The editing process begins with structural editing, which involves an editor giving you feedback regarding the way your story unfolds because an editor works on behalf of the reader. Since an alarming percentage of the writing population believes editors are irrelevant and unnecessary because writing is an art, let me explain why structure is important.

Writing Rules Explained: Give Your Story Structure

Video transcript Whether you’re a plotter or a pantser, there should come a time when you revise your novel, and one of the first steps of revising your novel should involve giving it structure. I know writers seethe when they hear the word should, but honestly, what’s the point of perfecting your writing, or even … Read more

Passive voice is often seen as a sign of bad writing. But is it?

Writing Rules Explained: Don’t Use Passive Voice

I have a plug-in on my website that constantly tells me to rewrite my content because I use passive voice too much. If I were to import my content into an online text analyser, I’d get the same result. “Don’t use passive voice” is a rule that you can bet appears on probably just about … Read more

“Said is dead,” says one camp. “Only use said,” says another. So which rule should we follow?

Writing Rules Explained: Said is Dead / Only Use Said

“Said is dead,” says one camp. “Only use said,” says another. So which rule should we follow? The erroneous death of said Some writers think said is dead because it’s overused, but if using a word a lot means we need to expunge it from our vocabularies, why are irregardless and misunderestimate still kicking? As … Read more

'Make every word count' means that every word you use in your story should contribute to the story in some way. I'm not just talking about individual words here, but also sentences, paragraphs, scenes, chapters and subplots. Everything you write about should contribute to the 'big picture' of the story. Why?

Writing Rules Explained: Make Every Word Count

Video transcript ‘Make every word count’ means that every word you use in your story should contribute to the story in some way. I’m not just talking about individual words here, but also sentences, paragraphs, scenes, chapters and subplots. Everything you write about should contribute to the ‘big picture’ of the story. Why? Let’s start … Read more

As a book editor, I'm going to set the record straight about writing rules.

Writing Rules Explained: Should We Follow Writing Rules?

(Video transcript) Not a fortnight goes by that I don’t read the comments section of an article about writing and find a comment spurning writing rules and advice of any kind and it grinds my gears. “Rules stifle creativity!” they proclaim. “They make you write for editors and not for yourself! Writing is an art and … Read more

"Show Don't Tell". Classic writing rule. We've all heard it. But do we really understand it as well as we think we do?

How to Write Vivid Scenes: Show Don’t Tell

(Video Transcript) What does “show don’t tell” mean? “Show Don’t Tell”. Classic writing rule. We’ve all heard it. But do we really understand it as well as we think we do? Show Don’t Tell means using evocative language—language that creates strong mental images—rather than matter-of-fact language, which expresses details as cold facts. Imagine for a … Read more

I'm sure most writers have heard the advice that they should cut out adverbs from their writing and there are a few reasons why they should take this advice on board but I'm going to focus on the simple fact that unnecessary words complicate the picture you're trying to give your reader.

How To Write Vivid Scenes: Avoid Unnecessary Adverbs

(Video transcript) I’m sure most writers have heard the advice that they should cut out adverbs from their writing and there are a few reasons why they should take this advice on board but I’m going to focus on the simple fact that unnecessary words complicate the picture you’re trying to give your reader. If … Read more

If you've been following my blog for a while, you've probably heard me say you shouldn't stop the narrative for description. But what does that mean?

How to Write Vivid Scenes: Don’t Stop the Narrative for Description

Video transcript If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ve probably heard me say you shouldn’t stop the narrative for description. But what does that mean? What does “don’t stop the narrative for description” mean? Stopping the narrative for description means that you put the breaks on the action in the scene to … Read more

Filter words are words that put distance between the reader and the story. They're words that call attention to the fact that the story is filtered through the point-of-view character's point of view. And they can cause a pretty significant problem. Here's why.

How to Write Vivid Scenes: Remove Filter Words

(Video transcript) Filter words are words that put distance between the reader and the story. They’re words that call attention to the fact that the story is filtered through the point-of-view character’s point of view. And they can cause a pretty significant problem. Filter words remind the reader that they’re [reading]. The reader is observing … Read more

In this video I bring you three characterisation techniques using examples from Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J.K. Rowling. Learn how word choice, actions and dialogue can help you develop your characters!

3 Characterisation Tips from Harry Potter

In this video I bring you three characterisation techniques using examples from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling. Learn how word choice, actions and dialogue can help you develop your characters! Check out: