Why You Want a Style Sheet

Writers rely on editors to detect inconsistencies in character and plot, to repair grammar errors, and to correct misspellings—in short, to make your manuscript memorable for its message, not its mistakes. Beyond the reputable dictionary, copyeditors turn to style manuals, such as The Chicago Manual of Style and The Associated Press Stylebook, which provide “rules”…

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How to Punctuate Dialogue

What reader doesn’t appreciate a well-told tale, witty repartee, gripping courtroom testimonies, lovers’ quarrels, or dramatic monologues delivered by impassioned characters? Most, wouldn’t you say? So how do readers recognize when a character is tongue-lashing a sibling or hitting on his wife’s best friend? Punctuation marks! Some authors occasionally (or always) eschew commas, semi-colons, quotation…

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Pickles in a Jar

How to Write Effective Dialogue Tags—Without Putting Yourself in A Pickle

A dialogue tag, also known as a speaker attribution, is a short phrase that identifies a speaker (and sometimes how the person speaks). “Pass the pickles,” Dan says. “Dill or sweet?” Donna asks. “I guess I’ll go for dill.” “Good choice—the dill ones are homemade, courtesy of your sister-in-law.” In this short conversation, we know…

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Recommended Reading

Recommended for Writers

  Based upon decades of research into the writing process and the work habits of real writers, this book inspires and reassures those of us who, in these days of instant gratification and on-the-go, 24/7 communication, write at a more leisurely, even glacial, pace. In fact, “slow writing” fosters risk-taking and stimulates intuitive leaps in…

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