What is Writer’s Voice?

Understanding the concept of “voice” in writing can be tough because voice itself can be hard to define. Last summer I found the best explanation of it in the book True Stories by Rebecca Rule and Susan Wheeler. They wrote, “Voice…is like sex...

Sentence Structure Matters

Next to your individual word choice, your sentence structure is the basic building block of your voice. Your sentences tell your story, either simply or poetically. They pull your reader in and carry them along. It is possible to write a best-selling novel using basic...

Work on Your Writing Strengths

As a writing teacher, I spend a lot of time helping students improve. Because of this focus, teens tend to want to know what they’ve done “wrong,” or their weaknesses. I’m going to posit that this is the wrong approach. Instead, writers,...

The Power of Imitation

Imitation is a great strategy to begin playing with different styles, syntax, sentence length and complexity because it forces you to immediately adapt and stretch your writing skills. For example, look at the following selection “Hairs” from House on...

6 Comma Rules You Need to Know

It’s finals week here which means that I’ve been reading essay after essay, marking comma error after comma error. I would like to say that only the first year freshmen make these mistakes, but unfortunately, even my senior Creative Writing students...

Spelling Matters

Why does spelling matter? If you spell correctly, readers take you seriously. If you don’t take the time to correct your spelling, they might not take the time to read what you write. Spelling might not matter in a text to a friend or when you’re...

Finding YOUR Story

Have you, by any chance, read any novels lately that have a vampire or a werewolf in them? You have?!? Actually, I’m not shocked because it seems that ideas come in waves and writers tend to follow trends. Now, the market is glutted with vampire stories, and I...

Avoiding Adverbs

I’ve been to several writing conferences and read many books and articles on writing. One piece of advice that frequently appears is to, at all costs, avoid adverbs. In fact, I’ve heard it so many times, I should write it like this: AVOID ADVERBS ALWAYS!!!! Why?...