Personal editing. Professional results.
April 12, 2022
How to promote your short stories

The challenge we all face when we approach the task of book discovery is making things unique and specific—at the same time that we keep the desires and problems universal. "A young, broke Irish woman narrates her relationship with a successful comedian in New York." That broke Irish woman plus a standup comedian (a situation […]

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April 9, 2022
Learning Hemingway means using powers of details

Perhaps the most famous novelist of the 20th Century, Ernest Hemingway was a deeply flawed human who wrote about deeply flawed humans. The Ken Burns PBS documentary about the author is surrounded by nine hours of additional content on the Web. The Web content includes panel talks about the aspects of his writing life such as […]

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April 5, 2022
What you can expect edits to cost

Everyone's rates differ to some degree. If you're extremely accomplished as an author, you might get away with an edit of some kind for under $1,000. Those accomplishments are a measure of your skill, not your talent. Your talent is the engine, but your skill is your pilot. Most authors need more than $1,000 of […]

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February 19, 2022
Good scenes make better love

Sooner or later, the opportunity to write a sex scene arrives for an author. Two people are in love or lust and the act of their coupling shows promise for the story. Making the sex scene can be the very tonic that a story needs to comprehend people at a new, more intense level. More […]

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February 18, 2022
Listen like a good editor

Good listening can be attractive. We’re all told to work on our listening skills to be more present for the people in our lives. It turns out to be a skill that has much in common with being a good editor. At least that’s what a seven-minute video from The School of Life tells us, […]

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February 17, 2022
Suppose the rules for starting stories aren't true?

While we structure our stories, we follow advice. Some advice is from agents, some of whom are not ready to let go of old rules. These can be rules like “Never start a book with a prologue.” Or the advice to make a big problem appear on the first page, or even making sure the […]

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January 29, 2022
Help for compassionate workshop readers

I like to say, "If we can't find anything to praise about a piece of writing, then it's not yet time to say what fell short." I don't mean artificial kindness, either. Published authors look down on workshop groups that are mutual atta-boy meetings, and with good reason. You must see what's working in a […]

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November 28, 2021
Everyone is taking everyone else's spot

Authors who are not of color, or identify with traditional gender, worry about their chances. Publishing, it feels to some of those authors, tilts hard today toward BIPOC, non-cis attractions. (If you're not caught up on your labels, those are Black, Indigenous, and Persons of Color, whereas non-cis means to choose to not identify with […]

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October 16, 2021
What to do to get your book picked up

You've finished your book — or at least made it as good as you can. Now you want it to get picked up at a publisher or earn a spot in an agent's pool. What's next? You want to get picked up by readers, agents, or editors. This is a good time to think about […]

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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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