Writing With Style

WordServe Water Cooler

All writers want to write with style. However, your publisher thinks of style less in terms of crafting words with fashion and flair and more in terms of communicating with good grammar and consistency. iStock_000003403361MediumHere are a few resources you will need as you polish your prose for publication:

1. Manual of Style:
A manual of style (MOS or MoS) is a comprehensive guide to editorial style and publishing practices. These thick books cover industry-wide or profession-wide guidelines for writing. If you are writing a book for general readership, you probably need to follow The Chicago Manual of Style. For both UK and US usage, you can turn to the New Oxford Style Manual.

If you are writing articles for newspapers or magazines, you may need The Associated Press Stylebook. If you are writing for a scientific or medical audience, you will need to use the AMA…

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Growing as a Writer: An Interesting Observation on First Drafts

Ron Writes Stuff

I believe with all my heart the most important thing about writing a novel is completing the first draft.

It’s just math. It doesn’t matter how great or original your idea is. A great, original idea != a book. It doesn’t matter how long your outline is. An outline != a book. You have to complete that first draft. A first draft is a book, albeit (for many of us) a bad book-but a book nonetheless. Or manuscript, if you prefer. Then you do a ton of editing to make it a good book, or even a great book. If you’d like to see it spelled out, here are some formulas (to keep the whole math theme going):

no first draft = no book

first draft = book

(first draft + editing) = second draft = better book

(second draft + A LOT of editing) = next draft = good…

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Modernize Your Grammar

The Write Nook

One of the scariest aspects of self-publishing is the editing process. You don’t have a built in editor waiting for your next draft. If you don’t possess a doctorate degree in the English language, you feel prone to have a ‘professional’ edit your work which often comes with hefty fees. You worry about following every grammatical ‘rule’ because you fear that any poor grammar will cast your work in a negative light or will be judged by readers and/or critics, just because you are not following the ‘conventional rules’ despite how well you write. We all have heard and seen authors get slammed for poor grammar and the last thing we want is to be the next victim. Go ahead and breathe because I don’t want you to spend another second worrying about it. I recently came across a very interesting article in the Wall Street Journal, called “There Is…

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some notes on process: the reading notebook

the stanza

An in-progress page of my reading notebook. An in-progress page of my reading notebook.

A reader recently asked if I’d consider writing a post about how I use my notebook. Since then, I’ve been paying closer attention to how I use my notebook — or notebooks actually — and the answer is: pathologically.

Because I have too many of them. So I’m going to break this up a bit. Today: my reading notebook (there is also my writing notebook, and notebooks for lists, orphan lines, craft, lexicon, and… some other stuff).

The reading and writing notebooks are the ones I would take if the house were burning down, though I would hate to lose the rest of them. Really hate. Oh… I can’t even think about that.

Longtime readers know that reading is crucial to my generative process. As I read, I circle and underline, check and star, make notes on the poem’s architecture. I jot down words…

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Divorcing the Writer From the Editor

William Drayman

I realize that the secret to a good blog is posting often, but circumstances at the moment dictate my writing time take a back seat to my children’s schooling requirements. I am writing from 9pm to 1am or so, and there is so much work to do with The Road Out that I simply cannot spare much time for blogging.

However, the holidays have started, so I have more time available for sitting in front of the keyboard right now.

So, I wanted to talk about what I have learned as regards editing. Not the mechanics per se, but the mental attitude that has to be donned to edit a book successfully. As you can discern by the title, the writer mindset does not get on well with the editing mentality.

The writer spends many an hour crafting a chapter to encapsulate beautiful prose. The creative juices flow and the…

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Writing That Scene: Scaramouche

A forum to engage in some free, online, constructive criticism of your own writing or the other people’s writings.

Andrea Lundgren

In the format of a non-traditional critique, Writing That Scene examines the fundamentals of what it takes to make a scene powerful and memorable for readers. The opinion expressed is my own, and other readers’ opinions may differ.

The goal is to provide a free opportunity for authors to learn from each other and to see their own “problem scenes” with fresh eyes. In my own experience, hearing what other writers and readers think of some of my own writing scenes has helped give me a fresh perspective, getting me thinking “What if…” and pointing out possibilities I hadn’t even considered.

If you are interested in sharing a scene of your own for a future post, click on the Writing that Scene Submission link. Or, you can suggest a scene from another writer’s work for us to analyze. To see last week’s scene, click here.

Author: Rafael Sabatini

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#Revising and Rewriting a Novel is no Mystery

Global Mysteries

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akillerideaRevising and rewriting a novel is no mystery if you go about it methodically. Yes, it’s a lot of work. Yes, it takes time. Yes, it’s a critical part of an author’s job. Revising and rewriting is my favorite step in creating a novel because I come up with some of my best scenes during this segment of producing my story.

Preliminary Preparation:
I begin my revising and rewriting process by sticking my novel in a drawer or in a computer folder and not looking at it for at least three weeks. Just before I start actively revising and rewriting, I make a complete copy of my manuscript and store it on my computer and on an external hard drive. I will continue to make copies on a regular basis as I make revisions. That way, if I cut or add something I shouldn’t, I can always return to the…

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The Difficulty of Writing From Multiple POVs

Cynthia D. Griffin

This one is a doozy for me, especially since my novel has five different point of views (POVs) that I am telling the story from. There have been many, many times where I question my decision as to whether I really need to be inside five different heads. Can’t I just manage with my main character? Because it sure would be a lot easier and my novel would be done long by now. But I keep coming back to the answer of… yes.

