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
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”
While doing research recently for an ESL student, I came across another “rule of writing”, to wit: Don't use gerunds; they make your writing weak. To qualify as a gerund a word must be: a verb with an “ing” suffix that performs the job of a noun. Take these sentences as examples: I like hiking. … Continue reading The Rules of Writing: No Gerunds?
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
There is a great benefit to automated checkers, because they'll alert you to the possibility that you're spelling a word incorrectly, using an inordinate number of adverbs, repeating pet phrases. But there's more to good writing than that, and here are four of the reasons that you need a great editor. 1.) SPELL CHECKERS: No … Continue reading 4 Reasons Automated Checks will Never Replace an Editor
If you've been following me for any length of time, you'll know that I believe most “rules of writing” need a good hard reality check. Many times, when asked for rules, a writer will recommend their writing practices, and that's not at all the same thing as universal rules. I recently read an article by … Continue reading And more Rules Of Writing
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