Articles

Articles / On Writing
27 Apr 2015

Plot Sheets

Plot Sheets To round out the sheets trilogy, as I like to call it, I’m going to talk about plot sheets. They work pretty much the same as the character and setting sheets. You can have as little or as many sheets as you need. Plot sheets are just a rough version of your outline.  The Plot Bunny Catchall Plot Sheet This type of plot...

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Articles / On Dialogue
20 Apr 2015

Dialogue Tag Primer

Dialogue Tag Primer Sometimes it’s good to just get back to the basics when it comes to writing, so I decided to tackle an area that has some set rules and yet also some guidelines or schools of thought that can vary. Dialogue tags fall into this category because while capitalization and punctuation around a dialogue tag is generally rule-driven, what constitutes a dialogue tag...

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Articles / On Editing
15 Apr 2015

What Stops Me In My Tracks When I’m Reading?

What Stops Me In My Tracks When I’m Reading? As I’ve said before, I read a lot. Not nearly as much as I’d like—and much of what I read is unpublished manuscripts—but there is little that makes me happier than relaxing with a book that whisks me away to an exciting new world, a future time, or a distant land. You see, the life of...

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Articles / Commonly Confused
08 Apr 2015

Commonly Confused: Rain, Reign and Rein

Commonly Confused: Rain, Reign and Rein It’s funny. The more I write about the English language and the more I try to help elementary students whose first language isn’t English, the more I realize how difficult English is. It’s hard enough for native speakers to keep all the rules straight, let alone someone who is trying to learn English. We have an exception to almost...

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Articles / On Writing
06 Apr 2015

Setting Sheets

Divas on Writing Setting Sheets I talked about character sheets a while ago and had some really great responses to the article, so I thought I would write about setting sheets as well. Setting sheets work much the same as character sheets, but they storyboard the setting of the story instead of outlining characters. With character sheets, you’re likely to have multiple sheets based on...

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Articles / On Writing
30 Mar 2015

Let’s Talk about Sex and Perspective

Let’s Talk about Sex and Perspective   There are manifold ways in which a sex scene can go wrong. Hello, disembodied motion, I’m looking at you! It can become unbalanced by focusing on one aspect too much. When readers and editors start complaining about robotic scenes this is the problem. It may be unrealistic (Welcome to the Virgin Extreme Sex Olympics!) or rushed (It’s over?...

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Articles / On Editing
25 Mar 2015

Editor Speak 101: Tools of the Trade

Editor Speak 101 – The Tools of the Trade Imagine if you will that you hired someone to mow your lawn and they showed up with a pair of hedge clippers. You would immediately know that they are using the wrong tool because you know a lawn mower is required to trim grass properly. Now you may not know how to use a lawn mower...

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Articles / On Writing
23 Mar 2015

That Book Won’t Write Itself, You Know

That Book Won’t Write Itself, You Know Okay, I’ll admit, this article should be titled “That Article Won’t Write Itself, You Know,” as I sit at my computer and stare at a blank screen, three hundred other things distracting me from actually writing anything at all. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, pictures from the weekend—they all tease me with their instant entertainment, but none of them are...

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Articles / Commonly Confused
18 Mar 2015

Commonly Confused: Four Less Common Pairs

Commonly Confused: Four Less Common Pairs I love words. I get a kick out of twisting a sentence around or subtly shifting its meaning with the replacement of one little word. From passive to aggressive or formal to casual, the switch of a noun or verb can make all the difference in your phrase… or sentence… or paragraph. It’s vital, therefore, to ensure you’re always...

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Articles / On Writing
16 Mar 2015

Redundancy

Redundancy Redundancy invades our writing like a weed, sending runners underground to choke and bog down our stories. Many of us don’t realize we are adding redundant or unnecessary words to our writing. I’d like to discuss some of the redundancies I see most often and ways to streamline your writing and eliminate the redundancy. Body Movement Redundancy More often than not I hear and...

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