Today's usage tip: When to use fewer than vs. less than. In most conversations, people will mistakenly use the words "less than" for any reference to a volume of one thing that is smaller than the other. For example, I have heard people say, " I have less books on my e-reader than you do." Most people would think that sentence is correct, but the sentence should be, "I have fewer books on my e-reader than you do."Read More
If you look at the whole of human history, religion is the single most common motivation for an action, and yet it is often ignored in genre fiction. Today we’ll be looking at ways to integrate religion in genre stories.Read More
Today we have Lane McFarland with us for a short interview. Check the very end to buy her newest book!Read More
Names are one of the hardest parts of writing genre fiction. Here are a couple brief tips.Read More
Which is more memorable? The hero with broad shoulders and chiseled jaw, or the battle scarred warrior with the eye patch? Add scratches and dents and you not only produce memorable characters, you add depth of character and plot twists.Read More
I learned long ago that those who depend on their computer's spell check function are doomed to embarrassment. In the early days of word processing and the spell check function, a friend of mine used to always joke about the "spill sucker", because she tried to search for a "spell checker" program one time and her computer suggested she change the words to spill sucker. They were, in fact, two real words, but they were the wrong words.
Unfortunately, the dependence on spell check and grammar check functions has become the norm. Our writing and our literature is rife with errors due to the inability of a computer program to recognize which form of a word is correct in context, for example: their, there, or they're. The same is true of syntax. It takes a human being to accurately determine the nuances of our language.
I've copied a link to an article on this topic below, in which the writer describes a proof reading test he gave his wife and also ran through 4 different grammar and spell check programs. The results showed that none of the computer programs found all the errors in the paragraph. While the paragraph contained fact-check errors that one wouldn't expect a computer to recognize, they also scored poorly on spelling and grammar.
The moral of this blog is: Beware the spill sucker! Hire a professional to do your proof reading and editing!
Far and away one of the most common issues I see with science fiction and fantasy stories is an inability to keep to their own rules.Read More
With the advent of self publishing, many authors ask the question, "Why pay an editor when I have trusty friends who can do my editing?" This question is best answered with a true story. This is the story of the Friend Among Friends.Read More
The definition of dialogue is, "conversation, or an exchange of ideas." The purpose of dialogue in a story is to help develop an understanding of the characters and advance the plot. Here are a few of the elements of writing good dialogue.Read More
The Elements of Style, by William Strunk, Jr. and E.B. White addresses the use of paragraphs thus, " a convenient unit; it serves all forms of literary work. ...a paragraph may be of any length-a single, short sentence, or a passage of great duration. As a rule, single sentences should not be written or printed as paragraphs."Read More