Making Word(s) Count #5: Reactions and Scale or “I’m Hit!” she said lightly.

Among the many manuscripts I’ve critiqued or edited, I occasionally encounter writers who have a problem with scale. I do not mean that their prose contains too many minerals and leaves a residue on the page (well, okay, maybe that’s … Continue reading

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EVERGREEN: On Becoming a Professional Amateur # 15: Characters, Their Care and Feeding

In every work of fiction, characters assume different levels of importance. There are vital, primary characters (the protagonist, the antagonist), secondary characters (companions, love interests, foils), and (to use film terminology) bit players, walk-ons, and extras. One way we signal … Continue reading

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EVERGREEN: On Becoming a Professional Amateur # 13: Kill Bad Verbs Before They Kill Your Story

Sample paragraph: I saw Hal coming toward me across the office commons, waving. “What did the boss say?” he screeched. I shook my head and waved him away. “I don’t want to talk about it, Hal.” “Oh, Ron,” he squealed. … Continue reading

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