Ask the Editor Series, Q7 Q: How can I identify a comma splice? A1: Is there a comma in the sentence? Then it’s possible. A2: This answer is complicated and completely easy at the same time, which makes it complicated to explain. And easy to explain. But allow me to try . . . These… Continue reading How Can I Identify a Comma Splice?
Ask the Editor Series, Q6 Q: I’ve gone over my manuscript 100 times already. How could anything be left for an editor to fix? A1: Just one more time ought to do it, then. Or two. A2: There’s a saying: even editors need editors. Everyone needs an editor. At an editing conference I recently attended,… Continue reading If I’m Really Careful, Do I Still Need an Editor?
Ask the Editor Series, Q5 Q: Do Editors Have Different Styles? A1: Contrary to popular belief, editors have an amazing sense of style! It’s not all pursed lips and cat-eye glasses, you know. A2: Ohhh, that. This is every bit as complicated as you’d think, but the answer is “sort-of-yes,” and here’s some reassurance for… Continue reading Do Editors Have Different Styles?
Ask the Editor Series, Q4 Q: How do you know if you have a bad editor? A1: Their style guide is I’m OK – You’re OK. A2: This happens on occasion, but if you’re on top of things, it’s not as complicated as you’d think. Let’s face it, with the whole idea of internet… Continue reading How Do You Know If You Have a Bad Editor?
Ask the Editor Series, Q3 Q: What “mistakes” shouldn’t you let your editor fix? A1: You should never let your editor fix “mistakes” unless they’re removing “scare” quotes from where they don’t “belong.” A2: Genuine mistakes, on the other hand, are another story, and it’s only sort of complicated. But here’s why. Language is… Continue reading Should an Editor Fix Every Single Mistake?
Ask the Editor Series, Q2 Q: If I have my own style guide, why do I still need an editor? A1: Because I need to pay my electric bill. Also, I need to feel special, and I can’t feel nearly as special if you know everything that I know. It’s science. A2: It’s complicated,… Continue reading I Have My Own Style Guide. Do I Still Need An Editor?
Ask the Editor Series, Q1 Q: Are editors really as mean as they look? A1: That’s ridiculous. Looks can be deceiving. We can be so much meaner. Just ask our children. A2: It’s complicated, and here’s why. Even the nicest editors don’t always look as friendly as they are, because . . . well,… Continue reading Are Editors Really as Mean as They Look?
Once again, the Internet provides an opportunity for you to feel better about yourself. Enjoy the "creative" use of these . . . words . . . Uh—spellings? 😉 ————— #1 ————— ————— #2 ————— ————— #3 ————— ————— #4 ————— ————— #5 ————— ————— #6 ————— ————— #7 ————— ————— #8 ————— ————— #9… Continue reading 13 Funny #GrammarFails
Grammar is like Latin. A dead language reserved for science and law. Grammar rules are a lot like Kafka’s novel The Trial. You know you’ve done something wrong, everyone else seems to know you’ve done something wrong, but explanations of your crime are vague and difficult to understand. I wouldn’t deliver client’s work without editing.… Continue reading Blogs: I Don’t Edit Because Grammar is Dead.
