Personal editing. Professional results.
January 29, 2022
Help for compassionate workshop readers

I like to say, "If we can't find anything to praise about a piece of writing, then it's not yet time to say what fell short." I don't mean artificial kindness, either. Published authors look down on workshop groups that are mutual atta-boy meetings, and with good reason. You must see what's working in a […]

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February 5, 2021
15 Questions for Your Beta Readers

Beta readers can help your book develop. They'll need specific guidance, though, or you'll get a lot of "I thought it was great." You want to hear that, but the book needs more specifics. It's good to use beta reading as a backup to a complete development cycle. Craft the book first, then check your […]

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November 6, 2020
How authors can win with critique groups

It’s hard to know how much help a critique group can be until you see its authors in action. You’ll get more help from a group with a few authors who have published. If you’re lucky, it’s traditional publishing at any level (small press and un-agented counts) or even self-published (using editorial rounds from an […]

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October 26, 2018
Use 10 Key Scenes to Win NaNoWriMo

National Novel Writing Month is November, a time when hundreds of thousands of authors make a public promise to write 50,000 words during 30 days. The contest amounts to writing just about anything in a file that grows to that size and sending it off to the NaNo website for your "certificate." There are quotes […]

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July 27, 2018
A good Shepard for writing narration

Fifteeen years ago, the Iowa Writer's Workshop named Lan Samantha Chang as the first female director of the program, perhaps the most prestigious writing school in the world. Much has been said about Chang, who as a 1993 grad of the program was one of the youngest writing teachers to hold the post. Iowa has […]

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July 8, 2018
Learning what's new in style through an ACES webinar

On Thursday July 28 the American Copy Editor Society is holding a 1-hour seminar on What's New in Style. I'm an ACES member, ever since I passed through the organization's Advanced Copy Editing Bootcamp at SMU last year. I brought a journalism degree and publications experience to the Society membership. ACES is different from other […]

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October 3, 2017
Use NaNoWriMo to get your book to finished

Halloween will deliver more than costumes, debauched parties and tons of candy corn. On that day at midnight it’s also the start of National Novel Writing Month, a worldwide 30-day event where the goal is to write 50,000 words in 30 days. Those are aimed to be words for a novel — although you can hijack this event to […]

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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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