and paste the second part of my reply too (I’m writing on my phone’s notepad, so I have to split it into two notes if my comment is too long..lol.
)

2. How do you personally define “good writing?” (Writing as in the language and prose itself, not the plot or characters.)

Yesterday I was reading this very long thread on writing vs storytelling in the Writer’s Group Facebook group, and the OP of this thread seems to define good writing as being grammatically correct (maybe even perfect), not using too many adjectives or adverbs, and some other things that I don’t recall now.

While I do agree that grammar is important, at least in most cases, and that overuse of adverbs and adjectives can be very annoying to the reader, my friend and I define good writing differently. We define it as the ability to express what you want to express, so your “power and effectiveness of expression”.

This definition leaves room for poetic license, like when writers use nonstandard grammar or punctuation, use words in strange ways, or even make up new words. Our definition also puts a strong importance on finding the right words, so word choice, rhythm and speed control in sentences and paragraphs, etc. So this is all about conveying the message as accurately, effectively, and powerfully as possible.

So what’s your definition of good writing?

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Jami Gold July 24, 2015 at 5:42 pm

Hi Serena,

It cracks me up how some people write essays on their phones, but I know several who do. 🙂 Anyway…

For me, I love writing that has a rhythm that flows and carries me along. I don’t want grammar or spelling issues to take me out of that flow either. But things like adjectives, adverbs, wordiness, etc. don’t stand out to me if the flow is there.

So our definitions are probably similar. 🙂 Thanks for the comment(s)!

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Jami Gold July 24, 2015 at 5:39 pm

Hi Serena,

Interesting experiences with your struggle to write in two languages. I bet you’re close to sounding native. We know how English grammar can sound a tiny bit off without going full Yoda. LOL!

Answer to question #1:
I’ve seen more writers misuse semicolons than use them correctly, so that might be part of the reason why modern voices don’t seem to use them very often? I don’t know. The basic rules seem easy to me, but then again, I understand most comma rules. 😉

However, I know they take some readers out of the story because they are so uncommon, so I tend to use them only when it’s the best option. That means I use them only once or twice a book generally.

My writing style leans toward non-convoluted sentences, so that makes them less necessary. One time I’ve used them are for really short sentences: He’d promised; he lied. But see, even there, I’d tend to think that two sentences would be stronger. Or an em-dash. I’m an em-dash addict. 😀 If I didn’t restrain myself, I’d have an em-dash in almost every sentence. LOL! So yeah, although I’m confident with semicolon usage, I don’t usually use them. *shrug*

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Serena Yung July 24, 2015 at 7:07 pm

Yeah I care a lot about flow and rhythm of the writing too!

I am gradually feeling more confident about communicating online in Chinese, as people are liking my comments and questions, meaning they understand them AND like them, haha. Thanks for saying that I probably sound close to native. 🙂

Semicolons…lol well for now, I would use my excuse that Christopher Paolini, Cassandra Clare, and Allison Croggon use lots of semicolons beautifully, to justify my extensive use of them, lol. As long as I use them properly and effectively.

It’s like how I ignore the no adverbs rule, because I see a lot of traditionally published books I love using lots of adverbs anyway. As long as nothing looks too heavy or overdone. And as always, I think it’s more important that we use the most appropriate method for each specific occasion, rather than applying a general rule for everything. If it would be most effective with an adverb, then do it; if it would be more effective with an action description instead, then go for that instead!

Oh this may be interesting to say too, but my mom told me that Chinese sentences are in general longer. Once, I let her read a paragraph of mine composed of mostly short sentences. She said that sounded weird, and I said I was just using the (English) technique of multiple short sentences to create that certain effect. But my mom just said that Chinese sentences are usually much longer than that, and many consecutive short sentences are even rarer in Chinese. And so, I could do lots of commas, like a lot of books do, but I feel it’s easier to read when there are some semicolons in the sentence rather than all commas. So I guess my semicolon use in Chinese is more justified? LOL!

