Point of view in fiction

What is point of view? Point of view is the answer to the question “Who is telling us the story?” (or at least this scene). Are we watching everything from the outside, and a storyteller/author is telling the story? (= omniscient POV)? Or are we experienci...

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6 tips for using dialogue tags

Dialogue is one of the most important parts of writing a novel or a short story, so every writer has to know how to use dialogue tags. What are dialogue tags? Dialogue tags are things like “Tina said” that tell us which character is speaking. How to use di...

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How to use action beats in your writing

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The golden rule of writing: Show, don’t tell

“Show, don’t tell” is probably the advice writers hear most often from editors and writing mentors. But many writers struggle to understand what it really means. “Telling” means you give readers your interpretations and conclusions, while...

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How to punctuate dialogue tags and action beats correctly

One little thing that drives many editors crazy is incorrect punctuation of dialogue and action beats. Let’s start with a definition: A dialogue tag is a speaker verb such as “Tina said.” It tells your readers which character is speaking. An action beat ...

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How to use participial phrases in your writing

Before I explain what the problem with participial phrases is, let me start with some definitions so we’re all on the same page. What is a participle? Participles are verbs that function as adjectives, which means that they modify a noun or a pronoun. There ...

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So many story ideas, so little time

When I had a full-time job, working as a psychologist, it seemed I could never find enough time to write all the stories I wanted to write. In addition to my job, there were also many other things taking up my time—editing and beta reading other authors’ m...

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Writing in chronological order

If a readers tells me she was up all night, reading, because she couldn’t put down my book, it puts a big grin on my face. Because that’s exactly what I want: for readers to become totally immersed in my fictional worlds. So, how can we achieve tha...

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Participle problems in fiction

You’ve probably heard of dangling participles, but participles can create other problems in fiction too. Before I dive more deeply into that, let me explain what a participle is. Present participles are forms of verbs that are formed by adding -ing. Exam...

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20 tips for proofreading your manuscript

Whether you’re self-publishing or submitting your manuscript to a traditional publisher, proofreading your work is important. A carefully proofread book makes you look professional and shows readers and publishers that you care about the quality of your work...

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