Structure is one area that beginning writers struggle with the most. We all know our stories should have suspense, surprise, drama, intrigue, and all sorts of other spicy elements. But how do we create a structure that delivers all of these elements? Over the years of working with writers as and editor and creative writing […]
Years of editing have taught me a great deal about writing, and I’m very grateful for it. But an editor’s path can be a tricky one when it comes to writing her own book. As so many of you who are inclined toward self-editing will know, it’s so easy to get mired in the morass […]
Attention to proper formatting will help your submission stand out. If you use Microsoft Word, here’s how your paragraph settings should look. Format examples.
This revision tool will help strengthen your narrative and pacing, show where your manuscript is text heavy, and eliminate excess description.
If you can’t put your finger on what’s wrong, it’s quite likely you simply have a problem with your skeleton. The basic narrative/character arc is your story’s skeleton. It is the structure upon which all else sits.
How long is too long, and how short is too short? First let’s look at typical word counts for various literary categories.
What follows is a list of questions authors of fiction and narrative nonfiction can ask themselves while rewriting, to help them clarify their ideas and shape their expression for greater impact. The list can also be useful before the fact and as a guide while writing...
How do you find the best editor for your book? You have written a book, or you are in the process of writing one. That's great! Maybe you're just thinking about writing one. You hope it will be a bestselling novel. Or maybe it is more practical---a tool for promoting...
Compassion Compassion is at the top of the list. Without it, I can't imagine a writer getting very far. As writers, we are often too hard on ourselves, either because we haven't kept to a writing goal, or we got rejected from an agent, or we beat ourselves up, or...
So far in this series, we've taken a look at the dangers of head-hopping and too much telling. In this final installment, I want to cover the third most common issue I see with manuscripts. So, as before, let's start by reviewing a short passage: Dana pulled out her...
While we typically associate the term “high concept” with genre fiction (e.g., sci-fi, fantasy, horror, mystery, thriller, comedy), a compelling high concept is what underlies all great fiction in every genre and every format, from short stories to novels to films. What is a high concept? I tend to define it as a compelling “What […]
Too Much of a Good Thing Isn’t So Good In the first installment of this series, we looked at how head-hopping (abrupt POV jumps within a scene) can damage the intimacy between a reader and the story. In this second part, I want to cover another major problem area I see in my daily work […]
You’ve always wanted to do it, and now you finally have. It’s an exhilarating, wonderful feeling, and you have every reason to feel proud. You’ve written that children’s picture book-and you’re fired up and ready to publish.
The division of genres has become a speculative game of slots. How do you pick a literary agent who is looking for the book you wrote, or a category in Kindle Direct Publishing?
When readers begin to feel connected to a character and you suddenly jump POVs, you’ve broken that sense of growing intimacy. What’s the solution if you find yourself prone to hopping heads?