After skimming a few of those Chinese martial arts books, I see that most of them use sentences that have many commas. Some sentences even have 7-9 commas! But for some reason, I wasn’t bothered by that as a reader (didn’t even pay attention to what punctuation was used, lol!), so maybe this “many commas in a sentence with no semicolons” approach is okay for Chinese books, at least in this genre.

The books I was looking at were published in 2012 and 2013 respectively, even though they are later editions (I.e. not the original work). But I expect the editors made the writing friendly to a modern 2012-2013 audience? So I guess modern Chinese audiences are fine with this” many commas” method.

There’s another martial arts series written by an older author, and I see that he uses semicolons occasionally too. However, a 2013 published version of one of his books (Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon!) also has quite a few semicolons. So I’m not sure if the editors just want to preserve punctuation style of the author, or they think the modern audience is accepting of it, especially as the latter know that this author is older. (He died in 1977.) The other two authors I mentioned up there died in 1985 and 2009 respectively. My favorite martial arts author was born around the same time as these two, (1920-1930s), but thankfully, he is still alive.

There’s also this historical novel published in 2013 that uses the “many commas, but no or few semicolons” approach. I believe the author is still pretty young, since her novel was originally an online story, and online stories are a relatively recent thing. But I can’t find her biographical info on her date of birth, maybe because she’s a very popular yet not very famous author, and maybe because she doesn’t want people to work out her age, haha!

My mom might have been exaggerating about Chinese sentences being mostly long, though, because in Chinese novels, there are some shorter sentences (e.g. only one comma) too. But my mom admits that she rarely (almost never) reads novels, so her impression may be inaccurate. She reads mostly newspapers, and when she does read books, she only reads nonfiction.

Hmm okay so from my survey above, maybe more modern Chinese books use semicolons rarely or never at all, but use tons of commas. Yet the prose is more balanced than the impression I might have given you above, since the texts tend to be a mix of longer and shorter sentences, to vary the rhythm nicely.

So…I guess it depends on personal preference. I’m fine reading Chinese sentences with many commas, maybe because I’m used to it. Yet on the other hand, I think huge 9 comma sentences would do better with a semicolon or two there, just to make it more structured and easier to understand. But maybe some readers think semicolons disrupt the flow or just dislike semicolons? I’m not sure. Never asked Chinese readers for their opinions on semicolons before!

Maybe ultimately it’s about creating a flow and rhythm that sounds good to you (the writer.) If semicolons help accomplish that desired rhythm, great! If not, we can replace them with periods or commas (or dashes, lol.)

There’s also the clarity problem, so if I write a sentence that would be like 8 commas long, I may consider putting in a semicolon or splitting it into two different sentences or something. LOL that I’m counting sentence length by the number of commas in it…

P.S. It would be great to be a very popular yet not very famous author, since I’m fame-phobic but do want many readers to like my work and characters, haha.

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Jami Gold July 24, 2015 at 8:59 pm

Hi Serena,

That’s interesting about sentence length in Chinese. Yes, 7-9 commas would be considered excessive in most modern English sentences. LOL!

Do you know if the grammar for semicolons is the same in Chinese as it is for English? For example, in English, an author has to pay attention to whether a comma is for a compound sentence with a conjunction (where the comma could easily be replaced by a semicolon if the conjunction is dropped) or for an adverbial/adjectival phrase or subordinate clause, etc. (where the comma could not be replaced by a semicolon).

That’s the mistake I see authors make with semicolons. I see a lot of things like: Although she wasn’t trying to avoid Jack; she simply didn’t want to be near him. In other words, it seems like they pick any-old comma and replace it with semicolon, but that’s not how they work. Each side has to be a complete sentence on its own, and the “although” turns that first clause into a subordinate that can’t stand on its own (even though it has a noun and a verb).

I know many, many authors who aren’t strong enough in grammar mechanics to understand the differences between the pieces and parts of a sentence to know which kind of comma is which. (And if we have a good editor, we don’t necessarily need to be that strong.) But that means those who try to use semicolons and get them wrong in a published book just look foolishly pretentious to any who know the rules.

