Helpful Tips

Tip of the Day: Don’t be in a rush to query. Do your research.

If you are headed down the traditional path, don’t be in a rush to send that query out the door. Ensure that you have everything  ready before you send that first query, including a completed, polished manuscript for fiction, or a full proposal for nonfiction. Do your research into the agents and publishing houses. Ensure that you are ready to send whatever materials requested at a moment’s notice.
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NaNoWriMo is just around the corner

It's that time of year again. November is almost here. For some, this means that the holiday silly season is about to begin, but for many writers, November is an extremely important time of the year. November is NaNoWriMo.

For those who don't know, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month, although, it really should be international. Basically, writers commit the month of November to their writing, aiming to write a minimum of 50,000 words within one month. It may sound like a lot of words to some, but the first Harry Potter is 76,944 words.

NaNoWriMo is FREE to join, but the benefits of the program go beyond the prizes that winners get at the end of the month. The community of NaNoWriMo is huge — truly international. There are motivational posts from established writers (like Grant Faulkener, Neil Gaiman and Brandon Sanderson, just to name a few). You have access to the community forums, and there are events that are run within local regions.

To join, just go to the NaNoWriMo website and sign up. To get access to everything, you just join, but if you want to be in for the prizes at the end of November, don't forget to specify a project.

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Helpful Tips

Tip of the Day: A picture could be the source of inspiration.

A large portion of the population are visual people, where sights around us invoke thoughts are emotions. When writing, take advantage of this trait by having a picture of your character or your setting next to you to draw inspiration from. When it’s for personal use, the internet is a treasure trove of inspirational images.
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Helpful Tips

Tip of the Day: Use your emotions in your writing

Life happens around us, sometimes faster than we can keep up. Tragedy is always waiting around the corner, preparing to pounce when we least expect it. Take note of your emotions and the sensations that you’re experiencing as a result of that tragedy. Use it in your writing. Pour everything you are into that small snippet of story. You will be drained as a result, but you won’t regret it. While the narrative might need to be edited, the emotions will leap off the page to assault the reader. They will follow your journey with you, and maybe join you in your pain.
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Helpful Tips

Tip of the Day: Use first-line indentation, not tabs.

Within the standard manuscript format, the first line of each paragraph should be indented by 0.5 inch. However, the number of writers who manually indent the first line of paragraphs using a tab is astounding. Writers should use the built-in first-line indentation for paragraphing. As paragraphs are moved around, first lines are automatically dealt with. In addition, any tab marks need to be removed during typesetting phases, as they add issues when dealing with eBook files. Why make more work for yourself, if you don’t have to?
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Helpful Tips

Tip of the Day: Google Earth is a writer’s friend.

If you are using real landmarks or cities in your writing, do your homework to describe the locations accurately. Google Earth is a writer’s friend, as most places you can visit using the street view. It adds something special if you can accurately describe the structure of any landmark or building.
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Helpful Tips

Tip of the Day: Search-and-replace two spaces with one space.

There was a time when it was standard to put two space characters after each sentence before beginning the next. This was how I was taught to type, and I’m only in my early-40s. However, this is no longer the practice. The introduction of modern typesetting and justification algorithms mean that two spaces can result in gaps that are too large between sentences. Industry professionals now specify that we use only one space between sentences.

Retraining the brain to do this has taken me many long years, but there is a simple solution that will work every time, even when you forget. Run a search-and-replace, hunting out all the places where you use two space characters, and replace them with only one space character. All word-processing programs have the search-and-replace feature, so why not use it. (I do this as a matter of habit before I send a manuscript out the door.)
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