Kernels of Knowledge from the not-so-messy desk of McGovy

I’ll probably do this as an ongoing post deal-y. As I run through my first round of editorial edits, I thought I’d share what I learn along the way so others don’t have to make the same mistakes. (Most of which I cringe to share with you. But we’re all friends here, right???) Some of these may be my ignorance, some may be universal beginner boo-boos, other points might be publishing preference, but if you find even one kernel that helps you as a writer, then I’ll consider this post a success. =)

1)      Alright is all right – it’s not alright. It might be a house style thing and feel all wrong, but it’s really “all right

2)      When you pause…in dialogue…it’s called an ellipse, right? But…did you know there is no space between the first word…and the second? So … is wrong, but…is right. You might even say it’s…wait for it…all right

3)      Save italics for internal thought and emphasis. You don’t need it for names of restaurants, bars, etc. If you want to show emphasis inside an internal thought, you can take off the italics.Jeez, there is so much to learn in the writing biz!

4)      Dialogue tags, as a rule, should always be verbal. Other actions don’t work as dialogue tags. Evidently I am public enemy number one for this offence!

               “I want to hump your leg,” he grinned. <– No. Don’t do that

“I want to hump your leg,” he said with a sly grin. <– Do this.

               “I want to hump your leg.” He grinned and prepared to do exactly that. <– Or do this.

               “And I will totally let you,” she giggled. <– Nope!

               “And I will totally let you.” She giggled and stuck her leg out. <– Yep!

5)      Body parts can’t work independently from your body and it’s creepy if they do.  Hands and lips shouldn’t                have a life and mind of their own. That being said, I have seen it used effectively in some books under certain circumstances, but as a rule you should avoid it.

His hands caressed her body. <– Don’t do that.

He caressed her body. <– Do this.

His lips forged a heated path along her spine. <– No, they didn’t.

He kissed his way up her spine, leaving a swell of heat and need in his wake. <–Yeah he did!

6)  T-shirt is always capitalized. It’s never a t-shirt. And depending on the guy, the T-shirt should rarely stay on.

That’s it for today; more tidbits to come. Pass the mimosas & Happy Writing!


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