From the blog

Networking for Introverted Writers

by Kathy Edens Feb 08, 2017

Networking for Introverted Writers

Let’s face it. A lot of writers are introverts who would rather stay holed up in front of a computer writing their next novel than go out there and network. (I humbly include myself in this crowd.) Networking experts, however, say you need to meet as many people as possible to find the right connections. This leaves us at quite a disadvantage when marketing and promoting our books or writing services thanks to the painful nature of getting out in public.

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4 Ways an App Can Make You a Better Writer (Yes, Really!)

by Lisa Lepki Feb 08, 2017

4 Ways an App Can Make You a Better Writer (Yes, Really!)

One of the biggest problems that creative people face is how to take their imagined ideas and communicate them clearly and effectively in writing. I dread to think how many incredible adventures, concepts, and viewpoints are locked up in the brains of people who struggle with the technical elements of writing. The part of the brain that we use for imaginative thinking is quite different from the part that actually crafts the sentences. And the quickest way to lose a reader’s confidence—even if your ideas are water-tight—is to present them with clumsy, awkward, error-filled writing.

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The Worst Blogging Advice We’ve Ever Heard

by Kathy Edens Jan 30, 2017

The Worst Blogging Advice We’ve Ever Heard

I Googled “blogging advice” and found 16,400,000 results in 0.49 seconds. Wow. That’s a lot to take in. Perhaps the better way to start is to talk about what not to do.

Here’s a compilation of the worst blogging advice we’ve ever heard.

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"Which" or "That": Know When to Use Each

by ProWritingAid Jan 25, 2017

"Which" or "That": Know When to Use Each

Do you use "which" and "that" as interchangeable words in sentences because they mean the same?

That couldn't be further from the truth. We're here to help you determine when to use each word.

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How to Use MindMeister as a Novel Roadmap

by ProWritingAid Jan 25, 2017

How to Use MindMeister as a Novel Roadmap

Mind maps have been a useful tool for creative folks to brainstorm for quite a while. Remember the old days when you’d draw a circle in the middle of a piece of paper and draw lines from there to connect your thoughts? It’s much easier today.

Brainstorming is a huge part of preparing for any writing project. Mind maps help you capture your creativity in a right-brained manner, by graphically displaying the connections between ideas. If you’re trying to outline a novel (left-brained) and it’s just getting messy, consider trying a mind map first to let the ideas flow naturally.

With a mind map in front of you, ideas will spark and you’ll see connections where you hadn’t before. It’s also a great tool for generating new ideas, like scenes for your story or character traits for each character.

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The Top 5 Manuscript Editing Software

by Lisa Lepki Jan 18, 2017

The Top 5 Manuscript Editing Software

Here at ProWritingAid, we’re constantly evolving our manuscript editing software, as we have for the past four years. In fact, we’re so certain that our manuscript editing software is miles above the competition, we’re discussing their pros and cons and linking to their websites below so you can check for yourselves. (Crazy? No, just incredibly confident.)

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Attention Writers: Why You Should NOT Copy the Masters

by Kathy Edens Jan 16, 2017

Attention Writers: Why You Should NOT Copy the Masters

Chefs around the world don’t merely copy the recipes of other great chefs. Instead, they dissect the completed dish, looking for ways to improve it and make it their own. In the same sense, writers shouldn’t copy the masters. We’re not saying don’t learn from the masters, but rather dissect their work and see what makes it great.

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Copywriting Skills You Need to Conquer

by Kathy Edens Jan 16, 2017

Copywriting Skills You Need to Conquer

Whether you’re just starting out in copywriting or are a seasoned pro, the tips in this article will help you ramp up your skills set and become more attractive to clients looking for content.

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Editors Answer: What Editing Issues Fast Track Writing Submissions To The Reject Pile?

by Susan Maccarelli Jan 16, 2017

Editors Answer: What Editing Issues Fast Track Writing Submissions To The Reject Pile?

No one likes to get a writing rejection from an editor. Whether you move on and forget the experience in five minutes or dwell on it for 5 weeks, it would be nice to know WHY an editor decided not to use your article.

When we asked editors what makes them send a writing submission straight to the reject pile without passing GO, they shared these key reasons.

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Is it Ever OK to Use Dreams in Your Novel?

by ProWritingAid Jan 16, 2017

Is it Ever OK to Use Dreams in Your Novel?

If you’ve taken writing courses at the university level, more often than not, your instructors have fervently cried: Never, ever, ever, ever start a story with a dream sequence. And if you Google “dreams in novels,” you will find a huge range of opinions on the matter. For every post scorning the use of dreams, there is one saying that when done well, dream sequences can move your plot forward.

But are there times when dreams are ok to use? Some authors have used them incredibly effectively in the past. .

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How to Use the Combo Report

by ProWritingAid Jan 09, 2017

How to Use the Combo Report

If you haven’t tried ProWritingAid’s Combo Report yet, check it out. It will save you time and effort.

