Personal editing. Professional results.
September 1, 2023
Story tropes are your friends

We have expectations about the things we love. If you love stories (all authors do) then you have expectations about their elements. These are tropes. When they're characters in the story, they might be archetypes. When you don't like these expected elements, because they feel tired, you might call them cliches. They are a delicious […]

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August 25, 2023
Making a case for comps

Zebras are like horses. If you like horses, you'll like zebras. Comps are bullshit, one author carped at me. They're not easy to write, but it is easy to find authors who don't consider them useful. What's sometimes overlooked is how a comp makes a book easier to find. Here's a comp from a TikTok […]

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August 18, 2023
Get endorsements, create blurbs

There's a lot of talk about blurbs in the author world. Even if you're traditionally published, you'll be asked to help out with something called endorsements. These are not blurbs. You create a blurb while you're making marketing copy. They sum up the goodness of the story. Endorsements are those powerful snippets of praise from […]

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August 4, 2023
Four things your email newsletter needs

Help those author newsletters get read by including all four food groups of content. Education: How to do a task, explained in a thorough but concise way. It might be the way to write a summary of a chapter. (Maybe it's a list of the contents for writing a useful newsletter.) Information: "This event or […]

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August 4, 2023
Releasing books from expectations

We are told that the way to peace and contentment is to release our expectations. This is good advice for creativity, an engine to move through projects step by step. Take action, then release the outcome: it's a principle of Zen life. We can allow for exceptions to our expectation-releasing. Keeping things simple can make […]

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July 30, 2023
Emulate other books to grow your own

You've got to read novels in order to write yours The tomatoes in my back yard didn’t need to see other tomatoes to grow. They started from seed, after all. So what good does it do to find something to emulate, while growing? The tomatoes are now small and ripening. Success is at hand. But […]

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July 30, 2023
How to keep your stories strike-proof

The easiest publisher to protect your book is you Now that the actors have joined writers of TV and movies on strike, story invention is slowing to a crawl. Actors can still work on audiobooks, but just about everything else is shut down for the duration. The Emmys have been postponed, for heaven's sake. There […]

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July 14, 2023
Whaddya do with a quarter-million words?

A quarter-million words is what you get if you're writing four sentences a day for eight years. The total might feel like the accomplishment of your life. A quarter-mil can also haunt you and taunt you, depending on how close you get to revisions. In the span of just three weeks, I consulted with two […]

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June 17, 2023
Go beyond produce, and publish

We writers do our work by assembling understanding. As it turns out, understanding is pretty important. Now that we have AI's promises everywhere, one tech journalist says that AI isn’t an intelligence engine — it’s an understanding engine. Lots of us try to understand people we know. We know published authors, some of us. The […]

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June 10, 2023
What AI Ain't

AI is a bullet, all right. Not a silver one. Still deadly. Today a class kicks off that will teach writers how to prompt a software program. $89 later, there will be hundreds more writers using AI. Prompt writing, and then revisions to prompts. Then AI output revisions, once you get to a certain point, […]

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