3 Common but Easily Avoided Mistakes in Fiction

3 Common Mistakes to Avoid in FictionLately, I’ve noticed several of the same kinds of mistakes occurring in the manuscripts I’m reviewing, so I thought I’d address them here today. Let’s start with the easiest one to fix.

Dialog tags before the dialog

You can find this mistake with ease, and fix it just as quickly. It happens most often when writers give their characters an action prior to the dialog.

Gary turned to me and said, “I don’t make that mistake.”

Readers know quotation marks indicate speech. The words and said are superfluous.

Laughing, Gary said, “I don’t make that mistake.”

In the example above, [Read more…]

Mind Mapping and Ice Cream

melting ice cream coneIt’s National Ice Cream Month. Now there’s an idea I can sink my teeth into…brain freeze!

I like ice cream. My favorite flavor is Bordeaux cherry chocolate. Mmmm, heaven on earth.

But what does that have to do with writing?

I thought I’d give you some story ideas to play around with while you enjoy your ice cream and watch the fireworks (Happy 240th Birthday, USA!).

Focusing on the idea of ice cream, here are some scenarios to have fun with.

If you write romance… [Read more…]

The Problem with Flashbacks

shattered glass from a car wreckFlashbacks.

You know what I’m talking about. When a writer rips us from the present moment of the story and catapults us into the past.

And that’s the problem. It stops the forward momentum of your story. Like a driver slamming on the brakes and you go flying through the windshield.

First, realize a flashback is not equal to backstory. In The Portable MFA in Creative Writing, Tim Tomlinson tells us backstory is: [Read more…]

3 Things You Need to Know About Flash Fiction

Today’s post is by Ben Wolf, Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Splickety Publishing Group. I had the privilege of meeting Ben last month at PenCon (a conference for editors). He gave an inspiring keynote speech on day 2 of the conference.

I enjoyed his keynote so much, I decided to ask if he’d be willing to guest post on my blog—and yes, I had to encourage myself to be brave enough to ask. He graciously said yes.

Ben Wolf, Splickety Publishing Group3 Things You Need to Know About Flash Fiction
by Ben Wolf
Founder and Editor-In-Chief of Splickety Publishing Group

Instant gratification reigns supreme in today’s fast-paced society. I could go into a spiel here about Twitter, DVR, multi-tasking, and Big Macs, but we all live it (and, in most cases, love it) every day. [Read more…]

3 Rules on Using Commas

The Comma, a few simple guidelines on using commas

There are those of you who prefer to let editors or proofreaders worry about commas, but if you’re hiring a freelance editor or proofreader, learning some punctuation basics will save you money because he/she will spend less time fixing your manuscript.

I’ll be the first to say the rules governing the English language are confusing. I’ve often wondered why there seems to be an exception to every rule—sometimes 2 or 3.

I reference my Chicago Manual of Style regularly. I also spend time in my Grammar Desk Reference, learning the whys and wherefores of grammar so I can correctly punctuate a sentence.

Today, I’d like to give some guidelines for commas I see most misused. [Read more…]

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