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Leave a Tip Today at The Blood-Red Pencil And Make Someone Thankful

In this month of thankfulness, leave a tip, and someone will be grateful for your kindness. Today, as on most second Tuesdays of the month, we're inviting you to share your writing tip at The Blood-Red Pencil.

Make it simple, or complicated. Maybe it's something you recently picked up, or something you learned ages ago, and forgot you knew it until now. Or, it could be something you figured out all by yourself and you're feeling generous and would like to share.

We welcome tips about any aspect of writing, publishing, or editing, and about any format or venue, traditional, indie, self-publishing.

Make someone truly grateful for your generosity. Leave your tip in our comment section. Don't forget to also include one website or blogspot link while you're at it, so readers can learn more about you.

If you wish, we'd appreciate your also mentioning where you've heard of us, but it's not a requirement.

Here's my tip:
Don't forget the holidays. They can ground readers into the time elements in a story. I forgot them in my first draft of Forever Young-Blessing or Curse, but fortunately I remembered in the nick of time during the editing process.

Your turn now. Share and Make Someone Grateful!

Morgan Mandel
 Morgan Mandel writes mysteries,Romances
and thrillers. She's a past president of
Chicago-North RWA, was the Library Liaison
for Midwest MWA, and is an active blogger and
networker.Her personal blog is:

Morgan's website is at: http://www/
See her new senior blog at
Her romantic suspense, Killer Career, is 99 cents on
Kindle and Smashwords, and is also in print. Her thriller,
Forever Young - Blessing or Curse will be released soon on
Kindle and Smashwords. Girl of My Dreams, Morgan's romantic
comedy is also electronically available.

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  1. In the spirit of the post (and the season): Thank people. If a reader contacts you to say they love your book, send them a thank you. Thank your editor for the work they've done on your manuscript. Thank your cover artist. Whether you're published by one of the "big guns" or you publish your own work, you're not writing in a vacuum, so take the time to thank the other people involved.

  2. Good reminder, Karenna, about the importance of that courtesy. So often we forget, yet a simple thank you to someone who has helped us can make a working relationship so much better. Does wonders for personal relationships, too.

  3. Get rid of unnecessary words like "that" and "just," (which happen to be my personal bugaboos). Eliminate them through out your manuscript to tighten up your writing.

  4. Karenna, you've hit the nail on the head. Publishing a book is teamwork and I think it's so important to thank those who help you publish it.

    My tip? Don't use "it." Try to avoid 'it.' *grin* "It" usually isn't clear in the context of the writing and you want to be clear.

    My latest release is "Danube in Candlelight." And I'd like to thank my cover artist, Jen and my editor, Melanie who did a fantastic job.


    That is my website where you can learn about me and my books. They make great holiday gifts.

    My one tip for writers (and this is also my pet peeve)is this: when referring to your book please use the work titled and not entitled. In other words, my books is titled ... not my book is entitled ... Keep the pen moving...

  6. I"m an English teacher with a specialty in writing. Please remember that no piece of writing is ever truly "done". It can always be improved! But at the same time, at some point you have to send it in, so don't try for perfection. Just make the writing as clear and clean as you can, then send it in and move on to the next WIP.
    You can learn more about my books at:

  7. 1. When you finish your daily output, print a hard copy. Read it later (I read mine in bed) in a different environment and you'll be able to see troublespots. Don't do the edits, but rather note the places where you've repeated words or the flow isn't right, and then that gives you a running start the next day.

    2. When you're ready for that full manuscript read, print in a different font, and use 2 columns to totally change the look. (Saves paper, too).

    Terry's Place
    Romance with a Twist--of Mystery

  8. Tip: While creating that first draft, I keep a running list of overused words so I don't get hung up in rewrites. Once I've many edits on the MS, some of the overused words are eliminated. In the final edit process, I do word searches to clean up the MS further.

    Everyone has their own quirks in writing that first draft, but this has proven to be a timesaver for me.

    To learn about my current romantic comedy "Teed Up for Love", visit:

    Join my mailing list for notification of the February 2012 release of "Cutter Mountain Rendezvous". There will be a giveaway announcement closer to release date.

