Ideas, Meaningless Drivel

A Day in the Life of a Freelance Editor

You might think what a freelance editor does all day is worthy of a blog post. That would be a classic example of wrong thinking. But for the sake of filling this space I’m going to tell you anyway and since I just established that a freelance editor’s day isn’t all that interesting, some of the details below will be complete fabrication. Feel free to decide which ones. 6:14 AM – Get urgent phone call from Stephen King pleading with you to be his editor for the upcoming sequel to Under the Dome, provisionally titled Under an Even Bigger Dome – a project…

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About Me, Ideas, The Writer's Life

Finding Stories

I don’t know where you find your stories, but I find mine everywhere. All I need is a little prompt – an object, a smell, a look from a stranger. Some of my favorite stories are inspired by listening to the words people don’t say. Here, I’ll show you what I mean. I’m sitting in a Panera restaurant. I have a window seat. It’s just after the lunch rush. I’m going to look around and eavesdrop and see what stories appear. I’m sure I could find a hundred, given time, but I’ll limit myself to the first five that appear.…

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Ideas, Meaningless Drivel, The Writer's Life

Dreaming Up and Writing Down

At this very moment, I’m sitting in a Borders bookstore cafe. I tell you this to give you context for the words that will follow. See, when I’m surrounded by books and people looking at books and people talking about looking at books, I find it difficult to stay focused. My thoughts wander, my words follow. Or my words wander and my thoughts follow. Sometimes my thoughts and words both wander and I lose myself in a… I can’t figure out if the tiles on the floor of this cafe are arranged in some kind of purposeful pattern or if…

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Ideas, My Thoughts, Self-editing Tips

Your Novel Doesn’t Stink Enough

Scent. The forgotten sense. Take a look at your work in progress. How often do you invite the reader’s nose into the story? My guess? Not as often as you should. Consider real life for a moment. (In case you’ve forgotten, this is the life where you have to do laundry and feed the dog and occasionally acknowledge the existence of your spouse and/or children.) Breathe in each the following. Be sure to pause long enough for the brain to write the scene that goes with the scent. Diesel fuel. Chocolate chip cookies fresh from the oven. The sidewalk after…

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General, Ideas

Finding Stories

Where do you get ideas for your stories? If you’re like lots of writers, you probably draw from your own life experience. Someone once said that every writer’s first novel is autobiographical. I happen to think that every novel a writer writes is at least somewhat autobiographical. (What this says about Dean Koontz, I’m not quite sure.) But what if you have a boring life? Where do you find your ideas for non-boring novels? Start by coming up with a compelling protagonist. The really good ones write their own stories. But where are they? you ask. Well, they’re all around…

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