The many thesauri of Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi

Any of my editing clients can tell you that I often comment “use more vivid language,” “use vivid verbs,” “let your readers SEE what your characters are experiencing,” “let your readers FEEL what your characters are feeling.” But how do we find those vivid words? How do we make sure we aren’t repeating the same words over and over, or resorting to clichés? Well, we could just use a regular thesaurus, like the tried and true Roget’s, or one of the thesauri (trust me, that’s the plural) online. OR, as I often suggest to my editing clients, we can consult the many collections of words that Angela Ackerman and Becca… Read More

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The Importance of Reading to Writers

Reading is crucially important — for kids, for adults, for writers. In my second-Friday-of-each-month series this year, I’m going to talk about the importance of reading for writers. Most of us are used to reading for pleasure, and that’s important. We’re also used to reading to get information, such as when we read the paper, or research something online. Reading to help hone our writing skills takes a different mind-set. We’re reading to try to analyze and understand how and perhaps why the writer of the book we are reading achieved the effect he or she did. It’s slower, more thoughtful, more considered reading than is reading for pleasure. And… Read More

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Tip of the Month — Use the Right Words

Fix a Flub with this Editing Tip: Make sure you’re using the right word. Sometimes you might get close to the word you really mean, but an agent, editor, or letter-reader will notice the difference, and it will be to your detriment. For example, if you mean accept be sure you don’t say except either in error or because you’re unsure. If you’re unsure about a word, look it up. Check out this Resource for Writers! If you write for kids, be sure you regularly check out the fabulous resource KidLit411. This website is FULL of the right words! It’s a compendium of all things kidlit – if you need… Read More

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Tip of the Month — More About Dialogue Tags

Welcome back to the Flubs2Fixes blog! I hope you saw my two-part interview with author/educator/editor Emma Walton Hamilton. If you missed it, you can find Part 1 here and Part 2 here. It’s the second Friday of the month, so it’s time for a quick editing/writing tip and a resource recommendation. Fix a Flub with this Editing Tip: Back to dialogue tags – be sure you use words that are means of conveying speech: say, said, muttered, yelled, etc. When you look at your writing, you may find you’ve used “he grinned,” or “she laughed,” or “Mom sighed,” as dialogue tags. These are actions. You can’t laugh a line of… Read More

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Tip of the Month — Dialogue Tags

Welcome back to the Flubs2Fixes blog! It’s the second Friday of the month, so it’s time for a quick editing/writing tip and a resource recommendation.   Fix a Flub with this Editing Tip: I say – how are your dialogue tags? In general, it’s best to stick with “say” rather than trying to vary your dialogue tags too much, using words like “exclaimed,” or “moaned,” or “reiterated.” You want them to blend into the background. As much as possible, let the words in the character’s speech convey the emotion and interaction. Only use dialogue tags when it’s necessary to indicate who is speaking. Check out this Resource for Writers! Author,… Read More

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