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
In the craft of writing, editing is accepted as a necessary evil. We all realize that our sentences must be properly punctuated, our noun/verb combinations must agree, our sentence and paragraph structure must meet certain recognizable norms. Yes, there are exceptions. Books are written in verse. Writers experiment with no dialogue tags, single-sentence paragraphs, and … Continue reading Edit or Revise? Why not both?
So, it seems that I managed to take another 8-week sabbatical this holiday season. However, unlike last year, this one was not full of family, friends, and celebrations (although we spent a lovely day at my brother's house on Christmas). At home, we had only one tree instead of our usual five, and only two … Continue reading Getting back in the swing of things
In the past few weeks, I've seen too many articles that propound “THE RULES of Writing”. An overabundance, if you will, most of which don't make any distinction between THE RULES and STYLE CHOICES. THE RULES are universal. For instance: a sentence must have a subject and a verb; the subject and verb must agree; … Continue reading THE RULES vs. Style Choices
Like “be” and “see”, there are a number of verbs in English grammar that don't follow the standard tense-changing rules. Most of the time we'll take a present-tense verb like “move”, add a “d” to create the past tense (moved) as well as the the part perfect tense (have moved). These, the vast majority of … Continue reading Those danged Irregular Verbs!
Hope everybody's gotten a good start on the New Year. I was a little surprised to get my year-end stats and realize I hadn't posted anything but a few short quotes since Thanksgiving. (Re-blogging others' work doesn't really count.) So I thought I'd take this opportunity to explain what I've been up to. On the … Continue reading Update 2015: On the (Twenty)-Seventh Day of Christmas…
Modifiers, as we've discussed, are the words we use to provide additional information about another word. Modifiers include adverbs, adjectives, and clauses. Today the focus is on modifying clauses and how they relate to our stories. The problem known as “misplaced modifiers” occurs when the clause or phrase is not connected to the word(s) it's … Continue reading Later, Look Back: Another Shortcut for Fixing Misplaced Modifiers
We've got a fairly complex question this time, with more than one example. A friend of mine, also a writer, is having some trouble with modifying clauses, also called modifying phrases. Modifiers, as you may know, are the words we use to provide additional information about another word. Modifiers include adverbs, adjectives, and clauses. Today the … Continue reading First, Look Ahead: A Shortcut for Fixing Misplaced Modifiers
Your relationships with Critique Partners and Beta Readers are all-important. But let's face it, you and your partner(s) start out strangers (or at least you should most of the time, see previous articles here and there). So partnering is going to be trial and error, at least at first. What, then, happens when the relationship … Continue reading Critique Partners: What if the Relationship Bombs?
No matter how careful a writer is, or how much research s/he does, there’s always the possibility of anachronism showing up in historical fiction. What’s an anachronism? It something that doesn’t fit into the time period you’re writing about. King Tut would not have worn a Stetson, nor could Marie Antoinette have worn nylon stockings. … Continue reading Anachronism in Historical Fiction