Resources I Found Interesting While Writing My Novel

I started this blog back in August of 2008 shortly after I started writing this novel. Initially it was on another website of mine. Last post before the move to this website was in March 2012. Now I wish to resume it.

How to Use a Rhyming Dictionary to Improve Your Prose

“A rhyming dictionary provides a peek into words that sound similar to a word with an easy to use format. It’s mostly a database of words that are organized around a root sound with a look up facility to find the root.” and “When writing a scene, where mood is important, verb sounds can help establish the feel, i.e. the reason jazz feels like blue as well as being contemplative and moody, is because the sound connects to the action blew that shows how the saxophone or clarinet is being blown.”

End a Novel With a Punch

This is an interesting article called How to End a Novel With a Punch. James V. Smith Jr. claims “Your closer is the most important incident in the novel, bar none. Yes, the opener is critical, but only second in importance to the climax…. What readers say after they put your book down matters more for your sales than what they say when they pick it up.”

Tests for your novel

10 Simple Tests to do on Your Novel. Here are some points made in this article:

  1. Look for places where dialog is linked to kinds of “looking”. Take them out.
  2. Make sure your character changes by the end of the novel.
  3. “Write a one-sentence statement summarizing your story that includes the main character, the main theme, and the main problem to be overcome.”
  4. “Read the first paragraph of every chapter. From these isolated paragraphs alone, you should be able to detect forward movement in the story, with both plot and characterization escalating.”
  5. “You want dialog to illuminate character personality and reveal emotion. It can influence or lead other characters. What it should NOT do, however, is be used as a device to state plot facts.”
  6. “Search for the word “as” in construction (e.g., As she ran out the door, she grabbed a sweater from the closet. He pulled on his coat as she started the car.) Breaking these constructions into separate sentences will strengthen your voice and give your story more power.” “Also watch out for -ing action constructions.” “Make the most of narrative beats between dialog. Use the space to create action.”
  7. “Mark references to the five senses in your manuscript. Make sure you have at least three references to the senses per chapter.”
  8. “Don’t use italics for emphasis.” “To make your voice stronger, use an action to denote emphasis, not italics. (e.g., A whiny character saying, ‘I want to go too, becomes, ‘She clutched his sleeve. ‘I want to go.”)”
  9. “Show actions such as observing, judging, acting, and dealing with consequences instead of flat out telling the reader how a character feels.”
  10. “Have someone you don’t know read your pages for typos and errors. Pay extra for each mistake he or she finds.”

Writer’s Digest on the Slush Pile

21 Tips to Get Out of the Slush Pile

February 11, 2010
by James Plath (from Writer’s Digest)

Lots of tips that not only help you with agents and publishers but just to help you make your story better.


First Aid for Scenes

Writer’s Digest Tip of the Day - “First Aid for Scenes” from Writers Online Workshops:

…when writing a scene, first you must concentrate only on the elements that make that scene work on its own as an isolated mini-story. But eventually you must judge each individual scene’s effectiveness according to how much it contributes to the work as a whole.

Can’t decide whether or not the scene you’ve just written belongs in your story? A scene should do two or more of these four things:

1) advance the plot

2) develop the character(s)

3) illustrate the theme

4) contribute to suspense (which in turn advances the plot).


23 Sites for Writing Stronger

23 Websites that Make Your Writing Stronger by Write it Fresh, Write it Bold, Write it Sideways”

Rowling & Strunk and White

Readability by Jim Adam

The strengths of Rowling’s prose read like a summary of Strunk and White’s “The Elements of Style”:

  • varied sentences, both in length and structure
  • use of the active voice
  • limited use of “to be” verbs and related constructs (“there were,” “it was,” “she was”)
  • balanced use of rare verbs (slam, snatch, swagger) with more common ones (close, take, walk)
  • a preference for concrete nouns that appeal to the five senses
  • carefully selected modifiers
  • use of more specific transitional words and phrases (because, though, which) rather than relying entirely upon “and,” “but,” and “then”

The Potter prose isn’t afraid to use adverbs (including adverbs in dialogue tags), for which all writers should be grateful.


