Parallel [straight & narrow] Structure


Laurie E. Rozakis, Ph.D. on parallel structure:

Parallel structure means putting ideas of the same rank in the same grammatical structure. Your writing and speech should have parallel words, phrases, and clauses. Parallel structure gives your writing many admirable strengths, including the following:

    • Rhythm
    • Emphasis
    • balance
    • Impact
    • Crispness
    • Conciseness

Parallel words share the same part of speech (such as nouns, adjectives, or verbs) and tense (if the parallel word are verbs).

    • My date was obnoxious, loud, and cheap; no doubt he thought I was gorgeous, personable, and witty.
    • We pleaded, begged, and prayed—to no avail.

Parallel phrases create an underlying rhythm in your speech and writing…

    • “For taking away our Charters, abolishing our laws, and altering the Forms of our Government . . . ” (Declaration of Independence)
    • “Now the trumpet summons us again—not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need—not as a call to battle, though embattled we are—but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle…” (John F. Kennedy’s inauguration speech)

Parallel clauses can give your writing balance as well….

    • “Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and success of liberty.” (John F. Kennedy’s inauguration speech)
    • “Our chiefs are killed; Looking-Glass is dead; Ta-Hool-Shute is dead.” (Chief Joseph’s surrender speech, 1877)”

Rozakis‘s book, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Grammar and Style, is an excellent resource for writers of all kinds. You can find it here.

Quick book-signing trick


[found on; by Jon Acuff]

“Pssst Writers! Quick book signing trick.

If you’re an author, and lots of you are, you are going to sign books. Here’s a trick my friend Robert D. Smith taught me.

Always sign in blue sharpie, not black. Why? Well, the publisher can publish in black. Sometimes books are printed with a signature. If you sign in blue though, readers know with completely certainty that you actually signed it. It’s a small thing, but small things can be awesome.

Go blue!”

[found on]


Hook Your Literary Agent


[found on]

“The 4 Components That Hook Literary Agents

1. Tell the literary agent who you are

State your name and job title, or the title of the position you’re seeking. “Hi, my name is Miranda Mechanic, and I’m a licensed automotive mechanic who writes how-to articles for women who don’t want their cars to get the best of them.”

2. Literary agents want to know what you want

Don’t beat around the bush. State what you’re after. “I’m interested in placing some of my articles with your magazine, Auto Care for Everybody.”

3. Show the literary agents why you’re the best choice

List any degrees, writing credentials, training or experience that relate to what you’re seeking. “I’ve been taking mechanical things apart since before I could walk, and I’m the owner-operator of my own body shop.” Be sure the qualifications match your stated goal. Saying you want to write an article on mechanics and then listing your degrees in early Russian literature won’t help. If you’re unable to come up with any related experience, name qualities or skills you possess, such as attention to detail, passion for the subject and so on.The key is to be brief and memorable. You’re looking for that special something that separates you from the crowd.

4. Give literary agents a call to action

You can do a great job selling yourself, but if you don’t follow through by asking for what you want, you’ve wasted your time. Take a deep breath and go for it. “I’d like to show you copies of my articles, including ‘How to Change a Tire When It’s Twenty Below Zero’ and ‘How to Add Oil When You’re Wearing a Power Suit.’ ” The call to action is what leads to further interaction. Don’t neglect this most important step.”

[found on]