Compound word nightmares: open, closed, or hyphenated?

From Rick: I don’t know about you, but as a writer and an editor, I’m constantly beset with problems when dealing with compound words: should it be one word, two words, or a hyphenated word? We all know that “bedroom”

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Overwritten manuscripts: how to fix—PART 2

From Rick: Last time, I pointed out several ways in which writers overwrite their stories and novels: —unnecessary dialogue tags —wordiness in general —unnecessary repetition of information To that list I want to add: —unnecessary use of characters’ names —repeated

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Overwritten: a surfeit of words—PART 1

From Rick: Mark Twain’s essay “Fenimore Cooper’s Literary Offenses” is famous both for its typical Twain humor and for Twain’s rules for good writing. I’ve mentioned this essay before. You can do a Google search for it, or you can

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How to use dashes properly in fiction

From Rick: I’m in a bit of a time crunch during the month of October with several projects to complete by the end of the month (or before). As a result, I’m going to post every other week in October

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A balancing act: keeping the reader informed and interested-Part 2

From Rick: I’m going to do something a little different this time to demonstrate how one balances two important aspects of a story: informing the reader and maintaining reader interest. I did a previous post on this, but here I’m

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