Personal editing. Professional results.
October 6, 2023
Making Bullets Do a Summary's Bidding

Summarizing is a superior skill to call on while writing, but it can be vexing to slim things down. One trick to try is the magic bullet of bullets, the copy that starts with a bullet symbol. We're trained to keep the writing concise when we begin with a bullet. A set of opening pages […]

Read More
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? […]

Read More
December 23, 2022
How summary lures your readers

You might be the writer who doesn't need summaries. You're probably not, since you're not the Almighty. Only the Great Maker could skip the step of telling people what the creation was promising. The stories that started the world were formed when there was nothing else to watch or read or hear. You and I […]

Read More
December 23, 2022
How to revise from reader notes

Whenever you finish a draft, you’ve owe yourself the right to ask for outside eyes on the writing. Your beta readers or your evaluation editor is likely to get you an evaluation memo, or a page of notes. When the notes cover 80,000 words of a book, from several reviewers, then revising can feel overwhelming. […]

Read More
October 9, 2021
Stories don't insist on transformations

The work of the professional author is revision. But there’s one book aspect that doesn’t insist on changes: the story’s outcome. Many of us prefer a story where the transformation is the reward for the suffering that we like to savor. On a recent episode of Fresh Air, film buff Eddie Muller says of his […]

Read More
July 19, 2021
How to avoid a too-big book

Even an author who's published multiple books feels the siren call of a big book. One day, they might think, I can get that 150,000-word epic published. I've cut a lot, they might say, already 20,000 words. I need to stick to my guns, submit something that big, and not get talked out of it. […]

Read More
June 2, 2021
Is it National Doughnut Day?

Today is National Donut Day. But is it really spelled and styled that way? The question offers a look at three facets of copyediting: style, house-style, and usage.

Read More
May 25, 2021
Point of View: how many do you need?

Writing stories in first person is an electric thrill for many authors. You have easy access to emotions and sensations, plus the mystery of solving the problems of the plot is intense, too. Sometimes it’s tempting to want to use multiple first person points of view. Consider why you need more than one.

Read More
May 14, 2021
Remove filters to get your POV closer

Some easy writing advice to follow, offered all the time, is show instead of tell. But it takes careful work to preserve the showing while you remove filter words from your writing. These are words that make a story less vivid and make the writer more obvious. You don’t want the latter to happen. We […]

Read More
December 13, 2020
Give your characters agency to drive a story

When I coach authors on their stories, I advocate the relentless use of agency for their characters. Agency is not a term that is common to writing instruction. I first heard about agency in a seminar taught by novelist Jim Shepard at the Tin House Writer's Workshop. Shepard was dynamic in those classes, teaching from […]

Read More
1 2 3
11702 Buckingham Road, Austin, TX 78759
©2022 The Writer's Workshop
Privacy Policy
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram