Personal editing. Professional results.
May 7, 2023
Life is short. AI's arms are long.

Creators are looking over their shoulders at AI this season. Machine-based writing is not concise in an AI-written draft, especially in fiction. All of AI writing benefits from edits, unless you're asking your AI chat-bot to write Gregorian chants or rap lyrics. (No kidding, they can do that.) The AI sentences are borrowed, a word […]

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February 11, 2023
Leap into dialogue, like Hoover

Colleen Hoover is white-hot now. Of the ten bestselling novels of 2022, she wrote five. Her output is impressive, too. Over the last eight years, she's released twenty-six novels. She gets started because she knows how to use dialogue. How does she finish three books a year, from halfway through Obama to halfway through Biden? […]

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December 23, 2022
Create rich, hard stuff first: synopsis-outline

The richest writing for a book is rarely published, but everyone needs it. The synopsis, or a very detailed outline, is the hardest stuff to create, too. A synopsis tells the essentials of a story so you can see themes and arcs. Without one, you’re writing to discover your book’s story. That’s fun. It also […]

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December 23, 2022
Turning fact into fiction

Authors used to argue about whether creative nonfiction could even exist. If you were creative, then how could you call it nonfiction. The facts steer the story, they’d argue. An award-winning screenwriter says there’s more than the facts to consider while storytelling. The truth is more important than the facts. Aaron Sorkin wrote and directed […]

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June 17, 2022
How to make self-publishing a job

An author’s options for publishing include self-publishing, a choice that can represent differing things. For some, self-publishing is a reason to stop sooner. More devoted self-publishing authors recognize the choice to publish themselves as a career move. It’s okay to be either kind of self-publisher. You just don’t want to be the one who stands […]

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April 9, 2022
Learning Hemingway means using powers of details

Perhaps the most famous novelist of the 20th Century, Ernest Hemingway was a deeply flawed human who wrote about deeply flawed humans. The Ken Burns PBS documentary about the author is surrounded by nine hours of additional content on the Web. The Web content includes panel talks about the aspects of his writing life such as […]

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February 19, 2022
Good scenes make better love

Sooner or later, the opportunity to write a sex scene arrives for an author. Two people are in love or lust and the act of their coupling shows promise for the story. Making the sex scene can be the very tonic that a story needs to comprehend people at a new, more intense level. More […]

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February 18, 2022
Listen like a good editor

Good listening can be attractive. We’re all told to work on our listening skills to be more present for the people in our lives. It turns out to be a skill that has much in common with being a good editor. At least that’s what a seven-minute video from The School of Life tells us, […]

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February 17, 2022
Suppose the rules for starting stories aren't true?

While we structure our stories, we follow advice. Some advice is from agents, some of whom are not ready to let go of old rules. These can be rules like “Never start a book with a prologue.” Or the advice to make a big problem appear on the first page, or even making sure the […]

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