Thursday, September 15, 2011


Tiffany T. Cole

Editor In Chief: Triple R: Read, Rate, Review - 2010-current
Editor in chief for website Triple R, a book reviewing site that features guest appearances from publishers, scriptwriters, and authors, as well as articles on the creative writing process and marketing.

Reviewer: Suspense Magazine - 2010-2011
Reviewed books, namely fantasy and horror, for the magazine.

Interviewer: Caleb Jennings Breakey - 2011
A teen writer's community, where teens submitted and were assisted with writing through contests, guides, and discussions. Interviewed and promoted authors twice a month.

Contributor: Best Damn Creative Writing Blog - 2011
Article contributor, namely for writing tips and social networking.


Indiana University, Bloomington IN --- Bachelor's in English. Minor in Entrepreneurship: 2011 - current (expected graduation in 2014).


Critiquing/promotion. Critiquing skills include chapter-by-chapter, paragraph-by-paragraph analyses of sentence structure, plot, dialogue, characterization, etc. Promotion includes advertising clients' content on 17+ networking sites, book giveaways, and interviews as well as offering advice in short reports. References available upon request.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

December's {Late} Tip of the Month

Below is a review that I gave my best friend to improve her story. Although it was was written specifically for her story, it could also be used to help improve your own. It took me an hour to do this review. I don't do this often, mind you.

This article has many helpful functions: It ties in with my previous article on dialogue as well as shows what I suppose a good, thorough review looks like. Also, keep in mind that I am far from a Twilight fan, and that is brought up in this review. PLEASE do not go all rabid fan on me about it! These are just my opinions; they can, just as easily, be disregarded.

How is it, best friend?! I imagine you should already know who I am by that evident hint. Anyway, I am going to review this the way I would review any other author on Fictionpress - with the intent to help them be publishing-worthy. If I come off harsh at instances, please excuse it. A lot of grief would have been avoided for me when I joined this site six years ago if I had a best friend to honestly review my story and show me the works. I promise to be fair and honest with you. With that said, here is your promised - and dreadfully long - review:

Good Points:
A good reviewer always starts off with the good points of a story, and that is what I plan to do. {Or atleast they should mention good points SOMEWHERE in the review, unless there really was nothing good at all}

Summary: I see you rightfully took advantage of the summary box. It isn't boring, nor is it too specific. However, I think if you added a bit more sentence structure - as in change of sentence lengths - the summary would have more of a grasp factor. Also, though this is not related to the summary, you should probably change the genre to supernatural/Romance, since your title implies this story will be an adventure. Twilight's influence (which I will touch on further in the review) is evident from the moment your character thinks of Trey. Unless things drastically change later in the story between them, this story's central point will end up being romance.

First Paragraph: Lovely! You understand the importance of the first paragraph. It is often the part of the story that makes or break it. I was impressed with it. It answered the where question in a marvelous way as well as made me want to continue reading it.

Description: Though it gets...overdone at some points (I will also touch on this later in the review), it was there and fairly well done. At least I always had a sense of where they were.

Your writing has greatly improved since the story I read years ago in that small pink notebook! If you seriously wanted to be a writer, I think it would work out with the right ambition.

Bad Points:
This is the most important part of the review. What I will say here, though disappointing, is what can be used to improve your story. I suspect Stephenie Meyer's story would have had more depth in the writing department if she would have just paid a bit more attention to the critiques people were offering her.

Dialogue Tag-on's and grammar: It took me a long time to understand how to use dialogue. Even now, I still have to break out my writing books and research how it's done. Here are the problems I noticed with dialogue grammatically (not content wise. That's something else I will touch on later):

I closed my eyes and listened to the trees for a moment,

He looked at me a bit weirdly I had to admit,

Above are two sentences copied from your story where you put a comma before skipping a line and going to dialogue. That's incorrectly written. A sentence can not end in a comma, nor does it look right. There are two ways you could have done this. You could have just put a period where the commas were. Or, since I think you may have been trying to use them as a form of attribution, you could have just put them right before the dialogue that would be following it. For instance:

He looked at me a bit weirdly I had to admit. “You’re adopted?”

That way you could take out 'he asked' because, by that attribution, it's implied that he spoke. If you need help with this, I can go further into it in a seperate e-mail or something.

