Authors: Beware the Fake-Quotation Trap!

For authors, the Internet offers broad vistas of knowledge and opportunity, but scattered in between are a few beds of quicksand. One of these is the fake-quotation quagmire: the growing trend of popular "quotation websites" to feature made-up quotes. The quagmire deepens each time a self-publishing author casually decides to decorate her writing with "something inspirational." She goes to one ... Read More

Oops! Your Exposition Is Showing

Does your dialog writing sound natural or off-kilter? Does it read like real people talk, or like grade school children stumbling over their parts in a play? If you have patches of dialog in your novel that just don’t ring true, it may be because your exposition is showing.

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Self-Published Book Contests & The Eric Hoffer Award—Horse of a Different Color

Most legitimate book-award contests don't allow submissions by self-publishing authors. There are, of course, the book contests for self-publishers that hand out awards like candy. Nearly every contestant wins something—including a shiny sticker they can display on their book cover to make buyers think they have written something of quality. Fortunately, there’s at least one book contest out there for ... Read More

Banish These 2 ‘Stammer Verbs’ from Your Fiction Writing

 The following article by Jessi Rita Hoffman was published as a guest post on www.JaneFriedman.com. (Jane Friedman is the former publisher of Writer’s Digest.) As a writer, you’ve probably heard the advice about avoiding passive voice and colorless verbs, such as is, was, went, and so on. But you may not be aware of what I call the “stammer verbs” that mar ... Read More

Beta Readers: The Step Before Professional Book Editing

Before you pay for professional book editing, there’s a step you may be tempted to skip. I’m talking about beta reading: having friends or members of a writing group read and give you feedback on your manuscript. Why is this important, if an editor’s going to look at the manuscript anyway? Because the more you can do to perfect the ... Read More