Writing advice of the day

Do not fear commas or the word “said.”

Further writing advice:

– vary sentence and paragraph structure.

– avoid re-using uncommon words (they stick out much more than the familiar ones).

– adjectives and adverbs are your frenemies–not always to be avoided, but dangerous, so handle with care.

– just because Austen or Shakespeare or whomever broke a rule doesn’t mean you should break it–at the very least, you should understand what it is and why it exists, and make a conscious decision.

– character! character! character!.

– sometimes “it’s cool” is a perfectly valid basis for authorial decisions, sometimes not–exercise judgment.

– don’t use words you aren’t familiar with; you should know the precise meaning of every word you use.

– when you do vary your dialogue tags, the new tag should still refer to speech: replied, whispered, shouted, etc, not smiled, chuckled, considered.

– realism and verisimilitude are not the same; whether something really happened or not is largely irrelevant to whether it seems realistic, and that’s what matters for the audience.


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