How to improve your writing with these simple rules

Do you feel like rules stifle your creativity?

That too many rules, like cooks, ruin the outcome?

Well, following the rules need not be confusing. Thanks to Barbara Delinsky boils down the rules of writing to 5 easy to understand and follow.

  1. Homework.
    • Research will help you write about everything. Thank goodness for Google. Personally, I love researching a new topic. Too bad I get lost in all the cool info.
  2. Likable characters.
    • Everyone loves to cheer on the heroine and boo the villain. Don’t overdo their attributes.
  3. Scene purpose.
    • Write scenes that don’t distract or slow down your story.
  4. Move it, move it.
    • Keep the pace moving forward. Readers prefer heart-stopping speed to eloquent prose.
  5. Edit, and edit some more.
    • Edit everything. Edit typos, flow, context, inconsistencies, repetition, and boredom.

There you have it, my take on How to Write Like Delinsky: Five Rules Of Writing by Barbara Delinsky

Head over and read Barbara’s post and let me know what you think.

Do you follow her rules?

Have one of your own to add?

Are you a rule breaker or follower?







Do you need to do more than Google it?

Sometimes Google is not the end all be expert. 

Although, in our family, the go-to phrase is, “Google it.”

However, on occasion, we need more. But, Facebook and Twitter as a news authority? Really?

Like most people, I love reading Facebook and Twitter but, we need to always check the source. Too many times an opinion piece is considered news. Remember, check the origin of that article your Aunt Sue tagged you in. And if unsure, there are plenty of websites you can run the truth meter. Snopes, and FactCheck are just two. 

What have I learned from Facebook and Twitter? Writing an eye-catching title is important. Not easy but important.

So where do we look for answers to our burning questions?

Read this post by Jacqui Murray. She gives us several places to get the facts straight.

Unconventional Research Sites for Writers by Jacqui Murray

My favorite on her list?

How Stuff Works and Info Please

And here is another you can add to her list. How It’s Made. Click on the link to watch the episodes.

What is your go to information resource?

Do you Google for everything?

Which of her suggestions do you find interesting?

I like to hear yours. Leave me a comment and let’s talk.

Please head over and “like” my Facebook page at Facebook at jeanswriting . Or to connect with me, click the “write me” tab. Don’t forget you can follow me on StumbleUpon,  on Twitter @jeancogdell , and

Please stop by and say “hey!”  I’ll leave a light on. 

Do you tell the truth and nothing but the truth?

As Sgt. Joe Friday admonished on Dragnet, “Just the facts, Ma’am…”

But where to stop? stop-1502026_640

I’ve researched different stuff for my book and I’m getting bogged down in the details.

Didn’t someone once say, “Don’t sweat the small stuff?” And some of this stuff is small. However, I don’t want a reader slamming me for a glaring mistake just because I didn’t do enough research.

Besides, I love research. I can get lost for hours hopping from website to website reading everything on a subject. And what do I end up with? Files, more files, notebooks and dozens of sticky notes of important information.

“Half a truth is often a great lie.” – Benjamin Franklin 

Sometimes I get too technical, too filled with the mundane details forget the magic of writing.

So here’s to remembering the magic and sprinkling my story with enough half-truths magic-184447_640that my readers are willing to suspend disbelief. Fingers crossed.



What do you think?

Are you a researcher?

Or do you write and let the facts fall where they may?

Do you think different genres call for varying degrees of research?

As usual, I’ve left some interesting reading at the bottom. See? I just love research. LOL

Leave me a comment – I love comments.

Please head over and “like” my Facebook page at Facebook at jeanswriting . Or to connect with me, click the “write me” tab. Don’t forget you can follow me on StumbleUpon,  on Twitter @jeancogdell , and

Please stop by and say, “hey!” I’ll leave a light on.

How Much Research Is Too Much?

Research: When and How Much? by Evan Marshall

Fiction Writer’s Guide: How much Research is too much? 

How to Research a Novel: 7 Tips  by:

How to find the best keywords and tags

The shopping frenzy has started.

If you’re like me, you’ve burned up Google and Amazon, searching for just the right gifts.

Late last night I was doing just that as I hunted for just the right gift. After a lot of junk popped up, unrelated to the item I wanted, a question began to germinate in my brain.

What pops up when someone Googles a subject I’ve blogged about? Or me, or my books?

If someone wants to know about ISBNs, will they find my blog?

Image source

Every writer hopes their books will appear on the first page of Amazon, and every blogger wants their blog to appear on the first page of Google search.

So how do we accomplish this? 

Tag Words!

These little devils are more important than I ever realized. But don’t let the thought of the dreaded SEO scare you. Think of it more as waving at the internet shouting, “look, I’m over here.”

Image source

Picking the right keyword or tag for each blog and your book determines how quickly someone can find them.

After a lot of reading and research here’s what I’ve figured out.

  • Keywords and tags are the same things.
  • But categories are not the same as tags or keywords.
  • Tag your title. (If you’re writing about book reviews, make sure to use the keywords “book reviews.”
  • It’s important to research keywords. This doesn’t take a lot of work, simply use Google to see which words are busy or if your blog is popping. Or go to SEO Book Keyword Research Tool for more help.
  • Compound and plural words research different from simple and singular words. Such as, key word vs. keyword or keywords.

Now go Google yourself, your blog, and your keywords. 

What did you find?

Are you set? Can people locate you easily?

Leave a comment or click the “write me” tab or look for me on Twitter @jeancogdell, Facebook at jean.cogdell and, stop by and say hey! The lights are on, and I’m waiting.

Please remember to share this post with your Twitter  peeps and Facebook fans.

Want to know more? Click and read. 

Keyword Research 101: How to Choose The Best Tags & Keywords For Your Blog Posts – And Why This Matters