5 Paragraph Mistakes You Don't Know You're Making

8 Paragraph Mistakes You Don’t Know You’re Making

Words, sentences, and paragraphs–they’re the bricks and mortar of the writing craft. They’re fundamental. If we’re not using them correctly, it doesn’t matter how wonderful our mastery of characters and story structure may be. They’re make-or-break territory. Not long ago, a Wordplayer messaged me, asking if I could write a post on paragraph mistakes. She explained, […]

4 Methods to Invigorate Your Prose With Surprising Sentences

4 Methods to Invigorate Your Prose With Surprising Sentences

Good storytelling is all about the big pieces: structure, character, theme. But good writing? That’s much more intricate, much more intimate. Good writing is about creating purposeful and interesting prose. Creating prose of that caliber starts with the mechanics of grammar and spelling. But any middle-schooler is supposed to be able to do that. The art of […]

To Be or Not To Be: In Defense of the Passive Voice

To Be or Not To Be: In Defense of the Passive Voice

Recently, one of my critique partners asserted that any use of the verb to be formed the passive voice and deserved to be stamped out with as much vigor as possible. This got me to thinking about that misunderstood verb form and the use of passive voice in modern fiction. All of my critique partners […]

You've Been Writing Sentences Wrong All Your Life! Find Out Why

You’ve Been Writing Sentences Wrong All Your Life! Find Out Why

The sentence. It’s the building block of all books. Without it, we may have a poem, a song, a movie, a painting, an interpretative dance. But we sure as scuttlebutt don’t have a book. Most of us learn how to write (and diagram!) sentences in grade school. Out of the many potential pitfalls of writing a […]

Do Writers Really Have to Learn All That (Yucky) Grammar?

Do writers really have to learn all that (yucky) grammar? In a word, yes. In two words: absolutely yes. I hear groans. I hear protests. You hated English Comp in school? Old, crotchety Mrs. Snigglegrass made you dissect sentences and name the parts of speech? You got a what as your final grade? I feel […]

Have You Chosen the Wrong Tone for Your Story?

Have You Chosen the Wrong Tone for Your Story?

The tone you choose for your story can make or break your book. It will affect every single page you write. Tone guides readers in figuring how they’re supposed to view a story. Funny? Serious? Edgy? Sarcastic? Wielded with understanding, tone will help you create a more cohesive story and will pull readers that much […]

How to Make Adverbs Work for You

This post is by Janice Hardy (@Janice_Hardy). We hear it all the time: never use adverbs in your writing. Sound advice, but if we follow it to the extreme, we could miss out on their very useful properties. As bad a rep as adverbs have, they’re actually pretty handy during a first draft. They allow us to […]

3 Ways to Add Repetition That Pleases Readers

We all know to avoid “bad” repetition—our overused pet words, unintended echoing phrases, and repetitive sentence structure. But there’s also useful repetition that we can use to enhance our stories. Repetition can be used to reinforce a sense of unity or to supply readers with a satisfying feeling after tying up loose ends. Let’s look at three examples […]

How Humor Can Make You a Better Writer

How Humor Can Make You a Better Writer

This post is by Gene Perret. Following are a few quips that have something interesting in common: You know what an agnostic is? A cowardly atheist. Income tax returns are the most imaginative fiction being written today. Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint. The common factor is that they were all created by distinguished writers. The first […]

10 Sentence Slip-Ups

Top 10 Sentence Slip-Ups

Good writing comes down to two totally different factors: solid prose and “it.” The latter is that special something that brings stories to life, infuses vibrancy into characters and themes, and just basically makes stories work. But an author who has been blessed with all the “it” in the world still won’t make it if he isn’t also able to […]