Writer’s Tip: Color Code Your Sentences

To make sure that you have a well balanced dialogue scene: color code your sentences.

Color code your sentences by highlighting and then right clicking on your mouse, then select your color:

Yellow for the dialogue

Blue for dialogue tags

Pink for internal thought

And purple for action tags

Color coding can allow you to see if you have an overbalance of say the internal thought verses dialogue. If the color is evenly distributed then you have the right balance.


Mini Lesson: Words to use instead of Like

I haven’t posted one of these in a while and I just found an old note of mine about using Like.

Do you use Like too often when describing things?

by Janice Seagraves

If you’re like me you probably use Like too often than you like to admit when you describe things in your writing.  It’s important not to over use the same words of phrases in your writing.


Because using the same words or phrases can sound like lazy writing, and we don’t want our writing to sound lazy. We want our writing to sound dynamic and active.

Example: He was round and puffy like a marshmallow.

Better: He was round and puffy and resembled a marshmallow.

Here are a few words that you can use instead of like:


As if

Seemed to sense

Akin to

Such as

Similar to



In the vein of

Mini Lesson: Past Tense Review

Mini Lesson: Past Tense Review

By Janice Seagraves

I figured it wouldn’t hurt to do some tenses review. Why do we need past tense? Because most books are written in past tense.

Anything with an –ed at the end is past tense, like Stopped is past tense of stop.

However, there are other words to look out for, that don’t follow that rule.

Led is past tense of lead.

Gone is past tense of go or going.

Sung is past tense of sing.

Hidden is the past tense of hide.

Caught is the past tense of catch

Bought is the past tense of buy

Came is the past tense of come

Crept is the past tense of creep

Dealt is the past tense of deal.

Fed is past tense of feed

Felt is the past tense of feel

Fitted is past tense of fit

Hung is past tense of Hang

Had is past tense of has

Had is also the past tense of Have

Heard is the past tense of hear

Found is past tense of Find

Held is past tense of Hold

Kept is past tense of Keep

Laid is past tense of lay

Lost is past tense of lose

Make is past tense of made

Mean is past tense of meant

Meet is past tense of met

There’s more of course, but I don’t want to overwhelm you.

Here are some more tenses to watch out for:

be   was   been

Bear   bore   born

Become   became    become

Bite   bit   bitten

Bend   bent   bent

Bleed   bled   bled

Burn   burned   burnt

Choose   chose   chosen

Dive   dove   dived

Draw   drew   drawn

Dream   dreamed   dreamt

Drink  drank   drunk

Drive   drove   driven

Fall   fell   fallen

Fly   flew   flown

Freeze   froze   frozen

Get   got   given

Know   knew   known

Leap   leapt   leaped

Learn   learned   learnt

Leave   left

Lie   lay   lain

Write   writing   written   wrote

Then, now and maybe later.

And I’ll end this with: future perfect verbs are formed by adding –ing to the verb.