How to Write a Book Outline: Fiction and Nonfiction

How to Write a Book Outline: Fiction and Nonfiction

You learned how to write outlines in school, I suppose. You were probably required to do it a certain way: I. Roman numerals for the main points A. capital letters for the sub-points1. Regular Arabic numerals for the sub-sub-pointsa. lower-case letters for all the sub-points below that We could call it the Roman-Arabic outline, though experts call it the alphanumeric outline. But when you outline your book, you don’t have to do it that way. Not if it seems burdensome…

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Among vs. Amongst

Among vs. Amongst

Summary: Among and amongst are interchangeable terms. Americans always use among, while in the UK both among and amongst are used. Although we’ve covered the difference between Among/Amongst in another post on Daily Writing Tips (spoiler alert: there isn’t one), you might still be wondering which word would work best in a particular context. One of our readers, Tania Botha, asked: “When (if ever) must one use “amongst” – I systematically use “among” in my own writing and change it…

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When to Use a Colon: Rules and Examples

When to Use a Colon: Rules and Examples

The colon can be a tricky punctuation mark. You’ve probably grasped periods, question marks, exclamation points, and commas – but the rules surrounding colons may seem a bit trickier. There are two main ways to use colons: To introduce an item or a series of items. To replace a semi-colon between two independent clauses: the second clause should explain or expand on the first in some way. As you can see, I’ve used both types of colon above. Colons can…

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Affect vs. Effect

Affect vs. Effect

Among the pairs of words writers often confuse, affect and effect might be the most perplexing, perhaps because their meanings are so similar. Affect, derived from affectus, from the Latin word afficere, “to do something to, act on,” is easily conflated with effect, borrowed from Anglo-French, ultimately stemming from the Latin word effectus, from efficere, “to bring about.” What’s the difference between affect and effect? Affect is usually a verb, meaning to influence or act upon. Example: The loss of…

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How to Create a Character Profile

How to Create a Character Profile

Have you created character profiles for the main cast of your novel? While not all authors use character profiles, many find them a very handy tool for keeping track of their characters – and for developing and fleshing out those characters in the first place. Done well, a character profile can help you harness your creativity and really dig into who your characters are.  Sometimes, though, writers treat character profiles as a form-filling exercise, coming up with their character’s eye…

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Margaret Atwood’s MasterClass Review: A Course on Creative Writing

Margaret Atwood’s MasterClass Review: A Course on Creative Writing

I wrote about MasterClass a couple of months ago in my review of James Patterson’s course on Writing – and this month, I’ve been enjoying Margaret Atwood’s course on Creative Writing. In case you don’t want to head back to that post, I’ll quickly recap the basics of MasterClass itself here: What’s MasterClass? MasterClass is a well-established brand with a website that offers courses from many big names in the writing world. (There are also loads of other courses on…

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15 Groovy, Awesome, Swell and Cool Words

15 Groovy, Awesome, Swell and Cool Words

What’s your favorite word of compliment or admiration? How do you express approval? These are important questions for each generation of young people, who want their vocabulary to distinguish them from previous generations. It’s not fool-proof: a slang expression of approval is often fashionable in one place or time but not another, and may even coming back into fashion later. A word that is fashionable in one school might be considered outdated in another. Perhaps the longest reigning compliment is…

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What Does [sic] Mean?

What Does [sic] Mean?

Samm [sic] asks “What does [sic] mean?” Sic in square brackets is an editing term used with quotations or excerpts. It means “that’s really how it appears in the original.” It is used to point out a grammatical error, misspelling, misstatement of fact, or, as above, the unconventional spelling of a name. For example, you might want to quote the printed introduction to a college catalog: Maple Leaf College is well-known for it’s [sic] high academic standards. Sic is the…

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When to Use a Comma: 10 Rules and Examples

When to Use a Comma: 10 Rules and Examples

Commas can be a particularly tricky punctuation mark. There are some cases where you know you should use a comma – such as when separating items in a list – but there are other times when you might be unsure whether or not a comma is needed. While there’s some degree of flexibility in how commas are used, it’s important to have a clear grasp of the rules. Seven Places Where You SHOULD Use Commas Rule #1: Use Commas to…

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How to Write a Novel: 10 Crucial Steps

How to Write a Novel: 10 Crucial Steps

Whatever you write: blog posts, short stories, client pieces – I suspect that, at some point, you’ve at least considered writing a novel. Maybe it’s something you contemplate every November, when NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) rolls around. Or maybe you’ve had an idea bubbling away for years now, but you’ve been waiting until you have more time to write. His response Writing a whole novel might feel rather daunting, especially if you’ve only ever written shorter pieces before. You…

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