8 Questions for Writers

Eight Questions for Writers from the Blood Red Pencil

1) Who is your main character (MC)?
2) What does the MC want?
3) What’s the main conflict that keeps the MC from getting that want?
4) What’s the event/situation that sets the MC in motion to achieve the want?
5) What are the obstacles the MC encounters, keeping him/her from the want? (Obstacles should escalate, building tension)
6) What’s the event/situation that makes the MC go “All-or-Nothing” to win the want? (This is a moment in which there is no turning back)
7) Does the MC win or lose?
8) What’s the effect of the win or loss on the MC?

Overwriting

Overwriters Anonymous

from moonrat, a recovering editorial assistant, posted Friday, January 02, 2009.

The thing about your overwriting…. It’s just boring. It’s going to be the thing that makes people put your book down and never buy it. I know that in your mind, this language was a good idea. You clearly put a lot of time into stringing together as many adjectives, adverbs, and “replacement” nouns that struck you as interesting. So I’m gonna need you to try to be honest with yourself and flexible with me here.


Make Your Novel a Page Turner

How to Make Your Novel a Page Turner

January 12, 2010 by Elizabeth Sims

“techniques to make your book one readers won’t be able to put down.”
  • PLOT FROM THE GUT.
  • THE “Heart-Clutching Moments” PLOTTING METHOD:
  • What are HCM?
    • Love at first sight…
    • A huge moral lapse…
    • Murder…
    • Death by other means…
    • A refusal of grace…
    • Nature gone wild…
    • Someone standing up to corruption…
    • A change of heart, for good or ill…
    • An act of depraved violence…
    • Betrayal…
    • Forgiveness…
    • A revelation…
    HCMs can be active, whole scenes:
    • A lifesaving attempt
    • A chase
    • A battle
    • A seduction
    • A caper
  • Make a list of Heart-Clutching Moments and put them on index cards in rough order. Then you can build an outline

There is a lot more in this article.


30 Novel Revision Tips

30 ONE-MINUTE Tips for strengthening your novel by Darcy Pattison in the website/blog: Fiction Notes

Revision Checklist 20100109

From Nathan Bransford, literary agent.

Revision Checklist

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

  • Does the main plot arc initiate close enough to the beginning that you won’t lose the reader?
  • Does your protagonist alternate between up and down moments, with the most intense towards the end?
  • Are you able to trace the major plot arcs throughout the book? ….
  • Does the reader see both the best and worst characteristics of your main characters?
  • Do your characters have backstories and histories? Do these impact the plot?
  • Is the pacing correct for your genre? Is it consistent?
  • Is your voice consistent? Is it overly chatty or sarcastic?
  • Is the tense completely consistent? Is the perspective consistent?
  • Is there sufficient description that your reader feels grounded in the characters’ world?
  • Is there too much description? (David R. Slayton) ….
  • Do the relationships between your characters develop and change and become more complicated as the book goes on?
  • What do your characters want? Is it apparent to the reader? Do they have both conscious and unconscious motivations?
  • Do you know what your writing tics are? Do you overuse adverbs, metaphors, facial expressions, non-”said” dialogue tags, or interjections? Have you removed them?
  • Do you overuse certain words or phrases? Is your word choice perfect throughout? …
  • Do your main characters emerge from the book irrevocably changed?
  • Are your characters distinguishable? Does it make sense to combine minor characters? (Kiersten) …

More from the above site:


Excerpt from Write Like the Masters

Writers Digest has an excerpt from Write Like the Masters: Emulating the Best of Hemingway, Faulkner, Salinger, and Others by William Cane from Writer’s Digest. This Excerpt discusses how Hemingway wrote to make it read faster. Not just short sentences but taking out commas, etc.

