Funny Typos

“When in the course of writing events, it becomes necessary for each author to resolve ambiguities over typos. Always assume among the powers of the publishing world, the separate and equal insistence, that manuscript errors are inherently egregious. “We hold these typos to be self-evident, even though all typos are created equal, that they are unintentionally emboldened by their authors with certain ‘mistakable’ rights that among these are errors, gaffes and the pursuit of embarrassment.” For beginning writers, or any … Read More »

Permission to Reprint

This is obtaining legal permission to use material copyrighted by someone else. In The Chicago Manual of Style (sixteenth edition) figure 4.3 on page 195, you’ll find a letter requesting permission to reprint copyrighted material. If you don’t have access to it, here’s the gist of it: Start with who you’re writing to and the date. Quote what you wish to reprint. Place author, publication, and date of your publication where the quoted material appears. State that you want nonexclusive … Read More »

Syntax Style

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The syntax of a sentence can be used to affect the style of writing and to spice up the prose if not overused. There are several kinds of syntactical devices. Here are a few: Anaphora It’s a syntax style consisting of a repetition of the same word at the start of a sentence. Example: “I despise the man. I despise his stand on the issues. I despise those who admire him!” Antithesis These are concepts standing in opposition of one … Read More »

Character Naming

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Alien Names It’s fun to make up alien sounding names, but can you make them pronounceable? A name like Fator is easy to figure out. Not Feignonae. Avoid putting two vowels together—and avoid names like Avignemonsorkei—that’s right, long, unfamiliar names (you could use the name one time, and for the rest of the book, have the character go by his nickname of Avi). It can be played up for humor. “What’s your name, alien?” “Avignemonsorkei.” “Okay. When I say Avi, … Read More »

Juxtaposition

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Juxtaposition is a writing device where authors place two contrasting elements side by side—be they ideas, actions, locations, or characters for the purpose of contrast. For example: a character can talk about the virtues of humankind at a restaurant and get robbed walking back to his car. In Charles Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities, he starts out with a juxtaposition of many ideas: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age … Read More »

Foreshadowing

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Foreshadowing is putting an object, bit of dialogue, or an action into a scene which hints at something happening later in the story. To be effective, it needs to be subtle enough for readers to miss it; and when they come across what has been foreshadowed, they will think, “That’s right! In the beginning, the character said or did this.” Examples: In the movie The Wizard of Oz, based on L. Frank Baum’s book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, there are … Read More »

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