Being a Better Writer: Language

This post was originally written and posted August 18th, 2014, and has been touched up and reposted here for archival purposes.

Still off the grid in Alaska. This post was uploaded ahead of time for your viewing pleasure.

I expect that many of you upon reading this title expect something quite different than what you’re about to view. Perhaps a bit of a treatise on the use of various types of language, or on the origins of language, or even on the syntax and verbal tics of characters.

Actually, that last one isn’t a bad idea, but I’ve talked about it before. I guess I could go more in depth with it. If you’ve never considered how the language of different characters and scenes can affect your writing, well, it’s definitely worth thinking about.

But today, I’m going to talk about a different kind of language.

Foul language.

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Being a Better Writer: Showing Character Through Dialog

This post was originally written and posted May 12th, 2014, and has been touched up and reposted here for archival purposes.

Welcome back! Apologies for the delay!

So, to start off this week’s writing guide, I have a question for all of you. What’s the difference between these two sentences?

“No thanks,” he said.

and

“No, thanks,” he said.

At first glance, any editor can tell you what the problem is. The first sentence is grammatically incorrect, while the second is grammatically correct.

Except therein lies our problem. Because while the second is grammatically correct, contextually, it’s incorrect.

Oh, boy … see the conundrum here?

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