Till, ‘Til, Til or Until?

Till, ‘Til, Til or Until?

Recently, I critiqued a submission for our weekly writer’s group meeting. I found an obvious error in this sentence: “I’ll be in the office till noon.” Till is something you do to the ground, I thought, as I changed till to until. After a moment, it...
Leave ‘Em Hanging

Leave ‘Em Hanging

One day, after stepping away from my writing for a few days, I re-read the my most recent chapters. They felt so comfortable, I almost went to sleep. I knew I’d formed some bad habits. I started with an objective to write a page-turner that riveted the reader...

Start at the End

As I described in my last post [Pantser to Plotter], I started writing my novel as a pantser.  One day, one of my characters did something unexpected, and the entire story evolved in a new, tantalizing direction. This development excited me, until I realized I needed...
Pantser to Plotter

Pantser to Plotter

One night, I got a message from my brother, who is also an aspiring author. It read: Subject: Pantser or Plotter Two links for you: http://jilljames.wordpress.com/2010/03/12/plotter-or-pantser/...
How To Write Engaging Dialogue

How To Write Engaging Dialogue

At one of my early critique sessions, the leader told me I had a “tin ear for dialogue.” Ouch. I’m not complaining. I asked for honest feedback. I appreciated the blunt delivery. I knew not to waste time honing dialogue skills built on weak...
Omit Needless Words

Omit Needless Words

After politely criticizing nearly every sentence in my first submission, my critique teammates suggested I read several books. Eager to learn, I ordered them all before I left the building. When they arrived, one stood out: Strunk and White’s The Elements of...
Join a Critique Group

Join a Critique Group

After I finished several chapters in my novel, I wanted to get some feedback. I thought my work was good; but I knew it could be improved. So I circulated portions to a small group of friends, asking for feedback. They all raved, told me my stuff was great, and begged...
Proper Manuscript Format for a Novel

Proper Manuscript Format for a Novel

Early in the process of transferring the story in my head into my computer, I realized I should format my work properly. In my mind, I pictured Earnest Hemingway pounding out pages on his typewriter in perfect manuscript format. I figured I ought to do the same. So I...
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