The Only Comma Rules You’ll Ever Need!

Just Can't Help Writing

The five basic comma rulesCommas are among my favorite tools for building meaning. Used intelligently, commas are wonderful signposts that tell readers which part of a sentence they’ve stumbled into—and then help them make their way out again. I like commas so much I’ve written multiple posts about them.

If comma rules confuse you, take heart! If improving reader comprehension is your goal, there are really only a few “rules” to remember:

Use commas:

Rule 1: After introductory elements.

This is the one most people seem to know about. But I argue that commas are really only necessary when the introductory element gets long enough that readers may miss the lane change back into the main part of the sentence.


After a moment he left the room. (No comma needed unless you want to emphasize a pause.)


After he spent  an extended vacation in a remote village in the Alps, where did…

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10 Ways to End Your Novel…

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

by Sara Ridley


on Life of a Storyteller Site:

Ending your novel can be as tricky as starting it. The writer has to question themselves on whether they resolve everything, leave some aspects open to interpretation, leave the reader feeling happy, sad, confused or angry.

There is just so much! Another thing writers need to consider is having an ending that is unique to the story and not similar to something they have previously read.

Well, you can have that, my friends, because here for you today I have 10 different types of endings you can use for your novel.

Check them out below:

10 Ways to End Your Novel

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EDITING 101: 62 – Using the Wrong Song Lyrics…

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

Using the Wrong Song Lyrics

If you’re going to go against standard editorial advice (given in Editing 101 post #8) and use song lyrics in your book, for heaven’s sake, be sure you have the CORRECT lyrics!

Well, duh, Editor Lady. That’s what all those Internet lyric sites are for, silly.

Umm, no.

Do not trust lyric sites on the Internet to have the true, accurate lyrics. Most of them are not any more accurate than the mondegreen you may have heard.

What the heck is that??

A mondegreen is a mishearing or misinterpretation of a phrase—as a result of near-homophony (go back and visit post 16 for an explanation of homophones)—in a way that gives it a new meaning. What you heard may not be correct.

An example would be a line in ZZ Top’s song, “Sharp-Dressed Man,” which apparently some people have heard as “Everybody’s crazy…

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EDITING 101: 61 – Passive Voice versus Passive Verbs…

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

Passive Voice versus Passive Verbs

You may have heard of the great advice to get rid of the extra “to be” verbs as you self-edit. I concur with that task. Not only is it boring for the reader, but using passive verbs makes your writing weak. That’s why they’re termed…well…passive verbs.

However, contrary to what some people believe, every use of “was”—or another form of the verb “to be”—is not inherently using the passive voice. “Was” is the legitimate past tense of “to be” and in many cases is 100% correct. Unfortunately, some people who call themselves editors don’t recognize the difference and ruthlessly edit out every instance of “was” in a manuscript.

These are legitimate, correct uses of the past tense of “to be” (although in the last one, you could get rid of the “to be” helper verb and just write “waited”):

The sky was blue.

The man…

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Book Metadata? What The Heck Is Book Metadata?

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

by Derek Haines  on Just Publishing Advice site:

Book metadata is in the end, what really sells ebooks, so you need to know about it.

If you are an author and self-publishing on Amazon, Kindle, Smashwords, Draft2Digital, Apple, B&N or anywhere else, you need to know what book metadata is, and how to use it to help sell more books.

Take it from me, as an author who has been chronically lazy and left many of my long list of previously published books unchanged from the day they were published; times have changed. And how!

I have been booted into action, however, by this book metadata stuff because, well, um, here comes my admission. Because my book sales were falling, and I know why.

I have not made it easy for readers to find my books. No matter how many great reviews my books may have, if readers can’t search and find…

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Negative Self-Judgment – Guest post by, Tina Frisco…

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

Image courtesy of Ningren

The people we tend to be hardest on are ourselves. Some folks are an exception to this, but it seems to be true for most of us.

While I was in Pennsylvania helping care for my mother, I fell into judging myself… harshly… a lot.

I should be doing more. I should move back to Pennsylvania in order to help my sisters meet my mother’s needs. I should not feel guilty that my nephew gave up his bed for me and is sleeping on the couch for five weeks. I should not be afraid to drive a (huge) van for the first time in my life, down unfamiliar winding roads, and over freeways and across bridges under construction. I should be able to stick with my dietary regimen and exercise program, even though I am constantly on the go and thoroughly exhausted.

How often do we…

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