Writing Craft 101: Genre and Target Audience

Genre: This is the category into which your story fits. There are many, many genres, but some of the popular genres include Romance, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Chick-Lit, Action/Adventure, and Young Adult, among others.

These category headings are what you’d see at the tops of shelves in a bookstore.

Within these major genres are sub-genres and mixed genres.

For example, in the Romance category you could have Paranormal Romance, Historical Romance, Contemporary Romance, LGBTQ Romance, Amish Romance, and countless others.

In the Sci-Fi category you could have Hard Sci-Fi, Space Opera, Time Travel, Near Future, Alternate History, Dystopian, and so on. Your story may span multiple genres and sub-genres, but if you went into a bookstore, where would you look for it? What books would you find it next to? What expectations might a reader have when picking up your book based on the section they found it?

Knowing your genre is important for finding your target audience, and vice versa. Many authors want to break out of traditional genre labels, and create their own genre. While your story should be new and fresh and unique, discarding all labels won’t really help you, because no one will know how to find your book and publishers and marketers will have a very hard time placing it. Agents, editors, and publishers want to know where your story fits so they know whether or not it will be something they can sell.

For example, if you purchase a YA Dystopian novel on Amazon, Amazon will then suggest other books in the same genre, rather than suggesting some obscure, label-free mash-up, which may be excellent but that their algorithms don’t recognize as similar. The same thing applies in bookstores. If you put “sci-fi” as your genre but your book really appeals more to epic fantasy lovers, the people who are browsing the sci-fi shelves will put yours back and move on to things that are more appealing to them.

Narrowing your story down to one primary genre and one or two sub-genres will help you sell your book. Knowing your target audience will help you to narrow it down.

Target Audience: Your target audience is the readers who are most likely to buy your book. If you’re writing romance, your target audience is probably women in the 25+ age range. If you’re writing Young Adult, your target audience is probably teens and twenty-somethings. If you’re writing suspense or hard sci-fi, your target audience is probably men. These are very broad generalizations, of course, but getting an idea of who you’re trying to appeal to will help you in your genre categorization.

Your target audience will parallel to an extent with your main character. Is your main character a woman on a search to find herself in a male-dominated corporate environment? If so, your target audience is likely 30-something women, and you’d categorize your story in Women’s Fiction or Chick Lit.

Is your main character a battle-hardened Special Forces male, trying to finish one final mission before retiring? Then your target audience is probably going to be men, and your primary genre will be Action/Adventure or Suspense.

Are your main characters a group of teens who discover they have special powers and have to balance figuring out their gifts with leading normal teenage lives? Then your target audience is probably teenagers and your primary genre is going to be Young Adult.

There is plenty of room for crossover and expanding your fan-base beyond your target audience. For example, a lot of people read Young Adult fiction. The Harry Potter series, the Divergent series, the Hunger Games series, and many others are marketed as YA, even though they have mass market appeal. If your story is good, you’ll draw in readers beyond your initial genre and target audience, but you have to start somewhere.

Take some time to browse around a bookstore or on Amazon and check out what books that are similar to yours are categorized as. Think about who your main character is and who is most likely to read your story. Then, add all those components together and label your story in a specific genre.

Show and Tell

Show and Tell refers to the way you get information to your reader. You can tell your reader, “It was just about sunset when he kissed her goodnight,” or you can show them, “Rosy fingers of fading light painted her cheeks with a soft glow as he leaned in to kiss her goodnight.” There is a time and a place for telling, but for important scenes, showing is much more engaging to your reader.

Learning to show instead of tell your scenes is vital for making your reader feel. This is important, because the more your reader can feel, the more he or she will be involved in the story and the less likely they are to put your book down. The closer your POV, the easier it is to show something.

Showing is about letting your reader experience the action along with your character. Showing is about taking your reader on an emotional journey. Showing is about making your reader feel for your character and become invested in how the story plays out.

Sometimes, there are things you simply must tell your reader. There is certain information that you have to convey. Things about your world, about your character’s past, or other things you have to let your reader in on for them to understand the story. The goal, then, is to show this information in the most interesting way possible.

Not every scene has to be an exquisite, poetic masterpiece. You don’t need to describe every sunset or the way the rain feels every time a drop lands. Sometimes it’s okay to simply say “It was raining.” But the more you can let your reader feel the splash of water on her face as your character trudges through a storm, the more you can convince your reader that he is tasting the foul slime as your character eats the bug he must consume to survive, the better.

