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
The Rules of Writing. So many of them are subject to discussion, if not passionate argument. The Oxford comma, the em-dash, the sentence fragment: you're on one side or the other. Hardly anyone stands on the fence. Two of the most popular and oft-quoted Rules are: 1.) Use a stronger verb instead of a verb … Continue reading The Rules of Writing: A Built-In Paradox
Excellent advice on the rules of writing!
It’s important to have conflict on every page. And don’t forget to always drive the plot forward. Make sure you’re always developing your characters. Use tight sentences that convey a lot of information. Write natural-sounding dialogue. Build tension throughout the book and always increase the stakes. Avoid the passive voice like the plague. Be true to your characters’ personalities. Give every person in the book a desire. Reveal enough to interest the reader, but not so much that it ruins the intrigue. Build sufficient credibility to suspend disbelief. Make the reader empathize with the protagonist.
Okay, now close your eyes.
Do you remember every piece of advice you just read?
If you said yes: (1) I hate you, (2) go be a scientist or something. If you’re like the rest of us, you probably can’t keep all of those things at the forefront of your mind at all times. If…
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Let me first say that I believe in rules. I’m one of those people who loves to diagram sentences (yeah, I know). When too many of the rules get broken, the diagram looks just like chicken-scratch. On the other hand, sometimes it seems that rules are created just so we can have rules. These days, … Continue reading AN ESSAY ON WRITING: The “Rules”