3 MORE Books on Writing no Writer Can Live Without

3Books

You Can never Get enough Books on Writing

My mother collected cookbooks. From the Better Homes and Gardens classic to The Joy of Cooking to Southern Living, she loved browsing recipes. Me, I love poring over books about writing. Every title offers new tidbits that improve my craft (“The road to hell is paved with adverbs.”–King), motivate me (“Bird by bird, Buddy. Just take it bird by bird.”–Lamott), or just let me revel in the deliciousness of words (“The reader will usually find in the sentence some compensating merit, attained at the cost of the violation.”–White).

In a previous post, I recommended three must-have books on writing: The Elements of Style, by William Strunk, Jr. and E. B. White; On Writing, by Stephen King; and Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott. Today I’m adding three more treasures to your chest that will make your writing kick ass!

Continue reading 3 MORE Books on Writing no Writer Can Live Without

Capitalization: The Only Rule You Need

16 Rules? Ack!

GrammarBook.com lists 16 specific rules for capitalization. Who memorizes 16 rules? For formal papers or important communications, refer to the website. For everything else, there’s only one rule:

capitalize names.

Continue reading Capitalization: The Only Rule You Need

I’m Published!

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Announcing my new children’s picture book,
When Poke Woke. 

Here’s a synopsis:

Poke the hedgehog’s nature was to roll into a ball when threatened. But Poke longed to laugh at danger like his friends Ziggy the rabbit and Dash the squirrel. He practiced hopping and running but ended up with a sore knee and a snout covered in bee stings. Then The Mangy Mongrel, teeth bared, loomed over his friends, and only Poke could save them. What would the little hedgehog do WHEN POKE WOKE?

Suitable for ages 3 to 8, When Poke Woke makes a great gift for your favorite child or teacher—or your local school, children’s hospital, or library. Find it on Amazon.

More information is available on my author website. Check back regularly for freebies, upcoming book signings, and events. I also invite you to like my author Facebook page.

Writing and publishing the book was fun! My illustrator was a dream to work with, and navigating Amazon’s KDP wasn’t too hard. Marketing is a challenge, though, so I hope you’ll share news of When Poke Woke with your family and friends. And…I’d love your feedback on the book!

 

10 New Year’s Resolutions for Writers

2016
Happy New Year!

I’m not usually big on resolutions

Have you broken your New Year’s resolutions yet? It’s been three days and I’m doing great! Sorry to gloat, but this—as Joe Biden would say—is a big f***ing deal for me. I generally break mine immediately, so most years I don’t bother to make any.

Last week, though, a blood test revealed the need for me to lower my sugar, so I’ve been eating healthy meals, rather than my preferred potatoes, rice, doughnuts, waffles and muffins. Hubby brought a lovely cantaloupe home from Acme today, so I have that to look forward to for breakfast tomorrow.

I usually crave candy in the evening, but last night I covered my ears to that box of Christmas truffles calling to me and washed a handful of blueberries instead. They were remarkably satisfying, some squashy and others firm, but all deliciously sweet. And I sucked them in them one by one, drawing out the pleasure, just as I would have with peanut butter M&Ms (OMG, why did I just remind myself of those?!).

Food is my addiction. I can’t remember the last time I stuck to a meal plan for a single day. But dieting is a day on the beach compared to making writing resolutions. I break out into a cold sweat and come seriously close to a Breyers mint chocolate chip binge.

 

Writing resolutions are slippery creatures

Why is it so hard for writers to write? We want to write. Love to write. Need to write. So why do we find so many excuses to get out of actually cranking out words?  Continue reading 10 New Year’s Resolutions for Writers

Is “Said” Dead? Laying to Rest Some Myths About Dialogue Tags

tombstone
Is “said” dead?

Are you sick of said?

Said, said, said. Do you get tired of writing that your characters said everything? “Yes, I ate your plums,” he said. She said, “I want to be alone.” “Josh will never eat those Brussels sprouts,” Debbie said, “even if you make him sit there all night.”

Wouldn’t it be more interesting to use a variety of dialogue tags? “Yes, I ate your plums,” he taunted. She whined, “I want to be alone.” “Josh will never eat those Brussels sprouts,” Debbie warned, “even if you make him sit there all night.”

Is said dead?

As I browsed for new pins for my Creative Power Writing Pinterest page, I kept coming across posts like these: “190 Ways to Say ‘Said,’” “I’m Sick of ‘Said,’” “Other Words for ‘Said,’” “‘Said’ is Dead.” Great action verbs were offered—protested, kibitzed, mourned, spluttered, opined… You’d think I’d re-pin those posts and plaster them all over my website and Facebook page, right?  Continue reading Is “Said” Dead? Laying to Rest Some Myths About Dialogue Tags

Top 5 Dialogue Formatting Tips

Let's talk...
Let’s talk…

Can Readers Navigate Your Dialogue?

You might write killer dialogue, but if it’s not reader-friendly, it might as well be ancient Greek. If your reader has to go back and reread to figure out who is speaking, your momentum will die right there like a car out of gas. If you present a couple of talking heads with no action, your reader will yawn as he browses for the next author’s story. Formatting conventions such as dialogue tags and beats are not just fluff—they help the reader stay aware of who is speaking at every moment, along with each character’s body language and movement in space, maintaining the dramatic tension and allowing scenes to flow smoothly.

Today’s post will teach you all you need to know about formatting dialogue, from quotation marks to paragraphing. As a bonus, I’ve copied these tips into a handy .pdf document you can download and print out to keep handy. You’ll find it at the end of the article. Continue reading Top 5 Dialogue Formatting Tips

Can This Relationship (with My Spelling and Grammar Checker) Be Saved? Yes! Here’s How…

I hate you, spellcheck!
I hate you, spellcheck!

So How Are You and Your Checker Getting Along?

Did my last post, Have You Seen Your Spellchecker Naked? reveal uncomfortable truths about how your spelling and grammar checker was letting you down? Before you give up on your relationship, try some checker counseling.

You wouldn’t dream of trying to change your spouse, partner, or significant other, would you? But as the word doctor, that’s exactly my advice on how to salvage your relationship with your checker—change its parameters and it will work better for you.

Most checkers let you personalize their settings to customize the types of errors they look for. You get to be in control in this relationship. You get to tell your checker which possible errors to flag and which to ignore. This post will tell you all you need to know about setting things right with your checker. Continue reading Can This Relationship (with My Spelling and Grammar Checker) Be Saved? Yes! Here’s How…