As with backstory, you want to insert necessary information in as small of chunks as possible, only as much as your reader needs to know right now, and do it by making it as interesting as possible.

Do this by having your character interact with the world as much as possible.

For example, if your character needs to convey something about his past that he already knows but the reader doesn’t, have something trigger a memory, like a song or a picture in a store window. Or have him tell another character about the experience. Or have someone else point it out, like, “You always do this, ever since that one time.”

Or, suppose a specific religious ritual is important for your plotline, and you need to convey how the ritual is performed. Have your character go to the church or the temple or the altar and perform the ritual in a context that isn’t vital to the plot, so that when you get to the plot point and performing the ritual is a pivotal moment, the reader already knows why the character is going through certain motions and performing certain motions.

You can also use internal monologue, especially if you’re in a deep POV. Let’s say your character is a demon hunter and you need the reader to know that the only way to kill this specific type of demon is by a silver sword through the heart. You can show the demon appearing in the character’s path, and then have the character say to himself, Oh, great. A stoneheart demon. And I left my silver sword at home.

Again, you’re showing the information by letting the character interact with the world in order to bring that information to light.

How can you tell if you’re telling instead of showing?

Imagine your story is a movie. As the camera pans the scene, anything you can see in the shot you can describe, in order to set your scene. Anything the character notices from his point of view can be described, along with his reaction to it. Anything the character says or reads can be shown.

If, as you’re imagining your story in movie form, you need a narrator to explain something—if you need the narrator to talk about the architecture or the religious symbolism or the history in a scene, or so on—you’re telling instead of showing.

You want your reader to hear the narrator’s voice as seldom as possible, if at all. The more narration you have, the less engaging your story will be. If there’s a way to have another character play the part of narrator and explain things you need explained, that’s better, but ideally, you should have as much as possible come out as your character interacts with her world.

Writing Craft 101: Active Sentences

Using active sentences instead of passive sentences is a technique that will elevate your writing to a much more advanced level. This concept has to do with the active voice and the passive voice in grammar.

As you might guess, as in many other aspects of life, being active in writing is better than being passive. “Active sentences” is another grammar term, having to do with active voice and passive voice. In the active voice, the subject of the sentence is doing whatever is being done in the sentence. In the passive voice, the subject of the sentence is acted upon by the verb.

To put it simply, active = doing, passive = being done.

For example: “Dr. Jekyll consumed the potion,” vs. “The potion was consumed by Dr. Jekyll.”

You’ll often in writing circles to avoid using the word “was” or any other form of the “to be” verb.

Notice the difference in this story:

 

Passive: She was running through the forest as fast as she could. Her legs were getting tired, but she couldn’t stop. The beast was after her. Soon, she’d be at the village, and then she would be safe.

Active: She ran through the forest. Her legs burned, muscles throbbing, but she couldn’t stop. The beast behind her growled. She only had to push on for a few more steps. Safety lay at the village, just ahead.

 

See how much more engaging the second version is? They use the exact same number of words, but one is infinitely more interesting to read.

As with all of these “rules” for writing, there is a time and a place for passive writing. Sometimes it’s just more concise. Not every sentence needs to be a poetic masterpiece. Depending on what your paragraph or chapter is trying to accomplish, sometimes, “It was hot,” is better than, “the blazing sun scorched him as soon as he stepped outside.” Sometimes the passive voice works.

But, as a general rule, writing active sentences is more engaging, more interesting, and more professional than writing in the passive voice.

 

 

Rebirth Cover Reveal

I have the wonderful opportunity to be part of the launch team for an upcoming book. I really love reading and reviewing books. It’s kind of an excuse to get to read for fun, because I’m doing it for someone else, not just for me, so when I see opportunities, I try to jump on them.

So, when I got asked to be part of the launch team for Amy Brock McNew’s upcoming novel, Rebirth, I was thrilled. I had seen little bits of the story in other contexts and was extremely intrigued by the writing and the concept and where the story was headed, so getting to read the whole book was a bonus.

Today is the day I get to help promote this exciting book by revealing the cover and telling you a little bit about it.

