Sandra Gerth author of the Writer's Guides Series

The 10 most common punctuation mistakes and how to avoid them in your writing

Today is National Punctuation Day, so I thought I’d celebrate by writing a blog post to help you avoid common punctuation mistakes in your writing. Punctuation mistakes might seem like a minor thing, but punctuation guides readers’ understanding and helps them read more smoothly. Sometimes, a single comma can even change the meaning of a …

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How to write a great romance novel—the five core elements of romance novels

I recently read a review of my newest romance novel, Perfect Rhythm, which seemed to confirm the secret fear that has plagued me since I first set out to write that novel. While I think that in many ways, Perfect Rhythm is a typical “Jae” novel that has everything readers love about my books, it’s …

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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 “showing” means you provide readers with enough details and behaviors to let them draw their own conclusions. Example: TELLING: …

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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 is something a character does. Example: “I should be going.” Tina edged …

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