Ideas, Meaningless Drivel

A Day in the Life of a Freelance Editor

You might think what a freelance editor does all day is worthy of a blog post. That would be a classic example of wrong thinking. But for the sake of filling this space I’m going to tell you anyway and since I just established that a freelance editor’s day isn’t all that interesting, some of the details below will be complete fabrication. Feel free to decide which ones. 6:14 AM – Get urgent phone call from Stephen King pleading with you to be his editor for the upcoming sequel to Under the Dome, provisionally titled Under an Even Bigger Dome – a project…

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Editing, General

How To Be a Good Editor

Ever wanted to be an editor? No? That’s probably wise. But just in case all your other options suddenly fall through (ie: the bowling alley installs an automatic pinsetter, the crash test dummy program stops accepting applications from humans, the professional dog walker eliminates her “Assistant Dog Walker In Charge Solely of Scooping Poop” position), here are some tips on how to be a good one. (If, perchance, you would rather be a bad editor, just do the opposite of what I suggest. And good luck with that.) Be selective. Edit the books you love; work with writers you like.…

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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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About Me, The Writer's Life

The Blank Page

The blank page strikes fear into writers, but too often for the wrong reason. These writers (perhaps you?) see it as something to fill with cleverness and excellence that will excite the senses and convert the masses. They consider it a space to stuff with characters and plots and subplots and twists and tension and conflict and resolution. To them, the blank page is a empty thing that demands to be filled. And when it doesn’t get its way, it mocks them. It belittles them. It questions their writing talent. Their commitment. Their masculinity. Their femininity. Their parenting skills. Their…

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General, The Publishing Process, The Writer's Life, Writing tips

You

Sit down. No, you’re not in trouble. This isn’t about dangling too many participles or ending sentences with prepositions. It’s not about your premise or your plot. It’s not about your characters (they’re all really very lovely). And it’s not about your craft. You want what? A drink? Sure. What would you like? I have tea and coffee and… Really? This early? How about just the orange juice without the vodka? Okay, where was I? Oh, right. You’re a good writer. Your novel is competent, smart and entertaining. You’ve obviously read lots of books on how to write. I bet you…

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The Publishing Process, The Writer's Life, Writing tips

Listening Room

A few years ago, back when I was a cubicle dweller, I had the privilege of representing my publishing house at a local writers’ conference. I stocked up on Altoids (licorice, because that’s just how I rolled back then), made sure there was a pitcher of water nearby, sat down at my table and awaited the first of twelve victims…um…I mean hopeful authors. I’m far from a conference expert, but my limited experience has taught me that the one-to-one meetings with unpublished authors can be endurance tests for both the editor and the writer. The editor, though hopeful to find…

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Self-editing Tips, Writing tips

Sorting Through the Noise

So you sit down to write, and that’s when you hear it. (Okay, maybe you stand to write, but…really? Are you one of those standing desk people? I’ll bet you have great calves and a resting pulse under 60, but you’re making those of us who would rather write from the horizontal office* look bad. So stop it. At the very least, sit down. At a desk.) The noise. No, not your character’s voices. Well, they’re in the mix somewhere, but it’s hard to hear them above the literary agent screaming about why it’s critically important to make your first…

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