Tips for writing fiction from a master thriller writer

In his 2017 book Camino Island by John Grisham – an undisputed master of crime and legal thrillers – the bookshop-owner Bruce Cable gave the following tips for writing fiction. The character said that he had read over 4000 books and here are Bruce’s pearls of wisdom for successful writing. Tip 1: Avoid prologues where … Continue reading Tips for writing fiction from a master thriller writer

Tips for writers: Knowing when to use colons

There are many who consider the colon and semi-colon to be identical punctuation stop marks and use both without discrimination, while others have a strong preference for one mark and have little use for the other. Here I am going to concentrate solely on the use of colons. The colon is described in the New … Continue reading Tips for writers: Knowing when to use colons

Points to watch for when revising text

It is always good practice to revise and if necessary completely rewrite text in documents to ensure that they are accurate, concise, and the best they can be. Straightforward you might think and you might say “What could possibly go wrong?” Quite a lot actually. But in the process of review there are some hidden traps an author can fall into when using Find and Replace, or inserting or deleting text that can affect pagination.

Tips for writers: Using italics

Roman (that is upright type) is the standard text typeface, but for various reasons italic type (that is slanted to the right) is adopted. This is often to indicate some form of departure from normal text for the reader to interpret the word or words in a certain way.

Tips for writers: Avoiding sexist and biased language: part 2

Biased language refers to words and phrases that can be considered hurtful, offensive, and prejudiced. Biased language includes expressions or terms that demean or exclude people because of age, ethnicity, marital status, race, religion, politics, sex, sexual orientation, social class, or certain physical or mental traits.

Tips on how to avoid some pitfalls in writing

They say there is a book in each one of us waiting to be written. If that is true it is probably easier for some people than others to turn that into a published book. The first decision to take is about what to write. Tip 1: Write about what you know Not everyone can … Continue reading Tips on how to avoid some pitfalls in writing

Tips for writers: Collective nouns and mass nouns

At first glance by the layperson the terms collective nouns and mass nouns might appear to be the same, but there are differences. Collective nouns denote a group of individuals, such as crew or family, and the noun can be used with singular verbs or plural verbs. In Britain it is generally more usual for … Continue reading Tips for writers: Collective nouns and mass nouns

Tips for writers: Which spellings to use: -ise or -ize? -yse or -yze?

Have you ever wondered why some books use -ise spellings , such as organisation, while others use the spelling organization? Usually, this is not merely an author's whim but follows a recognized spelling style. In British-style books many verbs that end in -ise can also be spelt with an -ize ending: for instance, organise and … Continue reading Tips for writers: Which spellings to use: -ise or -ize? -yse or -yze?

Tips for writers: Writing reports part 1. How to improve visual appearance

In their headlong rush to communicate as much information and data as possible to their readers, many authors of reports often neglect to pay sufficient attention to how they communicate the facts and figures to their audience. Some of the factors that lead to poor-quality output include: cluttered and fussy visual appearance inconsistencies of style poor … Continue reading Tips for writers: Writing reports part 1. How to improve visual appearance

Tips for writers: Using Find and Replace in Microsoft Word

The Find tool in Microsoft Word is a useful and powerful instrument but can cause difficulties when used in conjunction with the Replace tool without caution. Imagine this situation:  I have been proofreading a document and I have just noticed that a fictitious town name that was earlier spelt as New Hampton is now appearing … Continue reading Tips for writers: Using Find and Replace in Microsoft Word