Monthly Archives: April 2016

Much, Many, More, Fewer, Less, Little

Simple rules: If you can count them or assign a number to them, MANY and FEWER are correct. If you can’t reasonably count them, use MUCH and LESS. This salad has too much dressing, and too many carrots. How much

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Don’t Stage and Block

I’m reticent to say “all,” but the vast majority of you are picturing each scene played out on the screen as you write it. Some may have the Hollywood stars already selected so when Spielberg asks you who’d you like

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The Final Word on Semicolons

Deep down in the bowels of English syntax there are convoluted, academic applications of semicolons; there are just two that you will ever use. An independent sentence is a complete, stand-alone sentence. The first use of semicolons is to connect

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Dialogue 101

A number of years ago, I put myself out there to edit other peoples work. I didn’t represent myself as a professional with years of experience—that would have been a lie—but I explained that I had acquired a pretty good

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Word Frequency Counters – An Essential Tool for Writers

You punch out a hundred-thousand words of brilliant prose. How many different words do you think are contained in your work? I’ve found that I use about six to seven-thousand words in each of my manuscripts. Of course, walk, walked,

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Adverbs Are Not the Enemy

It’s the inappropriate and unnecessary use of these modifiers of verbs that gets writers into trouble. Overusing them is a sign of lazy writing, and while some editor and critics are uber-sensitive to every appearance, you can’t leaf through a

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How to Achieve Rankings

There’s no doubt that exposure is key to successful book sales. Print or Kindle (eBook in general), appearing on the first page of a search, especially up high, displays your work to more eyeballs, which are ultimately connected to a

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How Long Should a Novel Be?

Word count versus page count: Word count is the currency of book length. Page count–in printed books only, of course– is the result of manipulating type size, leading (pronounced ledding) which is the amount of space between lines, and page

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