Personal editing. Professional results.
October 30, 2020
Using scenes to win a NaNoWriMo challenge

This Sunday starts a new challenge for National Novel Writing Month. Every November, untold novelists try to write 50,000 words in just 30 days. I've attempted this a dozen times since I started on novels in 2004. I have never written that many words in one month. However, even my failures taught me plenty. November […]

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November 8, 2019
Choosing Amazon to unleash your books

Photo by Bank Phrom on Unsplash It's the start of production season for an author whose book I've just edited. His collection of essays will be in print and might become a hardback, too. It's time for him to consider how he will manufacture his self-published indie book. I'm not calling what we're doing publishing […]

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October 5, 2019
Is there a memoir in your journals?

Journaling is a worthy element of the writing life. The material is right at hand, all those things that have happened to you. Or your journal might run to dreams and wishes, or deconstruct the events you've been witness to, yesterday or long ago. A journal though, no matter how carefully and faithfully kept, is […]

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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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February 20, 2019
Making sentences great again

Francine Prose wrote a fine book about writing, Reading Like a Writer, which includes a chapter on Sentences. (Chapters are titled with names such as Words, Paragraphs, Narration, Character, Gesture, Dialogue, and more.) In her book, she celebrates the sentence and crafting wonderful ones. To talk about sentences is to have a conversation about something […]

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October 16, 2018
Use the power of premise to pump your stories up

Most of us start a story with an idea. You develop it into a concept. Then you build a character to turn that concept into a premise. Secrets of church history hide in plain sight. What if the DaVinci art held the secrets? What if a professor of Renaissance art found secrets of church history […]

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March 12, 2018
Five simple steps to start with Scrivener

Sooner or later you'll hear about writers using Scrivener. It's a writing tool that makes projects flow faster and increases your production. You write more, and faster. You find what you've written easier. It's only $40, and your writing in it will live on your laptop (you can back up to the cloud, if you […]

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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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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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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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