My story is such that it’s bigger than the main character. It’s more than just about the people. It’s about the world they live in and the choices each person makes and how those choices affect the bigger picture. And because of that, the reader really needs to get a front row seat with each of these five major players.

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Let’s Talk About POV and Deep POV

Kelly F Barr

I have been an avid reader ever since I was able to read, as early as the Dick and Jane readers.  I have read many books in my life so far and hope to read many more.  I have read books that were fantastic, some that were just good, some that were mediocre and some that were quite bad.  Many of the books I have read were written in POV, but not Deep POV.  I don’t believe that made them bad books.  On the contrary, some of them were wonderful classic stories.

So, what are POV and Deep POV?  POV is the abbreviation of Point of View which is defined, by Merriam Webster, as a position or perspective from which something is considered or evaluated; standpoint.

In fiction writing, the position from which anything is considered in any particular scene should be the character through whose head we are viewing…

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Thoughts on Voice

Phil Slattery's Blog

The blogger on Padre Island, January, 2011. The blogger on Padre Island, January, 2011.

I just want to post a few quick thoughts for the night on the topic of voice in narration versus narration in dialogue.   The opinions I state here may change with time as I learn more of the art of writing, but these are my feelings for now.

Unless there is a specific reason to give the narrator an accent or flaws in his speech, the narrator’s grammar and speaking should be perfect.  To my mind, this establishes a baseline against which the characters’ voices can be heard.  It also establishes the author’s expertise and shows that the author knows what he/she is doing with regards to the language.   If the narrator’s speech is perfect, then any accents or flaws or flourishes in the characters’ speech can be seen more distinctly.  I believe the narrator’s voice (unless there is a specific reason for otherwise) should be…

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Beasts, Alphas, Doms, and the BDSM Line

Notebook of a Black Sheep

First, I’d like to thank my anonymous reviewer for their compliment, in saying that my story was well-written. But second, I would like to address some concerns that this reviewer brought up.

For those of you who haven’t read the review, the subject is the mentality behind alphas and dominants, and what that tendency actually says about the person in question. This begs the question of whether an alpha can ever be considered a well-rounded character. Since one of my two main characters is a beast character, and he is the focal point, this tension is makes up the crux of my story.

“I have always found over-the-top ‘alphas’ or ‘doms’ to be more than a little repugnant…”

Alphas and dominants certainly cater to a particular taste. The stories that revolve around them often center around the issue of control. This is because being an alpha means being at the…

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Authors Answer 6 – Author Mistakes

I Read Encyclopedias for Fun

For the rest of December, we have a guest author! I’d like to welcome Michael J. Sullivan, the author of the Riyria fantasy series.

As we all know, authors are people.  And people make mistakes.  This is why we write drafts and do a lot of editing.  This is why editors exist.  It’s also why authors often have beta readers pick apart their books.  It’s a reason I also use a critique group.  They help catch many of my mistakes.

pink-erasersQuestion 6: Which mistake or bad habit in writing is the most difficult for you to stop doing?

Michael J. Sullivan

There are plenty of things I do wrong, but I wouldn’t classify them as “bad habits.”  I have a system that works well for me, so my “habits” are generally positive ones. For instance, I write at the same time every day, right after I wake up and…

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How To Write Plot Twists – by Lux


So I stumbled onto this blog/article that had a lot of good information about plot twists.
I was looking advice up for my novel as far as common or predictable plot twists and this piece here gave a lot of good wisdom.

So for any writers, this is worth a read.

Finding Originality When Even Plot Twists Are Cliched

by Lux


I’ve been trying to finalize the outline of my novel, however I’m skeptical and critical of every plot outline I’ve come up with. I’m to the point where even some of the plot twists I come up with seem cliched. (I.e. a plot with a fresh twist in itself is cliched!)

How should one find a balance between cliched plots and fresh twists in one’s work? 

I was also wondering if every author goes through this stage, where the fear of being cliched inhibits them from writing without…

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Climax – Emotion, I’m Sneaking up on the Climax creativity and Plots, Entertainment and Excitement

Zen of Scenes

11 December 2014, this blog is about writing in scenes.  I’m focusing on the tools to build scenes.  I’ll leave up the parts of a novel because I think this is an important picture for any novelist.  I’m writing about the climax.

1. The beginning
2. The rising action
3. The Climax
4. The falling action
5. The dénouement

Announcement:  By the time you read this, my new series novels titled Ancient Light will be published.  Ancient Light includes Aegypt, Sister of Light and Sister of Darkness.  If you are interested in historical/suspense literature, please give my novels a try.  You can read about them at http://www.ancientlight.com.  I’ll keep you updated.

Today’s Blog: The skill of using language in a large degree comes from the ability to put together figures of speech that act as symbols in writing.

Here are my rules of writing:

1. Entertain your readers.
2. Don’t confuse your readers.
3. Ground…

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