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Writing for Life

Mondays

Why You Shouldn’t Say “Boo” to Being a Ghostwriter

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Today’s guest post is by author Cari Bennette:

In the pursuit of their writing careers, many writers disregard the option of ghostwriting because it may seem to offer less status or nobility than other forms of writing. In fact, ghostwriting can be a serious and inspiring profession with many benefits.

What about the Fame?

Many aspiring writers dream of the day they see their name on the cover of a book. Though certainly an attainable dream for anyone with the courage and stubbornness to stick it out, many published writers can tell you that getting published can be a long and hard slog through uncertain terrain. The writer Anne Lamott advises her students that “the odds of their getting published and of it bringing them financial security, peace of mind, and even joy are probably not that great. Ruin, hysteria, bad skin, unsightly tics, ugly financial problems, maybe, but probably not peace of mind.” Continue Reading…

12 Key Pillars of Novel Construction

Wednesdays

Creating a Strong Voice in Your Novel

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We’re about to look at the last three pillars of novel construction in this year-long course. These last three—voice, writing style, and motifs—are important elements in a novel, but there are no specific “rules” governing them. No one can tell you what your writing style should be, for example, but there are some guidelines I can share with you that will help you make decisions about your writing style, or the kind of voice you give your character, or the kinds of motifs you may or may not want to inject into your story.

There are many other small components that make a novel great, such as attention to detail; creative use of metaphor or symbolism; and technical issues, such as sentence, paragraph, and scene length. All these things are mostly a matter of personal taste, although often formed and restricted in some way by genre. Continue Reading…

Say What?

Fridays

Turning Verbs into Nouns May Be Bad for Your Writing

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In the previous post on nominalizations, I talked about how nominalizations are formed and briefly touched on a general approach to remedying them. In this post, I’ll explain ways to identify and correct specific nominalizations, as well as point out some legitimate uses of nominalization.

Nominalization is a fancy word that means taking a part of speech such as a verb, adjective, or adverb and turning it into a noun—primarily at the head of a sentence. Doing this can lead to some weak sentence structure.

Watch out for nominalizations that follow a verb:

  • The auditors conducted an investigation into the embezzlement
  • Better: The auditors investigated the embezzlement

Continue Reading…

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