13 Ways to Horrify Your Editor This Halloween

Screaming skeleton witch

If you want to make your editor shudder, try these monstrous tactics.
Photo by george erws (Flickr)

As the days turn darker and October draws to a close, it’s the time of year when many people find themselves in the mood for a scary story. Over my years of editing, I’ve seen quite a few things that made me want to scream, though usually from frustration, not fear. Nonetheless, in honor of this hair-raising holiday, I’ve decided to take a look at ways that writers have made me tremble. If you want to turn your editor from a helpful Dr. Jekyll into a maniacal Mr. Hyde, try these ideas: Read more ›

Posted in Writing Tips

Now Read This! The Difference Between Headlines and Title Tags

Town crier

Draw people in to read your piece with an engaging headline.
Photo by Mary Ann Clarke SCott (Flickr)

It doesn’t matter if it’s fiction or nonfiction: Coming up with a good title can be the hardest part of any project for some freelance writers. To make matters even more difficult, nowadays, writers can’t simply write a header and walk away — there are many different types of titles that writers have to deal with. When writing for the Web, title tags are the most important, but how do they differ from other titles, headers, and headlines?

The Classic News Headline

News headlines typically come from the tradition of newspapers, whose only requirement was that it summarized the contents of an article and fit within a given amount of space. They should be short and dramatic or interest-grabbing. Read more ›

Posted in Writing Tips

7 Reasons to Take Part in NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo mug

You might need a lot of coffee to write 50,000 words in one month, but the sense of accomplishment you’ll feel at the end is sure to be worth it.
Photo by qrevolution (Flickr)

It sounds mad: thousands of writers dedicated to the idea of writing a 50,000-word novel in one month. November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), and as many veterans of this annual practice are getting their index cards and outlines ready, we at Online Writing Jobs thought we might encourage our awesome writers to take part. According to the official website, “NaNoWriMo is for anyone who has ever thought fleetingly about writing a novel.” If you’ve been thinking about writing your novel, here are the top seven reasons why you should join in: Read more ›

Posted in Fun Stuff

Onward(s) and Upward(s): Unnecessary Letters

Esses

Keep it ssshort and sssweet: Don’t add an extra S, or any other letter, where it sssshouldn’t be!
Photo by =>Clement<= (Flickr)

Usually, when you’re considering the spelling of a word, there’s a right spelling and a wrong spelling, plain and simple. But sometimes, a word can have more than one spelling that’s technically correct, much like a word can have more than one pronunciation (such as “read,” for example). A secondary spelling of a word isn’t necessarily always wrong: It’s just less right, less common — and therefore less likely to look correct to the reader. Here are a few examples we’ve spotted in freelance writing pieces: Read more ›

Posted in Writing Tips

Using Your Braaaaains: Active vs. Passive Voice

Zombies

Don’t write mindless sentences: Strive to avoid the passive voice whenever possible.
Photo by Lindsey Turner (Flickr)

In the field of freelance writing (and writing in general), the 98-pound weakling of sentences is the one written in passive voice. It’s a wimp, a sentence in which the subject doesn’t want to step up and take responsibility for its action. Consider this sentence:

“The last ice cream sandwich was eaten earlier today.”

Sure, this is an informative sentence if I’m headed toward the freezer (and disappointment) looking for a snack. But it’s passive, an indirect and more wordy way of stating this fact. It also leaves out the subject that did the action: Who ate the last ice cream sandwich? I might want to go tell them to save me one next time, but I can’t do that if the only information I have is this passive-voice sentence. Read more ›

Posted in Writing Tips