TIPS FOR WRITING A BOOK - explanations & worksheets

This is your jumping-off page to access helpful writing advice and explanations of writing problems that bedevil the new novel writer. I will include worksheets so that you can try your hand at these newly-discovered skills and either self-test or send the work to me for comment - yes, FREE help.

This section will grow - I will keep adding new snippets as I think of them.  Please come  back for new writing help.

Two of the issues I intend to cover and test are the perennial favourites Show, Don't Tell and Point of View (POV). They are closely related and difficult flaws to detect in your own work.  It can take months, even years, of writing practice to finally eliminate these flaws from your writing. Don't be disheartened: it's worth the effort as your writing will be much more engaging and compelling.

What is Show, Don't Tell?

This is one of the first critiquing terms most novice writers will hear. It's an axiom of the craft and I have no idea who first devised the catchy term. Basically, it acknowledges that readers respond better and care more about the main character when they can see the world through the character's eyes and thoughts, rather than merely being told what that character thinks and feels  by an outside narrator.

What is POV and how is it related to Show, Don't Tell?

This concept of being inside the character's head and showing the world as he or she  sees it is called Point of View. It is usual for your Main Character (protagonist, hero) to be the POV character, although it is possible for a character to be a first person narrator and carry the POV, telling us their feelings about the Main Character.  Confusing?  Think of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's  Sherlock Holmes series. Clearly, Sherlock is the Main Character or hero, but his sycophantic sidekick Dr Watson tells the story and we get his view of the world and of his much-admired friend Sherlock. Watson is the POV character. We never get to see inside Sherlock's head.

What is POV, Sherlock?

If you would like further clarifications of these terms and their various uses in practice, some examples to clarify and, best of all, exercises for you to try  CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE PAGE.

Other Writing and Crafting Skills

Apart from POV and Show, Don't Tell, there are many aspects of writing I would like to help you with: writing good dialogue, inner dialogue, subtext,  sub-plots, hooking the reader, opening paragraphs, purple prose, repetition, cliches, overuse of words, satire, and many more.  To access articles and exercises about writing skills  CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE PAGE.

how to use punctuation

Too many new writers get so inspired by their novel story concept that churning out the story that's in their head seems to be all that matters to them -- let an editor sort out the mess. The problem is that the more you leave for the editor, the more he or she has to charge you before you go to publication. As well, you need a full command of punctuation will allow you to refine the structure of your paragraphs and be a better writer. Words and punctuation are your only construction tools, so if you want to build a novel from the ground up, master the tools. Instructional articles and exercises in this section will include work on how to use commas and how to use semicolons, dialogue punctuation and other wordy bits and pieces.

To access articles and exercises on punctuation and common punctuation mistakes, CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE PAGE

free grammar check

This will be the last section developed, as there is plenty of help out there already for those who are grammar-challenged. I will concentrate on common grammar mistakes.