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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My Thoughts, The Publishing Process, The Writer's Life

Inspiration, Perspiration and Aspiration

Thomas Edison is famously known for coining the oft-quoted phrase, “Genius is one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.” Some folks hovering in the shadows of the publishing industry have glommed onto this quote as a rallying cry for aspiring authors. “It’s not about talent – it’s about hard work,” they say. Well, they don’t actually say “it’s not about talent,” but the implication of Edison’s statement when recklessly applied to creative genius is that anyone with even a penny’s worth of an idea can work hard enough to someday achieve their publishing goals. Nope. Not true. I’ll wait while…

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My Thoughts, Self-editing Tips, The Publishing Process, The Writer's Life

Let It Die

Is it time let your novel die? That’s a question every writer faces at least once in his or her writing life. The decision to pull life support is difficult at best, debilitatingly impossible at worst. You’ve worked on this novel for, what, months? years? How many hours have you invested? Even a poorly-written novel takes a long time to write. Then there’s the emotional cost. Whether you love your characters or hate them, they’ve most likely become real to you. (I’m 99 percent certain I’ve seen some of mine hanging out at the local Starbucks.) Giving up on their…

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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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Meaningless Drivel, Snark Alert, The Publishing Process

Revealing the Hidden Secrets to Publishing Success

Tired of having to jump through all those silly hoops agents and editors keep placing between you and your dream of becoming a published author? After literally minutes of research, I have uncovered 10 secrets that practically guarantee success. Sure, I could keep them to myself, but I’m feeling generous today so I thought I’d share them with you. Study these secrets. Use them wisely. Become hugely successful. Then buy multiple copies of my soon-to-be-released fiction bestseller, The Last Days of the Literary Agent*. It makes a great Festivus gift. Legally change your name to Stephen King. Then write under…

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General, Self-editing Tips, The Publishing Process

What Do You Mean by “Editing”?

This is the first in a series of “what do you mean by…” posts. I want to tailor this series according to your interests. So…queue up your questions and then send ’em along so I can make this as helpful as possible. I thought it would be appropriate to start with “editing,” since that’s kind of an important topic on this blog. So what do I mean by editing? Let’s start with a little quiz. When you tell a friend that you’re “editing” your novel, which of the following best describes what you’re doing: I’m going through the novel and making sure…

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