Every occupation has its own jargon. Use enough in character dialog to sound authentic, but don’t boggle the reader’s mind with too much technical terminology or acronyms, which should always be defined the first time they’re used. If several pages or chapters separate their next use, remind the reader. This can be easily done via dialog. For example:
“The ARU went out again,” John said.
“That’s the second time this month the auxiliary refrigeration unit has gone on the fritz,” Bill grumbled in reply.
Know the difference between formatting for fiction vs. nonfiction. Fiction typically has indented paragraphs, nonfiction has block paragraphs. Follow industry standards if you want to be viewed as a professional.
Reading your story aloud is an excellent editing device. If nothing else, read the dialog out loud to make sure it’s authentic. Remember to use contractions. More often than not, a person will say “I’m going to the store” as opposed to “I am going to the store.”
Watch for proper subject-verb agreement. “Writing skill IS important” vs. “Writing skill and grammar ARE important.” As a writer or author, knowing proper grammar is part of your job; even more so if you’re an editor.
Here’s an oldie but a goodie from 2008 that I just stumbled upon, from one of my favorite people, physicist Michio Kaku. I did a blog a while back on teleportation that was based on a white paper I discovered when I worked at NASA, which you can find here.
Source: Teleportation? Very Possible. Next Up: Time Travel. | DiscoverMagazine.com
Need a story idea? Fill in the blanks using the formula for the classic “What if?” premise. What if a ____ and a ____ went to _____ and ______. For practice, fill in the blanks based on your favorite sit-com or movie. This works well for creative writing teachers to fire up students’ imagination. The crazier the idea, the better.
If a paragraph is too long, it’s hard on the reader’s eyes. Break them up for visual appeal, even if in a technical sense it’s only one thought. It also helps keep the story moving.
Paragraphs should contain connected thoughts and have an introductory and closing sentence. Of course, this is not always easy to do when writing a novel, but essential for nonfiction. Jumping around too much in a paragraph will confuse your reader. A new paragraph is a signal that something has shifted.
Know your genres and sub-genres so you can categorize your book properly. This helps you get them into the hands of your target readers.It’s a total waste of time and often money to promote your book in venues where your readers aren’t involved. If you’re not sure, read popular books similar to yours to see how they’re defined, then follow suit.
When someone asks a question, be sure to punctuate with a “?” However, this can vary with narration. “He wondered whether the police had all the evidence” is a statement but “Did the police have all the evidence?” is a question.