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Category: The Writer’s Life

So What? ?>

So What?

Right now, you’re thinking one of these things: “My novel sucks.” “What if no one buys my book?” “I got a one-star review!” “I got a hundred five-star reviews!” “I don’t know if I have what it takes to be a writer.” And right now, I’m thinking this: So what? Does your novel suck? Maybe. Maybe not. Some of the best books I’ve edited arrived from the author with a side of Severe Doubt. “It might make you ill.” It…

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Make Something Happen ?>

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…

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How to Love Writing ?>

How to Love Writing

“I hate writing. I love having written.” – Dorothy Parker I’ve met a few people who are quick to say they love writing. They are sincere, happy people who tend to glow in the dark. People who eagerly sift through tornado-paths of literary devastation to find the one story that can threaten to replace your well-earned despair with un-warranted hope. I hate* those people. I also hate writing. Okay, maybe that’s a little bit strong. How about this: I find…

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Meet Me at the Breaking Place ?>

Meet Me at the Breaking Place

“This book is incredible. You absolutely have to read it.” Ah, these words. More than mere validation for authors who spend so much time in uncertain solitude, they are payment and a generous tip for all the pain endured on the road from first thought to last word. They are the perfect reward. “It’s a good book.” “A great read.” “So well-written.” These are fine words, too. Encouraging words. We’ll take them above silence any day. But they fall far…

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Two Paths ?>

Two Paths

The path to writing well and the path to publication are two different paths. I’ll explain in a second. But before I begin, let’s dispense with the “good writing is subjective” conversation. Can we just work from the assumption that everyone in the room understands that my definition of “writing well” and yours differ at least in small ways, and perhaps also in big ways? We can? Cool. Four Truths About the Path to Writing Well 1. Writing well takes…

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At the End of the Day ?>

At the End of the Day

At the end of the day, you either wrote something or you didn’t. Maybe it was a banner day, when the stars all aligned and the metaphors all sang and the characters all looked up from the page to offer their thanks for three dimensions instead of two, for flesh and bone and blood and tears, for life itself, even though some of them will be dead by page 243. Especially because of that. Maybe it was a prolific day,…

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