Category Archives: Grammar/Punctuation

Finding doubled words using perl

I recently switched to Scrivener for writing my documents. Much more enjoyable interface than Word, with lots of nifty features for writers. One big issue: I’m still getting used to Scrivener’s spellchecker. Microsoft Word finds doubled words right out of the box, but Scrivener does not.

The script below is written in perl, which comes pre-installed on Macs. If you paste it into a text file, make the file executable, and then run it in the same directory with a file called “infile.txt” (a cut/paste from Word to the file will do nicely), it will report your doubled words.

*update* – the script won’t catch things like: “bang bang” because the quotes make it think it’s 2 patterns.  Working on it 🙂

Example input (infile.txt):

This is a line
This is another line
And yet another line
wow I sure do a lot of lines, "Don't I?" he said (in a funny voice)...
Wow it sure is is fune typing all this
I like dogs and cats and stuff.
Big big is funner than small people.
how are are the dodgers doing this year? Nobody knows.
more lines and stuff...
etc. etc.
good things come to those who write scripts in perl and post them on the internet

Example Output:

is is ---->  Wow it sure is is fune typing all this
big big ---->  Big big is funner than small people.
are are ---->  how are are the dodgers doing this year? Nobody knows.
etc. etc. ---->  etc. etc.

And now the script:

open(FILE,"infile.txt") or die "Can't open infile.txt: $!";
$section_breaks = "*";  # I have * * * as section breaks. The script sees them as words and should ignore them.
while(<FILE>) {
   $a_line = $_;
   @line = split(/ /, $_);
   $prev = 0;   
   foreach $i (@line) {
      $i = lc($i);
      if ($i eq $prev && $i ne $section_breaks) {
         print "$prev $i ---->  $a_line\n";
      $prev = $i;


Filed under Grammar/Punctuation, Tools for Writers, Writing in general

The show you never knew you needed: Writership Podcast

writership-podcast1400Over on the Sell More Books Show, Jim Kukral announced the launch of a new podcast as part of his new “Author Marketing Institute Podcast Network.” Unlike other author podcasts, this one focuses on craft. Specifically: editing.  Anyone who knows me, or who’s followed the Awesome Indie Project, knows I have an appreciation for good editing. I’m always striving to hone my skills, because the better job I do on my drafts, the easier it will be for a paid editor to help me prepare for publication.


I’ve listened to two shows so far, and both were great. The hosts — Leslie Watts and Alyssa Archer — start the show with a quote about editing from someone famous in publishing, and not necessarily from the trad pubs (the first show quoted Chuck Wendig). After that, they choose a published or unpublished novel someone has submitted and read it on the air for about 10 minutes. Then they tear it to pieces! Haha, just kidding. Actually, they’re incredibly respectful of the work. They say what they like about it, and then suggest improvements from a number of different perspectives: story, pacing, sentence structure, etc.  In my opinion, they do a bang-up job. I really love this stuff and could listen to it all day.


One of the things I love about the show is the personalities of the hosts: calm, focused, friendly, earnest in their mission. Delivery is something I usually don’t think about when it comes to podcasts, but it’s an important consideration. Simon Whistler of the Rocking Self-Publishing Podcast mixes bubbly enthusiasm with a Tony Blair accent, and it’s always fun to hear Jim Kukral and Bryan Cohen riffing off each other so naturally on the Sell More Books Show. It’s no coincidence that I mention these other two shows side-by-side with Writership. They’re all winners.


Filed under Grammar/Punctuation, Indie Publishing, Podcasts

Great episode: Kev & Steve’s Indie Publishing Adventure w. Harry Dewulf

I first heard Harry Dewulf on the Rocking Self-Publishing Podcast, episode #12. I thought he was amazing. On the RSP, he mainly talked about how he approaches editing, how writers should go about hiring an editor, etc.  Here he talks to Kev & Steve about the mistakes he found in the early chapters of their self-published book.  It’s sort of funny how he dishes it out — lots of self-deprecating jokes from the hosts over various mistakes they’d made, quite informative and fun. Harry ends the podcast talking about his editing services, the different tiers, etc.  A worthy episode in this up-and-coming indie publishing podcast.

Episode 6:

Harry Dewulf:

Kev & Steve:


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Filed under Grammar/Punctuation, Indie Publishing, Podcasts

“Like a junkie returns to his needle”

If you dare…

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Filed under Awesome Indies, Grammar/Punctuation, Writing Experience

Woops, forgot to mention…Editing For Indies Webinar

Simon Whistler

Simon Whistler

Simon Whistler is hosting a webinar titled “Editing for Indies”, with Alida Winternheimer as presenter.

Merely signing up gets you:

The “Editing for Indies” guide.
PLUS a special offer for Alida’s editing services!
PLUS live at the webinar we’ll be giving away: 5 advance copies of Audiobooks for Indies and a one-hour consultation with Alida!

