11+ Ways to Say “He Smiled”

One of the banes of writing fiction is trying to find interesting ways to say ordinary things. And smiling is one of those. Everyone smiles. It’s built into our DNA to smile. We smile to show happiness, friendliness, or even to cover up how insecure we feel. And our characters smile, too, a lot. So […]

Should You Always Avoid the Verb “To Be”?

A fundamental rule of style is that you should avoid the verb “to be,” preferring instead strong, descriptive verbs that show, rather than tell. As an example, instead of writing, “The light was bright,” you should prefer, “The light blinded her as a hot-white flame,” or some such. So every time you use am, is, […]

Finding the Right Word: 7 Unusually Useful Online Word Tools

Because I’m a writer, when one of my friends can’t think of the right word for what they’re trying to say, they turn to me. “You’re a writer. What’s the word I’m looking for?” Hell if I know. What do I look like? A dictionary? God’s honest truth: as a writer, I can never find […]

Pet Peeves: Loose Instead of Lose

I have a long list of pet peeves, some that bug me more than others. One that I see popping up more and more is that people spell lose with two o‘s. Lately, I’ve taken to passing over even potentially interesting articles that have this misspelling, such as this recent one: “How inventors and entrepreneurs […]