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, 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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Self-editing Tips, Top Posts, Writing tips

How to Write Good Dialogue

Well-written dialogue doesn’t draw attention to itself. Instead, it quietly goes about its business, revealing truth and ferrying the plot toward its conclusion. Bad dialogue, on the other hand, stands out like a man wearing a clown costume to a funeral. (Unless it’s a clown funeral. Then it’s like a man not wearing a clown costume to a funeral.) But for all its invisibility, good dialogue does a lot of heavy lifting. Besides giving voice to your characters, dialogue frequently puts legs on that “show, don’t tell” axiom. For a rare few writers, writing dialogue is as natural as breathing. It’s…

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Self-editing Tips, Writing tips

The Editor’s Hat – 11 Tips for Your Second Draft

Your first draft is done. Wait, it’s not? Then go away and don’t come back until it is. This is not the post you’re looking for. The rest of you can stay, but only if you promise not to make fun of the people who aren’t finished with their first drafts yet. Because you were like them once. And I still am. Okay. [I know. There’s no need for “Okay” here. It’s superfluous. I should just get right to the 11 tips. But I’m keeping it. “Okay” is an intentionally overused aspect of my subtly ironic faux-conversational style. What, you…

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Self-editing Tips, Writing tips

How to Increase Your Novel’s Word Count

Word count is the devil you have to love, or at the very least, respect. This is a true statement if your goal is to be published (through traditional methods) someday. Those of you who don’t care about traditional publishing can leave the room now. Go play cricket or bake a souffle or save the whales. Then write about it. Use as many words as you like. The rest of you, please select an abacus from the abacus cabinet and have a seat. Unless you’ve already had significant publishing success or your last name is Rowling or King, you’re going…

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