Articles about writing style

Let’s Get Possessive

by Justin Cox May 19, 2018

Let’s Get Possessive

Defining possessive nouns is tricky. There are several unique rules that can confuse even the most seasoned writer.

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Fiction Archetypes that Sell Like Wildfire

by Jennifer Xue May 09, 2018

Fiction Archetypes that Sell Like Wildfire

Fiction writers don't start from scratch. They can utilize existing character and story archetypes, personality and emotional types, and the goals and the fears of each type. Combining them in a strong storyline is almost a guarantee for creating best-selling works.

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To ‘to’ or not to ’too’: that is the question!

by Justin Cox May 09, 2018

To ‘to’ or not to ’too’: that is the question!

Getting tripped up on the differences between “to” and “too” happens often. When do you use a single “o” and when do you use two? While this is one of the most common grammar mistakes, the rule is easy to master.

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How to Write With Conviction

by Justin Cox Apr 30, 2018

How to Write With Conviction

Do you have what it takes to write an amazing persuasive essay? Follow this updated version of the hamburger method and start persuading your audience!

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Repeating Yourself is Redundant: or, A Pleonasm For Your Thoughts?

by Justin Cox Apr 30, 2018

Repeating Yourself is Redundant: or, A Pleonasm For Your Thoughts?

Pleonasms are common in speech but should be avoided at all costs. Do you have what it takes to diagnose and eliminate them from your writing?

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Know Your Acronyms

by Justin Cox Apr 30, 2018

Know Your Acronyms

While acronyms add a colloquial flair to writing, they are easy to misuse. If we’re not careful, improper usage will cause readers to cringe in pain.

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Why an Editing Tool is Like a Hovering Librarian

by Kathy Edens Mar 28, 2018

Why an Editing Tool is Like a Hovering Librarian

Imagine a kindly, bespectacled woman with fresh, minty breath hovering over your shoulder as you pour words out on the screen. Her critical task is to help you make every word choice the best and to guide you to clearer, more concise sentences. She has your literary best interests at heart.

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7 Things We Can Learn From Jerry Seinfeld About Writing

by Justin Cox Mar 26, 2018

7 Things We Can Learn From Jerry Seinfeld About Writing

Legendary writing advice from a legendary comedian. Jerry Seinfeld has a lot to teach writers of all genres.

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Writing Characters: Digging Beyond Life

by Kathy Edens Mar 05, 2018

Writing Characters: Digging Beyond Life

Start with a real-life person—yourself. Plumb all your deep, dark places and put yourself in the shoes of your main character. You are a well of inspiration. Make this your jumping-off point to create truly believable characters.

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Spice Up Your Writing

by Dr. Marlene Caroselli Mar 02, 2018

Spice Up Your Writing

Variety, as we all know, is the spice of life. It’s also the spice of good writing. There’s an easy way to find out if your sentences have variety. Take a paragraph you’ve written—one of eight or so sentences. Then, write down the first word in each sentence. Next, identify the part of speech for each word. If most of your sentences begin with the same part of speech, you don’t have variety. It’s as simple as that.

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How to Improve Your Style with ProWritingAid's Writing Style Report

by Kathy Edens Feb 08, 2018

How to Improve Your Style with ProWritingAid's Writing Style Report

Do you know all the ways to edit your work for better readability and a clearer writing style? ProWritingAid's Writing Style Report checks for a multitude of improvements you can make to strengthen and clarify your writing. Let’s look deeper at this most popular and comprehensive report.

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The Perfect Grammar Cheat Sheet [infographic]

by Lisa Lepki Feb 06, 2018

The Perfect Grammar Cheat Sheet [infographic]

This infographic provides a compact visual guide to common mistakes that writers make. Banish these grammar errors for tighter, clearer writing.

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Belief, Emotional Involvement, Clarity: What Every Character Needs

by Kathy Edens Feb 05, 2018

Belief, Emotional Involvement, Clarity: What Every Character Needs

We’re continuing our monthly installment series on creating amazing characters using Orson Scott Card’s seminal book, Elements of Fiction Writing: Characters & Viewpoint. This month, we cover the three elements every characters needs and why you must deliver.

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Inventing Characters: A Character is What He Does, His Motives, and His Past

by Kathy Edens Jan 02, 2018

Inventing Characters: A Character is What He Does, His Motives, and His Past

Characters in books give us insight into the human condition. We learn how people behave and what’s in human nature from our favorite characters in books and on the big screen.

Orson Scott Card says out of the multiple ways to get to know someone, the most powerful and the ones that make the strongest impression are:

  • What your character does
  • What his or her motives are
  • What they’ve done in the past

Let’s look at these and a few other ways of getting to know your characters.

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Use ProWritingAid’s Readability Stats to Improve the Clarity of Your Writing

by Kathy Edens Dec 19, 2017

Use ProWritingAid’s Readability Stats to Improve the Clarity of Your Writing

If you haven’t been using ProWritingAid’s Readability Report and Summary Report to take your work in progress (WIP) to the next level, you’re missing out. Your WIP might be an article you plan to post on Medium or it could be a 75,000 word manuscript of the next, great novel. And the Readability Report can make suggestions on how to make it sparkle and shine so it catches any reader’s eye.

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How to Break the Rules of Fiction

by Kathy Edens Dec 13, 2017

How to Break the Rules of Fiction

Have you noticed how many rules you must follow when writing your novel? Some of them, like having a strong beginning, engaging middle, and exciting conclusion, are good advice. Then other rules, like how to format your novel for submission and checking submission guidelines first, are pretty strict. Finally, there are rules meant to be broken.

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How Non-Chronological Writing Can Create Character Empathy

by Kathy Edens Dec 12, 2017

How Non-Chronological Writing Can Create Character Empathy

Shifting back and forth in time creates suspense. Your readers can unravel the past and understand the ramifications in the present a little at a time. It creates a tension that makes your books hard to put down.

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4 Writing Issues You are Probably Missing When You Self-Edit

by Elle W. Silver Dec 12, 2017

4 Writing Issues You are Probably Missing When You Self-Edit

Having a relationship with an editor you can trust, one who is flexible enough to work around your tight schedule is one way to do it. But even then, you need to ensure the that your editor is spending most of her time on the meat of your story like plot and character development, and less time on the technical stuff like sentence construction and word choice. Ideally, you want your text to be as tight as possible BEFORE you send it to your editor.

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Exclamation Points Don’t Have to be Useless!

by Benjamin More Dec 07, 2017

Exclamation Points Don’t Have to be Useless!

Cursed exclamation points! What purpose do they serve in modern literature? They’re still taught as basic punctuation, but their existence is frowned upon. Last I heard, no more than two should be used in an entire novel. Two? That’s it? Even for thrillers and horror?! This topic outrages me to the point of using them after every sentence, even the questions.

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The Myth of One and Done: Why you need to edit multiple times

by Kate Sullivan Dec 07, 2017

The Myth of One and Done: Why you need to edit multiple times

A finished manuscript is not a polished manuscript, and editors, agents, and readers want a polished manuscript—a finished product that lives up to the quality standards we’ve come to expect.

Whether you’re writing fiction, nonfiction, a blog post, a magazine article, or any other piece of professional writing, you need to edit your work.

And you need to edit it multiple times!

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