Alida Winternheimer

Alida Winternheimer

The webinar is on a Saturday, August 9th, and isn’t too long — about 1.5 hrs.  Seriously, check it out, because whom doesn’t need a little editing now and them?

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Filed under Grammar/Punctuation, Indie Publishing, Writing in general

For folks looking for an editor, here’s a great list…

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Guest Post: Editing — Why Do I Bother?

This is ossum!


Do you ever ask yourself, “Why are so many traditionally published books woefully under-edited?”

Sci-fi and fantasy author Michael Drakich does, too.

Editing – Why Do I Bother?

author Michael Drakich

Lately, in my recreational reading, I have been finding a greater number of the novels I read as being poorly edited. I understand that, by being engaged as an author, my perspective has skewed from the days prior to my entering the industry as I now examine what I read in a different manner. Still, I cannot help but believe the need for crisp editing has gone out the window.Before I go further, I need to clarify something. I’m not talking about self-published works. I’m referring to novels being produced by the big publishing houses.
Call me old-fashioned, but I still have a penchant for buying print copy books instead of reading eBooks, and I tend to make my purchases…

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Filed under Grammar/Punctuation

Why Indie Book Quality is Important

I read this today and totally agree. It’s sort of a big deal.


Filed under Grammar/Punctuation, Indie Publishing, Writing Market

Writing ebooks has changed a lot since the 80’s

Ahh…I remember it so clearly, back in the 80’s…

I’d just gotten home from school, sat down on my Commodore 64 and brought up Amazon (formerly called “”) to check my sales report: 20 downloads!  Where did they come from?  Back then, we didn’t have any cool sales statistics like KDP does today. You know, with that tiny little map and lightly shaded areas indicating that humans with ebooks had at one time downloaded something.  And Google wasn’t Google back then, it was simply called “”  Still, it was all we had, and we were happy to have it.

So anyway, I pulled up A-Whole-Bunch and clicked around with my joystick and guess what? Turns out Michael Jackson, fresh from his Victory Tour, had been Tweeting (Twatting) and Digging (called Dig-Dugging) and Tumbling-Upon (Nudging-Along) all day long, telling people it was awful and not to buy it!  Apparently he’d downloaded a very early, incredibly preliminary version of Kick, which I’d uploaded before it was ready because I heard you could make millions of dollars (hundreds, in 80’s money).  Back then, the working title was “Bop.”  At the time, I  thought it was best not to respond to critics so I ignored Michael Jackson’s attacks.

Maybe a day later, a strange man in a suit showed up at my house and demanded I come out.

“What do you want?” I said.

“I demand that you take “Bop” off of immediately! ” he said.

“And why would I do that?”

“Copyright infringement, you pathetic fool!”

“Who’s copyright am I infringing upon?” I said.

The man laughed mysteriously, adroitly, and emphatically all at the same time, then switched to a maniacal laugh that set my teeth on the edge of my seat, causing my eyes to drop in mesmerizing, ecstatic, anticipatory wonder at him.

“Funny you should ask,” he said. Then he spun around three times, whipped off his glasses and coat, still spinning, and a wind picked up outside and suddenly he was Michael Jackson, hands spread out to his side, yelling, “Hee heeeeeee!

“Wow,” I said.  “You’re Michael Jackson!”

“Shamon,” he said.

“So how am I copyright infringing you?”

“I’m the King of Pop…the name of your book is Bop–it’s too similar.”

“What if I changed it to ‘Beat?'” I said.

“Nice try–my biggest hit was Beat It.”

I thought about it.

“How about Kick?”

He did that kicky move thing he always does and I rolled my eyes.  “Ok, yeah, you got that too.”

“Hey,” he said.  “Why don’t you call it–Hee heeee!

I blinked at him.  “But I thought that was one of your little catchphrase things?”

“No, not ‘Hee heeeee,’ I meant to say–Hee heeeeeee!

Now I was really confused. He’d just said he didn’t mean “Hee heeeee,” and then he’d suggested I use “Hee heeeee.”

“But you just said…”

Hee heeeeee!” he said again.  “Can’t Hee heeeeee! say anything Hee heeeeeeeee! else because Hee heeeeeeeee!”

And suddenly it was clear to me what was going on.

“Come on in, Mike,” I said.

I sat him down, got him a Coke (he flinched when I offered Pepsi), put on his Thriller video, we watched it, it scared him, Heeeeee-cups cured, he said I could call the book “Kick,” and I rushed this blog post to it’s happy/sad/laughed/cried/amazing yet subtle conclusion, with very little editing, and hit “Publish.”

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Filed under Funny, Grammar/Punctuation

Smartquotes, Apostrophes, and which way to turn

So, I’m working on polishing up a manuscript, and guess what? My apostrophes were pointing the wrong way for certain kinds of contractions: Shoot ’em, ‘nother one for the road, ‘fraidy pants.

Think of apostrophes as the number 9

Think of a left single quote as a letter 6

So, words that start with an apostrophe should start with the letter 9.

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