Length matters . . . am I right? If you don’t believe me, try reading the 200,000-word autobiography of a snail. Unless that’s the kind of kinky stuff you’re into, you’ll probably rather it was no more than two hundred words . . . no extra zeros allowed. Poor snail. The problem was he… Continue reading How Long Should Your Book Be? — A Word Count Guide for Fiction
As we know, developing a deep contrast of layers in our characters is crucial for a vivid reading experience. So in this final installment of Using Body Language in Your Novel, we’re going to continue all the way down to the feet. But I’ll also cover some extra tips about body language for your characters,… Continue reading Using Body Language in Your Novel, Part Four—Legs, Feet, & Bonus Tips
For this third installment of using body language in your novel, we’re going to focus on the upper body and ways to infuse an ordinary story with deep layers of . . . well, upper body language description O_O — I knew this experiment to write a post while tipsy would make things difficult, but… Continue reading Using Body Language in Your Novel, Part Three—Arms, Shoulders, & Posture
Revisions are a critical step in the writing process, but let’s face it, they can also just suck all the joy out of writing. Anything that can help speed up the process and increase focus is a good thing. One of my favorite tools is Macros. Unfortunately, like many writers, I was a master of… Continue reading Power Your Book Revisions by Using Macros
How ’bout you and I get physical today? *Kat blows a kiss* Don’t worry; I’m not trying to be inappropriate with you (any inappropriateness happens naturally, there’s no try here, it’s all “do”—ask Yoda). I’m only trying to share some of my notes on getting physical. Or rather helping you add some layers to your… Continue reading Using Body Language in Your Novel, Part One—Facial Expressions
"I was afraid that by observing objects with my eyes and trying to comprehend them with each of my senses I might blind my soul altogether." —Socrates I say let's blind our readers' souls with our stories! What? Seems legit to me. *shrugs* As an author, your job is to transport your reader into the… Continue reading Using the Five Senses in Fiction, Part Two: Smell, Touch, & Taste
Good writing is like enjoying a hot cup of chocolate on a snowy morning. It activates all your senses: sight, smell, touch, taste buds, and even sound. I was going to say it’s like sex, but this is a daytime gig, and my mommy reads this, so . . . hot chocolate anyone? 😛 As… Continue reading Using the Five Senses in Fiction, Part One: Sight & Sound
Using colors in your writing is a fantastic way to add symbolism and foreshadowing to your story. They can enrich your scenes by adding deeper meaning, variation, and help with mood amongst other things. Be sure to check out the upcoming post on using the five senses next Monday! This chart is a little gift… Continue reading Color Meanings for Writers
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re aware that characters are kind of big deals when it comes to fiction writing. They’re the heart of the story and the main reason our readers gift us with hours of their lives. Let’s face it: without characters, the reading experience wouldn’t really be electrifying. Like,… Continue reading Creating Your Character – A Checklist
I like to use parentheses (you know, to share my extra thoughts and stuff). But only in non-formal situations (like blog-writing). In fiction, however, I avoid it like a plague. And I realize that may just be a personal preference, since I feel it would pull my readers out of the world I spent so… Continue reading Parentheses in Fiction: Do They Break the Fourth Wall?
Writing dialogue is messy. Am I right? It has so many rules, it makes me wish I’d gone with my original plan in life. I’d intended to become an all-in-one supermodel-psychologist/part-time medical researcher. What? I thought I wanted to save people, discover things, and change the world wearing a tiara and killer heels. But the… Continue reading How to Correctly Punctuate Dialogue for Novels
I’m here to help stop the madness. You know the one. The insanity that accompanies the “fun” of writing a book blurb. Attacking is more like it . . . I could stab it upside the head if it had one. But alas. Don’t let my bitterness get to you. In fact, use it to… Continue reading 7 Tips for Writing a Book Blurb
I often say I suffer from CRD—Chronic Rewriting Disease, a term I made up because it seems at least 50% of my work needs to be rewritten. But that’s my writing process, and I accept it. Sure, I could be like many writers and outline my novel from the start . . . but… Continue reading Why You Should Write Your First Draft Before Outlining Your Novel
Being an author sounds like a pretty awesome deal, right? Pick a simple idea, type here, type there, and act like it all happened by magic. Some of you are probably tempted to embark on this path to becoming a published superstar. And you know what? You can do it. You’ve been writing for… Continue reading How to Keep Your Dialogue in Check
You can find writing advice on every corner of the Internet. That doesn't mean it's good advice, though. Research on the "process of writing" can be confusing, and it's always changing. Throw in the rate at which information is spread, and it's no wonder the writing tips or suggestions you get from your friends can… Continue reading Free Outlining Worksheets and Editing Checklist for Writers
