Personal editing. Professional results.
March 15, 2024
Can that character be you?

Autofiction is one way that writers mine their lives for a novel's story. Classic novels have been disguised as autobiographies. There's David Copperfield, Look Homeward Angel, On the Road, and The Things They Carried. Yes, you can write that sort of book, presenting your life as fiction. Frankly, many readers will assume a novel is […]

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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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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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September 26, 2022
Let's talk about your book's pricing

It's time to have a genteel discussion about pricing, especially as established by small presses. Too few of them seem to recognize that buying a book is a price-sensitive transaction. I would not want to be the author trying to sell my book on my limited platform for 30 percent more than a bestseller's novel. […]

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August 31, 2022
The Future That Was Viral Times

 A dream delayed is better than a dream denied. It's a natural element of being human to look into the future, a skill that the community of HP 3000 computer owners polished over the first decade of the 21st century. Across the same period, working as an editor of a monthly newsletter, I did polishing […]

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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 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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July 19, 2021
How to avoid a too-big book

Even an author who's published multiple books feels the siren call of a big book. One day, they might think, I can get that 150,000-word epic published. I've cut a lot, they might say, already 20,000 words. I need to stick to my guns, submit something that big, and not get talked out of it. […]

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May 25, 2021
Point of View: how many do you need?

Writing stories in first person is an electric thrill for many authors. You have easy access to emotions and sensations, plus the mystery of solving the problems of the plot is intense, too. Sometimes it’s tempting to want to use multiple first person points of view. Consider why you need more than one.

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January 30, 2020
I want a great cover. What is that, anyway?

Everybody wants a great cover on their book. That's a few things at once, the greatness. Sales. Storytelling. Beauty. Creating a cover concept meets one or more of those needs. If the cover does none of those things well, you won't know until the book goes on sale, or when your novel is considered for […]

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