Articles by ProWritingAid

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What the Heck are Auto-Antonyms? And Why Should You Worry About Them?

by ProWritingAid Jul 21, 2017

What the Heck are Auto-Antonyms? And Why Should You Worry About Them?

Auto-antonyms are words with multiple meanings of which one contradicts or reverses another. What, you say, how can that be? Let's go through a couple examples.

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Contena: What You Need to Know to Start a Writing Business

by ProWritingAid Jul 05, 2017

Contena: What You Need to Know to Start a Writing Business

At ProWritingAid, we want our writers to be as successful as possible. And so, when we come across a potential opportunity for writers to make money, we check it out.

The folks at Contena got in touch recently and asked us to have a look at their new platform for freelance writers. Their mission is to help you launch your own freelance writing business.

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Licence vs. License: Which One is Right?

by ProWritingAid Jun 28, 2017

Licence vs. License: Which One is Right?

Well, it depends on which side of the pond you're on.

If you're American, license is both a noun and a verb, and licence is not used at all.

If you're anywhere else speaking English, licence is the noun meaning a permit from an authority figure to do something particular, like driving, and license is the verb form.

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Affect vs. Effect: When to use each

by ProWritingAid Jun 12, 2017

Affect vs. Effect: When to use each

When to use "affect" or "effect" is so confusing that people are switching to "impact" to use in its place.

Never fear—it's not difficult to use "affect" and "effect" properly. Here is what you need to know:

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When the Words Won't Come: Word Explorer

by ProWritingAid Jun 06, 2017

When the Words Won't Come: Word Explorer

Use ProWritingAid's Word Explorer to look at any word 14 different ways. Yes, it's true. Here's the list of ways you can check out any given word:

  • Dictionary
  • Reverse Dictionary (this shows you words with your given word in their definition)
  • Thesaurus
  • Lists (lists of dated terms, ironic terms, often used terms)
  • Alliteration (adjectives, adverbs, nouns, and verbs with the same letter or sound at the beginning or adjacent to your given word)
  • Clichés (to help you avoid them)
  • Spelling (good to know if you write frequently in American, British, and Australian English)
  • Rhymes
  • Pronunciation
  • Collocations (adjectives, adverbs, nouns, and verbs that come before or after your given word)
  • Common Phrases (2-, 3-, 4-, and 5-word phrases using your given word)
  • Commonly Possessed By (words that can own your given word)
  • Anagrams (in case you need help)
  • Examples (From books and quotes using your given word)

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Why You Need Your Audience to Nod as They Read

by ProWritingAid May 15, 2017

Why You Need Your Audience to Nod as They Read

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.

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15 Best Content Marketing Blogs to Follow

by ProWritingAid May 04, 2017

15 Best Content Marketing Blogs to Follow

How do you stay abreast of the latest, greatest information about content marketing? We put together a list of our top 15 content marketing blogs you need to start following.

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A Letter from Roald Dahl: "Eschew All Those Beastly Adjectives."

by ProWritingAid May 03, 2017

A Letter from Roald Dahl: "Eschew All Those Beastly Adjectives."

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.

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Gender Neutral Pronoun Consistency—Is This Still a Thing?

by ProWritingAid Apr 10, 2017

Gender Neutral Pronoun Consistency—Is This Still a Thing? 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 Solution

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Infographic: Where Did These 10 Bestselling Authors go to College?

by ProWritingAid Mar 03, 2017

Infographic: Where Did These 10 Bestselling Authors go to College?

Want to be a writer? Wondering where some of the bestselling American authors got their educations?

Check it out!

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Putting Your Writing Through Its Paces

by ProWritingAid Feb 27, 2017

Putting Your Writing Through Its Paces

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.

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Hyphenation: When Nouns Become Adjectives

by ProWritingAid Feb 20, 2017

Hyphenation: When Nouns Become Adjectives

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.

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10 Reasons to Stay Home & Write This Valentine’s Day

by ProWritingAid Feb 13, 2017

10 Reasons to Stay Home & Write This Valentine’s Day

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.

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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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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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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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