Why “spell check” is not enough

English is hard. Certain words may be spelled the same but have completely different meanings. Other words may sound the same, but have different spellings (and thus, different meanings). There are even words that may change meaning with the addition or subtraction of a single letter. This is why context is a huge part of the English language. Depending on the words around it, the correct word can be implied, but an incorrect word will still jar the reader enough to pull them from the story. They’ll likely re-read the sentence, trying to make sure they understood the author correctly. When they realize the writer made a mistake, they’ll continue reading, but they’ll have a seed of mistrust planted in their minds. From that point onward, they’ll question every word the writer uses, just to make sure they aren’t mistaken again. This increases scrutiny on the part of the reader, and can often distract from the author’s intent: conveying a...
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The 4 types of edits, and why you need to do them all.

It is a rare feat to be able to write a perfect story. It’s even rarer to do so with the first draft. Hubris blinds the writer who considers the first draft of their writing to be perfect. Some writers might fall into the trap of crafting every single word of their first draft, thereby almost ensuring that the first draft will never be complete. On the other end of the spectrum from the “perfect first draft,” we have writers who will continue to polish a story forever, never settling for “good enough.” While no story can be “perfect,” editing will help to get it close enough for publication. In my experience, editing takes up the majority of the writing process, and for good reason. While some authors may continually iterate the editing process, I have found that there are four types of edits every writer should use when revising their work. These four types range from simple spot checks to...
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What it takes to do it all

There are days I see the benefits of going with the traditional publishing route. When you are signed on with a publisher, they provide some of the hard work it takes to make a manuscript into a polished and publishable product. From editors to formatters to cover artists to distribution, these publishers have the resources to help an author be successful. But what about the self-published author? One of the common misconceptions about being an author (especially a self-published one) is that we only have to write. In reality, a self-published author needs to perform the entirety of the publishing process by themselves. Now, you may be asking yourself, “OK, you have to do it all, but what does that even mean?” Let’s start at the beginning of the process, and I’ll walk you through it. If you want to self-publish, you have many jobs to do. Many of the most famous authors have a research department (or person). These are the people...
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Which Hunter

Being concise is one of the standards of superior writing. Unfortunately, when you're writing the first draft of your novel in a month, your mind might insert a lot of "filler" words. I've had this problem for years, but recently have come across a simple solution to help my manuscripts "cut the fluff" during the editing phase. For some background, one of my beta readers for [book:The Third Degree|18141169] noticed the word "that" popping up more often than it should. My solution at the time was to replace most of the "that" with "which". I had always heard the advice "don't use that", so instead of eliminating the word from my writing, I merely shifted it to a different word. Now that I've received notes back on The Constellation Tournament it appears I've been found out. A completely different beta reader was distracted by the enormous amount of times I used "which". Recognizing the problem, I set about trying to find a...
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