The lure of my guilty pleasure #amwriting #amreading I've been preparing to paint and rearrange my office. I bought a new desk—my current one is over 40 years old and, truth be told, is falling apart. I also bought an actual file cabinet, as opposed to another (ninth?) small bin to keep my records in. … Continue reading What Is It About Old Books?
Every writer will tell you there are words they use unconsciously. Words or phrases they repeat in their writing, regardless of whether they’ve previously identified their tendency to overuse them. Some offenders are little words like “and” or “then”. Some are descriptive words like “dark” or “quick”. In romance novels, you’ll often find “arm” or … Continue reading EDITING CLUE: Catching Those Overused Words
So you’ve accepted a free copy of a book in return for a review. Or maybe you've finished a book you want to tell everyone about. But now that you’ve read it, that next step seems daunting. So here are some tips to help you decide how to write your review. Though I’ll concentrate on … Continue reading 3 Easy Ways to Write a Book Review
I recommend the following websites to fiction writers, whether you're in the first stages writing or all set to query or publish. Please note, some of these resources may require a log-in or membership. QUERY LETTERS How to write a query letter Examples of Successful Queries QueryShark LITERARY AGENT LISTINGS Writer's Digest Guide to Literary … Continue reading Writer Resources
When it comes to the rule of “WHO v WHOM”, many websites place emphasis on knowing the difference between subjects and objects, or go on and on about clauses and prepositions. But here’s a simple trick that doesn’t include any of that stuff: Rephrase your sentence using HIM. If it still makes sense, use WHOM. … Continue reading WHO or WHOM? There’s an easy way to choose
A writer asks if his work might suffer because he doesn’t write “antagonists”, by which he means there is no specific person for his hero to fight. He writes books about climate change and how it affects his characters. My answer: “Of course you have an antagonist―it’s NATURE”. Traditionally, there have been five types of … Continue reading Does Your Story Need a Bad Guy?
The poetry of language once Began my love of words, But poetry is giving way To easiness in verbs. I dedicate these simple lines To those whose memories, like mine, Allow for lit in lieu of lighted, And shone instead of shined. For we who strove instead of strived, At least we've not been … Continue reading ELEGY: On the Irregular Verb
Last week I got an e-mail from a reader about punctuating dialogue. I was glad to get the question, because it's also a pet peeve of mine. Here's her question: I've been reading a lot lately, and I also do beta-reading for some of my writer friends. My problem: it seems like everyone has a … Continue reading DIALOGUE TAGS: A Punctuation Primer
If you're like me, when you get to the end of a manuscript, you're a few thousand (or maybe ten thousand) words over the optimal word count for your genre. A lot of common editing advice can make a difference in MS length. Directives like “find stronger verbs” will eliminate some adverbs, while “make sentences … Continue reading 3 Simple Ways To Reduce Your Word Count
We've all heard about the RULES we need to follow in order to be “good” writers. No adverbs, no passive voice, no split infinitives, show don't tell, limit dialogue tags to “said” & “asked”, use only one POV per chapter―these are just a few of the absolutes we're faced with every day. I've heard some … Continue reading 7 Great Authors Take on the “RULES OF WRITING”