em dash, en dash #amwriting

Life in the Realm of Fantasy

Over the years, as I’ve become a professional writer, I have learned what I know about my craft by not only experiencing the editing process but by availing myself of theChicago Manual of Style. I regularly attend seminars on writing craft and have invested in many books written by editors and famous authors.

I do write reviews for books I enjoyed, and in the course of reading for two review blogs, I have seen many books written by wonderful authors who overuse em or en dashes instead of proper punctuation when they are trying to emphasize a particular thought.

I also tend to do that in blogging and in Facebook posts, and that habit bleeds over into my first drafts.  It’s incredibly easy to rely on them too heavily. However, I find it distracting to see an em dash in every paragraph or even on every page. If we…

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What is the image you want to project?

Jean's Writing

Are you being true to your persona?

Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition:

“the personality that a person (such as an actor or politician) projects in public:  image”

In other words your image. Your image as an author.

Learning how to share on social media can help us improve as writers and bloggers. And possibly sell more books. Now, who doesn’t want that?

Donna Galanti wrote an article that talks about how a writer can present a consistent image to readers on social media, and she really got me to thinking about mine.

I’m not sure I’ve hit the mark with my author persona, yet. But I’ll keep trying.

Donna suggests the image doesn’t need to be genre-based unless that is all you want people to know about yourself.

So how can what can we do to help readers know what to expect?

  • Define and keep up a message that is constant and…

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#Writerlife101 Day 7: Worst writing advice #amwriting

Life in the Realm of Fantasy

Writing advice is good because beginning authors need to learn the craft, and simple sayings are easy to remember. They encourage us to write lean, descriptive prose and craft engaging conversations. The craft of writing involves learning the rules of grammar, developing a wider vocabulary, learning how to develop characters, build worlds, etc., etc. Authors spend a lifetime learning their craft and never learn all there is to know about the subject.

Writing advice is bad because it is so frequently taken to extremes by novice authors armed with a little dangerous knowledge.

  • Remove all adverbs.
    This advice is complete crap. Use common sense and don’t use unnecessary adverbs.
  • Don’t use speech tags.
    What? Who said that and why are there no speech tags in this drivel?
  • Show, Don’t Tell. Don’t Ever Don’t do it!

Quote from Susan Defreitas for Lit Reactor: Sure, hot tears, a pounding pulse, and clenched…

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Is your monster really scary enough for nightmares?

Jean's Writing

Monsters lurk about in many forms.

Doesn’t have to be Big Foot or a dragon. A hateful neighbor or classmate, a work colleague, even a stranger on the street can be monsters in your story.

One man’s monster is another man’s pet.  A monster can live in the protagonists past, their imagination or in a secret held close. It can take the form of an illogical or logical phobia, or a real flesh and blood monster.  

The trick to writing about monsters as well as fantasy creatures is in the description and then escalating that fear. Bringing that fear to life is the goal of writers.

Readers love to feel the fear of a character. The right description determines whether a character is a paper doll cutout or a 3D believable personality.

Now Y’all know how much I love my cheat sheets, so guess what? Seems there is a list for just about everything. After…

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Do you need a little help describing voice?

Jean's Writing

How about 240 ways to show a character’s voice?

That’s right 240!

WordItOut descriptive words Jean'sWriting.com

Sometimes writers fall into a rut of using the same descriptive words over and over for our characters. This infographic helps avoid that particular pitfall.

Don’t reach for that thesaurus instead, save this list posted by CHRIS THE STORY READING APE’S BLOG.

Make sure your readers can envision the meaning of a conversation. Remember, readers aren’t psychic. Show them what your characters are implying. 

Some of these suggestions really got me going. I think using some of these descriptive words might help flesh out my characters a little more.

To get the entire list click the link below.

240 Words to Describe Someone’s Tone/Voice – Infographic…

What do you think, do you need more spice in the conversations?

Did some of these words give you ideas?

Do let me know!


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Hard truths about the industry #amwriting

Life in the Realm of Fantasy

I love reading,  and always review the books I enjoyed. For every book I feel good about recommending, I may have to read six that are just plain awful. I’m not only talking Indies here—large publishing houses publish many novels every year that are a waste of paper and digital space. These travesties should never have made it past the gateway editor, much less the eye of an experienced agent.

This goes beyond my not caring for the style or voice of the piece. I’m talking lack of proofreading, garbled sentences, lack of knowledge of how to use words like ‘its’ and ‘it’s’, and misspelled words. This happens in traditionally published work as well as Indie, which should be embarrassing to the Big 5, but apparently isn’t.

Some books are so badly edited it seems like the author is the only person who has ever seen the manuscript. One glance at the…

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Do you know what makes great dialogue?

Jean's Writing

Turns out great dialogue contain beats. 

Sunday’s are when I catch up on my reading. Blog posts I’ve missed or tagged to read are saved for a slow Sunday afternoon. There are so many great bloggers/writers it’s hard to keep up, but I do try.

I’ve been working on dialogue in my WIP, so you can imagine my excitement when I came across not one but two posts by Dan Alatorre on how to make that dialogue great.

Like Dan, I like to bang out the dialogue fast and get the gist down before I lose the flow. Works more times than not.

What I learned from Dan today…

  • Write like people talk. In my family, the women drive the men crazy talking over each other, no such thing as one-at-a-time.
  • Don’t forget the beats. Yes, a dialogue needs beats.
  • A trick to adding those beats, jot down a list of actions…

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