Showing posts from April, 2016

Common Word Confusions

There are plenty of words that confuse writers – some are obvious, some less so – but they’re part of a large group of words that make us stumble from time to time, and that’s because none of us is perfect.   There are plenty of reasons why confusions arise. Some are caused by the English language having more than one meaning for a word – like chord and cord, while others cause hesitation because they sound and look the same but have different meanings. Writers just have to learn the differences and be able to spot them when editing. It’s or Its Let’s start with the most obvious – It’s versus its.   There is a very simple way to differentiate between the two. One is a contraction of ‘it is’ and the other is a possessive pronoun (belonging to or of), for example: It’s a lovely day. (Contraction of it is a lovely day.) The dog wagged its tail. (Possessive pronoun – the tail belongs to the dog). Lie or Lay You can lie down or tell a lie and you can lay (an object) down.

Focusing on Small Details Can Count

When we think about detail, we tend to think big and bold, and the lush, beautiful descriptions that teem with colour and visual prompts; the kind of thing that should fill a novel, but while these details help make a story, it’s often the smaller details that give it that extra dimension. That’s because sometimes we notice smaller details more than we do huge detail. It may be that our brains are wired to notice these thing. Writing is no different – minute details can add to the narrative in a subtle way which still enhances the story. So what kinds of detail make a difference? The devil really is in the detail. How you create that detail is up to you, but the effect you can create with it is the key to good fiction, because the correct balance of detail – from the biggest detail to the smallest, goes a long way to help make the story memorable rather than forgettable. Many writers forget the small detail, simply because they assume small details don’t matter, but in the

The Art of Captivating First Lines

Do you really need to have captivating first lines? The simple answer to that is there are no rules that say you have to, but the reason writers look for captivating first lines is not only to grab the reader’s attention, but also to maintain it. Great opening lines can do that because they have the power to lure and entice the reader, to spark their imagination, to compel them and intrigue them. It makes them want to read the whole story, not just the opening line. Stephen King said of them: “An opening line should invite the reader to begin the story”. There are plenty of writers who ignore the concept of a captivating first line and instead launch into lots of unnecessary narrative (info dump) or they overload with backstory in the belief the reader needs all this information to understand what the story is about, but the opposite is true. Less is more. So what makes a captivating first line? It’s one that effortlessly leads your reader into the story, one th