Next Problem:

“You know what else is amazing?” I ASKED IN A SEDUCING TONE. (seductively would have fit better here, I think, but adverbs look nasty after dialogue. I just read five essays on that matter). He looked at me with large green eyes.

“What?” HE SAID GLIMPSING INTO MY EYES. He mimicked my tone.

“Me beating you to the stables!” I YELLED AND I DASHED OFF AND I HEADED FOR THE STAIRCASE AND OUT THE DOOR. (that's a run-on sentence) I heard him shout at me, (That comma is not needed)

“You won’t win!” HE SAID HYPERACTIVELY AND STARTED RUNNING AFTER ME. We ran past some of the trees and we ran through some pastures and we hit the barn.

Your dialogue tags, as in the parts I put in Caps Lock, are repetitive and unnecessary. If your dialogue is written well enough, readers can figure that out on their own. If it doesn't improve the tone in any way, avoid it. Here is how it would look cleaned up a bit:

Seductively, I asked, "You know what else is amazing?"

"What?" he replied, mimicking my tone. His eyes met mine in a way that almost suggested he was trying to read my thoughts. It was as frightening as it was alluring.

"Me beating you to the stables!"

It wasn't what I originally meant to say, but it would give me enough time to think about it and a reason to keep him close. I dashed off, glancing behind me as I ran down the stairs to make sure he was following me. It wasn't until I could hear his footsteps rapidly following my own did I run past the door.

"You won't win!" he said.

That didn't matter anyway. I was running with him - well past the pastures and through the barn - and I think I could have for centuries and not minded.

I think my corrections may have been a bit too sappy, and it wasn't written in the voice of your character, but in the voice of Alecia{Alecia is the main character of my novel Savior of the Supernatural}.That would have been her thoughts, so that's how I wrote it. It was also done off the top of my head. Still, I think it looked better with dialogue tags removed or kept to a minimum.

Next Dialogue issue:

“You think I’m what?” I WIDENED MY EYES AND LOOKED AT HIM AS IF TO SAY, ‘hot sexy boy who I am in love with say what?!?’ (This, oddly enough, sounds like something Hannah Montana would say with her famous funny expressions. Ironic, as you do not like her, correct?) HE SMILED AND SIMPLY SAID,

“I just said that I thought you were beautiful.” HE SAID. “Let’s get going.” He was pulling something I’d done earlier. He was trying, and if I had anything to do with it failing, and changing the subject.

There are other errors in that selection from your story that I am avoiding for another review. Anyway, the parts I put in caps lock are all methods of attribution. You should have counted 7 sentences in caps lock, or evey other thing not in qoutation. That means you've used too much attribution. There are only two people talking, after all. It's so long because it's repetitive. Cleaned, it could look like this:

"Sterling, is it?" Trey said, looking at the horse in awe. His voice softened to a point where I could barely hear him. "He's are you."

I looked at him, eyes wide, thoughts in array. "You think I'm what?"

"I just said that I thought you were beautiful. Never mind that, though; let's get going."

I've said the same thing you have said, but in shorter words that may leave a stronger impact.

Content: This part of the review follows the problems I saw in plot. It's mostly opinionated, and can be disregarded as thus, but you should pay them close attention. This plot is a lot similar to Twilight, so the problems I see in that storyline I can't help but see already formulating here. I will thoroughly explain them below:

Trey as to Edward as Edward is to a Gary-stu: He's just too perfect right now. I get that he's a vampire, but where are his flaws and his personality outside of Aurora? Plus, like Stephenie Meyer did with Edward, you have a tendency of spending paragraph after paragraph seemingly obsessing over how beautiful he is. Once described once or twice throughout the story, it's enough. I'm hoping to see some real flaws and personality with him as the story continues.

Insignificant Details: Though description is always marvelous, a writer needs to make sure they don't do too much or too little. Also like Stephenie Meyer, you have a tendency of spending a considerable amount of time mulling over insignificant details, like the exact type of clothes she's wearing. Unless that clothing type will impact the story later in some way, it's okay to just say she changed into a hoodie and jeans. Sometimes, she changed clothes is enough.

