Category Archives: Writing Tips & Tools

Lessons in writing from Once Upon a Time

I have just finished binge-watching the first two seasons of Once Upon a Time, an incredible television show from the writers of Lost and Tron: Legacy. The series takes place in the fictional Storybrooke, Maine, where the residents are characters from fairy tales. In the first season of the show, the residents are under a powerful curse and…

Five things to look for when editing

1. Double-spaces after the end of a sentence. This practice was started with typewriters. It’s out-dated if you’re using a computer. I know it can be a hard habit to break, so the first thing I do when editing a manuscript is a “Find and Replace” of all double spaces. 2. The first paragraph of…

Filling the Space

Ideas come quickly to me this time of year. Most of them taper into nothing but faded sentences and weak emotions that never become anything more than colorful leaves swept into the street. Though Kathleen Tessaro’s gorgeous novel The Perfume Collector isn’t about writing, I found her words resonating with some of my current frustrations…

Adding Tracks

I used Grammarly to grammar check this post, because  I needed to help Thomas and Percy find their way through a tricky tunnel. (Disclosure: Grammarly has provided sponsorship for this blog post. All grammar hangups are our own.) With my oldest in kindergarten, I’ve been able to let my words flow more freely, setting up…

Through the Rain

Rain cloaked the city like a veil, the promise of Rome’s sweltering August seemed years away instead of days. After a while we didn’t even dodge the raindrops, opting to duck into shops for warmer clothes and staying in cafés for longer than necessary to dry our hair. I forgot about the practicality of traveling…

Out of Tune

My walls mock me. Drywall touch-ups glare at me from walls previously covered by wallpaper, and while I desperately wanted all of the wallpaper banished from our new house, I forgot how dismal a house can look when it’s in the middle of being redecorated. The terrible kitchen lighting makes my head hurt, not from…

Tips on formatting dialogue: the comma splice

Since everyone is walking around talking to themselves in order to figure out how to write dialogue that sounds natural, I figured I’d take a moment to give you pointers on formatting dialogue. Using proper punctuation when writing dialogue is important because it informs the reader that someone is speaking. You’ve all been trained to…

Forgive me?

Sometimes when I’m overwhelmed and should actually tackle something productively, I make lists instead. I wish I could say it helps organize my brain, but it’s really just a defense mechanism because some of those lists languish in the dark corners of my tote bag or my notebooks, never again seeing the light of day….

When Fact Meets Fiction

More than twelve years ago I was spending my Monday morning online and perusing the Sunday Lifestyle of my hometown paper when my heart stopped. There he was, my ex smiling into the camera, his arm wrapped around another smile I recognized, both of them grinning in glee and announcing their engagement. I wave of…

Tales from the Train

I spent over twelve hours traveling by train this past weekend. My dying laptop battery and I thank the plugs at each seat for some writing time, especially as bookends for my time at BlogHer. On Thursday, I spent as much time as possible writing, to the point I probably seemed a little rude to…