“Into” or “In to”

images-2You would think after five years, I would have this one figured out. Well apparently not. I have been having sections of my novel critiqued for the last 6 months. I seem to have the same issues over and over which is very frustrating.

Just when I think I have the “into” word figured out, I get a critique back citing it, because it was used incorrectly. I’ve developed some friends/ followers on the critique site I use. One of those friends commented just recently, “you’re consistent, I’ll give you that.” Unfortunately, she meant consistently wrong ūüė¶

So I did some research, to hopefully put this one to rest. Thought I would share my findings with you. I have no doubt, I’m not the only person with this problem.

“Into”¬†¬†¬† is a preposition that expresses movement or something toward or into something.

  • I fell into the puddle.
  • I put the money into my pocket.

“In to”¬†¬† is the adverb “in” followed by the preposition “to”. They aren’t related and only happen to fall next to each other.

  • She came in to pick up her laundry.
  • He¬†went ¬†in to see if it was true.

A quick check if you’re still questioning your decision…

Look at your sentence and replace ‘into’ or ‘in to’ with ‘where’. If the second half of the sentence answers where, then use ‘into’.

If that doesn’t work, replace the ‘in to’ with ‘in order to’. If it works, use ‘in to’.

“Into”¬†answers ‘where’.

  • I fell ‘where?’-into the puddle.
  • I put the money ‘where?’-into my pocket.


“In to” is short for ‘in order to’.

  • She came¬† ‘where?’-to pick up her laundry. That doesn’t make sense. It answers ‘why’ not ‘where’.
  • She came ‘in order to’-pick up her laundry. Uses ‘in to’.
  • ——————————————————————–
  • He¬†went¬† ‘where?’ to see if it was true. Again that doesn’t make sense. It’s not answering ‘where’ but ‘why’.
  • He¬†went ‘in order to’ see if it was true. Uses ‘in to’.

Hope this clears thing up. I won’t be making that mistake again ūüôā

-Jan R





“Into” or “In to”

Are You an Opener or a Finisher?

Unknown3I read an article recently that described openers and finishers. I had never really thought about it, though if I had to identify with one of the two, it would definitely be finisher.

An opener is someone with grand ideas, too many grand ideas. They get bogged down and jump back and forth between projects, never to finish one, or they allow themselves to become discouraged and quit before crossing the finish line.

A finisher as you may have all ready guessed, finishes what they start. They primarily stick to one project at a time and move at a slow consistent pace until they have completed their work or met their goal.

When I read this article, I couldn’t help but think about ‘The Tortoise and The Hare’.¬† The Hare was enthusiastic and fast but he allowed distractions(other projects for my analogy) to get in his way, and he looked for shortcuts to help him catch back¬†up. Of course, we all know how that went.

The Tortoise on the other hand,¬†stood at the starting line with one thing in mind, finishing the race. He didn’t try to¬†take any shortcuts(which could result in inferior work). He was in for the long haul. He wasn’t giving up.

Since my adventure began five years ago, I have read numerous stories from well known authors about their journeys to becoming published.¬† The one common theme in all of their stories was perseverance. I put so much time and effort into my craft, I can’t help but feel discouraged at times. It helps and encourages me to know that I¬†am not alone but in great company.

If you have a high quality, marketable piece of work, persevere and you will eventually find an agent and get published. Kathryn Stockett wrote, ‘The Help’ over a five year period of time, then had three and a half years worth of rejections-60 in all. It was agent number 61 who took her on. The book spent 100 weeks on the best seller list.

The agent that took the time to work with me, always ended her critiques with don’t give up.

We all know who won that race. Are you an Opener or a finisher?

-Jan R


Are You an Opener or a Finisher?

Elevator Speech?

images-2I attended a conference with my husband this past week. It was a great get away for me and a chance to focus on my novel without the distractions of home. Needless to say I was enjoying myself and making some significant progress.

