Those Darn Writing Rules

You’ve heard the “rules”: 1) Start sentences with capital letters. 2) Never start a sentence with a conjunction. 3) End sentences with a period, question mark, or exclamation point. 4) Never end a sentence with a preposition, etc. But some of these rules aren’t actual writing rules? For some reason, someone made up several of these. Following are some “rules” you can skip.

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Hook Your Reader

A hook is a grabber or attention-getter that cause a reader to stay with your writing instead of doing something else. It’s compelling enough that your work will take over a reader’s time.

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Use Writing Time Wisely

Are you able to write eight hours a day and do research for another two hours, write a blog post, still get to the kids’ after-school activities, work in the garden, have dinner with your family, and get six to eight hours of sleep? If not, here are some thoughts on time management for writers.

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Combine skill with passion

Editors put a lot of pressure on writers to get it right. They instruct on grammar and choosing the right words. They point out what doesn’t work and what might work better, and they share what writers should do to create a book that the author will be proud of. But is that all there is?

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Why an editor might decline a manuscript

Why would an editor turn down an editing project? Obviously, there’s the excitement of a new project, income, and a new client that the editor might work with for several other projects. But many editors have another motivation: to work with a writer to make a manuscript the best it can be, and to make the writer the best that he or she can be.

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Prescriptive Grammar or Descriptive Grammar

The terms in the title represent two clear ways of approaching writing. Prescriptive grammar defines the norms and rules, and represents accepted usage.  Descriptive grammar, on the other hand is the language, syntax, and words that are actually used by speakers of a given language. While there are some writers and editors who take the extreme side of these two schools of thought, there is a middle ground.

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Final Manuscript Cleanup

So, you’ve finally finished writing, editing, and rewriting. Your opening, middle and ending are all strong. You’re ready to submit your manuscript. Is there anything more you can do as a final check of your work before you release it? Following are some ideas.

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