So, without further ado, I give you Amy Brock McNew’s Rebirth:

Liz Brantley has a gift she wants to return.
Able to see and fight demonic forces, she has spent her life alone, battling the minions of hell bent on her destruction, running from the God who gave her this curse. The demon Markus, drawn to her abilities, unleashes havoc on her hometown and pulls Liz further into the throes of battle.
She’s desperate for a normal life.
When she meets a mysterious man who seems unaware of the mystical realm that haunts her, the life she’s always wanted flits within reach. But her slice of normal slips from her grasp when an old flame, Ryland Vaughn, reappears with secrets of his own. Secrets that will alter her destiny.
Torn between two worlds, Liz is caught in an ancient war between good and evil.
And she isn’t sure which side to choose.
Author bio:
Amy Brock McNew doesn’t just write speculative fiction, she lives and breathes it. Exploring the strange, the supernatural, and the wonderfully weird, Amy pours her guts onto the pages she writes, honestly and brutally revealing herself in the process. Nothing is off-limits. Her favorite question is “what if?” and she believes fiction can be truer than our sheltered and controlled realities.
Visit AmyBrockMcNew.com to learn more about this intriguing author.
Stay tuned! This book will be available on May 24!

Writing Craft 101: Backstory and Info-dumping

Backstory is information about your character that has shaped who he is and why he does what he does. This includes his past, his personality, his relationships, and so on. Certain things are pivotal to your character arc, and there are certain beautiful and painful moments that simply must come to light if the reader is to understand why your character is who he is and why he does what he does.

Info-dumping is exactly what it sounds like. It’s telling your reader what you feel she needs to know about your character’s backstory in a way that is boring and inorganic to the storyline. Info-dumping is piling information, necessary or not, into your story that your reader has to wade through to get to the meat of your story. The difficulty is figuring out exactly what to put where and when.

Here are some pointers for effectively writing backstory.

  1. Don’t Info-Dump.

Backstory should be done in little bits, not pages and pages at a time.

Example: Bill and Frank walked down the alley toward the warehouse. A German Shepherd jumped against the fence, barking and growling. Bill’s heart began to race and the back of his neck broke out in a sweat. He couldn’t see a German Shepherd without having a panic attack. When Bill was seven, he got bitten by a German Shepherd. He was innocently playing in his own back yard, but there was a hole in the fence. A new neighbor had just moved in, and had a huge German Shepherd. Even though Bill did nothing to taunt the animal, it rushed through the hole in the fence and jumped on him, gnawing at his arm until its owner came and grabbed it. Bill had to get eleven stitches, and he couldn’t stand to be in the same house with a German Shepherd, despite how many years had passed.

Notice that only the first three sentences are relevant to the action with Bill and Frank walking toward the warehouse. Now look at the same scene without the info-dump.

Bill and Frank walked down the alley toward the warehouse. A German Shepherd jumped against the fence, barking and growling. Bill’s heart began to race and the back of his neck broke out in a sweat.
“You okay?” Frank asked.
Bill rubbed the scar on his arm where he’d had to get eleven stitches. “I’m not a dog person.”

I’ve conveyed the same information, but in a much more interesting way.

  1. Use dialogue to convey information.

Your reader gets to know your characters just as he would get to know a new friend, by talking to them and spending time with them. As your character interacts with other characters, your reader will see what they say and how they say it, and what they do and how they do it. This is how they will start to get a picture of the backstory.

Example: Joe admired his wife’s new dress. That color of blue reminded him of the first time they’d met at the arboretum. She’d been standing next to a patch of forget-me-nots. She looked up, saw him, and smiled, and he’d commented on how the flowers matched her eyes.

Now, contrast that with a conversation.

“How do I look?” Lisa asked.
Joe kissed her cheek. “Beautiful. I love this color on you.”
She smiled. “I know. That’s why I bought it. Just like the forget-me-nots on the day we met.”

Do you see how the dialogue conveys the same information, but keeps the reader engaged in the action of the story?

  1. Use information sparingly.

Add only as much as the reader absolutely needs to know to understand what’s going on. Treat backstory like a piece of glass. Drop it, let it shatter, and then pick up the pieces and insert them along the way in the manuscript. Don’t just insert them wherever, of course. Insert the necessary information only when and where it is absolutely necessary. If something in your character’s past is vital to something that his happening in his present, insert that when it’s happening.

