language

Past vs Passed—Which One’s Right?

There are a number of pairs of words that are easily confused such as loose and lose (that extra “o” always seems to sneak in when I’m not looking, right Steve?), the proper use of lay and lie offers its own challenge and mistaking stared for starred can be easy enough to do.  I did […]

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Something So Bad It’s As If It Was Good

The simile and metaphor are powerful tools in the right hands. An elegant comparison can be used to bring a description to life and enhance the reader’s experience. I did an entire post on similes and metaphors over a year ago and I encourage you to explore those two literary devices in much more detail. […]

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In Search of Good Descriptions

I am reading The Red House by Mark Haddon.  I promise to give you a full review when I finish it. It is beautifully and creatively written. I have been captivated by his style. Haddon is a master of description. His book is about the families of two estranged siblings—a brother (Richard) and sister (Angela)—coming […]

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He Said, She Said: The Art of Dialogue Tags

Dialogue is an integral part of most stories. It helps to move the plot, adds depth of character, helps set the scene, can inject humor or other emotions, provides interaction between characters and helps to break up descriptive passages and internal monologues. While dialogue solves many problems it can also add one: dialogue tags. A […]

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Less is More, More or Less…

I have been participating in Lillie McFerrin’s weekly challenge of five sentence fiction for about six months now and I feel that my participation in the exercise has helped improve my writing.  Five sentences is quite the constraint.  The limit forces you to write with focus and efficiency. The phrase “less is more” is unfurled […]

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In Other Words… Having Fun with Euphemisms

Are there any Monty Python fans out there?  Are you familiar with the Dead Parrot Sketch?  In this skit, John Cleese attempts to return a parrot to the pet shop he bought it at because it’s dead but Michael Palin, playing the part of the dubious shop owner, contends that the parrot is merely sleeping, […]

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Ch-ch-ch-changes

I sat down on the subway this morning and placed my briefcase on my lap, leaning it up against the seat back in front of me. Just above the leather handle was a short sentence, legibly printed in black ink. A tiny bit of graffiti. A spontaneous piece of free speech. Six uncomplicated words.  Here […]

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