I know one person who hung up an “editor” shingle who made that mistake. 🙁 And I once had a contest judge “edit” one of my stories, telling me my work could benefit from semicolons. But then she inserted them in non-grammatical places, such as: She wasn’t trying to avoid Jack. She simply didn’t want to be near him; or something like that. That’s a place for an em-dash, not a semicolon. *sigh* So yeah, I tend to think that most authors who do use semicolons…shouldn’t. 😉

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Serena Yung July 30, 2015 at 9:18 pm

Jami, sorry for taking so long to reply!

Yeah, Chinese semicolons are similar in use to English ones, where semicolons separate two clauses that can stand independently but are linked to each other in some way. So independent but related clauses. Chinese is weird, though, in that many of our “clauses” don’t have subjects, lol!

So that may be one reason why people can tell I’m not native; I’m used to English and feel uncomfortable having such a lack of subjects, so I put in subjects (pronouns and stuff) where a native Chinese speaker would think subjects are not necessary.

Also, I sometimes find it unclear if I don’t put in the pronoun, so even though I know I don’t need a “he” there, I still put in the “he” because the sentence would look clearer, at least to me. But again, that might be how a native would see through me as being not really native, lol! Well, I still haven’t given up on my “excessive (for Chinese) subject insertion” habit yet, haha!

Yet what is more interesting, is the use of commas in Chinese. Commas in Chinese indicate pauses and they separate phrases, not just clauses. The phrase might be something as short as 4 words! (One word as in one character.) Such a short phrase separated out by a comma or two MIGHT look strange in English (sometimes), but it looks completely normal in Chinese, lol! The other interesting thing is that comma splices are allowed and often seen in Chinese. Haha yay Chinese lets you write run-on sentences. XD

Back to English semicolons, yeah they can be confusing, especially when you get to the more complex rules of getting to use semicolons with coordinating conjunctions, conjunctive adverbs, and transitional phrases! http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/how-to-use-semicolons?page=2
and
http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/how-to-use-semicolons?page=1
This site: https://writing.wisc.edu/Handbook/Semicolons.html
also mentions that you can use a semicolon with a coordinating conjunction if the clause is long, even if this long clause has no commas in it.

After reading up on conjunctive adverbs: Yikes, I think I sometimes use a comma before a conjunctive adverb when I should use a semicolon or period instead. Good thing I read these articles.

About coordinating conjunctions again, I have a feeling that not many people know the rules for using semicolons with coordinating conjunctions, so they may think you’re making a grammatical mistake even when you’re not. I know you can sometimes use coordinating conjunctions with semicolons because I see Victorian writers such as Charles Dickens use them in this way, lol, and sites like Grammar Girl clarify how you can do this.

Sometimes I’m not sure if I’m right, though. With the coordinating conjunction rule, you can use a semicolon if both independent clauses are complex clauses with one or multiple commas (or are long clauses); yet, what if only the first independent clause has lots of commas, but the second independent clause has no commas and is relatively short?

This following example is probably right, since both clauses have at least one comma in them:

xxxxx, xxxxxxxxx, xxxxxx; xxxxx, xxxxx.

But I’m not sure about something like this, where the second clause is short and has no commas in it:

xxxxx, xxxxxxxxx, xxx, xxxxxx; xxxxx.

I think I’ve seen the latter example before in books, and so I use this method. But like you said, some editors have no idea what they’re doing when it comes to semicolons, so maybe I imitated people who got it wrong, lol!

If we do manage to use semicolons right all the time, however, maybe readers might be impressed? Yet not all readers know how to use semicolons properly, so they might not be able to appreciate it or think you’re doing it wrong when you’re actually doing it right. So you could say that’s a justification for not using semicolons…

BTW, I looked back at an earlier book written by the Chinese author aforementioned who occasionally uses semicolons, and I found that he uses semicolons sooo frequently in this earlier book! Also, authors from the 19th century like George Eliot tended to use a lot of semicolons too, so maybe semicolons are a more archaic thing. 21st century and maybe even late 20th century authors would just rely on commas and periods, for both Chinese and English.

