I haven’t offered a free resource in a little while. so here is my latest offering. Often writers forget to incorporate all five senses, make sure you include taste and smell, in addition to what your characters touch and see. Here is a cheat sheet to help you add sensory details involving the most overlooked senses.
Oh, the drama! Oh, the debate! My answer on the subject? It depends. The publishing world is trending towards a single space after periods, yet not all of the academic world is following suit. See below for specifics.
For the Publishing World
The large publishing houses in the United States are using the Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS). If you are planning to submit a manuscript (or publish one and look more professional) this is the way to go.
“The view at CMOS is that there is no reason for two spaces after a period in published work…it is inefficient, requiring an extra keystroke for every sentence… So, in our efficient, modern world, I think there is no room for two spaces after a period.” More CMOS FAQs here.
I was trained to use two spaces after periods, but am now retraining myself to use a single space to follow current publishing trends. You can look up other CMOS specifications on the Purdue Owl, as well as, on the CMOS site.
Naming characters can be a difficult task. Sometimes they just come to me, and other times I search and claw and bang my head against the keyboard (figuratively, at least). I want the name to not only feel and sound right, but also to convey some sort of meaning (at least most of the time). I’ve been guilty of trolling names site for so long that I use up all of my writing time (I would never procrastinate).
Favorite Free Resources
Below are some of my favorite sites for finding names for characters:
Behind the Name: First Names: Give your novel more depth by choosing names carefully. Find out about the etymology here.
Varying your vocabulary is as important as varying your sentence length. It keeps readers interested and staves away boredom. Now, do you need to use a synonym every time? No, but it is beneficial to avoid using the same words in the same paragraphs. Why not find the perfect word? Isn’t that the beauty of writing? Finding the precise word to express your idea is part of the process.
I realize that different genres call for different treatment of words such as “said.” My point is to know your genre. If you are writing for younger readers they may need more context clues. Sometimes it is helpful to know if a character is simply asking or if they are interrogating. It completely changes the tone of the scene.
I’m in the process of rereading the first twenty-three chapters of The Fallen: Part Two. As I have been perusing the pages of my first draft, I’ve been finding some word repetition. The problem with overusing a word, is that it becomes distracting to the reader.
I remember reading a book recently where the author used the word swung for everything. I swung into the car. I swung my legs out of bed. I swung around the corner. I swung my arms… well, you get the point. I got so irritated every time I saw the word swung, that it distracted me from the story itself, and this was a NY Times bestseller! I am not saying that I am perfect, but I do work really hard to avoid repetition (having a lot of beta readers helps).
During this go through, I found that I was overusing the word whisper, so I created a word list for myself. I decided to go ahead and share it. Enjoy! And go forth and use synonyms!