Example: Indiana Jones is terrified of snakes. In the first movie, he has a moment with a snake where he flips out. At that point, we as the viewers know he’s afraid of them. There’s no explanation, no reason, just enough of the fact to know, when he later gets dropped into a tomb full of them, that this is one of the worst possible situations for him. The reason why is really inconsequential.

Eventually, in the third movie, Indy’s fear of snakes is linked to an event in his youth when he was trapped in a box full of snakes while he was being chased by bad guys. If that scene had come as a flashback near the beginning of the first movie it would’ve just been annoying. All we really needed was the one line, “Snakes. Why does it always have to be snakes?” We get it.

Which brings me to my final point:

  1. Trust your reader.

They get it. Trust that your readers are smart enough to read between the lines. You don’t have to spell everything out for them. In the first example, with the character who is afraid of dogs, they don’t need to know the whole situation to infer that Bill got bitten and is now afraid of dogs. They get it. Give them just enough information to figure it out for themselves.

Review of The Healer’s Rune

Every now and then I actually get to sit and read and when I do, I really appreciate it when the story I’m reading is worth the time I spend on it.

Such was the case when I got to read The Healer’s Rune, by Lauricia Matuska.

Back cover blurb:

Three hundred years after a great war shattered the Council of Races, the warriors of Rüddan have all but eradicated their cousins, the faerie Aethel. In so doing, they decimated the Dryht sages and enslaved mortal Humanity. Now a voice rises above the chaos and calls her people to rebel. Young Sabine, one of the Human slaves, must learn to overcome centuries of lies and prejudice to forge an alliance between four enemy races. But what chance does she stand to overthrow the Rüddan with her dangerous secret, a secret that threatens not only her own life but the existence of all the races on the planet?

 

This recently released book is the first in a series that promises to be epic.

I love a good fantasy, especially when I can get sucked into a world and enjoy the plight of the characters, and this book totally delivered. I read it in about three days, because I couldn’t put it down. It’s one of those stories that gets in your head and makes you eager to come back to it. Matuska’s writing is clean and compelling, and her characters are layered and interesting.

I particularly loved the dynamics between the races and the way that played out, with Sabine’s position as a Healer undermined by her status as a Human. I’m excited to see where the author takes these dynamics in the sequels.

I also loved the relationship between the main character, Sabine, and her sister. It felt very real and relatable, especially toward the end when some of the backstory was explained.

The one thing I thought it could use, and I suspect this will come out more in subsequent novels, is the nature of magic and Sabine’s actual powers. This book primarily covered Sabine’s journey to figure out what’s happening in the world and uncovering the truth, and I’m looking forward to seeing some more depth to the world.

I gave this book 5 stars on Amazon, because I really enjoyed it, and I absolutely recommend it for anyone who enjoys Christian fantasy.

There you have it. You can buy it on Amazon here. Enjoy!

Writing Craft 101: Tense

Tense has to do with when the story is told.

Tenses are past, present, and future. You can study tenses further in a grammar book, but primarily what you’ll see in fiction is past tense and occasionally present tense.

Present tense is when you’re telling the story as though it’s unfolding right now. Present tense locates the situation in the present time. In fiction it is useful when trying to create a sense of urgency and immediacy. When you’re writing in present tense, the reader experiences the action along with the character and there are no guarantees for the ending.

Past tense is by far the most common tense used in fiction. It places the action in the past and indicates that the events taking place have already happened. This does not mean it’s not as interesting or engaging as something in present tense. If it’s done well, it can be just as captivating. And, it’s much easier to do well than present tense, and in most cases it’s easier to read than present tense, which is why most authors prefer it.

When you mix tense with person, you start to develop the voice in which your story will be written.

Imagine a scenario. For example, the character is trying to unlock a door.

First person, present tense: I stick my key in the hole and jiggle, but nothing happens. Please, please tell me he didn’t give me the wrong key. I do not have time for this.

Third person present tense: She inserts the key slowly, listening for every click of the tumblers. She tenses as the key sticks. This has to work. It just has to.

First person past tense: I jiggled the handle. Locked. Could this day get any worse? On TV they always picked locks with hair pins. Was that even possible? Could I even find hair pins in the bottom of my purse?

Third person past tense: She glanced around. No sign of anyone watching. Listening. Good. She pulled the pins from her hair and inserted them into the lock, feeling the clicks as the tumblers slid into place.

