In Praise of the Lowly Comma

One tiny comma can sometimes make all the difference when it comes to the meaning of a sentence or a contract for that matter. Strunk and White advocated for the Oxford comma in their classic book, “The Elements of Style,” while the AP Stylebook doesn’t require series comma. If you’re an Oxford-comma proponent like me, a recent federal court ruling will reinforce your position. (more…)

Lisa Scottoline Inspires at Writer’s Digest Conference: “Protect Your Candle”

Good writing is hard and getting published is even harder. No one knows this better than best-selling author Lisa Scottoline who compared a struggling writer’s life to a weak candlelight. (more…)

5 Reasons Why Reading is the Key to Writing Success

FairOaksBookshelfPicbyCindyFazziWant to be a writer? Read, read, and read some more. It’s the first requirement for writing well. Don’t take my word for it, take Stephen King’s. He said: “You have to read widely, constantly refining (and redefining) your own work as you do. If you don’t have the time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write.” (more…)

Career Authors: Free Online Resource & New Community for Writers

Photo via VisualHunt

A literary agent, two best-selling authors, an editor, and a digital strategist recently launched Career Authors, a free writing resource and a new online community for writers. (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…)

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…)

Paula Munier’s “Guide to Beginnings”: Why the Opening Can Make or Break Your Novel

writersguidetobeginnings-cindyfazzipicBook Review—“The Writer’s Guide to Beginnings: How to Craft Story Openings that Sell” by Paula Munier, published by Writer’s Digest Books, 2016

The image of an open door graces the cover of Paula Munier’s latest writing book. It’s an invitation to learn and keep an open mind. It also reminds me of the proverbial door being slammed in a novelist’s face. “Competition is fierce—and that’s why your words must be fierce as well,” says Munier. (more…)

Top 10 Character Descriptions that Defy Elmore Leonard’s Writing Rule

The vivid character descriptions in “The Aviator’s Wife” by Melanie Benjamin are effective.

The vivid character descriptions in “The Aviator’s Wife” are effective.

When it comes to describing the physical qualities of your characters, how much is too much? Elmore Leonard advised writers to “avoid detailed descriptions of characters.” He used Ernest Hemingway’s work as an example. While the minimalist style of Hemingway and Raymond Carver can be very effective, there are many writers whose works show that descriptive writing can be equally powerful. (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…)