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Writing for Life

Mondays

25 Tips on How to Impress a Book Publisher

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Today’s post is by Cheryl Tardif, publisher at Imajin Books—a newer, innovative hybrid publishing company based in Canada. She is also known as Cheryl Kaye Tardif, an award-winning, international best-selling author and my publisher (of Innocent Little Crimes) to boot!

Thank you, Susanne. I am thrilled to be a guest on your blog. Today I’ll be posting with my “publisher hat” on, and I’ll share with your readers 25 tips that will help you impress publishers and distinguish you and your work from the slush piles.  Continue Reading…

12 Key Pillars of Novel Construction

Wednesdays

Ramping Tension to the Max in Your Novel

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I hope I don’t need to tell you why you need tension in your novel. If I do, then I suggest you stop reading this post and spend some time reading some writing craft books and blog posts on novel structure. I don’t mean to be snarky here; this is sage advice. Too many manuscripts come across my desk completely void of tension. However, I assume that the reason is the writer just has no idea how to create tension on every page—which is what a writer should aim for.

Every page? Is that possible. Yes, it is. And as an author, I work hard toward that goal—to keep up a continual sense of tension, which creates anticipation and interest on the reader’s part. Continue Reading…

Say What?

Fridays

Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda

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“Coulda, woulda, shoulda” goes the regretful refrain made popular by a song of the same name.

It’s the lament any of us might utter when we realize we’ve made a poor choice or followed a path that didn’t end up where we’d hoped it would.

I hope you also share my regret over the abuse of this phrase—this rendering being an even more egregious error than the one sometimes seen in print: could of, would of, should of. That may be what you hear, but what someone is really saying is have not of.

  • I could have taken you to the airport if you would have let me know.

When we’re speaking, we tend to run our words together and form the contraction could’ve. But what we hear is this:

  • I could of taken you to the airport if you would of let me know. [Which is wrong!]

What’s so awful about that construction? Could, would, should are members of the verb family. Technically, they are auxiliary or helping verbs. Because they are “assisting” verbs, they always occur in a phrase—which consists of other verbs. In this example, could have taken is a verb phrase. (For the record, of is not a verb, so it cannot be part of a verb phrase.)

People who insist on writing could of (or would of or should of) ought to receive thirty lashes with a wet noodle.

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