Editing, Self-editing Tips, Self-promotion, The Publishing Process

What to Expect From Your Editor

I hear you’re interested in hiring an editor. Smart move. So what are you waiting for? Grab your checkbook (do those still exist?), your manuscript, and your realistic expectations and get to it. What’s that? You don’t know what to expect? Here. I’ll help. Ten Things Your Editor Can Do Your editor can see what your novel could be someday, no matter what it looks like today. Your editor can show you all the little pet phrases and words you repeat to distraction. Your editor can solve plot problems that would make readers want to throw your book into a…

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Editing, Meaningless Drivel, My Thoughts

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Freelance Editors. Okay, Just 13 Things.

I’ve mentioned before that I don’t particularly like numbered-list blogposts. They just feel artificial to me. So…um…here’s one about editors. Sorry. 1. We edit because we love books and writers but also for the money. 2. It’s a good thing we love books and writers. (And Ramen noodles.) 3. We don’t laugh with maniacal glee while slicing and dicing our way through your manuscript. We know how hard it is to write, and how much harder still it is to share that writing with a virtual stranger – especially someone whose job it is to find all the things that…

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Editing

When to Ignore Your Editor

I’m not a member of any elite editorial clubs. I don’t dine with editors who have touched the Manuscripts of the Gods. I don’t have an MFA or a PhD or a WtF in Writing/Editing/Pontificating. I don’t play tambourine in an all-editorial band and I haven’t been contacted by the The Wall Street Journal or The New York Times or NPR to do an interview on what it’s like to walk with literary giants or play the tambourine in an all-editorial band. So please feel free to take what I’m about to say with a grain of salt. Or a…

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

On the Subject of Subjectivity

Deep breath… The Da Vinci Code is the best novel ever written. You know it’s based on a true story, right? The Left Behind books are more well-written than anything by Fitzgerald or Hemingway or any of those boring Russian authors. The Road. It changed the way I view dialogue said the man. And punctuation. His life was a series of fragmented sentences. And so was the book. The Road is not just Cormac’s tarmac. It is brilliance said the man. The boy turned his head and coughed. Don’t you dare question the infinite incredibleness of The Lord of the…

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My Thoughts, Self-editing Tips

When You Care, Send the Very Best

This is going to be a short post. Because, quite frankly, the topic only needs a few words. Here they are: Never* send an editor or agent a first draft. I could end the post right there. But just in case there’s a lingering “huh?” out there somewhere, I’ll elaborate with three reasons for this common-sense advice. First drafts, even really good ones, typically still suffer from fixable plot and character problems. It doesn’t matter that your writing is excellent, such problems signal impatience to editors and agents. It’s good be be known for your passion and your dedication to…

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