The world stopped: There is no mention of anything else in Aurora's or Trey's world but what directly affects them. Where is her family? What was she doing before he arrived? The world is still going on.

Mention of power's earlier: Something as significant as her having powers would be mentioned before her affection for Trey. It is, in honesty, more important since this story is not in the romance section. Plus, if there will be lots of adventure and fighting, we need to grow an understanding of her powers. Not all at once, but enough for us to believe and accept it.

Is it too easy?: Be careful to make sure that she doesn't get him so easy, like he just fell right into her arms. Where is the excitement in watching them fall in love if it comes along so effortlessly and is smooth from that point on? Think in terms of real life. If someone falls madly in love with someone within the first week, definately as teenagers, they are more likely to use up all of their chemistry too quickly and things start to fall apart. Keep that in mind as you write.

That's all I can think of now! (Thank goodness, lol). Once again, I'm sorry if I came across as rude. I only had intentions to help you improve, as well as grow a Fictionpress fanbase of some sort. Those are always fun. I added your story to my story alert page so I will always read and review your chapters. Don't worry; they won't be as long or constructive as this, unless I go off on a tangent again.

Overall, I think you're an awesome writer, and I really can't wait to see where this story goes! Waiting for the next chapter:

\~Adieu, your best friend WriterGurlLW.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Just a question

Today's post won't be a long one. I'm just wondering....

What do you think is better for an author who is pursuing college? To study English or to go to college and pursue another career choice?

I plan on getting a PhD in English with a focus on creative writing while minoring in Public Relations. Beforehand, I wanted to major in Psychology with a minor in English. I didn't change my mind because of the question, but still. What do you think is a better choice? While I know experience is the key to becoming a great writer, it's not like majoring in English wouldn't also help.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Guest Post - Nusha' on Shakespeare and his influence

Today's wednesday guest post is by Nusha', a very wonderful member of my website - Writer's Haven. Below you will find a beautiful post about the influences of Shakespeare.

To be, or not to be: That is the question.

You probably recognize that from somewhere, right? You probably know it’s a Shakespeare quote. You might not know that it’s from Hamlet, act three; scene one, but now you do.

Could you imagine for a moment, what literature today would be like if Shakespeare had...I don’t know...died from falling off a cliff onto a pile of sharp rocks? We’d have no Macbeth, no Romeo and Juliet, none of his sonnets or other plays to entertain ourselves with. You may not see the importance of that unless you’re a writer, or an avid reader.

It’s been internationally debated on the rank of Shakespeare in the world of literature. Many claim that he is the best; rightly so, what with the obvious proof of his impact on literature today. He’s not just the crotchety old man that wrote plays four hundred years ago; he was a legend, and any writer will agree with that.

Not a day goes by that you don’t quote Shakespeare; you just don’t know you’re doing it. He invented a wide range of words that a commonly used today. ‘Bedroom’, ‘assassination’, ‘bump’, ‘watchdog’ and ‘puke’ are some of the commonly used words of his. The phrase, ‘to laugh it off’ is also his wording. Sarcasm! One of the famous stunts we pull [especially as moody teenagers!] when we’re angry or generally annoyed. We can all thank Mr.S for that lovely new way of expressing negative feelings.

If you’re a writer, it always helps to read the writings of someone who is talented in a area of literature: description, dialogue, plot or character development, etc. Shakespeare was really good at that, just so you know... One major reason that people still go around making movies out of his plays is because people still like them today. And, one major reason that people still like his plays is because one can relate to his plays.

I’m not suggesting that every-day people go around plotting to kill their government leader like Macbeth, or that average passers-by plan to commit suicide for their lovers like Romeo and Juliet. His characters, however, are just so realistic. Trust me, at the end of reading a play of his, you feel like you either want to savagely murder one of the characters with a genuine hatred, or you want to marry another out of pure admiration.

I think it’s the way he wrote his character’s speeches. His dialogue technique is one to admire, and one for every aspiring writer to take a look at and study. [I’m really not suggesting you write your stories in iambic pentameter, though!]. What you should look at, however, is the way he expresses the character’s thoughts and personality development. He really did a fantastic job of expressing their thoughts the way we would. It’s almost like reading exactly what we would do in a situation like that of the character. [This is what almost every writer is trying to achieve!].

