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Writing and Publishing

How to Format Thoughts in Writing

Writers are often unsure of how to format thoughts in their writing.

Thoughts are best put in italic and do not include quotes. For example:

I hope this description makes sense to you.

An attribute tag, such as “he thought” is not used, since the person doing the thinking should be obvious from the context. You know this is my thought since I am the author.

However, I have seen some publishers use different approaches, such as putting thoughts in quotes, including the attribute tag, or even skipping the italics.

One publisher made thoughts indistinguishable from spoken dialogue, except for the tag “thought” rather than “said.” I don’t appreciate these alternate presentations of thoughts. This is especially dangerous, given that many readers overlook the descriptor tag.

Now, here’s a question for you. I’m working on a story concept where two characters communicate telepathically, and I wonder how I should format it. For example:

Where have you been? Shelly was angry and relieved at the same time.

You told me to go away, so I did. Terry’s sad aura filled the space between them.

It was six months ago. Only now did Shelly comprehend the impact of her careless words. I’ve missed you…so very much.

I’ve always been nearby, just waiting for you to call me back. Terry smiled, the first visible sign that he missed her, too.

Learn more about writing and publishing in Peter’s new book: The Successful Author: Discover the Art of Writing and Business of PublishingGet your copy today.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.

Categories
Writing and Publishing

Grammar Checking Programs

I once signed up for a trial of grammarly.com. It’s a most impressive grammar checker.

The problem was that it was too sophisticated for me. It flagged many things to check, but I lacked the needed background to comprehend the issues. Many of their suggestions were beyond me. However, I recently took a fresh look at it, and it seems they’ve made it easier to use.

Regardless, the built-in grammar checker in Microsoft Word is a great place to start. Though this still requires the writer to decide which suggestions to accept and which ones to reject, it’s easier to manage. While this won’t catch everything, it covers the basics.

In my experience as a publication editor, most of the submissions I receive could benefit from doing this basic grammar check in Word before they submitted their work. It seems many people have turned off this option (I once did), and some don’t bother to run spell-check either. Don’t make that mistake.

Learn more about writing and publishing in Peter’s new book: The Successful Author: Discover the Art of Writing and Business of PublishingGet your copy today.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.

Categories
Writing and Publishing

Where Should You Write?

As you consider when to write, it is also critical to consider the issue of where to write. Not only does this depend on your circumstances, but also on your personality.

While writing is often a solitary process, some prefer to do so in the company of others. They may opt to write amid the activity of family life. There where is the kitchen table or even the living room with the TV blaring?

Where to Write

Still, others view the local coffee shop as their office of choice, making a morning commute, ordering their preferred java concoction, and remaining for several hours as they pound out their prose on a laptop computer. I’ve heard of entire books being written in these settings. In these cases, while composing remains a singular effort, it is happily and effectively done in the presence of others.

The majority, I suspect, require quiet in order to write rightly. The presence of others serves only to stymie their creative flow and production efficacy. They need a place to write with minimal distractions and no interruptions.

While some enjoy background music, others prefer absolute silence. For all these folks, a dedicated space—preferably a private room—is a necessity. If others are present during writing time, they need to not interrupt and to respect the privacy of the writing sanctuary.

In making these determinations, sometimes the question of where needs to be ascertained before the when. For example, writing at a coffee house is incompatible with middle-of-the-night inspiration.

Where I Write

As for me, I prefer to write in solitude; coffee shops, the kitchen table, and the living room are out. It took a while to find the right spot, but I ended up taking over a spare bedroom, sufficiently isolated from the rest of the house. While not quite spartan in its furnishings, it definitely has a minimalist feel to it. There is no phone or means for music, the clock is not readily visible, and the lone wall decoration declares “writer at work.” It is my writing refuge.

Learn more about writing and publishing in Peter’s new book: The Successful Author: Discover the Art of Writing and Business of PublishingGet your copy today.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.

Categories
Writing and Publishing

When Should You Write? Find the Time that is Right For You

In developing as a writer, it is critical to write every day—or at least almost every day. We need to discover when to write.

The first step is to determine the best time for you to write. If writing is important, then give it the best part of your day; make it a priority. Don’t give it your leftover time or squeeze it in between lessor activities.

Schedule time to write; consider it as a job. Even if you aren’t writing to generate income, you need to treat it as seriously as your vocation or you will fail to develop as a writer.

Only you can determine the best time for you to write—and it may require some experimenting. Some people like to arise early to write, while others prefer midday after their worldly distractions have been sufficiently dispatched. Other writers like to wrap their day tapping out their words on a keyboard and some even opt for the middle of the night—be it as a regular occurrence or a response to insomnia.

Look at your life, your schedule, and your responsibilities. Then pick a time to devote to the craft of writing. It may not be easy, but good things seldom are. And it may require some trial and error to hone in on the ideal time for you.

For me, in determining when to write, I found that early morning is best for me, often getting up around 5 am and working for an hour or two, but sometimes longer. Then I segue into my day and begin my day job. I’ve even found myself writing in the middle of the night, but not too often. Middays I am too distracted and evenings I am too tired to produce anything worthwhile.

Learn more about writing and publishing in Peter’s new book: The Successful Author: Discover the Art of Writing and Business of PublishingGet your copy today.



Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.

Categories
Writing and Publishing

Why It’s Important to Write Every Day

Are you are a writer? Do you want to be a writer?

If so, are you writing every day?

I heard it said that if you’re a writer and not writing every day, then you’re not really a writer, you’re a reader.

While that may seem harsh, it is something to seriously ponder.

Although it would be a wrong to conclude that you need to be writing seven days a week and never take a break, it is critical to write on a regular basis.

This evokes many questions, which will be covered in future posts: when you should write, where you should write, what to write, how do you write, and writing exercises.

But for now, begin to write every day. That’s the first step to becoming a successful writer.

For the most part, I do write every day, but I vary my labors, rotating between projects. I would never spend seven days in a row working on the same thing; that would become boring and the results would be unacceptable.

Learn more about writing and publishing in Peter’s new book: The Successful Author: Discover the Art of Writing and Business of PublishingGet your copy today.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.