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Why Writers Should Read + Reading Lists

The first few pages of a manuscript—even a paragraph or two of an article or blog post—make an announcement: This writer is a reader. Or not. It’s easy to see the difference. A non-reader’s opening pages often lack clarity or they’re a backstory info-dump. They might be muddled with too much description or head-hopping (mixed… Read more

What Are Filter Words?

Filter words aren’t always a bad thing, but if you’re new to the writing craft or just unfamiliar with them, you’ll want to learn all you can. An abundance of filter words makes reading difficult and causes readers to skim as they search for the story’s essence. Worse, they’re a sign of a beginner and… Read more

Should You Write What You Know or What You Don’t Know?

You’ve probably heard the advice “write what you know.” It’s been attributed to Mark Twain, Ernest Hemingway, Henry James, Stephen King, and countless others. And a lot of beginning writers assume it means they should write about their lives. Yes, no, maybe? Let’s say you’re a veterinarian or a business owner. If you write a… Read more

Quit or Keep Going?

What happens when you don’t finish something on time? Do you quit? Or do you keep on going? If you’ve ever felt frustrated with a writing project, you know what I’m talking about. And if you’ve ever done NaNoWriMo—and didn’t get to 50,000 words by November 30th—you might have faced that very question. I didn’t… Read more

Punctuation for Writers – The Major Challenges

Punctuation is a challenge for a lot of writers. Commas can be particularly confusing because they have so many different purposes. Semicolons are tough, too, and many writers just avoid them. The same goes for em dashes and ellipses. Three dots? Four dots? When, why, where? Sure, you can use a grammar and punctuation checker… Read more