Showing posts from November, 2013

Dealing with Editors

As writers, we all aspire to be published, so when it finally happens, whether it’s a short story, a poem or a novel, you will find yourself working with an editor. We’ve all heard stories about dealing with editors, but whatever you think about them, they are there to assist the writer, not make their life unbearable. The role they play forms an important part in the writing business.   Without them, there would be certain chaos, because then every amateurish, badly written story would make it into print.   Of course, getting on the published ladder is not always a smooth process.   You may be lucky enough to receive an acceptance; however that doesn’t mean to say that your masterpiece is perfect, because it won’t be. The editor may want to change some aspects of the piece. This is quite common, so that doesn’t mean the writer should act like a stroppy teenager and stamp their feet. To coin a well-used cliché, working with editors really is a two way street. Writers must unders

How to Write Dramatic Dialogue

Dramatic dialogue can create the right atmosphere for the reader, whether it’s action or emotion, or it can fall flat, depending how well the writer has structured such dialogue. Effective dialogue in a story is one thing, but dramatic dialogue is somewhat different. It should create an edge, a sense of presence.   It should hold the reader’s attention for several reasons: to impart necessary or critical information, to create character-reader immediacy, to create tension and conflict and to move the story forward. The most common problem with dialogue is that writers tend to write lots of ineffectual and unnecessary dialogue in order to pad out the narrative, but most of it is rubbish.   It’s just not necessary.   Every writer should learn that dialogue must have meaning for both the characters and the reader. Dialogue should only contain information necessary to the story arc, otherwise it becomes unnecessary padding. The knack to writing great dialogue is all to do

Getting to grips with simple punctuation – Part 2

Following on from part 1, we’ll take a look at the remainder of simple punctuation, such as Semi Colons, Colons, Question and Exclamation Marks, and Dashes, and how to use them effectively in fiction writing. Semi-Colons These are useful little things, and often underused. There are those who argue against their use, however, when used correctly, they add so much to the readability of a story and can alter a sentence dramatically. They can separate two independent clauses that are too closely linked for a full stop to interrupt the flow and pace, for example: He barely had time to digest her news; she broke it to him, gleeful. The light flickered; she knew she was in trouble. Semi colons can be used to introduce an independent clause preceded by an adverb, such as then, so or however. For example: John thought she’d forgotten, as always; so he left it. He wondered why she hadn’t showed; then he remembered. While they are very useful, try not to overdo them. One thin

Getting to grips with simple punctuation – Part 1

Some things might seem simple to most writers, but sometimes the prospect of executing correct punctuation can bring many writers out in a cold sweat. We all have different abilities and weren’t all born with the ability to execute perfect written English. That said, there are plenty of writers who have fallen into bad habits with their punctuation and wrongly assume an editor will correct all their mistakes for them. They won’t. That’s the job of the writer, so it pays to get on top of punctuation. This simple checklist below is there to help those writers who struggle with punctuation. It shows how and when to use it, with examples of correct usage. Full Stops/Period It’s the single most important punctuation mark and yet the least understood by many writers. That’s because they don’t fully understand its significance to sentences, or how to use it to their advantage. Full stops in the right places can not only change the tone of sentences, but they can alter the p