On Becoming a Professional Amateur: Because the Writer Said So
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Scenario: A detective is in a car crash and passes out twice in the flaming wreck, which he escapes at great peril. Five minutes later he just gets up and flags down a passing cop. “Hey,” the detective says as … Continue reading

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On Becoming a Professional Amateur: Verbs—Choose Wisely
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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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On Becoming a Professional Amateur, #5: Black Box Theater
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I recently read a manuscript in which two characters were described as being in a theater. A dialogue ensued and I visualized the duo sitting in the empty hall chatting. I was surprised when the writer mentioned someone nearby coughing. … Continue reading

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On Becoming a Professional Amateur # 11: Bad Attitude

Sample scenario: Toyoshi’s voice came raggedly over the phone. “Riyoko is in trouble. She’s been casting spells at midnight to call forth a Wretched Demon and I’m pretty sure it’s working. One more spell and her soul will be completely … Continue reading

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On Becoming a Professional Amateur # 9: Serendipity (or Writing by the Seat of Your Pants)
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Baldric concocted a cunning plan to scare the killer lawn gnome into staying away from the cave entrance so he could sneak in. He then grabbed the magical hedge trimmers and scarpered off into the forest. Writers sometimes use expositional sentences like … Continue reading

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