Here in the Land of Writing Advice, we try not to lay down too many edicts because edicts are prickly things, but we’re going to put out four quick bits of writing advice that make you look a little more cool.
Let’s get started.
Nodding in acknowledgement.
If you’re a writer and you write:
Carrie nodded in acknowledgement. “Yes,” she said. “I do want to someday ride a manatee.”
The reader/editor is going to think, “What the what?”
A lot of writers worry that the reader isn’t going to get it. They want to be helpful. But in that example up there, we have three ways the writer is telling us that Carrie is agreeing.
“Yes,” she said. “I do want …”
Trust your writing. Trust yourself, okay? And trust your reader.
HE THOUGHT TO HIMSELF
The same kind of thing is happening here.
Shaun thought to himself, “Self, I am a pretty sweet man.”
Unless your book is about telepathy or has telepathic characters (hopefully manatees), you’re always going to be thinking to yourself.
So just write:
Shaun thought, “I am a pretty sweet man.”
It’s versus its
Okay, whenever you have an apostrophe in the middle of a word it means one of two things:
There’s a letter missing and you’re smooshing two words together.
It’s showing possession.
It’s with the apostrophe means it is. It always means it is.
Its without the apostrophe means belonging to it.
The werewolf ripped its tank top during the change and cried.
That one? No apostrophe in its.
The werewolf said it’s going down to J Crew to get a new tank.
That one? Apostrophe.
We’re versus were
Continuing on the apostrophe train, we’re and were.
We’re has an apostrophe that’s showing you that it really means we are. The apostrophe is standing in for the a in are. Oh, that sounds weird.
The were (w-e-r-e) is second person past tense singular, past tense plural, and past subjunctive of the verb “be”
So we wouldn’t say:
Hey. The werewolves we’re changing in J.Crew because they were raging out over the lack of pink tanks with tassels.
Hey. The werewolves were changing in J.Crew because they were raging out over the lack of pink tanks with tassels.
Similarly, we’d say:
We’re werewolves, man, and we demand tanks with tassels. Got it?
Were werewolves, man, and we demand tanks with tassels. Got it?
Writing Tip of the Pod
Um. Everything we just said.
Dog Tip for Life
Live in your current paragraph.
Resources -Links we talk about!
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One of our newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcasts is about the strange and adorably weird things people say?
And one of our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about fear setting and how being swallowed by a whale is bad ass.
And Carrie has new books out! Yay!
You can order now! It’s an adult mystery/thriller that takes place in Bar Harbor, Maine. Read an excerpt here!
It’s my book! It came out June 1! Boo-yah! Another one comes out July 1.
And that one is called THOSE WHO SURVIVED, which is the first book in the the DUDE GOODFEATHER series. I hope you’ll read it, like it, and buy it!
TO TELL US YOUR BRAVE STORY JUST EMAIL BELOW.
The music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License.
Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song? It’s “Summer Spliff” by Broke For Free.
WE HAVE EXTRA CONTENT ALL ABOUT LIVING HAPPY OVER HERE! It’s pretty awesome.
AND we have a writing tips podcast called WRITE BETTER NOW! It’s taking a bit of a hiatus, but there are a ton of tips over there.
We have a podcast, LOVING THE STRANGE, which we stream biweekly live on Carrie’s Facebook and Twitter and YouTube on Fridays. Her Facebook and Twitter handles are all carriejonesbooks or carriejonesbook. But she also has extra cool content focused on writing tips here.
Carrie is reading one of her raw poems every once in awhile on CARRIE DOES POEMS. And there you go! Whew! That’s a lot!