Recently, we were apprised of a proposed addition to the world of punctuation: the “ElRey Mark,” a symbol that looks a bit like an exclamation point with a dot at each end. As weird as it looks, we actually think it sounds pretty useful — the mark is meant to be read as “somewhere between the deadpan period and the excitable exclamation point.” That is, it’s the perfect punctuation mark for every polite email you’ll ever send. In honor of the ElRey, we’ve put together a list of ten obscure punctuation marks that we’d love to see in print more often. Did we miss your favorite? Think we’re crazy? Let us know in the comments.Read More
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One of the first things people blab about when they read books is pacing. “It was a quick read,” or, “It drug on forever!” How quickly folks flip through pages is important. You might argue, “Not all readers care about pace.” I’m fine with that argument. I will counter with this question: If pacing doesn’t matter, then why does almost every book on writing address how to increase/maintain pace, and why does almost every review talk about it?Read More
Do you know those awkward moments when you're sharing a tight space with a complete stranger on, say, an elevator ride?
Neither of you is talking. You are just staring into the blank as if there was something really interesting to see there. Your closeness feels like too much, too soon.Read More
Learning how to plot a novel means first understanding the hallmarks of great plots. Secondly, you need to be able to incorporate these elements in your own writing. Here are 7 tips for plotting your book successfully so it makes structural sense, displays a strong sense of cause and effect and captures readers’ interest:
First: What do we mean when we talk about ‘plot’?Read More
If you’re a creative person, then at some point you’ll meet my little bitch of a friend self-doubt. Meeting her is as inherent as the need to play God and cackle as you kill another darling.
Self-doubt really is the queen bee of inefficiency, procrastination and pointlessness. Frankly, she makes Trump seem useful… did I? Lets move on before I offend anyone with something more than just my potty mouth.Read More
Up until recently, I was writing in the closet. By choice, the only person I had to speak to about my writing was my husband. Luckily, he’s interested and very supportive of everything I do, but as I recently finished the first draft of my very first manuscript, I knew it was time to start seeking feedback elsewhere.Read More
A serial is a short but captivating story published in installments. And I really, really love them. When I contemplated using a serial format to continue The 1929 Series, I did a lot of research on how they're done. Like anything else, there's tons of information and opinions. Some of it's good, some not so much. But I muddled through it all and took away what made sense to me.
A serial is much more than just breaking up a book every 8,000 words and putting it out there.Read More
Some in the literary community assume that genre writers don’t care about the deeper aspects of writing craft. While it’s true that literary fiction is more well-known for its use of figurative and lyrical language, genre fictioncan use the same literary tools.
Now, if you’re anything like me, and your English or grammar instruction was less than ideal, you might not be familiar with the term rhetorical devices. I certainly wasn’t.Read More
The time has come and you’ve decided to write that science fiction story you’ve had in your head for decades. You feverishly spend 3 months getting everything down. Lasers, phasers, giant space battleships, robots, aliens, scoundrel heroes and adventurous princesses – you’ve got it all. Then you submit, submit, submit. Your responses are either ‘No’ or silence. You have just learned the first and most important lesson of writing Science Fiction or any genre for that matter.
There’s a lot more to writing science fiction than robots, spaceships and phasers-on-stun. For anyone thinking of writing science fiction here are 18 tips to turning any science fiction work into a great one that people will want to read.Read More
As I’d mentioned (read: whined about) before, I have just finished re-editing Shizzle, Inc for the fourth time, this time with an American editor. It is now nice and shiny, and free of “kerbs” and “sniggering.” All the dots are within the quotation marks, and new commas have sprung up here and there. All in all, it was worth it.Read More
Editing is a bitch. I’ve written about the differences between editing and revising before. But my dear friend Ali recently taught me one of the best, most practically useful lessons I’ve ever learnt when it comes to editing.
See, for a long time, I wrote, linearly, and then when I finished, I went back to the start and edited.Read More
The other week in a lady nerd group, a friend of mine was talking about how much she hated it that in so much children’s literature, the villains were ugly. And I was like, “YES YES A THOUSAND TIMES YES!”
Even as a kid, it bothered me that Cinderella’s evil stepsisters were hideous. I loathed Roald Dahl’s depiction of the character Augustus Gloop, a fat, slobby boy obsessed with eating who gets a frightening comeuppance.
As an ugly child, it was easy for me to see the injustice in how often the villains and fools in stories were unattractive.
Some writers still fall into this trap as adults! I was once in a romance critique group with a woman who had a loathsome female character in her story. In more than one place, the story described this character’s fat body in disparaging detail.Read More
Different writing styles are preferred in different genres. A romcom differs stylistically from a taut thriller. These 7 tips will help you improve your own style. First, though, what is ‘writing style’ exactly?Read More
Podcasts are a wonderful free resource for writers. Over the past few months I have overhauled my writing life and my newfound love of podcasts has played a key role in this transformation.
Below are the podcasts that have helped me reach a happier creative place:Read More
The relationship between writer and editor is intimate. I’ve been on both sides, and in either role there are risks. For a writer, to ask for a critique of your work is to make yourself vulnerable—you are inviting someone to see what’s in your heart. However, when your work is published, you’ll be sharing your writing with a broader and often less gentle audience, so isn’t it better to first bare your soul to an ally who helps you present your strongest work?Read More
Writing can be an odd career. We can go from leisurely writing as we feel like it to stressed under an impossible deadline. We might be in waiting modeafter we query or submit, or we might be trying to do All. The. Things. before a release date.
Those variations mean that we can struggle to get into non-writing habits and routines. When we suffer from writer’s block, our home might be spotless, as we use cleaning to procrastinate. Other times, we might run out of food and clean dishes, as cleaning falls by the wayside.Read More
As you know, here in Lit World Interviews you can find advice for writers, inspiration, interesting resources, book reviews, interviews, offers, recommendations… I know not only the collaborators to the blog, but also the readers and followers have plenty of experience in the world of the written word, be it as authors, readers or both.Read More