Category Archive: Craft

Aug 07

How to Format Your Manuscript, Part 2

Level 2: Jedi So the last post told you about font formatting and headers/page numbers. This post takes you to the next level of convenience—because that’s really what this is about. When you use the techniques Microsoft Word is expecting, you can get the application to work with you instead of feeling like you’re working …

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Jan 13

Getting readers hooked (and stringing them along)

Trying to unstick myself while drafting my current work-in-progress, I was drawing a timeline of my story (an adaptation of the idea in this post). My main plot is a question that’s (hopefully) raised in the reader’s mind on almost the first page and that doesn’t get resolved until almost the last page—the main dramatic …

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Oct 05

Faze vs. Phase

The noun phase most commonly means “a stage in a process of change or development” (a phase of the moon, a kid going through a phase) or “a state of matter” (e.g., a phase change of water is going from liquid to gas). Its verb form is less common but means “to carry out in …

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May 28

Confessions of an Inveterate Pantser

Or, “How I learned to stop bumbling and love the outline.” On the spectrum from “write by the seat of your pants and see where it goes” [whence “pantser”] to “plan every scene before you write a first draft” [“plotter”], I’m naturally a lot closer to the former. I like to wait for inspiration and …

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Apr 18

Tenet or Tenant? Grammar help you can remember!

A basic tenet of owning a rental: Your tenant quality is fundamental! Bonus! I’ll give you pictures. Tenet: a belief (not necessarily religious) or principle Tenant: someone who rents a space Tennant: To me, always the Tenth Doctor Okay, yes, I was basically just looking for an excuse to have a Tenth Doctor picture.

Mar 22

Affect vs. Effect: Grammar Help You Can Remember

These two words, affect and effect, cause a great deal of consternation in English, no doubt because they sound similar and each can be either a noun or a verb. The quickest rule of thumb is that, in most cases, you affect something (verb) and cause an effect (noun). Side note: the noun affect is …

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Jan 29

Five Stages of (Self-)Editing (PNWA 2015 Session Round-up)

Every writer has to self-edit, even if it’s only to get your work in shape to send to beta readers and agents. There are many resources out there for what to look for when editing (my latest fave), but very little about how to go about doing so effectively. If you’re looking for the latter, …

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Sep 15

MG or YA? How do you know? (PNWA 2015 session round-up)

Saturday morning, the last main day of the conference, was the earliest start time of all—8 am! Attendance at all the first sessions was pretty light, but we had a great time at the “Elements of Young Adult and Middle Grade,” a panel discussion with two authors (Janet Lee Carey and Brian Mercer) and two …

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Jul 28

Writing Active Setting (PNWA 2015 session round-up)

(I’ll be doing a series of posts with the highlights of what I learned from various sessions at the 2015 PNWA Conference. This is the first!) The very first session I attended was “Writing Active Setting,” presented by Mary Buckham. She said many writers have one of two issues with setting in their story: They …

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