Tag Archives: advice for writers

Another Way to Write Your Memoir

Many’s the person who’s thought to themselves, “I’ve had an interesting life. I should write my memoir.” And they’re right: there’s a book in every one of us, whether we’ve lived what to the ordinary world would seem an interesting … Continue reading

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Using Commas with As, Since and While

This is actually very easy, but people often get it wrong. Most people whack in a comma at the end of all opening clauses that contain a verb. In Australia, at least, this is not the right way to go … Continue reading

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Producing a Print Book’s a Hard Journey

Some time ago, I investigated Indie publishing, particularly the publishing of Print on Demand (POD) books with CreateSpace, a subsidiary of Amazon. This investigation and my own experiences with it were most illuminating, and I thought I might share my … Continue reading

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Conflict in Novels

Every good novel needs conflict, something that prevents its hero from achieving his or her aim. Superman wants a safe world, Lex Luthor wants to take it over and doesn’t care who he kills to do it. Girl wants boy, … Continue reading

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Finding an expert you can trust

If you’re an indie writer, these days you’re often dealing with people you’ve never met and probably never will – cover designers, interior designers, manuscript assessors, editors. I have never met the woman did the cover and the interior for … Continue reading

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Foreword v. Preface v. Introduction

Last month, a client of mine asked me to edit his non-fiction book, a series of vignettes about his time in rural Australia in the 1950s and Papua New Guinea in the ‘70s. One of the first things I noticed … Continue reading

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Commas – inside or outside quotes?

In my work as a manuscript evaluator and developmental editor, it’s clear to me that writers are still having a lot of trouble with commas. One of the instances that always seems to cause confusion is the one where sometimes, … Continue reading

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What’s in a name?

When it’s the title of your novel, a great deal, if you plan to publish on the web. A writer has only four chances to attract readers. These are: ~ the cover ~ the title ~ the story as revealed … Continue reading

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Spontaneity in fiction

How important IS spontaneity in fiction? The answer is: It depends. Some works benefit from having a style that appears spontaneous. However, in my experience, when emerging writers talk about spontaneity and the fear of losing it by redrafting, they … Continue reading

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“Real” Dialogue

Good dialogue in novels is not real dialogue, which is often very boring, containing as it does a lot of batting about of unimportant information between the two parties. Too often, writers get led astray by their desire for realism … Continue reading

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