The Combo Report allows you to run more than one report at a time. This is helpful if you have limited time before your content needs to be submitted, or if you know exactly which errors need your focus. Rather than running each individual analysis, you can bundle several together into one report.

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Must-Have Tech for Writers in 2017

by ProWritingAid Jan 06, 2017

Must-Have Tech for Writers in 2017

Throughout 2016, we reviewed some innovative writing platforms, programs, and other online tools for writers of all shapes and sizes. As 2016 wanes, the techie nerds at ProWritingAid wanted to throw out some must-have tech to dream about in 2017. With an eye to making your life better, easier, and finding more time to write, consider the following tech.

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Why Guest Blogging Should be Part of Your Strategy

by ProWritingAid Jan 04, 2017

Why Guest Blogging Should be Part of Your Strategy

If you’re a blogger or a content creator, there’s one sure-fire way to give your name and your content further reach. That’s through guest blogging on similar or complementary blogs.

You may think I have a hard enough time writing all the posts I need for my blog, but guest blogging is one of the best strategies for growing your own blog’s readership.

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How to Construct a 3D Main Character

by Kathy Edens Jan 03, 2017

How to Construct a 3D Main Character Have you ever read something and about 50 pages into it, you’re just not feeling the main character? You’re either not invested in her conflict or she’s kind of … boring.

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Should Dialogue Stand Alone?

by ProWritingAid Dec 27, 2016

Should Dialogue Stand Alone?

How you format dialogue is a matter of style rather than a rule. There are a few guidelines, however, that make dialogue easier for your reader to follow. And we want our work to be easy to read.

Some novelists like Cormac McCarthy do their own thing with dialogue. For example, McCarthy doesn’t use quotation marks, which is his style of choice. Most of us need to follow our publishing house’s rules, or at least accepted standards. Here are 3 unequivocal standards for starting new paragraphs in dialogue.

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Top 10 Blog Posts of 2016

by Lisa Lepki Dec 19, 2016

Top 10 Blog Posts of 2016

Here are the posts from our blog that most resonated with our readers this year. Did your favorite make the list?

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How to Create Tension Like Andy Weir did in The Martian

by Kathy Edens Dec 12, 2016

How to Create Tension Like Andy Weir did in The Martian

If you haven’t read The Martian, it’s 369 pages of full-on tension. Mark Watney, the main character, faces one set-back after another as he’s fighting for his life on Mars. The stakes are pretty high; if he doesn’t get off Mars soon, he’ll die.

Weir is a master at creating tension. Just when things are finally going right for Watney, Weir pulls the rug out from under his feet. We watch as Watney perseveres through untenable disasters that would crush the rest of us. Weir keeps readers asking throughout the story, “How’s he going to get out of this one?”

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How to Juggle Styles and Write for Different Audiences

by Kelly Smith Dec 12, 2016

How to Juggle Styles and Write for Different Audiences

Writing for a living can often mean that you have to take jobs outside of your natural writing style. While in-depth reports on current affairs might be your forte, you could feel stumped if you find yourself writing for a ‘click-bait’ style site that wants you to focus on pop culture. If you’re used to writing conversational-type pieces, creating an instructional eBook may feel a bit awkward for you. While each writer has a preferred style and a voice, you need to be able to code-switch to meet the needs of your audience.

Before you begin writing, you need to know who you’re going to be writing for. Do a bit of demographic research, and identify a goal. Are you trying to inform stay-at-home moms? Are you trying to sell something to young-adult men? Defining your target audience and a goal or intent will help you decide on the voice that you need to tap into to address them appropriately.

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What the Heck is a Word Cloud and Why Would I Use One?

by Lisa Lepki Dec 12, 2016

What the Heck is a Word Cloud and Why Would I Use One?

A word cloud is “an image composed of words used in a particular text or subject, in which the size of each word indicates its frequency or importance.”

So, the more often a specific words appears in your text, the bigger and bolder it appears in your word cloud.

ProWritingAid has a Word Cloud Gallery that makes it easy to create word clouds based on the text you paste into the tool.

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NaNoWriMo's Finished: What do I do Next?

by Kathy Edens Dec 12, 2016

NaNoWriMo's Finished: What do I do Next?

It’s time to burst your bubble. Sorry! The typical paperback novel is between 80,000 and 100,000 words long. Yes, you completed 50,000 words, and that’s an amazing achievement in 30 days. But 50,000 words does not a novel make.

The beauty of NaNoWriMo is that it releases you from worrying about what you’re writing, trying to make it perfect, and instead you just focus on getting words down on the page. And that is a serious accomplishment: 50,000 words in 30 days. NaNoWriMo hopefully taught you that when you’re not seeking perfection, you can get an amazing amount of words out instead of staring at a blank page.

So, sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but you’ve likely got more work ahead on that novel of yours. Here's what you need to know...

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