SENTENCE SPEED

One of Hemingway’s most recognizable stylistic traits is a fast sentence speed. A writer’s sentence speed refers to how quickly his sentences can be read, either aloud or silently. It’s as if Hemingway’s prose flies along at a rapid clip while the writing of other authors putters slowly in comparison.

…He uses two methods, the first of which involves choosing shorter words for simpler diction…. The second method is to omit commas. — read the Excerpt


What Agents Hate

What Agents Hate (published by Writer’s Digest). Here is just a taste. Read the full comments to understand what they mean:

PROLOGUES

“Most agents hate prologues….”
—Andrea Brown, Andrea Brown Literary Agency

“Prologues are usually a lazy way to give back-story chunks to the reader….”
—Laurie McLean, Larsen-Pomada Literary Agents

DESCRIPTION

“I dislike endless ‘laundry list’ character descriptions…. Who cares! Work it into the story.”
—Laurie McLean, Larsen-Pomada Literary Agents

“Slow writing with a lot of description puts me off very quickly……”
—Andrea Hurst, Andrea Hurst Literary Management

“Avoid any description of the weather.”
—Denise Marcil, Denise Marcil Literary Agency

“In romance, I can’t stand this scenario: A woman is awakened to find a strange man in her bedroom—and then automatically finds him attractive..”
—Kristin Nelson, Nelson Literary Agency

VOICE AND POINT OF VIEW

“A pet peeve of mine is ragged, fuzzy point of view. …”
—Cricket Freeman, The August Agency

“An opening that’s predictable won’t hook me in….”
—Debbie Carter, Muse Literary Management

“Avoid the opening line: ‘My name is … .’ ”
—Michelle Andelman, Andrea Brown Literary Agency

ACTION

“…I dislike a Chapter 1 in which nothing happens.”
—Jessica Regel, Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency

“ ‘The weather’ is always a problem…”
—Elizabeth Pomada, Larsen-Pomada Literary Agents

“…there’s a fine line between an intriguing hook and one that’s just silly.
—Daniel Lazar, Writers House

CLICHÉS AND FALSE BEGINNINGS

“…a dream….”
—Mollie Glick, Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency

“…anyone sleeping, dreaming, waking up or staring….”
—Ellen Pepus, Ellen Pepus Literary Agency

“I don’t like it when the main character dies at the end of Chapter 1…..”
—Cricket Freeman, The August Agency

CHARACTERS AND BACKSTORY

“I don’t like descriptions of the characters where writers make them too perfect…. ”
—Laura Bradford, Bradford Literary Agency

“[I dislike] inauthentic dialogue to tell the reader who the characters are….”
—Jennifer Cayea, Avenue A Literary

““To paraphrase Bruno Bettelheim: ‘The more the character in a fairy tale is described, the less the audience will identify with him. … The less the character is characterized and described, the more likely the reader is to identify with him.’ ”
—Adam Chromy, Artists and Artisans

“…a story that opens on the protagonist’s mental reflection of their situation is a red flag.”
—Stephany Evans, FinePrint Literary Management

“Getting to know characters in a story is like getting to know people in real life. You find out their personality and details of their life over time.”
—Rachelle Gardner, WordServe Literary


Reasons Why Your Manuscript Got Rejected

Reasons Why Your Manuscript Got Rejected by Inkygirl on August 17, 2009

“At the SCBWI conference… Wendy Loggia’s keynote speech… focused on reasons she rejected manuscripts that were almost accepted but not quite ready.

“Wendy[,] executive editor of Delacorte Press… went through her binder of rejection letters and found that pretty much all the rejection reasons boiled down to seven points:

“1. Nice writing but no story. The characters are at the same emotional place at the end of the book as they were in the beginning. Wendy found that this was a common problem with authors’ first books. She says that having a good plot is essential. Ask yourself, ‘Why would a bookstore customer choose and buy this book?.

“2. The mss is too similar to other novels that the editor has worked on. Wendy warns authors against submitting books that are very similar to others on the editor’s list; you may be setting yourself up for a negative comparison, especially if the other book is very good. Even worse if the other book didn’t sell well.

