E is for Emotion

Wow, do I struggle with this.

I don’t know how many times plowing through my first draft I heard … but what’s she feeling? I tried to make sense of that, because, from my perspective, I’d put all the bits in there to show her emotion. Physical signs. Short and angry dialogue. Yet, it wasn’t enough.

And I was afraid. Afraid I wouldn’t be able to generate any sympathy for my main character.

So I tried to put in ‘emotions.’ To show the fear or frustration or love my character felt. Like this:

Not enough emotion:

“No, it’s not,” I snapped.

With lame-ass attempt at emotion:

“No, it’s not.” My anger could barely be restrained and I bit my lip.

*cue rolling of eyes and grinding of teeth*

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D is for Drafts

Where does one draft start and the next begin?

This has been a huge challenge for me. I like to be organized. I like to know where I am. But I might be on the twentieth ‘draft’ of Chapter 1 and the second ‘draft’ of Chapter 18 in the same document. Confuses the heck out of me.

Writing is a process, and each writer will approach it in a slightly different way. It’s important to develop a system that works for you, because otherwise it won’t work at all. I know this from trying different methods that others use, and while I’m not able to follow their plans exactly, I’ve learned a lot of great tips on how to stay organized.

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C is for Comma Splice and the Evils of Punctuation

Ready for some pain?

Guess what if you dont use proper punctuation your ability to create clear meaning which is the backbone of effective story telling disappears in a frustrating jumble of words!!

If you read that paragraph with a fire of rage in your belly, then we’re more alike than you might expect (if, indeed, you had any expectations about our similarities). While not a grammar nerd, I’ve always felt that improper punctuation leads to the worst of all writing sins: lack of clarity.

Is it possible to use punctuation to do nifty, funny things? Yes, but not easily.

Can it be twisted and used in clever ways to great artistic effect? Yes, but probably not by you. Sorry for being harsh, but it’s true—at least until you become a tenth-level master of the dot, dash, and those various squiggly lines.

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B is for Bestselling*

One of the writer’s most coveted words. The word that signifies success, popularity, and authority. While it might not have the same clout as Pulitzer Prize Winning, what author doesn’t want to be able to put ‘Bestselling’ next to their book title or, perhaps better, their name?

Except now, it doesn’t really mean a damn thing.


Oh, a little thing called BLUSTER.

Bluster is common in marketing, where anything that has a measure of subjectivity might not fall under the premise of promise … like:

The best car wash in town.

The best car wash? Really?

(Excuse the eye-roll.)

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A is for Adverb

When my son started to speak, he did many of the normal, sweet things toddlers do. He mispronounced words, used improper sentence structure, and—most horrifying of all—he ad-adverbed. Yeah, you read that right. He doubled adverbs. His favourite was ‘alsoly.’

Are you kidding me?


I had only been writing in earnest for about two years, and his crimes against words made me think I’d birthed a monster.

You may be a new writer; you may have experience galore. But by now you’ve probably noticed that the most effective way to start a riot at a writer’s party is to stand up, clink your glass for attention, and declare, “Adverbs are wonderful!”

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