How to Write Like a Professional

How to Write Like a Professional
6 Surprising Mistakes That Make Writers Look Like Amateurs... and How to Avoid Them

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Z is for Z END (Z whole passage)

Z is for Z END, Z whole enchilada, and Z day you get to "guess" what book I have been using for the past 30 days. Go ahead, throw your answers around in the comments. Tomorrow, I'll unveil the answer! Here's the whole passage, from pages 150 to 155:



A gentle voice sang out, "Right this way; I'm in the parlor."

"Can I talk now?" cried Milo happily, hearing his voice once again.

"Yes, but only in here," she replied softly. "Now do come into the parlor."

Milo walked slowly down the long hallway and into the little room where the Soundkeeper sat listening intently to an enormous radio set, whose switches, dials, knobs, meters, and speaker covered one whole wall, and which at the moment was playing nothing.


"Isn't that lovely?" she sighed. "It's my favorite program - fifteen minutes of silence - and after that there's a half hour of quiet and then an interlude of lull. Why, did you know that there are almost as many kinds of stillness as there are sounds? But, sadly enough, no one pays any attention to them these days. Have you ever heard the wonderful silence just before the dawn?" she inquired. "Or the quiet and calm just as a storm ends? Or perhaps you know the silence when you haven't the answer to a question you've been asked, or the hush of a country road at night, or the expectant pause in ta roomful of people when someone is just about to speak, or, most beautiful of all, the moment after the door closes and you're all alone in the whole house? Each one is different, you know, and all very beautiful, if you listen carefully."

As she spoke, the thousands of little bells and chimes which covered her from head to toe tinkled softly and, as if in reply, the telephone began to ring, too. "For someone who loves silence, she certainly talks a great deal," thought Milo.

"At one time I was able to listen to any sound made any place at any time," the Soundkeeper remarked, pointing towards the radio wall, "but now I merely--"

"Pardon me," interrupted Milo as the phone continued to ring, "but aren't you going to answer it?"
"Oh no, not in the middle of the program," she replied, and turned the silence up a little louder.

"But it may be important," insisted Milo.

"Not at all," she assured him; "it's only me. It gets so lonely around here, with no sounds to distribute or collect, that I call myself seven or eight times a day just to see how I am."

"How are you?" he asked politely.

"Not very well, I'm afraid I seem to have a touch of static," she complained. "But what brings you here? Of course--you've come to tour the vaults. Well, they're usually open to the public only on Mondays from two to four, but since you've traveled so far, we'll have to make an exception. Follow me, please." She quickly bounced to her feet with a chorus of jingles and chimes and started down the hallway. "Don't you just love jingles and chimes? I do," she answered quickly. "Besides, they're very convenient, for I'm always getting lost in this big fortress, and all I have to do is listen for them and then I know exactly where I am."

They entered a tiny cagelike elevator and traveled down for fully three quarters of a minute, stopping finally in an immense vault, whose long lines of file drawers and storage bins stretched in all directions from where here began to where there ended, and from floor to ceiling.

"Every sound that's ever been made in history is kept here," said the Soundkeeper, skipping down one of the corridors with Milo in hand. "For instance, look here," She opened one of the drawers and pulled out a small brown envelope. "This is the tune George Washington whistled when he crossed the Delaware on that icy night in 1777."

Milo peered into the envelope and, sure enough, that's exactly what was in it. "But why do you collect them all?" he asked as she closed the drawer.

"If we didn't collect them," said the Soundkeeper as they continued to stroll through the vault, "the air would be full of old sounds and noises bouncing around and bumping into things. It would be terribly confusing, because you'd never know whether you were listening to an old one or a new one. Besides, I do like to collect things, and there are more sounds than almost anything else. Why, I have everything here from the buzz of a mosquito a million years ago to what your mother said to you this morning, and if you come back here in two days, I'll tell you what she said tomorrow. It's really very simple; let me show you. Say a word--any word."

"Hello," said Milo, for that was all he could think of.

"Now where do you think it went?" she asked with a smile.

"I don't know," said Milo, shrugging his shoulders. "I always thought that--"

"Most people do," she hummed, peering down one of the corridors. "Now, let me see: first we find the cabinet with today's sounds. Ah, here it is. Then we look under G for greetings, then under M for Milo, and here it is already in its envelope. So, you see, the whole system is quite automatic. It's a shame we hardly use it any more."

"That's wonderful," gasped Milo. "May I have one little sound as a souvenir?"
"Certainly," she said with pride, and then, immediately thinking better of it, added, "not. And don't try to take one, because it's strictly against the rules."

Milo was crestfallen. He had no idea how to steal a sound, even the smallest one, for the Soundkeeper always had at least one eye carefully focused on him.

"Now for a look at the workshops," she cried, whisking him through another door and into a large abandoned laboratory full of old pieces of equipment, all untended and rusting."This is where we used to invent the sounds," she said wistfully.

"Do they have to be invented?" asked Milo, who seemed surprised at almost everything she told him. "I thought they just were."

