Personal editing. Professional results.
December 29, 2023
How Memoirs Make Meaning

Memoir is writing based on just a portion of our life, a part filled with meaning that a reader can grab for their own. Understanding, compassion, inspiration, education, empathy; we can get any of those from a memoir. Memoir is also writing that uses the skills of a novelist, so the forms are similar in […]

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December 29, 2023
Write like a kid again

At the eye doctor this morning, the technician who examined me had a literature degree. "This is what an English lit degree gets you," she said with a wry smile, waving around the room. "I do this." We both laughed, because we were talking about editing. You tell the eye doctor what you do for […]

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December 29, 2023
Buy beta reads, or a development edit?

  For the author who's looking at a full draft, ready to do more work on it, beta reading can help a book evolve. It can be vexing to find beta readers whose insights are useful. I told the authors in my monthly manuscript groups that for every four commenters at our table, probably one […]

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December 15, 2023
A bestseller shares her marketing steps

From time to time, Kirkus will discount its paid indie book reviews by $75. Even if you're not ready for a pro review just yet, you could purchase one at a discount and use it later. Or just purchase it anyway, because pro publishers do this when they publish themselves for real. Some authors, and […]

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December 2, 2023
What it means when your book's too long

Fewer tie ins really help Authors working on novels and nonfiction of all breeds always eye word count limits. These limits used to be both longer (on the minimum end) and shorter on the maximum. Now it appears that anything goes, if you can write it well. Novellas and short novels come in under 50,000 […]

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December 1, 2023
Hybrid publishers sell game tickets only

  Most hybrids only put books on the field You may have written a good draft of your book, then wonder what's next. Everybody suggests editing as a next step. Your vision for the book's future could be more comprehensive. Yes, you probably want to write query letters, compare your book to other books to […]

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November 17, 2023
How good memoirs make a point

Sometimes when a memoir author starts a book, they don't know the point of their story. Memoirs are built out of personal experience, but the events need to stand for something universal. I took a fine baseball tour with my 11-year-old Little Leaguer in Stealing Home. The story stood for the faith that you can't tell […]

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November 10, 2023
Of Veterans and Apostrophes

Grammar Girl Mignon Fogarty asks, "Why doesn’t 'Veterans Day' have an apostrophe?" Ah, the apostrophe. Humble and omnipresent punctuation mark, misused everywhere. Your usage for this weekend's holiday could be "Veterans' Day" (quite rare), but not "Veteran's Day" (incorrect) In using 'Veterans Day', the Grammar Girl says, "Veterans" is acting like an adjective, telling you […]

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November 3, 2023
Work on making playtime

Writing seems serious, especially when we have dreams for it. We're making novels or creating great nonfiction that will enrich the lives of readers everywhere. Maybe our memoir will help people see how struggle shows the way to survival. While those are noble and necessary goals, they can get in the way of playtime. Most […]

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October 28, 2023
Where to place flashbacks, and how-to

  Think of them like escape pods Flashback timing can be tricky. Flashbacks aren't limited to fiction. Narrative nonfiction like memoir can also rely on storytelling from an earlier period in the tale. Flashbacks deliver context, so readers can see the reasons and sense of character decisions and actions. They deliver the context with maximum […]

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