  9. I agree about just, that, and it, also was. I find it impossible to get rid of all instances of them, but the more I can eliminate without giving in, the better my manuscript is.

    Morgan Mandel

  10. 1. Set yourself a quota of the number of words you will write each day until your manuscript is completed.
    2. Use a separate special calendar to record the number of words you actually wrote each day.
    3. Stick to your word quota.

  11. When you're feeling stuck, whether it's a big plot problem, or just a little one (like how to handle a pause or transition) ask yourself these five questions:

    1.) What's the worst thing that could happen here?

    2.) What's the least expected thing that could happen here?

    3.) What's the funniest thing that could happen here?

    4.) What's the coolest thing that could happen here?

    5.) What's the most satisfying thing that could happen here?

    One of those will give you your answer.

  12. I echo what Maryann said courtesy and promptness in responding to editors/publishers will go a long way to establish your reputation as a god person to work with.

  13. Those are good questions from The Daring Novelist to get the brain wheels turning.

    Morgan Mandel

  14. My tip? Never give up, never surrender...but take a break sometimes.

  15. Many of us will think you don't know English if you say titled instead of entitled. I am angry at Jan M's ignorant post. Here is the dictionary definition & below covers it all -- the old books ALL said, "entitled" & IMHO we should too. Certainly don't take an attitude toward those of us who do it the right way; i.e., saying the book was entitled....

    The person who commented on this issue said it all from my perspective:
    "I always thought people who used 'titled' just didn’t know any better. All of the older books said, 'the book was entitled…' I had no idea until today that any of you actually thought we were wrong. Please look up information before blogging. Otherwise, you just spread more mistakes."

  16. Ooo, I love what the Darling Novelest said. I seem to do this already, but I've never written these down.

    I'm grateful for my publisher, editor AND my fans!

    My tip, if you don't already use note cards to organize your scenes, your characters, or what is to happen in a scene (esp. an action scene where a lot goes on), I reccomend it. You can save a lot of running back and forth over what you're writing if you have the cards--like little flash cards.

    Like this idea. I'll keep my eyes open fro this one again!

  17. I keep returning to my advice to newbie writers: write, write, write, edit, edit, edit, submit, submit, submit, repeat, repeat, repeat. It works, always.

  18. My tip is to look things up yourself. Get the dictionary out or go to a legitimate dictionary site online & you will find (today's example) that Jan's advice on "entitle" is wrong. Say "My books are entitled" NOT "My books is titled."

  19. Don't keep saying 'said'. There are so many alternatives you can use that will make your writing much more interesting.

  20. If you're having trouble getting into the head of a character , or if you're generally having a 'bad writing day' go to the mall and walk around pretending you are your main character. What stores would he or she browse in? What would be on her shopping list? What stores would he avoid? What kind of coffe drink would he buy at Starbucks? If you do this intentionally, it should help you get into your character's head.

  21. my best tip is a quote from Mark Twain. Yes, THE Mark Twain. "Write'damn' every time you're inclined to say 'very'. Your editor will eliminate it and your writing will be just as it should be. Jean

  22. Terrific post with great advice.
    Margot Justes

  23. I have found it helpful to study movies to see what I can learn from them that might be adapted to my writing. This has helped especially to keep me focused on showing rather than telling.
    My latest novel is Loving Rose, from The Wild Rose Press. My website is
    Thanks, Morgan, for this topic and the opportunity to share information.

  24. In addition to what the Daring Novelist said, you can try backing up to the last "fork in the road" type plot point and a) make it worse, or b) raise the stakes.

  25. We actually have a post here at the BRP about titled vs. entitled by LJ Sellers, a former blogger. We bump it up during December anthology month. I just recently corrected this in a blog post here... indeed, it it one of the most common mistakes writers make, even professional ones. I saw it just this past week in a Salon article! Watch for it - you'll see just how common the misuse.

  26. And ongoing research indicates there is a shift in thinking on entitled vs. titled:

    Language is nothing, if not changing.


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