General, My Thoughts, Self-editing Tips, The Publishing Process

When Editors Go Bad

If you’ve been reading my little blog for any length of time, you already know that editors aren’t prefect. [Yes, I just wrote “prefect.” Squirming yet?] As evidence of this, I present to you some of the most common mistakes editors make. By “editors” I mean me. And by “mistakes” I mean errors in judgment prompted by sleep deprivation, excessive drinking, lack of confidence in the job, or plain ol’ incompetence. I’ve given each of the editorial screw-ups a title, but these are only my made-up titles and are not the terms officially sanctioned by the National Governing Board of…

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General, The Publishing Process, The Writer's Life

10 Reasons You Don’t Have an Agent

Your writing is unremarkable. You may have worked hard to craft a good story, followed all the rules – trimming unnecessary prepositional phrases, chopping adverbs, replacing passive verbs with active verbs – but the result is indistinguishable from any of a hundred other novels the agent has reviewed in the past month. Solution: Find your writer’s voice and pray it’s a good one. A writer’s voice is that unique stamp that sets his or her words apart from others. There’s no simple (or universal) definition for “writer’s voice,” but typically it will be revealed in such things as an author’s…

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Contests, General

Put Down Your Red Stapler and Go Home. It’s Friday.

Three things. Uno – The “First and Last” contest is coming to a close tonight at midnight… but if you ask really nicely, I might let you finish your story over the weekend. Here’s a link to the contest info. And thanks to all who have already entered. So far, nearly 20 of you have taken on the challenge. I suspect a few more are waiting until the last minute to submit your brilliant work. Looking forward to reading each entry. Two – I invited you to send suggestions for first and last lines that I might choose from to…

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General, Other Writer's Words


Just a reminder about tomorrow’s contest deadline. Yup. That’s all I’m giving you today. Well, that and this link to an MSNBC article on why we get lost in a good book. Feel free to use the comments section to tell me what you think. Tomorrow I’ll have a typical Friday grab-bag of random tidbits. Then next week, it’s back to regular blogposts packed with clever wisdom and snarky humor.

General, The Publishing Process, The Writer's Life

910 Words About Word Count

Okay, let’s do the math. (Approximate word counts noted.) Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, J.K. Rowling – 257,000 words. The Stand, Stephen King – 464,000 words. War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy – 560,000 words. The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway – 68,000  words. Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury – 46,000 words. The Color Purple, Alice Walker – 67,000 words. Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte – 108,000 words. Your Novel, Your Name – ??? If you’ve finished a novel, you know how much ink, sweat and tears goes into the process of putting all those words to paper. So just…

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Beyond Categorization, Contests, General, The Writer's Life

More Friday Miscellany

Welcome to another weekend edition of Today? Five random things. Item the First – Tomorrow evening, the Christy Award ceremonies will be held in Denver. The Christy Awards are given to celebrate and promote the best of Christian fiction. A novel I edited, Safe at Home, by Richard Doster, is one of three nominees for best “First Novel.” I won’t be at the ceremony (I don’t have anything to wear and I sincerely mean that because I work out of my home and in my home I don’t maintain a dress code apart from “wear something when you go…

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General, My Thoughts, The Writer's Life

10 Reasons Writing Fiction Is the Best. Thing. Ever.

You can explain away talking to yourself as “trying out a conversation between characters in my novel.” Your much-used acronym for “work in progress” is alarmingly similar to the acronym for “rest in peace” and this adds an air of clever mystery to your role when casually mentioning it among non-writers. (Plus, you only have to change one letter to appropriately re-categorize any book that’s going nowhere.) You can overindulge in any of the three “C”s with impunity: Coffee, Chocolate, Cocktails. You can do your job almost anywhere. While still stuck in bed, or at your desk in a chair.…

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