I was asked to join my husband and some of his peers for supper the evening before we were scheduled to leave. I was surrounded by men talking shop, so all I had to do was smile and display exemplary dining skills-or so I thought.

About half way through the meal, one of the men looked over at me, and said, “Your husband told us what you do during the day while he is at the conference. We would love to hear a little more about your book. What’s it about?”

Well, I froze, my mind went totally blank, and it was all I could do to control my suddenly out of whack emotions, as I turned to face this man who had the audacity to ask me such a question.

I wasn’t prepared. I didn’t have¬†an Elevator Speech. I didn’t think I needed one. My novel is complete, and I am in the revision process, but it’s not ready for prime time.

I’m¬†working on¬†that Elevator Speech now. I felt foolish and was totally caught off guard. You never know when you’ll come across someone who will ask you what your book is about. I’ll be¬†prepared the next time. Plus, it will also give me practice for when I do attend that writing conference, or get the opportunity to speak to an agent/author I just happened to run into at the airport.

Some things to keep in mind :

  • Remember when you are crafting your speech, you are talking to another human being.
  • You only have 30-60 seconds. Don’t try to tell them the entire story.
  • Content is as¬†important as delivery. It doesn’t matter if¬†it’s well delivered if it’s boring and uninspiring. Make them want to¬†hear more!
  • If you are attending a conference,¬†you don’t want to accost agents/editors-wait for an invite or an appropriate opening. They know why you are there. Introduce yourself. Engage in small talk, they will usually ask.
  • ¬†Practice, practice, practice. You don’t want to memorize every word and sound like a robot or like you’re reading a teleprompter, but you do want your Elevator Speech to flow and be cohesive. You want it to sound natural.
  • Always be prepared and show passion.

If you haven’t prepared your speech, you need to start working on it. It’s just a matter of time . Somebody is going to ask.

-Jan R



Elevator Speech?

I’m Not a Doctor, Lawyer, or Engineer, I am a Writer!

images-7As a writer, have you ever stopped to think about the contributions you make to society. You’re not a Doctor, Lawyer, or Engineer, you are a Writer/Author right?¬†I think many times we get so invested in our work and coming up with a viable manuscript, that we don’t take the time to pat ourselves on the back for the joy and satisfaction we bring to others, or the importance of our role in society.

I recently responded to a blog post, and while I was answering the question, I got to thinking about all of you writers out there. I wondered if you had any idea the number of lives you touch in a profoundly positive way. The service you provide to your readers.

When I was growing up we were very poor. My father was killed in an accident when I was 12, leaving my mom with 6 children to raise on her own. Needless to say, we were not going to Disney World. As a matter of fact, my world would have been pretty bleak, if it hadn’t been for my love of reading and the numerous novels that took me on adventures far and beyond anything I could have ever imagined. I remember my first novel was ‘King Arthur’, pretty heavy for a kid, but I loved it.

I’m not that young girl anymore, I can go to Disney World if I want to,¬†but my love for books and the sense of adventure has never left. That was something cultivated by my mother, who I’m sure, loved reading novels for the same reason.

My mother is elderly now, and due to extensive medical issues, unable to get out and enjoy life and experiences that she once could. That’s okay with her though, as long as she has a good book to read. Her books take her to places she could never go and as long as she can read, she is never just stuck at home.

I wrote this blog as a ‘Thank You’ and a reminder of how important you are. I’ve provided stories from my personal life, but there are millions of people out there with the same story.

Know that you are important, you are needed, and you provide a vital role in our society!

-Jan R


I’m Not a Doctor, Lawyer, or Engineer, I am a Writer!

Are Readers Skipping Crucial Parts Of Your Story?

images-11I love doing critiques. Sometimes I think I should have been an editor or professional proofreader.

The one¬†issue that bothers me more than any other, when I do critiques,¬†is¬†descriptive overloads, dumps, what ever you want to call them.¬†If you are reading this, you know exactly what I’m talking about. I realize some description and imagery are necessary to help the reader visualize the story, but some people provide page after page of it.

