Great Stuff for Writers, May 27, 2013

Today is Memorial Day in the United States, one of the two holidays (two!) in which we honor and remember our military personnel, those serving today and those who have served in the past, especially those who were injured or killed in combat. As a veteran myself, I’ll be participating in a ceremony this evening. Courage in the face of mortal danger and sacrifice to it have long been—and should be!—staples of literature. James Scott Bell’s (@jamesscottbell) Of Miracles, Sacrifice and Story speak to this better than I can, so that’s where we’ll start this week’s Great Stuff.

And to my brothers and sisters in arms, thank you.


Nancy J. Cohen (@nancyjcohen) offers a veritable plethora of tips on how to make On-Site Research trips worth your time and expense. She has specific examples of how to engage each of your—make that your character’s—senses and what tools to bring to make sure you capture what you detect.

Katie Weiland’s (@KMWeiland) Are Your Multiple POVs Killing Your Story’s Suspense? was an uh-oh moment for me, because my WIP has six! Certainly, too many POVs can kill the suspense—or it can maintain or increase it. It all depends on the story. Her point is a good one: beware of the trap and be willing to revise if necessary. Some of those darlings may just have to go.

Grammar Girl Mignon Fogarty excerpts a section of Marcia Reifer Johnston’s (@MarciaRJohnston) new book Word Up! for a discussion of How to Use Hyphens—including when to use them, when not to, and why (or why not) as well has how to. The main purpose of a hyphen, like much other punctuation, is to make meaning clearer, and this piece, though long, should help you get a clearer idea of how to use hyphens for just that purpose.

Repetition can be a tricky technique: used well, it can drive a point home in surprising and subtle ways. Used poorly, it can drive a reader away. Elizabeth Craig (@elizabethscraig) describes 3 Ways to Add Repetition That Pleases Readers in a guest post for Katie Weiland’s WORDplay blog.


What to put into a query letter is something new writers always wonder about. Chuck Sambuchino (@ChuckSambuchino) covers the do’s and don’ts of one piece of the query in What to Write in the “Bio” Section of Your Query Letter. If this is something you’re looking for guidance on, check out this article.


John Vorhaus’s (@TrueFactBarFact) The Kings’ English Dethorned is absolutely writers’ humor. You might—might—share it with new-writer friends, but only if they’re sharp enough to catch all of John’s intentional (I think) misteaks. For your non-writer friends who can’t spel or puncturate so good, consider sharing only if they’re a friend you’re not intent on keeping.

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