If you’re an aspiring writer, or already a writer, you should analyze a few of his popular works, just to see how a professional does it. It’ll help, trust me. He’s a good source for reference when it comes to writing deep, intellectual soliloquies and monologues, as well as one for similes, metaphor and other literary devices.

Now, after going on that little rant about how amazing he was [and still is], I’ve got just a couple suggestions for you. Grab a copy of some of his plays and read them. You’ll thank yourself for doing it later. My second suggestion for you is that when you’re taking a break from reading his pages of wonder and fulfillment, you come back to this young lady’s blog and read what she writes. She’s a good writer, so follow her advice and give her your feedback! Thank you, Tiff, for allowing me to go on a tangent on your beautiful blog! Stay awesome, and read Macbeth.

All’s well that ends well, right?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Site marketing

As you, my dear reader, knows, Wednesdays are usually set out for guest posts. However, I haven't been able to connect with enough people to find someone else to guest blog for me. Heart Lace will come back next month with a topic, but that's a couple of wednesdays away. So, instead, I'm going to spend today doing what I really should have done a long time ago - marketing, at least in the superficial fashion. I'm going to request affiliation with FPSSA, La Campanella, SKOW, Undiscovered and/or anyone else that will take me or see if I can join some blogrolls. I'm also going to see If I'll have an opportunity to guest blog with someone.

Then, after that, I'm going here to watch some very invigorating videos. I'm also looking forward to checking Gaiman's blog and eating.

Wish me marketing luck!

P.S. As you can see, I'm having complications choosing what font size to use, and the inconsistency looks really ugly. I think I'm going to stick with normal as opposed to the chunky large. Do you think that's a good idea, that it's easier on the eyes? I've had complications with both.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Reading as a Writer

Two things first, before I forget: I am going to try to make this blog post shorter. While I know, if the blog post is really interesting, it can be of long length, I need to slow down until I gain more readers. More about that on wednesday. Also - and I almost forgot as I was typing this (You'd think I was smoking, in which case I'm not) - I'm no longer updating on Fridays. I figure Monday's, Wednesday's, and the random Tip of the Month posts is enough for now.

So, for the topic. I got the idea from another marvelous author and blogger, Gail Levine. Read the blog post,
The End of a Chapter.

Reading as a writer is almost as helpful as it is frustrating. Unless the book is so moving and so interesting that I can't stop, I often find myself pointing out irritating sentence structure and repetitive sentence beginnings. I literally count the number of 'was's' used in the paragraph. This means that I have to go back and reread large amounts of the chapter, because once I start to point out consistent errors in others' works, I tend to think about my writing screw-ups. That takes me right out of the story.

That's good because it makes me want to write and/or improve my writing, but it's bad because it means I read books at a much slower pace. This is a habit mostly dominant when I'm reading fiction, though. I think that's why, lately, all I've had a desire for is guidebooks. In fact, I turned a fantasy story collection edited by Robert Silverberg back in to the library unfinished only to pay twenty-five cents for a book called '110 People Who Are Screwing Up America.' Not that the fantasy stories were bad - They were very good, having stuff by the 'Legends' of fantasy. (The collection was called Legends, if you're wondering).

The result, I think, is that I’m now a reluctant reader. I won’t pick up a long book unless it’s by an author I love or unless someone I trust has sworn it’s a great book. I always check the number of pages before I start reading, and I recheck occasionally as I go along. I look ahead to see how many pages are left in the chapter I’m reading too, and I’m disheartened if the chapter ending is a long way off, even if I’m enjoying the book. I like to see a break coming up.When I get to the break I’m likely to continue reading if the chapter ends on an exciting note, or if I know an important moment is approaching. But I’m happy for that little breather. {Gail Carl Levine}

And that leads to my next point, mentioned first in Gail Levine's post. Part of the reason why I picked up Legends was because it had the names Robert Silverbeg, Orson, Stephen King and Terry Pratchett on it. Authors that I've read and enjoyed before. Part of the reason why I put it back was because the chapters were ridiculously long, and I wanted something of a break. Petty reasons, yes. But petty reasons that started when I became serious about writing.

How about you? Has studying the art of writing and writing/reading so many works yourself changed how you read in a negative or positive way, or in between? Please share!