You just want to tell a story in the best way you know how. You work hard to express yourself, observing the rules of grammar you’ve been taught. But what if those rules aren’t really rules?
When you’re a part of a writing community filled with great critique partners, you’ll be the happy recipient of lots of feedback on your writing. Sometimes it’s obvious how and when you should address the issues the feedback brings up.
But not all feedback is created equal, and often it can be overwhelming to know what feedback items you should address first or last, or whether you should address certain ones at all. Should you address every nitpick and complaint? Could your readers possibly be incorrect?
You’ve spent a few agonizing weeks waiting on the feedback to roll in from your beta readers. You’ve probably worked your way into an anxiety attack with all the waiting. What if they don’t like it? What if you have to do a major rewrite? It’s scary!
In this post, I’ll walk you through exactly what to do with all that beta reader feedback. Take a deep breath—it’ll be great.
When you think about the books and stories that you most enjoyed reading and that stick in your memory, inspiring thoughts and emotions, what comes to mind? Why are those particular stories so enduring?
Chances are, the story’s scenes were woven with something deeper than what appeared on the surface. As writers, we are always working, practicing, studying to make our stories the best they can be. That’s our job, and today we’re taking a look at an advanced technique we can use to add interest to a scene by giving it an underlying meaning implied by the surface action and dialogue.
I’m talking about subtext.
Stuck on the distinction between “in to” and “into”? You’re not alone! Don’t worry, though, I’ve got you covered. Here’s the quick version:
Use “into” to describe where something is: going inside something else.
Use “in to” based on the verb that comes before it. It can have many meanings, but here’s a quick tip that covers some of them: if you can replace it with “in order to,” use “in to.”
Read on for the longer explanation, plus examples of into vs. in to.
As an editor, point of view problems are among the top mistakes I see inexperienced writers make, and they instantly erode credibility and reader trust.
However, point of view is simple to master if you use common sense.
This post will define point of view, go over each of the major POVs, explain a few of the POV rules, and then point out the major pitfalls writers make when dealing with that point of view.
Coincidence is rampant in real life, but readers hate it. In fiction, coincidence feels contrived and reveals the writer’s hand pulling the strings. When you need to introduce something into your story that feels dangerously close to coincidence, the way to do it is with foreshadowing.
It might seem like a monumental task to find a group of people willing to volunteer to read your manuscript and give you good feedback. Luckily, it’s actually not. Most people are more than willing to give you a little help. And when you follow a few simple steps, they’ll be able to give you invaluable feedback.
Two of the most vital skills you should focus on as a writer are how to tell a story that works and how to develop compelling characters. But once you’ve got that figured out, aren’t there other writing techniques, more subtle perhaps, that draw readers in and make stories shine?
There are. And one of those writing techniques is called euphonics. Rayne Hall, author of the Writer’s Craft series, defines euphonics as “the use of sound devices for prose writing.”
So, you’ve figured out how to write a story that works. You know you need a character, in a setting, with a problem. You know you need a series of try/fail cycles, followed by a climactic scene and the resolution. The structure is simple, but it’s not always easy.
In particular, it can be challenging to sustain and escalate the story’s momentum through those try/fail cycles. And it would be nice to have something that could give your story a delicious ribbon of flavor, instilling brilliance and meaning.
Here’s the good news—there is such a technique. It’s called situational irony, and in this article, we’re going to take a look at what it’s made of and how to construct it in your own work.
Atmosphere matters. People will pay a premium to eat at a restaurant with a certain ambience or buy a house in a setting that supports a particular feeling. In like manner, your reader won’t remember every word you wrote, but if you infuse the story with atmosphere, they will remember the way it made them feel. And readers read in order to feel something.
You’ve completed a first draft. Congratulations! Seriously, you deserve a pat on the back, and I really suggest you take the time to give yourself one.
Now comes the hard part: editing.
Seriously, how do you edit a novel? In this article, I’ll teach you the process I’ve learned after years of struggling to edit.
As writers, we want to capture our readers’ attention, rivet them to the page, and leave them clamoring for more. We want to create something that moves people, deepens their understanding, and keeps them thinking about our story long after they’ve devoured the last word.
You may have noticed how I used sets of three in my opening paragraph, and if you didn’t consciously register it, your subconscious mind certainly did. Using the Rule of Three in your writing is one way to meet reader expectations and engage reader interest.
Have you ever wondered which draft you are working on? Many people wonder if they are writing their first draft or editing their story. You may be halfway through your book and decide to start all over from the beginning. Or you may have written the entire manuscript, but now be starting all over again.
Does that mean it is a first draft or a second draft, or editing, or what? What does “first draft” mean—or “second draft,” for that matter?
As a writer, I’m sure you know the importance of a good grammar checker. Sure, the old Word spellcheck feature is great for a tenth-grade English paper, but for professional writers, you’ll want something with more power—especially if you’re publishing a book.
Two popular options are Grammarly and Ginger. Each of these grammar checking tools has some unique and useful features that can help you write with confidence and catch and correct errors along the way.
Is Grammarly or Ginger right for you? Read on to find out.
Can book writing software replace an editor? Nope. But it can help you improve your grammar and readability.
You were born to tell stories and share your message with the world. But you sit down to type and something terrible happens. Your fingers misspell things. Verbs switch tenses as you type. Nothing works quite like it did when it was still just a compelling idea in your head.
You reread and catch a few errors, but what if you’ve reached the end of your grammar prowess? Need some book writing software to help improve your writing?
Happy back-from-Labor-Day Day! I had the good fortune to spend the long weekend in Houston with my best friend from college. We ate, we drank, we had a slight Netflix binge, and we were very merry. She’s finishing up her PhD in neuroscience at UT-Houston, and she accepted a postdoc at Vanderbilt, so she’ll be moving to Nashville in a couple of months. She may be one of the smartest people I know.
I know this because she knows the difference between may be and maybe.
If the semicolon was just a little less top-heavy, then it would be a comma, and rightfully used and appreciated. Sadly, many writers have a confused relationship with the semicolon, not really sure how or when to use semicolons in their lovely sentences.
Don’t worry, little semicolon. Your virtues will not be lost on this audience as long as I have a say in it.
Consider this: as writers, we employ words. We harness their power and send them out to do a job. So, just like any productive employer, we must choose our operatives effectively and manage them well. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the ways words can fail and how to avoid that.
You know you’ve seen it at the end of a book, but what does it mean? What is an epilogue actually? Why not just call it, “Last Chapter?” Who thought up this word, “Epilogue,” anyway? And if you’re a writer, should you end you’re book with an epilogue?