Titles, a Sentence and Contest Plans ?>

Titles, a Sentence and Contest Plans

Friday Item The First – Titles I like book titles. I make them up all the time. In fact, most of my short stories began as nothing more than a title. If you’ve memorized James Scott Bell’s Plot & Structure, you know that on page 38 he lists “making up titles” as a great way to spark plot ideas. Well, continuing the spirit of generosity I began yesterday, I thought I’d just go ahead and give you five titles.* Now all…

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Free Book Ideas For You ?>

Free Book Ideas For You

A few years back when I was working in a real office and enjoying the perks of the cubicle life, I had a particularly prolific creative season during which I came up with lots of ideas for books that I was going to write someday. (Note to former boss: All these ideas occurred during my lunch hour.) So I compiled a list. (Um, during my lunch hour, of course.) When the season of idea abbondanza was finally over, my list had…

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10 Stages of Grief: The Editor’s Note Edition ?>

10 Stages of Grief: The Editor’s Note Edition

So let’s say you’ve made it through the first hoops and now your Amazing and Brilliant First Novel is sitting on the desk of a Real Life Editor at a Real Live Publishing House. Your contract has been framed and placed on the fireplace mantle between your dusty wedding photo and dustier 5th Grade Spelling Bee Champion trophy. You’ve spent the first part of your advance on the clothes you just have to have for that inevitable booksigning at the…

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Bend and Break ?>

Bend and Break

One of the more common problems I run into when editing fiction is the “dimensionless character.” You know her. She’s defined by…um…her lack of definition. She’s a paper doll trying to make a splash in a three-dimensional world. Now, when I say “lack of definition,” I don’t mean she’s not well described (though sometimes this is also true). That she has pink streaks in her midnight-black hair is a fine detail, but it is a meaningless (and potentially unnecessary) detail…

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The Mysterious Importance of Mystery ?>

The Mysterious Importance of Mystery

Not so many years ago, my younger son became a fascinated by videogames. Like his older brother before him, this fascination grew into a full-blown addiction for a time. But unlike his brother – who suffered through the challenges of finishing a level using the age-old technique known as “if at first you don’t succeed, stomp your feet, pout, growl, try out a new word to see if your parents notice, then try again” – my younger son was known…

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A Book, Some Editorial Advice and a Picture of a Kitty & a Puppy ?>

A Book, Some Editorial Advice and a Picture of a Kitty & a Puppy

It’s Friday, which means absolutely nothing to a freelancer since all days end up looking the same. But for the sake of the rest of the working world, I’m going to play along. Hooray for the weekend! (For the record, I almost never use exclamation marks. This is not because F. Scott Fitzgerald once wrote of them, “An exclamation mark is like laughing at your own jokes,” but because I rarely feel all that exclamatory. So, if you see one…

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My Brilliant Idea ?>

My Brilliant Idea

Pride and Prejudice  and Zombies by Jane Austin and Seth Grahame-Smith was a stroke of genius. Argue all you want about whether or not the book is any good, you can’t deny the brilliance of the concept. This got me thinking – what if, instead of merely adding zombies to an existing property, an author took the best of two novels and wove them together with a few twists of his own to create an Entirely New Work of Fiction?…

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