Grammar Hang-ups

Mpepper/ January 24, 2024/ Writing, Writing Advice

I have been informed by my teens that proper punctuation in texts is seen as passive-aggressive. Sadly, I simply cannot stop myself from typing full words and using punctuation (unless I’m trying to be funny). So, while I acknowledge my feels on these may be old-fashioned, and understand that the point of any communication is to get one’s meaning across,

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Discoverability: The Key to Success

Mpepper/ January 5, 2024/ Writing Advice

Someone posted a question on Twitter (X) earlier that caught my eye: What do you think of publishers that don’t offer distribution to bookstores? My immediate gut reaction was, “Nope.” Now, to be fair, my husband will tell you “nope” is my default setting. So I paused to read a few responses. Many requested clarification in that there is a

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Things a Publisher
Should Do for You

Mpepper/ March 6, 2023/ Writing Advice

As the number of major publishing houses seemingly continues to shrink, and with more and more people seeking representation from an evaporating pool of agents, many hopeful authors turn to small (sometimes called “indie”) publishers. These are publishing imprints that don’t require agents to submit manuscripts. They’re often run by a small group, or sometimes even just one person. They

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Loglines v. Tag Lines

Mpepper/ October 26, 2022/ Writing, Writing Advice

I read a tweet a little while ago about “high-concept stories” and how they can be distilled into a single sentence. This is, generally speaking, true. But then the example given was… Well, I’m not going to post it, but it was not a high-concept logline. It was more of a tag line. You know, the kind of thing you’d

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Agents Are Browsers

Mpepper/ April 12, 2022/ Think Pieces, Writing Advice

Lately on Twitter, I’ve seen many hopeful authors announcing they’ve finally gotten some kind of request from a query. Though the most excitement stems from “full requests” (meaning an agent has requested to read the full manuscript), even partial requests are a cause for celebration. And… Yeah. I think authors need to embrace even small victories. But I fear, based

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Questions for Publishers

Mpepper/ November 3, 2021/ Writing Advice

As often happens, a question arises on social media (in this case, Twitter) and I spend way too much time answering it via a long thread. So I thought I’d also put it all here in a handy, dandy blog post. Does anyone read blogs anymore? Well, just in case someone does, here’s the setup: I admitted that I once

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Is It YA?

Mpepper/ September 7, 2021/ Writing, Writing Advice

I get a lot of questions about age categories for books. It seems the lines have become somewhat blurred as more and more adults pick up young adult, and even middle grade, novels. So many writers think that, based on their characters’ ages, their book must be x, y, or z. But character age is not the only—or even the

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Mpepper/ February 22, 2021/ Flashbacks, Think Pieces, Writing Advice

Years ago, when I was feeling bad about my lack of success as a writer, I made a timeline of my writing history to remind myself of how far I’d come. I don’t know where that timeline is now, or even what software I used to make it, but I do still find looking back at my journey gives me

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Writers as Competition?

Mpepper/ January 29, 2021/ Think Pieces, Writing Advice

I came late to Twitter’s “Harsh Writing Advice” trend, but apparently someone posted that other writers are your competition, and then got slammed, and then deleted the tweet, but of course (because Internet) it’s still around in various formats. People piled on this guy for posting this, and… given that he didn’t really explain his logic (if there was any),

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On the Naming of Characters

Mpepper/ January 28, 2021/ Think Pieces, Writing Advice

This question has come up a lot just recently, so I decided to write a post about it: “How do you name your characters?” I prefer to have my characters introduce themselves. Sometimes they do that right away, meaning I know their name first thing. Sometimes, though, they’re a bit shy about it, and we play a game of Rumpelstiltskin.

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