Your writing needs to be clear, but so does your voice!

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I’m on the third round of edits of my latest novel, a supernatural thriller told in the first person, present tense. This is a first for me in all of the above. To help police myself, I downloaded the Hemingway Editing App.

It was an eye-opener.

The app claims to help make your writing tighter and clearer by pointing out potential unnecessary or excess verbiage. It highlights adverbs and qualifiers, telling you just how many you should have (I will always have way too many of both!), as well as how many times you slip into passive voice (not a…

Four red flags to look out for when choosing a dog trainer

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When I first started walking dogs, I thought: how hard can it be? I love dogs! Isn’t that enough?

NO. No, it isn’t. I received a lot of great training over two plus years from two different employers and then, when San Francisco implemented its regulations for professional dog walkers in 2013, I learned so much more when I went through the certification program! I am so grateful that these regulations forced me to take that 20 hour course, taught largely by accredited dog trainers who studied the science of animal behavior and training methods, and know what training methods…

Or, save your money and work on writing at home

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When I first started working on my second novel, I really wanted to take time off of my day job to go away for a week and “focus in” on it. I had such plans! I was going to buckle down, make a better outline, map out a plotboard, and nail down all my nagging plot questions.

In one week. All at once.

Yeah, I know.

I did it anyway…or tried to. And not just once, but twice! I’m not sure why this seemed like such an important thing to do. Maybe because taking time off of work and renting…

Why we believe what we can’t have will fix us

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From Shakespeare’s Macbeth to Fitzgerald’s Gatsby, the world is full of people who seem to have everything, yet desire “just one more” thing. You know, the one thing that will end all the desire forever and make us into good, happy and content people? For Macbeth, it was becoming king. For Gatsby, it was winning Daisy, the love of his life. The problem, however, is that it’s usually an unattainable goal. Macbeth has to kill King Duncan to become king, his “be-all, end-all” scenario. And Daisy? …

How to Make Time for Everything You Need PLUS Some Extras

Hint: It’s not about finding, it’s about making.

I’ll admit it: I’ve got time to write.

Writing is my thing, the thing I’d choose to do for a living. Everyone’s got a thing they’d rather be doing than their job, so for the purposes of this article, sub in your thing for “writing”. The thing is, whether you feel like you have the time to do it all and still have time to do your thing or not, you’ll probably tell yourself that there’s no fucking time to do it. …

A loving look at that thing most writers hate: the first draft

What the hell am I trying to say, again??

For most writers, getting started on writing that project (fiction or non) is the most difficult part. You start, delete, restart, delete and many times, walk away from the idea because you feel like you don’t know how to start the thing “right”. Maybe a few months go by and when you think about picking it up again, you’re filled with a sense of dread because you know that it’s a long way from being Shirley-Jackson-First-Paragraph level good.

I want to tell you a secret that I just…

When Running a Facebook Page for Lost Dogs Hits Home

It’s 2:30 am and I’m watching an old MST3K version of a crappy ’80s Italian flick called Pod People on my laptop because what else am I going to be doing that late at night when I can’t sleep? That’s when I realize that the dog owners I’d contacted earlier had gotten back to me. They wanted to see the photo I’d offered to pass along. The one that shows their adored pet chihuahua after it had been struck by a car and killed.

To clarify, I do not run…

Blank pages can be really intimidating!

Whether you’re writing an essay for school, a blog piece, a technical how-to guide, a memoir or fiction, getting started is often the hardest part. Maybe you’ve spent a week researching your subject and you have a ton of great information, or maybe you’ve plotted the hell out of that new novel. Either way, you still have to actually write it.

I remember my high school senior English class teacher, Mr. Guinn, once taught us about strong lead-ins to an essay. Grab the reader’s attention, he said, by making a bold statement, telling a personal story that illustrates your theme…

Wow. That’s a lot of hardware for a foot.

It was the Monday after July 4th when I broke my ankle. I’d just had a glorious four days off of work — I’m a self-employed dog walker — and had just had a rather sad last day off, wishing that I had more time every day to write. Oh, I’m also a writer, working on my second book. I have no agent, no publisher, and no finished product to even shop. Just an idea and a good 100 pages that contain maybe 30 solid pages of writing. And a lot of serious plotting to do.

Then, in a matter…

While recovering from a broken ankle, I binged a whole bunch of Brady Bunch episodes, and realized just where I’d gone wrong in life: I was not living life the Brady way! I thought I was doing what made me happy, special and different, but in reality, I was missing out! The Bradys had it goin’ on, after all…at least until Cousin Oliver came stumbling onto the scene at the end of Season 5. But that’s a discussion for another day.

So I decided to break it down into Six (obviously!) Fun ‘N Easy Steps! Okay, admittedly, I am not…

Diane Corso

Diane Corso is a writer and a walker of dogs.

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