Tips and Tricks

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Keep an eye on the “-ly.”

September 10, 2014

Modifiers are great. Adverbs and adjectives help us add more color and flavor to our work. They’re great additions to any piece of writing, when they’re used appropriately. That’s right. Like everything else, there are the right and the wrong ways to use modifiers. Today we’re going to specifically look at adverbs. Just a quick refresher, adverbs are words that modify verbs, other adverbs, and adjectives (adjectives are words that modify nouns, pronouns, and phrases acting as nouns). Even more than that, we’re going to look at adverbs that end with the letters “-ly.” Adverbs that end with “-ly” are pretty common, probably because slapping an “-ly” to the end of an adjective basically turns it into an adverb. It’s easy, effective, and simple. Unfortunately, it can be something else, too: lazy. Cleaning out the “-ly” adverbs in your writing can really help tighten and strengthen the language. Let’s look at it, shall we? She wearily walked into the room. […]


Which scenes should stay?

August 4, 2014

Have you ever been talking to a friend about your book–or been sitting in bed at night with insomnia–and suddenly you have the coolest idea for a scene in your book ever? Like, these are the scenes that get you really excited to write again, really revved up to get to work. So you immediately jot them down and start planning how you can squeeze them into your book. Sometimes, these scenes are so fitting they end up creating the entire premise of the plotline your book will be based upon. Other times, they can actually make your book a little bit worse, and your work a tad harder. (And by “little bit” and “tad,” I mean they cause such severe plotline, continuity, and story problems they pretty much disrupt everything you’ve worked on.) When you’re brainstorming awesome scenes toward the beginning of your book-building adventure, it’s easy to fit them in and build plotlines around them. When you’ve already […]


How long should it take you to finish your first draft?

July 24, 2014

I’m always on the look-out for writing related news, articles, and other media, not just to inspire pieces for this blog (which is definitely one of the main reasons), but to keep me in the loop of what’s going on in the writing space. Recently, one of my cousins sent me an article posted to Business Insider with twenty-two pieces of advice about writing from one of the most successful writers of this generation: Stephen King. Think what you will about Stephen King, he’s a phenomenal example of a professional writer. I’m personally not a fan of the majority of his work, both because I don’t really like the horror genre and because his writing style doesn’t suit my tastes. However, that personal preference doesn’t mean King isn’t a good writer, and obviously other people are really happy with his books. Otherwise he wouldn’t be nearly as successful as he is. The list on Business Insider was all taken from […]


Drawing out the end.

July 23, 2014

How many of you sat in the theaters at the end of Lord of the Rings: Return of the King and accidentally stood up three or four times because you kept thinking the movie was finally ending? You know, with the eagles then Rivendell then the Shire and, finally, when the ship sails off? Lord of the Rings is great, and if you’ve been around my blog for a while, you know I enjoyed the movies far more than I enjoyed the books. However, when it comes right down to it, the ending of Return of the King took way too long. I understand we all wanted some closure after sitting through three, three-and-a-half hour long movies, but did we really need that much closure? I think it’s a pretty common tendency, especially for writers, and doubly especially for writers working on larger series rather than individual novels. We want to make sure everything is wrapped up to the point […]


Some of my favorite literary devices and tools.

July 22, 2014

There are a lot of really awesome literary devices and poetic tools in prose writing. Most of us use these to a certain extent before we even really know what they are, and that’s because most of us start writing by mirroring our favorite writers’ styles. Most of those writers are familiar with these tactics, which, you know, makes it easy for us to pick them up even if we don’t really know what they’re called. Go us! College helps a lot with that, too. Not only do writing classes teach you a lot of these devices and tools, but literature classes do, too. In literature classes, you are essentially deconstructing what other writers have done, and in many cases, this means overanalyzing every single writing tool they’ve ever used ever. It gets annoying, but hey, it helps you learn some cool writing techniques! There are a ton of really fun tools, but these are my favorites, and the ones […]

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