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This introductory course offers 5 challenges - aim to do one a day? But there's no rush. Take your time. You might also apply each challenge to more than one piece of writing....

Sentence punctuation is essential though. Can’t get that wrong! Sentences start with a capital letter. Only one full stop and one space after it. Only one exclamation mark – and use them sparingly. How is often used to start a question, but it is already covered by the classic 5Ws If you are not sure about grammar – and have trouble spotting a sentence – please sign up for the Grammar tutorial! These punctuation symbols may...

Ignoring brackets and dashes etc all of which can be edited out anyway, we have just three punctuation symbols to worry about. ...

Do you know when to use 'fewer' and when to use 'less'? The standard rule is to use 'fewer' for things you can count, and 'less' otherwise. Fewer mistakes Less editing However, there are exceptions to this simple rule and a better rule is to apply 'less' for singular nouns and 'fewer' for plural nouns. The pennies are precious. We have fewer pennies. Money is short. We have less money. YOUR CHALLENGE Check each...

People who went to the same school, or were brought up together, or work or play together, tend to mimic each other, not just in their mannerisms but also in their vocabulary and how they speak, without even noticing. In fiction, though, your reader needs to be able to distinguish between characters, and this can be achieved by making sure they speak differently. YOUR CHALLENGE: Review your dialogue, one chracter at a...

In writing, I use the term ‘to prune’ when I am challenging a writer to remove words, sentences, paragraphs even, that are not necessary. At the top level, ask yourself these questions: Are all your characters essential to the plot? Do you require all of that dialogue? Can the plot line be shortened by losing one or more scenes? Getting down to the nitty gritty though, every word should be worth its...