Do We Really Need the Oxford Comma? A Federal Court Says Yes

Photo via Visual hunt.

If you don’t think the Oxford comma is necessary, a federal court’s recent decision will tell you otherwise. The 1st Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled in favor of delivery drivers who claimed they were eligible for overtime pay under Maine’s regulations. Their argument relied on the absence of a serial comma in the law. (more…)

In Praise of the Perilous Multiple POVs: William Martin’s “Citizen Washington”

CitizenWashington-Cover-CindyFazziPicAuthors who use multiple points of view risk losing their readers’ interest or confusing them with every shift. Only a few pull off such a perilous approach. In “Citizen Washington,” William Martin blows away the competition among “daredevil” authors. He uses not just three points of view (“The Girl on the Train” and “The Help”) or five (“The Poisonwood Bible”) but 16! (more…)

Snowflake, Alternative Fact, Post-Truth, & Other New Words Stemming from Politics

(Photo via Visual Hunt)

(Photo via Visual Hunt)

The new political order in America has added new words to our vocabulary. The media and technology also continue to influence our ever-growing lexicon. (more…)

Who versus Whom: Remember Just One Rule

Photo credit: rosefirerising via Visual hunt / CC BY-NC-ND

Photo credit: rosefirerising via Visual hunt / CC BY-NC-ND

Do you have trouble remembering when to use who or whom? It’s a common problem with a quick fix from a Grammar Girl video. (more…)

Top 5 New Year’s Resolutions for Writers Seeking Traditional Publication

"A happy New Year." New York Public Library Digital Collections.

“A happy New Year.” New York Public Library Digital Collections.

As a writer, I have the same New Year’s resolution every year in the past 22 years—to get published traditionally. Some years are more successful than others. In 2014, I signed with my literary agent, whom I admire greatly. In 2015, Lyrical Press published my debut romance book. This time I’m breaking down my New Year’s resolution into five smaller tasks. (more…)

Writing Tips: Basic Rules to Remember About Comma

Photo credit: Leo Reynolds via Visual hunt / CC BY-NC-SA

Photo credit: Leo Reynolds via Visual hunt / CC BY-NC-SA

One little comma can sometimes mean big trouble when you’re writing. Take this example: “Let’s eat Mom.” Without a comma, you just transformed an innocent invitation to something awful. (more…)

Writing Contest: Chicago Tribune’s 2017 Short Story Competition Now Open

Photo credit: avrdreamer via VisualHunt.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Photo credit: avrdreamer via VisualHunt.com / CC BY-NC-ND

The Chicago Tribune is now accepting short stories for the 2017 Nelson Algren Literary Awards. It is seeking original and unpublished short stories no longer than 8,000 words. To enter your story in the competition, it must be entirely fictional and not based on actual person, whether living or not. (more…)

St. Martin’s Press Launches Writing Contest for Thriller Writers

Photo Credit: Photo via ghwtog via Visual Hunt

Photo Credit: Photo via ghwtog via Visual Hunt

If you write thrillers, this competition sponsored by St. Martin’s Press might be just the thing for you. The Big Five imprint will choose five winners in the writing contest promoting “A Divided Spy,” a new novel by Charles Cumming. (more…)

BuzzFeed Seeks Writers for its Fellowship Program

nypl-digitalcollections-wantedtypwriter

A caricature of a writing position circa 1800s. (General Research Division, The New York Public Library, 1885-1895-05, “Wanted A Typewriter.”

Want a career writing about art and culture? BuzzFeed is offering support through its Emerging Writers Fellowship Program. You have until Oct. 1, 2016, to apply. (more…)

New Bill Aims to Help Authors Enforce Copyright Protection

Photo credit: opensourceway via VisualHunt / CC BY-SA

Photo credit: opensourceway via VisualHunt / CC BY-SA

A copyright is supposed to protect the work of an author, but most authors can’t afford to file a claim in court, so what’s the point? A new bill aims to change the situation by establishing a tribunal for small copyright claims. (more…)