Personal editing. Professional results.
September 22, 2019
Emotions, feelings, and the differences

Dramatic writing always begs for feelings. Or is it emotions? It's actually both things, that begging. The differences tell us when to rely on each one as we create our scenes and stories. Simple enough Rage = Emotion Contempt = Feeling Feelings are emotions refined. Emotions are raw, unconsidered, sudden and unbidden. The rage boiled […]

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September 19, 2019
Three key mile markers for a story's journey

Summarizing who’s in your story, plus a single sentence that guides the story, and writing a synopsis, are golden nuggets to mine. When you share your work for editorial evaluation, these are the mile markers. The synopsis is the hardest. I had to do one for Sins of Freedom back when it was called Monsignor Dad. I […]

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September 10, 2019
How to give readers a break with chapters

"I like big chapters, long ones," said just about nobody who reads books. Readers need rests, like the rest stops on a 100-mile century bike ride. I did one of those rides a couple of times. Never ride the century, we'd say. Just ride to the next rest stop. Books can be centuries, with historical […]

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March 19, 2019
Ten Key Scenes get your book on the road

Writers dry up and falter all the time in their quest to create.  One great process to keep words flowing into the big file is to have an outline at hand. It's like your writing to-do list. Saying the word outline makes some writers roll their eyes and sigh. Creating by the seat of your […]

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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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February 24, 2018
How to sum up a novel in a sentence

"Help!" a budding novelist asks, hoping to get some advice on a novel. "I'm in a contest and my entry has to be summed up in just one sentence." Summary is a mighty task. Your book of 70,000 words must be reduced to maybe 35. You can do it, but it's going to demand several […]

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January 22, 2018
And so she's become a #novelist,too

The #MeToo movement, also called a moment, has delivered many disturbing ones over the past months. Men have been forced to face their history with the women in their lives, and for some of them, it's a history of failures. There's not an ending coming for this movement anytime soon. It would seem the only […]

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