Today’s Writing Tip

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One common mistake of inexperienced writers is to rely too much on prepositional phrases. This is not to say they should be avoided entirely, only that they should be scrutinized to decide if they’re needed or whether the sentence can be reworded to avoid them.

In many cases, they can be eliminated by making it possessive. For example, instead of saying “the trunk of the car” you could say “the car’s trunk.” Other times they’re redundant. For example “He strolled through the trees in the forest, enjoying the aroma of pine needles.” In this case, “in the forest” is most likely not needed if you’ve set up your scene already. Depending on the rest of the scene, “of pine needles” could be a candidate for deletion as well. Or, as noted earlier, make that “pine needles’s aroma”.

The main thing to remember is if anything is redundant, zap that sucker out of there!

Today’s Writing Tip


Building suspense does not mean keeping the reader uninformed. Some of the best suspense is built by alluding to something that might happen, even if it doesn’t. One thing to avoid is blindsiding your readers with something that hasn’t been hinted at in some way.

For example, if you’re writing a murder mystery, mentioning the guilty party in some manner during the story before s/he’s revealed as the culprit is essential. The same principle applies to various other situations as well.

Often more information is more suspenseful than not enough since feeding the reader’s sense of anticipation is the key.


Today’s Writing Tip

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Here’s an idea for those of you who may tend to be impatient getting your book out there. While I don’t necessarily recommend doing so until it’s sufficiently edited and refined, if you need to make a deadline or simply have to get it out there for your own sanity sake, there’s a good chance that you’re going to find things that need to be corrected or revised after the fact.

If your chosen POD distributor (or in some cases, publisher or formatter, if you have the luxury of having someone else do that for you) charges you for every edit or change, it can get expensive. One way to deal with this would be to start with an ebook where such updates are easier. Then, when it’s been through all your beta readers, editors, and so forth–when you’re absolutely sure your story is the best it can be–then you can move forward with the print copy.

Today’s Writing Tip

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Creativity resides in your right brain. Stimulating it doesn’t have to involve writing, yet can enhance those abilities. This can come through television, movies, going to a museum or pursuing other creative endeavors such as painting, playing an instrument, etc. I find that creating book trailer videos is a fun diversion that also comes in handy later.

It’s not like your brain has a limited capacity in this area. Even if you want to direct the bulk of your creative energy toward you work, you can find ideas and inspiration in other areas. Sometimes taking a break can be refreshing, especially if things are bogging down or especially if you get stuck.

Today’s Writing Tip


Mercury retrograde is a great time for editing and bad time for starting a new project.  While this prognostication is astrological in origin, it’s often a time when skeptics start to recognize there may be something to it. Astronomically, it means that the planet Mercury is moving backwards in the sky. Of course this isn’t true, only by appearance, similar to when you’re passing another car on the freeway and it appears that the other car is moving backwards when you are actually moving away from it.

Astrologically, since Mercury rules communications of all kinds as well as anything that moves, this is not when your brain, electronics, or anything mechanical is functioning properly. Computer, automobile, and appliance problems are common at this time as well as communication problems at the people level. This is a time to go back and review, revise, reconsider, and reassess while starting something new is likely to not go anywhere ever or, at best, be delayed.

This usually happens three times each year. The next one will be from November 17 – December 6, 2018, but to be safe, avoid new projects from October 29 – December 25. Put this time to good use by editing and revising as opposed to new copy.