As you can see, different tenses can be useful to accomplish different things, and how you want your story to play out will be accomplished, in part, by what person and what tense you use. As an exercise, try writing the same scene in several different ways and see what works best for you and your story.

Writing Craft 101: Person and Point of View (part two)

Third person is when your narrator isn’t actually part of the story. This allows you to develop a much broader world. The reader can see what’s going on in multiple locations and through multiple viewpoints.

Within third person, there are multiple levels of POV, which determine how close you get to the character’s thoughts. Your options are omniscient, objective, limited multiple, and limited close.

Third person omniscient is when the narrator is basically God. The narrator can see everything that is happening and knows all the characters’ thoughts and feelings. Omniscient POV was very popular in classic literature, such as Dickens and Hardy, but has fallen out of popularity, primarily because a closer POV is more engaging to the reader.

Third person objective is when the narrator describes actions and events, but only tells about them objectively, and does not intrude upon the characters’ thoughts. This is even less engaging than omniscient because the reader never really knows what a character is thinking or feeling and therefore doesn’t empathize with the character nearly as deeply.

Third person limited POV is a little closer, limited to the thoughts, feelings, experiences of one character at a time. You can have multiple limited POVs within one story, but be careful to differentiate between them so the reader knows whose POV they’re experiencing at any given time.

Third person close is very similar to limited, as in it is limited to one character at a time, but it is so close it’s almost like first person, except it’s still “he/she” instead of “I”. Like limited, you can get into a close POV for more than one character, but be sure to be clear about whose mind you’re in and whose eyes you’re seeing through.

The preferred style for most modern storytelling is to use limited/close POVs. Like first person, this style draws the reader in and helps them to experience the story along with the character. So, unless otherwise specified, most of my advice will be given with the assumption that you’re going to be writing your story in either a limited/close or first-person POV.

Head Hopping is a term that is used when you switch POV characters mid-scene. If you’ve been in Helen’s POV, describing Troy and her trauma of being kidnapped, and then switch to the servant who is overwhelmed by her beauty without a scene break, you have hopped from Helen’s experience to the servant’s. This is confusing to your reader, because all of a sudden, instead of being Helen, they’re seeing Helen. It is a quick way to pull your reader out of the story and then you risk your reader losing interest. Stick with one POV character per scene, and if you must switch POVs in order to move to another location or reveal critical information that Helen can’t know, then have a scene or chapter break.

Writing Craft 101: Person and Point of View (part one)

Point of View, or POV, is through whose eyes the story is told. Most stories will have one primary POV character, typically the main character, although there can be multiple POV characters in one story.

There are many different types and styles for writing POV. It’s fine to choose which you want to use, but you must be consistent within your story.

POV is directly related to Person, which is who is telling the story.

Person is the narrative voice and how you’re telling the story. This is similar to POV, but not exactly the same. The POV employed is a storytelling style, whereas Person has to do with grammar.

Your options for Person are first person, second person, and third person. In fiction, you’ll most often encounter third person and first person POVs. What Person you’re telling your story in determines, to an extent, what type of POV you’ll use.

If you’re writing in first person, then by default, your POV character will be your main character (though not necessarily your protagonist). First person means the narrator is telling the story through his or her own eyes, using “I am, I did, I said,” rather than “he” or “she.” Common examples of stories written in first person are Twilight, To Kill a Mockingbird, and The Fault in our Stars.

Second person is when the narrator is talking directly to someone. For example, when I am telling you what to do to write well and I say, “First, you read my series on writing craft,” I am speaking in second person. In fiction, pretty much the only time you would use second person would be if you were writing one of those “Choose your own adventure” stories and you place the reader into the story. There are a few exceptions in classic literature, such as Lolita, but I don’t recommend it, especially for beginning writers.

Third person is by far the most common for use in fiction writing. Third person is when a narrator is telling the story, talking about the characters as “he” and “she.” Even in third person, the story is often told through the eyes of a particular point of view character, but it is still written using pronouns as though the story is being told by an outside source.

Between first person and third person, there are pros and cons to either choice.

First person is a much more intimate way of experiencing the story. Remember, your number one goal is to engage your reader, and in fiction, that happens when they make a connection. First person allows the reader to experience the story right along with the character, walking with them as they discover whatever it is they’re discovering in the story.