“3. Your readership isn’t clear. Who will want to read your book? Your book is too ‘quiet’ or doesn’t have enough commercial appeal….”

read more

King’s Top 7 Tips

Stephen King’s Top 7 Tips for Becoming a Better Writer

About my own novel

I had been needing a way to show my main character’s intellectual problems with not having been to school when yesterday I heard someone say that 9/11 wasn’t the worst intelligence failure since Pearl Harbor, it was the worst intelligence failure since The Trojan Horse! I loved the line and it started seeping into my mind and I thought of a way to use that as something she should know but didn’t because of the lack of schooling!

Added it to the conversation with Cleere about Rommel in Chapter 2.

Wish I could remember who said it. I think it was from Book TV this weekend. Book TV on CSpan 2 every weekend is fantastic and has exposed me to many books I knew nothing about.


Ten Mistakes Writers Don’t See

Ten Mistakes Writers Don’t See (But Can Easily Fix When They Do)

1) Repeats (each writer has his/her “crutch” word)

2) Flat Writing

3) Empty Adverbs

4) Phony Adverbs

5) No-Good Suffice

6) The “To Be” ver

7) Lists

8) Show, Don’t tell

9) Awakward Phrasing

10) Commas

For details, check out the link.


Dialog from the Novel Doctor

Talking about Talking from the Novel Doctor. A couple of things in his August 6, 09 post about dialog

  • Think rhythmically. Dialogue is a dance. Sometimes it’s a waltz. Sometimes it’s a tarantella. Sometimes it’s ordered, sometimes its a reckless improvisation. Usually, it’s a blend of many different steps. The quickest way to kill dialogue is to have line after line of the same droll drone. Mix it up. If it’s fun to read aloud, it’s probably fun to read silently….
  • Allow characters to speak colloquially (according to their character and the time-period or culture of the novel’s setting). Unless the character is meant to sound like a British aristocrat, allow him to use contractions and sentence fragments and even to screw up his grammar now and then. Imperfections and mistakes help give characters unique personalities.

Agent Discusses Recent ICRS Convention

Agent asked editors what they really wanted in new projects and heard the following:

In Fiction:

  1. “regardless of genre, almost every editor told me they’re looking for strong female protagonists. This is particularly true in historical and historical romance. No wimpy women!”
  2. “they seem to want characters in interesting locations and unique occupations that will add to the story.”

Writer Uses for Twitter

This is an interesting list from Meryl’s Notes Blog 50+ Writer Uses for Twitter


Music and Fiction Writing

From the Kill Zone blog:

Soundtrack of Suspense: How Music Influences My Words by Robert Liparulo

Pace. Rhythm. Tension. It’s no coincidence these terms describe both stories and music. In fact, for me, music has always helped me create stories.


100 Web Tools for Writing

Another great list

100 Useful Web Tools for Writin

Recommended by the 50 Free Resources list mentioned in the previous post.


50 Free Resources for Writing Skills

This is an interesting list:

50 Free Resiources that will Improve Your Writing Skillls


Plot Whisperer Blog

Just found a blog called “Plot Whisperer for Writers and Readers” - “International plot consultant reflects on the development of plot and structure for writers to achieve maximum reader connection and enjoyment.”

The posts are quite interesting and useful.

Blog seems to be associated with the website “Blockbuster Plots“. I haven’t had a chance to get in to either much yet but this looks promising.


Writer’s Digest List of 101 Top Writing Sites

Writer’s Digest List of 101 Top Writing Sites for 2009.


R. L. LaFevers Blog on Writing

R.L. LaFevers Blog

Yesterday’s post was on things learned in a Donald Maass all day workshop. In the previous days discussion of plots and conflict, etc.


Economist Style Guide

I find the Writer’s Digest blog “Best Tweets for Writers” by Jane Friedman to be lovely. Discovered a couple of the previous posts for today from this. Plus I would have missed this Tweet without the above summary

The Economist’s writing style guide is fantastic. @thesolowriter

And this is really good though aimed at journalists on its staff. One thing I noted was this about dashes (which I know I overuse)

Dashes

You can use dashes in pairs for parenthesis, but not more than one pair per sentence, ideally not more than one pair per paragraph.

