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Using MS Word Lists: Bullets & Numbers

on February 20, 2018 by Proofreading Pal in Editing Tools
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All writing tools or techniques should help you express yourself more clearly. Lists can be particularly useful for this, especially in dense academic writing. Presenting important information in discrete items, rather than a block of text, can alleviate visual clutter and even provide a key to structuring your piece.

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How to Write Stock Characters: The Likeable Superman

on February 16, 2018 by Proofreading Pal in Writing Fiction
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Headhopping: New Fiction Writers’ Mistakes

on February 1, 2018 by Proofreading Pal in Writing Guides
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All too often, new fiction writers get excited by the different perspectives their characters have to offer and jump between them in a single scene. This is intensely disconcerting—whose head are we in now? What are they thinking? Why did we leave the other character?—and should be avoided.

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World Building: How to Cut Down on Exposition

on January 22, 2018 by Proofreading Pal in Writing Fiction
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Creating a world for your story, whether based on the real world or not, involves a series of challenges, especially when it comes to not smothering your reader in exposition. Here's a straight-forward approach to the dreaded "exposition dump."

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Hanging Indents with MS Word Ruler

on January 13, 2018 by Proofreading Pal in Editing Tools
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the first-line indent, by virtue of being so ubiquitous, seems quite intuitive and natural. But there’s another kind of indent, found almost exclusively in academic writing: the hanging indent.

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Quick Guide to Pronouns and Antecedents

on January 2, 2018 by Proofreading Pal in Writing Guides
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Problems with pronouns and antecedents can significantly interfere with your readers’ understanding, so make sure each pronoun’s referent is crystal clear.

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Easy Guide to That vs. Which

on December 23, 2017 by Proofreading Pal in Writing Guides
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The rule for US English is actually pretty simple to state: use that when the phrase that follows is essential for the meaning of the noun (or is a dependent phrase), and use which when the phrase that follows offers additional, nonessential information about the noun (or is an independent phrase). Getting it right, however, can be complicated.

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Top 5 Eyesores in Self-Publishing

on December 13, 2017 by Proofreading Pal in Publishing
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You have to pay attention to formatting and presentation when you’re getting ready to self-publish. When it comes time to self-publish your book, don’t make these five key layout mistakes.

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Microsoft Word Guide: Using the Ruler for Indents

on December 4, 2017 by Proofreading Pal in Writing Guides
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Let’s look at how Word’s built-in ruler automates the indentation of text, along with why you should use it rather than indenting manually.

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Common Apostrophe Errors

on November 30, 2017 by Proofreading Pal in Writing Guides
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While researching apostrophe use and common associated errors, I learned several interesting facts...

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Top 10 Changes in Chicago’s 17th Edition

on November 16, 2017 by Proofreading Pal in Editing Tools
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Clocking in at 1,145 pages, this is not a book meant to be read cover to cover (thank God), so Chicago has a handy guide to the edition’s updates. The problem is, the handy guide is itself somewhat daunting. So I’m going to cover the top ten changes,

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Control Your Tone with Your Mood

on November 2, 2017 by Proofreading Pal in Writing Guides
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When it comes to the real nuts and bolts of writing, you’ll find it easier to control your tone by paying attention to your mood. I don’t mean your personal mood, as in not writing when you’re angry or texting when you’re drunk (though that is sound advice). I’m talking about the mood we establish with our words.

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Recovering Lost Documents

on October 28, 2017 by Proofreading Pal in Editing Tools
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However it happens, we all learn to fear the aftermath, the moment when we click open the folder where we save our work and see that the file we were editing only moments ago is just . . . gone. Here's a quick-and-dirty guide to getting it back.

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Don’t Buy Content Online: Reasons 4-6

on October 19, 2017 by Proofreading Pal in Essays
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Three more reason why buying online content, for school or elsewhere, is a really bad idea.

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Compare Versions in Microsoft Word

on October 5, 2017 by Proofreading Pal in Editing Tools
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MS Word's Compare function looks at any two documents and lists all the differences paragraph by paragraph.

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How to Use Word References Tool

on September 22, 2017 by Proofreading Pal in Editing Tools
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In this post, I’ll give specific instructions on how to use Word to add reference citations to a document. One word of caution about this function: you need to know your style guide extremely well to use this function effectively.

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Dragons, Thrones, and the Truth of Endings

on September 9, 2017 by Proofreading Pal in Writing Fiction
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Today’s post can be summed up with a simple truth: possibilities are almost always more fun than choices. It’s something fiction writers must not only suffer through, but also accept and even embrace.

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When Should I Use Contractions?

on September 1, 2017 by Chris in Writing Guides
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Use contractions whenever you want to adopt a conversational tone, contractions are the way to go. If you’re writing dialogue for a short story, a phrase like “Don’t you have it?” sounds more natural than “Do you not have it?” In marketing, using the patterns of everyday speech to communicate effectively with customers has been standard practice for decades.

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Don’t Buy Content Online: Reasons 1-3

on August 25, 2017 by Proofreading Pal in Writing Guides
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Buying online content is not only unethical, it’s a terrible idea. You’re likely to get a badly written, unedited, factually incorrect piece of junk that’s barely better than if you just typed “I don’t know what to type for this paper” 500 times to fill the pages.

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Utilized: The Latest Misused Word

on August 11, 2017 by Proofreading Pal in Writing Guides
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Using and utilizing something are not the same. To utilize something means to take something that was not practical or in typical employment and turn it into something useful. The word comes from “utility,” which means to be designed for a use or to be fitted for a specific purpose.

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