The downside of first person is that you are limited to only that one character telling the story. As you narrate, you can only give away the information that the character learns as they learn it. The reader can’t know anything that the narrator hasn’t personally experienced. (Technically, you could have a first-person omniscient character, as in the dead character that narrates Desperate Housewives, but that would be rare and not recommended.) First person makes it harder to show what’s going on with other characters or in other locations, and depending on the type of story you’re writing, it may drastically limit the scope of your story and possible tension.

First person works particularly well for romance and YA.

Check out this post for more explanation about POV options when writing in the third person.

Writing Craft 101: Common Terms

One thing I see time and again when working with newer authors is that they have a great idea for a story or a character or a world and they have written a first draft of a novel, putting all those ideas down on paper, and then they get to the point where they’re trying to get feedback, and the people they’re trying to learn from toss out words and phrases and acronyms, like “deep POV” and “info-dumping” and “telling” and so on and they’re trying to learn, but it’s like speaking a foreign language. The terms that are used in writing circles among more seasoned writers are deeply confusing to someone who has never studied them.

Here is a simple definition of terms that you’ll hear a lot, so you can reference your own work when someone says you need to work on them.

POV: Point of View

This is through whose eyes the story is told. Most stories will have a primary POV character, the main character, although there can be multiple POV characters in one story.

Person: Who is telling the story

This is similar to POV, but not exactly the same. The POV employed is a storytelling style, whereas Person has to do with grammar. In fiction, you’ll most often encounter third person and first person POVs. Third person is when it is told by a narrator, as in “he said, she did,” while first person is when it’s told by the character himself, as in “I did, I said.” Nonfiction, especially self-help books, may use second-person, as in “You should, you will,” but you’ll rarely find that in fiction except in a Choose Your Own Adventure story.

Tense: When the story is told

Tenses are past, present, and future. You can study tenses further in a grammar book, but primarily what you’ll see in fiction is past tense and occasionally present tense.

Backstory: The information about your character that has shaped who he is and why he does what he does. This includes his past, his personality, his relationships, and so on.

Info-dumping: Telling your reader what you feel she needs to know about your character’s backstory in a way that is boring and inorganic to the storyline.

Active and Passive Sentences: This is another grammar term, having to do with active voice and passive voice. In the active voice, the subject of the sentence is doing whatever is being done in the sentence. In the passive voice, the subject of the sentence is acted upon by the verb. “Dr. Jekyll consumed the potion,” vs. “The potion was consumed by Dr. Jekyll.” Active voice is the preferred writing style in fiction.

Show and Tell: This refers to the way you get information to your reader. You can tell your reader, “It was just about sunset when he kissed her goodnight,” or you can show them, “Rosy fingers of fading light painted her cheeks with a soft glow as he leaned in to kiss her goodnight.” There is a time and a place for telling, but for important scenes, showing is much more engaging to your reader.

Genre: This is the category into which your story fits. There are many, many genres, but some of the popular genres include Romance, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Chick-Lit, Action/Adventure, and Young Adult, among others.

Target Audience: Your target audience is the readers who are most likely to buy your book. If you’re writing romance, your target audience is probably women in the 30+ age range. If you’re writing Young Adult, your target audience is probably teens and twenty-somethings. If you’re writing suspense or sci-fi, your target audience is probably men.

Homonyms: These are words that sound like one another but have different meanings and sometimes different spellings.

Very often in writing I see homonyms confused. This is a sure way to lose the respect of your reader. Double check words that have another similar-sounding word to make sure you’re using the right one. And for a quick reference, check out my book “Handy Handbook of Common Homonyms,” available on Amazon, or FREE if you sign up for my newsletter (see the sidebar).

Crutch Words: Words that a particular author uses frequently in their work. Most authors have them. They’re different for everyone. Ideally, you should figure out which ones are yours and come up with new ways to convey the same information so your work doesn’t sound repetitive and therefore boring.

Pantsers and Plotters: This refers to your particular style, whether you prefer to write “by the seat of your pants,” making things up as you go along (pantser), or whether you prefer to create a detailed outline of your characters and plot arc before ever beginning to write the story itself (plotter).

I’ll go into more detail about each of these things in the coming weeks, explaining the pros and cons of different writing styles, why certain things are preferred over others, and how to effectively use them in your own manuscript.

What about you? What words or phrases have you heard that you aren’t sure what is meant by them, or what were you confused by when you were a newer writer?