Learn Your Confusable Words

The grammar-controlled community makes so much noise about confusable words that I’m always surprised when I see them misused.

What do I suggest by confusable words, like the following:
practice/practise (for the UK, American and Australian writers among us)
The list goes on.

How to fix it
Proofread! Know what your weak words are, maybe list them so you can be extra aware to check them.

The Use of i.e. and e.g. correctly

I.e. indicates that is, and, e.g. means for example.

How to fix it
Whenever you write it, reread the sentence in your head with the full version, that is where the shortened version (i.e.) is. If it doesn’t make sense, then change it.
Additional tip:
While not a universally used convention, I recommend punctuating like this:
e.g.,        i.e.,

Why? If you were writing for example in a sentence, how would you write it?
For example,        that is,

You would include commas, right? So why wouldn’t you contain commas in the shortened versions? Plus, you look like you know about grammar, and that’s always a positive.


Proofreading is at the centre of numerous—if not all—of these cases. If you want to make sure that your writing comes across as professional, then proofreading is such a necessary step.

Here’s how to fix the problem:
If you can’t support an editor to look at everything you write to guarantee that you find these sorts of simple errors, you still have several options.

You could:
* Develop your proofreading checklist that includes the words you know you get wrong often or the mistakes you make a lot.
* Get a proofreading buddy.
* Learn some proofreading tricks.
* Work with me to create your checklist. I can pinpoint the errors you make often and should watch out for, and then hop on a Skype call with you to go through them together and make sure you understand everything.

So, those are my tips for making your writing more professional by reducing simple errors. Let me know in the comments if you have been making any of these. Or, if you have noticed other mistakes that you think are unprofessional and have an easy fix, please let me know about those, so I can add those too!

Common Activities of a P.I.

The following is a list of typical things a private investigator would be doing on a general week:

  • Finding a current or past address for someone.
  • Finding a date of birth.
  • The locating of death records.
  • The location of marriage records.
  • The task of going through someone’s dustbin rubbish for information on what they use an eat, drink, and general lifestyle.
  • Determine the current value of a property.
  • Tracking a wife/husband and finding evidence of a secret affair or lover.
  • Research family history.
  • Obtaining drug record history.
  • The location of past videos or News reports.

Ideas for First Time Crime Writers

Tips For The New Crime Writer

1. Create a frightening antagonist. Make him or her three-dimensional. A valid way to do this is giving them a personal association to the protagonist other than by the crime.
2. Put your protagonist in an unfortunate position – how did the narrator get there in that situation?
3. Make sure your protagonist risks something significant to them, for example, an investigator could risk their career, or jeopardise a relationship to catch the antagonist.
4. Give your protagonist a particular motive, for instance, spite,, revenge, justice, survival, and isolate them from their comfort zones.
5. Nothing – no matter how exciting it seems to you – should be left in, every word should do a part in progressing the story. If a word or sentence does not serve the plot, delete it. The story must involve the reader. The precise way to do this is to generate problems that have significant consequences.

Crime Fiction Good Advice

1. – On making the crime of the story matter to the sleuth. This is what is known as the inciting incident. 

Whether the crime is large and threatens the future of humanity, or small and only threatens a person’s reputation, it has to matter personally to the sleuth. How this fits into a series novel, I don’t know yet. Maybe there must be an inciting incident in the first book and not in the second, but inciting incidents could happen fairly often.

2. – On generating ideas 

I used to believe that I couldn’t write fiction as I wasn’t skilled at making up things. It turns out you don’t have to be because interesting ideas are all around you. Learn to tune in, and pay attention when your brain says. But the ‘What if…?” question is an ideal generator.

3. – On secrets that fuel your plot 

In a mystery novel: Everyone has secrets, and it’s the revelation of those secrets that propel the story forward within their situation.

4. – On basing your story on a real person and event: 

A real character or an actual event can make an excellent beginning point for a mystery novel. A large number of existing events are too bizarre and unbelievable for fiction.

5. – On advancing your character past cliché: 

Interesting characters startle the reader. Be sure to build a disconnect between your character’s physical demeanour and true capabilities. Then mine the rift, be it through plot and action, reveal who your character becomes.

6. – On profligate adverbs; 

“Oh, goody,” John said enthusiastically as he smiled radiantly. 
Eradicate as many of those ‘-ly’ adverb words and replace them with excellent descriptions of what a character does. It’s the: SHOW DON’T TELL.

7. – On the unlikely villain: 

Yes, you want to surprise the reader. But the surprise has to be believable and realistic. All the evidence has to bein the novel somewhere.

8. – On coincidence: 

If some major part of your plot hinges on coincidence, readers will cry foul. Sure, there are coincidences in actual life, but your fictional world is far more demanding. Only unfortunate coincidences are realistic in real life and fiction.