8 Elements of Tradecraft: Is Your Writing Plumb, Level, and Square?

writing and tradecraft PLUMB LEVEL SQUAREOver the holidays I was talking to my brother, who is a carpenter in Fort McMurray in the Alberta Oil Patch. Because he spends a lot of time living in camp, he is a voracious reader, so when he talks about books, I listen. His comment was that a lot of the authors he reads do not pay enough attention to their tradecraft.

As a carpenter, his objective in every project is that everything is plumb, level, and square. It is easy to slack off and not bother. Boards are usually cut off square in the mill, so if you jam them together tight, they will usually align themselves square to each other. However, if they are even slightly off, your project will not end up completely square. Which is no problem, until some day, later on, you try to match it up to another project. Then, if the other piece of work isn’t quite square either, the errors always multiply, and the two will never fit together, and in the end it will all look like crap. And if the first project is, for example, the foundation of a house, the whole rest of the structure is going to be problematic. Continue reading “8 Elements of Tradecraft: Is Your Writing Plumb, Level, and Square?”

So You Wanna Write a Book but You Dunno How to Start?

HeWhere do I start writing this bookre at Indies Unlimited, we get this question all the time:

“I want to write a novel based on …(something I love)… but I have no clue how to write one. How do get this idea off the ground?”

There is only one answer: start. Far too many people have a story inside them, but they spend years hemming and hawing about it and never get it done. So you aren’t Margaret Atwood. So what? I know. It looks like a huge, unassailable task, and you have no idea what to do first. Read on. Continue reading “So You Wanna Write a Book but You Dunno How to Start?”

5 Ways Not to Submit Your Book’s MS for a Review

BORED - writers send too much info with their book review requestsA lot of writers waste a lot of my time and theirs, querying for a review with stuff I don’t want and never look at. What I want is not industry standard, so some people may disagree. Discussion is what Indies Unlimited is all about. I’d be interested to know, for example, how many reviewers read the promo material before they review a book.

When I read for a review, I mimic the experience the reader will go through, so I can tell the reader what it’s like to read the book. So I’m trying my best to act like a reader when I set myself up to do a review. I think this is the case for a lot of reviewers. Keeping that in mind: Continue reading “5 Ways Not to Submit Your Book’s MS for a Review”

Writing Tip: Word Order Creates Meaning

in writing, keep your DUCKS IN A ROWI am going to let you in on a well-guarded secret. Grammar was not invented to give your Grade 10 English teacher a chance to make your life miserable. It was created to ensure sentences say what we mean them to. And word order is one of the basic tools.

Here’s a rule you can bank on to solve 95% of your problems in this area. Sentence elements with relationships are closer to each other. Stands to reason. If a guy and a girl spend the whole party at opposite ends of the house, chances are they aren’t in a relationship. (Well, maybe a strange one…)

So if we take this sentence: Continue reading “Writing Tip: Word Order Creates Meaning”