I’m a writer blog

Guidelines for writing Poems, Stories and Tales

What constitutes a ‘hook?’

A hook is an opening statement (which is usually the first sentence) in an essay that attempts to grab the reader’s attention so that they want to read on. It can be done by using a few different types of hooks, which are a question, quote, statistic, or anecdote. What are the 4 types of […]

Is page range inclusive or exclusive?

Page ranges are normally inclusive. “Pages 1-5” means pages 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. I think most readers would be extremely confused if you wrote “pages 1-5” and mean 1, 2, 3, and 4. Note that you should include a page in the range even if the relevant text takes up only a small […]

Following the Chicago Manual of Style, what’s the correct format and sequence for a citation of one out of a series of pamphlets?

How do you cite a pamphlet in Chicago-style? Author First Name/Initial Surname, Title of Pamphlet: Subtitle (Place of Publication: Publisher, Year), page #(if there is one). What is the format for Chicago-style writing? Chicago doesn’t require a specific font or font size, but recommends using something simple and readable (e.g. 12 pt. Times New Roman). […]

Using place names from other novels

Can I use names of real places in my novel? Yes. You can make up places. Just make sure to indicate in the foreword that everything in your writing is purely a work of fiction, especially when you use the names of famous places. Otherwise, you might confuse readers – especially the young ones – […]

Switching Between First and Third Person

What is it called when you switch from first person to third person? Alternate Point of View (POV) is a complicated narration form, but, if done the right way, it can make for a captivating read. This technique combines the depth of a single character’s perspective with the versatility of switching between characters. Can you […]

Is my opening chapter too short?

How long should opening chapter be? Based on this dataset of novels, we can establish some guidelines for chapter length: the average word count of a chapter generally ranges between 1,500 words to 5,000 words, with 3,000-4,000 words being the most common sweet spot. What is a good length for a first chapter? There are […]

How to Win Short-Fiction Writing Competitions

10 Storytelling Essentials That Wow Judges and Win Writing Contests Get inspired by the theme. … Focus on a bite-sized story. … Structure your story with clarity in mind. … Hook your readers (and the judges!) with a brilliant first line. … Get straight to the action. … Give your character a goal. How do […]