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Writing tips, techniques and inspiration

How to Punctuate Dialogue Correctly

Seven essential rules for proper dialog punctuation You’ve written some sparkling dialogue, so now it’s time to punctuate it. In this section, we’ll go through some of the main rules of dialogue formatting and punctuation. New speaker, new line Multiple paragraphs of...

How to Edit & Proofread in Microsoft Word

How to Edit & Proofread in Microsoft Word

If you're editing a document or manuscript for someone, you need to use Microsoft Word and its Track Changes feature. Track Changes does exactly what it says - it tracks all your edits so the author can see what you've changed and can approve, reject or amend your...

How to Format a Manuscript for an Editor or Agent

Text formatting guidelines for submissions to editors and agents Once you’re satisfied that your story works and you’ve done your best to iron out any text and expression issues, it’s time to prepare your manuscript for an editor. Or if it's already been edited,...

How to write a Nonfiction Book or Memoir Premise

State your brilliant book idea in just 3 sentences A premise is the main idea behind your story or writing project. In nonfiction, it takes the form of a two- to three-sentence statement of the book’s basic idea, usually identifying the central problem or question and...

Plot Your Novel Like Dean Koontz

A bare-bones plot formula by a master of suspense If you're looking for the simplest method of plotting a page-turning novel then I think I've found it. It's thriller author Dean Koontz's Classic Story Structure, as outlined in his book How to Write Best-Selling...

The 4 Levels of Editing (and Which One You Need Most)

Choose the right editing service for your manuscript Editing is the process of reviewing and polishing text to reduce errors, improve clarity and create a more impactful reading experience. This means checking grammar and spelling while also looking at issues like...

Basic three-act structure for nonfiction

An ultra-simple plan to get your nonfiction book started You've got ideas for a work of nonfiction, but how do you begin laying out the information in a cohesive narrative? One way is to borrow the basic three-act plot structure commonly used in fiction. Even though...

Write Powerful Opening Lines

Hook your readers from the start A common complaint of editors and publishers is that a lot of the manuscripts they see have weak opening lines and take too long to get going. The truth is that potential readers aren’t going to hang around waiting for your story to...

Choosing Your Story’s Point of View

Point of view, along with tense, is another big decision you’ll need to take in the early stages of writing a story. Point of view is about the grammatical ‘person’ who tells the story. There are three possibilities: First-person - ‘I’ or ‘we’. Second-person - ‘you’....

Past vs Present Tense: Which is Best for Your Story?

How to choose your narrative tense When writing a story you need to decide on the grammatical tense you are going to use – i.e. whether it will be told in past tense, present tense or future tense. The tense is indicated by the form of the verbs. For example, here’s a...

Building Your Story With Scenes

How to write scenes with power and purpose Once you have the basic structure of the story you can begin writing it. The basic building block of structure is the scene. A scene is a section of a story made up of a character (or characters) performing an action that...

Create Dynamic Characters

Characters arise from premise and plot Your story plot begins with a main character (the protagonist) who faces a problem and must take action to resolve it (as described in the premise). This means that the protagonist is not just some random interesting person to...