Daily Archives January 9, 2008

Naming Characters in Fiction Writing

I am not good at naming characters in fiction writing.

It’s really not surprising. When my son was born, I couldn’t come up with a middle name to save my life. Eventually, his middle name came from an episode of Dragnet the night I was in labor with him. For my daughter, don’t laugh, she literally went an entire week with no name, and my grandmother gave her the middle name.

I don’t do well with names. If I couldn’t even name my own kids, I don’t know how I am supposed to name my characters in fiction writing.

I guess it’s because I think names are very important. I love my name, Michelle, and I kinda like the nickname someone gave me in high school that I use to this day, Michy (pronounced Mickey – or Mich for short… yes, I have a nickname for my nickname apparently)...

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Fast Food Fix: 75 + Amazing Recipe Makeovers of Your Fast Food Restaurant Favorites, by Devin Alexander

Fast Food Fix: 75 + Amazing Recipe Makeovers of Your Fast Food Restaurant Favorites, by New York Times bestselling author, Devin Alexander, is moving its way up in sales, and it’s no wonder either.

American culture has integrated fast food into the mix as a sort of staple in our diets, but we are paying a high price for this ‘fix’. First, fast food is expensive, and secondly, it is usually not very healthy. Yet, Americans like the flavor and taste of all our favorite fast foods. There has to be a solution to this growing trend of eating unhealthy, fattening, greasy and expensive junk fast food.

Enter Devin Alexander with a possible solution to the American fast food craze, with her cookbook and recipe guide entitled Fast Food Fix...

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Interview with a Children’s Book Author – Bo Savino

With books the likes of Harry Potter increasing in popularity, many authors, both new and seasoned, have delved into the realm of fantasy writing for children and adults alike. Let’s face it, what child doesn’t like to drift off into the realm of fantasy where fantastic creatures, magic, mythology, and reality all merge into an experience that allows a child to escape from the mundane? However, with a proliferation of children’s fantasy books, it has become increasingly difficult to weed out from the ordinary those few, rare reads that are simply extraordinary.

A good fantasy novel does more than just tell a story...

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Keeper of the Flame, by Catherine Chase

Keeper of the Flame, by Catherine Chase

  • Paperback: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Oculus Media Group, LLC (July 3, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1934677019
  • ISBN-13: 978-1934677018

Book Description

The mystical land of Draecus-a land closed off from all others for generations. In Mikaelia, it is remembered only in bedtime stories passed down through the ages. With the war for the lands of Mikaelia now over, the human female Jarnell fights her family’s wishes of marriage to unite two noble houses and strengthen the family holdings. Running away, she seeks out her elven friend, Dekion, and gains a startling traveling companion in the form of a half-orscha warrior, Sahri-tah...

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The EX Factor: Justified Endings to Bad EXes, by Anderson et al

The Ex Factor
A Book Review from Accentuate Services
By Michelle L Devon

Most of us have had an EX somewhere in our past. Whether it’s an EX best friend, EX lover, or EX spouse, we’ve all had an occasion in which someone left out lives (became an EX), and quite often, not under the best of circumstances. Seeking justice, revenge, and evening the playing field are fantasies we all may have had during those moments of anger after experiencing a loss, a betrayal, a broken promise, or a broken trust, yet most of us only entertain the fantasies in our minds, until time heals the wound to a point where we allow the universe to deal justice as deserved.

However, the nine (9) authors of The Ex Factor have actually taken those fantasies and thoughts of justified endings toward an EX and turned them i...

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Powerful Punctuation – Misuse and Over Use of Exclamation Points in Professional Fiction Writing

Ah, punctuation!

One of the most frequently misused forms of punctuation is the exclamation point or the exclamation mark. As an editor, I have frequently told authors with whom I work that I am going to remove the exclamation point from their keyboard. Don’t get me wrong here, the exclamation point has its place in writing, but it is frequently overused or misused. When the exclamation point is misused or over used, it lowers its power.

The exclamation point is most frequently used in dialog, and it is usually used to denote a strong command:


An exclamation point almost always comes at the end of a sentence, but occasionally, it can come in the middle when using dialog that has text tags behind it, such as:

He said, “Stop!” before he reached out to grab the file from her hand.

An ...

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Its / It's – Commonly Misused Words

Its / It’s

Again, reviewing my article on apostrophes, you will learn more about possessives and contractions. One of the reasons Its and It’s are commonly misused is because they don’t exactly follow the rules on possessive words. Generally, to make a word possessive, in other words, to say it belongs to someone or something, you would include an apostrophe S at the end of the word.

Its is a word that is a bit different, because it is one of the rule breakers for possessives. Because the word It’s is a contraction, which is short for IT and IS, using the same word for a possessive would be confusing at best, so instead, the grammarians decided to confuse us even more and make the word ITS without the apostrophe to indicate possession.

You really don’t need to know the rules on this one is...

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Accept / Except – Commonly Misused Words

Accept / Except

This one is one of my personal pet peeves, and confuses me a bit, because honestly, the two words might sound similar, but they aren’t truly pronounced the same at all. Yet I still see these commonly misused words in writing, especially all over the internet.

Accept is a verb, meaning you are taking some action, to receive something. You can accept a gift, accept an answer, or accept that something is a certain way. Accept can also be used to denote approval of something.

Except is most commonly used as a preposition, and therefore usually requires a prepositional phrase to follow it. Occasionally, except can be used as a transitive verb, and perhaps this is why it is easily confused and misused, but most of the time it is a preposition used as a conjunction of some sort.


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There / They're / Their – Commonly Misused Words

There / They’re / Their

I see these words used improperly all the time, and honestly, if Americans enunciated properly, these words don’t sound exactly like each other when spoken, but they are close enough when the fingers move faster than the brain that these three words are commonly misused.

There references a place – a location, or a description of where something is. Where is it? It is there. This word is most commonly used as an adverb, modifying the location of the noun it references, but it can rarely be used as a noun as well.

They’re is a contraction. As my article on contractions points out, a contracted word is one word, made up of two other words, with a few letters missing somewhere. An apostrophe is then added to signify the missing letters.

They’re is a contraction for the ...

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Your / You're – Commonly Misused Words

Your / You’re

Again, I would like to direct you to my article about possessive and contractions.

‘Your’ is a pronoun and you’re is a contraction that stands for ‘you are’. When writing, if you can replace the word you’re with the words you are and the sentence still makes sense, then you need to use You’re and not Your.

‘Your’ is a second person pronoun, meaning something belongs to you. Your chair is over there. Your hat is on the stand. These are your keys, not mine.

As you’ll note, you cannot replace ‘you are’ with ‘your’ in these sentences: You are chair is over there. You are hat is on the stand. These are you are keys, not mine.

But in this sentence: Are you sure you’re okay with this?

You can rewrite this sentence: Are you sure you are okay with this?

Thus you now know when to use y...

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