Blog

Using Ellipses and Dashes in Fiction

By Chris Saylor Today’s post comes from a request. In a comment, Kassandra Lamb wrote, “I am a tad lost on the subject of dashes. Could you do a post on them, Chris? When to use each…” So this one is for you, Kassandra, and for everyone else who is also confused about how to(…)

Five Reasons Genre Matters

By Marcy Kennedy (@MarcyKennedy) I’ve heard writers argue that genre mattered back in the days where the only path to publication was going through a traditional publisher. With the rise of self-publishing as a viable option, they say, we don’t need to understand genre anymore. Here’s why that’s not true. Reason #1 – Traditional publishing(…)

Commonly Confused Words of the Month: Emigrated To

By Chris Saylor Welcome back to my Commonly Confused Words of the Month feature. It’s the spot where I go over words and phrases that you might want to use in dialogue to show something about your character, but you never want to use elsewhere. This month I’ll be looking at the phrase emigrated to.(…)

Overusing Names in Dialogue

By Marcy Kennedy (@MarcyKennedy) I wanted to go back to one of the basics today because this topic seems to be one that every new writer struggles with. (And those of us who are veterans could always use a reminder.) Overusing names, titles, and pet names in dialogue is one of the fastest ways to(…)

Vocative Commas and the Vocative Case

By Chris Saylor Today’s topic, vocative commas (and, by extension, the vocative case), comes from a request from Marilynn Byerly. Let’s start with a definition of what a vocative comma is and what the vocative case is. The vocative case sounds like something made up, but it’s actually a real thing—and it’s pretty straightforward, too.(…)

Avoiding Pointless Conflict in Our Stories

By Marcy Kennedy (@MarcyKennedy) As part of my mini-series on goal, motivation, and conflict, we’ve already talked about the antagonist’s role in building conflict in our story. This week I want to look at good conflict vs. bad conflict. Alongside the antagonist standing in our character’s way, our character is also going to face other(…)

Homophone of the Month: Fair vs. Fare

By Chris Saylor For one of my monthly features, I will be covering homophones. I’m going to explain the different meanings, and whenever I can, I’ll give you little tricks to help you remember the difference between them. If nothing else, you’ll at least realize going forward that these two words might be confused, and(…)

Dialogue, Description, and Point of View Box Set

By Marcy Kennedy (@MarcyKennedy) I’d hoped to release my second Busy Writer’s Guides box set months ago, but it’s finally available! I’ve put together Dialogue, Point of View in Fiction, and Description this time. Dialogue, point of view, and description are foundational skills you need to master to create vivid fiction that balances your character’s(…)

Using Contractions in Fiction

By Chris Saylor When you were in school and writing research papers, essays, etc., you were probably taught, like I was, that you shouldn’t use contractions in your writing. We were supposed to avoid them at all costs, as they make our writing too intimate to the reader. Our teachers instead wanted us to create(…)

Commonly Confused Words of the Month: “I Could Care Less”

By Chris Saylor Remember back in my first post, when I told you that I believe you need to know the rules so that you can know when and how to break them? In my Commonly Confused Words of the Month feature, I’m going to be going over words and phrases that you might want(…)