Why Adverbs Can Be Bad

June 17, 2021 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Guides

Plotting Fiction: Outline or Improvise?

June 11, 2021 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Fiction

Getting from an initial idea to a completed story seems like a mysterious process for the novice writer. Let’s demystify it a bit.

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Problems with Jargon and More When Writing for General Audiences

May 28, 2021 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Guides

Writing on a specialized topic for nonspecialists can be a challenge for writers of all ages, and writers often face the task of writing to an audience outside their field. In today’s post I’ll offer some tips to help you write clearly and usefully for a broader audience even if your topic is very narrow.

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Adopting New Words vs. Slang, Part 1

May 17, 2021 by ProofreadingPal in Grammar

I know, as an editor, I’m not supposed to say this, but when it comes to a language’s health, imposing grammatical rules isn’t nearly as important as staying relevant.

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Plotting Fiction: Putting the MICE Ratio to Work

May 7, 2021 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Fiction

The first step to solving any problem is diagnosing it. That begins with figuring out what kind of story you’re writing, which may not be the kind you intended. But it’s difficult, in the heat of creation, to analyze your own work. You can’t tell the size and shape of the forest when you’re lost among the trees. You need perspective.

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Common Errors When Using Names

April 27, 2021 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Guides

For readability and clarity and out of respect for those referred to, it is important to be aware of how to use names grammatically and in accordance with proper style and social norms. In today’s post, I will review some common errors in using names and how to correct them.

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Guide to Transitions: Sentences

April 17, 2021 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Guides

Last time, we talked about transitioning from topic to topic, which means from paragraph to paragraph. This time, let’s talk about the “micro-transitions” that occur inside the paragraph, sometimes from sentence to sentence and sometimes inside sentences.

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Plotting Fiction: The MICE Ratio

April 7, 2021 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Fiction

When a single thematic element predominates in a story, it suggests a particular narrative structure. When the ratio is more balanced, things can get tricky.

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Tips to Follow Directions in Writing Assignments

March 31, 2021 by ProofreadingPal in Essays

In today’s post, I’ll share my thoughts on another relatable lesson. Good writers follow directions! Following directions is key in most activities, especially for writing assignments, which are most often accompanied by extensive written directions.

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Quick Guide to Transitions: Paragraphs

March 27, 2021 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Guides

Transitions are essential to making sense in a proposition or argument, so it’s little wonder that writers tend to get wordy with them. Transitions hold the entire proposal together, keeping your essay/report/letter/memo/dissertation from just sounding like a lot of unrelated ideas.

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Plotting Fiction: The Event Story

March 20, 2021 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Fiction

The event story is similar to the character story in that both deal with disruptions to the status quo. A character story hinges on the protagonist’s desire to change their position in the world. In an event story, the world itself is changing. The established order—for good or bad—is under threat. The story ends with the reassertion of the old order, or the establishment of some new order.

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Tips for Great Business Letters

February 27, 2021 by ProofreadingPal in Business Proofreading and Editing

Whether writing a cover letter for a job application, a letter of resignation, a note to a colleague, or other professional communication, you want that letter to clearly put your best foot forward and not draw flaming red arrows to your weaknesses. In today’s post, I’ll offer tips to help you write great business correspondence.

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Plotting Fiction: The Character Story

February 23, 2021 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Fiction

Your internal state evolves with your external circumstances. Big life events can have a profound effect on the person you are—that is, on your character. When that job works out, anxiety gives way to a new sense of belonging; romantic disappointment resolves into resignation, and then into compassion.

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How to Make a Table of Contents in MS Word: Basics

February 6, 2021 by ProofreadingPal in Editing Tools

MS Word’s Table of Contents (ToC) feature works quite well and is more than worth the effort, especially for long documents, as it not only updates the numbers as you edit and revise but also gives you a way to quickly navigate to different sections.

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Plotting Fiction: The Idea Story

January 30, 2021 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Fiction

he idea story builds suspense by withholding information. The resolution comes when the hidden information is revealed. The action often follows the process of uncovering the hidden knowledge. It is the natural structure, then, for mystery stories that begin when a crime occurs and climax when the detective reveals who did it and how and for certain subgenres of hard SF, where a scientific problem presents itself and the heroes work toward a solution or explanation.

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Comparison Charts for CSE, IEEE, and AMA References

January 27, 2021 by ProofreadingPal in Professional Writing

A handy chart of more English styles: CSEm IEEE, and AMA.

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Quick Guide to Common Old-School Abbreviations

January 13, 2021 by ProofreadingPal in Grammar

This quick guide to some of the most common, old-school, and occasionally forgotten abbreviations should help you stay on track.

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Comparison Charts for APA, MLA, and CMS References

January 6, 2021 by ProofreadingPal in APA, MLA

A handy chart of the major English styles: Chicago, MLA, and APA.

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Plotting Fiction: The Milieu Story

January 6, 2021 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Fiction

Exactly what sort of payoff you need to deliver will be determined by the kind of story you’re telling. Over the next months, we’ll look in greater detail at the four story types laid out in my previous blog post. Today, we’ll consider the milieu story: what it is, where it starts, and how it ends.

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Microsoft Word: Inserting Symbols

December 9, 2020 by ProofreadingPal in Editing Tools

Ever wonder how documents manage to have text that isn’t on your keyboard? Ever wonder what some of those things mean?

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