Personal editing. Professional results.
September 25, 2017
The 12 Disciples of Creativity

Creativity requires faith, and sticking to your creative faith is easier with exemplary practices to follow. I’m a Catholic boy if you go back far enough. We learned our faith in part by studying the lives of the disciples. The root of the word disciple means to show a devotion, so these 12 practices are […]

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September 14, 2017
Transportation as a story pace control

Over at Kristen Lamb's website, a column by Cait Reynolds examines some aspects of distance to be travelled as a control of story pace. She mentions means of transit as well as physical distance. People go places in most stories, and if yours includes a trip longer than a jaunt to the bathroom, there's a time […]

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August 29, 2017
Showing spunk about making sentences

Out on the Writer’s Digest Web site, Bonnie Trenga has posted an article on grammar that boils down the writing of a good sentence to four commandments. She starts with shall nots and shalls. 1. You shall not write passively. 2. You shall not overuse weak verbs like “to be” and “to have.” 3. You […]

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August 22, 2017
Themes, power, and how they make queries easier

Theme is among the most mysterious and powerful elements of storytelling. In the classic pyramid of writing crafts from the Iowa Writer's Workshop, theme stands at the pinnacle. It's called symbol up there, and theme can be illustrated by symbolism. Think icons, as in physical items that recur through your book, such as candles in […]

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August 14, 2017
Writer's Block Number 1: Who would read it, anyway?

A fledgling memoir writer asked me about the prospects for transforming his work into a book. Within a couple of messages on LinkedIn, he squelched his own efforts. His book idea, about a single year of biking 5,207 miles, seemed too dim to work on. "I just doubt many would read it, even if published […]

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July 16, 2017
Write Stuff news: Getting noticed, at a conference and elsewhere

More than 300 writers huddled at classic 8-person rounder tables at the start of the 2017 Agents & Editors Conference hosted by the Writers' League of Texas. The sellout meeting was two afternoons and two mornings of hopeful pitches, two receptions where agents listened for new book concepts, amid hearty hugs and even a squelch […]

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July 7, 2017
How to Attend Finishing School

We lie about our writing. Most of us do, with the best intentions, to make up the stories about how much we're working on our books. It becomes a story that a writer tells when they say “I'm working on my novel.” If you're working on a book, and writing too little, it's time to […]

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June 26, 2017
Writing to get into someone else's head

Malcolm Gladwell writes in What the Dog Saw, "Good writing does not succeed or fail on the strength of its ability to persuade. It succeeds or fails on its ability to engage you, to think, to give you a glimpse into someone else's head." This is true whether you write non-fiction, novels, or the blend […]

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June 12, 2017
Indie-publish, get an agent: success with sub-rights

As it turns out, the money is not just in selling your ebooks on Amazon and Kobo. It's getting your popular books' sub-rights sold—by an open-minded agent. Laurie McLean answered a Q&A for the Writers' League of Texas and noted that self-published titles are part of her client list. Authors publish their own novels (McLean […]

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