One Main Character versus an Ensemble Cast

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When I first started developing the concept for my upcoming novel, Black Spot, there were six main characters, three women and three men. But the more I worked on it, the more interested I became in the story of just one character. She didn’t mean to dominate – she wasn’t that kind of girl – but it ended up happening anyway. She was just so much more interesting – her story was just so much more interesting – and eventually all the other characters started drifting away.

Sometimes a character is so powerful that they insist on having their own story and sometimes a story is so varied that it needs an ensemble cast to tell it properly. There are pros and cons to each choice so make sure you consider them all. Continue reading

I’m Running Out Of Ideas For Blog Posts…

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Over the past year and a bit since starting this blog, I’ve written a lot. At the beginning it was easy. I had so much material that had never been seen anywhere except writing classes and quite a bit more that had never been seen at all. Bit by bit, I would dole it out along with whatever else I came up with along the way.

I still have plenty of novel chapters, poems, song lyrics, creative pieces in reserve. But posting them all would be indulgent. So I try to sprinkle them sparingly throughout blog posts that offer something more to others who also write.

And I always have opinions, so a steady stream of articles and advice on writing and editing was the inevitable result. Until this month. The ideas boards were starting to get empty. The remaining ideas on them were starting to get less inspiring. I had to admit a hard truth. I was running out of ideas for blog posts… Continue reading

Another Hopefully Helpful Lecture From A Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar Nazi

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Here’s a few more tips, tricks and suggestions on spelling, punctuation and grammar. You won’t find the following in this lecture because I addressed them in my previous lecture:

*There, they’re and their
*You’re and your
*It’s and its
*Definite, definate and defanite
*Separate and seperate
*Focusing and focussing
*The “Do not check spelling and grammar” box in the Language dialogue box on the Review tab
*Apostrophes

But if you can master everything in the previous lecture and everything that follows, you’ll be well on your way to not pissing off an editor every time you hand over a piece of writing. Continue reading

Should You Have a Blog, Too?

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Maybe my immediate answer to this question should be no (after all, I don’t want too much competition for the reading time of the audience out there) but there has been an explosion in blog numbers in the past few years and I’m hardly one to lecture others – after all, I’m relatively late to the party. I’ve only had my blog for about nine months.

But my more considered response is to think about why you are contemplating starting a blog and to make sure you understand what is involved. Here’s some pros, cons and tips that might be able to help you decide. Continue reading

Let’s Talk About Sex (and the Art of Writing Sex Scenes)

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“If you don’t like sex, don’t write about it. If you are inhibited about sex, don’t write about it. If you are uncomfortable in any way about sex, don’t write about it.”

Emma Darcy, The Secrets of Successful Romance Writing

I’ll add one more to this: if you are bad at writing sex scenes, don’t write about it. Continue reading

A Hopefully Helpful Lecture from a Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar Nazi

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Writers who struggle with spelling, punctuation and grammar must get frustrated by the constant corrections from well-meaning editors who bemoan the fact that they never seem to learn. The truth is writers who struggle with these areas will never improve without some tips, tricks and suggestions more useful than an instruction to simply start “getting it right”.

As a trained editor, in many of my positions of employment I became a pit stop for fellow employees wanting clarification on how to spell, punctuate and ensure correct grammar. So here are a few tips I’ve come up with to try to ensure fewer mistakes more often. Continue reading

Writing Dialogue

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Although I write a lot of different types of writing, if I were honest, sometimes I would willingly forego all prose and simply spend all my time writing dialogue. Writing a good conversation that holds the reader’s interest and advances the story at the same time without becoming exposition is a genuine talent and writers often confess to struggling with it. So here are a few tips.

Continue reading