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Garner's Modern English Usage

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Twitter Facebook Podcast. February 26, ALLi Editorial 13 Comments When it comes to writing fiction , often there are no definitive rules to certain aspects of structuring sentences. But there are some basic principles or practices that many fiction writers use, regardless of genre, to help them tighten up their writing and keep prose from becoming muddled, clunky, or redundant.

A Time to Gush and a Time to Polish

It may sound simple, but the advice is sage. The task of an adept writer is to figure out what she wants to say, then find the best way to say it. Speech and thoughts may be grammatical wrong but entirely appropriate for that character due to his background, education, and other factors.

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But there are specific places where bending or breaking the established rules of grammar is not a good idea. Your novel or short story or anything you write should showcase a handle on correct grammar.


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So be judicious with breaking the rules. Who are they? There are times when passive voice is the best choice.

Grammar for Fiction Writers by Marcy Kennedy

Those are the verbs used to describe speech. Simpler is better. Probably for most of us, but you need to try. Schedule the time, at least an hour. Writing is like building any other skill, like building muscles —the more you do it, the better you get, the stronger you get.

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Because a bad story is easier to write than a good story, and the goal here is to teach yourself that you can finish a novel. They outline, they plan, they start with best intentions, but when they get to their first major writing roadblock, the majority of them quit.

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Because writing a novel is hard. They get frustrated, and they quit.

Grammar Tips for Fiction Writers

Bring in a guy with a gun. Whip up a betrayal. Beam in an alien. Anything to move the story forward and keep you writing. One of the most confusing elements of writing dialogue is how to format and punctuate it properly. There are so many perceived rules and regulations it can become a nightmare for authors to remember what to do and when. I am over the moon to announce that, after very careful consideration of all the brilliant entries, the winner of my Little Tweaks Proofreading competition is Hannah Lynn! Congratulations, Hannah. Hannah's debut novel, Amendments is out now and I can't wait to start working with her on her next book.

It's competition time!

I'm giving one lucky author the chance to have their manuscript proofread, as detailed in my Little Tweaks Proofreading service, free of charge! All you need to do is email and tell me, in no more than words, why you should win. That's it.