Every ordinary life story is extraordinary!

Every ordinary life story is extraordinary!

Try Garner’s as a Reference for Grammar and Usage

Garner’s Modern American Usage is a great reference tool to help you write your memoir.
Try Garner’s American Usage as a Reference
So many questions about grammar cannot be answered simply yes/no, either/or. While we tend to think of grammar as cut-and-dried, it’s really more of a reflection of preferred usage at this moment in time—preferred rather than absolutely correct, and only at this moment because a living language is constantly changing. So a grammatical construction you learned in school 40 years ago may be less valid today. That’s less valid, not exactly wrong. Also, word choice, usage and even punctuation vary widely depending on your geography. Each English-speaking country seems to have its own rules.
For all of those reasons, for American writing I like a usage guide that’s not on everyone’s radar: Garner’s American Usage. Most people rely on a stylebook such as the AP Stylebook or the Chicago Manual of Style, or a dictionary like Webster’s or American Heritage. But unlike those references, which provide right-or-wrong information, Garner’s Modern American Usage includes the immensely helpful and sensible “Garner’s Language-Change Index,” a five-stage continuum of acceptability ranging from unacceptable to commonly preferred. Garner’s also is a fun read, adding information about the language and elaborating its points with humor.
A review by School Library Journal published on the Oxford University Press website calls Garner’s “the best of its kind in that it simply reports the facts in an engaging way; language evolves and usage changes. An invaluable ready-reference tool.”
http://www.amazon.com/Garners-Modern-American-Usage-Garner/dp/0195382757/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1366214307&sr=8-1&keywords=garner%27s+modern+american+usage
http://www.oup.com/us/catalog/general/subject/Reference/EnglishUsageGuides/?view=usa&ci=9780195382754

So many questions about grammar cannot be answered simply yes/no, either/or. While we tend to think of grammar as cut-and-dried, it’s really more of a reflection of preferred usage at this moment in time—preferred rather than absolutely correct, and only at this moment because a living language is constantly changing. So a grammatical construction you learned in school 40 years ago may be less valid today. That’s less valid, not exactly wrong. Also, word choice, usage and even punctuation vary widely depending on your geography. Each English-speaking country seems to have its own rules.

For all of those reasons, for American memoir writing I like a usage guide that’s not on everyone’s radar: Garner’s American Usage. Most people rely on a stylebook such as the AP Stylebook or the Chicago Manual of Style, or a dictionary like Webster’s or American Heritage. But unlike those references, which gauge each case as right or wrong, Garner’s Modern American Usage includes the immensely helpful and sensible “Garner’s Language-Change Index,” a five-stage continuum of acceptability ranging from unacceptable to commonly preferred. Garner’s also is a fun read, adding information about the language and elaborating its points with humor.

A review by School Library Journal published on the Oxford University Press website calls Garner’s “the best of its kind in that it simply reports the facts in an engaging way; language evolves and usage changes. An invaluable ready-reference tool.”

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Then just set up a chapter and start writing your memoir. Don’t worry about rules. There are no rules to writing your memoir; there are only trends. These trends are based on techniques and features identified in current top-selling memoirs. At best, they’re the flavor of the month. If you’re capturing your life in print for your family, for your own gratification or to inspire readers, rather than aiming to set off Hollywood screenplay bidding wars, these trends don’t even apply to you. You’ll write the memoir that suits you best, and it will be timeless, not trend-driven.There are no rules, but there are four steps:

1. Theme/framework
2. Writing
3. Editing/polishing
4. Self-publishing

You’ve researched this, too, and you’ve been shocked at the price for getting help with any one of those steps, much less all four. That’s because most memoir sites promise to commercialize your work. They’ll follow a formula based on current memoir trends, because they want to convince you that they can turn your memoir into a best-seller. These sites overwhelm you with unnecessary information not to help you, the memoir author, but to address Search Engine Optimization (SEO) algorithms so they can sell more.

That’s not what we do at Write My Memoirs. Our small community of coaches, writers and editors are every bit as skilled as any you’ll find, and we charge appropriately for their expertise and the time they’ll spend helping you craft a compelling, enjoyable read. But you won’t pay an upcharge for other websites’ commercialization, the marketing that follows, and the pages of intimidating “advice.” You can sell your book if you like—we have ISBNs available for you—but our organic process of capturing your story takes a noncommercial path.

If you want help with any or all of the four steps above, choose from our services or save money by selecting one of our packages. If you’d like to talk about what’s right for you, schedule a call. One year from now, you can be holding your published memoir in your hand. And at that point, it will be a big deal!