Personal editing. Professional results.
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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June 11, 2019
How to write a decent review

Lots of us have friends who are authors. Every author needs reviews, and you may be asked to write a review of a book you've read: a review that is fair and honest. You might have received the book for free in exchange for a review. But oh so many of us haven't written a […]

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June 3, 2019
For my family, it's the real Father's Day

It is June 3, my genuine and personal Father’s Day. This is the day Dad was born, his birthday that we celebrated in cakes and songs, wrapped in the sweet hugs that children give a father who’s a little lost about when to embrace his growing-older kids. That was my Dad, many times, unsure if […]

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May 21, 2019
How a proposal can get your book published

Every book needs a game plan to play its way into a publisher's lineup. Things like comparable books and the heartbeat promise of a story are the same for fiction and nonfiction. Unlike what you might have heard, every publisher makes an investment and wants to earn it back when they buy a book from […]

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May 19, 2019
A Perfect Postcard for the Next Life

In my creative workshops we use an exercise — we write a memory we could carry into the next life. It's gotta fit on an index card. Here's one of mine. It's from my forthcoming parenthood baseball memoir, Stealing Home: A Father, a Son, and the Road to the Perfect Game. That night I didn’t feel […]

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April 9, 2019
Watch out for website wags

I recently ran into a web designer who said in a glib tone, “WordPress sucks.” I tried to share my history with Joomla (ouch!) with him, but he was all “there’s a Frankenstein of code inside WordPress.” Yeah, and countless companies doing good web commerce and connection using it. I’m pretty well versed with a […]

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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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January 21, 2019
You've got just one book. How to get it discovered

Writing a book is a wonderful achievement. Getting it discovered is wonderful, too. It's probably a bigger challenge. The problem is that the finishing line for these efforts is very different. In the first, the writing, you complete the book. No more work is possible. The success lies in the eye of the buyer. Very […]

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