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Quick Tips: Common Comma Errors  ~oOo~ Commas are the bane of a copy editor’s existence. The rules of proper comma usage are vast and nearly impossible to list in something titled a Quick Tip. However, for today’s quick tip, here are some of the common comma errors we see on a regular basis: A misplaced comma before a conjunction and a dependent clause: Tom made his bed,...

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Do I Need an Outline? If you’d asked me this question a few years ago, I would have said yes, you need one. Then I wrote a story as an exercise, I didn’t think about an outline until I was about halfway through, and the only reason I created an outline was so I didn’t forget what I wanted to do. Now when I say...

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Hyphenation Primer The small-dog show featured some of my favorite breeds. Isn’t quite the same as: Our community center is hosting a small dog show for friends and neighbors. Hyphenation matters. When two—or more, but mostly two—words come together to form a compound, there can be confusion about the hyphenation of terms. Certain terms are always hyphenated, like the numbers twenty-one through ninety-nine. And some terms are...

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Do you know what type of author you are? Are you an entertainer who has your hand on the pulse of the readers’ hearts and minds or are you the artist who pushes boundaries and challenges perceptions? Is the binding your stage? Is the typeset your muse? Do you come armed with a story readers will love or do you have a message that could...

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Quick Tips: Friends And Family Don’t Know It All Here’s the scenario: You worked for weeks, maybe months on your baby–your first novel. You know you have the perfect plot, the perfect characters, the perfect premise, and it’s all perfectly perfect. You agonized over editing, cutting the bits your loved, adding more bits you didn’t know you needed, and making it all shiny and pretty....

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The Right Write Tools …to get the job done! So you want to be a writer, or maybe you’ve already jumped onto the writing universe with both feet. Do you have the right tools? There are tons of books, pamphlets, white papers, blogs, and guides on how to be a better writer, how to write better characters, how to get an agent to notice your...

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Simultaneous Participial Phrases or You Can’t Do Those at the Same Time! Sipping her coffee, Laura told me about her day. If your first reaction is “Wait, what?” then you’ve caught on to the grammar gaffe that affects… well, just about all of us sooner or later.  Yes, it’s the dreaded non-simultaneous participial phrase. Better known as “You can’t do those at the same time.” Because...

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For today’s Diva Tip, we are going to discuss the placement of creative narrative in relation to dialogue. When you replace dialogue tags with creative narrative, the narrative is used to indicate who is speaking. When such dialogue is improperly paragraphed, it can cause chaos. A common error is jumble up the dialogue, while depending on the dialogue tags to sort it all out. Wrong:...

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Quick Tips: Write Divas On Pinterest  Write Divas is on Pinterest! *throws confetti* This isn’t a new thing, though. We’ve actually been there for a while. Until recently we haven’t used Pinterest much. We weren’t perpetual pinners as we should be.  All of our pins  got neatly tucked away in a lacy, hand-stitched lap pillow embroidered with “keepsakes”  across the top, only to be thought...

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Gender Biased Words We live in a world where political correctness has become a bit of a nuisance. We don’t want to offend, and yet it seems as though there is always someone who will take offense at even the most innocent utterances or phrases when none was intended. The Chicago Manual of Style takes the stance of removing gender from writing whenever possible as...

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