Haha, I can’t believe we had such a long discussion about semicolons. XD I love semicolons, though, and authors who always use them properly do impress me. 😀

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Jami Gold July 31, 2015 at 4:30 pm

Hi Serena,

That’s interesting about the use of subjects and run-on sentences in Chinese. 🙂

As for the issue of conjunctive adverbs, I just memorize the coordinating conjunctions as FANBOYS (For, And, Nor, But, Or, Yet, So). That way I know everything else needs semicolons (or periods) without having to think about it too hard. 😀

From everything I’ve seen, as long as each side of the semicolon is a complete sentence, it’s grammatically okay to use one–even with a conjunction and with or without a complex clause on both sides. Think of it this way, if we changed the semicolon in this sentence to a period…:

“With the coordinating conjunction rule, you can use a semicolon if both independent clauses are complex clauses with one or multiple commas (or are long clauses); yet, what if only the first independent clause has lots of commas, but the second independent clause has no commas and is relatively short?”

…we’d end up with a sentence starting with Yet. Some people don’t like sentences that start with And, But, etc., but they’re not really incorrect grammatically. So using a semicolon and a conjunction with two complete sentences (whether complex or not) might seem redundant to some, but it’s not necessarily incorrect. 🙂 (In my humble opinion, anyway… LOL! I haven’t heard of any rules against it at least.)

Using semicolons is definitely a voice thing. Some readers might be impressed by them, and some might think it’s pretentious or too formal sounding. And I know some editors love them, and others hate them, so as I was developing my voice, I avoided them “just in case.” I think I’d have to think a bit to add them back in now. 😉

What a fun conversation! (That non-writers would probably just shake their head at…) ) Thanks for the topic!

Mary Jean Adams July 19, 2015 at 11:21 am

My day job is creating content for businesses and more than half of what I do is executive blogging. I sometimes call myself an “executive impersonator”. I would just add that business bloggers have a lot to learn from fiction writers. So many of them do great ‘7 tips’ type posts and then clog the post up with a bunch of fluff at the beginning. Just as fiction writers need to hook their readers fast, so too do the non-fiction writers.

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Jami Gold July 19, 2015 at 10:51 pm

Hi Mary Jean,

Oh, great point! Thanks for sharing that insight. 😀 I’m not sure I always do a great job of that with my blog posts. LOL! But it would be a good thing to pay attention to. Thanks for stopping by!

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Serena Yung July 31, 2015 at 8:11 pm

(I’ll have to reply here since there’s no more reply button for our very long convo, lol)


Using semicolons is definitely a voice thing. Some readers might be impressed by them, and some might think it’s pretentious or too formal sounding. And I know some editors love them, and others hate them, so as I was developing my voice, I avoided them “just in case.” I think I’d have to think a bit to add them back in now.

Yeah, disagreements about semicolons even among readers make editing a headache. Well for now, I will try to reduce the number of semicolons in my stories, but I probably won’t eliminate them completely.

Good point about some people disliking “And” or “But” sentences. 🙁 But LOL I use them all the time. Yet, I think the modern reader is more used to “And….” or “But…” than “… ; and…” or “… ; but…” , just like you said. In fact, is it just me, or has the society changed in this? I feel like when I was still in early middle school, “And…” sentences were highly discouraged, but nowadays when I see articles online, I think even formal articles, “And…” sentences are pretty common. Maybe the society has grown to accept “And…” and “But…” starters, yay!

FANBOYS! Now that is a mneumonic I’ll definitely remember! XD

Haha, non-writers would probably go, “Yikes, nerds!” LOL, just kidding.

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Jami Gold August 2, 2015 at 10:35 pm

Hi Serena,

LOL! at our long conversations. And hey, I used a semicolon just today–for a blog post, but still… 🙂

Schools still teach against And and But sentences, as far as I know. But for casual (non-formal) writing, most people accept them. (Obviously, I see nothing wrong with And or But sentences too. 😉 ) Thanks for the comment!

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