Editing, Self-editing Tips, Self-promotion, The Publishing Process

What to Expect From Your Editor

I hear you’re interested in hiring an editor. Smart move. So what are you waiting for? Grab your checkbook (do those still exist?), your manuscript, and your realistic expectations and get to it. What’s that? You don’t know what to expect? Here. I’ll help. Ten Things Your Editor Can Do Your editor can see what your novel could be someday, no matter what it looks like today. Your editor can show you all the little pet phrases and words you repeat to distraction. Your editor can solve plot problems that would make readers want to throw your book into a…

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Editing, Self-editing Tips, Writing tips

How to Write Good Dialogue (Part Two)

My ancient (by Internet standards) post on “How to Write Good Dialogue” is inarguably the most popular of my bloggish renderings, based on search data anyway. (You probably preferred this one because you don’t like to follow the crowd. You’re the anti-hipster of hipsters.) It seemed prudent, then, to follow that up with another post on dialogue. [Checks date on previous post.] Yeah, I’m a little slow when it comes to prudence. Anyway, here you go. Wait…you read the other post, right? Well click here (or above where it’s also linked because I’m a linking fool) first. Then come back to this page for more…

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Editing, Self-editing Tips, The Writer's Life, Writing Encouragement, Writing tips

(How To) Listen to Everything

The best advice about how to be a better writer can be summed up in six words: Read a lot. Write a lot. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said that to writers. (Not because it’s a secret. I just didn’t keep track.) If you’re not doing both of those things, any other advice you might unearth as you wander this vast Internet wasteland won’t do you much good. There are no shortcuts to “getting there” as a writer. By “there” I mean a place where your writing is distinct enough that readers want to read all your books,…

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Editing, My Thoughts, The Writer's Life, Writing Encouragement

The Weight of Your Words

I love my computer*. Let me say that up front, in case it thinks otherwise and decides to unflash its memory. But I have fond (if only for the purpose of this post) memories of a time when writing hurt more than it does today. Oh sure, we have carpal tunnel syndrome and baked sperm syndrome (well, some of us, anyway), but those are fancy aches. Yesterday, a writer’s pain was blue-collar. It was immediate and visceral. Remember writer’s cramp? Now that was a pain you could feel. It started somewhere between thumb and forefinger, then exploded up the arm…

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Editing, Self-editing Tips, The Writer's Life, Writing tips

Make Something Happen

“Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.” – Elmore Leonard I love this quote. Not just because it indirectly gives purpose to the existence of content editors. (Mostly because of that.) But also because it’s impossibly clever and initially appears to be cleverly impossible. I mean, how do you do that? Some readers tend to skip long descriptive sections. So you should leave those out, right? Not necessarily. There’s nothing wrong with good descriptive writing. If your voice happens to be descriptive, some readers are going to go skipping. You can’t stop them. Other readers become…

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Editing, Meaningless Drivel, My Thoughts

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Freelance Editors. Okay, Just 13 Things.

I’ve mentioned before that I don’t particularly like numbered-list blogposts. They just feel artificial to me. So…um…here’s one about editors. Sorry. 1. We edit because we love books and writers but also for the money. 2. It’s a good thing we love books and writers. (And Ramen noodles.) 3. We don’t laugh with maniacal glee while slicing and dicing our way through your manuscript. We know how hard it is to write, and how much harder still it is to share that writing with a virtual stranger – especially someone whose job it is to find all the things that…

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Editing, Meaningless Drivel, The Writer's Life

The Maybe (An Imaginary Conversation Between Writer and Editor)

Writer: Which is the better career – janitor or hairdresser? Editor: I take it you got my editorial notes. Writer: Yeah. So tell me. Which one? Editor: You already have a job. Writer: Humor me. Editor: Hairdresser. Writer: Wrong. Janitor. Editor: I didn’t know there was a right answer. Writer: Exactly! Do you see what I did there? You just fell into my segue trap. Editor: You’re talking about my notes, aren’t you. Clever. Writer: I know, right? So about those notes… Editor: Which ones? Writer: Well…all of them. But let’s start with the one that says “you show great…

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