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#WW Why Dedications Are Important

21 Jan

Why Dedications Are Important

Today I wanted to cover a topic I find personally important in my novels. It may not be as vital to every author out there, but I place a lot of my heart into dedicating my novel to someone for many reasons, and I thought I would share why. I’m also going to be using the dedications in my own novels as examples. This is not to say all authors must have dedications, but I will say why I find it important as a reader and as a writer, and I would love to hear your reasons for loving (or disliking) dedications in the comments below!

 1. Readers

As a reader myself, I always love reading dedications at the front of a book. First, it allows me to have a sneak peek at the author’s personality. Second, it might hint as to why the book was written – which, in itself, will deepen my own connection with the book right from the start – and third, it can remind readers there is a person behind the work they are about to read. A dedication is almost like the author coming up, introducing themselves, and stating what matters to them. Even if it’s not entirely clear – like I don’t know their brother or why they are so close – I do know they have a brother, someone they care about, and the courage to share that love for that person with the world right next to their hard work.

The dedication in book 1 of The Timely Death Trilogy, Minutes Before Sunset reads, “Dedicated to my roommates, Kristine Andersen and Megan Paustian, for the timeless memories and unfailing support.”

For those of you who have followed me since the beginning, you might remember the day my roommate, Kristine, died, but Megan, Kristine, and I lived together for years, and the effects of those years remain close to my heart. Being able to express my gratitude for their friendship was indescribable, especially since MBS released seven months after Kristine’s death. Without them, I’m not sure I would’ve ever pursued publication again.

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2. Authors

As the author of the story, it’s both a sad and happy moment when I complete a novel, but without fail, whenever I finish writing a novel, I remember when it began. I’m not sure if I am strange or not, but I remember the exact moment a story is born, even if it’s a small moment, and I am eternally grateful for that moment – even if it seems crazy.

The dedication in book 2 of The Timely Death Trilogy, Seconds Before Sunrise, reads, “Dedicated to Calone – for showing how the darkness can be brighter than the light.”

What you don’t know is probably obvious: who is Calone? What is she talking about? Well, for one, you might have read My Dream. The Timely Death Trilogy was born from a series of night terrors and nightmares I was having during a very difficult time in my life. The focus of these dreams became a boy – the very boy my protagonist, Eric, is based off of – but back then, in real life, his name was Calone. My sequel is dedicated to someone who is not technically real but he is real to me, and his presence is the singular reason the trilogy existed in the first place. He also did exactly what my dedication says: he showed me how accepting fear and pain can grow into something stronger than strength. Through that, the concept of Dark vs. Light (with the Dark being the good guys) was born, and the second book was written. (In case, you haven’t been following for a while, the second book was written before the first, so that’s why SBS was dedicated to him rather than MBS.)

3. The Inspiration and the support

As the author, I never forget those who have supported my novels the most. I know many of you haven’t read Death Before Daylight, and I’m still incredibly sorry it will not be available for purchasing, but – again – I would like to take this moment to remind all trilogy readers that you can get a PDF copy of DBD for free simply by emailing me at shannonathompson@aol.com. Now that that is out of the way…

The dedication in book 3 of The Timely Death Trilogy, Death Before Daylight, reads, “Dedicated to Alex – for dreaming up daylight in a dark place.”

Alex even came to my book signing last year!

Alex even came to my book signing last year!

Alex has been one of my closest friends since I was 11 years old. She is also the reason the trilogy is a trilogy at all. Originally, it was only going to be the first two books, but then, she dealt with all my crazy conversations about this book, and one night, she had a dream about it. She told me every last detail, and with her permission, I morphed it into the last book of the trilogy. If you’ve had a chance to read it, the dedication will probably make even more sense, but this dedication opportunity finally allowed me to thank her – almost seven years after she had that dream.

In the end (or the beginning of a novel) a dedication serves a purpose. The words show a connection, a reason, and a lifetime of acknowledgements. Novels are never born on their own. There are many people and inspirations that allowed a book to make it into existence, and even though I will soon lose mine, the moment of sharing a dedication will never cease to breathe life into my love for writing and for those who have inspired me. As someone who has a difficult time expressing my emotions in person, dedicating my work to my loved ones has been my way of showcasing how much I care about them. So, consider sharing your dedications with those who inspire you. They might get the chance to see how one small sentence can mean so much to so many people.

~SAT

Check this out: Write Out Loud wrote an article – yes, an article – about my services that I provide for writers both as an editor and as a social media assistant. Here is just a small quote, “I don’t know anyone else on the fiction-writing scene who has such a well-rounded knowledge of the industry. With the new author in mind, Shannon offers very low fees for editing service starting at $1 per 1,000 words for content editing and $2 per 1,000 words for proofreading.” If you want to read the full article, click on this link. If you want to check out my services, click on this link.

After such a rough time recently, I can honestly say working with fellow writers has been one of the most uplifting experiences in 2015!

Editing Tips: Grammarly

2 Aug
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Bogart and his KU spirit.

I used Grammarly to grammar check this post, because Bogart would rather I spend time feeding him than editing. ;]

No. Really. This sentence defines what my first post in August will be about: editing. Here’s to August–another month of writing, reading, and dreaming is ahead of us, and I wanted to begin with a very helpful website you can consider using for editing purposes.

Grammarly is an online editor, but it is beyond spellchecker. As described on their website, Grammarly “corrects contextual spelling mistakes, checks for more than 250 common grammar errors, enhances vocabulary usage, and provides citation suggestions. More than 3 million registered users worldwide trust Grammarly’s products.”

On top of that, it has numerous settings, including General, Business, Academic, Technical, Creative, and Casual. (I used the casual setting for this post.) There’s also a support page where you can communicate with other writers.

Other things to know I found out while testing this product:

  • This program should be used as a “second set” of eyes for your writing–meaning it enhances the editing process, not controls it. But the enhancement is in-depth and clearly labeled. When it highlights your grammar mistakes, it has an option of “short or long descriptions.” These buttons explain what particular rule you might be breaking. That way, you might not make those mistakes in the future, or you will learn what you most commonly forget.
  • Grammarly for Desktop includes MS Office integration and other features, but the desktop version is not available for Mac yet. This means you can use it online but not install it on your computer. It’s still great though, because I use a Mac, so this is exactly what I was doing.
  • Although the free sample allows you to upload text, it will only give you a list of how many mistakes it found–not the specific mistakes. However, you can sign up (with a credit card) and try a free 7-day trial which allows you to try the complete version for free by allowing you to remove your credit card before the trial has expired.
  • If you decide to stay with Grammarly, the prices range by how often you wish to pay (annually, quarterly, or monthly.) The cheapest is annually, but you’ll pay $139.95 once for the entire year. If calculated, that’s about 11.66 a month.
  • The grammar check is beyond basic spellchecker, but it is like any other kind of technology. You need to check it yourself. Don’t simply “accept all” or “ignore all.” But most of the suggestions are really great. I was impressed by how many “commonly confused words” it caught and/or other grammatical aspects spellchecker doesn’t always catch.

Basically: 

I think Grammarly is a remarkable tool for all kinds of writers, especially self-publishing authors who may not be able to afford numerous (or one) editor. I WISH I had this product during my past four years at college, but at least I’ll be able to use it during my last semester. It’s worth a try. I have to admit that I’m generally skeptical, but this website is definitely bookmarked to be returned to often.

Have you used Grammarly? What do you think?

~SAT

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