Category: Writing Fiction

Plotting Fiction: Get Your Facts Straight, Part 1

September 16, 2020 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Fiction

Inaccuracies creep in when we are in the heat of creation. We take shortcuts because we don’t want to break the spell. We’re writing a suspenseful scene; our killer needs to immobilize the prey. What’s a fast-acting sedative? A quick Google search throws up a name. We write it in and move on. We can always fill in the details later, we think. And then, well, frequently we don’t.

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Plotting Fiction: Keeping Track of Time, Part 2

August 26, 2020 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Fiction

Reconciling objective and subjective chronology might seem simpler in fiction: after all, the author controls both the clock and the perceptions of the characters. But our everyday inaccuracy in estimating the passage of time carries over to our writing.

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Plotting Fiction: Keeping Track of Time, Pt 1

August 3, 2020 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Fiction

Our heroes live in a world, and despite all their antics, life goes on for everyone else. The sun rises and sets, the shops open and close. Keeping track of time means reconciling the activities of our characters with the big picture of our settings.

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Plotting Fiction: Keeping Your Story Straight

June 30, 2020 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Fiction

Keeping your story straight is mostly a matter of holding yourself accountable.

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Third-Person POV on Other Characters

July 19, 2019 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Fiction

We live our lives behind one set of eyes, but we can tell a lot about what the people around us are feeling and thinking even when they don’t say a word.

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Guide to Olde English

January 22, 2019 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Fiction

“Olde English” is all made up, but the individual words themselves did exist in general conversation, and they do come with grammar rules.

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How to Write Stock Characters: Good Villains

May 12, 2018 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Fiction

The audience must believe a villain would actually behave that way, which means understanding and even identifying with the villain’s motivations.

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The Optional Comma

May 1, 2018 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Fiction

The optional comma can go or not go somewhere depending on what you think works best. It sounds great, but actually, it’s grammar’s version of giving you enough rope to hang yourself.

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Mistakes New Fiction Writers Make: Dialogue

April 28, 2018 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Fiction

Using terms like "uttered," "exclaimed," or "interjected" can pull your reader out of the flow of your narrative and make them focus more on the words than on what you’re conveying with those words. And let’s not even get started on "ejaculated," the biggest dialogue-tag offender of all time!

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How to Write Stock Characters: The Likeable Superman

February 16, 2018 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Fiction

World Building: How to Cut Down on Exposition

January 22, 2018 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Fiction

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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Dragons, Thrones, and the Truth of Endings

September 9, 2017 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Fiction

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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2 Tips for Professional-Looking Fiction

March 1, 2017 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Fiction

The following come from my own mentors, most of them editors for publishing houses. I’ve found their advice to be solid gold, and these warnings have served me excellently as both a writer and an editor.

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Does Fanfiction Improve Writing? Part 2

December 6, 2016 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Fiction

I recommend writing fanfiction for people who need to work on their dialogue skills, pacing, and character development.

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Does Fanfiction Improve Writing? Part 1

September 19, 2016 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Fiction

Despite its occasional bad rap, writing fanfic is a great way to improve your writing. I’ll go so far as to say that anyone looking to write original fiction can learn quite a few things from giving fanfiction a spin.

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3 Tips for Writing Better Dialogue

April 14, 2016 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Fiction

Stories survive on their dialogue. Yes, there are some great novels with page after page of narration and description, and if you’re a future Nobel-winner wunderkind, more power to you. For the rest of us, it’s in conversations that characters primarily reveal themselves, interact with each other, and live out a story’s social life.

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Fanfic Fairness 101

October 29, 2015 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Fiction

So how do you protect yourself and still share your work? It all comes down to common sense. Even if the fandom you’re working in is generally in the public domain, certain characters and situations may still be under copyright and therefore not available for your free use.

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What Is Fair Use?

September 3, 2015 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Fiction

We’ve all had it drilled into our heads that we have to cite and reference everything in academic papers to avoid plagiarism. But fiction is different, isn’t it?

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What Tense Should I Use in Writing?

August 3, 2015 by ProofreadingPal in Professional Writing, Writing Fiction, Writing Guides

People are right to be confused because what tense you should use varies widely depending on your writing style and your purpose.

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Fiction Writing and Changing Narrators

July 3, 2015 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Fiction

When we write, we act as God in the universes of our stories: creating and destroying our characters at will, judging and accepting, choosing cruelty and mercy. It’s quite the ego trip, really.

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