Contests, Other Writer's Words

A Writing Contest Tease

It’s Friday, so I can do whatever I want here on the ol’ blog. So here’s what I’m going to do – plug the contest one more time. You’ve got until midnight tonight to throw 200 words together and toss them in my general direction. Click here for details about the contest, then check your watch, put pen to paper, and write like your life depends on it. Just for fun, I thought I’d show you a tiny glimpse of what’s been sent so far. If you don’t see a sentence from your story here, that doesn’t mean I didn’t…

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Contests, Meaningless Drivel

Pause, Consider, Caption

I’m swamped with work so I’m taking the day off from writing a post. Why don’t you use this time to work on your entry for the Help Keep Stephen Off Prozac Writing Contest Extravaganza? The competition is really heating up. I’m thinking of posting a few teaser excerpts on the blog tomorrow. The promised post on how to make your second novel better than your first will appear next week. But since you took the time to click and visit the blog today, I have to give you something, right? So here’s a photo I snapped last summer in Chicago at…

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Beyond Categorization, My Thoughts, Self-editing Tips, Snark Alert

What Your Editor Is Thinking

Ever wonder what your friendly editor is really thinking when she emails or calls to talk about your manuscript? Here’s a handy-dandy guide to help you understand the deeper meaning behind her words.* *** When your editor says: “I really like the basic plot. Nicely done!” Your editor is thinking: “Okay, there are 90,000 words here, so that’s a start. And the story has characters and they do stuff. That’s a good thing, too. But whoa baby there’s a ton of work to do. I’m going to have some long nights with this puppy.” *** When your editor says: “I’m…

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

The Law of Diminishing Returns

Last week, literary agent and dispenser of great publishing wisdom Nathan Bransford invited his savvy blog readers to answer the question, “How Do You Know When Your Novel is Really Finished?” (If you haven’t already studied the many and diverse responses, click here to see what writers had to say.) As I consider my own novel-in-progress (I prefer the abbrev. n.i.p. over w.i.p., is that so wrong?), I can imagine I’ll still be editing and re-writing when the Hilton Lunar Resort and Golf Course opens on the moon. (I won’t be able to afford an Earth-view room, but since I’ll…

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

About Deadlines

It’s late Sunday night and my plan to write a week’s worth of posts has been foiled by the usual assortment of weekend activities plus the addition of a time-suck we in the freelance editing world call “gettin’ paid.” For a freelancer, deadlines are no respecter of nights and weekends. I might be able to steal another day or three if I really thought it necessary, but depending on how tightly the book is scheduled through the rest of the publishing process, doing so could put the release date in jeopardy. (Okay, that’s a worst-case scenario, but keep in mind…

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Help Keep Stephen Off Prozac Writing Contest Extravaganza

UPDATE: A big ‘thank you’ to all who have already entered the contest. Each one of you is brilliant and beautiful (and/or handsome) and deserves to win for your writing skill, apparent compassion and Santa-Yoda covetousness. Now, tell all your friends, okay? (Don’t worry, they’re not quite as talented as you are. No way they can win that Santa-Yoda. But by asking, you’ll make them feel special. And that’s a good thing.) I tend to get a little bit depressed sitting alone in my tiny garden-level apartment writing these blog posts, wondering if anyone out there in the Interworld cares…

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About Me, My Thoughts, Self-editing Tips, The Publishing Process

Confidence (and Lack)

I‘m just going to come right out and say it: sometimes I feel completely incapable as an editor. When these times come, I stare at the author’s words and they swirl together like some cheap TV special effect to spell out “You are a fraud!” I worry every time the phone rings that one of my publisher friends will be on the other end of the line. “Hey, Stephen?” “Yes…?” “We’ve been looking at the book you just edited. You know the one we’re talking about?” Gulp. “Yes?” “…and we were wondering…did you send us the wrong file?” This experience…

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