Banish These 2 ‘Stammer Verbs’ from Your Fiction Writing

Just as stammering halts speech, stammer verbs halt the flow of a written sentence. The author uses these verbs as if stammering around while searching for the genuine words she’s intending. Two verbs in particular are repeatedly used in a stammering way by many beginning novelists. Let’s take a look at these little suckers and identify why they pose problems for your story …

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Period Inside or Outside the Quotation Marks?

Perhaps you've wondered: should you place the period inside or outside the quotation marks? Believe it or not, it depends on where you live. If you’re an American, the period always goes inside. If you live in Great Britain, the opposite is true. The same can be said for the comma, where quote marks are concerned. Are you American? Tuck ... Read More

Can a Sentence End in a Preposition?

Authors sometimes ask, “Can a sentence end in a preposition?” They were under the impression it couldn’t, yet here I am, their book editor, changing some of their sentences so the preposition appears at the end. What gives? What gives, is common sense. What wins, is natural language. Decades ago, grammarians insisted that no sentence could end with a preposition, ... Read More

Narrative Writing: Definition and Examples

In case you’re wondering what is meant by “narrative writing,” the definition is pretty simple: It’s any kind of writing that tells a story. That’s because “narrative” means story. But be a little careful: narrative writing is not the same as fiction writing! Fiction writing is just one kind of narrative writing. Storytelling certainly occurs in fiction—it is the very ... Read More

When to Hyphenate Adjectives

When to hyphenate adjectives or word combinations that act as adjectives has long caused writers confusion. As usual with grammar rules, once you hear the answer and understand the principle, hyphenating compounds turns out to be pretty easy. A compound is a word marriage. It’s the name grammarians give to two or more words stuck together by a hyphen. Examples are “risk-taking daredevil,” “happy-go-lucky girl,” and “rain-streaked window” …

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