An author’s job isn’t just to string words into plots. An author must govern the words, wrestle them into place, make them do his or her bidding, and use their sounds to create rich, crystal clear thoughts. It’s no easy task. Often word-wrangling is like herding cats. Creative flow is often at odds with constraint.… Continue reading Constraint and Creativity – A great story needs both
Two decades ago surveys suggested that 80% of Americans planned to write a novel. Ten years ago, the ease of e-publishing and low costs of book production created the opportunity for many writers to realize their dream. Unfortunately, just because one can self-publish doesn’t mean that one should self-published. I am not suggesting that book… Continue reading The Efficiency Obstacles of Self-Editing
So, you wanna write a novel? That's fantastic. You should! There's a reader out there who cannot wait to read what you have brewing inside that head of yours. Heck, I'm interested in your book. Storytellers are naturally intrigued by the many possibilities that our creative peers have to offer. And because of this, we're… Continue reading 3 Storytelling Mistakes to Avoid
As a writer, you already know that you don't know everything. You won't memorize all the rules, no matter how hard you try. And you won't remember all of those darn confusing words that love to torment you. But fear not. Here, at Writers After Dark, we've compiled several cheat sheets for you. Just for… Continue reading Frequently Confused Words — #Free Cheat Charts for #Writers
There are two types of writers: plot-centric and character-centric. No matter which you are, you still have to portray relatable characters, or else, why should I care as a reader? Laura from Boats Against the Current shares some of her thoughts on creating a great character. Check it out! What makes a character relatable?… Continue reading Making Your Character Relatable
People read fiction for enjoyment. An understatement? Sure, but an important consideration if your goal is popularity. The ability to draw others into another place or time and to create, in their mind, the experience of “being there” is an incredible talent. And like most amazing and beautiful things the genius is in the simplicity.… Continue reading Are You Too Smart to Write Fiction?
If you're a writer, you've heard this advice several times in your writing career: "show don't tell." But it's not as simple as it sounds, because surely, you can't show everything. No, you need a balance. And our friends over at XterraWeb have made some good points on this subject. Read on: Finding… Continue reading How to Find the Balance Between Showing and Telling
If you've ever wondered whether or not having a developmental, substantive, or content editor is beneficial, the answer is yes. Sure, you could get by with beta readers. But only if they do what a content editor or even the right critique partner can do. Choose your preferred name; the benefits are the same. Editor Lynda… Continue reading Why You Should Use a Developmental Editor
Sometimes, the most difficult phase in writing is starting. To help overcome this problem, Michelle Wallace—a contributor at Insecure Writer's Support Group—shares a little bit about the "freewriting" technique. Read about it to see if it could be a solution to your "writing block." Freewriting What is freewriting? Wikipedia says: “Freewriting is a prewriting technique in which a person writes… Continue reading The Technique of FREEWRITING
Ever struggle to find the right voice for your manuscript? Sometimes, it's simply because we're writing our stories with the wrong point of view. And switching the perspective could be the answer you're looking for. The question is, what are the different POVs and what do they mean? Well, Harvey Chapman, over at Novel Writing… Continue reading All You Need to Know About POVs
I like rules. Rules exist to keep chaos at bay. Personally, I don't like chaos. But sometimes my naughty side comes out to play, and I find my toes dipped in dangerous waters. Funny enough, the exhilarating change of pace can make way for amazing possibilities. Take writing for example. There seem to be… Continue reading 3 Rules Every Writer Should Break
Dialogue can make or break your novel. The dialogue concerns aren't just contained inside those " ", it's also the pesky little "tags" that go along with it. The Wise Ink Blog has a great article on what traps to avoid when it comes to dialogue tags. Read on: The 5 Traps of Dialogue Tags… Continue reading 5 Traps to Avoid With Dialogue Tags
Feeling stuck with your writing? Rufi Thorpe shares some tips on how to get over the bumps on the road holding you back from your amazing scenes! Check it out: How to Quit Bad Scenes: Writing Tips from Rufi Thorpe Sometimes I write a scene and it’s bad. Even after two published books, I am… Continue reading How to Quit Writing Bad Scenes
You’re a pretty talented writer. I’d bet a paycheck that you have some fairly witty shit going on in your novel. You’ve weaved a wonder of smart scenes, foreshadowing, and thematic allusions. You’re an author—the master of the narrative. And being that smart, well it makes it damn tempting to self-edit those very “limited” mistakes… Continue reading Me Can Self-edit