Basics of writingEditingNovel writing

The Various Levels of Editing–Part 1

From Scott: Today, I’m going to talk about editing, or more specifically, the different levels of editing. Rick and I have mentioned before how important editing is to your work. Your readers expect a clean novel when they buy it,

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Basics of writingEditing

Bad writing habits–examples

From Rick and Scott: Last week Scott talked about four bad habits of writers. The first was the use of habit words and phrases. Nearly every author is guilty of falling into the use of certain repetitive writing habits. The

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Basics of writingEditingFormattingPunctuation

Formatting guidelines–PART 3 (Miscellaneous topics)

From Rick: This post will finish the topic of formatting (for now) and attempt to cover those varied points not previously discussed. (1) Smart quote redux This past week I discovered a problem with smart quotes. Remember that I said

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Basics of writingEditingFormatting

Manuscript formatting guidelines–PART 1

From Rick: We talk a lot about the specifics of grammar and craft in this blog, but one aspect of writing we’ve left out so far deals with the basics of formatting your story or manuscript. Just so we’re clear,

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EditingSelf-PublishingWriting software

Using automated grammar checking

Here begins a series on grammar checkers and editing software. We will be talking about other pieces of software on the market and the caveats of using them, along with our advice. We won’t necessarily be doing these articles one

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Basics of writingNovel writingShort fiction

Is your story the right size?

From Rick: This may sound like a strange topic, but it reflects a problem I’ve seen on several occasions. It means: does your story CONCEPT match the length allocated to it? The length problem spans all types of stories from

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Clean writing & interesting sentences

From Rick: Last week Scott pointed out that one of the biggest annoyances for readers is errors in a book. Indeed, one the major complaints against self-published novels has been the poor quality of the writing and lack of proper

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Story Openings–Part 4: Case Studies

From Scott: We’ve had a few blog entries (including our excellent guest blogger, Robert Vardeman) about what a strong opening needs to have to capture the reader’s attention. Character. Setting. Conflict. Hook. Put all four of them in the opening

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Story Openings–Part 3: Voice

From Rick: The last installment left off with the opening from Charles Dickens’ “Bleak House.” This is arguably one of the best openings in literature because it includes all of the elements of a great opening: character, setting, conflict, and

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