Personal editing. Professional results.
November 17, 2023
How good memoirs make a point

Sometimes when a memoir author starts a book, they don't know the point of their story. Memoirs are built out of personal experience, but the events need to stand for something universal. I took a fine baseball tour with my 11-year-old Little Leaguer in Stealing Home. The story stood for the faith that you can't tell […]

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November 10, 2023
Of Veterans and Apostrophes

Grammar Girl Mignon Fogarty asks, "Why doesn’t 'Veterans Day' have an apostrophe?" Ah, the apostrophe. Humble and omnipresent punctuation mark, misused everywhere. Your usage for this weekend's holiday could be "Veterans' Day" (quite rare), but not "Veteran's Day" (incorrect) In using 'Veterans Day', the Grammar Girl says, "Veterans" is acting like an adjective, telling you […]

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November 3, 2023
Work on making playtime

Writing seems serious, especially when we have dreams for it. We're making novels or creating great nonfiction that will enrich the lives of readers everywhere. Maybe our memoir will help people see how struggle shows the way to survival. While those are noble and necessary goals, they can get in the way of playtime. Most […]

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October 28, 2023
Where to place flashbacks, and how-to

  Think of them like escape pods Flashback timing can be tricky. Flashbacks aren't limited to fiction. Narrative nonfiction like memoir can also rely on storytelling from an earlier period in the tale. Flashbacks deliver context, so readers can see the reasons and sense of character decisions and actions. They deliver the context with maximum […]

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October 27, 2023
Look at what makes covers soar

Designer Jessica Bell rounds up the major elements of strong cover design in her book Can You Make the Title Bigga? Use open space. Avoid clutter. Choose fewer colors. Make colors complement one another. Jane Friedman's blog features a post from Bell with visuals to help you see the difference these elements can make. Bell's […]

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October 15, 2023
Setting on-sale dates for Amazon books

At last, Amazon is letting authors specify their on-sale dates for books. This is the calendar date when readers can first buy your book at the 'Zon. It didn't used to be as easy as plugging in the calendar date when your sales metadata would appear on the Amazon site. IngramSpark will ask you for […]

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October 13, 2023
Ways to clarify who's talking

Speaking clearly lets us absorb the dialogue Novels are built on acres of dialogue. You can always point to a book like E.L Doctrow's Ragtime as the exception, but so very much talking pushes a story forward. You can help your characters tell the story by helping everyone know who's speaking at all times. Where […]

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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 […]

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September 29, 2023
BookFunnel tool sells your books

Authors are selling their books themselves, instead of waiting for Amazon to deliver readers. An automagical delivery link from BookFunnel lets your website buyers download your book immediately after purchase, without having to check their email. BookFunnel says, "This is exactly the experience that authors — and their readers — want when selling direct." Selling direct is […]

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September 24, 2023
Get your slice of writing pie

Pies made Karen's stories a household name I once heard that writing is like a pie eating contest where the prize is more pie. Long ago, Karen Stolz was a mentor to me in the earliest days of my fiction career. She evaluated my submission pieces for my unsuccessful application to Texas State’s MFA program, […]

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