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No matter how brilliant your copy is, if you can't get your readers to nod along as they read, you haven't made that all-important connection yet.Read More »
When a student wrote to Roald Dahl in 1980 asking for help on his thesis, he received this rather curt letter in reply. We think it's wonderful.Read More »
How many times have you written a sentence using a gender-neutral antecedent (the word a pronoun replaces) and stumbled? Which pronoun do you use—he or she?The student may borrow whichever book he (or she?) needs. The Traditional SolutionRead More »
Want to be a writer? Wondering where some of the bestselling American authors got their educations?
Check it out!Read More »
Pacing is a lot like the throttle on a vehicle. There are times when driving that you need to move slowly, like through a city or in a school zone. Then there are times when you need to move a lot faster, like on the freeway. And there are times when you need to just coast along at a moderate speed.
The pacing in your novel is a writer’s tool to help you manage the speed and rhythm of your story. Sometimes you want fast action, just as other times, you need to slow things down and let the scene unfold.
It’s up to you to know when to use pacing. A lot of your pacing decisions will be based on your genre. If you’re writing an action story, it’s pretty fast-paced with exhilarating moments of danger mixed with adventure juxtaposed with quieter moments when your characters do some heavy thinking. If you’re writing an epic that spans over generations, it might move more slowly.Read More »
Compound adjectives are made up of a combination of noun plus adjective, noun plus participle, or adjective plus participle. More often than not, these are hyphenated. Let’s look at a few.Read More »
Expectations are high. Chocolates and flowers. Jewelry and trinkets. Will this be the year?
It’s Valentine’s Day.
Or as Bridget Jones says:
“Oh God. Valentine's Day tomorrow. Why? Why? Why is the entire world geared to make people not involved in romance feel stupid when everyone knows romance does not work anyway. Look at the royal family. Look at Mum and Dad.” ― Helen Fielding, Bridget Jones's Diary
Here are a few reasons why you should stay home and write this Valentine’s Day.Read More »
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.Read More »
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.Read More »
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. .Read More »
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.Read More »
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.Read More »
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.Read More »
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.Read More »
As someone who lives and runs a business in the UK and has travelled extensively in the US, I can tell you from first-hand experience that there’s a world of difference between the way Americans and Britons do things. And I’m not just talking about the fact that we drive on the ‘wrong’ side of the road (though, you know, obviously remember that if you decide to visit).
There’s the whole ‘s’ versus ‘z’ argument, the fact that we prefer spelling colour with a ‘u’ and gray with an ‘a’. And of course, let’s not forget about our penchant for the imperial system.
Grammar and measurements aside though, when it comes to marketing across the pond the differences are both vast and nuanced. We’re all speaking English, but that doesn’t mean it’s the same language.Read More »
A flashback is a scene you use in your current narrative to show something that happened in the past. The two key differentiators are: 1) it must be a scene (as opposed to narration about an event), and 2) it’s past news.
Flashbacks are great for building three-dimensional characters because readers gains insight on how a character’s thoughts, feelings, and morals were formed by important events. They’re also useful for dropping hints about what happened to lead your main character to the current point in time. They help your readers understand and care deeply about your characters and what happens to them.Read More »
The newest version of ProWritingAid comes with some shiny new features to check out including a Word Explorer, summary reports, easier navigation, contextual thesaurus, detailed explanations and more. Take it for a spin now.Read More »
You want clear, concise writing, so make every word count. Cut out extraneous words, especially “that,” taking up space without adding value. This practical post is full of examples where the word "that" could be cut, and other times when it should be included for clarity.Read More »
Pacing your story is like using the throttle to give an engine more gas. With more throttle, the engine revs up and speed increases. Less throttle slows you down so you can see the passing scenery.
Controlling the pacing of your story is like maneuvering through city streets, main thoroughfares, and high-speed highways. You need different speeds to maintain control of your vehicle in each situation.Read More »
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