When are you ready for professional editing?

Getting a manuscript ready for professional editing is notoriously painstaking work. It drags you into seemingly endless rounds of scrutiny: searching for plot holes, questioning the characters’ motivations, adding zing to the dialogue, and squashing typos and grammatical errors. With so much ground to cover, a revision plan ensures you’re not overlooking anything. What’s not Read more about When are you ready for professional editing?[…]

Developing story skills

Updated: Best books on writing for writers

Do you get sucked into spending more time reading about writing fiction than actually doing it? I’ve just updated my short list of the best books on writing, so you can level up and take the techniques back to your manuscript. One of my favorite ways to help writers is recommending books that will help Read more about Updated: Best books on writing for writers[…]

Words to revise

Words and phrases to revise or delete

It’s all too easy to overstuff your writing when you’re striving for a natural, unstrained tone. We lean on filler words in conversation to soften our speech and build connections, but these words don’t convey enough information to be effective in writing. The internet is peppered with lists of “words to cut from your writing.” Read more about Words and phrases to revise or delete[…]

Tangled up in 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 Tangled up in Track Changes?[…]

writers group

Top 10 reasons to join a writing community

Writing is a supposedly solitary endeavor, but successful authors know that a supporting writing community is worth its weight in gold. Like-minded colleagues keep you aloft during the long, parched weeks of revision. They’re friendly allies when you need an outside eye on your story or writing. They’re seasoned repositories of first-hand publishing and marketing Read more about Top 10 reasons to join a writing community[…]

How much money do novelists make?

So how much money can you make writing novels, anyway? For traditionally published author income, short of a few blockbuster outliers, the total is probably neither as substantial nor as reliable as you might assume. On the flip side, the income potential of self-publishing has evolved dramatically in entirely different ways over the past handful Read more about How much money do novelists make?[…]

The Conscious Writer: Taking back your creative power

When a manuscript isn’t firing on all cylinders, there are so many ways to shift responsibility: Characters that run away with a life of their own. Plotting systems that strip nuance and meaning. Agents who press for writing to market. It’s not my fault, writers think; the characters (or this dumb outline, or my annoying Read more about The Conscious Writer: Taking back your creative power[…]

Publishing Options

Publishing options: Which one is right for you?

Today’s publishing options have changed since you first dreamed about getting your book into print. Most authors arrive on my editorial doorstep declaring their intentions of finding literary representation, with the caveat that “I’m open to self-publishing, I guess, if nothing else comes along.” Please don’t handicap yourself with such an indecisive start. Waffling over publishing options Read more about Publishing options: Which one is right for you?[…]

Half dozen

Prewriting: 6 parts of the writing process that aren’t writing

This article is about the parts of writing a novel that don’t involve writing. It’s not about the business side of being an author. It’s not about book design and production. It’s also not about book marketing or promotion. This article is about the process of getting your story onto the page, and a lot Read more about Prewriting: 6 parts of the writing process that aren’t writing[…]


How to Begin Writing Memoir

Many authors are first called to writing by the lure of memoir. Exploring the interior of one’s own life is heady stuff. And in a world held at arm’s length by Covid-19, bestselling memoirs (Wild, Becoming, Educated …) have captured the imaginations of readers eager to bridge gaps and slip into someone else’s shoes. New Read more about How to Begin Writing Memoir[…]