Personal editing. Professional results.
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 […]

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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 […]

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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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