I’m a skipper/skimmer. I own up to it and have stated it as fact in many of my blogs. I don’t want to be and don’t like the idea of skimming through pages of writing to get to the good stuff. As a matter of fact, if I pick up a book or go to someone’s writing posted for critique and all I see is paragraph after para graph of descriptive, I’m not touching it.

Jerry Jenkins says it’s a sin to ask a paragraph of description to stand on its own. Your readers eyes glaze over and then they are gone. He’s written nearly 190 books, so I listen when he speaks.

So, what’s the solution? It’s your job to set the scene, but you want to make sure your readers aren’t skimming the descriptives, or worse, skipping¬†them altogether.

You have to make the description part of the action:

Randall wanted only David to know his scheme, so he pulled him away from the others and onto the deck where he had to raise his voice over the pounding waves. He hunched his shoulders against the whipping wind and wished he’d thought to grab a jacket, knowing they wouldn’t be able to stand it out there for¬†long.

In this example we know the setting because it was incorporated into the action. The author did not take a paragraph to discuss the severity of the storm that was causing massive waves and packing winds at 20 miles an hour.  While Randall is whispering his nefarious plan, your reader is skipping nothing.

I wish I could say I’ve mastered this skill, but I have not. It is a technique I continue to work on. A place I aspire to be one day.

-Jan R



Are Readers Skipping Crucial Parts Of Your Story?

How Do I Grow My Blog?

blogI’ve followed all the rules for a successful blog. So what’s the problem?

I’ve consistently posted twice a week, and I offer some valuable information that I’ve learned through research or experience.

Howbeit I’m not the funniest¬†¬†writer in the world, but I like to think I’m easy to follow. I don’t use million dollar words, I’m not technical, but my writing is usually grammatically and structurally sound.

I’ve¬†attached Tags to each post. Tags¬†that I thought would attract other people. My thought was, if I could just get them to read a few posts, they would realize I did have something to offer and hang around-become a follower.

Well it turns out, just writing a really good blog and waiting for somebody to show up does not work. You have to actually engage and purposely seek out followers.

How do you do this? I just recently started taking my blog seriously, because I was tired of writing to myself. Yes it was good practice, but nobody wants to have a blog with no followers. It wasn’t quite that bad but close.

So what did I do that tripled my blog following in less than a month? I reached out to fellow bloggers. Like me, they are trying to build their platforms as well. I started visiting the websites of bloggers who shared the same interests that I did.¬†Not only¬†did I gain some great information in the process but I picked up¬†followers. I didn’t have to ask people to join me. I read their blogs, offered comments on their writing, and they responded by checking my site out and doing the same.¬† I discovered this was a win, win for all involved.

A delightful surprise, was the friendships that arise from exchanges with other writers.  Totally unexpected.

I have added a block of time to my weekly schedule to read blogs of fellow bloggers (those I follow, as well as new ones I would like to follow). It’s not a chore, it’s fun!!! and you will build your following ūüôā

So what works for you?  I would love suggestions on how to increase my following.

-Jan R

How Do I Grow My Blog?

Publishing Options (Repost)

images2There are three options for publishing your manuscript.¬†¬†They all have pros and cons.¬† You have to ask yourself how much work, money and time¬†you’re willing to invest.¬† That will help you to determine which option works best for you.

Traditional Publishing-  With Traditional publishing, a manuscript can take years to become a book.  After you finish writing and editing your work, you will need to complete a query letter or proposal to submit to a publishing house or literary agent.  I highly recommend that you pursue the agent, as many publishing houses will not accept unsolicited manuscripts unless they are referred through a literary agency.  This process could take years accompanied by many rejection letters. Once your book is accepted by a publishing house, the actual process of producing your book takes at least another year.  You are also giving up some control when you sign on with a publishing house.  An overzealous editor could rip your manuscript to shreds leaving it unrecognizable.

That was the negative part of traditional publishing but there are benefits as well.  In traditional publishing you are paid in advance, ranging from small sums to seven-digit figures. Also the publishing house does all of the work for you. Your only responsibility is to produce a viable manuscript.  They have the experience, knowledge and resources to vigorously promote your work.

Self Publishing -With self publishing you could have a book in your hands in 6 months. If you go with the e-book you could have a book out in weeks.  You do have to pay for these options, which raises the issue of money.  Also there is significant work involved. Besides being the author, you will have to add to your title: editor, proofreader, typesetter, graphic designer, cover artist, print manager, e-book formatter, legal service manager, distribution manager, delivery boy, salesperson, promotor and PR. I think you get the picture.

Assisted self-publishing РAssisted publishing provides you with the positives of self-publishing without all of the work but it comes with a price. You are in effect hiring a contractor to do the work for you.  One of the more reputable businesses that provide this service is Westbow Press.  They offer different packages depending on how much work you would like them to do. You can also go to (Author Solutions) Self-Publishing Companies to find other options.

-Jan R

Publishing Options (Repost)

It’s Your Story

images-10I contemplated what to write about today. If you’re a blogger you know the routine. You want to¬†share something meaningful¬†that will be helpful and not sound stupid. You also want to be yourself and not sound like a reference book.

I was sitting on my couch reworking a scene in the novel I’m writing last night¬†and stopped right in the middle of it. What am I doing? I asked myself. The purpose of the rewrite was to make some changes based on a critique I received earlier last week.

The person that critiqued my book is very good at the craft, and I respect  her opinion. There were others who critiqued the piece and loved it, offering a few comments here and there to correct grammar or replace a word. So who was right? The three people who loved it, or the one who thought I needed to go back and make some significant changes.

The more I looked at the changes this person suggested, there were quite a few throughout the time period I’ve posted my work, the more I realized she had her own idea of the way the story needed to go, and I had mine.

With this being said, she’s made some great suggestions.¬†Because of her¬†my story is more believable,¬† my dialogue more natural, and my POV more consistent.¬†Her critiques have been invaluable.

However, I had to remind myself that this is my story. Nobody has a better understanding of the dynamics than I do. Nobody knows it from beginning to end but me. Nobody can tell it better than me.

Weigh comments and suggestions you receive from others and ask this question. Is it making my story better or changing it into something it is not? Remember:¬†It’s your story.

-Jan R


It’s Your Story

Am I A Writer?

my bookAm I a writer? You ever ask yourself that question? I do, and am still hesitant to tell people I write. I’ve never published a book. I’ve never been paid to write anything. As a matter of fact my work was rejected because it wasn’t good enough. Side note-it really wasn’t good enough-I just didn’t know it at the time-I was too new to the game.

Becoming a writer is a process. The desire and idea may be there, but if you’re just starting out,¬†you lack the skills and¬†knowledge necessary to produce a successful piece of work.

Think of it like anything else you try for the first time.  Did you start out knowing how to tie your shoes, ride a bike, or read a book. No! You had to learn. They were skills you developed.

Being bad at something you really want to succeed at is part of the process. If you’re not willing to fail, stink, make mistakes, accept corrections and criticism, or¬†seek counsel from experts, then you’re not likely to progress.–Jerry Jenkins

So when can you call yourself a writer? As soon as you’re willing to jump in and put yourself, or maybe I should say your ego, on the line.

If you’ve failed and are still writing, if you’re scared and are still writing, if you’ve stood up to a stinging critique and made your piece better by applying what you learned, if you’ve stayed at it despite that pervasive fear of failure, you are a writer.–Jerry Jenkins.

I hope this cleared up some questions in your mind. I, as mentioned above,¬† still struggle with the concept-I AM A WRITER ūüôā

-Jan R



Am I A Writer?