Personal editing. Professional results.
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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December 28, 2018
Publish yourself — but truly publish

This week a mystery author asked me about my plans for publishing my forthcoming memoir, Stealing Home. My book is the story of a father and a son on a road trip to the perfect game. I choose to self-publish because midsize and larger publishers have a limited appetite for memoirs from writers without a […]

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October 26, 2018
Use 10 Key Scenes to Win NaNoWriMo

National Novel Writing Month is November, a time when hundreds of thousands of authors make a public promise to write 50,000 words during 30 days. The contest amounts to writing just about anything in a file that grows to that size and sending it off to the NaNo website for your "certificate." There are quotes […]

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October 26, 2018
The Rough Guide to the Texas Book Festival

If you're headed to the Texas Book Festival this weekend, congratulations. You'll be going to end of the book galaxy that's 180 degrees offset from the world of ebooks, Amazon and its ilk, and that remote on your table that delivers streaming versions of Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and Mockingjay. The BookFest is thick […]

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October 17, 2018
Be an artist. Be a professional. Write your story and sell out, too.

This is why there are blogs for authors. Sometimes a careless comment from an entitled, successful vendor-author just shades good authors. Somebody's got to call BS. (See how I used the verb "shade" there to go all current on the language? It means to diss, rag on, or denigrate. But I'm all woke about English. […]

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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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September 24, 2018
Backstory: A rich vein to mine when plot fails you

Plot is a means to show the journey of characters, their desires, and motivations. Backstory drives your characters. If your plot is failing you, it’s probably time to write out some backstory, even it’s only a few paragraphs on each major character. Focus on seminal experiences for each person. Backstory is the motherload of ore that gives […]

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August 26, 2018
If you want to get read, get MAD

Everybody has a book in them, right? Way down on at the bottom of some of your hopes and dreams, maybe. You're doing something to make yours: writing, rewriting, working with a coach, meeting with other writers in a group. The work is bubbling up, maybe nearing the surface. When it's at the surface of […]

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August 23, 2018
Get your book in line for a prize

Prizes are important to sales of a book. The kudos make a book stand out and help convince readers to give it a shot. It seems like an easy observation, so why aren't more indie books submitted for meaningful prizes? Cost is always an issue, especially for the indie author. After doing your work getting […]

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