"No one realizes how much trouble we go through to make them," she complained. "Why, at one time this shop was crowded and busy from morning to night."

"But how do you invent a sound?" Milo inquired.

"Oh, that's very easy," she said. "First you must decide exactly what the sound looks like, for each sound has its own exact shape and size. Then you make some of them here in the shop, and grind each one three times into an invisible powder, and throw a little of each into the air every time you need it."

"But I've never seen a sound," Milo insisted.

"You never see them out there," she said, waving her arm in the general direction of everywhere except every once in a while on a very cold morning when they freeze. But in here we see them all the time. Here, let me show you."

She picked up a padded stick and struck a nearby bass drum six times. Six large woolly, fluffy cotton balls, each about two feet across, rolled silently out onto the floor. "You see," she said, putting some of them into a large grinder. "Now listen." And she took a pinch of the invisible powder and threw it into the air with a "BOOM, BOOM, BOOM, BOOM."

There you have it, A to Z-ers! Z whole passage laid out before you. If you don't know the answer, don't read the comments. Google it and see if you can figure it out. When you're ready for the spoiler, read the comments and click over to see 17 different book covers for this classic children's book.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Y is for YOU


"You see," she said, putting some of them into a large grinder. "Now listen." And she took a pinch of the invisible powder and threw it into the air with a "BOOM, BOOM, BOOM, BOOM."

HINT: A handclap looks like a single sheet of clean white paper. Laughter looks like a thousand tiny brightly colored bubbles. And music is woven in looms to create tapestries, rugs, bolts of cloth, and brightly colored handkerchiefs.

Tomorrow is the day you get to GUESS. And I'll share the WHOLE passage, too! It's from pages 150-155.  The book

Saturday, April 27, 2013

X is for except


"except every once in a while on a very cold morning when they freeze. But in here we see them all the time. Here, let me show you." 
She picked up a padded stick and struck a nearby bass drum six times. Six large woolly, fluffy cotton balls, each about two feet across, rolled silently out onto the floor.

Two more days left!

Friday, April 26, 2013

W is for what


...what the sound looks like, for each sound has its own exact shape and size. Then you make some of them here in the shop, and grind each one three times into an invisible powder, and throw a little of each into the air every time you need it." 
"But I've never seen a sound," Milo insisted. 
"You never see them out there," she said, waving her arm in the general direction of everywhere...

Hint: Some might say it's a chapter book, others would call it a middle grade novel. Either way, it contains black and white pictures throughout.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

V is for very

...very easy," she said. "First you must decide exactly...

Only FOUR more days left of the A-Z blogging challenge. Hope you've done your research. What book am I using? Think you know? Tell us in the comments: I know, I know, I know!!! Z is almost here, with the FULL passage and your chance to guess what book I used.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

U is for untended

...untended and rusting."This is where we used to invent the sounds," she said wistfully. 
"Do they have to be invented?" asked Milo, who seemed surprised at almost everything she told him. "I thought they just were." 
"No one realizes how much trouble we go through to make them," she complained. "Why, at one time this shop was crowded and busy from morning to night." 
"But how do you invent a sound?" Milo inquired. 
"Oh, that's...

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

T is for through


...through another door and into a large abandoned laboratory full of old pieces of equipment, all...

Remember, all you book lovers out there, this whole month has been a blogfest of epic proportions. I've been quoting from a single book, and if you think you know which book it is, you can tell the world on April 30th! Z day!

Monday, April 22, 2013

S is for steal


...steal a sound, even the smallest one, for the Soundkeeper always had at least one eye carefully focused on him. 
"Now for a look at the workshops," she cried, whisking him...
Clue: This book was published in the 1960's and again in the 1980's.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

R is for rules


"...rules." 
Milo was crestfallen. He had no idea how to...

Hint: this book has less than 300 pages. Remember to wait until Z day to share which book you think I'm using. Missed a day? No problem! Just click the links to the left in my blog history.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Q is for quite


...quite automatic. It's a shame we hardly use it any more." 
"That's wonderful," gasped Milo. "May I have one little sound as a souvenir?" 
"Certainly," she said with pride, and then, immediately thinking better of it, added, "not. And don't try to take one, because it's strictly against the...

10 bonus points to anyone who can guess the next word, and if you haven't caught on by now, it starts with the next letter of the alphabet: R.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

P is for people

...people do," she hummed, peering down one of the corridors. "Now, let me see: first we find the cabinet with today's sounds. Ah, here it is. Then we look under G for greetings, then under M for Milo, and here it is already in its envelope. So, you see, the whole system is...

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

O is for old


...old one or a new one. Besides, I do like to collect things, and there are more sounds than almost anything else. Why, I have everything here from the buzz of a mosquito a million years ago to what your mother said to you this morning, and if you come back here in two days, I'll tell you what she said tomorrow. It's really very simple; let me show you. Say a word--any word." 
"Hello," said Milo, for that was all he could think of.
"Now where do you think it went?" she asked with a smile. 
"I don't know," said Milo, shrugging his shoulders. "I always thought that--" 
"Most... 
Hint: both author and illustrator have a J in their names.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

N is for noises

...noises bouncing around and bumping into things. It would be terribly confusing, because you'd never know whether you were listening to an...

