10 Good Grammar Resources

writing resources grammar

Grammar resources for writers.

There’s good grammar and bad grammar, proper grammar and poor grammar. Some writers have fun with grammar and for others, grammar’s a bore. But in order to communicate effectively and for our writing to be professional (and publishable), we all need reliable grammar resources.

There is no grammar authority, no supreme court of grammar where judges strike down the gavel at grammar offenders. Grammar is not an exact science (in fact, it’s not a science at all), and even among the most educated and experienced linguists, the rules of grammar are heavily debated.

Of course, there are some basic rules we can all agree on, and these can found in any good grammar resource. There are gray areas, too, which are skillfully handled by style guides.

As writers, we need these resources. They help us use language effectively. Good grammar ensures that our work is readable. And we all know that bad grammar can make a piece of writing unreadable, unprofessional, and sloppy. Read More

From 101 Creative Writing Exercises: The Great Debate

creative writing exercises

Creative writing exercises: the great debate.

Today’s post is from 101 Creative Writing Exercises. This exercise is from “Chapter 9: Philosophy, Critical Thinking, and Problem Solving.” It’s called “The Great Debate.” Enjoy!

Logic, order, and organization are essential in clear and coherent writing, whether you’re telling a story or writing a poem. Critical thinking is a fundamental writing skill.

If a story doesn’t stand up to logic, or if a poem has holes in its philosophy, readers will become disenchanted. If a character does something outrageous but doesn’t have a reasonable motive, readers will become disengaged.

Writing requires foresight and analysis. We use what-if questions to create, and we use if-then arguments to substantiate everything we write. Read More

How to Read Poetry

how to read poetry

Tips to enhance your poetry reading experience.

Have you ever fell in love with a song immediately upon hearing it? As soon as it’s over, you whip out your phone and purchase the song, and then you play it on repeat for the rest of the day until you know every note and lyric. It becomes your your current favorite, your latest obsession.

That probably doesn’t happen very often.

Usually when you hear a new song, you feel ambivalent about it. You don’t want to jump out of your chair and start dancing. The song doesn’t make you bang your head. You can’t sing along. You don’t care if you ever hear it again. But then you do hear it again. And on the second listen, you realize, this song isn’t so bad. Then you hear it again and notice an interesting lyric or riff. Then you hear it again and find something in the song that truly speaks to you. After listening to it a dozen times, the song has become one of your favorite pieces of music.

Sometimes we fall in love instantly and other times, things need to grow on us.

The same is true with poetry. If we’re lucky, we encounter a poem that immediately grabs us. But usually we need to spend a little time or make a little effort to truly admire or understand a poem. This isn’t the poem’s fault; in fact sometimes poetry that requires deeper reading offers the greatest payoff.

Anyone can open a book and read lines of poetry, letting the language drift in and out of their mind. When we put some effort into our reading practices, we can create a more enriching and rewarding reading experience for ourselves and become more skilled readers with a greater appreciation for what we’re consuming. Read More

Futuristic Inspiration for Speculative Fiction

creative writing prompts

Get inspired by the future.

How would people in the Middle Ages respond to a television? What would someone from the 1700s think of a helicopter? What would a person from the early twentieth century think of a computer, or more specifically, the Internet?

They would think these things were magical — either illusions or genuine supernatural occurrences. They might even believe the persons yielding the magical objects were witches, wizards, or gods.

But you and I both know that’s not the case. Read More

12 Places to Find Awesome Writing Ideas

where to find awesome writing ideas

Where to find awesome writing ideas.

We look high. We look low. Sometimes it feels like we’ve been looking forever and will keep looking forever more.

Ideas. They’re out there and we know it. But where are they hiding? Why do they keep escaping us? How can we catch them?

Writing ideas are not always easy to come by. Most ideas get tossed aside because they’re not original or interesting enough. So we constantly search for ideas that will capture our imaginations and keep us happily tapping away on our keyboards.

Not every writer is on this quest. Some writers are overwhelmed with inspiration and can’t find enough time to realize every brilliant idea. The rest of us are always on the lookout for exciting writing ideas to add to our inspiration archives. Read More

21 Do-It-Yourself Editing Tips

proofreading and editing

Tips for Editing Your Own Work.

The human mind is a funny thing; it likes to play tricks on us.

For example, when we proofread and edit our own writing, we tend to read it as we think it should be, which means we misread our own typos and other spelling, grammar, and punctuation mistakes as well as problems with word choice and sentence structure, context, and overall readability.

If you have a friend or family member who has good grammar skills, maybe they can help you out by proofreading and editing your work before you send it out or publish it.

For special submissions and publications, hiring a professional proofreader or editor is the best way to make sure your writing is free of errors.

But for most of us, it’s not likely that anyone’s going to proofread and edit every single piece of writing that we create. That’s especially true for writers who put out a lot of material — like bloggers. Proofreading and editing services can get expensive, and friends and family probably don’t want to spend all their free time checking your work. Sometimes the only option available is to do it yourself. Read More

What If? Writing Exercises for Fiction Writers

what if writing exercises for fiction writers

What If? Writing Exercises for Fiction Writers.

Good fiction includes many different elements: believable characters, realistic dialogue, and compelling plots. Every decent story has a beginning, middle, and end. Intriguing tales are built around conflict and are rich with themes and symbols. And those are just the basics.

It can be pretty overwhelming.

Fiction writing is hard work. It requires a complex and diverse set of skills. Stringing words together into sentences only scratches the surface of what goes into good fiction writing. Fiction that is truly worthwhile is layered with meaning. It’s made up of an infinite number of tiny parts. Most importantly, it has a sense of truth and realism that the real world often lacks.

Mark Twain said, “Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; truth isn’t.” Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Fiction reveals truth that reality obscures.” And Stephen King said, “Fiction is the truth inside the lie.”

In other words, fiction, at its best, feels truer than reality. Great writers make it look easy, but writing that kind of fiction, the kind that’s worth reading, is nothing short of magic. Read More

Quotes on Poetry: Leonardo da Vinci

What is Art? What is Poetry?

For centuries, people have been asking what is art? Is art a question? An answer? An expression? A statement? Maybe it’s sheer entertainment.

It’s a question we must answer for ourselves, especially artists and writers.

I believe the best art entertains while it provokes thought or emotion, but that’s just my personal opinion. You might seek art that makes you laugh or fills you with awe. Some prefer art that is masterfully crafted, regardless of the content or messages it communicates. Read More

Creative Writing Prompts Inspired by Historical Events

creative writing prompts

Creative writing prompts inspired by historical events.

Today’s prompts include selections from the book 1200 Creative Writing Prompts. Enjoy!

Nonfiction writers are obviously inspired by the real world, but fiction writers and poets also take inspiration from real people and events.

Wars, scandals, scientific advances, and famous figures in history have all been represented in every form of writing. Read More

Good Grammar and Bad Manners: Writing Tips for Handling Mistakes Made in Public

good grammar

Good grammar and good manners.

I’m a writer, but before I’m a writer, I’m a human being. And as a human being, sometimes I make mistakes.

Let’s face it, we all make mistakes — some big, some small. Today I want to talk about what happens when we, as writers, make a mistake in our work: a typo, an incorrectly structured sentence, or a misspelling.

When writers make mistakes like these, it can be embarrassing. Occasionally when I’m going through old posts here at Writing Forward, I’ll come across some typo or mistake and I’ll fix it.

I do everything I can to ensure that this happens as rarely as possible; I proofread everything I write from my blog posts to my comments, tweets, and emails. But sometimes, mistakes slip past. Read More