Just for fun… Ratafia, the Regency-Era cocktail.

 Introducing Ratafia, the Regency lady’s indulgence. Those of us who read and write Regency-set historical novels (set in the early 19th Century Britain) are often presented with food riddles. What is jugged hare? And how about scotch collops? Not to mention spotted dick! We also notice that the Regency era…

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ENDING THOUGHTS- Concluding your story

The longest book

Your Story Conclusion Story endings are literally anticlimactic– that is, the conclusion comes after the climax scene. But you don’t want the end actually to be an anticlimax, an afterthought, something stuck in there so the reader will know the story is over. What an effective ending can do is give…

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Grammar Cheatsheet: Commas, Traffic Cops

COMMAS – The Traffic Cops of Sentence Meaning  Punctuation’s main purpose is to signal to the reader what parts of the sentence go together.  And more complicated information leads to complicated sentences!  So be sure and go over your paper looking for sentence problems. Fixing those will help you communicate more…

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Don’t Over-comma: Basic Comma Rules


Sometimes writers are told, “Put a comma in when you pause.” We do tend to pause at the end of an element like this, but some of us also pause in other places too! But remember Christopher Walken, who speaks… very… slowly.  He pauses so much if he put a…

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Paris clock lonely

CHARACTER AND SETTING INTERACTIONS: 10 QUESTIONS TO BUILD YOUR STORY PLACE Here is a quick exercise to help you explore your protagonist’s relationship with the setting. Just free-write on the questions. Look for conflict and character-building opportunities. Also look for possible events and places where events might take place. See…

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6 Steps to Quick Scene Structuring

Get out a scene you’re working on, and let’s see about drafting and then revising. A  lot of writers bore themselves by planning a scene too much in advance. This scene, how about just sketching the very basic events? Try choosing a big scene, like The Reversal, or The Point…

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When to show and when to tell?

Telling vs. Showing We’ve all heard the writing aphorism, “Show, don’t tell.” Yes, all the critics have the solution to vague, talky, directive stories and passages. Show, don’t tell!  Don’t tell me Sarah is angry– show her kicking the trashcan over! It’s great advice. Today’s readers want a more interactive…

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