The Deadliest First Page Sin—Plus a Critique of Two Novel Openings…

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

By Peter Selgin  on Jane Friedman site:

I read them all the time. Stories where scenes disappear before my eyes, where the point of view is as slippery as a greased tadpole, where authors play hard to get with vital statistics: stories that should be memoirs, and memoirs that should have been stories, not to mention stories built on the quicksand of cliché.

While there are seven deadly first-page sins I commonly encounter (which I detail at length in my book Your First Page), there is one that’s most deadly of all: default omniscience.

A story or a novel is as much about how it’s told—by means of what structure, through what voice or voices, from which viewpoint(s)—as about what happens. In fiction, means and ends are inseparable: method is substance. You may have all the ingredients—a plot, characters, dialogue, description, setting, conflict—but if they aren’t bound by a specific, consistent…

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“Secret Writing Rules” and Why to Ignore Them…

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

by Anne R. Allen

Somerset Maugham famously said, “There are three rules for writing. Unfortunately, nobody knows what they are.”

But pretty much everybody you meet in the publishing business will give you a list of them. (One is “never start a sentence with ‘there are’” —so watch yourself, Mr. Maugham.)

Some of the rules show up in any standard writing book or class, but others only seem to get circulated in critique groups, conference workshops, and forums.

They’re a secret to everybody else.

But you’ll run into them sooner or later. In a forum or workshop, somebody will tell you with schoolmarmish assurance that you MUST follow these secret writing rules to be a successful novelist.

Nobody knows exactly where these rules come from, or why so many great books have become classics without following a single one.

Don’t get me wrong: many “secret writing rules” involve useful tips…

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2018 Book Industry Predictions: Are Indie Authors Losing Their Independence?

A Writer's Path

by Mark Coker at Smashwords 

Welcome to my annual publishing predictions post where I prognosticate about the future and share my views on the state of the indie nation.

Each year around this time I polish off my imaginary crystal ball and ask it what the heck is going to happen next.

My crystal ball was a bit surly this year. The first thing it told me was, “you don’t want to know.”  Less than helpful.

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Fun English Language Facts That All Writers Should Know

A Writer's Path

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by Laura Peters

As a writer, it’s all too easy to get bogged down with the boring bits of the English language, such as grammar rules and sentence structure. But it’s also important to remember that there is also a fun side to language! If you do your research, you’ll find that there are a lot of fun facts related to English. Here are some to get you started!

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EDITING 101: 34 – When to use “which” or “that”?

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

Originally posted as the Dun Writin’—Now Whut? series on this blog, EDITING 101 is a weekly refresher series for some of you and brand new for others.

Courtesy ofAdirondack Editing

When to use “which” or “that”?

This is a grammar conundrum which is specific to the US, and that confused me for quite some time myself. If you’re in the UK or elsewhere that uses UK style, you probably don’t even need to read this post, as it will simply confuse you. Just keep doing what you’re doing and you’ll be fine.

For all you United States writers, heads up and pay attention!

Many people feel “which” and “that” are interchangeable. I used to think so, too, until I did some research and discovered there is indeed a difference. The usage difference stems from whether or not the information following which/that is necessary to the sentence (nonrestrictive) or unnecessary (restrictive). (I…

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EDITING 101: 32 – Sentence Length…

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

Originally posted as the Dun Writin’—Now Whut? series on this blog, EDITING 101 is a weekly refresher series for some of you and brand new for others.

Courtesy ofAdirondack Editing

Sentence Length

There is no standard sentence length, but it’s still an important factor to consider when revising or editing your manuscript. A sentence can be as short as one word: “What?” On the other end, there are whole books written in one sentence only. Apparently, the current verified world record holder for the longest sentence is Jonathan Coe’s The Rotters Club, published in 2001, contains a sentence with 13,955 words.I don’t recommend this.

According to the blog “Readability Monitor”, “  Based on several studies, press associations in the USA have laid down a readability table. Their survey shows readers find sentences of 8 words or less very easy to read; 11 words, easy; 14 words fairly easy…

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