Category: Effective Writing

The Subjunctive Mood

Posted on Wednesday, March 12, 2008, at 3:24 am

An e-newsletter fan came across this sentence: If I were very lucky, I would get the chance to go. She asked, “Shouldn’t I be followed by was, not were, since I is singular?” Let us answer that by asking you a question: Are you old enough to remember the ad jingle that began, “I wish I were an Oscar Mayer wiener …”? These …

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Similes and Metaphors

Posted on Wednesday, December 19, 2007, at 2:16 am

Simile A form of expression using “like” or “as,” in which one thing is compared to another which it only resembles in one or a small number of ways. Example: Her hair was like silk. Metaphor A figure of speech in which a word or phrase that ordinarily designates one thing is used to designate …

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Using [sic] Properly

Posted on Sunday, October 7, 2007, at 11:17 pm

Sic is a Latin term meaning "thus." It is used to indicate that something incorrectly written is intentionally being left as it was in the original. Sic is usually italicized and always surrounded by brackets to indicate that it was not part of the original. Place [sic] right after the error. Example: She wrote, “They …

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Dialogue Writing Tips

Posted on Monday, August 27, 2007, at 11:00 pm

The most common way to indicate a new speaker's dialogue is to start a new paragraph. Here is an example from my novel Touched: Rashan slouched into a nearby folding chair, not bothering to get one for Georgia. He moved a few braids from his forehead, but they fell back over his eyes. After a …

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Become a Better Writer Instantly, Part 1

Posted on Friday, September 1, 2006, at 9:55 pm

Here are some tricks of the editing trade that will make your writing look more polished instantly. Trick #1: Use concrete rather than vague language. Example of vague language: The weather was of an extreme nature. Example of concrete language: Thunderstorms tore open the sky, bringing a deluge of rain. Which sentence would make you …

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