Monday, April 15, 2013

M is for Milo

Yes, the main character's name is Milo. Remember, if you know the book, save it for the Z day! You can however raise your hand in the comments. "I know it, I know it!!! Pick me! I know the book!"
Milo peered into the envelope and, sure enough, that's exactly what was in it. "But why do you collect them all?" he asked as she closed the drawer. 
"If we didn't collect them," said the Soundkeeper as they continued to stroll through the vault, "the air would be full of old sounds and...

Saturday, April 13, 2013

L is for look


"...look here," She opened one of the drawers and pulled out a small brown envelope. "This is the tune George Washington whistled when he crossed the Delaware on that icy night in 1777."
Hint: it's not historical fiction, but it IS fiction.

Friday, April 12, 2013

K is for kept


...kept here," said the Soundkeeper, skipping down one of the corridors with Milo in hand. "For instance, 

Here's a hint to the book I'm using: it's a children's book from the last century.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

J is for jingles


...jingles and chimes and started down the hallway. 
"Don't you just love jingles and chimes? I do," she answered quickly. "Besides, they're very convenient, for I'm always getting lost in this big fortress, and all I have to do is listen for them and then I know exactly where I am." 
They entered a tiny cagelike elevator and traveled down for fully three quarters of a minute, stopping finally in an immense vault, whose long lines of file drawers and storage bins stretched in all directions from where here began to where there ended, and from floor to ceiling. 
"Every sound that's ever been made in history is...

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

I is for I


"...I seem to have a touch of static," she complained. "But what brings you here? Of course--you've come to tour the vaults. Well, they're usually open to the public only on Mondays from two to four, but since you've traveled so far, we'll have to make an exception. Follow me, please." 
She quickly bounced to her feet with a chorus of...

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

H is for how

...how I am."
"How are you?" he asked politely.
"Not very well, I'm afraid....

Monday, April 8, 2013

G is for great

Here we are at week two. If you know the book I'm using, just say something like this in the comments: I know the boo-ook, I know the boo-ook! But don't say which book it is, YET!
...great deal," though Milo.
"At one time I was able to listen to any sound made any place at any time," the Soundkeeper remarked, pointing towards toe radio wall, "but now I merely--"
"Pardon me," interrupted Milo as the phone continued to ring, "but aren't you going to answer it?"
"Oh no, not in the middle of the program," she replied, and turned the silence up a little louder.
"But it may be important," insisted Milo.
"Not at all," she assured him; "it's only me. It gets so lonely around here, with no sounds to distribute or collect, that I call myself seven or eight times a day just to see...

Saturday, April 6, 2013

F is for FOR

"For someone who loves silence, she certainly talks a...

Friday, April 5, 2013

E is for enough


...enough, no one pays any attention to them these days.
"Have you ever heard the wonderful silence just before the dawn?" she inquired. "Or the quiet and calm just as a storm ends? Or perhaps you know the silence when you haven't the answer to a question you've been asked, or the hush of a country road at night, or the expectant pause in ta roomful of people when someone is just about to speak, or, most beautiful of all, the moment after the door closes and you're all alone in the whole house? Each one is different, you know, and all very beautiful, if you listen carefully." 
As she spoke, the thousands of little bells and chimes which covered her from head to toe tinkled softly and, as if in reply, the telephone began to ring, too.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

D is for dials

...dials, knobs, meters, and speaker covered one whole wall, and which at the moment was playing nothing.
"Isn't that lovely?" she sighed. "It's my favorite program - fifteen minutes of silence - and after that there's a half hour of quiet and then an interlude of lull. Why, did you know that there are almost as many kinds of stillness as there are sounds? But, sadly...
If you keep up with the challenge from A to Z, you might be able to figure out what book the passage is from. But, shhh... don't share your guess with the rest of us until we get to Z. Let's see how many of you know it!!!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

C is for come

If you figure out which book I'm using, you can say so in the comments, just don't share which book it IS. Wait till Z to do that! Let's let everyone have a little fun with the guessing for a while first.
...come into the parlor."
Milo walked slowly down the long hallway and into the little room where the Soundkeeper sat listening intently to an enormous radio set, whose switches,...

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

B is for but

but only in here," she replied softly. "Now do

Monday, April 1, 2013

A-Z April Blogging Challenge 2013: A is for a gentle voice



Hi, everyone! Nice to meet you all. This month, I'll be blogging a PUZZLE. Quotes from a book. A guessing game. By the end of the month, you should be able to guess which book I've used. And when Z comes around, I'll put it all together for you. So...

A is for...
A gentle voice sang out:
"Right this way; I'm in the parlor."
"Can I talk now?" cried Milo happily, hearing his voice once again.
"Yes,...
Hope you come back tomorrow. 

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