Use a dash to introduce an explanation, amplification, paraphrase, particularisation or correction of what immediately precedes it. Use it to gather up the subject of a long sentence. Use it to introduce a paradoxical or whimsical ending to a sentence. Do not use it as a punctuation maid-of-all-work (Gowers).


Author Website

There is a lot of information out there about how every author needs an author website and that this should be live long before the first book comes out. Maybe before you try to find an agent and before you get a publisher. But what do you put into such a website. This article discusses some of the things (may not all apply to someone whose book isn’t yet out):

6 Things Readers Want from Your Author Website


Foundation of Storytelling

Web page: Perceiving The Foundation of Storytelling by Bill Johnson. Interesting general article.

I Have Done a Major Rewrite

I have done a major rewrite and changed the first chapter into two. I have yet to make the other chapters fit with the changes so they are still the first draft. I am calling the rewritten material a second draft. Now I need to leave that material alone for awhile since I have to get distance from my own writing in order to see it clearly. The Timeline and the other chapters are still going to be referring to Katherine’s university education and that all has to be removed. And other things as well have to be changed. And then I have an additional chapter mostly written to add. And the next chapter is in my head and “all I have to do is get it written down.” But if you have ever gotten something straight in your head and then started writing it down, you may have found as I have that the writing process is not as easy as you might think! Anyway, I think the first two chapters are a vast improvement but the whole is more of a jumbled mess than it was.


Top Ten Things About Editing

Top Ten Things I Know About Editing by Alexandra Sokoloff

1. Cut, cut, cut.

2. Read your book aloud. All of it. Cover to cover.

3. Find a great critique group.

4. Do several passes.

5. Whatever your genre is, do a dedicated pass focusing on that crucial genre element.

6. Know your Three Act Structure.

7. Do a dedicated DESIRE LINE pass in which you ask yourself for every scene: “What does this character WANT? Who is opposing her/him in this scene? Who WINS in the scene? What will they do now?”

8. Do a dedicated EMOTIONAL pass, in which you ask yourself in every chapter, every scene, what do I want my readers to FEEL in this moment?

9. Do a dedicated SENSORY pass,in which you make sure you’re covering what you want the reader to see, hear, feel, taste, smell, and sense.

10. Finally, and this is a big one: steal from film structure to pull your story into dramatic line. For this There is a STORY ELEMENTS CHECKLIST


Revision Checklist from Nathan Bransford - Literary Agent

(some of these have links to other things posted)

- Does the main plot arc initiate close enough to the beginning that you won’t lose the reader?
- Does your protagonist alternate between up and down moments, with the most intense towards the end?
- Are you able to trace the major plot arcs throughout the book? Do they have up and down moments?
- Do you have enough conflict?
- Does the reader see both the best and worst characteristics of your main characters?
- Do your characters have backstories and histories? Do these impact the plot?
- Is the pacing correct for your genre? Is it consistent?
- Is your voice consistent? Is it overly chatty or sarcastic?
- Is the tense completely consistent? Is the perspective consistent?
- Is there sufficient description that your reader feels grounded in the characters’ world?
- Is there too much description? (David R. Slayton)
- Are momentous events given the weight they deserve?
- Look closely at each chapter. If you can take out a chapter and the plot will still make sense, is it really necessary? Should some events be folded in with others?
- Do the relationships between your characters develop and change and become more complicated as the book goes on?
- What do your characters want? Is it apparent to the reader? Do they have both conscious and unconscious motivations?
- Do you know what your writing tics are? Do you overuse adverbs, metaphors, facial expressions, non-”said” dialogue tags, or interjections? Have you removed them?
- Do you overuse certain words or phrases? Is your word choice perfect throughout?
- Does your book come to a completely satisfying conclusion? Does it feel rushed?
- Do your main characters emerge from the book irrevocably changed?
- Are your characters distinguishable? Does it make sense to combine minor characters? (Kiersten)
- Do each of your scenes make dramatic sense on their own as well as move the overall plot forward? (Pete Peterson)


