Posts Tagged ‘writing tools’


I’m moving to http://www.jaowenby.com where I will continue to blog and much more. If you realize your missing posts, just check your subscription. We tried to assure everyone moved over. If you need to sign up again then, just click the blog button and on the right side, you can subscribe again.

Don’t miss the other exciting features including a newsletter, giveaways, and autographed copies of my new novel.

I can’t wait to share the journey! Thank you for all your support and I’ll see you there!

Until Next Time…


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plot-vs-characterI think plot vs. character has just as many opinions as outlining vs. pantsing. I’ve read great books that were plot driven with light character development and good books with fantastic characters and a flimsy plot. But, since writing two novels and part of my third I’ve found that the amazing books, the ones that stay with you years later, have both elements. They contain a page-turning plot and deep characters. When I say deep characters I mean human beings with internal and external challenges and emotions that readers can identify with.

So, instead of there being a debate about which should be stronger, I say knock it out of the ballpark and bring both to your story.

Until Next Time…

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We are back for more autocrit writing tips! I love these great reminders that help us grow and become stronger writers. I hope you find this helpful as well.

Let’s have a chat about sentence starters, shall we?

As writers, we know it’s important to shake up our sentence structures. After all, if every sentence started the same way, our writing would be quite boring.
But there are two big pitfalls to watch out for—starting sentences with an initial conjunction and starting with an initial –ING verb.
The good news: AutoCrit can identify both in your manuscript.


So what are these sly little sand-traps?
Initial Conjunctions are when you start your sentences with a conjunction, such as And, But, Or, For, So, Yet, or Because.

While it’s perfectly acceptable to start with an initial conjunction, doing it too often can quickly become annoying to the reader.

Initial –ING verbs, meanwhile, are sentences that start with an –ING verb, such as “Lifting the spoon to my lips, I thought about the day ahead.” Using this structure too often can be distracting—and many writers also use it wrong.

Remember that when you start with an initial –ING verb, the action you describe in the first part of the sentence must be something that can be done at the same time as the action you describe in the rest of the sentence.

For example: “Walking down the hall, I caught sight of a shadow disappearing around the corner.” This works because a person could walk down the hall AND see something ahead of them.

But here’s one that doesn’t work: “Opening the ketchup bottle, I pour some on my burger.” It’s physically impossible to open the bottle AND pour ketchup on the burger at the same time.

The Sentence Starters Analysis will highlight your –ING sentences so you can check to make sure you’re using this structure correctly.

The bottom line? Mixing up your sentence structures is a great strategy. And AutoCrit is here to make sure you do it right.

Until Next Time…

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Here’s a post from Kevin atautocrit.com. I love sharing these tips, but it also showswhyautocrit is such an amazing tool for writers.

Do you ever cringe when you see a story that begins “on a dark and stormy night“?
That’s because it’s a cliché. Clichés are phrases so overused they’re considered trite and unoriginal
Clichés and redundancies in your manuscript are a sign that you may need to work on making your writing a little more original.
Redundancies are words that could be omitted because they repeat what has already been expressed or conveyed in the sentence. 
The problem is that it’s not always easy to spot clichés or redundancies in our own work.   I have good news though, the AutoCrit can do it for you!
AutoCrit highlights those phrases and shows you the sections of text where you used them, so you can quickly decide which words and phrases you want to change or delete and which you may want to keep. For redundancies, deleting the redundant word usually solves the problem. For example: “He reversed the car back” can be simplified to “He reversed the car.”
Clichés are a tad trickier to replace. Here are a couple of my favorite strategies:
Let your characters be your guide: Replace a cliché with a phrase that is unique to your character. For instance, say you have a character who is a chef; instead of saying that she’s as “nervous as a cat on a hot tin roof,” say that she’s as “nervous as the day she threw her first dinner party.”
Use settings or situations as inspiration: Align your phrases with the scene itself. For example, say you have a character who is about to play quarterback in the big game; instead of writing, “Simon’s heart was racing,” say “Simon’s heart thundered in time with the drum corp marching its way across the field.”
Be specific: Clichés are often generalizations, so a quick way to revise them is simply to be more specific. For instance, instead of writing, “Penelope woke in the middle of the night…” say, “Penelope woke at 3 a.m.”
Eliminating those clichés and redundancies will make your story feel fresher and more original. So go on—show your manuscript some love.
Happy editing!

Keep writing! Until Next Time…

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I visited Linda Lochridge’s website where she shared an amazing post by Byran Hutchinson at http://www.positivewriter.com.  Here he lists 51 incredible writing resources. Bryan did an amazing job and it is worth your time to visit.


Visit Positive Writer for an amazing full article and your 51 tips.


Until Next Time…

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I assume I’m like most writers, I really don’t like the editing process. At. All. I allow myself to write like a mad fiend through the first draft and let it fly no matter what. Then I put it away. I don’t want to look at it, but it rarely leaves my mind. This is the beginning of processing what I’ve written, what plot holes are awaiting my fall, what character is thinner than cardboard and oh my gosh what happened to the conflict?

Those are the more difficult issues to fix so after I’ve pulled it back up on my laptop for the millionth time, I submit it for editing to Writer’s Digest. I’ve worked with some awesome editors and authors at WD and feel as though the feedback was worth every penny! I used them on my upcoming new short story “Blurred Lines”, but…there’s that darned grammar that continues to bite me in the behind.

A few weeks ago I shared a free writing tool called Autocrit and I hope you have found it helpful. I have. I’ve used it until it wouldn’t allow me to submit anymore for the day. But, I found that it didn’t help me with commas and although it did identify “ly” words, it didn’t always help me with passive voice. After much investigation for other tools, I have just signed up for Grammarly.com. It far exceeded the other editing websites that I had sampled.

  • Grammarly
  • Peoplesink
  • Whitesmoke
  • Stylewriter (will suggest a better word to use)
  • Writersdiet
  • Naturalreaders

Since I write so much in my resume business, blog, fiction and newsletters I found that Grammarly.com is well worth the purchase. Hopefully, out of the above group you will find what works best for you and continue to dial into great writing!

Until Next Time…

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writing toolsLife has been so busy, I’ve not posted much and I certainly haven’t written any fiction. Resumes, yes, but that’s not the same and different rules apply. We get to use adverbs for starters!

So, I decided my heart was aching and I needed to pick up my short story and get it finished. It’s finished and edited by an editor at Writer’s Digest, but that was editing for plot, character, story arc etc. It’s the darned grammar! I mentioned this to one of my fellow writer’s, Tina Mattern, and she sent me to http://www.autocrit.com. Now, I owe her my first-born. Oh, wait, he’s 22 years old, 6’2 and 280 lbs. of solid muscle and I don’t think she wants his grocery bill! She politely declined.

Here’s the scoop. Autocrit.com offers a free editing service for the basic stuff including adverbs and overused words. It highlights them in red so you can make corrections, rewrite the sentences etc. Go check it out. I’m utilizing this tool daily!

Oh, and let me tell you something really awesome about my buddy who suggested autocrit. Chicken Soup has published 7 stories written by Tina! She is also working on an amazing memoir that makes me cry every time I read a new chapter. Please, go visit Tina at TinaWagnerMattern. She has a wicked sense of humor as well. Her latest short story had the entire writing group laughing.

Go write!

Until Next Time…

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