5 Quick and Dirty Tips on Sentence Structure

As someone working hard this month to complete a draft of my novel, I appreciate posts like this one from Sacha Black and Writers Helping Writers,  Getting Jiggy with the Nitty Gritty, or, Improving Your Sentences.

This is a keeper and one I will use to start the editing process when ( notice I said when) I finish my novel.  In the meantime, if you’re looking for some quick and dirty tips on sentence structure, check out Sacha’s post and these 5 Tips.

  1. Filtering
  2. Juxtapositions
  3. ‘Sense’-ational Sentences
  4. Crutch Words, Wordiness, and Clichés
  5. First and Last Lines

It’s well worth a read. And, if you would like to follow the progress of my novel, you can read it and Buzz me at http://www.chapterbuzz.com/sheilamgood.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Join the conversation. Talk to me or tell me your story. I’m all ears.

Tidbits and Nuggets for Writers

The blogosphere holds a wealth of information available to writers at all levels. If you’re like me, half of the GB’s on your computer are taken up by saved bookmarks and links.

Whether it’s an article, book, or a single sentence, finding the answer to that one nagging question feels like gold. I call these treasured finds – tidbits and nuggets – a quick and dirty reference source for writing.

 Here are a few of my favorites:

K.M. Weiland on the Most Common Writing Mistakes: Are Your Verbs Showing or Telling?

Telling is summarizing. Telling gives the readers the bare facts, with little to no illustration.”

Showing is elaborating. Showing gives the readers the details of a scene, including what the character(s) are seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, smelling, thinking, and feeling emotionally.”

Slushpile Avalanche on Denoting Scene Breaks:

“In fiction, scene breaks should never be subtle… When it comes time to make that break, simply insert a # or a *.”

 Deena Nataf on being – Scared to Write What You Really Think? Why it Will Make You a Better Writer – Write to Done

“Staying neutral to avoid offending anyone will result in words without substance. Not being neutral doesn’t mean you have to be controversial; it means having your own opinion and expressing it.”

Writer’s Path: Ryan Lantz and guest author Jacqui Murray – How To Characterize Love In Your Writing:

“Love is about emotion. That’s where you write it…The reaction of your characters must be in-character.”

Allison Beckert from her blog, Art of Stories on The Relationship Arc

“Writing a relationship functions the same way as any story; it requires its own rising action, climax, and resolution.”

John J Kelley from Writer Unboxed:  The Care and Feeding of Relationships.

“For each relationship of my protagonist, I stripped out each scene in which he engaged the other character and then read them independently, isolated from the distracting swirl of the rest of the story. In doing so, I could see gaps clearly, places where emotional leaps felt too broad or moved too fast.”

I use physical notebooks and desktops apps like the ones below. Whichever method you choose, having these at my fingertips makes writing easier.

5 Ways to Create a Reference Library to Have at Your Fingertips.
  1.   WORD– Open a document and each time you come across a tidbit or nugget, add the topic and link to the document.
  2.  ONE NOTE – in the same way.
  3.  EXCEL – make a spreadsheet of the author, topic, link, and tidbit.
  4.  POCKET – and create a list of favorite articles.
  5.  EVERNOTE – a central collection of notes.

Do you have something similar? How do you collect your favorite tidbits and nuggets on writing?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Join the conversation. Talk to me or tell me your story. I’m all ears.