Writing Advice Database

Writing Advice Database from Nathan Bransford - Literary Agent

includes links to previous blog posts such as:
The limits of verisimilitude
What is pacing?
Is your dialogue stilted?
Is there such a thing as being too controversial?
Avoiding non-said/asked dialogue tags
Character and plot are inseparable
Are you sure you want to begin with dialogue?
Is your protagonist sufficiently sympathetic?
Does your novel have enough conflict?
You Tell Me responses: What makes for good dialogue?
Do you (and your readers) know what your characters want?
More


Blog Post on Revision

A blog post on revision from
A Schmooze is a gathering of children’s writers and illustrators designed to share knowledge, great news, and companionship.
Monday, May 18, 2009
Revision Roundup - Westside Schmooze Edition!

We also shared a few highlights from a talk given by Firebrand Literary agent Michael Stearns at SCBWI-LA Writer’s Day, this past April 18th, titled “The Plot Thickens: 13 Questions to Ask of a Way Too Wimpy Storyline.”

1.) Do you have a clock in your story?
2.) Have you buried the ends of your chapters? (End chapters on cliffhangers!)
3.) Have you structured your story to create suspense?
Is the straightforward telling the BEST way for your story?
(Check out Michael’s blog entry on ABDCE: Action, Background, Development, Climax, Ending.
5.) Have you taken full advantage of using subplots?
Subplots provide camouflage for your main plotline, to distract the readers from what you’re really up to.
Rita expanded on this, sharing the Using “B” Plots and “C” Plots concept Kathleen Duey spoke about at the summer conference years ago, on how to use subplots to solve pacing issues and deal with “the sagging middle.”
10.) Have you taken advantage of how everybody but everybody lies?
12.) Have you followed through on every consequence of your characters’ acts?
13.) Have you been as mean as possible to you characters?
Michael quoted another author’s idea of always asking, while writing, “Does it hurt yet?”


Great Characters

Great Characters - Their Best Kept Secret by James Bonnet:
Great stories, myths and legends are dominated by quintessential elements….

The quintessential can be applied to any element of your story but is especially effective when applied to the professions and dominant traits of your characters. If you take these dimensions to the quintessential, you will make your characters more intriguing. They will make an important psychological connection and that will add significantly to the power of your work….

The dominant trait is the dominant character trait which the character personifies. Every truly great character has a dominant trait that has been taken to the quintessential….

the key to making your characters truly memorable and merchandisable. Take their dominant traits to the quintessential.....

Characters that possess this charisma become like deities….

I am not sure of this but it is interesting.


Books for a Buck

Books for a Buck is different. Here is what they say:

The Writers Page here is designed to meet two goals:

  1. To provide information to authors interested in publishing with BooksForABuck.com, and;
  2. To provide information that will be of value to all writers, whether you want to publish with us, self-publish, or publish with some other publisher.
and their FAQ says:
  1. We publish novel-length romance, mystery, science fiction, and fantasy. We define novel-length as approximately 50,000 words and higher….
  2. …We pay some of the highest royalties in the industry–50% at this time. Unlike traditional publishers who withhold payments for long periods of time, BooksForABuck.com pays royalties quarterly, with no reserve for returned books. (Note: the 50% royalty is paid on gross revenues (for direct sales). BooksForABuck.com pays the commission to PayPal on all sales. For books sold through distribution (e.g., through Fictionwise.com, we pay 50% of our net receipts. However, we guarantee a minimum of 50 cents per book even if your book does not earn out the Fictionwise advance in any given quarter)). For our paper publications, we pay royalties of 50% of net revenue (revenue net of production cost and any royalties retained by the printer or other sales channels). We do roll forward royalty payments for any quarter in which an author’s total royalty owed (for all books, including roll-forward) is less than $10, US. .

Online Syndication

From the Editorial Ass blog (about which the author says, “I’m a recovering editorial assistant. I’m like most of my kind: impoverished coffee-and-gin survivalists, underpaid but ambitious, bitter but hopeful.”

What’s Safe to Syndicate Online?


Ending the Novel

I have always known how the novel will end but in my mind it all just faded out. Not really a powerful end. Last night in reading Diane Thiel’s Writing Your Rhythm: Using Nature, Culture, Form and Myth near the end she talks about coming full circle and tying the end to the beginning and suddenly I had an idea for how to make the end a real ending and wrote it down starting with the very end that ties into the first few paragraphs and then the part just before that which ties into the main scene in the first chapter. It will need a lot of rewriting, of course but I think I have the basic bones of it down and I am please.

This is not the way to end all novels, it is just a way to end a novel but I think it will work for me.

Of course I am often pleased with something when I first write it and later find it is terribly inadequate. I expect that but the idea has to come before making something adequate.


Strengthen Scenes

5 Easy Tips to Strengthen Your Scenes from Writer’s Digest.

Summary (for details see above link):

1. “RELIVE YOUR SCENES. Not rewrite. Relive.”

2. “HEAT UP THE CORE. “

3. “ADJUST YOUR PACE.”

4. “STRETCH THE TENSION.… In a famous early scene in Whispers, Dean Koontz takes 17 pages to describe the attempted rape of the lead character. Read it and learn.”

5. “CUT OR STRENGTHEN WEAK SCENES.”


Review Sites

Just discovered the Market my Novel blog and its page of General Review Sites.


10 Writing Mistakes

Ten Mistakes Writers Don’t See (But Can Easily Fix When They Do)

Summary (see article above for the details):

1) “Just about every writer unconsciously leans on a “crutch” word.”

2) “The writing is so flat, it just dies on the page. You can’t fix it with a few replacement words - you have to give it depth, texture, character.”

3) “Empty Adverbs”

4) “Be careful of using dialogue to advance the plot. Readers can tell when characters talk about things they already know, or when the speakers appear to be having a conversation for our benefit.”

5) “Don’t take a perfectly good word and give it a new backside [suffix] so it functions as something else.”

6) “Once your eye is attuned to the frequent use of the ‘to be’ words - ‘am,’ ‘is,’ ‘are,’ ‘was,’ ‘were,’ ‘be,’ ‘being,’ ‘been’ and others - you’ll be appalled at how quickly they flatten prose and slow your pace to a crawl.”

7) “Lists” - “If you’re going to describe a number of items, jack up the visuals. Lay out the the scene as the eye sees it, with emphasis and emotion in unlikely places. When you list the items as though we’re checking them off with a clipboard, the internal eye will shut.”

8) “The moment we can visualize the picture you’re trying to paint, you’re showing us, not telling us what we ’should’ see..”

9) “Awkward phrasing makes the reader stop in the midst of reading and ponder the meaning of a word or phrase.”

10) “Compound sentences, most modifying clauses and many phrases *require* commas. You may find it necessary to break the rules from time to time, but you can’t delete commas just because you don’t like the pause they bring to a sentence or just because you want to add tension.”


Quotes about Writing

Here is a website page about “Quotes about Writing“.

My favorite from the list is:

“Unless one is a genius, it is best to aim at being intelligible.”
Anthony Hope Hawkins


Murderati Blog

A blog about writing done by a group of writers.


Seth Godin: Advice for Writers

This is an interesting article on Advice for authors from Seth Godin. It emphasizes this:

The best time to start promoting your book is three years before it comes out. Three years to build a reputation, build a permission asset, build a blog, build a following, build credibility and build the connections you’ll need later….

Writing a book is a tremendous experience. It pays off intellectually. It clarifies your thinking. It builds credibility. It is a living engine of marketing and idea spreading, working every day to deliver your message with authority. You should write one.


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