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112. Rules bestselling authors ignore

Neil MacDonald Author

Writers are taught many rules by the greats. But should we believe them?

Stephen King adverbsAvoid adverbs

Stephen King famously said “the road to hell is paved with adverbs” and urged writers to eliminate them. Three years ago, I wrote in defence of these much maligned parts of speech.

Now we have some objective analysis of the truth or otherwise of the dictum. Ben Blatt analysed the more than 300 novels that reached number one on the New York Times bestseller list since 2000 and the 100 most recent winners of literary awards. He compared these “professional” authors with a sample of 9,000 “amateurs” who had written novel-length fan fiction. The professionals used around 114 adverbs per 10,000 words, compared to 154 by the amateurs. So there is a correlation between fewer adverbs and literary success. As you can see from the graphic, I used 44 adverbs per 10,000 words in…

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Serial Saturday: [Horror] I’m Watching You #2

Good morning! Another Saturday and another part of the story I started last wee, I'm Watching You, one man's descent into insanity. Last time we had met MIKE and his wife, Gloria, who were having an argument over Mike's inability to empty the bins. Whether from over work or home-life stress, Mike sees a disembodied eye staring … Continue reading Serial Saturday: [Horror] I’m Watching You #2

Weekly Six LVII – Six Word Stories

Great idea and something to try when I’m stuck…


six-word-stories3   EVER felt like anything you write is trash? Well I’ve felt that way for the last month or so, so I’ve produced little of note to share. But despite that I’ve managed to jot down random musings and the occasional six worder on my phone and a bedside notepad. Please enjoy 🙂

Three iron. Pin distance: 2 miles.

Daily, seagull plundered McDonalds. Currently grounded.

A love story: Wi-Fi password shared.

Zoo broken into. Pandemonium! People freed.

Crooked picture. Family never were prioritised.

Drug money distributed evenly among officers.

Astronauts returned: heroes welcome. Unwitting hosts…

“Thinner! THINNER!” they screamed. Models disappeared.

Criminal elements — in the science project.

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The Ingredients of a Best Selling Book

A Writer's Path

by Doug Lewars

Best seller lists are tricky. They can be manipulated and sometimes are. Nevertheless, they do serve a purpose. For one thing, I suppose, they inform people of what other people are reading, thereby generating a sort of herd effect that might drive up sales, but more importantly from a writer’s perspective, they provide a touch stone as to what readers are interested in.

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Serial Saturday – [Horror] I’m Watching You #1

Serial Saturday has been quiet over the Christmas period, while I took some much needed rest, but this week I have part 1 of a new story for you. It's another horror, and it's called I'm Watching You. It's one man's descent into madness as he struggles to comprehend what is real and what isn't. … Continue reading Serial Saturday – [Horror] I’m Watching You #1

Time to get down to the business of writing

Jean's Writing

Now the holidays are past it’s time to get that book finished.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve procrastinated enough. My WIP has languished on my computer like an undernourished waif in a Charles Dickens novel. Time to resuscitate that little devil and breathe it back to life.

So if you’re also ready to get back to work, let’s go.

One of my issues in the past was plotting and planning. I don’t do a lot of either. Nor do I do them well. LOL

But everyone knows good results begin with a good plan.

As a Panster, I find simple is best. Who am I kidding simple works best for everything?

Do you too, have an issue getting started?

Trying to figure out where and when to begin?

There is a simple method to quickly plan out a story, courtesy of Joanne over at JoanneWritesBooks.

Her suggestions…

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Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update – #Reviews – Mary Adler, Rachele Baker DVM, Marina Osipova and Terry Tyler

New year, new authors…

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Welcome to the first of the author updates for 2019… looking forward to another year of amazingly talented writers and their work.

The first author with a recent review is Mary Adler for her wartime mystery Shadowed by Death An Oliver Wright WW II Mystery Book 2. A young Polish freedom fighter is in danger and Oliver Wright must try to protect her..

About Shadowed by Death

San Francisco, 1944. Sophia Nirenska, a Polish resistance fighter who survived the Warsaw ghetto uprising, finds safety in California until someone tries to kill her. She insists political enemies want to silence her, but homicide detective Oliver Wright, on medical leave from the Marines, believes the motive is more personal. He and his German shepherd, Harley, try to protect Sophia, but she insists on doing things her own way—a dangerous decision.

Oliver guards Sophia as they travel from an Italian cafe in…

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Keeping a Writer’s Notebook – Do You? You should! – Part 3

Author Don Massenzio

This is the third post in my series on keeping a writers notebook. I can’t emphasize enough how important this tool is for cataloging and organizing ideas. I take most of my ideas for this tool from the book, The Writer’s Notebook by Ralph Fletcher. This book helps you organize your notebook and use the information you record for various purposes.

If you want to read Part 1 or Part 2 of this series, just click on the links.

InterestingKeep Lists of Interesting Words

Did you ever come across a word while playing Words with Friends or while thumbing through a magazine article or the vocabulary quiz in Reader’s Digest and think that it was an interesting word that you’d like to use some time?

I started keeping lists of words and their definitions some time ago and try to weave them into my writing.

Here are some examples:

  • Instead…

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Diary of an Author with Multiple Sclerosis. Christmas Edition

So it’s been a while since I updated this diary. Quite a bit has happened in my life since the last update, some of it connected to writing, but mostly not. I’ll try and fit it in where I can below. Here’s what’s been happening, writing first: Writing I started October off by joining the … Continue reading Diary of an Author with Multiple Sclerosis. Christmas Edition