Best books for writers

Updated for 2020: Best books for writers

Updated for 2020: Best books for writers of fiction It’s been a stressful year to try to write a novel. It feels easier for many authors to step back from their own pages and reframe their thinking. How do experienced authors go about developing a concept into a novel? What are turning points and what Read more about Updated for 2020: Best books for writers[…]

Ready for editing

Are your editing expectations sabotaging your writing?

Cleaning up messes is standard operating procedure for editors. Whether we’re handed story messes such as plot holes, writing messes such as head-hopping, or mechanical messes such as three different spellings of a character’s name, we’re ready to take on the work you need help with. We just want to make sure you’re not creating Read more about Are your editing expectations sabotaging your writing?[…]

How many drafts is enough?

How many drafts are enough for your novel?

How many drafts is enough to prepare a manuscript for professional editing? A first or second draft isn’t worthy of the investment, after all. A manuscript isn’t ready for editing until you’ve set it aside for weeks or months (to regain some distance and objectivity), sought out feedback from objective parties, and revised it thoroughly Read more about How many drafts are enough for your novel?[…]

Writing your first novel

What every writer should know before writing a first novel

Your first time attempting anything you value is fraught with risk. Most authors I know tackle their first novels with little more than hopes and dreams under the hood. Under these conditions, writing eighty thousand words can seem like an impossible exercise, and publishing those words remains an inscrutable business best left to the rich, Read more about What every writer should know before writing a first novel[…]

Revise your manuscript

How to revise your first draft to make it ready for editing

Writing a novel is such a minuscule part of writing a novel. People who’ve never written anything longer than a school paper have a hard time imagining that pouring all those words onto the page isn’t the major part of the battle. Experienced authors know better. Writing the manuscript is just a fraction of the Read more about How to revise your first draft to make it ready for editing[…]

Ready for editing

Is your book ready for editing?

Nothing makes an editor sadder than slogging through a manuscript that isn’t ready for editing yet. Let’s not embark upon a journey your manuscript isn’t ready to take. Really. As exciting as it feels to move one step closer to publication, typing “The End” is only the close of the very first step. The majority Read more about Is your book ready for editing?[…]

RAM

Help! My edit is choking my computer!

Bad news: You just got your manuscript back from the editor, and your computer has collapsed in a fit of pique. Every time you open the document, Microsoft Word stalls out. The only thing still moving is your cursor, chasing its tail like an eternal puppy. How can you process your revisions if you can’t Read more about Help! My edit is choking my computer![…]

story revision

How to revise the early drafts of your novel

Nobody wants to scale the stony gray wall of revision. Nobody. Not even those crazy Spartan racers. (You go, Spartans.) A novel revision stares you down with the same inscrutable gaze of a blinking cursor on a blank page. How on earth should you begin? You start rereading your manuscript. Something’s misfiring; you can hear Read more about How to revise the early drafts of your novel[…]

Developing story skills

How to develop your story revision skills

Are you guilty of trying to put lipstick on a pig? As my colleague Jami Gold confided via email, “I’ve seen far too many authors consider themselves ‘edited’ just because someone did a comma check, but my reviews and impressions of a story are almost always about the story itself. We can’t emphasize that enough, Read more about How to develop your story revision skills[…]

The Author's Survival Guide to Track Changes

Updated: Author’s survival guide to Track Changes

If you’ve never used Microsoft Word’s Track Changes feature before, the idea of getting your manuscript back from an editor filled with all sorts of lines and squiggles you have to do something to in order to keep your novel from plummeting precipitously through a fiery ring of digital destruction and disappearing into the black Read more about Updated: Author’s survival guide to Track Changes[…]